Relationship Through The Cross
1 Corinthians 1:17–31
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
“The preaching of the cross”, “Relationship THROUGH the cross”…
Never has there been a more divisive topic than the cross throughout all of history.
To tell the world around us that it is through the blood of the Cross of Christ that all men who were once alienated from God, now have reconciliation through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Relationship to GOD through the Cross, has not only been DIVISIVE, but, dare I say it, long thought of as foolish by man to be a means to save man from the condemnation of damnation.
To say that everyone on earth can have the full and unmitigated pardon for all there sin committed in the past, and grace for all yet to be committed in the future, simply by believing that Jesus Christ, God the Son, has paid for it all on a wooden cross some two thousand years ago; RELATIONSHIP THROUGH THE CROSS is most astonishing in the eyes of a fallen and lost world.
But to others, it is the power of God unto salvation!
That God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and …hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, the base things… and… the things despised…to bring to nought the things that are” so “that no flesh should glory in his presence” is to some the wisest way of all to reconcile an irreconcilable relationship with God our maker.
RELATIONSHIP RECONCILED TO GOD is the first RELATIONSHIP to be reconciled that leads to the JOY we have spoken of.
As we move through this series on FAITHFULNESS, and we now come to that portion of RELATIONSHIPS, it is the VERTICAL relationship to God that takes precedence over the HORIZONTAL RELATIONSHIP with man.
What we will discover through this topic on relationships is, the same manner by which we have RELATIONSHIP to God THROUGH THE CROSS, we can enjoy relationship one with another.
Fix the Vertical and the Horizontal with follow.
When the union between man and God is mended, the union between man and man has the greatest opportunity.
Conversely, a good indicator of a poor relationship between brethren tells more about the reciprocal relationship with God than it does otherwise.
1 John 4:20–21
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Therefore; it is a RELATIONSHIP THROUGH THE CROSS that remains the central KEY TO JOY and the enduring message of the ages, to bring hope to a LOST WORLD.
Circa 500BC is a note written from the wisest secular philosopher to his teacher; Aristotle to Plato…
“I know it is for God to forgive sins, but frankly I do not see how”
An admission of ignorance as to the wisdom of God, and yet an acknowledgement of the greatest paradox of all, How to instigate judgement through grace.
You see it is simple enough to judge evil. The world is able to do this with ease in a just society; Charge the condemned, find him guilty, instigate the punishment to pay the price of the offence.
So too, it is thought, those who offend a holy God, the one that made them, crafted them, directing the fashioning of them in their mother’s womb, as a conductor does a symphony; he is able to both judge and damn, in fact, his righteousness demands justice!
But how does one both Judge and forgive?
If God created this entire universe FOR THE EXISTENCE of mankind, how does God have RELATIONSHIP with man in rebellion?
In our studies on faithfulness, RELATIONSHIPS is the next phase for our consideration. But before we come to the Horizontal relationships between each other, we MUST deal with the VERTICAL relationship between man and God.
The answer to that, is RELATIONSHIP THROUGH THE CROSS.
THAT IS, The Preaching of The Cross (The gospel)
“Lack of agreement or Harmony”
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
In this passage in Amos, the people of Israel have long disdained their relationship with God by ignoring all he has told them.
They use the Bible like a smorgasbord, taking out what they want to use for their personal employments and discard the rest. They put on the religious garb but deny their religion. Or as Jesus put it most plainly;
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
DISCORD: There is no agreement between them and God. There is no harmony, and “Can two walk together except they be agreed?”
No, two people at variance one with another cannot have fellowship with one another.
We understand this on a practical level, where there is NOT friendship there can be NO fellowship, and yet somehow so many believe that God would allow fellowship with those he has no friendship with.
But the denial and rejection of God, can’t presume fellowship with God.
The relationship FIRST needs to be mended, then and then ONLY is it possible to enjoy the fellowship that comes from friendship.
“two cannot walk together, except they be agreed!”
Man must MEND the relationship with God, BUT HOW?
“I know it is for God to forgive sins, but frankly I do not see how”
In the first place we need to know that there is DISCORD between man and God. This is the PROTO RELATIONSHIP, this is the most important relationship of all, it goes before all others, but if there is no acknowledgment that man is in DISCORD with God, RECONCILIATION IS NOT POSSIBLE.
Emptiness and purposelessness.
The accidental man is empty, a deep seated emptiness fills his soul, a longing for value and reason permeates his heart.
The Accidental Man has no intrinsic purpose.
The evolved man believed on by the agnostic world, has no intrinsic, ingrained need for relationship, such a need is simply not explained in the evolutionary scale of existence, and making the statement that it is only for the practice and benefit of advantage in natural selection, does NOT EXPLAIN this deep longing and emptiness.
Identifying DISCORD between man and his maker is deep in man, and the ACCIDENTAL MAN KNOWS IT.
Why is it that the main cause of sorrow in the world is not poverty, if it were it would be easily fixed with money;
THE main cause of sorrow in the world is not due to poor health, if it were it could be easily fixed with proper health care;
no, our main cause of sorrow in the world is due to poor relationships; One party has pained another or both have pained alike, DISCORD between people is the source, good relationships are ruined THROUGH DISCORD and become the cause of great sorrow. HOW MUCH DEEPER SORROW IS THE DISCORD WITH GOD?
We sorrow because we have offended a holy God, being created by him for his purpose, manifests that sorrow in a multitude of ways.
It is the one KEY element that is not understood by the secular psychologists of the world.
Their only recourse is either through the self esteem efforts of men such as Jordan Peterson, or Norman Vincent Peale before him (The power of positive thinking), or Victor Frankl before him (Mans Search for Meaning);
or through Pharmaceuticals which is all the rage today.
People need their “meds” and without them, they feel miserable.
This trend began with medicating the extremes that have their root cause in sin and guilt, but is now the ‘go-to’ solution for the slightest deviation of mental comfort.
The standard ‘ups and downs’ of emotions we all go through are no longer acceptable.
An unemotional plateau is quickly removing the “image of God” emotional sorrows that should be felt with tragedy strikes, or the “Image of God” emotional pleasures that should be felt when good things occur.
God is indeed an emotional being, and we are created in his image, but these emotions are being medicated away, and replaced with a dull apathy for life.
The agreement between the creature and his creator has been severed, and the sorrow for the offence of the one against the other is attempted to be treated like a bandaid over a haemorrhage.
So, the gloominess of existence without meaning or purpose in the Accidental Man is being NUMBED, man is slowly learning to feel NOTHING, let alone recognise any DISCORD, I pray that is not you yet!
“Can two walk together except they be agreed?” The answer is a resounding “NO”.
The “Vertical” relationship with God was broken by man, and man is CUT OFF from God forever for his sin against him.
1 Corinthians 1:17–18
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
The Bible speaks plainly here that there are indeed those who perish, a PERMANENT DETACHMENT in those who think to themselves that the “preaching of the cross is …foolishness”.
The Accidental Man is DETACHED from reality respecting God and thinks RELATIONSHIP THROUGH THE CROSS is foolishness.
Surely, if there is a heaven, there must be more a man should do before he goes to heaven?
Surely if I am 51% good, God would let me into his home?
Surely, there is no God!
The answers we have from last to first are;
1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
O, but I have more questions Pastor;
- Where is the Evidence for the existence of God?
- How do we know if we have sinned against him?
- How could I be reconciled?
In answer to your first question of the existence of God, is Romans 1:18-23
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
All of mankind are held accountable to KNOW God exists.
The so-called “invisible things” that are created in the world “are clearly seen”. How? Simple, they are “understood by the things that are made”.
I was at this very point for several years. I was not antagonistic against God, I was just ignorant. The greek word is “Agnostic”, I choose to use the Latin word for myself, “Ignoramus”.
Unlike the wilfully ignorant such as Dawkins, Harris, Dennett etc, I didn’t have an axe to grind. I wasn’t so obviously hypocritical as to say “I don’t believe in God, and I hate him”.
Mine was the old fashioned ignorance, I simply did not know and wanted to find out THE TRUTH about life and this universe.
I never saw the point in just believing what I want to be true. I was not like the professor of Philosophy, Thomas Nagel of Princeton University (originally the top Theological University in America) who said;
“I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.” (Pg 130 in his 1997 book The Last Word)
The reality is, you cannot deny a MAKER for those things that are SO EVIDENTLY MADE. And we ALL know what something made looks and functions like.
The more you get into science, from the biggest things to the smallest, it is IMPOSSIBLE to continue to believe in the ACCIDENTAL MAN, and expect to retain any wisdom.
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
To the question you asked about, “How do we know if we have sinned against him?”
In other words, how do we KNOW we have a broken relationship with God?
The answer is; your life’s acts and thoughts are evil!
They are contrary to God’s very nature and as a result, there is NO AGREEMENT.
“BUT, HOW DO WE KNOW THIS PASTOR?”
Ok, Ok! Don’t get frustrated with me!
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
The Accidental Man does not have a basis for what is right and wrong, so the only way he can make any comparisons is HORIZONTALLY. We compare ourselves by ourselves, the Bible states this method is not wise by example;
2 Corinthians 10:12
12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
No, the comparison we ought to use is an ABSOLUTE STANDARD rather than an arbitrary standard. The Accidental Man has not absolutes and needs to rely on subjectivity, but where has that led us? Now, everything is subjective, even those things we thought we absolutes. Society has degraded into a self destructing downward spiral of a moral abyss with no foundation from which to turn around.
Modernism gave way to the Post Modern world when all truth is Relative, to the Post, Post Modern world when every individuals relative truth is absolute!
The absolute standard, by which ALL sinners are held to account, is Gods moral law, known as the Ten Commandments.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
When is this judgement?
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Now, remember, following the Law of God as best as you can may indeed lead you to a blessed life, because that is the basic functional framework of the universe he created, BUT IT CAN NOT SAVE YOU!
It can only REVEAL your sin to you. Remember its purpose in that Romans 3 passage;
by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Exodus 20 contains the original moral law under which no man but Christ has kept.
- No other Gods before me.
- No graven images, no Idolatry.
- Do not blaspheme. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath. No work on the Sabbath day. (Saturday in the Old Calendar)
- Honour Mum and Dad
- Thou shalt not kill
- not commit adultery
- not steal
- not bear false witness
- Thou shalt not covet
If you truly desire to know If you are good, try to first BE GOOD and see how hard it is.
Just for a day, try to keep ONE of those commandments consciously. Just one of them, and see how you go. All people THINK THEY ARE GOOD, until they try to actually BE GOOD.
Try, not stealing. You know, time from your boss, taxes from the government, grapes from a supermarket. Does not matter how small. God is revealing our NATURE in this.
Try not lying, or gossiping, i.e. not “bearing false witness” or testimony.
JUST ONE DAY.
Have you tried it CHRISTIAN?
See if by the end of the day you are not your knees thanking Jesus for saving you from your sin.
Where is the Evidence for the existence of God?
How do we know if we have sinned against him?
How could I be reconciled?
1 Corinthians 1:18
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
There are several who are going to be baptised today that have in them a testimony they will share through the public demonstration of their faith, that they are NOW RECONCILED TO GOD THROUGH THE CROSS OF CHRIST.
The ONE RELATIONSHIP THAT NEEDS TO BE RESTORED BEFORE ALL OTHERS, is the relationship to God.
You KNOW he is really by all you see around you testifying of it. Psalm 19:1 says;
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
You KNOW you have a broken relationship because “two cannot walk together except they be agreed”, your sin testifies to you that you do not WALK with God and are not RECONCILED TO GOD apart from Christ.
And it is Christ and what he has done, the Preaching of the Cross that I desire to preach this day. I pray you do not see it as foolishness, but as the wisdom of God to save the sinner.
The Son of God was promised from ancient times to come and to give his life as a ransom for many. He is the Son of God and God the Son. The bible presents not three Gods but ONE God as Three persons.
From the first verse in the Bible the word GOD is a PLURAL form and continues in that manner, a never ending source of confusion to the Jew.
But it is by verse 26 that we see it take full shape as God dresses himself saying;
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:
1 John chapter 5 brings the certainty saying;
1 John 5:7
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Sin must be judged, sin has a price that must be paid for. Hell was created, not for mankind, but for the devil and his angels, BUT OUR SIN places us in the same condemnation and has its associated cost; Crimes against God have their relative cost to crimes against society, each must be paid for before the criminal is reconciled.
The infinite value therefore, of the infinite precious blood of Christ is a sufficient atonement for the sin of the world.
Now we are part way to answering Aristotles dilemma. Sin is to be judged, and God the Son is paying for the sin of the world by receiving the judgment upon himself, paying for the sin of the world HIMSELF, as a ransom for many.
Does the Bible say that directly Pastor? Yes it does.
1 Timothy 2:5–6
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
Jesus also said it himself while speaking to his disciples concerning himself;
45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
How is it them applied to the world? How is this “ransom” personally claimed?
It is first understood logically, then it is claimed by believing it applies personally to you.
Isaiah 53 tells the Old Testament version of it as a form of explanation of what was just preached;
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Though I recommend you read the entire chapter, here in these few verses are the crux of the matter.
The sin, the substitution and the settlement are all seen here.
It was OUR griefs he boar.
Our sorrows, our transgressions, our iniquities and “the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed”.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Consider verse 10;
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
The New Testament however shows how this gift of reconciliation is applied;
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.