Where do you think you are going?
By-passing the Cross Part 1 – Sermon
Scripture reading: Galatians 6:14 – “But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world has been crucified to me and I unto the world.”
What is Paul saying here?
He has become dead to the allurements, powerful pulls and temptations of the world and what it stands for.
What does the word “world” stand for?
1 John 2:15–17 NIV: “Do not love the world or anything that is in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in Him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man (desires of our old nature), the lust of the eyes (covetousness, lust for more) and the boasting of what he has and does (mindset driven by human pride) – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives (abides) for ever.”
James 4:4 NIV: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that the friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
Apostle John, Peter and Paul had something to say about “the world”:
1 John 3:1: “The world does not “know” us (followers of Jesus are unpopular)
1 John 3:13: World (incl. worldly churchmen) dislike and hate true followers of Christ
1 John 4:1.5.6: World and unsettled “believers” listen to “false hope” messengers and are open to them – they cannot discern between the spirit of truth and error
1 John 5:19: The whole world lies under the sway of wickedness and “the Wicked one”
2 Peter 1:4: World’s ways are corrupted because of its evil (selfish) desires
1 Corinthians 7:31: World’s style – its make up is coming to its end
Ephesians 6:12: This world is ruled by the powers of darkness and wickedness
2 Corinthians 4:4: god of this age (Satan) has blinded spiritual perceptions of people so they will not see the glory of God’s love in the plan of salvation through the gospel
But aren’t we to “love the world”?
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Yes we are to “love the world” the way God loves it – but first we become dead to it!
It was God’s love design to come to this world to shine into its darkness, its self-deception and its obsession with selfishness and sin.
God humbled Himself and came as a lowly Man Jesus Christ, the greatest Missionary this world has ever seen.
He came to:
- Show and teach the world what God is like to lead humanity out of its predicament of helplessness, hopelessness and self-destruction (“I am the way, the truth and the life.”)
- Jesus is the Light of the world in our darkness and confusion
- He is the Source of real and true life now
- He is the Source of eternal life and the resurrection power from the hold of death
- He is the sacrificial Lamb provided by God to assume world’s guilt
- He is our Savior from (not in) sin
- He is the world’s only hope and answer to every problem of life
- He is our Guide, Counselor and Intercessor in God’s Presence
- As our Substitute and Representative He is our Lawyer and Defender in judgment
- He is our gentle Lord, Big Brother and ever sympathizing and compassionate Friend as He became one of us
He is all of this and much more – the Savior of the world and a Guarantor of eternal life.
Accepting Him we start the most exciting and fulfilling life journey.
Jesus connects Himself with us sinful weak beings and then tells us – GO into the world!
Bu how are we to reach the world and the people in it? In many ways!
(My personal testimonies as a beginning Christian and literature evangelist)
People in the world
- are hurting
- are confused
- feel guilty
- feel unloved and lonely
- are discouraged and depressed
- are blaming others and are angry
- feel unfulfilled and empty
- are desperately looking for true love from others equally empty people
- are silencing their inner pain and hurts, numbing their minds by harming substances, chasing endless rounds of excitement and entertainment
The old rock song’s words – “What the world needs is love, love, what it needs is love”
But where do you get the kind of love that satisfies your heart and never lets you down?
Not from any other empty heart!
We desperately need it but cannot produce it or give it! Not of ourselves.
Yet we are commanded to love one another like that!
Where is such source?
1 John 4:7–11: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be a propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
What we are commanded to become and do, God by faith fulfills in us and through us!
Then Jesus commands His disciples in John 15:12.13: “This is My commandment that you love one another AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. Greater love has no man than this than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
(By the way, Jesus laid His life for relatively few of His friends, but largely for His enemies, even His bitterest enemies!)
So we are commanded to love all who are our neighbors, good or bad – people next to us:
Quoting from Leviticus 19:18 Jesus repeats the OT command: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)
John also says this – 1 John 3:18: “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
This is a call for practical Christianity!
Nearly 3 years ago God led our small Merritt church into a ministry to neglected and hurting people. It has proven such a blessing to many of us.
(Give few testimonies – in Merritt church, give chance for people to testify.)
Apostle Paul witnessed God’s kind of love when consenting have Stephen murdered.
He heard Stephen’s prayer as an answer to his murderous hate and rage. It eventually caught up with him on his murderous trip on
Dear friend has the amazing love of our God and Savior caught up with you yet?