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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - The Supreme Moment in Human History

Charles Stanley - The Supreme Moment in Human History


Charles Stanley - The Supreme Moment in Human History
TOPICS: Crucifixion, Timeless Truth

What is the supreme moment in human history? Well, if you were to ask people that, for example, if you were to ask a historian or a philosopher or a scientist, probably all of them would give you something different. In fact, if you asked most any person, "What is the supreme moment in all of human history"? you'd get a thousand or more different answers. But if you and I were to ask God that question, I think the answer would come very clear, very quickly. Because I do believe that, from God's perspective, the supreme moment in human history was the moment His Son, Jesus Christ, was crucified.

Now, a lot of people disagree with that. They just have to disagree with God. And I can understand why, rationally speaking and from a different perspective, somebody would say, "Well, that certainly was not the supreme moment of human history because this was just one man dying between two thieves, two criminals". Well, you see, the reason a person would object to that answer is simply because they don't understand what happened at the cross. In fact, most people don't really understand what happened at the cross. They look at the cross and they see Jesus hanging there, having been nailed there and having been crowned with thorns, and finally pierced in His side. And they see all the events surrounding the cross and they say, "Well, you know, Jesus died for my sins or Jesus died on the cross". What they don't realize is that the most important things that were going on that day, you and I never really understand by simply looking at a scene.

So, what I'd like to do is to show you why the most momentous, supreme, zenith, pinnacle event in all of human history is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. And I want you to turn, if you will, to Luke chapter twenty-four. And this is a passage that really does not describe the crucifixion, but it's a passage I want to read because of one particular verse here. And it's almost humorous in some sense of the word, but sorta sad on the other. And Jesus has been crucified and resurrected from the dead and now here are a couple of His followers on their way.

And in this twenty-fourth chapter of Luke, beginning in verse thirteen, here's what you read, "And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about the things which had taken place. And while they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached, and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them, 'What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?' And they stood still, looking sad. One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, 'Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?'"

Now, when I read that, and I've read this verse many, many times. When I read this verse, I just sorta fell on my knees in laughter. And I'll tell you why. He was the only one who knew what was going on that day. And they asked Him, "Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days"? And He was the only one who knew what happened the day He was crucified.

"And He said to them, 'What things?' And they said to Him, 'The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him up to the sentence of death and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things have happened. But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said He was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women had also said; but Him they did not see.' And He said to them, 'O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for Christ to suffer these things and to enter His glory?'"

Now, if somebody should ask you: What happened the day Jesus Christ was crucified? What happened at the cross? The first thing is simply this, and that is God judged sin the day Jesus Christ was crucified. When Jesus Christ was crucified, God judged sin. This He prophesied all the way back in the Garden of Eden when He said to Adam and Eve, "Of all the trees of the Garden you are freely to eat. But if you eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, ye shall surely die".

Then if you'll recall all through the scriptures, God warns us about sin. He says, "The soul that sins will die". In Romans, that first chapter, He makes it very clear in the eighteenth verse, he says that the wrath of God, God's animosity toward, His uncompromising hatred of sin, God's wrath is revealed from Heaven against all unrighteousness of men who hold or suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness. God hates sin. When we say that God judged sin, God did exactly that. Because all through the scriptures we find God expressing His, listen, His vehement opposition to all sin. For the simple reason He knows its destructive power in a person's life. All you have to do is look at a newspaper, look at a magazine, watch the television, listen to the radio, and you and I see the awesome consequences of sin in people's lives every single day.

God judged sin at the cross. When we say that God judged sin on the cross, here's what that means. He says that Jesus Christ bore our sin in His body. Which simply means, listen, now watch this, that God capsuled all the sin of mankind from Adam all the way back from Adam, all the way to the last person who will ever live. He capsuled all of that sin with all of its penalty, and what did He do? He placed every bit of that upon the person of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. He placed all of that sin upon Him. And then when He placed all of that sin upon Him, what did He do? He killed His only begotten Son and He killed Him and separated Himself from Him as a sinner. He placed all of our sin upon Him. He bore the total weight of all of our sin, all of our guilt.

Any one of us could come up with enough sin in our lives over these years, that our sin would be enough, but multiply that by hundreds and thousands and millions and billions of times, God placed upon His only begotten Son. Listen, the sum total. He capsuled all of sin and placed it upon the life, upon the body of His only begotten Son, and then He condemned Him. The key word, if you could just ask for what's one word that sums it all up, it is substitute. And that is that Jesus Christ went to the cross, listen, with your sin-debt and my sin-debt, every single sin we've ever committed, will ever commit, plus everybody who's ever lived. Put it all upon Him. And then when He put it upon Him, then He killed Him. That is, He crucified His only begotten Son.

So, when we say that God judged sin at the cross, what He did, listen. He judged and condemned sin in the person of His Son. There isn't anybody who's ever lived that could possibly ever live with whom God could have done that because every single one of us have sinned against God. And therefore, it took one who was absolutely sinless in order to bear the weight and the penalty for the sin of all mankind. But there's a second thing that He did at the cross that makes it the most momentous moment in human history, and that's this, that He defeated Satan. Somebody says, "Now wait a minute. Satan certainly isn't defeated because he works on me daily".

Or, we look around and see all the destructive things that are going on in the world today and we see that Satan is behind so much of what's happening. And somebody says, "Well, if He defeated Satan, somewhere along the way, Satan got away". No, he didn't get away. He defeated Satan that day. Well, how did He do that? Well, let's just think about it for a moment. Because when Jesus was talking to His disciples and they were... He was talking to them and some others about what was going to happen, here's what He said to them in that twelfth chapter of John. He says, "My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour?' But for this purpose, I came to this hour".

Jesus knew He came for the purpose of being the ultimate Lamb of God to, listen, to bear the sin of all mankind. "'Father, glorify Your name.' Then a voice out of heaven said: 'I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.' So the crowd of people who stood by heard it, were saying that it had thundered; and others were saying, 'An angel has spoken to Him.' Jesus answered and said, 'This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.'" Satan will be defeated. And what happened at the cross? Satan absolutely was defeated.

Now, let's think about it for a moment. When you think about how he looked like he was going to be victorious, look, if you will, in Colossians chapter two, because this probably sums it all up best of all. Colossians chapter two, and notice another very important passage of scripture. And look, if you will, beginning in verse thirteen. Colossians chapter two, verse thirteen. Scripture says, "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He," that is, God, "made you alive together with Christ, with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions". Now, watch this, "Having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us which was hostile to us; and He's taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him".

Now, what does he mean when he says that He canceled out the certificate of debt? Person was in debt, oftentimes they would list on a scroll or on a parchment all the things that they owed and they would nail it to the doorpost of their house. When those things were atoned for or paid for or paid down or paid off, the debt was fully paid, they would oftentimes strike a nail through it or take it away. And what he's simply saying is this. Watch this, when Jesus Christ went to the cross and He paid your sin-debt and mine in full, God took it away. That is, it's destroyed. There is, listen, we have no debt hanging on our name in heaven.

And I remember when I was a kid growing up, in the church I grew up in, they used to sing this song. "There's a new name written down in glory and it's mine". And they sang a song like this, "There's an old account was settled long ago," and talking about sin and victory and glory and all of these things. An old account was settled long time ago. Well, all of us have an account in heaven. Well, let me tell you something, if you've trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, there's one thing I know about your account and my account, watch this, that on your account and my account, listen, however He stamps it, He stamped on your account and mine "Paid in Full". How do I know that? Here's how I know that. Because when Jesus Christ went to the cross, He went to the cross as payment for our sin.

Now, there are people who say, "Well now, I know that God has forgiven me of my sin but you know what? I'm just not sure about this matter of being eternally secure, that I'm eternally secure". Well, let me ask you a question. If, when He went to the cross and God the Father put all your sin upon Him and He died and paid that penalty and the Father condemned Him because of sin, your sin and mine, let me ask you a question. If that didn't atone for all of your sin, then listen, the atoning death of Jesus Christ was only partial payment. And you know what? If I have only, listen, if I am only partially paid, I'm still a debtor. And you who happen to believe, for example, in purgatory, that you have asked the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your life and to forgive you of your sin, but one of these days you're gonna have to die and pay some more, do you know what that says?

It says, listen, it says the atoning death of Jesus Christ was inadequate. It didn't work. There's something got left over. Something got left out. You've gotta pay. Listen, how could you pay for sin when the spotless, eternal, unblemished, holy Son of God? If He couldn't pay for it, you'll never be able to pay for it. Once you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you acknowledge He paid your sin-debt in full, you don't ever have to wonder about that anymore. That is, listen, God defeated Satan, and He cannot come back with you and grab you out of the grace of God, the eternal security that God has provided for you. Because what that means is if it's possible, then His atoning death was only partial payment.

And how many times have we said, listen, His death means payment, listen, sin-debt paid in full. There is no hope, no assurance, no confidence and no security if all the sin was not atoned for by Him. Listen, Satan is a defeated foe. Naturally, what He wants us to believe is that He's not defeated. And in fact, if you look around you and you listen to the devil, you will agree with him. For example, we still face temptation, we still face trials and difficulties and hardships. And there's war and bloodshed and murder and rape and violence and all the other things going on.

And you say, "Well, if Satan's defeated", listen, he is defeated in the life of every single believer. Every single child of God is in the hand of a sovereign, omnipotent God. He says He has established His throne in the universe and that He rules over all. Therefore, whatever comes to us has to come to us by the permissive will of God. If you step out of the will of God, if you choose to live disobediently before God, if you choose to live in rebellion toward God, what happens? God certainly will allow, listen, He certainly will allow chastisement. He certainly will allow Satan, listen, He will allow Satan to work you over, but Satan cannot take your life.

So, what happened at the cross? Well, when I think about what happened to Jesus and I think about the fact that He not only, listen, He not only stripped Satan, listen, He defeated Satan, He stripped him of his powers. Not only that, He exposed him for what he was. How wicked and vile and dark and devilish and hellish can you be to dress the Son of God almost naked, nail Him to a cross before a mob of people and jeer at Him and laugh at Him and mock at Him till He dies. You want to know what Satan will do to you? Look at the cross. You wanna know what he'll do to your life? He will strip you of everything that is of value to you. He will cheat you out of your love, your goodness. Listen, He'll cheat you out of the joy, the peace, the happiness. He will strip you emotionally. He'll strip you spiritually. He'll strip you materially. He'll do everything in his power to absolutely destroy you.

If he would do that to the Son of God, you think you are a chosen vessel of the devil? On the other hand, he will very good to you in order to deceive you and cause you to walk in darkness and blindness until the day you die and face Him eternally in hell. God exposed the devil for who he is. Satan did everything in his power to make Jesus look like less than he was. You know what He wants to do in your life? You can mark this down. Satan is going to do everything he possibly can in your life to keep you out of the will of God. He will give you money. He will give you opportunity. He will give you privilege. He will give you things you desire, anything He can get you to do to keep you out of the will of God, that's how absolutely hateful and, listen, how wicked and vile he is. The third thing that happened at the cross is this, and that is, God, in Christ Jesus, was reconciling the world unto Himself.

Now, what do we mean by that? Simply this. The word "reconcile" means to bring back together, two that have been separated, two that have been estranged, those that are enemies. And so, what is He doing? God, in Christ Jesus, is reconciling the world to Himself. Now, watch this. We are not reconciled to God. That isn't something we do. Reconciliation, this bringing back together. And when I think about the whole issue of the cross, I think about the fact that they stretched Him out on the cross. It's as like no matter how low in life people are or how far out yonder they are or where they are in life, God's wonderful, loving arms were reaching out.

What was God saying? I want to bring you home. I want to forgive you. I want you to be who I created you to be. I will enable you to become the person I created you to become. God was in Christ reconciling, bringing back together. What was He doing? God took the initiative to reconcile us, to bring us back by doing what? By condemning sin in the life of His Son and making Him the sin-bearer who paid our sin-debt in full. Here's what that did. That satisfied God's demands. Watch this, it satisfied God's demands for the penalty of sin. What was the penalty of sin? Death. Therefore, death was hanging upon every single person who ever lived. And therefore, in order to satisfy that judgment, somebody had to pay the price. Jesus paid the price that satisfied God's requirement for justice.

Therefore, God can be just and righteous and holy, having forgiven all of us of our sin, though His decree said, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die". Because He was the sin-debt paid in full, now He can accept every single one of us. The cross isn't a couple of sticks. The cross, listen, is our only hope. The cross is the way of salvation. It is man's only possibility of being reconciled to God. And when Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me"? Suppose that had been the last thing He said? Suppose that'd been the last thing He said? That'd be a sad note. But I thank God that John said in that nineteenth chapter, then He finally said, in the Greek or the Aramaic, it would have been "tetelistai," just one word, "tetelistai," which means "it is finished".

This is not the word of a victim. This is not the word of somebody who lost a battle. This is not the word of a martyr. This is the word of a victor. This is the word of someone who has come through victoriously. This is the word of, listen, this is the word of someone who has won the battle. Jesus says, "It is finished". God's awesome, eternal, redemptive plan for mankind, listen, was absolutely sealed forever. And as a result of Christ dying on the cross, every single one of us who've trusted Him as our Savior, listen, it is so finished, we are eternally secure, not in our behavior, not in our promises, but in the awesome, atoning, sacrificial, substitutionary, vicarious death of Jesus Christ at Calvary. That is the hope of all mankind.
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