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The Word For Today

The importance of the cross 3



'The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.' 1 Corinthians 1:18 NKJV

God dying on the cross for our sins sounds like 'foolishness' to some people. Their philosophy is 'If I cannot understand it, I won't accept it.' That's where they get it wrong. Salvation comes through faith alone. 'Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven' (Matthew 18:3 NKJV). Simple, childlike faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross is all that's required.

The story is told of a student whose professor gave him zero on a test. Upset, he said, 'I don't deserve this grade.' The professor smiled and quipped, 'I agree, but zero is the lowest grade I can give.' That's how God feels about our wisdom. 'The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God' (1 Corinthians 3:19 NKJV). One day a man stood on the roof of his house during a flood, and prayed, 'God, please save me.' Soon a rowboat came by and offered to take him to safety. But he said, 'No, God will take care of me.' The waters kept coming up until they were almost at his waist. Suddenly a helicopter appeared overhead and a rope ladder was lowered down. 'Oh no, God will take care of me.' Soon after that the man drowned. When he stood before God, he said, 'Why didn't you save me?' God responded, 'I sent you a rowboat and a helicopter. What else did you want?'

At the cross, God did everything required to save you. All you have to do is trust in Christ and receive the gift of eternal life.

Soulfood: Gen 22:1-18, Matt 27:45-56, Ps 22, Isa 53

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The importance of the cross 2



'But we preach Christ crucified.' 1 Corinthians 1:23 NKJV

Paul writes: 'For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God' (1 Corinthians 1:22-24 NKJV). There's no Jewish way to be saved, or Gentile way to be saved. There's only one way to be saved - that's the way of the cross! We all have the same need. We need to know what's right and do what's right. We need the wisdom to know what to do, and we need the power to do it. And Christ offers us both through the cross.

In his early ministry, when Billy Graham preached to a great crowd in Dallas, Texas, there was very little response to his message. As he was leaving the platform, an old man told him, 'Your message was good, but you didn't preach the cross.' Billy went to his room, wept and resolved, 'There will never be a sermon that I preach unless the cross is central.' Starting that day, God used him to win more people to Christ than almost any other preacher in history.

There's just enough ego in each of us to want to 'contribute' to our salvation by doing good works. But we cannot. Hymnist Robert Lowry wrote: 'What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know; nothing but the blood of Jesus.'

Soulfood: Lev 8-10, Matt 27:33-44, Ps 49, Pro 10:1-2

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The importance of the cross 1



'God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Galatians 6:14 NKJV

It's interesting that in the Bible Jesus doesn't ask us to remember his birth or his resurrection, although we know we should, but he tells us to remember his death. When he instituted the Lord's Supper, he said, 'Do this in remembrance of me' (Luke 22:19 NKJV).

Paul said, 'God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Galatians 6:14 NKJV). The cross, like the gallows and the electric chair, is an instrument of death. So why glory in it? Because of what took place there. When Jesus said, 'It is finished,' all your sins from the cradle to the grave were paid for. So the cross is God's first and last word when it comes to salvation. It's his first word because Jesus was 'the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world' (Revelation 13:8 NKJV). And the cross is God's last word about salvation, for in Heaven they will sing, 'You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation' (Revelation 5:9 NKJV). There is no 'plan B' for salvation. The only road that goes to Heaven goes through Calvary. You can't bypass the cross or go around it if you want to be saved. The Bible says, 'Without shedding of blood there is no remission [for sin]' (Hebrews 9:22 NKJV).

As you look at the cross today, you'll see the curse of sin, the cost of sin and the cure for sin. And as you look at the cross, remind yourself: 'He did it for me.'

Soulfood: Exo 12:1-14, 1 Cor 11:20-34, Ps 25:16-22

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