The preaching of Christ crucified

Selie Visa  

The foundation of every message: The foundation of all preaching, i.e. the foundation on which every message is based, must be the Cross of Christ. We must preach the Cross. Paul said, "For 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).  

Paul did not come preaching with human wisdom, he is speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In his avoidance of human ostentation, he realizes that the straightforward presentation of the message of the cross produces two effects. It is foolishness to those who are on the way to being lost, but the power of God to those who are being saved.  

The wisdom of God: Next Paul said, "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe." (1 Corinthians 1:21).  

To Paul, in God's all-wise purpose human beings with all their philosophical and religious wisdom and searching did not come to know God. This is not to deny the truth that people have certain knowledge of God through the natural creation. But Paul says it was God's good purpose to save those who believe by the seemingly foolish process of preaching the cross.  

The world’s ways of seeking God: And then Paul said, "Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles" (1 Corinthians 1:23).  

In explaining the world's seeking God through wisdom, Paul states that the Jews seek for "miraculous signs" and the Greeks seek "wisdom" and that through these means they hope to find the answers to the questions about God and life. The Jews were seeking signs to identify the Messiah and the apocalyptic deliverance they hoped God would bring them.

Paul's task is to preach Christ crucified. He uses the form of the verb "crucified" that implies that Christ's death has a continuous vicarious effect. To the unsaved Jews, however, this message of a crucified Christ was a "stumbling block", an offense, for they expected a political deliverer. To the non-Jewish world the cross was "foolishness"-- criminals died on crosses, so how could the cross provide any moral philosophical standard to help them toward salvation? Furthermore, the Greeks and Romans looked on one crucified as the lowest of criminals, so how could such a one be considered a savior?  

Paul’s proclamation of the Cross: And then finally, "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2).  

Paul came with the sole purpose of centering his attention on the truth concerning Jesus Christ-- on the fact and meaning of his crucifixion. It was not sufficient for Paul to tell about Jesus and his life; he had also to tell about his death for sinners. Christ died on a Roman cross at Jerusalem, and his death was effective then and is effective now to bring forgiveness to sinners.  

If we understand Paul at all, we understand that his message was the Cross of Christ. That's what he preached, and that's what he preached continually. The Word of God cannot be properly understood without one first having a proper understanding of the Cross.  

Bringing people to a decision: The Cross of Christ is not a new message. It is actually the story of the Bible. It is the foundation of all that we are in Christ Jesus. Whenever the Cross of Christ is preached, the Holy Spirit brings men to a decision. They either have to accept it and be saved, or reject it and be lost. This pertains not only to unbelievers, but it pertains to the Church as well. The Cross must be preached to the Church, if they are going to walk in victory.  

The finished work of Christ: The work of Christ at the Cross is called a "Finished Work," which is portrayed by Paul in Hebrews 1:3 by Jesus being "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." As well, Paul referred to this great work as "the blood of the eternal covenant" (Hebrews 13:20). Our Savior cried out from the Cross before His death, "It is finished."  

Carpenters in Jesus' day, as well as in modern times, kept a handkerchief, napkin, or towel upon which they wiped their hands, brushed away sawdust, etc., as they worked. However in Jesus' day, carpenters had a tradition. When they finished their work, they would take this handkerchief, fold it neatly, and then lay it upon the top of the piece as a symbol that their work was complete. On the Day of the Resurrection, Peter and John run to the tomb. John peeks in first, then Peter. "Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen." (John 20:6 & 7)

  This symbol, the burial cloth lying by itself, was a symbolic from the Jewish Carpenter that His work was complete. The Work is complete! Trust in the Cross of Christ completely.  

In conclusion: The Church is entering into the last great apostasy, the rise of the Antichrist and the great Tribulation period. At that time, the Cross is going to be the dividing line between the True Church and the Apostate Church.  

Let’s go back in time to Calvary, where Christ's blood flowed down that horrible hill. Jesus Christ paid sin's debt and broke sin's dominion. Jesus invites you today to come to Him. Come to Him and find sweet rest for your souls, for His yoke and easy, and His burden is light. Christ built a bridge with his body on the Cross which could span the extremes of man's sinfulness and God's righteousness and offers to us the hope of forgiveness and eternal life. The Cross of Christ is your answer. It has always been your answer, and it will always be your answer.