“The Power of the Cross”
To set the tone of the message, consider the hymn
"In the Cross of Christ, I Glory"
In the cross of Christ I glory,
Tow’ring o’er the wrecks of time,
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.
When the woes of life o’er – take me
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me;
Lo, it glows with peace and joy.
When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.
Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.
How many of you remember September 11th, 2001?
When the World Trade Center collapsed, excavators found a cross shaped beam in the wreckage. It became a place of worship and a symbol of hope.
A similar story is associated with the hymn we sang. On an island in the region of Hong Kong, a magnificent cathedral was destroyed and all that was left was the front wall. On the top of it was a great metal cross, blackened with age, silhouetted against the sky. It's said that the author of the hymn, John Bowring, was so inspired by the story that he wrote the hymn "In the Cross of Christ, I Glory."
Now while that story is skeptical, we do have a verified story about Rathbun, the tune to which this hymn is set. It was composed by an organist named Ithamar Conkey in 1849. This tune came about one Sunday, when only one soprano showed up for the choir. A discouraged Conkey left the service after the prelude. That afternoon, in a different frame of mind, he wrote this tune and named it for the one faithful soprano, Mrs. Beriah S. Rathbun.
Crosses come in different shapes and sizes.
A friend of mine has 165 crosses that he's collected over the years!
What sets Christianity apart from
every other belief system or religion?
Three things stand out:
1. The Cross
2. The Resurrection
3. The Holy Spirit
“IT IS FINISHED.”
It was HIS LIFE for ours – A RANSOM PAID
To buy us back from our lost condition
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have ETERNAL LIFE.”
Declared JESUS as Victor over death
Humanity’s most unsolvable problem
The Resurrection assures us that POWER beyond human comprehension is available to followers of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit
The power of the resurrected Jesus comes to us through
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”
“…the fruit of the Spirit is – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”.
In closing, we consider the words from the hymn
"Drawn to the Cross":
Drawn to the cross, which Thou has blessed
With healing gifts for souls distressed,
To find in Thee my life, my rest,
Christ crucified, I come.
And then for work to do for Thee,
Which shall so sweet a service be
That angels well might envy me,
Christ crucified, I come.