Sermon notes from 7/16/17 – “The Tower of the Cross”

“THE TOWER OF THE CROSS”          Gal. 6:14

INTRO – Driving home from Philadelphia, MS a few weeks ago. Noticed some crosses rising above the buildings in the downtown area. Steeples of different churches – probably the First Baptist Church, the First Methodist Church, & the Presbyterian Church. Very common in small MS towns for those 3 to be located close to each other in the downtown area. Those crosses tower over cities & towns all across Mississippi.

Berry’s restaurant in Florence – The cross towers over that eating establishment.

Largest cross in western hemisphere – Corpus Christi, TX. A church there broke ground on the cross last year. When finished, it will tower over 210 ft. in the air. A USA Today article said this about it: “Once completed, the cross will be visible from 5 miles away by land and 10 miles by air; planes flying into Corpus Christi International Airport will descend about a half-mile to the east. The cross is expected to take about a year, and $1 million, to complete.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/02/04/texas-sized-americas-largest-cross-built/79809414/)

But it’s still over 200 feet shorter than the cross monument in Madrid that is 495 ft. tall.

I think these crosses, whether on top of a church in downtown MS, or on a mountainside in Spain, are powerful reminders of the old rugged cross that was erected outside of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. I hope that those who build these crosses truly understand what the REAL cross was all about when the Savior of the world bled & died on it to pay the price for our sins.

 

But the question I have for you today doesn’t have anything to do w/ the crosses in Philadelphia, MS, Corpus Christi, TX, or Madrid, Spain. My question has everything to do w/ the cross of Jesus. Here’s the question: Does the cross tower over your life today?

 

THE CROSS TOWERS OVER OUR SIN – 1 Peter 2:24 – Can we talk about sin for just a minute? It’s something we all know a whole lot about, & it’s something that God talks a whole lot about. Truthfully, if this church or any church is going to experience true revival, then the sin that is our lives & in our midst must be dealt with. It’s not a pleasant experience, & many times we try to avoid it if we can. But, I’ve discovered in my life that God doesn’t let me avoid or ignore the sin in my life. His Holy Spirit brings conviction to my heart in many different ways & in many different circumstances.

  • Sometimes it’s in church
  • Sometimes it’s in my own personal quiet time or Bible study (even preparing this sermon)
  • Sometimes it’s in the middle of the night when He wakes me up

But b/c He loves me so much, God won’t allow that sin to sit in the middle of my heart w/out speaking to me about it. And maybe that’s what He’s doing in your heart right now.

You see, God dealt w/ our sin once & for all on the cross. That’s what the Bible tells us in 1 Peter 2:24.

  • Our sins will kill us – Rom. 6:23 – “The wages of sin is death.” So Jesus died FOR us on the cross so that WE can die – not physically or spiritually, but die to our sins.
  • Our sins will kill us – James 1:15 – “…desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” So Jesus died FOR us on the cross so that WE can live – “…but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  • Our sins will kill us – Rom. 5:12 – “…just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” So Jesus died FOR us to heal us from the deadly cancer of sin – “by His wounds you have been healed.”

The cross towers over our sin b/c ONLY the cross can help us & save us from our sins.

  • Good works won’t tower over our sins.
  • Willpower won’t tower over our sins.
  • Going to church more won’t tower over our sins.
  • ONLY THE CROSS!

 

THE CROSS TOWERS OVER OUR SELF – Luke 9:23 – You know who is one of the biggest enemies you have in this life? It’s not radical terrorists – Not cancer – Not drug dealers, or carjackers, or murderers, or rapists, or road rage maniacs. Your biggest enemy is YOU! Your SELF is one of your biggest enemies in your life, & one of the biggest hindrances to the work of Jesus in you. When self is on the throne of your life, calling the shots & leading you along in life, you are in big trouble.

  • 1 John 2:16 – “Everything in the world – the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, & the pride of life – comes not from the Father, but from the world.” That boastful pride of life – that self-filled, pride-filled attitude that says, “Look at me & all of my accomplishments,” is deadly! That’s why Jesus said if we want to come after Him, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, & follow Him.

Why did Jesus say to take up our cross?

  • The cross shows the seriousness that must happen.
  • The cross shows the service that must happen.
  • The cross shows the sacrifice that must happen.

The cross towers over our self. It points to Jesus, causing us to turn away from ourselves & turn to the only One who can save us & set us free from ourselves.

 

THE CROSS TOWERS OVER OUR SUFFERING – Heb. 12:2 – We are going to suffer in this world. You & I know that. We’ve experienced it in many ways.

  • Difficulties in our family
  • Debilitating sickness & disease
  • Distressing financial troubles
  • Disruption of relationships
  • Defeat in our lives due to sin
  • Death of loved ones

Suffering is all around us, & sometimes can overwhelm us.

  • Plane crash in the Delta
  • Shootings in Brookhaven
  • Massive fire in London apt. building
  • Constantly going to hosp, funeral home, & people’s homes to be w/ folks in midst of their suffering.

But the cross towers over all of our suffering. On that cross, Jesus suffered in ways that you & I can only imagine. Heb. 12:2 tells us that He endured the cross for us, suffering there FOR us so that we will have the strength we need to make it through our suffering.

 

THE CROSS TOWERS OVER OUR SALVATION – 1 Cor. 1:18

 

CONCLUSION – Little boy was lost, separated from parents. Told police officer, “Take me to the cross! I can find my home from there!”

You & I can make it home if we will get to the cross!

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