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        James R. Davis

        John 3:14-17
        And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

        Intro:

        A. Cross seems like an old fashion notion, myth, and superstition. Efforts made to belittle bloodshed on cross. Efforts have been made to take all references to Christ blood out of our hymnals.

        Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

        1. Why? We say man isn’t bad. We think our standard of morality is enough.Good moral people to be commended but it are not enough.

        2. Fail to see the purpose of Christ death.

        a. Many like the Pharisee fail to see the need of Christ salvation.

        Luke 18:9-14
        And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

        c .The Publican understood his need, " God be merciful to me a sinner."

        Isa 59:1-2
        Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

        Ps 34:18-19
        The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

        d. Some of our brethren have same attitude after baptism and they have forgotten that they were purged from their sins by the blood on the cross.

        2 Pet 1:5-10
        And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

        D. What is the attraction of the cross to our personal lives?

        I. THINGS NOT THE APPEAL OF THE CROSS.

        A. Suffering – thieves suffered– Nero burned others at stake
        B. Noble cause – apostles – those who die for country
        C. Not the fact that a popular person died.
        D. Not the physical attraction of the cross. We wear them around our neck.

        II. APPEAL OF CROSS IS GOD’S LOVE WAS MANIFESTED THERE.

        A. I could not nail my child to the cross for you. God gave the greatest that he had to give. What father wouldn't die for his child? If God gave himself to save his Son then we would not have gotten the greatest gift. That would have limited God's love.

        B. We say how can God condemn anyone?

        1 Pet 1:15-16
        But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

        C. Question is, How can God save a sinners? Man’s dilemma in Eden.

        Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

        D. Man today no different.

        Rom 7:14-25
        We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

        E. Paul explains man’s dilemma in first century.

        Rom 1:18-32
        The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-- his eternal power and divine nature-- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-- who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

        Sounds like the headlines to yesterday's newspaper. Only way was for Christ to suffer.

        Rom 5:6-10
        You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

        III. APPEAL OF CROSS IS CHRIST LOVE WAS MANIFESTED THERE.

        A. Willing to be numbered with the transgressors.

        Isa 53:1-12
        Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: an d we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

        John 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

        B. Willing to be smitten for us.

        Isa 53:4-5
         

        IV. APPEAL OF CROSS IS THAT DIETY DIED FOR MAN.

        A. Mob challenged Christ to come down from the cross.

        Matt 27:39-45
        And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

        B. The amazing thing is that Jesus could have come down from the cross.

        Matt 26:51-53
        And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

        Heb 1:3
        Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

        Col 1:14-17
        In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

         John 1:1-3
        In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

         Phil 2:6-8
        Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

        D. Herod’s destruction of the babies. Satan tempted Christ. Satan made death so horrible that anyone would naturally shun it. Yet deity did all this for the "joy set before him."

        Heb 12:1-2
        Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

        1. Disregarded the mocking crowd.
        2. Disregarded the suffering

        E. God's eternal purpose held him to the cross.

        Eph 3:10-12
        His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.  In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
         

        V. GOD BEFRIENDED MAN.

        A. We need people who believe in us. We tend to rise to others expectation of us. The cross was Gods statement that He believed in man. God comes to disappointed people and says they are priceless even when they think they are worthless. He believes in us even when we believe nothing but the worst about ourselves.

        John 12:32
        And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

        A well to do man who believed in a woman that others treated like dirt. He bows before her. She puts herself down. He lifts her up.When she finally realizes that he believes in her, she begins to believe in herself. She found a friend who says she is priceless even when she feels worthless.

        B. Jesus demonstrated through the cross that he did not come condemning us for our past but he came to give us a future.

        John 3:17
        For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

        C. To the men who brought the adulterous woman, "Let him that is without sin cast the first stone."
        Jesus came to lift us out of rejection. The cross says God accepts us for who we are.
        There is much rejection in this world. We dress in a stainless steel armored suit and try to be what we think others expect us to be. We end up not having an intimate relationship with anyone.

        D. We hold to an inferior way of living. We fail to find a true friend because we are afraid others will not accept us for who we are. Many do not find a true friend in God because they can’t believe He will accept them as they are.   Many reason that they are not good enough to be accepted by God. They keep hoping that someday they will be able to live up to a certain standard. Then they can reach out to God and expect him to reach back.
         

        CONCLUSION:

        John 10:27-29
        My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

        Notice that Jesus' sheep hear his voice and they follow him, then he gives them eternal life.

        John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

        Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

         Matt 10:32-33
        Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

         Mark 16:15-16
        And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

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