Paul told the Church at Corinth, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” The term “crucified” points to the salvation action of Jesus Christ on the Cross, which resulted in His sacrificial death.
That was a bold statement from Paul. It proved that nothing was as important to his ministry than the message about the Cross of Christ. The reference to the Cross of Christ is mentioned around two hundred times in the New Testament.
The Cross of Christ was an actual event which deserves to be prioritized and emphasized. When Christ died on the Cross, it manifested the supreme purpose of God for eternal salvation. God knew that there was no other way for people to be spiritually rescued from the eternal consequences of sin. With keen insight, Paul confirmed that the Cross of Christ involved the “wisdom of God.
The Cross of Christ also manifested the supreme “power of God” for eternal salvation. What is not sufficiently factored so often is the divine power it took for God to accomplish His purposes through the crucifixion event. After all, the Cross of Christ effectively defeated a most formidable foe.
The Writer of Hebrews states the matter succinctly, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He (that is, Jesus Christ) also Himself likewise took part of the same, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
Ultimately, the Cross of Christ is not an event we should romanticize or fantasize. It is not an event to be soft-pedaled to make palatable for spiritual acceptation. It should not be taken for granted or ignored. Least of all, it should not be forgotten. The event of the Cross of Christ and the subsequent spiritual benefits that result from it must be taken with all seriousness and sincerity.
With this in mind, Churches do a lot to minister to the needs of people. Churches feed people. Churches provide for people. Churches aid people in trouble.
Churches tell people a lot of things, too. Churches tell people that God loves them and that God cares for them. Churches tell people God has a plan and a purpose for them. Churches tell people God forgives.
These things are extremely good and noble. These things should be done by the Church. The things should be said by the Church. But, in doing these things and saying these things, we are too often remiss when we do not directly identify them with and tie them in with the dynamic of the Cross of Christ.
The Man who detailed how the Church should consider itself accountable to others is the same Man who suffered, bled, and died on the Cross for the purpose of changing people’s lives.
That is the point Paul nailed down with the Church at Corinth. Whatever he did, he primarily wanted to communicate what people at large needed to know about the Cross of Christ. For example, the Church may provide for physical and temporal needs, but people also need to know that, by the Cross of Christ, God supplied the extreme eternal need for each person. The Church may provide a temporary benefit, but the Cross of Christ provided for an eternal benefit. Cutting to the chase, without the Cross of Christ, there is no hope for Heaven.
A meal may give a person hope for a day. A kind Bible-based word may give a person comfort for a day. But, it is the telling about the Cross of Christ that supplies the deepest spiritual need.
The benevolent acts and kind attitudes of the Church should not be primarily motivated to accomplish warm fuzzy feelings. It should not boil down to a matter of statistics we can tell fellow churches at denominational meetings.
But, in the process, we should be mindful to point it all to the Cross of Christ. Be mindful to report what Jesus Christ accomplished, and what it took for Him to get it done. The best thing we can do for others is to tell them the Gospel.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.