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The Ironies of the Cross

Here’s the video that I shared with my Foundations of the Faith Class last week, who were gracious enough to give me the day off so I could preach for both services.
I first heard this sermon at The Master’s Seminary when DA Carson spoke there for us and it left a lasting impression that is still with me today. I hope that it’s a blessing to you.

February 04 2009 | Blog | Comments Off on The Ironies of the Cross

The Cross of Christ Review

I just recently finished reading through “The Cross of Christ” by John R.W. Stott. I don’t know of any other book, except the Bible, that I can say had such a powerful impact on my mind as well as my heart consistently through the entire work. After every chapter and sometimes after every paragraph I would find myself with tears in my eyes thanking God for my salvation bought through the cross of Christ.

The Cross of Christ” is 13 chapters long and about 340 pages. The book is broken up into 4 major sections. Stott deals with 1) Approaching the Cross, 2) The Heart of the Cross, 3) The Achievement of the Cross, and 4) Living Under the Cross. Throughout the book Stott looks long and hard at the Cross. He leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the different theories about the cross, whether it be the nature of the atonement or the problem of evil this book looks unflinchingly at all of them. What I appreciate about Stott’s writing is that, while remaining orthodox, he carefully evaluates alternative theories and picks out the best nuggets of truth in them while leaving behind that which is less desirable.

In short, I fully recommend this book to anyone who is thinking or has ever thought about the cross. It’s that good. I’ll close with a quote from Stott on the subject of Why Did Christ Die? In speaking of the role of Judas, Pilate, and the Jewish leadership in the death of Christ Stott writes:

We too sacrifice Jesus to our greed like Judas, to our envy like the priests, to our ambition like Pilate. “Where you there when they crucified my Lord?” the old negro spiritual asks. And we must answer, “Yes, we were there.” Not as spectators only, but as participants, guilty participants, plotting, scheming, betraying, bargaining and handing him over to be crucified. We may try to wash our hands of responsibility like Pilate. But out attempt will be as futile as his. For there is blood on our hands. Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us (leading us to faith and worship), we have to see it as something done by us (leading us to repentance). Indeed, “only the man who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of the cross,” wrote Canon Peter Green, “may claim his share in its grace.”

 

October 15 2007 | Blog | Comments Off on The Cross of Christ Review

Suffering and Spiritual Growth

In my reading today I’m working through a chapter on suffering and it’s relation to the cross in “The Cross of Christ” by John Stott. As I began to digest the following quote, I decided it would be a good one to share here on the blog. It seems to be absolutely true to me and offers a direct challenge to my own desire for spiritual growth.

Jon Stott writes, “Biblical teaching and personal experience thus combine to teach that suffering is the path to holiness or maturity. There is always an indefinable something about people who have suffered. They have a fragrance that others lack. They exhibit the meekness and gentleness of Christ. One of the most remarkable statements Peter makes in his first letter is that ‘he who has suffered in his body is done with sin’ (1 Peter 4:1). Physical affliction, he seems to be saying, actually has the effect of making us stop sinning. This being so, I sometimes wonder if the real test of our hunger for holiness is our willingness to experience any degree of suffering if only thereby God will make us holy.

October 03 2007 | Blog | Comments Off on Suffering and Spiritual Growth

Hymns & the Cross

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time meditating on the cross. The catalyst for this meditation has been the book “The Cross of Christ” by John Stott. It’s an excellent work that looks deeply at the cross. As I’ve been reading about the cross and meditating on the cross, two hymns have sprung to my mind and driven me to tears on more than one occasion.

The first is from “Rock of Ages”
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to your Cross I cling;
Naked, come to you for dress;
Helpless, look to you for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

The second is by Horatius Bonar
‘Twas I that shed the sacred blood;
I nailed him to the tree;
I crucified the Christ of God;
I joined the mockery.

Of all that shouting multitude
I feel that I am one;
And in that din of voices rude
I recognize my own.

Around the cross the throng I see,
Mocking the Sufferer’s groan;
Yet still my voice it seems to be,
As if I mocked alone.

September 11 2007 | Blog | Comments Off on Hymns & the Cross

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