Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Preaching Christ Crucified

I just returned from a police agency and had the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to the officers present. Each time I am given the honor to preach Christ Crucified I am painfully reminded of the lack of this very preaching behind our pulpits. I have also seen so much pain and hurt towards my own pastor and much of it is his faithful preaching of Christ crucified. It is hard for me to understand why this basic tenant of Christianity is left behind today. John Stott offers some interesting insights on this very issue from his commentary on Galatians.

"What is there about the cross of Christ which angers the world and stirs them up to persecute those who preach it? Just this: Christ died on the cross for us sinners, becoming a curse for us (Gal. 3:13). So the cross tells us some very unpalatable truths about ourselves, namely that we are sinners under the righteous curse of God's law and we cannot save ourselves. Christ bore our sin and curse precisely because we could gain release from them in no other way. If we could have been forgiven by our own good works, by being circumcised and keeping the law, we may be quite sure that there would have been no cross. Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, 'I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.' Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size. And of course men do not like it. They resent the humiliation of seeing themselves as God sees them and as they really are. They prefer their comfortable illusions. So they steer clear of the cross. They construct a Christianity without the cross, which relies for salvation on their works and not on Jesus Christ's. They do not object to Christianity so long as it is not the faith of Christ crucified. But Christ crucified they detest. And if preachers preach Christ crucified, they are opposed, ridiculed, persecuted. Why? Because of the wounds which they inflict on men's pride."

Stott has a great book that I recommend for any Christian or as an evangelism tool. You can purchase his classic, Basic Christianity, from Ten-Four Ministries here.

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