Posts from the ‘The Cross of Christ’ Category

The Most Important Answer to the Most Important Question,”Why?” Serve Christ?

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The Key to Successful Discipleship in Christ is to Answer the Question “Why?”

       I believe that most of the shortcomings and failings of the church stem from the failure to successfully answer the question “Why should I give my all to Christ?”

       The answer is in the Gospel, and by Gospel I mean the cross and the resurrection of Christ.

       Because of His love, we can have a personal and intimate life in Christ, and we can confidently confront the brokenness of this world.

       When we have come to love Christ as He loved us, we will together with Christ and by His indwelling Spirit, yearn to give our all to Him because He first gave His all for us.

       Our faith is strongest when our love for God is stronger than any fear, desire, or potential loss we could know because it is anchored in a confidence rooted in His love for us, fully expressed by the cross.

       I like to say, When we love God with all our heart and soul and strength, then there is no room left to love anything contrary to God.

Why?

We love Him because He first loved us.”

(1 John 4:19, NKJV)

 

Jesus Christ – His Divine Union of Contrasts – King of Kings – Yet He was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men

The Crucifixion (1622) by Simon Vouet; Church of Jesus, Genoa

The Crucifixion (1622) by Simon Vouet; Church of Jesus, Genoa

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Look no further than the Gospels of Jesus Christ in the Bible for proof of His existence. Mankind could not have conceived the embodiment of such extremes in the leader of a man made religion.
Only Christianity has a founder who embodies the full spectrum of what it means to be human and does so in Holy perfection.

James Stewart said it well.

“He was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men, yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God.

 

He was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out in terror at his coming, yet he was so genial and winsome and approachable that the children loved to play with him, and the little ones nestled in his arms.

 

His presence at the innocent gaiety of a village wedding was like the presence of sunshine.

 

No one was half so compassionate to sinners, yet no one ever spoke such red hot scorching words about sin.

 

A bruised reed he would not break, his whole life was love, yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees how they ever expected to escape the damnation of hell.

 

He was a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions, yet for sheer stark realism He has all of our stark realists soundly beaten.

 

He was a servant of all, washing the disciples feet, yet masterfully He strode into the temple, and the hucksters and moneychangers fell over one another to get away from the mad rush and the fire they saw blazing in His eyes.

 

He saved others, yet at the last Himself He did not save. There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confronts us in the gospels. The mystery of Jesus is the mystery of divine personality.”

 

– James Stewart, Scottish theologian

 

Jesus Christ – Crown Him King of My Life – Why Can’t Sermons Be More Like Songs?

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Why can’t more sermons be this Christ Centered ?
How often do our songs contain Christ Centered richness, but our sermons barely mention, let alone celebrate, the One who loved us with His own life?

Simply Crown Him The King of Life.

Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne,
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing
of him who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless King
through all eternity.

Crown him the Lord of life,
who triumphed o’er the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife
for those he came to save.
His glories now we sing,
who died, and rose on high,
who died, eternal life to bring,
and lives that death may die.

Crown him the Lord of peace,
whose power a scepter sways
from pole to pole, that wars may cease,
and all be prayer and praise.
His reign shall know no end,
and round his pierced feet
fair flowers of paradise extend
their fragrance ever sweet.

   Crown him the Lord of love;
behold his hands and side,
those wounds, yet visible above,
in beauty glorified.
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For thou hast died for me;
thy praise and glory shall not fail
throughout eternity.

Pontius Pilate Shares His Torment with Gaius (fiction, audio)” Ravi Zacharias from “Jesus as they Saw Him”

Read by Ravi Zacharias, this dramatic audio adaptation of the Biblical account of the trial of Jesus Christ is told from the fictional perspective of the man who reluctantly delivered Christ to be crucified, the Roman ruler assigned to Israel , Pontius Pilate.

Much of this does however dramatically reflect what we gather from the Biblical account.

The text is also included below.

Its almost fitting that the only recording of this I could find is a video shrouded in darkness similar to the ruminations of this dialogue.

Darkness really did come upon the middle of the day when Christ Jesus died.

Praise God for the resurrection and Light and Life everlasting.

“While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”
(Matt 27:19 NKJV)
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“… “It suddenly closed in on me Gaius, the impact of how trapped I was. The proud arm of Rome with all its boast of justice was to be but a dirty dagger in the pudgy hands of the priest. I was waiting in the room, Gaius, the one I use for court, officially enthroned with cloak and guard when they let this Jesus in. Well Gaius, don’t smile at this, as you value your jaw, but I have had no peace since the day he walked into my judgment hall. It’s been years but these scenes I read from the back of my eyelids every night.

You have seen Caesar haven’t you? When he was young and strapping inspecting the legion. His arrogant manner was child like compared to that of the Nazarene. He didn’t have to strut, you see. He walked toward my throne; arms bound but with a strident mastery and control that by its very audacity silenced the room for an instant and left me trembling with an insane desire to stand up and salute.

The clerk began reading the absurd list of charges. The priestly delegation punctuating these with palm rubbings and beard strokings and the eye rollings and the pious gutturals I had long-since learned to ignore. But I more felt it, Gaius, than heard it. I questioned him mechanically. He answered very little but what he said and the way he said it, it was as if his level gaze had pulled my naked soul right up into his eyes and was probing it there. It seemed like the man wasn’t even listening to the charges brought against him as a voice deep within me seemed to say `You are the one on trial, Pilate.’ You would have sworn, Gaius, that he had just come in out of a friendly interest to see what was going to happen to me. The very pressure of his standing there had grown unbearable when a slave rushed in all a tremble, interrupting court to bring a message from Claudia. She had stabbed at the stylus in that childish way that she does when she is distraught. ‘Don’t judge this amazing man, Pilate,’ she wrote. ‘I was haunted in dreams of him this night.’

Gaius, I tried to free him. From that moment on I tried and I always will think he knew it. He was a Galilean so I delivered him out of my jurisdiction, but the native King Herod discovered he was born in Judea and sent him right back to me. I appealed to the crowd that had gathered in the streets, hoping that they were his sympathizers, but Caiaphas had stationed agitators to whip up the beast that cry for blood and you know how any citizen here just after breakfast loves to cry for the blood of another. I had him beaten, Gaius, a thorough barracks room beating. I’m still not sure why. To appease the crowd, I guess. But do we Romans really need reasons for beating? Isn’t that the code for anything we don’t understand? Well, it didn’t work, Gaius. The crowd roared like some slavering beast when I brought him back.

If only you could have watched him. They had thrown some rags of purple over his pulped and bleeding shoulders. They jammed a chaplet of thorns down on his forehead and it fit, it all fit! He stood there watching them from my balcony; lame from weakness by now but royal I tell you. Not just pain but pity shining from his eyes and I kept thinking somehow this is monstrous; this is all up-side-down. That purple is real, that crown is real, and somehow these animal noises the crowd is shrieking should be shouts of praise.

Then Caiaphas played his master stroke on me. He announced there in public that this Jesus claimed a crown and that this was treason to Caesar. And then the guards began to glance at each other and that mob of spineless filth began to shout, hail Caesar, hail Caesar. I knew I was beaten and that’s when I gave the order. I couldn’t look at him, Gaius. And then I did a childish thing. I called for water and there on the balcony I washed my hands of that whole wretched affair, but as they led him away I did look up and he turned and looked at me. No smile, no pity, he just glanced at my hands and I have felt the weight of his eyes upon them ever since.

But you’re yawning, Gaius, I’ve kept you up. And the fact of the matter is you are in need of some sleep and some holidays. Yes, sleep. Claudia will be asleep by now. Rows of lighted lamps line her couch. She can’t sleep in the dark anymore. No, not since that afternoon you see, since the afternoon when the sun went out and my guards executed him. That’s what I said, I don’t know how or what or why—I only know that I was there and though it was the middle of the day it turned as black as the tunnels of hell in that miserable city and while I tried to compose Claudia and explain how I had been trapped she railed at me with her dream. She has had that dream ever since when she sleeps in the dark—or some form of it—that there was to be a new Caesar and that I had killed him.

Oh, Gaius we have been to Egypt to their seers and magicians. We have listened by the hour to the oracles in the musty temples of Greece chattering their inanities. We have called it an oriental curse that we are under and we have tried to break it a thousand ways, but there is no breaking it.

Do you know why I kept going, Gaius? Deep within the curse is the haunting, driving certainty that he is still somewhere near, that I still have some unfinished business with him, and that now and then as I walk by the lake he is following me and as much as that strikes terror I wonder if that isn’t the only hope. You see, Gaius, if I could walk up to him this time and salute him and tell him that now I know that whoever else he was he was the only man worthy of his name in Judea that day. Tell him that I know I was entrapped—that I trapped myself. Tell him that here is one Roman that wishes he were Caesar. I believe that would do it wouldn’t it Gaius? I believe he would listen and know I meant it and at last I would see him smile.

Quiet tonight isn’t it Gaius? Not a breeze stirring by the lake. Yes, goodnight. You had better run along. Would you please waken the slave outside the door and tell him to bring me a cloak, my heavy one please. I believe I will walk by the lake. Yes, its dark there, Gaius but I won’t be alone. I guess I really haven’t been alone—not since that day. Yes goodnight, Gaius.”

God Required Holiness of Humanity – So God Provided Holiness to Humanity

God said,
“Be Holy because I am Holy.”

Man’s dilemma,
“all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

So God came down to man as a man,Immanuel, God with us.

and the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

after the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life,

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting ?

 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us,

that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

 The Lord has shown his holy arm
    in the sight of all the nations,
all the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, 

the gospel of your salvation.

Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal,

 the promised Holy Spirit, 

who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance 

until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—

to the praise of his glory.

(Scripture references – 1 Peter 1:16,Romans 3:23,1 Corinthians 15:55, Matthew 1:23,2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 52,53, Ephesians 1:13-14)

Christ is the Gospel – He Must Be Our Constant Theme

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By C.H.Spurgeon

“Beloved, because Jesus is the sum of the gospel he must be our constant theme.

“God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

So spake men of old, and so say we. 

When we have done preaching Christ we had better have done preaching; when you have done teaching in your classes Jesus Christ himself, give up Sunday school work, for nothing else is worthy of your pains.

Put out the sun, and light is gone, life is gone, all is gone.

When Jesus is pushed into the background or left out of a minister’s teaching, the darkness is darkness that might be felt, and the people escape from it into gospel light as soon as they can.

A sermon without Jesus in it is savourless, and worthless to God’s tried saints, and they soon seek other food.

The more of Christ in our testimony the more of light and life and power to save.”

The devil’s Hordes Greatest Defeat

Christus op  kruis - Vlissegem

Christus op kruis – Vlissegem (Photo credit: PhilFlickr2)

 “The devil’s hordes thought, at first, that the crucifixion of Christ was their triumph. 

But their very triumphs, God used for their defeat. 

They thought they had God with His back to the wall,

pinned and helpless and defeated. 

They did not know it was God Himself who had dragged them down to that point. 

He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil,

He conquered through it.” 

Scottish Theologian James Stewart

 

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