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The Power and Message of the Cross (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
August 25, 2022 4:00 am

The Power and Message of the Cross (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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August 25, 2022 4:00 am

Most people agree that we live in a broken world—and there’s plenty of debate about how to fix it. But here’s the real question: Is there even a solution? On Truth For Life, Alistair Begg confirms that there is and explains what that means for us.


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Most people agree we live in a broken world world isn't working the way it should.

There's no shortage of debate about what's the best way to fix the real question is, is there a solution that works today on Truth for Life Alastair big tells us there is and he explains what that solution means for us. First Corinthians 1 verse 18 for the word of the cross or the message of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us are being saved it is the power of God for it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart where is the one who is wise. Where is the scribe. 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 did not know God through wisdom it please God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe for Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God for the foolishness of God is wiser than men in the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling brothers know many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not to bring to nothing things that are so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

Therefore, as it is risen.

Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord. Amen. Well, my text is essentially the 18th verse and my topic is the power or the message of the cross and I should say at the very outset, especially if somebody says why choose such a topic for this evening. Is it really necessary to come to an event like this to a place like this and address the matter of the centrality of the cross. Well I should say that I have not arrived here to tell you something that you do not know, but rather that we would remind each other of that which we must never forget.

In 1951 James Denny, who was a Scottish theologian, remarking at the beginning of that decade.

The cross has less than its proper place in preaching and in theology. One can only wonder at what Denny would have to say if he were to reappear at this point. Certainly in my native Scotland. Three simple observations by way of introduction, first of all, the cross is rejected by other religions as Lamb rejects the notion of a sin bearing Savior. According to the Koran. Each one shall reap the fruit of their own deeds and therefore there is no place that is no need for the cross and indeed to the Muslim mind. It is unthinkable that a major prophet of God should come to such an ignominious and Hinduism, while accepting the historicity of the death of Christ rejects its saving significance and humanism in all of its forms in contemporary sophism rejects the notion of the cross entirely. So the cross is rejected by other religions. The cross is marginalized by liberal scholarship in liberal thinking throughout certainly the last hundred and 50 years.

The essence of Christianity is the sermon on the Mount, Jesus is an exemplary he's in ethicist. He is in some places the leader of a liberation Army, the incarnation is defined apart from its relationship to the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross. It's a kind of Harry Belafonte kind of Christianity that man will live forever more. Because of Christmas day, but in actual fact the incarnation without the atonement as nothing at all to say to us.

So if it is rejected by religions. If it is marginalized by liberal scholarship. What will we say further well. This is painful. The cross is in danger of being trivialized by the approach of March contemporary evangelicalism. I say again, this is better, we should examine ourselves in this regard and recognize the rehearsing of clichs and evangelical man tries should not be equated with a central emphasis on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and emphasis which declares its necessity, which establishes its meaning and which does not shy away from its offense. The offense which is clearly stated by Paul in this section, the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but that is exactly what Paul preached somebody puts our brand and image of me says but of course Alastair. We have moved a long way from those days.

Time has gone by wasn't Paul just able to do this because that's the kind of thing that people in Paul's day were happy to hear actually no. If he had chosen to respond to the expectations of his listeners he would've spent the afternoon performing miracles and then he would have had a crowd over to his tent later in the evening when they can sit around and discuss philosophy. It wasn't just that he chose not to give them what they wanted.

He continued to provide them with the one thing they didn't want our possible idea of church growth. Is this that you you set your style of to make sure that whatever it is that appeals to people you've decided I'm going to set aside and why don't I talk to them about something else, why don't I give them the story of a crucified Christ, especially if I brought a number of Jewish people listening because it stumbles them and of course the Gentiles. They just thought it was absolutely ridiculous. Why do such a thing while in large measure. It follows on from where we have been earlier in terms of this great paradox.

Not only revealed as it is outlined there in two Corinthians 4, but also in this respect that God's power is seen in weakness, and his wisdom is revealed in the foolishness of what is preached, that the cross is actually not simply a central event of biblical theology, but the cross is actually the pivotal event of human history.

Can you imagine going into the history faculty in one of the great universities here in Texas and saying I like to give a talk to the class. I like to explain to them that whatever their perspective of ancient history and ancient Rome and Greece and right through into the 21st century. I want to be able to explain to them that they will never understand history as it is taught them unless they have a Bible and they will never understand the Bible unless they realize that the cross is at the very center of God's making himself known EC all the way through the Bible, God does. This is the eye we are studying for Samuel in the moment for Samuel 16 and 17 on struggling my way through it. If you don't I just go online and you can see myself struggling or better still for my wife she'll tell you she told me on Sunday night. Alastair there you have it coming. Samuel is Samuel's as well. Ill IRP is the big strong tall one. He's the obvious one know is not we go through those seven brothers and there's nobody there at all till eventually, the father suggests he says well there's another. We do have another one just that bad fella, but I never even brought them up for the interview because it clearly clearly is not the man. Oh yes, he is the matter who would think that he would be the man and who would think.

Who would think that the major problems of our world and the troubles of human life find their ultimate solution in the execution of an innocent man in A.D. 33 and in the preaching of that use.

About him to the nations of the world who actually believes that who believes that you see we do not expect people to believe it. We understand that their immediate response to it is to say you know what you you are a major clown and we don't know where you appeared fun, but the sooner you go back, the better because in actual fact, it is obvious to us that such a thing is falling.

I get everywhere. Paul goes he does the same thing is essentially the one string to his bow, he goes into the synagogues again and again and he labors to show them that the Messiah had to suffer and die. Check it out wherever he goes and he goes in and he says no I want to show you from the Scriptures that the Messiah had to suffer and die. And then when he is done that. He then says and this Jesus is that Messiah. This Jesus is that Christ, in other words, the Jesus of history is the Lord of glory.

He was pointing out something that we need to point out in our preaching and that is that we can tell people that Christ will come into their hearts and live but first we need to know that he has come into the world live and die and rose again and that historic foundation gives to the platform upon which we are then able to encourage them in that way.

Well, we had a lot why we had a little letter to around: third and we thank you brother very, very good commercial center lots of shops and the SVN games and the sea and the sailors and everything that comes with it in the temple of Aphrodite, with a focus on the pagan goddess of love, all of the excessive immorality of the place.

So much so that it becomes a byword for sexual license in excess of every kind and then of course the world of bright poison ladies that lived there with her high sounding discourses in the ponderings of the intelligentsia that was all framework similar to Athens was. They spent their time doing nothing other than just talking about the latest ideas.

Luke says of Athens, similar here as the context and so it is into this significant decadent city that this little converted Jew walks he sends to them are never to talk about myself.

I never did try to impress you in the way I speak to you because if I were to do that. You might then just be fascinated by my ability by my rhetoric by my capacity with language by the philosophical notions that I can promulgate for, but I'm not going to do that at all. I'm not here to build a crowd know I'm here just to tell you about the death of the Lord Jesus Christ preaching the message in such a way that people would cease trusting in anything other than the work of God in Christ. We didn't read as far as verse five of chapter 2, but that's the point that he makes.

He says, and the reason for my approach is straightforward, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God and where is the power of God displayed in the weakness and where is the epitome of weakness in this dad of a Galilean carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth. Nothing little glass like a Messiah than that seen on the middle cross outside the city wall. Nobody would've walked up there and said all this must be the Messiah nor they walked up there and said this park couldn't possibly be the Messiah. After all, the whole thing is come to a crashing halt in a Palestinian to know the cross is not only a picture of weakness as revealed in Jesus himself.

He's actually prepared to say to them you know if you have a mirror. One of those things that we were hearing about earlier.

If you have a mirror you can prove what I'm telling you because think about yourselves think about yourselves.

You're not really a particularly fantastic group of people. Very nice to say is truly said it is you gotta make sure that there you keep the consonants in this agency are not any says not many know many is true is Emily Squires. Very nice group. Still awake most of them as far as I can say is the only reason I turned around just a check but I want to be unkind is very nice church and an eight square you take the average requirements on the new look of their phony group of people right and there there representative of the larger group of people and you see what we going to turn the world upside down with the school. Emily could see but this is if you're feeling bad that I mentioned you.

Why don't I just mentioned because I'm no great shakes myself.

He said you know if it whoever had picked them up at the donkey port or whatever in and brought them home for 14 you know if and while he was waiting for his visit evening meal and the wife said to her husband would pick them up. Simple what what you think you mean he hasn't done anything yet but always as easy as you weird guy scratch sweaty palms. I don't know whether he's nervous of what it is but we didn't have much of a conversation that I don't know if he's going to be much weakness we can group we preacher, we work of the cross is folly to those who are perishing to look at that in this and was never going to have no when we apply this, we have to say first. What this means to the unbeliever why this message for the unbeliever.

Let me suggest a couple of things. First of all, because the message of the cross establishes the gravity of the human condition.

The message of the cross establishes the gravity of sin. The story of humanity is the story of man's rebellion and man's alienation and man's brokenness and the death of Jesus and the picture that is then given to us in the Bible causes us to ponder and then to proclaim that into the death of God's perfect son to deal with my sinful life with my alienation and with my brokenness and with my rebellion. Note, I am pretty sure, but I haven't checked because I'm not here, but I think if you let me loose tomorrow morning anywhere in your city.

I can get agreement from just about anyone that I meet about one subject and it is this that our world is broken, that it is broken, you can you can broach the subject in Starbucks you can broach it on the airplane anywhere you want to go. You will get general agreement that something has gone amazingly wrong.

You get agreement on that when it comes to the issue of not simply dealing with the symptoms actually a diagnosis of the cause and the opportunity for evangelism explosion is just getting in at that point, but the point I'm making the straightforward people are prepared to acknowledge something is badly if you if you saw at eternities gave the movie I actually if you did you.

You're in a very small group but it's a movie that was made about van Gogh. Most recently called at eternities gate and part of that involves his interaction with goal gone, who ended his life in a miserable situation down in the islands and Glaucon who was brought up as a Roman Catholic, and catechized all through his life and painted and abused this is circumstances and all kinds of ways is his largest painting is in the Boston Museum of fine arts and he wrote on the painting and he doesn't write on his paintings and he wrote three questions up in the corner move-in on new New Hello New Where We Come from, What Are We and Where We Going and You Have an Answer to the Question and the Average Millennial.

I in Texas Tonight Has No Answer for That Question Either No Answer for the Question They Bring. They Have Been Raised Believing That They Exist As a Result of Time Plus Metroplex Chance They Are a Collection of Molecules Held in Suspension. There Is No Ultimate Destiny Towards Which They Are Moving. Therefore There Is No Art That They're Able to Navigate through Their Life's and the RHC and If the Message That Is Then Offered to Them Is a Kind of Watery Substitute for the Message of the Cross That Will Not Be Surprised That They Just Walk Away from Because What We Have To Face up to Is the Fact of Our Rebellion against God, That No Part of Our Life's Is Left Intact. Our Emotions Are Affections Are Minds, Our Wills, the Antique God Bias Which Is Part and Parcel of Our Human Existence Comes in at the Level of Our Understanding and Our Intellect and There Is No Intellectual Road to God. The Cross of Christ Jesus Crucifixion Is Central to Christian Theology, but More Importantly It's the Pivotal Event in All of Human History. Listening to Alister Back on Truth for Life Will Hear More about the Power and the Message of the Cross Tomorrow. I Hope You're Enjoying Our Encore 2022 Series Series of Listener Favorites.

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