Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning, May 28, 2000, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.
LET US BEAR THE OFFENSE OF THE CROSS
By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
Scripture Reading: Galatians 6:12; 5:1-11
Text: Galatians 5:11
Galatians 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
Introduction: An offense (our spelling for the biblical “offence”) is a transgression, an insult, or an attack. The cross of Christ OFFENDS people. It upsets them. When we preach the cross of Christ, people are going to get angry. They feel attacked, and they will persecute us.
Many were offended by the Lord Jesus Christ when He walked the earth:
Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
Matthew 13:57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
Matthew 15:12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
Jesus offended people. If you preach HIM, His salvation, and His word, you will offend people, too. You will offend them without even TRYING to offend them. A Bible-believing church will offend more people in a month WITHOUT trying, than a liberal church will offend in 10 years on PURPOSE!
However, if you were to think of any message from the Bible that would NOT offend people, you might think that the GOSPEL, the GOOD news of the cross of Christ, would be that message, wouldn’t you? Yet, the Bible teaches that there is persecution that comes with the cross (Ga. 6:12). There is an offense with that cross (Gal. 5:11). There are people who are dedicated ENEMIES of that cross (Phil. 3:18).
As soldiers of the cross, we must be willing to endure hardness. We must be willing to face the fact that there are people who will become our enemies. Let us not run from that offense! Let us not put down the banner! Let us bear the offense of the cross and bear it gladly!
I. LET US BEAR THE OFFENSE OF THE WORD OF THE CROSS
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
A. To the unsaved, it is a word of foolishness
- See 1 Cor. 1:18 above.
- What happened on Calvary makes no sense to them.
- They do not understand WHY Christ died (for our sins).
B. To the unsaved, it is a word of failure
- To them it appears that the mission of Jesus was cut off when he was crucified.
- Jesus’ mission was not cut off, however, when He died. HE said, “It is FINISHED.” (Jn. 19:30)
C. To the unsaved, it is a word of finality
- Death is a final word to unsaved people. They have no definite knowledge or promise of life beyond the grave.
- It was not a word of finality to our Lord and Savior, though, for after three days and nights in the grave, He AROSE, victorious over the grave, death, sin, hell, and the devil!
Unsaved people may not like the word of the cross, but let’s keep using that word! Let’s keep preaching it! It is the power of God!
II. LET US BEAR THE OFFENSE OF THE WITNESS OF THE CROSS
Notice the accusations in the witness of the cross given in early Bible preaching of the cross:
Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Acts 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
A. The cross is a witness to the iniquity of man
- The cross brings a reproach, because Christ died for our SINS (1 Cor. 15:3).
- Christ died for the UNGODLY (Rom. 5:6).
B. The cross is a witness to the ignorance of man
- Christ had to die in order for people to fully know God.
- He had to die in order for people to see the way to heaven (John 14:6).
C. The cross is a witness to the inability of man
- There is an offense to the witness of the cross, because it testifies that man is unable to save himself.
- It says that man cannot atone for his own sins.
- Lost people are self-righteous, and they do not like that witness.
Unsaved people may not like the witness of the cross, but let’s keep givng that word! Let’s keep preaching it! It is the power of God!
III. LET US BEAR THE OFFENSE OF THE WISDOM OF THE CROSS
1 Corinthians 1:23-24 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
A. The cross is a higher wisdom
- 1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
- Unsaved people don’t like the cross, because its wisdom is too high for them.
- The most educated unsaved man is still an utter fool when it comes to things that really matter.
- When the prodigal son decided to go back to his father, the Bible says that he “came to himself.” A person doesn’t truly think straight until he decides to listen to God.
B. The cross is a heavenly wisdom
- It is God’s way of salvation.
- The way of salvation came from heaven.
- When Jesus died, the veil in the temple tore in two, from the TOP to the BOTTOM. This indicated, I believe, that God had provided salvation for mankind.
- RELIGION is man reaching UP; SALVATION is God reaching down!
C. The cross is a holy wisdom
- It is the only a Holy God can take sinful men to heaven.
Unsaved people may not like the wisdom of the cross, but let’s hold on to it! Let’s keep preaching it! It is the power of God!
IV. LET US BEAR THE OFFENSE OF THE WORK OF THE CROSS
Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
A. The cross was a work of redemption
- It was on the cross that the sin problem was solved.
- It was on the cross that the price was paid for our sins and for our redemption.
- Unsaved people don’t like to hear that, because they want to do something to save themselves.
B. The cross was a work of reconciliation
- Ephesians 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
- Man is God’s enemy until he gets saved.
- The cross was the only way to reconcile God and mankind.
- Unsaved people don’t like to hear that. It is an offense to them, because they do not like to think that they are in a war with God.
C. The cross is a work of redirection
- It takes a person from hell to heaven.
- Unsaved people don’t like that, because they don’t want to admit that they are going to hell!
Unsaved people may not like the work of the cross, but let’s keep magnifying it! Let’s keep preaching it! It is the power of God!