We introduced our theme in our prior lesson by considering a portion of I Corinthians 1 & 2. Let us now begin considering reasons as to why we today should proclaim Jesus Christ and Him crucified:
1. We preach Christ crucified TO SHOW THE REALITY OF SIN.
We live in a time when the reality of sin is denied. In fact, even the word "sin" itself is considered to be rather old-fashioned in our modern-day society. It is not a popular word in our polite and intellectual culture. Think about it, do you ever hear the word sin mentioned outside of a church building? Not very often! Today, some of the most disgusting sins are not even called sins at all, but rather they are referred to as "how God made me" or a "woman's choice" (e.g., perverted lifestyles, slaughtering babies, etc.). Misdeeds are not called sin anymore; they're simply misfortunes. There are no sinners, just victims of circumstances- at least that is what much of society thinks.
To America as a whole, sin is not a reality. But, if you want to know about the reality of sin, look at Jesus Christ and Him crucified. If you want to know the terribleness of sin, then look at the cross!
One of the problems in getting people to obey the gospel is the difficulty in getting them to see that they are lost because of sin. We need to remember what the Scriptures teach on this point:
The Scriptures are clear: Mankind has a big problem, and it is called sin!
We need to remember Jesus "who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9). Is sin real? Look at the cross! If it wasn't real, then why would Jesus die (and so brutally at that) for the sins of the world (cf. I John 2:2)?
2. We preach Christ crucified TO SHOW GOD'S LOVE FOR SINNERS. John 3:16 teaches - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." This verse tells of God's love, but it does not tell the whole story of God's love. Not only did God give the life of Jesus, He gave His only begotten Son to be crucified on a cross! As the apostle John also wrote in I John 3:1 - "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!"
It's hard to understand the depth of God's love, isn't it? I have many children and find it hard to conceive of any circumstances under which I would allow one of them to suffer and die intentionally. Allowing a child of mine to die for a friend would be exceedingly tough and most parents would concur, I think. The love of God, however, is so much richer and deeper than the love which man has, or at least the love which I have. God not only allowed His Son to die a brutal death, but Jesus died for His enemies! Who would allow their own unique Son to be slain for the ultimate good of their enemies? Not me; my love is selfish and not that strong. But this describes the love of the Almighty! As Paul declared in Romans 5:6-8 - "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die, but God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Galatians 2:20 is also worth reflecting on at this point - "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." Yes, Christ died for me and He died for you. As I study the love of God, I am inclined to think Jesus would have died for any one of us individually if necessary, but since all fall into sin, all need salvation. Therefore, Christ died for all!
If you ever have doubts about whether or not God really loves you, look at the cross! He loves you more than you can fathom!
We will conclude this study in our next lesson.