[Gary Thompson, Campus Pastor at ECC Jackson Lake :: Sunday Feb. 26, 2012]
The Comfortable Cross
We like to be comfortable: tennis shoes, air conditioning, fluffy pillows..
We want comfort even in our church..short services, nothing too crazy, not too loud..
So, we as Christians, also take the comfortable route most of the time..
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
not once a week..not just when it’s easy..we are called as FOLLOWERS to take up our cross DAILY!
1. The cross is a tough sell.
And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27 NLT)
Our greatest problem is we are all selfish. The only antidote is carrying our cross every day and following him. Not making our own path..but following him. Am I willing to nail my wants and desires to the cross every day.
2. The message of the cross looks weak and foolish.
To give up control and bow before someone seems foolish..it goes against everything inside of us.
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT)
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:20-25 NLT)
The cross was an instrument of torture. When people during Jesus’s day heard the word ‘cross’ they would shudder. They knew it meant a horrendous and humiliating death.
Who else but God could take a symbol of pain and suffering and turn it into a symbol of hope and healing?
Who else but God could take a symbol of death and turn it into a symbol of life?
3. What God did for the cross, He can do for you and me.
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. (1 Corinthians 1:27 NLT)
God used, and is still using, broken and weak misfits to change the world. Look at all the prophets and disciples, they all had weaknesses. And God wants to use you and me.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 NLT)
Jesus is not asking you to do something he hasn’t already done. So take hope today..if you are weak, he is strong.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. (Romans 8:1-3 NLT)