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Thursday, July 7, 2022
"Enemies Of The Cross"
Message summary: Today join us in holding firm to the Biblical and historic Christian view of Christ and the cross of Calvary. Let us, like the apostle Paul, declare “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
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“For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18). “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
Walker Moore is an evangelist who carried an 89 pound cross to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa in 2013. I heard him speak in my cousin's church in Tulsa Oklahoma. His goal was to be a witness for the Lord and the power of the Cross.
Afterwards the pastor spoke on "Carrying the Cross". When we departed the service each person was given a small wooden cross and encouraged to carry it as a reminder of what Christ did for us.
But all who "witness" do not extol the power of the cross. We saw a young man wearing a t-shirt with the words "Bad Religion" with the cross in a circle and a slash through it. Here in America you are free to express your opinions no matter how obnoxious or disgusting they may be. But who would have imagined 40 years ago that people would even consider wearing what they do today!
The anti-Christian message brings to mind a phrase from one of my favorite hymns that refers to the cross as, "so despised by the world". It makes me wonder what this man’s heart must be like to wear such a blasphemous shirt, indicating such a blatant despising of the Cross. What would lead a person to so despise the cross? My first thought is to be offended and angry, but then the Spirit moves upon me to pray for this lost soul. He may even be a prodigal with parents fervently praying for his return to Christ.
As I muse in preparation for this message I consider there are four different types of people in the world in regard to their view of the cross of Christ:
1) Those who love the cross - Using these words again from "The Old Rugged Cross, "and I love that old cross". We unashamedly consider ourselves in that category. It was at the cross that Jesus paid our penalty for sin, redeemed us and set us free from the bondage of sin and eternal death.
2) Those who are ambivalent to the cross - They have heard the gospel message but it really doesn't mean anything to them. Many live this way and sadly it also describes those who have been called nominal Christians. Oswald Chambers wrote, "All heaven is interested in the cross of Christ, all hell is terribly afraid of it, while men are the only beings who more or less ignore its meaning".
3) Those who are ignorant of the cross - They have not heard the gospel message and that's what missions is all about. Albert Mohler wrote, "The cross and the empty tomb stand at the center of the Christian faith. Without these, there is no good news — no salvation."
4) Those who are enemies of the cross -That will be our consideration in today's message.
Paul wrote "Many live as enemies of the cross". He apparently repeated this frequently to the Philippians ("as I have often told you before") and now he reminds them again, with tears in his eyes.
Surely, as he wrote this, he recalled the years that he had lived as an enemy of the cross and an enemy to those who bore its message of redemption. Years later he had a difficult time in his initial ministry in Philippi where he, along with Silas, had been severely flogged, imprisoned and later run out of town. But I believe Paul’s tears were based on far more than this experience. Then, as now, so many lived in opposition to God’s divinely appointed means of redemption. There have always been those who despise the cross.
Many have lived as enemies of the cross of Christ throughout the two thousand years since the Lord’s great sacrifice. This opposition is expressed in various ways from contrary religious systems to decadent worldliness, from astute secularists to apostate "church" leaders. In the nineties there was a "ReImaging" conference held among apostates where the cross and the blood of Christ were despised and mocked.
Today, many still live as enemies of the cross of Christ. The hatred toward Christ and the message of the cross continues and is increasing.
But the faithful continue to declare, "But I love that old cross, where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain!"
Today join us in holding firm to the Biblical and historic Christian view of Christ and the cross of Calvary. Let us, like the apostle Paul, declare “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus, Your death on the cross was an act of barbaric cruelty that we would not, in any way, be physically attracted to. But we realize it was God’s redemption plan for all humankind and because of that we can declare along with the hymnist that it indeed “has a wondrous attraction for me.” Because You willingly took the weight of our sins upon Yourself it provided a precious cleansing fountain, a healing stream that flows from Your saving blood providing forgiveness for our sins. Thank You for giving Your all that we might have eternal life. Though we are grateful and respond in devotion to Your sacrifice so many reject the message of salvation; they mock it and hold a disdain for anything and anyone who upholds the Christian message through their words and actions. Fill our hearts with compassion for these lost souls. Let us not resent or despise them for their ungodly response to Your gift of salvation, but move upon our hearts to fervently pray for their hearts to be changed and their minds to be opened to the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"The Old Rugged Cross" Video Redeemed Quartet
"Pour Your Spirit Out" Video Thrive Worship We've been enjoying this song and consider this line in regard to today's message, "Cause the way that He loves you, isn't something you can change". God still loves those who are enemies of the cross!
Article about Walker Moore He writes concerning his climb: "On that climb, God spoke clearly to me about letting go of the cross and passing it on to the next generation. I needed to step away from what I have done for 45 years, laying down what I have known all these years and beginning to walk in the shadow of the next generation.
Yesterday we drove through an interesting little village called Mount Gretna. It is in a mountainous area that feels more like northern Pennsylvanian with large mature trees.
Click on photo to enlarge
For the terminally curious here's the location on Google maps.
It was founded by the Pennsylvania Chautauqua Society, which was attracted by the area's natural landscape and beauty, in the 1890s. It is a popular destination in the summer, for it has a nationally ranked juried art show (third weekend in August), jazz and chamber music concerts, lectures, book reviews, and an annual tour of historic homes and cottages (1st Saturday in August). The Conewago Lake features a Victorian-era bathhouse with high-dive, floating docks and a sandy beach area. The community also has a roller rink, open-air playhouse, miniature golf course, several restaurants, playgrounds, and an award-winning ice cream parlor known as the Jigger Shop. Gretna Theatre, the independent professional non-profit theatre company performing at the Mount Gretna Playhouse, is one of the country's oldest summer stock theatres, having opened in 1927. The surrounding area, which includes seven distinct neighborhoods, has a year-round population estimated at 1,500 persons. Summertime population increases to about 2,500. (From Wikipedia)
We passed this cow on a dairy farm on Prescott Road in eastern Lebanon County yesterday. It even has its own guard dog and let Brooksyne know, with its fierce barking, it was on duty as she got out to take this photo!
Click on photo to enlarge
Referring today to messages on t-shirts, I saw this one today with this article.
From one of the most apostate denominations in America.
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