Creflo Dollar - The Cross: The Defining Line of the Gospel - Part 3
2 Timothy chapter 2 in the Amplified Bible. We're gonna talk about and continue to deal with this subject "The Cross: The Defining Line of the Gospel". Because the cross is the defining line of the gospel. The cross is the defining line between the old agreement and the new agreement. The cross is the defining line between what was true under the old covenant and what is true under the new covenant.
Now, last week I told you that we've got to understand that the New Testament doesn't start at the book of Matthew. The new agreement, the New Testament, starts at the death, or after the death of Jesus Christ. And here's what I want you to think about right now. If you'll think about this question here, and the question is this, Why did Jesus die? Now, most people will give this answer. Jesus died for our sins. Yeah, but what does that mean? I mean, it sounds religious and everything, but why did Jesus die? Because if we don't know why Jesus died, then it might be a waste of time. I mean, why did Jesus die? What is this celebration on Easter about when we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus? What is that all about? Absolutely he died for our sins, but was that it? Well, Jesus died so we can have a right to the tree of life. Well, what does that mean?
And so, you know, when we talk about what Jesus went through and why he died, you very rarely hear that Jesus died so he could add force to the new agreement because the old agreement was obsolete. You rarely hear that. The reason that Jesus died is because, you know, if I have a will and I left that will to my family, that will would not be of any force until I died. In other words, you couldn't get what I left in my last will and testament until I die. And then why I die, I'll add force to that will. Nobody talks about what Jesus died because he has a new agreement that's going to be better than the old agreement. Hebrews 8, I believe, 12 says that this agreement with Jesus is better than the first testament, and this agreement with Jesus has better promises. We're not hearing that. We're hearing that he died for our sins, but we didn't hear how he planned on handling our sins.
And Hebrews 8:12 talks about there's a better, a better covenant with better promises that none of us could get until he first died. Hebrews chapter 9, without the death of a testator, then there is no force added to that agreement, or to that covenant. And so, one of the things we want to spend time with today is that Jesus died to institute a new agreement, a new covenant, a New Testament, that's better than the Old Testament. And so, you know, when I say things like this, people are like, "Ah, yeah, yeah, I don't know what you're saying". So, here's what I'm gonna do today. We are going to rightly divide the Word, and we're gonna look at the old agreement and see the promise in the old agreement, and then we're gonna see what Jesus did after his death and see the agreement that's now in the New Testament. In other words, you're gonna find out that what was true under that first covenant is no longer the same truth under this new covenant.
So, the death of Jesus should be celebrated because he gave us a new covenant, a better covenant with better promises, and most Christians don't even know it. And the reason why I'm gonna teach this today is because what happens if Jesus gave you a new agreement but you keep living by the old agreement? And Jesus says something in the Old Testament, but then he died so you could be free from the obligations of that agreement and so that you can now operate by this new agreement. So his death doesn't mean anything if you continue to operate by the old agreement when he has a new one. His blood, his death means nothing if you call yourself a Christian and you're still operating by the pattern of the old agreement when there's a new one. So under the old, he might say this, and that's the one you do. But then under the new one, you either don't know what's under the new one, or you fail to operate what's under the new one, or you don't know how to rightly divide it. It's real simple. He said now that Old Testament is obsolete because there's a new one there.
In other words, I'm giving you a new agreement, you are now free to step away from the old one, wow. Now, this is something that if you're not taught, then you'll sit in church and you'll think, "I don't wanna hear all that now, Pastor. Ain't nothing wrong with the old one". Or you'll take the old one and say, "Well, I'm gonna get a little bit of the old one and mix it with a little bit of the new one". That doesn't work either. If we don't understand this, we could be calling the blood of Jesus worthless. We could be saying, "He died, but I'm not benefitting or taking advantage of the purpose for his death". And one of the main purposes was so that he could enforce the new covenant, the New Testament. So, this is important. The only way I know to do it is to show it to you, so I'm gonna show it to you.
I taught this lesson way back when, but I recently have added some more things to it to show you it's just all over in the Word of God. So pay very close attention. Get a pad, let's go through this thing, and then at the end of it, you'll have to make the decision. So, I'll start in 2 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 15, 2 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 15 in the Amplified Bible. And here's what it says. He says, "Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved and tested by trial, a workman who has no cause to be ashamed," watch this, "Correctly analyzing and accurately dividing and rightly handling and skillfully teaching the Word of Truth". Wow, wow, it doesn't sound to me like you're just getting up and just gonna preach whatever's in the Bible, put your hands in there, and close your eyes, and wherever your finger land.
Let's read that again. He's talking that the guys in the pulpit, the guys that are preaching the Bible, the guys that are teaching other people the Word of God, he is saying that they need to correctly analyze, so if you can correctly analyze the Word, you can incorrectly analyze it. He's saying they should accurately divide it. So if you can accurately divide the Word, you can be inaccurate in the dividing of the Word. He says they should rightly handle. So if you can rightly handle the Word, how many know you can wrongly handle it? He says they should be skillfully teaching, so either you're skillful in the presentation of that Word or unskillful of the Word of Truth. And you'll find out that the gospel of grace, the gospel of Jesus Christ, is the truth. If you're ready for this, let's do this thing, amen?
Now, as you study to show yourself approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth yourself, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. This is why I'm not teaching this in a seminary. I've got to now teach these things to Christians, to born-again Christians, because we have individually got to understand this. Every Christian needs to know it. What I'm teaching right now needs to be in the new beginner's class of every church in America, in the world, because if you don't know how to rightly divide the truth, then what do you do? And he says that we should rightly divide the Word of Truth yourself. You should be able to separate between the before the cross and after the cross, because the cross is what makes the difference. And so, what we're gonna do, if the cross makes the difference, and if the cross is the defining line, let's look at what was said before the cross, and then let's compare it to what is said after the cross, and then you're gonna see it's not the same.
And then you'll also see why people say the Bible contradicts itself. It doesn't contradict itself, what's in the old covenant is true, what's in the new covenant is true, but what's in the truth of the new covenant may no longer be the truth and won't fit in the old covenant. So, let's just get into this. Let's get into this. Let's start off with this. Before the cross, they were blessed only when they obeyed and they were cursed when they failed to obey or when they disobeyed. So before the cross, here's the truth. Before the cross, they were blessed only when they obeyed. So under the Old Testament, you had to obey in order to be blessed. Under the Old Testament, you were cursed when you failed to obey, there was a curse, and when you were disobedient under the old covenant, there was a curse.
Let me show you this. Deuteronomy chapter 11, verses 26 and 28. So this is the truth that was under that first testament. And this truth is being preached today, I heard it not too long ago. Now look what he says: Deuteronomy chapter 11:26-28. Verse 26 says, "Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse. A blessing," condition, "If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I commanded you this day". So he says you're gonna be blessed only if you obey the commandments of God. Verse 28, "And a curse if you will not obey the commandments of God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods which you have not known". So that's what it was under the old covenant. Now imagine some guy teaching you that, and all of us have been taught that. And so, our struggle is, "Oh my God, I didn't keep the commandments today, that means I'm gonna be cursed"?
Well, it does under that first testament. It does under that first covenant. So was there a change? Was there something different now that Jesus died, shed his blood, and gave us a New Testament? So, after the cross of Jesus, we are blessed not necessarily because of our acts, we are blessed in the New Testament not because of our performance but because we are his redeemed. Now look at Galatians chapter 3:13. I am not blessed today because of my obedience to the commandment, or the law of God. I am blessed today because of my faith in Jesus Christ, okay? Now, of course, even in the New Testament I live by the direction of the Holy Spirit, and if the Holy Spirit tells me to go left, I probably need to obey him and go left. But I'm not going to be cursed for disobeying the law. Look what he says here.
"Christ has redeemed us". The word "redeemed" means to be delivered. Christ redeemed us by being the peace offering. He delivered us. He set us free through the ransom that was paid. Christ has redeemed us from that curse of the law that you would get for not being obedient to the commandment. Remember what we just read. Cursed if you don't obey. So if Christ delivered us from the curse of the law, then all of a sudden we're delivered from what you just read. What you just read in Deuteronomy, you're delivered from. He says Christ has redeemed us of the penalty, or the curse of not being able to keep the law, how? Being made a curse for us, he became a curse for us. "For it is written, 'Cursed is everyone that hangs on the tree.'" Verse 14, "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles," how? "Through Jesus Christ".
Notice, after the cross, the blessing came through Jesus Christ. The blessing doesn't come in the New Testament because of how I perform and my obedience to the commandments, the blessing now comes because of my faith and my belief through Jesus Christ. So under the New Testament, I'm blessed because of Jesus and my faith in him. Under the Old Testament, I'm blessed because I obeyed the commandments. But how many of you know there was very few people that could obey all the commandments? James chapter 2:10 says if you violate just one, if you break just one, then you're guilty of breaking all of 'em. It was an impossibility. And yet, that's all you hear preached in church. You got to obey the commandments. You gotta obey, they call it the Word. Well, which Word, the Word of the Old Testament or the Word of the New Testament?
See, you gotta rightly divide. Jesus died so he could give me a new agreement, and under the new agreement, I am blessed because of my faith in Christ. Under the old agreement, I am blessed because I obey the commandments. You gotta look at this. You gotta look at this. You can't put 'em together, they don't match. You can't put 'em together, they don't match. In fact, look at Romans chapter 4:8 to add even a more situation here. After the cross, we're blessed not because of our acts but because we are his redeemed. I'm redeemed and I'm blessed. Because I'm redeemed, I'm blessed, because of my faith in Jesus Christ. Nobody was redeemed in the Old Testament. Jesus had not yet died, come and died in the Old Testament. You know it's not talking about that. Look at Romans chapter 4:8. He says, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin". He's not gonna hold your sins against you.
In the Old Testament, your sins were held against you. They were held against you to the point where you were cursed because of your disobedience. Your sins were held against you in the Old Testament. But in the New Testament, he says I will not hold your sins against you. I will not impute or charge your sins against you. So Jesus died so you can have this in Romans chapter 4:8. Jesus died so you can be free from what it said in Deuteronomy chapter 11. Imagine, imagine not understanding this. And at this particular point, you say, "I'm confused. Right here it says that I'm gonna be cursed if I walk in disobedience. Over here he says he won't hold my sins against me". Now you know why, because you gotta rightly divide what's true under the Old Testament and what's true under the New Testament that Jesus died so you could have, all right? Let's keep going. I'm gonna just keep going until you get it. I'mma keep going till you get it. I'm gonna hit some stuff that's gonna be obvious to you until you get this.
All right, let's look at this one. Before the cross, God was distant and unapproachable to people, think of that. Under the Old Testament, God was distant and unapproachable to people. Look at Exodus chapter 19:12. You'll hear what I'm saying here. You know, after Adam had sinned, before Adam had dropped the ball, I mean, God walked with them every day in the cool of the day. But after man fell, and of course, back then the law hadn't even been given yet, but I'm talking about under the law of Moses, under the Old Testament, look, God was distant and unapproachable. Verse 12, "And thou shall set bounds unto the people and round about, saying, 'Take heed to yourselves that you go not up into the mount, or even touch the border of it.'"
Now, this happened as soon as they received the law. He's not approachable anymore, and he is distant. "And whosoever touches even the mount shall surely be put to death". Oh my God, you're talking about unapproachable. You're talking about distant. They said don't even touch the mountain where God dwells, or you'll fall dead, wow. But that changed after Jesus died on the cross. Ephesians chapter 2, there we go. Now, this is the New Testament. "But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made nigh," that word means near. You have been brought near by the blood of Christ. So because of the blood of Jesus, you've been brought near to God, who in the Old Testament was unapproachable. And look at verse 14, "For he is our peace," or he is our peace offering, "Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us".
So there was a wall between God and man. God was unapproachable, you couldn't touch God, you couldn't approach God because of that wall. Jesus died, removed the wall, and we are now brought near to him. Verse 15, "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of the commandments contained in the ordinances". Look what he's saying. Jesus was the peace offering that abolished and got rid of the enmity that was between God and man, even the law of commandments contained in the ordinance, "For to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace," verse 16, keep going. "And that he might reconcile," or restore back to harmony, "Both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby, and he came and he preached peace to you which were afar off".
Under the Old Testament, you were far off, but then Jesus came as the peace offering. You were once far off from God, but now he says, "You were afar off, and to them that were now nigh," or brought near. Verse 18, "For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father". So in the Old Testament, we had no access to God, can't even touch the mount or you will die. But as a result of Jesus dying and instituting a new covenant, we now have access to him through Jesus Christ. See the difference? What if some guy gets up and preaches to you and says you don't have access to God? "That was true under the first testament, but under the New Testament, we have access to God through Jesus Christ". We have to know this. You have to rightly divide.
Come on, let's keep going here. Well, let me show one more Scripture before I go. Go to Hebrews 4:16. Hebrews chapter 4:16. I'm not rushing through this. You gotta get it. This is gonna put you on a road to victorious living. I probably submit to you that a lot of victory Christians don't have is because they're standing on the wrong truth. They're over here suffering because they think that is the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, when in fact that is the old covenant that Jesus shed his blood to give you a better covenant under better promises, and we don't know the better promises because we're stuck with something that was under the first covenant.
Now, somebody says, "Well, do we just stay away from the Old Testament"? No, the Bible says the things that were written before our time were written for our learning so that we through them might have hope. And see, if it wasn't for the issue of the Old Testament, we would never have come to the place where we see our need for Jesus and a better covenant. But there are some Christians today in church, they don't see their need for a better covenant. That's what religion does. It has you stuck in the old and you don't even realize you're in bondage. Look at verse 16. "Let us therefore come boldly," or with liberty, boldness, or with liberty, "Unto the throne of grace," why? "That we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need".
Notice, he says that you can now come boldly unto the throne. You couldn't do that before. You could not come boldly before. You can now come boldly to the throne of God for yourself, amen. Now, let's look at this next one. Before the cross of Jesus, under the law, God held man responsible for his sins. Before Jesus died, shed his blood, God held men responsible for their sins. Now, think of that, man. Look at this in Leviticus chapter 5:17. Let's look at it in the King James and the New Living Translation, Leviticus 5:17. In the old covenant and under the law, God held men responsible for their sins, which meant when you sinned, there was gonna be a judgment coming.
Now, if that's the case, dang, we ought to be receiving it. Let me read the Scripture, and if this is true today, then we should be under what I'm getting ready to read to you today, and you should be seeing it. Look at this, verse 17. "And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord, though he wist it not, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity". I mean, right here it's just showing, you know, what he's saying is even if he didn't know something was wrong, he's still gonna get judged.
Look at the New Living Translation, watch this. "Why are you sharing all these Scriptures"? Because the only way I'm gonna get you to see this is you just gotta see it. You gotta see it. You can't go to sleep, you gotta wake up. You gotta see it! Somebody said, "Why are you screaming"? I'm determined, I will preach this a hundred times if I have to. You gotta get this. Look at this. He says, "Suppose you sin by violating one of the Lord's commandments. Even if you are unaware of what you have done, you are guilty and will be punished for your sins".
All right, if that's true today, I ain't got no hope. You ain't got no hope. If that's true today, basically what he's saying is, you know, if you walked in, the Bible says whatever is done not of faith is sin. So if you did something that was not in faith, that's sin. There's a punishment coming. The Bible says to know to do good but you don't do it is sin. Well, there's a punishment coming. I mean, you had a bad attitude with the waitress or the waiter. There's a punishment coming. Imagine living life like that. Imagine living life over your shoulder. "Oh, God's gonna get me today, it hasn't happened today". Imagine living life, imagine waking up knowing that you're responsible for your sins, and you're gonna get a punishment for it because you're held responsible for your sins. I would have no hope.