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The Message Of The Cross. What Is It?

Let’s pray. Lord Jesus we thank You for Your word. Lord, we realize by our own wisdom we could never understand You, Lord. We could never know You. Lord, You made a way for us to know You. You came, Lord, in the cross, Lord Jesus, that we might know You. Oh Lord, that we might experience You. We ask You to open up Your wisdom to us this morning. Open up, Lord, the word of the cross. The message of the cross, Lord. That we might walk into Your glorious liberty. Oh Lord, what You have for us. We ask for Your light, and Your anointing, Lord Jesus. As we share this morning. Amen.

Thank you Lord Jesus. The message of the cross, What is it? You know, in the cross we’re going to see God’s wisdom. The cross shows us the wisdom of God. How many want to know His wisdom? Chapter One of First Corinthians tells us about the wisdom of the world. By the wisdom of the world we could never know God’s purpose. We could never know God. The foolishness of this message of the cross, this word of the cross, is to the world foolishness. God has chosen by this foolishness to save those who believe. Hallelujah! Are you willing to look at the foolishness of the cross? The Greeks seek after wisdom. The cross to them is foolishness. But unto us who are being saved, it is the power of God. So we trust the Lord to open this up to us, the message of the cross. What is it? 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Then verse 21 says, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” How is God’s wisdom shown by the message of the cross? Look at that a minute. The cross brings together God’s righteousness and God’s grace. Without the cross, God would have to condemn every- one or forgive everyone. Why did Christ have to die? This is a question that a lot of people have. Why did Christ have to die? Couldn’t God just forgive us? He made man, couldn’t He forgive man? He isGod, He could do anything. Couldn’t He forgive us and forget about the cross. He has to bring in the cross. Think about this. If He for- gave everyone, then His righteousness would be cast aside and the foundation of His throne would be removed. Because, look at this next verse, Psalm 89:14 says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne, mercy and truth go before Your face.” Righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne. God’s whole throne rests upon His righteousness and His justice. God is righteous and He is just. That is the foundation of His throne. Per- haps He would say, “Well, I like Charlie, so I am just going to forgive him. I don’t like Dave, so I am not going to forgive him.” You know God could do that, He is God. But no, because righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne, He could not do that. He is bound by His righteousness and by His justice. If he condemned everyone His grace would be cast aside. Let’s go back, if He forgave everyone, then His righteousness would be cast aside, right? So if He just arbitrarily forgave everyone His righteousness would be cast aside.

He told Adam that the day you sinned or the day you eat of this tree you shall surely die. Right? that is God’s word. He set everything before Adam and Eve in the garden. Everything they could eat, they could enjoy. Even the tree of life they could enjoy. There was one tree that they could not eat. He said, “in the day that you eat of it you will die.” So, what did they do, they went to that tree. Satan brought them there. He took them to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So God was bound by His righteousness and by His justice to bring death.

So, if He forgave everyone, then His righteousness would be cast aside and the foundation of His throne would be removed. Then, if He would condemn everyone, His grace would be cast aside. So what’s God going to do? The cross brings in the marvelous wisdom of God whereby His righteousness is satisfied and His grace is released – through the cross. This is the wisdom of God. The cross is the wisdom of God, which the Greeks think is foolishness, but to us who believe it is the power of God. The cross brings in the righteousness of God, and the grace of God. God has dealt with our sins in Christ, righteously. All of our sins past, present and future have been taken care of in Christ. Do you believe that? That is the righteousness of God that has been satisfied in Jesus Christ, Amen.

Romans 3:24-26 “Being justified freely by His grace”. We could not pay for our sins. There is nothing we could do. No matter how good we are we could not pay for this. So, we have been justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Where is your redemption? It’s in Christ Jesus, Whom God displayed on the cross as a propitiation. In other words, what Jesus did on the cross propitiated God’s righteousness. It satisfied God’s righteousness! Let’s say you were speeding and got a hundred dollar ticket and did not have a hundred dollars to pay for it. You went to court and said, “I cannot pay for it.” Then the judge said, “Go to jail.” But someone said, “Just a minute I have the hundred dollars”, and he pays it for you. The court has been propitiated. Your sins and my sins have been propitiated. The court is righteous in its judgment in asking for a hundred dollars. You are guilty. How many are guilty? We are all guilty. The court is righteous to send us to jail, but someone comes up and propitiates. This satisfies the righteous demand of the court; i.e. the hundred dollars, takes care of it and now we are free. “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed as a propitiation by His blood.” His blood took care of our sin through faith, “to demonstrate at the present time, His righteousness; That He might be just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” He is just to demand it because He said, “The soul that sins shall surely die.” “The day you eat it you shall die.” So, God is just. He has demanded His justice. “Justice and righteousness are the foundation of His throne”. He’s just, right? He’s demanded it, and also He’s the justifier. On the one hand He’s just, that’s what He’s done at the cross. That’s why Jesus had to die, because God is just. He dealt with our sins, put us in Christ, and there He dealt with our sins in Christ. So God is just, and not only He’s just, He’s the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Do you have faith in Jesus? He’s just and He’s the justifier. You see this in the cross. He’s just by dealing with our sins in Christ thoroughly and completely, and the wrath of God was poured out upon our sins. Jesus cried out, “Father, Why have you forsaken me?” Only in eternity will we realize what He actually went through and accomplished for us. He did all this that He might become the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Do you have Faith in Jesus? Amen. He’s not only just but He’s the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. We just ask this question, “have you resolved this matter of righteousness? Are you clear on this matter of righteousness?” A lot of Christians are not clear. I have not been clear, I went to bible school and I wasn’t clear about it. I went through a lot of things and I wasn’t clear about it until the Lord made it clear to me about God’s righteousness. Do you see where your righteousness is? It’s not in anything you do. It’s in Him. It’s in Christ. He is our righteousness. Oh, Hallelujah! He has answered the demands of the law, every one of them? He’s answered them. Why are you trying to answer them? You cannot.

Hebrews 5:12-13 says, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.” This is what the writer to the Hebrews said: “you know you have been believers for quite a while. but”, he said, “you should be able to be teachers.” How long have you known the Lord? You should be able to be teachers. But look what he said, “You need again someone to teach you the first oracles, or the first principles, of God.” You come to need milk not solid food. In other words you like milk. We like milk. It’s easy. Put it in a bottle and drink it. Solid food takes a little chewing. Well, give me milk, it’s easier. This was where the Corinthians were. They were believers and they had a lot of teaching, and a lot of gifts and everything, but they just wanted milk. They did not want solid food. Until we begin to realize this we cannot see the matter of God’s righteousness. How God took care of His righteousness and His grace by the cross of Jesus Christ. This is the wisdom of God.

Romans 9:30-33. I want you to try something; find another believer and ask them to tell you about the righteousness of God. What do you understand about the righteousness of God? See what they have to say. Romans 9:30 says, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.” Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. “As it is written: Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” What was that stumbling stone? Jesus. He was that stumbling stone. He was the wisdom of God. He was the righteousness of God. He, Himself. Righteousness is something of God. We need God for righteous- ness. God did something wonderful through the cross. He put us in Jesus Christ and then crucified Him. We were crucified when He was crucified. That is why Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ.” Paul saw this. His crucifixion took place in Jesus Christ. This is the wisdom of God. God put all the fallen human race in Christ on the cross and condemned it. Killed it. That’s what happened on the cross. God was righteous to do that because man had sinned and there was no hope. No way out. So religion cannot help man. Only the cross can help man. So Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live.” This is grace coming. Because of God’s righteousness displayed on the cross, He could be the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Christ. He could justify us by grace. (Rom. 3:24; Titus 3:7) This is what the cross did. On the one hand the cross righteously dealt with sin and on the other hand the cross has opened up the way of grace to us. Praise the Lord! This is the wisdom of God. So he says here Christ has become a stumbling stone to those religious people because they are trying to establish their own righteousness. A lot of Christians have the idea that if I only read the bible a little more and pray a little more I will be righteous. I am trying to get there you know. Ask them are you there yet? Oh, no I could never say I am there yet. I am not that righteous, but I am a little more righteous than this one. I am working on it. Judging everyone else as not as righteous as I am. This is religion because they have not seen the righteousness of God. They have not seen the cross that displays God’s righteousness and God’s grace. God can give us grace because His righteousness has been satisfied.

The cross shows us His righteousness has been satisfied and it opens the way of grace to us because God can freely justify us now because the bill has been paid. Somebody paid the bill. So the court can now say you are free. Righteously he can free you. Are you free? Have you settled this matter of righteousness? Do you see the cross? Do you see what the cross in Romans 10:3-4 says, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteous- ness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” We should all be on our feet shouting. Hallelujah! Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. Are you righteous? For righteousness to everyone who believes. I got to work a little harder. I am not quite righteous yet. No, that is not where it is at. It is in Christ. Hallelujah! This is the wisdom of God which He has displayed in Christ on the cross. His righteousness and His grace are revealed by the cross of Jesus Christ. That’s why this message of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. Hallelujah! The cross has solved the matter of God’s righteousness. God is righteous. He has demonstrated to the principalities and the powers His righteousness so He can justify us freely. He justifies everyone who believes. It’s all in Jesus Christ. This is the ground we have to walk in. This is why we have to walk in Jesus. If we try to have this by walking in our own selfish ways we won’t experience this. We will experience the law. We will experience the curse when we walk in ourselves, in our old man. That’s why Jesus said if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. Amen. Praise the Lord!

Ken Sandberg