The Cross

1) BRIAN MASON MESSAGE 21 03 13

 

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

 

Acts of the Apostles chapter 4 verse 31

 

O for holy boldness which shakes us and brings us into line with all that God is waiting to do. The first believers had a boldness, an authority which we too can know. All things are still possible if only we will believe this to be so.

 

May we be shaken and shaken until there is nothing left to rely on but our risen, ascended and glorified Christ, our coming King.

 

Was there ever anyone like our lovely Jesus. Disfigured at his crucifixion yet there was no beauty which could not be denied this wonderful and glorious Lord. The living God, the creator, came to dwell among us and show to mankind the nature of God.

 

Not a God whose ears were deaf or one who could not be touched by what He saw in the crowds who flocked to see and hear this person who was so different from the religious people of the day.

 

No, none of the unrealistic demands of the religious leaders which even the religious leaders could not fulfil but words which reached into the very hearts of the hearers and showed who God is because here was one who brought the very life of God to those who reached out in faith and touched the Lord of life.

 

O to touch the one who is life. There is a compassion which still transcends from the glory where He sits at the right hand of the Father. Jesus is King. He still rules and reigns and will one day in the perfect timing of the Father return to earth for every eye shall see Him for who He is, none other than God Himself.

 

No rejection this time for when He comes to Jerusalem what a shout there shall be for God’s despised people, the Jews, who are rejected by the nations today will behold their Messiah and shout my God we know thee.

Until that day of the Lord when Jesus returns as King He is still reaching out with the same compassion which He had during His earthly ministry. This world just like when Jesus was on earth is filled with those who are broken and afflicted.

 

Broken bodies, and innumerable cases which are beyond human hope of recovery. Lives just as in need today of the touch of Jesus and when His touch set free the afflicted wherever He went. Lives which were tormented by demonic spirits Jesus commanded to come out and they obeyed. Thinking in society today will reject the ministry of someone like Smith Wigglesworth. There was no fear in Smith Wigglesworth to command in the name of Jesus. In Jesus name bodies were healed and devils cast out. Once again there needs to be a holy boldness , one which allows Jesus to do might deeds.

 

How can we believe that this is so that lives can still be changed? This is because in Jesus is life. Not the wasteful life of human self seeking but lives filled with the same compassion as Jesus Himself. Lives which are free from sin and all its destructive powers. Lives wholly given to God because God is offering the sinner a life transformation. Lives without God within are wasted and will be cut off from God forever for these lives are destined for the torments of hell and an eternity with their father the devil.

 

It is only through having God as our Father that we know sin forgiven, a life which finds fulfilment and one which leads to eternal life beyond physical death for it is a life spent in the glory for ever, a life worshipping the King Himself.

Let us reflect on society today. How many have lives which have purpose and are fulfilled? Few who are rich with this worlds goods will spend eternity with King Jesus. For Jesus Himself made clear the distractions of riches from the true values in life. The whole world can be yours yet you remain spiritually dead without the transforming life of Jesus. Whether rich or poor if Jesus is not in your life you are dead.

 

This deadness can be loneliness, a reliance on drugs, reliance on alcohol, a seeking after the empty pleasures of this world, basically a life which has something else there apart from Jesus, a life which will never satisfy your needs.

 

There is an answer. The answer is in Jesus the creator, the one who created knows the longings of the human heart for each man and woman was created to have communication with God. This communication was severed when Adam disobeyed God and spiritual death became part of every human being since that day. How can the human heart be satisfied until it is supplied with the life it was meant to have at its centre. A life where God fills the void. Have you come to the Lord of life and brought your need before Him?

 

Each one of us is a sinner and that cannot be denied.

 

Sinners need a Saviour and Jesus is the only Saviour. He died on a cross at Calvary so that His own blood which drained from His body would reconcile sinners with a holy God and open the lines of communication once more.

 

Are you in line with God? If not will you acknowledge that you are a sinner in need of a Saviour?

 

There is only one place for sin and that is the cross: your own cross. The cross has no room for compromise. It is all or nothing. Sin has all to go if we are to come the God provided way to know God. Repent if you have not already done so and ask Jesus to take away all your sin and for His blood to cleanse you clean so that your sins are all washed away. O the blood, the cleansing blood, what power to wash the foulest clean. It availed for me: it will avail for all who call upon the name of Jesus.

 

To know sins forgiven is a weight lifted, a setting free from a life of woe so as to receive the life God had planned for each one of us. This life is that of the risen Jesus. When we are cleansed His life comes into our whole beings. This resurrection life transforms every part: soul, body and we have a spirit in tune with God.

 

Every promise of Jesus becomes open to us. All we have to do is to come into line with that which He is waiting to give. This is life which does satisfy for there is no longer a reliance on things or feelings for these are replaced by peace and joy and a deep lasting satisfaction as we draw from the rivers which will never run dry. Even where there is affliction through physical illness or demonic oppression the believer is made aware of this and can seek the God given means of healing and deliverance which is to be found through the name of Jesus.

 

Are there still those who will be as bold as the first believers who knew what it was to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that it was the same resurrection life of Jesus which was manifested through them, a life of compassion and power, a life poured out for others just like that of Jesus.

 

Lord are there still those who will dare not just to believe what was done in the days of the early Church and in the days of Smith Wigglesworth but believe and act so that the greater works of which You spoke would be done in Your name will still be done today.

2) THE CROSS OF JESUS

Message: 19 June 2013

 

And God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

 

Galatians chapter 6 verse 14

 

Paul knew that the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ had to be at the very heart of the Christian life.  The cross is a foundational truth which has to have had a life changing effect on our life.  Should the cross have not affected us then our life as a Christian is shallow or even of greater concern  we have not been born again and are still outside the kingdom of God.

 

Paul had only one objective in life from the moment that Jesus made himself known to him on the Damascus road.  Paul was met by the risen Saviour.  He could no longer live the life where he was in charge.  The old sinful life had to go.  The old life where self rather than the Saviour reigned had to go.  Paul was constrained to take seriously this living person who he knew had been crucified by the religious leaders.  Here before Paul was evidence of a realm beyond his human reasoning and intellect.  Paul may have been as knowledgeable of the scriptures as anyone else.  Yet on the Damascus road he saw a light and heard a voice which came from a realm which was not of this world.  He came into touch with God himself.  God under the old dispensation could only be approached once a year and then only by the high priest who first had to make an offering for his own sin before he could make an offering for the sins of the people.  Paul knew the law yet here in his meeting with the risen Saviour he met the one who had come to fulfil the law and bring in a new dispensation.

 

Above when he said, Sacrifice and offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein: which are offered by the law;  Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, OGod.  He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

 

Hebrews chapter 10 verses 8 and 9

 

Paul knew about sin and that he was a sinner in the sight of a holy God.  What he did not know was that sin could be removed from his life as there was a pardon available from God.  When Paul met the Saviour he was not only brought into contact with a realm beyond this world, he also understood why Jesus had been crucified.  He had a living experience with the living God.

 

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.

 

Isaiah chapter 45 verse 5

 

Paul had met with the I am that I am that Moses had met at the burning bush.  He had met Jesus who during his earthly ministry had claimed to be the I am.

 

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

 

St John chapter 8 verse 58

 

What a meeting Paul had with the Saviour.  He now had the evidence of life beyond the natural life with its human limitations.  Here was life beyond death and this life could only be spiritual.  It was life which could only be received because of what Jesus had done on the cross.  It was life received from the author of life; the one who is life.  Paul saw something on the Damascus road whereby from that moment he could never be the same.  He saw Calvary.  He saw God nailed to the cross dying in his place for his sin.  Paul saw the Saviour’s blood, every drop of it draining from his body so that Paul could be redeemed, that is bought back from all the consequences of sin.  As in Adam all die would have been real to Paul.  He knew that sin meant death.  What he encountered at the cross was there was a second Adam who had come to destroy the effects of sin and provide the way by which repentant sinners could be reconciled with a holy, righteous and pure God.  Paul saw that Jesus had died in his place and this won Paul’s love, every bit of it.  Throughout Paul’s life the cross was central.  Paul had come to know Jesus as his personal Saviour.

 

Paul spent some time in Damascus with Ananias and the disciples who he had been intent on persecuting.    However, he did not go to Jerusalem at that time as he went to Arabia and cut himself off from all else except his Saviour whom he had come to love more than life itself.  It is no wonder that Paul was able to speak of depths and heights in his letters to the early believers.  He came to know Jesus at the highest possible level.

 

There was nothing superficial about the cross to Paul.  Without the cross there could be no forgiveness of sin.   This need to see the cross and the Saviour dying in the place of the sinner must never be removed from the foundational truths of the Christian faith.  Yet in these days the cross is devalued.  It is as though Jesus death on the cross never happened.  Even within much of that which claims to be the Church there is no longer the call for sinners to repent which is like saying that there was no need for Jesus to die for sinners.  O Lord, we have sinned, for thy Church has turned its eyes away from the cross.  Lord have mercy upon thy Church and cause the foundational truth of the cross once more to be preached.  Lord Jesus do not let your blood to have been shed in vain for the majority of sinners in this generation, even those who go to church and claim to be Christians yet do not know the cleansing power of your blood.  Lord how can those who have not seen Calvary and do not know you as their personal Saviour be Christians?  In your mercy Lord open the hearts of those blinded to thee so that like Paul they have the revelation to see that it was for them that you died.  Lord in these dark days when so many in Great Britain say who is God, turn us back to you before it is too late and your wrath is poured out in full judgement, for to date the judgements of recent years have gone unheeded.

3) Message 17 10 13

 

And the people stood beholding.

 

St Luke chapter 23 verse 35

 

What a sight the people came to see.  Although they did not realize who this man was dying before their eyes there was something different about this man who had written above His head:

 

And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This is the King of the Jews.

 

St Luke chapter 23 verse 38

 

Although there would have been many crucifixions for the people to attend this one was somehow different and drew those to watch who wanted to see how this man reacted to dying a slow and painful death.  To look at Jesus He was little different than anyone else who had been nailed to a cross except for the written superscription and  that He also had upon His head a crown of thorns.

 

And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head.

 

St Matthew chapter 27 verse 29

 

What was different about Jesus was the sacred and loving words which are recorded for us as He did not feel sorry for Himself or accused others whilst His life blood drained out of His body.  The people who beheld the sight could not have failed to have heard words the like of which no one being crucified would have uttered.  These were words of forgiveness as He spoke to the Father. 

 

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

 

St Luke chapter 23 verse 34

 

Who could have not have had a deep impression placed on them who stood beholding this man on His cross for these were words which would have lived with them throughout their lives.  Had we been amongst those beholding the sacred sight we too would have been deeply impacted by this man who although not worthy of death accepted death in order to bring life, His own life, to sinners cut off from a holy and righteous God.

 

The man on the cross whom the people beheld although they did not know this was the one who is at the center of scripture.  This moment had been on the horizon of fulfilment down the years as seen  by Isaiah and others.  Here was a defining moment which although the people may not have realized at the time prophesy was being fulfilled before their eyes.

 

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

 

Isaiah chapter 53 verse 5

 

The Psalmist too says:

 

And they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

 

Psalm 22 verses 7 and 8

 

How these words were cast upon Jesus as first the rulers, then by one of the  two malefactors who were also being crucified who called upon Jesus to both save Himself and the malefactors too.

 

And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others;  let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

 

St Luke chapter 23 verse 35

 

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

 

St Luke chapter 23 verse 39

 

What was Jesus response?  He could have saved Himself yet to do so would not have been the way of God the Son of whom He is, for in death He was showing the greatest act of redemptive love.

 

When one of the malefactors recognized in Jesus more than a man but God and asked him to remember him when he entered His kingdom what gracious words came from the lips of the dying Jesus:

 

And Jesus said unto him, Verily, I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

 

St Luke chapter 23 verse 43

 

Not only could the dying malefactor join Jesus so could all those who come to Him to seek forgiveness of their sin and give their lives to Him.  In seeing Jesus on the cross with His life blood draining away to redeem sinners and reconcile repentant sinners through the atonement He was making we see the love of God and the God who loved us enough to die for us.  In this light what Saint Paul saw of Jesus on the cross takes on a deeper meaning than just a cursory glance for this goes right to the heart of God:

 

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Romans chapter 5 verse 8

 

 

What would the people have made of Jesus words as He was about to die.  Were more gracious and humble words uttered by someone about to leave this world:

 

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

 

St Luke chapter 23 verse 47

 

This cry of the pain,  He, God the Son suffered in our place cuts us to the heart when we look at the cross.  The people went away not in the same condition as they had arrived:

 

And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.

 

St Luke chapter 23 verse 48

 

The people had been affected.  Have we fully realized the cost to Jesus to pay the price to redeem us from our sin.  When we see what He did for us can we not but give Him our life, our all.

As the Lord Jesus leads 

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