Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:17-25
I. Introduction: Why do Christians put such emphasis on the cross? What message does it convey, and exactly what does it symbolize?
A. The cross is a message about the justice of God.
- God is the epitome of holiness and righteousness, so He must punish sin.
- Every other religion teaches that people reach God through their works.
- God placed all the sin of humanity on Christ in order to provide a substitute in our place.
- God deals not only with our actions; He changes us from the inside out.
B. The cross is a message about the wisdom of God.
- The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. The Jews and Greeks saw the cross as a sign of weakness, shame, and punishment for crime.
- Because salvation is a gift of God, we can’t take credit for what God has done in our lives.
- God’s redemptive plan is unique in human history.
- People who attempt to work for their salvation never know if they have done enough to go to heaven. In contrast, those who receive God’s forgiveness have assurance of their salvation.
C. The cross is a message about the love of God.
- God is love, but that doesn’t mean He overlooks sin.
- If you receive salvation but then live a disobedient, rebellious life, God will discipline you in love.
- No one deserves to go to heaven. A 90-year-old man and a 10-year-old boy are both saved by grace.
D. The cross is a message about the power of God.
- Paul writes that the cross is about God’s power (1 Cor. 1:18).
- God's power transforms anyone who will accept salvation.
- Example: Prisoners who are incarcerated for life but have never felt freer
- Example: A drug addict whose life was eventually transformed after he heard one sentence about God’s unconditional love
III. Closing: The message of the cross is that the Lord is willing to save anyone who asks. Once you ask Him to forgive your sins, He instantly begins to change your life. Live every day in the assurance that you are in God’s loving hand, and that He will take care of you for all eternity.