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March 19, 2020 1:00 am
The cross is the centerpiece of history and the core of God’s redemptive agenda. Even before time, God planned the cross of Calvary in order to save people from every nation. But not everyone views the cross this way. As we will soon see, the contrast is startling.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
Looking to Jesus and the cross is the centerpiece of history for God I'm running to when exploring God's view of the cross. Today will focus on man's viewpoint is will soon see the contrast is from the movie church. This is going to win sir, we're teaching make across the finish line were learning about Christians politics on the cross. In a nutshell, what does modern man about the cross of Christ date you mentioned in your introduction that there are two different views and I can't think of a starker contrast than to Germans about whom I have written the book have one book that I've written is on Hitler who saw the cross of Jesus Christ as an opportunity to advance his very evil agenda, twisting the cross into his own understanding and then of course the other is Martin Luther who understood very clearly that the cross of Jesus Christ was the only way to God but let me ask you a question how would you like to come with me on a tour to the sites of the Reformation, Martin Luther, but also to some of the sites of World War II such as in Nuremberg, where Hitler's rallies were held, God willing. I'm going to be leaving that tour in May. If you want more information. Here's what you do go to Moody media.org that's Moody media.org and you'll click on the tour button. All the information that you need is there.
I hope that you can join us and you can also stay for the passion play if you wish to now we go to the pulpit of Moody church where we learn more about man's view of the cross and men do not love the cross because it humbles them. We like to twist it, but the Bible indicates that the cross of Christ is the center of everything that God does.
Let's listen whenever I'm on a plane I like if possible to talk to the person next to me about Christ summer my wife and I were riding together a plane across the aisle from me there was a woman who had a necklace with a cross and ever wanting to be the person to build a bridge into people's lives and to try to find out where they might be spiritually.
I said to her.
Thank you for wearing that cross. I said we really do have a great Savior don't way and she looked at me and she said well she said I don't think that I maybe understand the cross like you do. She said look at this and she took the necklace dependence and she put them in her hand and she said under the cross there is a Jewish star and behind the Jewish star. There is a little trinket to the Hindu God all she said I'm in social work, and I've discovered that people come to God in many different ways you can imagine the interesting discussion we had for the next 20 minutes is that plane was coming into a landing in Pittsburgh as I had the opportunity to explain to her that you can put the cross on the same necklace as the God only, and other religions, but in reality they can never be together, to think that the cross can be combined with other religions is to totally misunderstand it and to empty it of its power in your life.
Can the cross be combined with other religions.
Do we understand the cross if we think that that is possible. Want you to know today that the cross is a great divide. On the one hand there are those who believe in it who have an eternal destiny with the God forever. Those who understand that not just those who pray a little prayer, but those who understand and on the other hand there are those who despise that though they think they honor it. After all, they may wear it as a necklace, but nevertheless they despise its message and they will spend eternity elsewhere and never the twain shall meet. Ever cross what does man.
Think of the cross. It is a scandal beyond the irony that the very cross in which the apostle Paul gloried in, which means so much to God as we learned last time to mean so little to people and that what God honors man often despise. The passage I want you to turn to his first Corinthians chapter 1 first Corinthians chapter 1 city of Corinth, situated of course not too far from Athens. Some of us have been there in the apostle Paul wrote a letter to the fledgling church which was once again one of those islands of righteousness in SC of immorality and that he talks about the wisdom of this world, you'll notice first Corinthians chapter 1 verse 18 and he says for the word of the cross is to those who are perishing, foolishness. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God boarded his ridge and I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the cleverness of the clever. I will set aside. Where is the wise man wears describe where is the debater of this age has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world.
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, and was well pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe are indeed Jews ask for a sign and Greek search for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are cold, both Jews and Greeks them, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God because the foolishness of God is why these are than men and that we miss of God is stronger than man. Why does he bash human wisdom like he does, whether two reasons. First of all, the problem rests in man's mind isn't that were not smart.
Just think of pocket calculators. Think of putting men on the moon thinking of all of these technological discoveries.
Computers and the Internet, viruses, and all the other things that we have to put up with in life. Of course people are smart. Problem is that when they get beyond the physical and the mechanical and the scientific and they begin to speculate in that realm which is sometimes called metaphysics. They do not have the building blocks upon which to construct the system to figure the world out. For example, if you had only the world you would never conclude that God loved it. You could not possibly conclude that based on what is happening in Rwanda and other countries of the world and where you see earthquakes and floods in devastations, you would never know how God was to be approached, you would know very little about him. That's why you have today is people cut themselves off from biblical revelation you have pragmatism and relativism and individualism because we are all like those ants that I told you about on a Rembrandt painting who noticed the roughness of the canvas and and the change of color beneath their feet, but they have no idea what the whole picture looks like men have a lot of knowledge and when it comes to the things of this world. They have a lot of wisdom but when they speculate about God. There is no way for them to possibly understand him. Problem is man's mind of the other problem of course is man's heart week at root do not want to really understand God anyway. We are at root running from God because we are desire driven. Take for example the issue that consumes a lot of our time attention in our prayer. The issue of abortion. As you know all of the evidence, theological, physiological, philosophically, medically, is on our side in this debate that pre-born infants are actually infants and MD amazing thing is though that there are people who see this evidence and they still take a different position and they still are in favor of the killing of pre-born infants under certain circumstances. Now why would that be when all the evidence is there because there is something within the human heart that says I can discard the evidence when I want to do what I want to do and believe what I want to believe because fundamentally, there is an on the willingness to believe that even despite the remember that we are all desire driven much more so than we are willing to admit. Years ago I remember reading a story of a man he was going to hire a secretary, so he asked his assistant to do battery of tests on on three secretaries their typing skills, their aptitude, their experience and after all of the tests were done. The assistant brought them all the information in said here's all the information the man says just discarded pieces. I'm going to hire that beautiful Burnett words, it doesn't really matter what the evidence says I want to do what I want to do. That's the nature of the human heart and so the world by wisdom knows not God.
The little that it knows about God. It discards because at root, we do not want to be subject to the Lord our God, and what I'd like to do in the next few moments is to show you scripturally as we look at this passage why it is that the wisdom of this world and the thoughts of this world clashes so pointedly with the message of the cross and we pick up the text where I left reading where the apostle Paul says in verse 22.
Notice it says. Indeed, the Jews ask for signs and the Greek search for wisdom and you and you have to read verse 23, because they are connected together but we preach Christ crucified to the Jews.
He is a stumbling block and to the Greeks. He is foolishness. First of all, the cross runs counter and clashes with the pride of man is represented by the Jews. The Jews sought for signs. The Jews were put off by the weakness of Jesus Christ. Far from being convinced that Jesus was the Messiah because he died on the cross afire from that convincing then it did just the opposite. They said to themselves, who in the world would like to be aligned with somebody who's a loser if the Messiah comes.
Surely he is going to be chilling the Romans the Romans are not going to be killing him. Scripture says that Jesus was crucified in weakness.
I mean there he hangs helplessly and nobody is delivering him who can believe in a man like that but you said he's wake. Furthermore, they said give us a sign you know they of course wanted a Messiah who is politically strong.
They wanted a Messiah who would come and throw off the Roman occupation all those taxes every denarius that was paid is paid in anger and resentment to a foreign power, and they wanted political deliverance and they wanted it right now. The more they said give us a sign that we might believe me. They kept pestering him, as recorded in the Gospels what they wanted to do is to find a somebody who could do anything that they wanted any miracle that they would suggest just like pilot as we learned last time he said is a give me a sign. Do something. And Jesus kept silent and this reticence of Christ. This hesitancy really bothered the Jews and they said if he is the Messiah, why doesn't he do those big miracles that we think you should. Years later, there was someone who came along said that he would be able to park the Jordan River by his word and gathered a whole group of disciples of the Jordan River and commanded it to stop flowing. As you guessed it continued to flow. Then it was another man who took 30,000 people to the top of the Mount of olives and said when you are here at my command. The walls of Jerusalem are going to collapse all walls didn't collapse, that's the kind of assignment the Jews were looking for. Give us something big. Jesus says there shall no sign be given to you except the sign of the prophet Jonah, because as he was three days in the heart of the fish so shall the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth, Jesus and the resurrection is my final most come late the best verified sign your ever going to get the history of the church.
This is been a question how many signs do we need in order to believe there's been even a whole movement called signs and wonders. This was a problem for the reformers because when they began to to look at the Bible and they began to peel away layers of tradition to get to the message of the cross. Rome said but you don't have miracles and we do we have statues that weep and we have relics that multiply themselves and you have nothing. Reformers said to us, the power is in the message itself, for it pleases God through the word preached to save those that believe there's always been that question. New wagers today.
They like to say that we have signs. I remember years ago when Billy Graham was in India. It was a Hindu priest who challenged him to a healing tool.
There is supposed to line up all the sick people and see who could heal the most. The fastest lighting.
Billy was wise and not taking them up on it. This man may have had some very interesting alien powers by which he may have been able to pull off some quote miracles and Billy might not have the look very good in that context. But it is you see through the message that is preached in New Age are safe. We had the miracles and people are saying today.
Maybe that's what the church needs is a whole bunch of miracles.
Apostle Paul's as you know, the Jews are looking for signs and they're missing the whole point is not that we don't have an explosive powerful message, but it is the message itself of the crucified Christ that does the miracle and does the great work and there is a miracle for you to first of all the cross you see clashes with our pride with our desire to believe in somebody who's going to do all these marvelous things that were expected when he was on earth. The cross also clashes with our wisdom, the Greeks seek for wisdom.
Now, if you know anything about recent gave us Plato and Aristotle. Two of the smartest man who ever lived. Nobody I don't believe is ever philosophically reached their heights whole dissertations today are still being written about Plato and Aristotle. And yet you know what Plato and Aristotle. The Greeks generally. They believed that God was a God of apathy, you do catch the word, don't you, it's word apathetic.
You see reasoning from the world to God.
They concluded that God could have really no contact with the world that he was a God without emotion. He could not be affected.
He could never be changed. He could not possibly be interested in human beings, that would be to denigrate him. They talked and then most of all, they said that there is no way that the word that God could ever become flesh because in their view, whenever you had flash which had changeability you had imperfection.
So when John writes in chapter 1 verse 14 and the Word was made flesh, that phrase was like an explosion in the philosophical world of that day which said yes God became man and the Greeks stood back and said absolutely on thinkable on thinkable it does not fit with our conception of God and with our conception of good and evil.
Now there were two different kinds of bricks there were the Epicureans who were of course the hedonists of the day, but they were also the materialists they wear the Carl Sagan know the universe is all that ever was and ever will be. That's where they ended and then there were those were the Stoics and they were the new wagers of today. They were into psychic energy. They were into astrology. They were into believing that the soul becomes one and loses its identity with with the universe in a great a oneness.
By the way you did hear about the New Age or did you not who went into a hamburger shop and said to the man that please make me one with everything my going too fast for some of you when the apostle Paul was on Mars Hill and what he was preaching there.
He was preaching to both groups just like we do today. We preach to the materialists and we also preach to the new wagers, but there was one thing that they really did agree on and that was that salvation was through ideas. Salvation was through human wisdom. Salvation was was a matter of knowing things that we could figure out on our own. They were scandalized at the thought that God had to reveal to us something that we didn't know, because after all we know enough number one and number two, they were offended at the very notion that God had to come to redeem man because we were that bad off and on there big thing was that man's problem is not sin. It is simply ignorance. And the answer to man is more knowledge so they could not accept the cross and to them it was plain foolishness. So you see the cross clashes with our pride clashes with our wisdom.
It also clashes with our bowel use. Read this for consider your calling, brethren, that there are not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise in God's chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen the things which are not. That's what he is chosen, that he might nullify the things that are that no man should boast before God in the early church there were many different converts. In fact, plainly tells us. The people were converted from all different walks of life and you had some who are rich and you had some who were poor and some were educated but by and large, Christianity flourished among the lower class always has it flourished there or not because it is intellectually indefensible, but usually those are going through tough times recognize their need and there were many slaves in the Empire. Remember, in those days, and a slave.
According to Greek teaching was a tool as slave was a thing without any rights without any value except insofar as he helped his master that was all acted was incredibly cruel, even the children of slaves if they had children were considered to be owned by the owner and the parents were not considered. The owner of their own children tragic but you see, it was the remarkable truth of Christianity and the surprising good news that it is exactly those kinds of people that God often call us to greatness because there are not many wise according to the flesh some, but not many. Not many mighty are cold and not many noble you member Queen Victoria. She said that thank God for the letter M and she said that because she read this text, and she was so thankful that it did not say, not any noble or cold, just not many. She was among the cold. Since that time there've been some members of that royal family that at least looking out across the ocean.
It appears as if they are not yet cold, but nevertheless it says not many mighty, not many noble, but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God comes along and takes a slave who was a nobody in this life and elevates him to be a somebody to be a son and a daughter of God Almighty and Christianity taught that you might not matter in this life at all but you matter to God.
You matter to God and that God sometimes to scandalize the human mind takes people whom we think are great and mighty and wonderful and they think that about themselves to any bypasses them and he goes to the needy and the downcast and the things of this world and he make something out of them.) Pastor Luther, isn't it interesting that people today oftentimes despise the cross there offended and the reason that the cross of Christ offends them, is because it reminds them that they are sinners and need to be redeem but for those who love the cross is the pathway to God the pathway to fulfillment, you know during this political year. I think it's very important for us to think clearly about the role of the cross as Christians in the midst of the political situation that we find ourselves. I'd written a book entitled Christians politics and the cross.
The subtitle is an urgent plea for the church to return to its mission. I think it will be of benefit to you for a gift of any amount. It can be yours. And thanks in advance. By the way, for your generosity because we are dependent upon you as we share the message of the cross with tens of thousands of people. Here's what you do go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or if you wish, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 Christians politics and the cross and urgent plea for the church to return to its mission. Call us right now. 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 in the mainstream media through things to lie with the majority opinion and so we're analyzing what people believe about the cross of next time I'm running to win some crucial insights on why man's opinion is that with the cross and some ways we can best communicate cross the world running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life.
Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin looks her, this is Dave McAllister running to win his teacher