THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 12-29-02
LESSON TITLE: THE CROSS OF JESUS: "THE MOTIVATIONAL FACTOR OF THE CROSS"
Good Morning, and again Happy Holidays to you and yours! We are glad you have chosen to be with us this morning for this time of offering to God. Today, it will again be our privilege to study from God's Word and to sing praises to His wonderful and magnificent name. At this time, let's approach the Father's throne together in prayer!
We are going to start with a song today that reminds us of that which ties us together as servants of God. So, at this time, won't you join in with the congregation as we sing together, "Bless Be The Tie That Binds."
(SONG # 1)
Well, all the giving and receiving of presents is now past. Also, most of our gatherings of family and friends are near an end. What fun it was to have the opportunity to be with others and to give to others, seeing the great joy that it brought them. Furthermore, what fun it was to get things from others and to be surprised with what we got. We probably all are about worn out from the holidays, but their not over yet!
I guess old Santa has put up the sleigh and reindeer for the year and I'm sure the elves are already busy making preparations for next year. And now, you and I stand in the face of another new year. I guess we all have the feeling of excitement and intrigue on one hand, but on the other, we may be feeling a little uncertain and unsure about what this new year may hold. This is such a special time and hopefully a time of new beginnings, new blessings, new goals and new achievements.
As always, during this time of the year, everyone starts looking back and seeing how the past year went. At the same time, we all try to think of ways we can improve or make the next year even better.
As some of us look back we see a good and prosperous year. However, as some look back they see a year of trials, tragedy and heart ache.
No matter what your previous year was like, let me assure you that in Christ, the next year will be better. If we will only learn to rely on Him, trust in His will and to be obedient to our calling - God will care for us, bless us, and give us all that we have need of.
I love the way John put it in his 3rd book, chapter 1, and verse 2. There he said, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." Wouldn't it be a great commendation to know that someone like John was acknowledging that we were doing such a good job spiritually! That is exactly what he is saying concerning his "beloved," brothers and sisters. He saw their good works and prayed that they would prosper physically, just as they had spiritually. Oh, to be that type of servant for God.
Brethren and friends. The fact is, we will be blessed according to our offering to God. If we give our best He will bless us accordingly, but if we give sparingly we will also receive from Him sparingly. Isn't that what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:6, "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."
So the choice is yours. Will you make this new year one for the record books, will it be same as always, or will you make choices that send you down the tubes? You see, the choice is each of ours to make, but I can assure you with God by your side you will make history!
At this time, we want to sing our next song together and after this song I will return with our continued series on the "Cross of Jesus." Our specific study of the morning will consider the "Motivational Factor of the Cross." So please stay with us and in a few minutes we will go to God's Word to find the answers. Won't you continue with us as we grow together in the Lord? But for now, let's all join in our next song, it's name, "Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for being with us and continuing with us this morning as we now go to God's Word, one of the greatest parts, I believe, of the program as we study from what God has to say to us to improve our lives in so many ways, to make us servants in His kingdom and to be really and truly acceptable in His sight, because we are doing what He has asked us to do, not because we want to or because we feel like it or this or that, but really because God shows it in His Word.
I want you to notice with me now as we go God's Word, there in Galatians chapter 6 and verse 14. Another point in the great series that we've been looking at in relationship to the cross of Jesus Christ. Will you notice with me what Paul said to the church there at Galatia as he was trying to help them to know exactly who Jesus was and what He had done for them as well as really for Paul himself. In verse 14 it says the following. "God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world was crucified to me and I to the world." There we see the great acknowledgment of Paul to this church, many of them probably young Christians, that really all of his life was centered around as a disciple and an apostle, as one who was a servant, a worker of God. Everything was centered around one thing. What was it? Well it wasn't the birth. It wasn't maybe some act or event that happened in the Old Testament. It wasn't something that will happen in the future. But it was around the cross of Jesus. The great picture of Calvary.
You know that we've already looked at many of the great lessons about the cross and the great significance of blood and we've looked at the great beautiful picture of Calvary and we've seen the attitude of Christ and this situation and the reality that the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection and really the other doctrinal issues that are found there in scripture. We've been able to see together in all of these things that truly these are motivational factors, powerful lessons as we saw last time, things that make us and keep us in perspective of really who God is and what He's all about and how I can serve Him in the way that He wants me to.
So with these things in mind this morning, we want to begin to look at the great motivational factors of the cross. In other words, what does it motivate me to know? What does it help me to really, not only from the Word of God and about God, but also some things that might motivate me to do. In fact, we could probably spend years of a series just talking about the many great motivational things that we have as Christians that really are sparks and give enthusiasm and zeal because of the great cross of Jesus Christ. What we would like to do this morning is just very briefly look at again some of these ideas that really motivate us, that motivate us to be the best that we can be in knowing God and accomplishing His Will.
With this in mind, I take you back again to the great picture of the cross as we there are reminded of the nailing of Christ onto the cross. You know we sing many beautiful songs about Jesus being nailed to the cross and how He was put there, rising in anguish and pain and really suffering, the blood coming forth. We've discussed all of this in previous lessons. But as we think of that great event and think about the great insertion there and the concept of the nail and we think about all that took place, my mind is taken to the place there in Colossians 2:14. It talks there about how the writing of ordinances, the handwriting, those things of old were really taken to the cross with Jesus. The Old Testament. The Old Covenant that was written to the Israelites and for the Jews of that day. It was all taken to the cross and it says it was "nailed to the cross." With those nails, with every pound that went through His flesh and into the wood, what was put there was everything before. Why? So that as the blood came forth, as we've seen in our series, that we might have sealed a new covenant, that we might have a new motivational factor that is not like some animal that's been killed for our sake or to really push our sins forward or something that has been done really of just an insignificant nature of this earth, but an even that was so great and magnificent that it will never be reproduced again. "The very son of God in the flesh," as John tells us in John 1. He came and He died and was put in the grave and rose the third day according to scripture, the prophecies, in order that He again might give us the opportunity to be motivated to do what? To know God and to follow His Will.
Oh how wonderful it is to know that the great cross of Jesus is a motivational factor to help us to know that God is a faithful God. He's a God that from the very beginning has said what is so and we can believe it because He is God. God does not lie, the writers of the Bible tell us. God does not lie and we know that because with those examples of the Bible that we have in the Old and the New Testaments, when God said it He meant it and it took place.
Abraham was told by God of things that would happen for him. He was given a promise and we see in scripture that it was fulfilled.
What about Moses? Moses was a man chosen by God and those things that he was promised, again were fulfilled.
And on and on and on we could go throughout the Old Testament mentioning great men like Jacob. Great men further on like Job. Or prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah. We can even go to some of the minor prophets and look at men like Jonah and Micah. We can look at all of these individuals and find a common thing. That was that God had told them something and they obeyed and God fulfilled His part of the deal. You see, that's what we have, a great motivational factor in knowing that Jesus Christ was allowed to be put on the cross by the very Father Himself. He allowed these things to transpire according to His Will. He proved to us that He can be counted on. He said it would happen. He planned that it would happen. He prophesied about it and it took place, not only according to scripture, but according to the facts of history of our world. It took place. It was an event that did happen. Now with these things in mind, we know that our God is a faithful God. He's one that can be trusted and He is one that when He says that I will have certain things or be able to receive certain things in this life, or a life to come, we surely know that our God speaks things that are true.
With these things in mind then we also are mindful that His promises will be those things that will not only change us now and change us in the future but those things that will be well worth it in the end. You know, sometimes all of us might sit back and say, "Well is it all worth it? Is it worth giving up these earthly things or really not enjoying the worldly nature of life and the things that my friends have and the things that they enjoy and that they participate in? Is it really worth it?" Certainly it is. Why? Because we can believe that God is faithful and He will do what He has promised and we've been promised an eternal life in a place that will be compared to as we've seen having a mansion, streets of gold, cities really that are on a hill, that really are shining that are symbolic of God Himself, that have gates that are full of precious stones. On and on and on we can talk about the beauties of heaven. Yes, we can believe in the great promises of God and when we know about those promises we can not only believe in them but we can know that they are real because as the Bible says in Romans 8:28 that "we know all things work together for good for those who love God." Why? Because God does that for them, all those who are called according to His purpose, those who are striving to do His Will. God will provide.
That makes me think of the great lesson there on the Sermon of the Mount that Jesus was on and as He was proclaiming there in about chapters 5 through 7, one of the great things He covered in chapter 6 was this fact that He would provide for His children whether it was food or clothing or raiment or any of the needs of life, shelter. He says, "I will give it to you because you are my children." Here again, we have the same thing proven to us. We can believe in God. We can count on God. Why? Because He is faithful.
So the cross motivates me to know that God means what He says and says what He means and He does those things that He says He will do.
Furthermore, the cross should motivate us to know that Christ died and shed that blood not only for forgiveness of sins as we've seen in previous lessons, but so that He might purchase the church. We can't take Christ away from His church because in Acts 20 and verse 28, it says there that "Christ shed His blood to purchase the church." You see, it connects the two immediately that the shedding of blood is directly related to the purchasing of the church. How is that clear as seen in scripture? Well, to the Ephesian brethren in Ephesian chapter 5, in verses 22 and following, we see that the many comparisons are made between the husband and the wife and the idea of Christ and His church. It mentions there, if you'll notice in a few of those verses, that "the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the head..." notice, "of the church." It goes on to say why in the following verses because "the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is head of the church because Christ is the savior of the body because He gave Himself for it." A ransom for it. You see, the reason today that we must be motivated by the cross of Jesus Christ and be motivated to know that Christ and His church are really one and must be taken together is because Christ shed His blood to purchase that church and in doing so, we are added to the church by the Lord through our obedience. How do we know that? Scripture tells us. We always go to God's Word to find out what He has said to us.
In Acts 2:47 it says there that "everyone who was responding that day and obeying the Will of God were being added by the Lord..." notice, "to His church." So if we want to be added to the Lord, by the Lord to His church, we need to do that which is according to what we're talking about this morning, those motivational factors of the cross.
Another idea that motivates us from the cross, I think, is to understand the great need for salvation. It's not enough to just believe. Many in our day and time claim that belief is all that's necessary. Well, what about faith? Without faith it is impossible to please God. Belief and faith are clearly two words that are completely apart in scripture. Belief and faith are not used really as the same thing. They're related. Certainly belief and one that has faith would believe, but faith is something that really is a demonstration of that belief. It is an acting on as we read in Hebrews 11. So there as that point shows us there are many things that we must do, that we must adhere to, that we must follow. Again for instance, repentance. Jesus says, "Repent or perish." How can I not repent if I want to be saved? He tells us that repentance is unto salvation. So again, how could I leave it out? Well is belief enough? Certainly not. We've got to add all of these things. We've got to take the whole council of God. Why? So we must understand the whole Bible. We must understand the need to be saved and how God says that we should be saved. That's why it's so important, I think also, to notice how that in Romans chapter 6 verses 3 through 6, the great illustration is given there of really the essentiality of baptism and really how that it fits into the equation because it says there that "we are buried in baptism as Christ was buried in the grave." You see, it's a symbolic thing. It's not that somehow the water really saves or somehow that it's in a great spiritual or emotional experience. It's really because our obedience in a form brings us as Christ was in the grave and puts us in the grave, dying to the old man and as it says there in verse 6, "We rise as new creatures." You see again, something that motivates us about the cross, to say that "I want to be saved as God has asked me to. I want to do what He says is necessary to prove that not only I love Him but I want Him to add me to His church."
So as we look to the motivations of the cross, let's know that as it says in Acts 2:38 that "Yes, we must repent and be baptized." Let's know that as we read in places like Acts 22:16 that "if we are baptized, we will wash away our sins." Let's know that if we do the things that God has asked, we'll be motivated to not only do the things that are from the cross and given to us but respond to that which again is according to the promises of God which we mentioned earlier.
Another motivational factor about the cross is that it helps us to reject those things that are not of God. I want you to think about how the Bible deals primarily in every New Testament scripture, in every book he talks about the Holy Spirit through these men and that "we must be aware of false teachers," those who are teaching false doctrines or contrary teachings or truths or those things that are not according to the pattern. Over and over and over again, he beats this process home trying to help us to be aware of those who will preach another.
Well, I want you to notice with me also in Galatians chapter 1, verses 6 through 9 where Paul talks to the Galatian church and says, "If we preach any other gospel than that which has been delivered to us, then we should be cursed." It doesn't matter whether it's us or an angel from heaven or anyone else. If we preach something contrary than that which God has given us, it says there that "we are cursed by God." What does that tell us about God? It tells us that we better be motivated by the cross to only follow His Will, His approach, and nothing else. Not to really look for what is good for me or in it for me or what will accomplish more in this life for me or what the church can do for me, but what I can do for God by obeying His Will as I have found it through His Word.
So let's allow that motivation to keep us pure and Holy and to follow Christ as He is the way, the truth and the life. Notice that as Jesus said these things in John 14:6, He used them all in the singular. He says that "I am the..." alone. The truth being the Word of God shows us that the motivational factor to know the truth and to follow it must be in that Word and in the book, the Bible that we have.
Another idea about the cross that motivates us is the concept that we must be able to understand that God is true and He has not only a truth through His Word but it's true that sin is hated by God. I always think to some of the old proverbs and how that not only there but also there in the book of Psalms that David dealt with these concepts about sin. There in Proverbs chapter 6, we find in verses 16 through 19 that there are actually several things, 6 things in fact, that he goes on to say actually 7 that God hates. Among these things are false teachers, and liars and so on and so forth. Do you realize that there are things that God hates? Are there things that we can hate? Well certainly. Not that we hate people, but we hate sin. We hate those things that are the result of doing that which is contrary to the will of God.
With that in mind, then again, we need to understand that as children of God, as God hates sin, we must hate sin, and if we know that God hates sin and we hate sin, then we smut abstain from it. The cross, the blood of Christ not only forgives us of that sin, but I believe it motivates us to want to stay away from sin. If Christ cared enough for me to die and to shed His blood on the cross and to suffer that cruel death, surely I can respond by trying not to sin since He died to forgive me of the sin in my life.
Finally, let me mention that Christ's cross motivates me as a child of God to realize that God truly loves all mankind. He doesn't want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to come to repentance. He wants everyone to respond to His great love that He showed by giving His own son. What greater motivational factor? In fact, the Bible says, "what greater life can you show for another man than you would lay down your life for him or her." That's the greatest love. What did God do? He not only laid down a life, but He laid down the life of His own son who was also God in the flesh. He gave His own son proving to us beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Father in heaven loves us, loves us enough to give His own son so that you and I ultimately might be motivated to do His Will and to respond to the gospel and receive the salvation, the promises, glorious and wondrous things offered through the cross to us as His followers.
That's why next week we want to begin looking at those final things in relationship to really what the cross is to us, the great victory that we have through the cross of Jesus.
I hope this morning that you will allow the cross to motivate you to become a New Testament Christian. If you are not a New Testament Christian, then you need to become one. Why? Because outside of Christ, you cannot find the salvation through the blood of Christ.
(SONG # 3 - "The Great Physician!")
Thank you again for being with us this Lord's Day. Let me invite you to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to growing in God, by studying and doing things His way!
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May this new year bring us all the blessings and joys we deserve, just as we are striving to please God by doing His Will!