Once you begin to look at the wonder of our Father’s act of Redemption, it is so easy to embrace, because the simplicity of the cross is so obvious. It is indeed the door of entry into life with our Father!
Yet, Paul admitted,
“We preach Christ crucified, a message which is to Jews a stumbling block that provokes their opposition, and to Gentiles it is foolishness — just utter nonsense . . .” (I Corinthians 1:23).
But let’s be honest, it is no different today. Listen to your co-workers, your family, the folks on the street or even on the news. They still call the Cross, the central theme of our faith, absolutely foolish. However, their inability to understand the Truth of the Gospel doesn’t lessen the power of their resistance. Their ridicule and, at times, downright anger, is difficult for us to face.
What is interesting, Paul remained absolutely determined to avoid anything from overshadowing the cross. In his first letter to the church in Corinth he wrote:
“Christ did not send me to baptize, but rather, commissioned and empowered me to preach the good news of salvation — not with clever and eloquent speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made ineffective or deprived of its saving power” (I Corinthians 1:17).
Oh Hallelujah! There is no excuse for any of us to allow the cross to be “deprived of its saving power” in our lives, either! Our spiritual power and stability only come when we truly know what Christ accomplished for us on the cross! That is where we stop tossing around every wind of doctrine but instead, begin to live in the reality of our Lord’s presence. The cross spells death to all of those other misleading things.
Look, I have seen (and even given) the kind of messages that get positive reactions. And I can also say, quite confidently, that teachings of the cross are not the ones that are popular, even among Christians! We expect unbelievers to reject them, but far too many believers, who are not grounded in the Scriptures, are being filled with all kinds of foolishness.
I’ll tell you what, there are many weak and confusing messages and programs capturing the hearts of believers. Oh, not just the new or young believers but even some who have spent years reading and hearing the Word of God. Paul warned Timothy, “Evil people and phony preachers will go from bad to worse as they mislead people and are themselves misled” (II Timothy 3:13). They are being deluded. As one brother wrote, “We are living in a generation where facts no longer seem to matter.”
His name is Andy Wood, and he went on to say,
“The Scripture teaches that people can go so far in their sin that God finally removes His hand of restraint upon them and finally gives them over to what they want to do.
This is the very thing that happened to Pharaoh in the Old Testament. After hardening his own heart several times against God (Exodus 7:13, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7), God finally hardened Pharaoh’s heart and gave Pharaoh over to what he wanted to do (Exodus 4:21; 9:12).
This removal of divine restraint as a sign of judgment upon a culture is also the key theme of Romans 1:18–32. In this troubling section of the Bible, after people no longer see fit to retain the knowledge of God (Romans 1:18-23), God is said to repeatedly give them over (Romans 1:24, 26, 28) to the sins that they are so eager to commit.
The prophet Jeremiah anticipated that same type of turning over by God in his own day when he recorded the following chilling words from the Lord, “As for you, do not pray for this people, and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me; for I do not hear you” (Jeremiah 7:16).
We see the same type of judgment predicted for the end times as people will be given over to a spirit of delusion that will cause them to embrace the antichrist.
Second Thessalonians 2:11–12 says,
“For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”
Friends, don’t be trapped in this delusion. All of the new novelties will come and go. So will the emphasis on various philosophies and doctrines. One year it is evangelism, then the next year it is the teaching on the end times which possess the top billing. Then, it is the gifts and power of the Spirit. All of which are true, but also greatly abused and over emphasized. Leaders will continually wax eloquently on their great visions and goals, and their devotees will wear themselves out fulfilling those dreams. Yes, movements and men will rise and fall, but always remember that the cross will stand forever.
But once again, let’s see how we can apply this to our own lives and faith. Are you out there looking for the “hottest” and “newest” teaching? Are you sitting there and expecting your ears to be “ticked” and “teased”? I’ll tell you what it was when I came to the Lord, and still burns as brightly in my heart today: Christ dying on the cross! That is the most significant and glorious move of God on the face of the earth. It far exceeds the removal of His people from their enslavement in Egypt; even parting the sea and the drowning of their enemies. As miraculous as that was, it does not compare to the death of our Messiah. This was when Yahweh openly and publicly displayed His Son as the sin offering for the world – and made a way for us to walk in His resurrection power.
The most important message for you today, bar none, is the death of our Redeemer on the cross! Everything else pales in the light of the face of the Crucified Christ! In fact, right now I want to challenge you to rise up and face head on the challenges you are facing. Don’t shrink back or cower in a corner. Stand strong in the power of the Cross! Realize that you are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Heavenly places and that you can anything the Lord is requiring of you through His strength.
Draw on the strength He is giving by thanking Him and the Spirit He has given to you. Draw on His strength and receive His Grace simply by taking a step forward in faith. Rise up in His power and He will go before you and prove that the Word He gave you is true. If you simply take that small step, He will go before you and make a way where there is no way that you can see right now. He will not let you down!
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.