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Charles Stanley - Why did Jesus have to Die?




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There is a very deceptive and misleading message that's being proclaimed today and many people are being misled by it. And one of the most dangerous things about it is, it affects our understanding, our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and all eternity. And for people who are unbelievers, for example, they like it. It makes it possible for them to live an ungodly life and live in sin at the same time believe a loving Father would never, never, never allow them to be lost for all eternity. It also affects people who are believers which is something the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy. And he said, the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires. And will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. And this is exactly what is happening.

And you would think that this would not happen in a normal church that would be conservative and so forth. But little by little, it's penetrating churches. And the tragedy is many people are falling for it for the simple reason, nobody has ever explained to them why Jesus Christ had to die. They just know that he did. And therefore, because he died, we can be saved and so forth. But there's far more to it than that. Many people go to church and they join a church, for example, and they're baptized. And you ask them if they believe in Jesus, they do. Think they're going to heaven when they die, yes, I am. Why? And the truth is, most people if they're honest will say, because I'm not a bad person. And I try to do all the right things and they very sincerely will tell you in essence the basis of their acceptance by God is the fact they're pretty good or very good or not sinful, they're not wicked, haven't done anything deserving to be lost. And they're very sincere about it.

You know I joined three churches before I ever got saved. I joined one church. I was in Bible school, but I was old enough to know what was going on. I walked down the aisle after that session. They gave me a white card to fill out. I filled out the white card, my name and address, why I was coming. I never heard a word and that was the end of that. I joined another church, had the same thing. I filled out a card. A different denomination. I started going to church a little bit. Went to Sunday school. And nobody ever said anything to me about how to be saved anything of the sort. Then I finally went to another church, and every Sunday I heard about being saved. It took three. I thought about many times what about all the other people who have been sitting there for years and years and years and they listen to sermons, and I was wise enough to know when I heard the truth because I was reading the Bible all the time. And my mother taught me to do that. But nobody ever explained to me what happened.

And I am sure that when I preached this message today, and I want to encourage you, I know sometimes people listen or watch on television and you get ready to go somewhere and you're doing this or cooking breakfast. May I make a suggestion? This message is so important, why don't you lay that other stuff down. And just listen for the next 45 minutes which could change your whole eternal destiny. An even if it doesn't change that, it will give you understanding who you are, why you are where you are and maybe the changes you ought to make in your life. Nothing o do with denominations. What is it the word of God teaches about the death of Jesus Christ and its relationship to us.

So I want to encourage you to listen carefully. Because I want to talk about some things that are implied as a result of believing this error and this kind of attitude about the Christian life and Jesus that many people have developed and they're beginning to compromise what they've been taught and what they've heard all these years and so therefore, maybe we ought to change our mind. Listen very carefully. I'm going to tell you exactly what the word of God says and the interpretation will be crystal clear. So I want you to turn, if you will, to one of the most familiar chapters in the Bible and that's the third chapter of John. I want us to read these first 16 verses together. I want you to know a couple of things, especially one thing Jesus said that's so very important. Third chapter of John. This chapter is about Jesus' conversation with this Jewish rabbi interested in discovering the truth.

So when you begin in verse one the scripture simply says, there was a man of the pharisees, Nicodemus or ruler of the Jews. Educated, he knew the law. He knew what the Old Testament said. This man came to Jesus by night because he was a little embarrassed and he said to him, rabbi, we know you come from God as a teacher, for no one can do these things you do unless God is with him. Jesus answered and said to him, truly truly I say to you, unless a person is born again, which he not see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to him, how can a man be born when he is old? He can't enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he? Jesus answered truly, truly I say to you. Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he can't enter into the kingdom of God. Let me qualify that. That doesn't mean unless you are baptized. He was talking to a Jew. He was talk together a rabbi. They had their baptism, and John the Baptist identified Jesus down by the Jordan when he was baptizing Jews who were coming to him for repentance.

And what he was simply saying is, you know, that water baptism is fine, but you need to be baptized by the spirit, that is the Spirit of God needs to do something in your life also. And so, he says, that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Do not be amazed I say to you, you must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it but you don't know where it comes from and where it's going. So people born of the Spirit you can't put your fingers on it or touch it. But you can certainly feel it. Nicodemus said to him, how can these things be? Jesus said to him, are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? Truly I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen and you do not accept our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven the Son of man.

Then he brought back to Nicodemus a passage in the Old Testament he knew well no doubt. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so the Son of man must be lifted up. Notice he said number . So that whoever believes in him will have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world but the world might be saved through him.

Now let's go back to the Old Testament reference. 21st chapter of Numbers. Here's what happened. The nation of Israel in the wilderness, rebelling against God, sinning against God. They were all out of sorts with the Lord. These snakes came. Serpents. And they began to be bitten. And they were dying. They were just dying by throngs. And so God said, Moses, you form a brass serpent. Put him on this pole and lift him up and anyone who looks and looks with faith will be healed. This is what he's referring to. Notice what he said. He said the Son of man must be lifted up. What was he referring to? He was referring to his own crucifixion and in the eighth chapter of John for example, here again is a passage that relates to the idea of being lifted up and Jesus said, in the eighth chapter of John 28th verse.

So Jesus said, when you lift up the Son of man then you'll know I am he and I do nothing on my own initiative but I speak those things as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone for I always do the things that are pleasing to him. What I want you to see in this passage is simply this. This reference here is a reference to his crucifixion. And he says, is the Son of man must be lifted up. Now, here's the tragedy. Many people go to church and they hear all kind of sermons. And the conclusion is, you know, if you do your best, you're going to be okay. God loves everybody. So the conclusion is, God is a God of love.

If you ask the average person today, why do you think you should go to heaven when you die? They're not going to give you the right answer. They're going to give you an answer that suits them maybe one they've been deceptively taught. Because the deceptiveness of today's theology in many churches and it's a growing thing, and the essence is this. God is such a wonderful, loving God, he's not limited his salvation to one person. That is, Jesus Christ is not the only way to be saved. Not only that. If a person is good, good friend, good neighbor, God to their family, go to church maybe, whatever it might be, then surely they're going to heaven. Why would God not take someone like that into heaven? I'll show you why. That is not the way to get to heaven. It doesn't make a difference what you've been taught and who told you. The issue this. What is the teaching of the word of God? It has nothing to do with the denomination. It has to do with the simple truth of the word of God.

Now if it's possible for you to go to heaven on the basis of how good you are, and the fact that you believe there's a God and you believe there's a Jesus, and yes, you believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God and therefore whatever you want to add after therefore you're going to heaven. Let me tell you what the implication is. If that's your idea about how to go to heaven, then here's what all that implies. Number one. That Christ's death at calvary was totally unnecessary. Why the cross if you can be good and God accept that goodness and take you to heaven? Totally unnecessary. Secondly, the implication is God the Father made this terrible mistake. He sent his only begotten Son to die the most cruel, horrendous form of painful death possible. There's nothing to match the crucifixion. So he made a terrible mistake.

Thirdly, it means it's possible to be saved apart from Jesus Christ. Likewise, it means that you can have a personal relationship with God apart from Jesus Christ. Because after all, God is one who forgives us. And so if I'm pretty good and I do well, not wicked, sinful, vile, evil, God is going to forgive me and be able to have a relationship with him. And it implies that God forgives us simply because he loves us. Because he loves us, he's going to forgive us. All we have to do is ask him. Think about this. It must be a mistake then for the Christian life to be symbolized by a cross. Here's what that would be equal to today. If we said, now that we're Christians in the 21 century let's forget the past, we'll have all you folks who like to wear crosses around your neck, we're going to change those to electric chairs because they're symbols of death. There was nothing more horrendous to put around your neck or make a symbol of your faith than a cross. It was the worst form of death. That's what the implication would be. We would probably go through the hymn book and take off all the hymns that have to do with the blood.

In fact, not maybe but some folks have already done that. It implies if I live good enough, God accepts me and that's it. There is nothing more damaging, more dangerous, more devastate than that kind of teaching. And yet, it is just prevalent everywhere and it's moving into some churches that have been far more conservative than that. So I would ask you this. Let's think back for a moment. When you were saved, what did you understand about why God forgave you? When you joined the church, did somebody sit you down and say, let me explain to you what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ, to be a believer in Jesus Christ?

Let me explain what it means before you join this church and before you can be baptized you need to understand why God forgave you of your sin. You need to understand why the cross and what that is all about. Now, let's think about what this crucifixion is all about and what the truth is about Jesus Christ. Let's think about it now. First of all, Jesus' death was an absolute must in God's plan of salvation. And I want to explain that thoroughly in a moment. Remember what he says? The Son of man must be lifted up. And when he's lifted up, those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior will be saved.

Now watch this. He says, for God so loved the world that he did something. He didn't just say he so loved the world he forgave us all. That's not what he said. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. How did he give him? He gave him for the purpose of dying on the cross to pay our sin debt in full. If you leave that out, you miss the whole truth. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him, believes what about him? Believes he's eternal Son of God, he's sacrificial atonement for our sins and apart from him there's no forgiveness. That's part of it. The second thing I want you to know here is this. The cross was essential for God to accomplish some desires that he had.

For example, it was the desire of God that you and I would become his children. That we would be saved. It was the desire of God that you and I not only be saved but we would have a personal relationship with God. Not just be saved but have a personal relationship with him. It is his desire and was his desire in saving us, that you and I would spend our lives, invest our lives praising him by the life of righteousness that we would live. And likewise it was the desire of God in saving us that for all eternity we would serve him. That's what the book of revelation says, that we'll be serving him for all eternity. How we serve him, what your position will be in heaven, all dependent on how we operate down here. So God has very specific desires for us. Now, the question is, was this, in other words, if this is God's desire, what is this crucifixion business about? What is all that about?

Let's go back to Adam and eve. Remember what God said to them. All the trees in the garden, you're welcome to them. One I have reserved for myself. The day you eat of it, you shall surely die. And you know what satan said. Wait a minute. Did he say surely die? And so, they violated the one prohibition God had given them. Think about that. How shortsighted. All the garden, all eternity, everything was just perfect. Somebody says, wait a minute, God's a God of love. He wouldn't put the tree there. Yes, he would. Let me tell you why. Would you like to be in a form physically, spiritually, every other way in which you had no choices in life. You just a robot. Every day of your life, this is the way you operate. You have no choices. No. You wouldn't want to live like that. God gave Adam and eve a choice. Which was an act of love on his part. You love me because you choose to not because you have to. That's not really love. So he gave him a choice. They made the wrong choice.

Notice with a he said. The day you eat of it, you shall surely die t. Soul that sins, it shall die. The wages of sin is death. These are just a few of the verses God warns us, listen, that there is a penalty for sin. Now we live in a day we like to convince people there's no consequences to sin. And we don't like consequence. There's consequences to sin. There's consequences to sin that cannot be revoked. Can sin be forgiven? Absolutely. And so what we have to look at sheer simply this. The very justice of God. We talk about him being love. Justice, in other words, justice and righteousness are the same Greek words to some degree. So if God is just, he's righteous. He always does right thing. If he's just, he always does the right thing at every turn. When he punishes sin, he's doing the right thing. If God's not just, there's no moral law. If there's no moral law we couldn't even live in this society.

So when somebody wrongs you, you want justice or you see someone wronging other people. You want justice done. Now, if you wrong somebody, you can't have it that way. In other words, God is a just God which means he always does the right thing at the right time at the right place in the right way. He's a just God. He said, for example, we love this verse. We say if we confess our sins, he's faithful and what? Just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now he's faithful to do it because he's true to himself. He's faithful. He makes a promise and does it. What about the just word? He's faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. That is, he will do the right thing. Because we ask him on the basis of our relationship to him. He's always going to do the right thing, he'll be faith NFL process of doing it. God's justice is what people don't like. They want God to be free wheeling, give them what they want when they want it regardless of how they live. That is not the way it is, and it never has been, never will be. There's a just God in heaven who does the right thing.

And so when somebody says, well, for God to penalize his Son and put this judgment of the cross upon him when he hasn't done anything wrong, that is an immoral act on the part of God. No, it's not. That's to say God makes mistakes and immoral. No, he's not. He's a just God. Why? He said in the day you eat of this tree, you shall surely die. Sin has its penalty. Because it does, because God is who he says he is, they'll be a penalty. Now, I look, for example, look in romans, the third chapter, I want to read a couple of verses here we all know by heart. Verse 23 of 3 says, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We admit that. Listen to this. Being justified as a gift of his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus who God displayed publicly speaking of the cross as a sacrifice of his blood through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness. Because in the forbearance of God he passed over the sins previously committed speaking of the sacrifice in the Old Testament which ultimately Jesus' sacrifice would take care of all that sin. For in this demonstration I say of the righteousness at the present time. I know this sounds like double talk at first but I'm coming.

So he would be just and the justifier of he who has faith in Jesus. Now watch that. To be. Watch this. To be justified means to be declared no longer guilty. For example, the Bible speaks of redemption. That is, he paid the price. He speaks of reconciliation. He brings us back into right relationship with him. He speaks to sanctification. He sets us apart for his purposes to do his work. When he justifies us, on the basis of what he did at the cross, he declares us no longer guilty. He says in romans, therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God. This justification, this justice work that God does, so what did that include? Well, how could God, for example, say that if we sin against him we're going to suffer the consequences. Then he comes along and says, for example, that he has justified us? He said, here's what he did. He said in order for God to be just, righteous and holy and at the same time the declare us no longer guilty, something had to happen. And that something was the cross.

So when we think in terms of how all this works in God's plan, if you will turn to, turn to romans five for a moment and look, if you will, beginning in verse six. He says, for while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for who? For the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man though perhaps for a good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates his own love towards us in while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Now, watch this. Much more then, having now been justified, declared no longer guilty by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more having been reconciled we should be saved by his life.

So as you travel through the scriptures, here's what you find. Justification and the cross are always matched up. There is no justification apart from the blood of Jesus Christ. So he's expressed his love towards us, in the fact Jesus Christ went to the cross. Died for our sins. In the process of doing so, this was an act of justice on the part of God. In order for God. Watch this. In order for God to listen to us and to forgive us of our sins there had to be a basis by which this just God who will do the right thing who said I'll punish sin. How can he do that? How can he forgive me if I ask him apart from the cross? He can't. You say, God can do anything. He can do anything but break his own law. He said he's a just God.

Let's go back for a moment. When it's all coming on your behalf you want him to be just. You want him to be just. You want, in other words, when you labor for him and you serve him faithfully, you want him to be just to reward you. When you sin against God, do you still want him to be just? No, you don't. Here's what he said. The only way that God can justify, declare no longer guilty one who is guilty is because and through the death of his Son who paid sin's penalty on the cross once and for all. You cannot have salvation apart from the cross. You cannot have salvation apart from the justice of God. You not have salvation apart from the mercy of God. You not have salvation apart from the person of Jesus Christ . So when somebody says to you, and there's lots of folks out there saying it, God, your God narrow minded. If your God says that only through his Son you'll be saved, that's very narrow minded.

Well ask the question, why does he say it? God's not narrow minded. I'll tell you why he's not narrow minded. Watch this. He said, I have provided salvation that can envelope the whole world. That's not narrow minded. You say, well it's by only one person. Only one person can pay the price. You see, somebody says, if I do good and I pay this and I do all these things. Listen. You can't pay for sin. Sin is against God. Now watch this. What we forget is, we have a sinful nature. We came into the world with a sinful nature. And every single one of us, we didn't sin by accident. Every single one of us chose to sin over and over and over again. What is God supposed to do? Just overlook that. If he overlooked it, it would be unjust. He's a righteous, holy God. So, he says that we are declared righteous by what? Through the death of his Son.

Now, I want to bring you to three or four scriptures and I want to encourage you to turn to these because you need to see them. Let's go first of all to 1 Peter. And chapter one. Over toward the back of the scriptures. 1 Peter chapter one and he explains this very clearly. The whole book of Hebrews is about Jesus Christ being the sacrifice and so forth. 1 Peter chapter one, listen to what he says. Verse 18. Knowing that you were not redeemed, not saved, not forgiven, listen, knowing you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile or empty way of life, inherited from your forefathers. But with precious blood as a lamb unblemished, spotless, the blood of Christ. Do you understand what that means? What does it mean? Look at it. See? I don't mean to you to just listen. Look at this. Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things. That is you weren't forgiven on your sin on the basis of anything physical or what you did. Like silver or gold from your futile or empty way of life. But redeemed, saved, by the precious blood of Jesus as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

He says, we are redeemed by what? The blood of Jesus Christ. Not my good works. He didn't say the blood plus. He said redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ for he was fore known before the foundation of the world, listen, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. Who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory. So that your faith and hope are in him. And then if you'll go to the second chapter, for example, and look at the 24th verse. He says, and he himself, Jesus, look at this. Bore our sins in his body on the cross so that we might die to sin, that way of life and live to righteousness, for by his wounds, you were healed. He says that our forgiveness is wrapped up in the blood of Jesus Christ. The shedding of his blood at calvary.

So if a person and I say to you with all my heart. You go to church. You hear a sermon. Come join the church. Come be saved. And you walk down the aisle or do whatever they ask you to do, be baptized. And you don't understand that your forgiveness and your cleansing and your new life and a new Spirit God offers is the result of, is on the basis of what Jesus Christ did at the cross. Then you don't understand why you're forgiven of sin. And if you don't understand that and you think, you know, I ask God to forgive me and he forgave me. He doesn't operate that way. There was a price to be paid. And every single one of us has a price on us for our sin and we can't pay the price. Otherwise there would be no cross, no Jesus, every man for yourself, you confess your sin, you confess your sin, somehow it will all work out.

So, another verse I want you to look at here, back in 1 Peter again. Look, if you will, in the third chapter. And look, if you will, at the 18th verse. And all these verses are crystal clear. Look at this. For Christ also died for sins once for all. The just for the unjust. So that he might bring to us God, having been put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit. Now, how are we forgiven? Through the blood of Jesus Christ. So when I look at these verses and I think about how we understand it, so I want to explain something that's very simple. But what I've said so far is this. Sin has separated us from God. Sin cannot be taken care of by simple confession. And by telling God you'll not do it again or by going to church and paying penitence or praying or whatever ways your church may teach that. Forgiveness comes only through the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ. He didn't say anybody's blood because all of the blood is tainted. There's only been one sinless person.

Think about this. All the sacrifices in the Old Testament X for example, how very clear they were how it had to be done. Spotless and without blemish. That was God's message of foretelling of us, that the final sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice, the only sacrifice that atones for sin would be the sinless, Son of God. I must be lifted up Jesus said. Listen, nobody takes my life from me. I lay it down willingly and take it up willingly. So the scripture is very clear that forgiveness comes through the shedding of Jesus' blood. Let's go back to the Garden of Eden. So, God said to Adam and eve the day you eat of the fruit of this tree you shall surely die. They sinned against God. They disobeyed him. You know the consequences. All right. He could have said, well, this is the beginning of all things. And so you had a choice. You made a mistake.

Now watch this. This is one of the choices. He could have said, but look, it's okay. We'll start again. And let's just move on. Which would have meant that God had violated his own law. He could never be fully trusted again for the simple reason the day you eat of this tree you will surely die. Not might die. Surely die. That is spiritual. There is physical death. Spiritual death. And eternal death. There's three forms of death. The day you eat of it, you shall surely die. And he could have said, okay, let's just forget that. Not and be just. Or he could have said to them, which he did, the day you eat of the fruit of tree you shall surely die, eternally separated from God. Or he could have said, you have sinned against me. You have violated my law. And justice says you're to suffer eternally. But here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to provide a substitute for you who will die in your place. Who will take your penalty so that you will not have to die. And I will forgive you of your sins. It doesn't mean I'm eliminating all the consequences. But I'm forgiving you of your sins so you don't have to spend eternity separated from me. Because I made you for myself.

Now, the justice of God will require a penalty for sin. Just telling him you're sorry and that you won't do it again which you do, and you repent over and over and over. That doesn't do it. So how do you deal with sin? Confessing sin doesn't get rid of it. How many times have we confessed that we've done the same thing over and over again? There's only one thing that deals with sin. And here's what God did. He, watch this carefully, chose to come to earth in the person of the physical body of his Son Jesus Christ for the primary purpose of going to the cross and dying on the cross as the ultimate and final sacrifice. And God in those moments took all the sin of all mankind, all of humanity, and placed the guilt and the penalty on all of man's sin until he comes again and placed it on Jesus. And at the cross, he judged the justice of God came upon his Son Jesus. And he was crucified. And in that crucifixion, he said, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? What was he doing? He was experiencing in those moments what people will experience forever when they die without Christ. Separated from God.

Listen. It was the one thing Jesus didn't want. He knew he was going to the cross. What was he saying about this cup? Why did he say, is there any other way? Is there any other way for us to do this besides drinking this cup? And it wasn't the crucifixion he was referring to. It was the fact in this dying, which he came to die is there any way to do this without you and I being separated, Father? We can't even begin to understand. What divine, what divine, intimate, spotless, matchless, eternal relationship meant. And suddenly, he would be wrenched from it. And he would die in his life on that cross and paid your sin and mine.

Now, let me ask you a question. Who else could pay for your sin? Nobody. Nobody is perfect. Only Jesus the righteous perfect Son of God. He went to the cross. Laid down his life. Came for that purpose and took your guilt and my guilt and now, the reason God can say to a person who walks down the aisle, for example, let's say you kneel here and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins and you trust him as your personal Savior based on what he did at the cross, your forgiven, cleansed your name is written in the lamb's book of life, justified, reconciled, glorified, you're my child forever. Wait a minute. Look at this mess. He's been in prison. All kinds of sin. Messed up his family. Been on drugs, drunkard. What is this? It's the awesome power of that sacrifice. That's what it is. And there's nothing else. And there is nothing else in the world that can do that.

Now, remember what Jesus said. I love this. Do you remember what Jesus said when he was on the cross and talking to the criminal there. And committing his Spirit to the Lord and all those things. Listen to what he said. In those last moments he said, it, let me tell you this, it is finished! What did he mean by that? Here's what he meant. The payment for your sin, my sin, and the whole world was done. It was finished. Jesus did not go to hell. People tell you Jesus went to hell. Why would he go to hell? He paid the price. It was finished on the cross. That's where it was finished. Not I'm going to finish this up somewhere else. He said, it is finished. What was finished is God's redemptive plan to save mankind. Finished on the cross.

Now, in light of what I shared with you which is pure scriptural truth, compare that to this theology that says, well if you just do better, God will accept you. On what basis? How much better? What do you got o do? How long do you got to do it? No answers to that. Listen. It's man's unwillingness to face his sinfulness. Listen. This is why pride is so obnoxious to God. What do we have to be proud of? I've done so and so and so and so. You've only done what God's allowed you to do. Take you off the scene in a split second. What I want you to see is this. The scripture says, that is, God who gave us his word said, that he so loved this world that he gave as a sacrifice. Now listen carefully. If somebody says to you, well how do I describe all this? I can tell you how you do it. In one single word in one single word you can describe what happened at calvary. You say, it must be love. No. Goodness. No. None of that.

One word describes what happened at calvary. Substitute. God substituted his Son in your place to die at calvary to pay your sin debt in full so you could be forgiven of your sins on the basis of the price he paid so your name to be written in the lamb's book of life so you could become a child of God, so you could be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. So you could go to heaven when you die. So you could have a personal relationship with him. So you could be a child of God all the days of your life. And so you could serve him for all eternity. It is all wrapped up in the cross. It's all about Jesus. So listen, the next time you hear that be good, be kind, love everybody kind of stuff, I ask this question now, where does the cross fit in that? There is no denying you have heard the simple truth, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. Because he was the only one worthy, to die a substitutionary, sacrificial, all-sufficient, atoning death at calvary in order that man's sin debt may be paid in full and he may become a child of God.

Now I would simply ask you this question, have you ever done that? You say I don't think I ever understood it that way. Are you willing to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Are you willing to acknowledge that you have sinned against God and rebelled against him and lived a wicked life? From God's perspective, it's wicked. Rebelling against love. Rejecting his plan. Are you willing to ask him to forgive you of your sins? Not based on who you are, what you've done, what you're going to do. Are you willing to ask him to forgive you of your sins based on this simple truth Jesus Christ the sinless Son of God went to the cross. Paid your sin debt in full and now declares you no longer guilty and a child of God based on your relationship to him.

Are you willing to do that? If you're willing to confess that sin to him, if you're willing to repent of that sin, lay it down, yield your life to him, he will forgive you of your sin, not based on the fact of your confession but based on what he did and your acceptance of what he did and now you're including that in your life. He'll forgive your sin. The Holy Spirit will come and seal you forever as a child of God. Listen. You can live the rest of your life knowing this. No matter what happens, where it happens, how it happens, when it happens. You are safe with Almighty God. Child of God forever. And that is my prayer for you. I don't know what you believed before you started listening to this. I pray you are wise enough to know that you just heard a very objective, biblical account of what God has said about his Son, the cross and your salvation. And it's yours to believe it.

Father, how grateful we are when we think about what you have gone through. Your Son. In order to atone for our sin. I pray every person who hears this. I know the devil will attack in every way possible to get them not to believe it. But I pray the Spirit of God will penetrate all of that. And that deep down inside, they will acknowledge, even before they acknowledge it publicly or even audibly. They'll acknowledge that the cross is there only hope. And we thank you for it, Father, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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