Saturday, November 19, 2011

No Other Way


Avoiding sacrifice we often embrace compromise.

In writing his first letter to the Church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul was reflecting on the time he spent with them, teaching them about the Kingdom of God. In this reflection he said:

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Jesus did not become the Son of God because He was crucified. Nor did Jesus become the Son of God when He was crucified. Jesus was the Son of God without the cross and would have continued to be the Son of God even if He had not gone to the cross.

You see, without the cross:

· God would still be God

· Jesus would still be the Son of God

But, without the cross:

· You and I would have no Savior

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Sometimes there is no other way … no other way for us and no other way for others. This morning I hope to challenge you to a higher walk in Christ.

When Jesus was facing imminent arrest, torture and crucifixion, He asked His Father God if there was any other way … you know the answer. I am satisfied, as was Jesus, that if there had been any other way to accomplish His Kingdom plan, God would have chosen it without question.

The message of the cross saves us. It reveals several “Life Truths”. As we picture the cross in our minds the first thing we discover is that:

1. God is Just

a. Not fair … just (it was not fair that Jesus pay for the sins which He did not commit, the sins of others, but … it was just)

Justice often demands what fairness cannot deal.

b. Not equal – just (God did not make everyone go to the cross nor does He give to everyone the same blessings, benefits or burdens of life – God did not make everyone equal because He is Just) Justice serves a higher truth than equality may permit.

c. Just is often the difference between what is good and what is right (what is good for one may not be good for everyone and therefore good is not always right) Justice can only be judged from God’s vantage point, and for that, we must trust God.

God cannot be judged by man’s sense of fairness, equality or what we think is good. God rules from a higher plain, His thoughts are not our thoughts … He asks that we have faith and trust His decisions. The cross teaches us that God is Just and number two, that:

2. Jesus is Committed

a. Committed to the cost

i. He knew what needed to be done

ii. He knew what it would take to do it

iii. He committed to pay the price anyway

b. Committed to the course

i. Not only to the product but also to the process

ii. It’s one thing to commit to pay, it’s a totally different decision when it comes time to pay

iii. He could have called ten thousand angels …

1. Tempted – but – Committed

2. Twice Jesus was tempted to take another route

a. Once by an enemy

b. Once by a friend

Early on in His course, Jesus was tempted to accept the crown without the cross … but He was determined - no cross, no crown!

Luke 4:8 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ’You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’"

Also near the end of His course, Jesus was once again tempted to avoid the cross and claim the crown.

Matthew 16:23 But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."

Life can be a struggle and at times we are tempted to avoid personal sacrifice and pursue a course which promises success without cost.

iv. Many times however there is simply no other way

3. We Are Loved

a. In this we know the love of God …

b. Christ died while we were yet sinners

c. Ought we also to love one another

Matthew 16

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

25 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

In following Christ what must we do? We must strive to:

· Be Just

o More than fair, more than equal, more than good – be right

· Be Committed

o Count the cost

o Pay the price – No crown without a cross

· Lay Down Our Lives For Others

o No greater love than this …

o True love cost and those who truly love willingly pay

o To avoid sacrifice is often to embrace compromise

o Sometimes there is no other way