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July
13
2014

Surveying the Cross

“Surveying the Cross”

    George Solomon was a former Cabinet leader in the Soviet Union—a personal pupil of Karl Marx and a friend of Lenin. However, he fell out of favor with the Party and fled to Belgium for refuge. With his atheistic philosophy of life, he had no inner strength or relief and intended to commit suicide. On his way to the Post Office with a last letter to his wife, he saw a small Cross on the sidewalk. He raised his leg to stomp and crush it, but was suddenly and strangely stopped. He picked it up and took it back to his motel room where he surveyed it. He felt led to call a pastor. They talked for several hours, at the end of which Solomon cried out to God for forgiveness. Surveying the Cross brought new life.

    The words of Galatians 6:14 show how another man surveyed the wondrous Cross. He was a Christ-hater, a Christian killer, and a church persecutor. After surveying the Cross, he testified that he gloried in nothing but the Cross. Will you survey the Cross with me? We will measure the Cross from 3 angles:

Measure the Love of God. Some things are immeasurable, like the love of God. Eph. 3:17-19 says “that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, length, depth, and height—of the love of Christ.” When we survey the height of God’s love—we find “not that we loved God, but that He loved us” (1 Jn. 4:10). We find that God “demonstrates His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom.5:8). The Cross shows that God cares for us. When we survey the depths—we see that God does not want us to go to Hell. 230 warnings in the Bible. “God is not willing that any should perish” (2 Pet. 3:9). He has no “pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ez.33:11). God’s love extends even into Hell. When we survey the breadth of the world—7-8 billion—all born in sin and all having sinned and come short—God’s love reaches every man. Jesus “tasted death for every man” (Heb. 2:9). When we survey the duration of time—we find God has “loved us with an everlasting love” (Jer.31:3). Jesus is the Lamb “slain before the foundation of the world.” A sinner may go to Hell unsaved but he cannot go to Hell unloved. When we survey the cross, we Measure the Love of God.

Measure the Sin of Man. How wicked the heart of man! 2500 years before the Cross, God “saw that the wickedness of man was great and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). Jesus’ evaluation of the human heart in Mark 7:21-22 is as up to date as today’s newspaper. Each week we could collect a large volume of sins committed in our world—the same plots but different character. Many illustrations of wickedness and sinfulness.

     But the most awful, most vile crime eve committed by human hands is revealed when we look at the Cross—God murder! Consider the crimes against Jesus: (1) Wicked Betrayal—a good friend turned him in, led the mob to Jesus, and planted a hypocritic  kiss on His cheek. (2) Illegally Tried—the greatest miscarriage of justice in history was Jesus’ arrest, interrogation, and trials—all illegal! Illegal in the wrong place, wrong time, wrong people, harassment, bodily harm, tormenting, taunting, brutality, false witnesses. Why? They wanted to “put Him to death” (Matt.27:11). (3) Falsely Accused and Unjustly Sentenced—they lied about Him, declared Him guilty of death, dragged Him to Pontius Pilate, chose a murderer (Barabbas) in His place, heard Pilate say three times, “I find no fault in this Man.” Why did they want Jesus dead? Sin the human heart. Poisoned perversity in the soul. Utter depravity. Peter and Stephen said, “You took by wicked and lawless hands---and---you have become the betrayers and murderers of the Just One” (Acts 2:23 and 7:52). Sin takes man deeper, darker, and deadlier. The illustration of Mel Trotter who was so drunkenly vile that he took the shoes off his dead daughter in the casket and used them to buy more alcohol. When we survey the Cross, we Measure the Sin of Man.

Measure the Sacrifice of Jesus.  Is there any hope for man? Yes! We can be forgiven and enjoy Heaven, here and hereafter, but sin has to be dealt with. Sin is like cancer—must kill it or it will kill you. To that end, “Christ as suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh” (1 Pet. 3:18). Only the way of the Cross leads home to heaven. We must go by the way of the Crosss.

      Let’s call the roll around the Cross. Jesus bore

  • Pilate’s Sins – compromise and cowardice

  • Caiphas’ (High Priest) Sins – bribery, hatred

  • Judas’ Sins – treachery, greed, devilishness

  • Peter’s Sins – cursing lying, boasting, pride

  • Herod’s Sins – murder, malice, mocking

  • The Soldiers’ Sins – gambling, godlessness

  • Barabbas’ Sins – murder, sedition, robbery

The Bible says Jesus” “bore OUR griefs…carried OUR sorrows….was wounded for OUR transgressions….was bruised for OUR iniquities….and God laid on Him the iniquity of US ALL. All of our sins and the entire sins of all people multiplied by the number of people who have lived! God made Jesus, Who knew no sin, to be sin for us. Sin was killed by Jesus on the Cross. What a Sacrifice!

     John Griffin was a bridge operator across the Mississippi River. The bridge would go up to let boats through and close to let trains across. One day he brought his 8 year old son to work with him. The boy loved to see the bridge go up. At lunch they went to an observation deck, 200’ over the bridge. Soon they heard the train whistle—it was time for the Memphis Express—400 passengers rushing across the bridge in a couple of minutes. John told his son to stay there. He ran along the catwalk, climbed the ladder to the Control Room, and put his hand on the huge lever that controlled the bridge. He looked up and down the river, then down to see if there were any boats beneath the bridge. Then he saw a sign that froze his blood! His son had tried to follow him but had fallen into the huge gear box that operated the bridge. His leg was caught between the two main gears. The father knew if he pushed the lever, his son would be ground in the middle of 8 tons of grinding steel. He knew he did not have time to rescue his son and get back in time to lower the bridge so the train could cross the River. He knew what he had to do, buried his head in his arm, and pushed the gear forward. The bridge lowered into place and the train safely roared across. He looked into the windows of the train: people reading newspapers, ladies sipping tea, children eating ice cream, and men playing cards. No one saw the man in the Control Room with tears streaming down his face. No one looked down at the great gear box. In heart-wrenching agony, John screamed: “Don’t you people know what I just did for you> I sacrificed my son for you> Don’t any of you care?’               God is asking the world today the same question: “Don’t you people know what I did for you? I sacrificed My Son for you.”  Survey the Cross today!

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