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1 Corinthians 1:18 & 23
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. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified.”
The eternal Son of God gave His life on the cross and rose again from the dead making possible forgiveness of sins, reconciliation to God and eternity in heaven rather than in hell. The message of the gospel therefore needs to go out to all. What a pity we cannot blaze it out across the sky in letters a mile high! “FOR WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED,” (Romans 10:13). But that is not God’s way. He wants His people to pass on the message of the cross, both individually and through the public proclamation of this message.
Paul gives us the essential element of gospel preaching in the verses above. It is the message of the cross that God uses to bring men and women to Himself, a message that is foolishness to the natural man. They ask, “What possible difference can the savage death of someone 2,000 years ago make to me?” It makes no more sense to most people in our day than it did to the crowd who stood mocking and scoffing around the cross on the day of the crucifixion. But Paul tells us that this message is actually THE POWER OF GOD.
Through responding to the message of the cross, people are transformed from sinners to saints, from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, from a state of alienation from God to one of reconciliation and are moved from the broad way that leads to destruction to the narrow road that leads to life. There is no other message that can have these dramatic, eternal consequences!
There are, of course, many ways in which this message can be communicated but we must always make sure the cross is at the centre of our witness and our preaching. It seems desperately sad that so little emphasis is given to the message of the cross in the Christian church generally. Paul certainly hammered this message home in his letter to the church at Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 1:17 he said, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.” A little later, in chapter 2:1-2, he continued, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
It could hardly be clearer. The cross has been the centre of the message down through 20 centuries and must continue to be so! That fact will never be changed.