Last month, I had the opportunity of sharing a short message from God’s Word at the annual ‘1000 Voices at the Cross’ event. It was such a delight to sing, pray, and proclaim the glory of God perched above our city; and to do so freely, openly, and gladly. The following is an adaptation of the message I delivered that evening in the shadow of the cross.
One of my favourite views in town is coming home across the international bridge in the evening or darkness. Perched on the highest point of the landscape is this cross, lit up, and standing guard over our city. It is a very special thing. Our city exists in the shadow of this cross and, as Christians, our lives are lived in the shadow of the true Cross that our Lord Jesus died on all those millennia ago and which Jesus still calls his followers to bear to this day. I would like to share 4 “Def’s” with you about what we have living in the shadow of the cross.
1. A Defining Moment
In the cross, we are reminded of a true historical event. 1 Corinthians 15:3 says, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures”. Romans 5:6 says, “at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Many of the ancient creeds note the fact that Jesus, “suffered under Pontius Pilate”. The cross is a real moment, in real history, when Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man, hung on a Roman cross as a criminal. It is not legend or myth, it is history. The cross of Jesus Christ is the single most important event in all of human history. We even measure our time before the life of Jesus and after, though our modern secular world is trying very hard to forget that. As Christians, we must be fully grounded in the historical nature of our faith. Jesus lived, died, and was buried, and the evidence supports a very real resurrection. The cross is not “a truth”, it is “The Truth”.
Second, in the cross of Christ we have,
2. A Definitive Sacrifice
1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” and Hebrews 9:12 says, “[Jesus] entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” In the cross of Christ we have a once-for-all, it is finished, One way, One truth, One life sacrifice. The Righteous One, Jesus, laid down his perfect life for sinners so we could be forgiven and reconciled to a holy God. No more blood needs to be shed other than the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins. But only the blood of Christ is sufficient to make that forgiving work eternal and effective. The Cross is a definitive sacrifice. But only if we respond to…
3. A Deferential Invitation
In the cross, God through Christ is inviting us to die to ourselves and live for him. Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Christ’s open arms, held there by the nails through his hands, welcome us into his presence if we will simply humble ourselves and follow him by faith, taking up our cross to imitate our Saviour. The holy God of the universe descended and condescended to us so that we would have a way to know him.
Jesus is calling you to salvation today, answer his call. Accept him as true, acknowledge your need for his sacrifice, stop trying to earn your own righteousness, and bow your heart and knee to King Jesus. The cross is a deferential invitation for all to be saved. And finally, the cross is,
4. A Definite Promise
In the cross of Christ, we have a definite promise that God is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). From the cross, Jesus said to the thief who hung beside him, “Today, you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)” And that promise is just as sure for all who come to the cross in faith. Romans 8:1 says, “there is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Present and future peace with God is yours, but only in Jesus and through the cross of Jesus. Romans 5:9, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” We have a promise that in the cross of Jesus we have salvation and eternal life that is absolute and unchangeable, through faith in the cross of Christ.
A defining moment, a definitive sacrifice, a deferential invitation, and a definite promise. That is but a drop in the ocean of joy and truth and power in the cross of Christ. That is the truth we must live in and the truth that we need to invite others to believe. It is the truth our city so desperately needs. Our only hope in life and death is the cross of Christ. All we have is that the Son of God laid down his life for sinners. We will spend eternity delving into the depths of how much God has given us in Christ, so let’s spend our lives making Jesus known. Let’s pray.