The Centrality Of The Cross
The late Reverend D. M. Stearns, Editor of "Kingdom Tidings," wrote a booklet titled "Message of the Cross" that was circulated in the millions.
On one occasion, Stearns was preaching in Philadelphia. At the close of the service, a stranger came up to him and said, "I don't like the way you spoke about the cross. I think that instead of emphasizing the death of Christ, it would be far better to preach Jesus, the teacher and example."
Stearns replied, "If I presented Christ in that way, would you be willing to follow Him?"
"I certainly would," said the stranger without hesitation.
"All right then," said the preacher, "let's take the first step. He did no sin. Can you claim that for yourself?"
The man looked confused and somewhat surprised. "Why, no," he said. "I acknowledge that I do sin."
Stearns replied, "Then your greatest need is to have a Savior, not an example!"
The cross is central to the gospel. But it is not always a popular message. Paul wrote, "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV).
He added, "We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength" (1 Corinthians 1:23-25, NIV).
John Bunyan said in his immortal book, Pilgrim's Progress, "I saw in my dreams that just as Christian (a character in the book) came up to the cross, his burden loosed from his shoulders and fell from his back and began to tumble till it came to the mouth of the sepulcher, where it fell in and I saw it no more. Then was Christian glad and lightsome and said with a merry heart, 'He has given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death.'"
Isaiah wrote, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed" (53:5, NIV).
In the entire universe, there is nothing like the cross, stained with the Savior's own blood.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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