Cross

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    The Purpose Of The Church Pt. 1 The Purpose Of The Church Pt. 1

    The Purpose Of The Church Pt. 1

The Purpose Of The Church Pt. 1

What is the purpose of the church?  This is an interesting and complex question that I believe deserves some attention.  So over the next few weeks I am going to post some thoughts about this here on the blog.  If you agree, disagree, or have other things you would like to add to the list along the way please feel free to comment. Rather than discussing all of these in one post I want to spread them out so we have time to consider each point and cover it thoroughly.   The points below and in upcoming posts are in no particular order.  So what is the purpose of the church? To produce disciples: God has always intended that His church would produce disciples.  This evolves the eternal transformation of one’s soul though the blood of Christ.  As well as the daily sanctification that comes when we walk in the Spirit.  Perhaps the most well-known verse on the subject is Matthew 28:19 when Jesus says “go and make disciples of all nations.”  Most believers and church leaders know that we are supposed to make disciples but many churches have ceased to even attempt to make disciples.  Why? To put it simply, because making disciples is hard work.  It takes lots of time, resources, and patience along with many other things.  As a result many simply go about making other things.  They put their focus into making good people, polite people, or politically correct people. Instead of making disciples they are more into making friends, nice church programs, a comfortable atmosphere, or just making excuses as to why they can’t make disciples.  These things are not bad things until they become the central focus in a church, […]

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    The Uncommon Church Is NOT… The Uncommon Church Is NOT…

    The Uncommon Church Is NOT…

The Uncommon Church Is NOT…

In “The Uncommon Church” we talk a lot about what “The Uncommon Church” looks like, how it functions, makes decisions, and advances the gospel.  The titles of the chapters of the book are below and outline the characteristics of “The Uncommon Church” that are discussed in the book: Chapter 1: Basic Questions Chapter 2: Uncommon Mindset Chapter 3: Uncommon Relationships Chapter 4: Uncommon Prayer Chapter 5: Uncommon Caring Chapter 6: Uncommon Forgiveness Chapter 7: Uncommon Sharing Chapter 8: Uncommon Attitude Chapter 9: Uncommon Giving Chapter 10: Uncommon Commitment Chapter 11: Uncommon Work Chapter 12: Uncommon Discipleship Chapter 13: Uncommon Victory In this post however I want to discuss a few things that The Uncommon Church is not.  There are many misconceptions about what it means to be uncommon and I hope this post will clear some of those up. 1)   “The Uncommon Church” is not always big.  Our culture has become infatuated with numbers and statistics.  The culture of the church has come to believe that big automatically equals success.  We evaluate the success of our programs many times based solely on the number of conversions, or people who attend.  Being uncommon however is not measured in numbers.  There are many small churches that are practicing the Christian faith in a wonderfully uncommon way.  Likewise there are medium and large churches doing the same.  You can’t tell if a church is truly uncommon from the numbers alone, only when you evaluate the people that are represented in those numbers will you find out the degree to which they represent “The Uncommon Church.” 2)   “The Uncommon Church” does not always have the most dynamic, impressive, inspiring, pastor or leader.  Leadership is important for all churches.  However […]

What Are You Ashamed Of? (Day 31 Romans 1:16)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes… Romans 1:16 NET What are you ashamed of?  Certainly we all have things in our lives that we are ashamed of.  Perhaps it is the way you acted years ago toward another.  It could be some kind of foul language that gripped your tongue on a single occasion or maybe you battle it daily.  Some are ashamed of their lustful thoughts that race through their minds.  Still others find a great deal of shame in their inability to suppress their ever growing desire and greed that stir deep within.  Is it an addiction, illness, failed relationship, or internal struggle that you are ashamed of?  Whatever it is, you are not alone.  Everyone is ashamed of something even if their shame has not surfaced to the place where you can see it. Paul was no different. Certainly there would have been things in his life that he was ashamed of as well.  His early persecution of the church perhaps, or giving approval at the death of Steven, the first martyr, may have been a source of shame for Paul.  Regardless he proclaims boldly I am not ashamed of the gospel!  If there is anything in our lives that possesses absolutely no shame it should be the gospel.  Not only is it God’s power for salvation as Paul proclaims, it truly is good news for those who believe and those who don’t.  Like Paul, we should live our faith out daily without any shame, we are followers of Christ and there is no shame in such a life.  There is no reason at all to be ashamed of […]

The Cross Displays our Condition

Here is an aspect we generally don’t often think about. Preachers don’t like to preach it because people don’t like to hear it. But we must see the condition of the world as the cross displays it. We don’t like to take responsibility for the cross. It was God, after all, who put His Son there, and we did not ask Him to do it. We all know that the cross was for us, but the hard part of it all is knowing that the cross happened because of us. God had no other choice but the cross. The condition of the world was so depraved that God had no other way to save it but by Jesus dying on the cross. It was the only way that He could restore His children to Himself. Most of us have heard Romans 3:23; pastors use it often in their sermons. I use it frequently in mine. This verse shows us the condition that the world was in, but many do not read further than the words, “For all have sinned…,” causing them to miss the full scope of God’s words. What follows is the heavy truth that we must all understand to fully comprehend the cross. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did […]

The Cross Displays Our Cure

The cross teaches us what the cure for the condition of the world is. Here is the problem that we have spiritually: we’ve got this medicine, this cure, this thing that fixes us and has no side effects, doesn’t cost us any money, but we don’t want to take our medicine. Yet we have no reason not to take this medicine. The condition of our world was so terrible that the only cure that would fix humanity was one that no father would ever want to provide without reason. The cure would not come without great pain. And it would shock all those who truly understand it. The cure was one of a kind and good for all time. The only cure that would work was Jesus on the cross. God sacrificed His Son so that we could be cured, so that we could experience freedom and eternal salvation. The cross gives us the perfect cure for our sin-packed lives. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:24-25, “Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that, freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval. His wounds have healed you. You were like lost sheep. Now you come back to the shepherd and bishop of your lives (GW, emphasis mine). Right there, hanging on the cross, is the cure for our sin. Christ carried our sins on His back so that we could be free forever. But we don’t want to take our medicine. We say, “I’m not going to do it just because this preacher says I should or because Mom and Dad want me to. They’re not really living their lives anyway.” The biggest mistake we […]

The Cross Displays God’s Love

Every time I look at my wife, I see God’s love. I can sit by a river and feel the breeze touch my face and sense God’s love. I can feel it through His blessings in my life. Those of us with children can see God’s love in the miracle of life. We see it in the slow, soaking rain that we’ve been praying for. It’s in the rainbow after the storm. But if we cannot see God’s love on the cross, we have missed the essence of love. The cross purposely and completely displays our Creator’s love. Listen to how the Bible defines love: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16, NIV, emphasis mine). Do we really want to know what love is? Then we should look to the cross, our teacher. Love is not about us. It is about sacrifice, giving everything we have for somebody else. What greater love could we ever know than God giving us His Son to die? He loved us enough that He wanted us to live. Love wanted to provide a way out of the horrible condition we were in. This brings a whole new reality to John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV, emphasis mine). Another translation says, “God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life (GW). In this unloving world, it is […]

By |October 22nd, 2011|Cross|0 Comments

The Cross-Physical Suffering

The movie The Passion of the Christ did a great job of showing the suffering of the cross, but I believe it doesn’t even come close to the suffering Jesus endured. We didn’t get the full story of the cross from that movie because it wasn’t fit for the public to see. Jesus’ physical suffering on the cross was much more brutal than we can imagine. Luke 9:22 says, “Jesus said that the Son of Man would have to suffer a lot. He would be rejected by the leaders, the chief priests and the scribes. He would be killed, but on the third day he would come back to life” (GW, emphasis mine). The Bible says that Mary didn’t even recognize her son on the cross. The beatings and the hanging did such a number on Jesus that His own mother could not tell which one He was. All that gave it away was the sign that hung above His head, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” I want to create a picture of what the cross looked like physically. There were procedures that were basic to every crucifixion. Soldiers would lay you down on top of the cross, which would lay on the ground, and would usually tie your wrists to the cross’ beams so you wouldn’t move. Then they would drive nails through your wrists or your hands, depending on what time in history you were crucified. They would pick your knees up and bend them and put the bottoms of your feet so that they were parallel to the bottom of the cross and drive another nail through the tops of your feet. The soldiers would then take rope and tie […]

The Cross Emotional Suffering

It did not simply begin at the Garden of Gethsemane. It is there that Jesus’ suffering and distress hit a climax. His emotional suffering began the minute He left heaven to come to earth. He came to earth from a place where angels encircle Him, a place that has glittering streets of gold, a place where all creatures worship Him as the center of everything. He leaves that to come to this place, where the very people He came to save make His life miserable, do all they can to arrest Him, turn Him over to the cross, spit on Him. Can any of us truly imagine the emotional suffering that must have accompanied that? We have nothing that even compares. Whatever we can imagine, the emotional suffering of the cross was worse than before Jesus ever even took the first beating, before He ever collapsed in the Garden. Mark 14: 32-36 shows the climax of Jesus’ emotional suffering – before He was ever nailed to the cross: “Then they came to a place called Gethsemane. He said to his disciples, ‘Stay here while I pray.’ He took Peter, James and John with him and began to feel distressed and anguished. He said to them, ‘My anguish is so great that I feel as if I’m dying. Wait here, and stay awake.’ After walking a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible he might not have to suffer what was ahead of him. He said, ‘Abba! Father! You can do anything. Take this cup [of suffering] away from me. But let your will be done rather than mine’” (GW, emphasis mine). If we cannot see the suffering in […]

The Cross-Spiritual Suffering

“It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:44-46, NIV, emphasis mine). Some say that the sun’s eclipse was merely a coincidence or that it happened simply because God made it happen, but I do not believe that. I believe it happened because Jesus is the light of the world, and, for those three hours, Jesus endured the most intense spiritual suffering that anyone had ever endured. The darkness of our sins that He carried was so great that they clouded the light. The whole world went dark. The light of the world was snuffed out, if for only a moment. That’s how intense I believe Jesus’ spiritual suffering was. First John 2:1-2 says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (NIV, emphasis mine). It was the sins of the world that Jesus carried, not just the sins of the Christians. It was the smallest white lie to the biggest murderous sin, all from the best of men to the worst of men. Jesus’ blood covered them all, but the spiritual suffering of what He carried is incomprehensible and unexplainable. But the cross is […]

A Thing of Great Suffering

It becomes very obvious that the cross was indeed a thing of great suffering when we look at the cross or study pictures of it. But many of us often forget what a thing of great suffering the cross was. Luke 24:45-48 says, “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things’” (NIV, emphasis mine). Christ suffered greatly during His time on the cross. Over the next few days we will look at the emotional, physical, and spiritual suffering. Before we proceed I would encourage you to read the account of the cross from your own Bible sometime today and consider the suffering that surrounded this terrible tool of death. Read Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, or John 18-20

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