1. Hello listening friends, we are delighted that you are listening to us again.
2. We have been talking about the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. The cross is one of the most misunderstood symbols in the world.
4. And yet the cross is central to the Christian faith.
5. The cross needs to be understood because you have to either accept it or reject it.
6. But you need to understand it before you make your decision.
7. You may see a cross on top of churches.
8. You may see the cross worn as an adornment.
9. Some even tattoo the cross on their skin.
10. I have met people who were wearing a cross but they did not know the true meaning of the cross.
12. Because our generation is becoming more and more self-centered and self-focused it is becoming harder and harder to comprehend the meaning of the cross.
13. Because the core of the cross is self-giving it is difficult to explain it to a generation that wants to get and take all the time.
14. The very core of the Christian faith is built on self-giving.
15. The very essence of the gospel is in serving.
16. The very message of the cross is that the perfect and the sinless died for the unworthy and undeserving.
17. It is not by accident that the early church chose the cross as their symbol.
18. They could have chosen the crib or a manger in which the baby Jesus was born.
19. They could have chosen the carpenters bench at which Jesus worked as a young man in Nazareth.
20. They could have chosen the boat from which he taught the crowd in Galilee.
21. They could have chosen the apron he wore when he washed the apostles feet.
22. They could have chosen the stone which was rolled from the mouth of the empty tomb.
23. They could have chosen a throne symbolizing his divine sovereignty.
24. They could have chosen a dove symbolizing the holy spirit coming from heaven.
25. Any of these seven symbols would have been suitable to emphasize one or more aspects of Jesus’ ministry.
26. But instead they saw all of these come together in the symbol of the cross.
27. In fact, the crucifix with the figure of Jesus attached to the cross was not known and not used until the sixth century.
29. Because the early Christians believed as we do that the cross is empty like the tomb.
30. The price has been paid.
31. The redemption is complete.
32. The perfect sacrifice has been offered.
33. That is why the cross and not the crucifix is our symbol.
34. But the cross and the crucifixion of our Lord did not happen in a vacuum.
35. In this broadcast and in the next, I am going to trace the cross from Genesis to Revelation.
36. For thousands of years before Jesus’ incarnation the cross has been in the mind of God.
37. From the beginning of creation God has instituted the idea of sacrifice.
38. God is the one who foreknown what will happen to His creation through Adam’s sin and rebellion he is the one who taught Adam the importance of substitutionary sacrifice.
39. God is the one who has shepherded his people into understanding of the concept of self-giving and self-sacrifice as the price for disobedience.
40. And all of the sacrifices in the Old Testament were merely a prefiguring of the greatest sacrifice of all.
41. The real and final sacrifice was the sacrifice of the God-Man, Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
42. The book of Hebrews tells us that the blood of animals could never take away sin.
43. Only the pure blood of the Lamb of God can take away the sin of the world.
44. Well, some of you may be asking, well, if the blood of animals couldn’t take away sin, why did God institute it.
45. I am glad you are thinking about that question, because I want to answer it.
47. Every animal that was sacrificed could only offer a temporary covering for sin.
49. With every animal that was sacrificed, God was teaching his people that He is a holy and righteous God.
50. He was teaching them that every disobedience carries with it certain punishment.
51. He was teaching them that every guilt has to be transferred to something that was innocent.
52. That very animal that was sacrificed was dying in the place of the guilty Israelite.
54. Animal sacrifice in the Old Testament was to serve as prefiguring of what Jesus will accomplish on Calvary’s cross.
55. Which is the only sacrifice that will perfectly take away sins forever.
56. Please listen very carefully to what I am going to tell you.
57. For God’s justice to prevail, guilt must be punished.
58. For God’s justice to prevail, sin must be dealt with.
59. For God’s justice to prevail, rebellion had to find a cure.
60. And on the cross, God himself, the most innocent one of all paid the price for your guilt and my guilt so that we the guilty ones, may be set free.
61. God’s demand for justice through sacrifice began in Genesis 3:21.
62. After Adam and Eve deliberately and willfully broke God’s law that was given to the two of them.
63. God pronounced his sentence upon the two transgressors.
64. And he then slain an innocent animal whose skin would temporarily cover their sin.
65. God could have just as easily woven a silk gown for Eve and a nice suit for Adam but he didn’t.
67. God intended to teach them an object lesson in animal sacrifice for their sins which will only become fully comprehended at the cross of Calvary.
68. The lamb that had died for Adam and Eve’s sin was a symbol of the Lamb of God which God himself promised would bruise the serpents head.
69. Did Adam and Eve understand what God was doing on their behalf.
71. Did Adam and Eve understand the enormity of their rebellion and the offering of a sacrifice for their disobedience.
73. In fact, they taught this principle to the next generation.
74. Cain and Able were brought up to know the importance of animal sacrifice and the shedding of innocent blood for their sins.
75. Did both sons respond in obedience to their parents teaching.
77. Only Able understood this object lesson and offered an animal sacrifice to the Lord God.
78. But Cain wanted to offer the fruit of the ground.
79. Cain’s sacrifice was nothing short of doing his own thing.
80. Cain’s sacrifice was nothing short of going to God on his own terms.
81. Cain’s sacrifice was a continuation of his parent’s rebellion and disregard for God’s word.
82. Cain’s offerings were the self-centered and self-absorbed religion of our modern day.
83. In effect, Cain was saying, my parents are stupid.
84. In effect, Cain was saying, my parents should not have feared God.
85. In effect, Cain was saying, Able is weak for worshipping God, God’s way.
86. I know better than all of them.
87. Now my listening friends, I want to ask you to listen very carefully.
88. How do you worship God?
89. Do you worship God whenever it’s convenient for you?
90. Do you worship God whenever it does not cost you much?
91. Do you worship God whenever you are not busy?
92. Do you worship God whenever you feel like it?
93. Do you worship God only when you get into trouble?
94. Is your devotion to God acceptable to God?
95. Let’s listen to Genesis 4:4 and 5.
96. The Lord had regard for Able and his sacrifice, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard.
97. No wonder Hebrews 11:4 tells us that by faith Able offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did.
1. By faith, he was commended as a righteous man when God spoke well of his offerings.
2. And by faith he still speaks even though he is dead.
3. What sacrifice is God asking you to make?
4. How are you responding to his persistent voice?
5. Do you give back to God from the blessings that God has given you?
6. Or do you spend all your resources on yourself.
7. Do you offer God the sacrifice of obedience?
8. Cain was trying to offer God his empty good work.
9. But Able offered the sacrifice that God wanted him to offer.
10. Cain offered God the crumbs off his self-righteousness.
11. But Able offered the sacrifice of acknowledging his need for a pardon
12. Cain thought that by giving God the fruit of the land he was bribing God.
13. But Able sought to please God, God’s way.
14. Cain responded to God out of pride.
15. As if to say, I know better.
16. But Able learned from his parents sin and he came to God in brokenness and obedience.
17. My listening friend I want you to listen very carefully.
18. Every blood-sacrifice ritual that has ever been practiced on the face of the earth especially in primitive cultures.
19. Have their original roots in God’s shedding of the blood of a lamb to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness.
20. But what happened was, that in all these pagan societies that offer animal sacrifice today have perverted the true meaning of sacrifice.
21. Idol worshipers have kept their practice but lost the meaning.
22. Instead of understanding the limited and practical atonement of animal sacrifice.
23. Instead of understanding that those sacrifices have their ultimate fulfillment in the cross.
24. They use it to bribe their gods.
25. The Bible said that Adam lived to the age of 930.
26. No doubt he taught this principle down the generational ladder all the way to Lamech the father of Noah.
27. Noah was 600 years old when he and his sons were found practicing this truth of animal sacrifice.
28. And that is why they found favor in the eyes of the Lord and were spared the flood.
29. In Genesis 8:19 and 20.
30. The first thing Noah did upon disembarking from the ark was to offer a sacrifice of one of every clean animal and bird to the Lord on the alter.
31. Noah passed this revelation to his descendents and that’s why we find Abraham who was 57 years of age when Noah died was offering animal sacrifice to the Lord.
32. And it was Abraham’s obedience that gave him the privilege of seeing the day of Jesus nearly 2000 years earlier and rejoiced.
33. When Isaac asked his father about the sacrifice on the way up to Mount Moriah, Abraham said in Genesis 22 and 8 the following.
34. God will provide himself the lamb for the burnt offering.
35. It was nearly 2000 years later, not far from the spot where God provided a lamb in the place of Isaac.
36. That Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world was slain for the sin of all who would believe in him.
37. And so it was in the economy of God that all of those who have the faith of Abraham became true descendents of Abraham.
38. Isaac has never forgotten what God has done for him in providing a lamb for a ransom for his life.
39. And he himself offered sacrifice to the Lord.
40. And he taught his sons, particularly Jacob the importance of animal sacrifice.
41. And when Jacob stopped running after wealth and power he began his relationship with God he erected an alter in Shechem naming it Eloi Elohi Israel.
42. God the God of Israel.
43. But after 400 years of slavery in Egypt, God had to teach his people afresh the concept of blood sacrifice on the day of Passover.
44. The Passover feast was celebrated annually for 1400 years.
45. Until all sacrifices found their fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ.
46. And then animal sacrifice stopped, never to be practiced again.
47. The one and only acceptable sacrifice took place on the cross once and for all.
48. One of the most important commands that God gave his people in Deuteronomy 6:20 is this.
49. He said when your children ask you about the Passover meal, you tell them what God has done for you.
50. Now listening friends, I want you to listen very carefully please.
51. Most parents want to pass on to their children some financial assets or some family treasures.
52. Yet, if you do all of that and fail to pass on to them your spiritual assets, you will have failed them.
53. Financial capital can ruin them.
54. But spiritual capital will bless them.
55. Material possession can be blown away.
56. But spiritual possession will last them for eternity.
57. Financial legacy will be spent.
58. But spiritual legacy will be always theirs.
59. Things will never bring them happiness.
60. Let me ask you this question.
61. But the joy of their salvation will endure forever.
62. What are you passing to your children?
63. Are you teaching your children worldly success or self-sacrifice?
64. Are you teaching your children self-centeredness or self-giving?
65. It was said of J. P. Morgan who was a wealthy entrepreneur sometime ago that his will contained 10,000 words.
66. Incorporated 37 different articles all of which were necessary because of the vast fortune that had to be properly dispersed.
67. But what J. P. Morgan valued most was indicated by the opening statement of that legal document and it read as follows.
68. I commit my soul to the hands of my Savior, full of confidence that having redeemed it and washed it with his most precious blood, he will present it faultless for the throne of my heavenly father.
69. And then he continued.
70. I entreat my children to defend at all hazard the blessed doctrine of complete atonement of sin through the blood of Jesus Christ once offered and through that alone.
71. No wonder God blessed that man and made him a blessing.
72. And in 1979 I had the privilege of meeting his granddaughter who is a strong and committed Christian because of the legacy of her grandfather.
73. I want to tell you this as I conclude.
74. God gave you his most prized possession.
75. It is his son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
76. What are you giving in return.
77. If the cross will teach us anything, it will teach us this.
78. That it is only in self-giving that contentment, and fulfillment and true joy can be found.
79. An unknown author wrote these words.
80. I counted dollars, but God counted crosses.
81. I counted gains, while he counted losses.
82. I counted my worth by the things gained in store, but he sized me up by the scars that I bore.
83. I counted honors and sought for degrees, but he wept as he counted hours on my knees.
84. And I never knew ‘til one day at the grave, how vain are these things that we spend time to save.
85. I pray that God the Holy Spirit has spoken to your heart tonight.
86. And that you are beginning to understand the cross of Jesus Christ.
87. Write to us and tell us.
88. And that you will tune in next time so that we can continue in this series of messages.
89. Until then, I wish you God’s richest blessings.