Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Power of the Cross

While viewing Pastor Ken Silva's Apprising Ministries site, I read the following magnificent post entitled, The Power of the Cross.

What a fabulous read for the beginning of the new year!

The entire article is SO GOOD and you will certainly be blessed, and biblically educated when you read it all!

It was really difficult for me to pick out an excerpt to share. However, the following portion stood out as an excellent description of why I blog here at Talk Wisdom.

If you have been reading here at my blog over the past 2 1/2 years, my posts cover varying points about the Bible, Jesus Christ, and how our sin-saturated culture needs the Gospel so desperately.

The following segments from Pastor Silva's essay point out the danger of the heresy movements which are so "in vogue" today. In addition, his writing warns those who are trapped in such movements of the severe error of falling for the cross-less gospel.

The Cost of the Cross

And a further word to the wise–as the fire begins to come upon this wicked generation in America–really knowing Jesus is your only hope. For the Bible says – But mark this: There will be terrible times in [these] last days (2 Tim. 3:1). Look–many who’ve been “playing” church are already fleeing–but “The Lord knows those who are His” (Numbers 16:5; 2 Timothy 2:19). And remember – They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us – 1 John 2:19.

If you listen closely you can hear Jesus ask – You do not want to leave too, do you (John 6:67)? Men and women–I remind you that a man ought to examine himself (1 Cor. 11:28) – to make sure he is in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). And I exhort you dear brother and dear sister–don’t be a “Demas.” For some of the saddest words in the Bible are Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me (2 Tim. 4:10).

And those that love the world will also hate the cross of Christ–because it pierces the very heart of mankind just as the nails pierced the hands and feet of our Savior–Jesus of Nazareth. The Power Of The Cross cuts right straight through our self-ishness and pride. And, it is for this very reason that the message of the Cross will never be popular. MacArthur reminds of this when he puts us in the shoes of the Apostle Paul as he first began to preach Christ crucified.

If the Gentile attitude [toward the Cross] was bad, the Jewish attitude was worse and even more hostile. They detested the Roman practice [of crucifixion] and scorned it even more than the Romans did. In their view, anybody who ever ended up on a cross fulfilled Deuteronomy 21:23, ”His body shall not remain overnight on the tree…for he who is hanged is accused of God. Does that mean the eternal God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Lord Himself was cursed? How could God curse God? It’s absolutely unthinkable. The Messiah cursed by God? To the Jews it was impossible to imagine…

The Jews gagged on the idea of a crucified Christ. It made the Gospel unbelievable… If it wasn’t enough that crucifixion bore such a shameful stigma, there was also the shameful simplicity of the cross. A repudiation of worldly wisdom (pp.28,29,30).

And, if we hope to have any real impact on this postmodern culture for Christ, it will never come through the seeker sensitive message of a purpose driven life, nor will it ever come through the self-absorbed musings of the submerging emergent church. A.W. Tozer is right that we must get people today to understand that the:

The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.

The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life.

That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. (http://www.crossroad.to/Excerpts/

From The Shadow of His Cross

And so we thank God for The Power Of The Cross and we need not be ashamed For [even though] the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,…to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). And to paraphrase a common theme in the teaching of Dr. Martin: If you don’t believe that everyone who won’t come to that Cross is lost–and if you don’t believe everyone who will not believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior is perishing to eternal damnation in the indescribable horrors of Hell–then what in the world are you bothering to call yourself a Christian for?

HT: Apprising Ministries

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