Several (but far from all) Powerful Messages of the Cross



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.” 1 Cor. 1:18


1)  Power
* Romans 8:11 

* Think about this, it doesn’t get anymore ‘done, finished, destroyed, hopeless’ than death. When something dies, that is it. 

* As we saw with Jesus and the cross, death is no match for God’s Spirit as it rose Jesus back to life from the dead!!! 

* That exact same Spirit is inside you!!! 

* What do you think about this and/or how then do we rely on/tap into God’s Spirit rather 
than rely on ourselves? 

2)  Hope
* Hebrews 6:18-20 

* What is the purpose of an anchor? 

* We have hope because Jesus, God’s own Son, is vouching for us. Anchors are for boats 
in a large body of water. If our souls are like boats, what would be the “waters” and 
how is this hope of Jesus an anchor for our souls? 

3)  Victory
* 1 Cor. 15:54-58 

* Why is death scary? 

* Thanks be to Jesus and the cross, we have victory over death!! How is this so? 

* Story of watching a recorded football game when you already know the result. 
Similarly, no matter how dark, hard, hopeless, defeated we can feel at various times in this present life – we already know the end result: VICTORY! So stand firm walking with God, for your labor of love for God is NEVER in vain thanks to Jesus!!! 

4)  Love
* Romans 5:6-8 

* Very rarely will anyone die for someone. 

* But when they do, they die for someone good. 

* The Message version states that Jesus died for us when we were of no use whatever to 
Him. 

* Death is the ultimate sign of love. Jesus demonstrated the ultimate sign of love for us 
when we had nothing to offer Him. What does that say about Jesus’ and God’s love for 
us? 

5)  Life/New Beginnings
* 2 Corinthians 5:17 

* In Christ, we are NEW creations! The old has gone, the new is here!!! 

* What does it mean we are new creations??? 

Side note: Ever wonder... “If I’m saved/a new creation, then why do I still struggle with sin?” Hebrews 10:14 reads “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Jesus paid our debt and wiped our slate clean – because of this, we are perfect in the eyes of God, but He did not spare us from the process of being made Holy and molding our characters and growing close to God.
6) Confidence
* Hebrews 10:19-23 

* Because of Jesus, we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place – the place where God resides; essentially, we have confidence to go to our Father in his office and run and sit in His lap and just be with Him!!! 

7) Joy
* 1 Peter 1:8-9 

* Because of Jesus – we are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy. 

* If we aren’t joyful, it’s because we aren’t focused on Jesus. 

So as we take communion and the bread which represents Jesus’ body and the juice which represents His blood, let us reflect that these represent things such as Power, Hope, Victory, Love, Life, Confidence, Joy and the like!!!

Restore to Me the Joy of Your Salvation

Do you feel guilty or feel bad about something that you've done...thought...said? Ashamed? Full of regret? Have you shared your struggle(s) with anyone?

In Psalm 51, David shares how he felt when he was dramatically confronted with his sins by the propet Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-25): an extended experience of lust and adultery that led to murder and resulted in tremendous guilt and the loss of his infant son shortly after his birth. In this Psalm, he experiences the fulness and depth of guilt, shame and regret, yet in the very realization of how his sin is not just against Uriah and Bathsheba, his court and his nation, but against God...David experiences the joy of hope in God's forgiveness and ultimate salvation. This Psalm is a great example of why David was known as a man who was "after God's own heart." His example of dealing with his adultery, murder, lying and covering up his sin when confronted is a great example not only of true repentance, but of faith and hope in God's power and will to save. To redeem. To transform us into the people he envisions us to be.

In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus tells a story about two men praying. He highlights the spiritual result of being humble and in touch with one's own sinfulness in a healthy way (c.f., Psalm 51:14-19). Repentance and inward spiritual transformation must occur in order for ritual sacrifices to be meaningful (c.f., Psalm 51:18-21).

Psalm 103 reminds us that the God who made us from dust knows exactly who and what we are. He made us. He knows we are weak and sinful and he loves and forgives us. He is full of compassion and grace. "Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in kindness."

Hebrews 10 explains that Jesus is the ultimate "once and for all" sacrifice that really does take away our sins for good. So "let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

God’s Discipline

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What do we think of when we think of being disciplined by the Lord?  Do we think of punishment? This past Sunday we looked at Hebrews 12:1-11 and the idea of discipline in Jesus' life and our own.  Jesus endured many hardships during his life, the greatest of which was to endure death on a cross for the sin of others.  It appears that the Christians the writer is speaking to had forgotten the inheritance God had given them because of Jesus' sacrifice.  In verse 5, he reminds his brothers and sisters that they are sons and daughters of God and that God treats us as children whom he loves.  Too often we can look at this passage and think that the discipline is God reacting to our mistakes, a punishment to be administered when we do wrong.  We forget the context of this passage and completely forget how Jesus fits in to the picture.  We believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and he was disciplined by his father.  In Hebrews 5:8 , it says that Jesus learned obedience from his sufferings.  Jesus understood that his suffering was helping him learn obedience, a reliance on God for strength, security, and comfort.  How do we see suffering?  Is it a "I must have done something wrong to deserve this" viewpoint?  Do we ask "Why me"?  Shouldn't we instead see suffering as an opportunity to grow as a child of God?  When we go through difficult times and endure hardship, God is treating us as His sons and daughters!As we go about our day to day lives, let us remember Jesus and WHY he did what he did.  Let us remember that the "source and perfecter of our faith" was looking to a time where he could be reunited with his God.  Let us remember that this same hope, the hope of a bodily resurrection and being with God forever, is ours as well.

The Faith of a Military Man: Luke 7:1-10

Synagogue at Capernaum

Remains of a 4th c. AD Synagogue Built on the Site of Original 1st Century Synagogue Built by Roman Centurion

Luke 7:1-10

Jesus was amazed at this man's faith. He had more faith than all of Israel during Jesus' time.

Would Jesus be able to say the same about anyone in your church? Why or why not?

Where does faith come from?

What evidence is there in the text to support Jesus' statement about the centurion?

God Lovingly Provides For His Ungrateful People

manna

The people gather manna as instructed in Exodus 16

Today we read and discussed Exodus 15:22-27, Exodus 16:1-36, and Exodus 17:1-7 which together show how God lovingly provided for His people after freeing them from slavery in Egypt by providing them with water, meat, and daily bread for forty years while he prepared them to be a holy people ready to enter the Promised Land and while they complained nearly the entire time.