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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - The Folly and The Power of The Cross - Part 2

Michael Youssef - The Folly and The Power of The Cross - Part 2

Michael Youssef - The Folly and The Power of The Cross - Part 2
Michael Youssef - The Folly and The Power of The Cross - Part 2
TOPICS: Easter, Cross

Every human being that is born anywhere in the world, every one of us, every human being of the 7 billion in the world today or the ones before us or the ones after us, everyone was born with a spiritual debt around our neck which we could never pay. But God, in his mercy, has provided a way of escape from that prison of a spiritual debt with which we are born. Please hear me right. That spiritual debt with which we are born can never be paid by even the entire humanity. It can never be paid by anyone. It could never be paid by all of the wealth of the earth. That debt could never be paid by worldly powers. Ah, but God is the only one who can pay that spiritual debt, that spiritual debt with which we are born, and then we accumulated it more and more as we lived in sin, as we grew to commit sin in our lives. It's not only inherited, but we also practiced it. But thank God.

Say it with me. Thank God that we have the cross of Christ, that we have the cross of Christ. Why do I say that? For on the cross, God paid the debt, that spiritual debt that every repentant, believing sinner who comes to Christ and accept that payment to be for him or her. Thank God that he paid. He did the paying. I want to remind you that in the last message we started this three, short series on the folly and the power of the cross, and those words come straight out of Corinthians. The apostle Paul said, "The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but for us who are being saved it is the power of God". For on the cross, God did not just find a solution to our spiritual debt, he became the solution. He did the paying.

In fact, even 700 years before the death of Christ on the cross, the prophet Isaiah in 53, particularly chapter 53, has predicted, 700 years before, the details of the cross of Christ with meticulous precision. Before I get to my message, I need you to think with this question. Who was ultimately responsible for handing Jesus to be crucified on the cross? Who? Some say it was Judas out of greed who delivered Jesus to the priests. Others will say it is the priests who handed over Jesus out of envy and jealousy and malice to Pontius Pilate. Others still would say it was Pontius Pilate who out of cowardice sent Jesus to be crucified. Others still would say it's the ones who did the nailing of the hands and the feet on the cross are responsible for crucifying Jesus. The truth is when Jesus hung on that cross in the midst of his agony, he said, "Father, forgive them all". How many of them? "For they know not what they're doing".

The apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost, he could stand there with courage. Peter, who denied Jesus, Peter, who ran away, Peter, who went to sleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, he could stand on the day of Pentecost after the resurrection, and he would say to the Jews, "You have acted in ignorance, and so did your leaders". And therefore, on a human level, on a human level, we can say that all these people played a part in delivering Jesus to the cross, but my beloved friends, please listen to me. On a much, much, much, much deeper level, on a much more spiritual level, Jesus did not die the death of a martyr. What do I mean by that? Jesus went to the cross deliberately and willingly. Jesus came from heaven, he was born so that he may go to the cross. Luke says that he set his face like a flint toward Jerusalem. He would not let the disciples distract him. He would not let the detractors distract him. He came to die on that cross.

So, the question remains, who delivered Jesus to die? Not Judas out of greed. Not the priests out of envy. Not Pilate out of cowardice. Ah, but the Father, the Father delivered his own Son out of love. It was Jesus willingly, voluntarily went to the cross out of love, love for you, and you, and you, and you, and me, love for everyone who would name the name of Jesus as their only Savior and Lord, love for the elect of God from every corner of the globe, love for the church of Jesus Christ universal, from every tribe, every language, and every nation. And, therefore, it's very accurate to say you and I sent Jesus to the cross. You and I sent Jesus. My sin, your sin, our sin sent Jesus to the cross. Our disobedience sent Jesus to the cross. Our rebellion sent Jesus to the cross.

My spiritual debt with which I was born and later made it worse by accumulating it in a life of sin sent Jesus to the cross. But why? A lot of young people ask, why? Why couldn't he find some other, easy way to do it? In fact, that's what Jesus asked in Gethsemane when he was crying, sweating blood, and said, "Father, if there's some other way". Why? Beloved, because only a person who's not born with that debt of sin hanging around his neck could save and pay for the penalty of those who are sinners. And that is, my beloved friends, none other than the virgin born, sinless Son of God who could pay our debt. Only Jesus, who is perfect in nature, only Jesus, who's perfect in character, only Jesus, who's perfect in conduct, only Jesus could pay the debt for imperfect sinners like you and me.

Four things that the cross has accomplished for the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, four things that the cross has accomplished. Atonement, or satisfying the justice of God; redemption, justification, and reconciliation. Atonement, we saw in the last message that because God is righteous and holy and perfect, he demands perfection. We cannot relate to him if we're not perfect. But who can hack that one? Who can claim that one? It's impossible. I know, for one, I'm far from perfection. Far, far, far from perfection. And that's the debt I'm talking about. There is no astronaut who goes to the moon without wearing a suit, a special suit, and no one can communicate and relate to God, the holy and righteous God, without perfection, but we're not. What do we do? This is the debt with which we are born. This is the debt we have accumulated in the life of sin without Christ.

Now, the actual consequences of our inability to be perfect is the wrath of God. When people hear the word the wrath of God, they immediately envision some madman who's out of control. They immediately think of someone who's malicious and spiteful and vindictive, someone who is on a rampage. That's how most people understand the term, but that could not be further from the truth. These descriptions may describe a boss that you had at work or even a father figure that you've experienced, and you associate God with that, and who doesn't want to avoid such a person? Everybody wants to avoid him, and that's why many people are trying to avoid God, because this is their view of God. They don't understand the wrath of God is not this unpredictable vindictiveness or a vindictive act. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, God's wrath is very predictable, and it is only provoked by evil and evil only.

Don't ever forget, don't ever forget, I'll plead with you, don't ever forget that this is the same God who went way, way, way, way out of his way to placate us from evil. This is the God, the one who out of his mercy and grace provided a way of escape from that predictable wrath of God. This is the one, this is the God who out of his graciousness provided a way for us to be forgiven eternally. The Father's love compelled him to watch his Son on that cross carrying my sin and your sin on his sinless body. The Son of God, who eternally coexisted with the Father, it is his grace and his love, made him willing to go to the cross and bear your guilt and shame and my guilt and shame. Do not make the mistake that a lot of Christians make. They say, "God loved us because Christ died for us". No, and a million nos.

God loved us enough so that Christ died for us. Did you get that? It was his love that compelled him to die on that cross, why? Because God's justice and God's wrath must be satisfied, and therefore it is God's love who satisfied his own justice. It's God's love now on that cross, and so God's love on the cross did not only satisfy the justice of God and atoned for us. Secondly, on the cross God redeemed us. He redeemed us. What does redeem means? It means buying back, it means purchasing something with something, it means paying a ransom for someone. While God's justice was placated by the cross, and yet redemption reminds us of our state of slavery to sin and Satan before Christ came into our lives. The debt of sin by which we are born placed us in a chain of slavery to sin. Jesus paid the price to set us free from the clutches of sin and Satan and death.

Please listen to me, redemption by the cross means freedom from the slavery of sin and Satan. It's ours when we prevail ourselves to it. I really need to stop here and say something very important. There is a world of difference between slavery to sin and the believers who occasionally sin. Can I get an amen? There's a world of difference. Those who have experienced the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross will occasionally sin. John said, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we," what? Confess our sin. For the redeemed, sin and Satan have no power holding them and keeping them. For the redeemed, sin has no dominion over us, and when we sin, we immediately repent, why? Because we have been set free, and by Christ's blood, which is the price that he paid for that redemption and freedom.

The cross, the cross atoned us by satisfying the justice of the Father. The cross of Christ redeemed us from the slavery of sin. And thirdly, the cross of Jesus justifies us. It means not only God has canceled our debt, not only God has destroyed our debt by payment in full, but also means that he, the Lord Jesus Christ, covered us with his own righteousness before God the Father. Ah. Now, because of the cross of Christ, God the Father looks upon his children through the prism of Jesus, and he sees us as righteous. Can you believe that? I find it very hard to believe, and I've been trying for 55 years. He looks upon us justified. He sees us as righteous, because he sees us through Jesus. Please don't miss what I'm gonna tell you. This is not the same as amnesty. It's not the same as amnesty, because amnesty is pardon without principle. That's what... it's a pardon without principle. It's not even the same as forgiveness.

Forgiveness is pardon, but its' not the same as forgiveness, which means overlooking the wrong. That's what forgiveness, "I'm gonna overlook it. You did the wrong thing, but I'm gonna overlook it," that's where forgiveness comes in. That is not, not, not justification that Christ Jesus accomplished on the cross. Justification is an act of generous justice. Do you know what the courts of heaven says when it hears you confessing and coming to Christ, repenting and receiving Jesus as Savior? Do you know what the courts of heaven says? "Guilty as charged". Ooh, somebody said, "Oh, yes, oh, it's unconditional love". Of course that's unconditional love, but the heaven says, "Guilty as charged". God the Father says, "Guilty as charged. But wait a minute, wait a minute, now you came to me through my Son, and my Son paid for your crime". God, "My Son paid for your crime against heaven". Oh, my beloved friends, please listen to me. Grace and faith are inseparable. Faith has only one function. It receives what grace has freely given. Can I get an amen?

Grace gives, and faith stretched out its hands and gratefully received. And that is why the apostle Paul could confidently say, "Therefore there is no condemnation for ll who are," what? Good enough? Done enough? Gave enough? No. Who are in, who? Christ Jesus. If you ask Paul, "Why, Paul"? I'm really getting ready to shout now. He would say, "Because on the cross God did what we could never do in a million lifetimes. On the cross God did what the law could never do. On the cross Jesus was condemned so that we may be set free. On the cross Jesus's body was broken so that we may become spiritually whole. On the cross Jesus was humiliated so that we may be dignified. On the cross Jesus was bloodied so that we may be cleansed. On the cross Jesus was nailed to the tree so that he might pull us out of the jaws of sin and death. On the cross Jesus was forsaken so that we might be comforted. On the cross Jesus was cursed so that we may be blessed. On the cross Jesus died so that we may live forever".

Fourthly, by the cross Jesus reconciled us to the Father, to his Father. Perhaps reconciliation concept is much more easily understood than probably the first three. That's why I spend a lot more time on them. But we all have experienced reconciliation if you had a fight with someone, an argument, or a disagreement, and you've been alienated, and you have been estranged, become estranged from that person, and then a person comes in confession, and you forgive them, and you know what reconciliation is. But we all were at enmity with God. And that's the debt that I'm talking about, we're born with that enmity. We all were not on speaking terms with God, why? Because we could not be what God demand us to be. Ah, but because of Jesus, because Jesus met the Father's demands, we can now through Jesus have peace with God the Father.

Now, because of Jesus, called his Father, "Abba, Daddy," we can call him Abba. Because Jesus had access to God the Father, he gave us the key to come to the presence of God the Father. "How come?" you say. Because Jesus Christ is the only one who could reconcile us with God the Father. What a deal. The cross atoned by satisfying the justice of God the Father. The cross redeemed us and set us free from sin. The cross justified us by grace. And the cross ended our enmity with the Father. I'm gonna end where I began. Who crucified Jesus? We did. Judas's greed was our greed. The priests's envy was our envy. The Pilate's cowardice and fear is ours.

Perhaps what says it best is the old spiritual. "Were you there? Were you there when they crucified my Lord"? The answer is, yes, I was there. I was there. So were you. I was there with my greed and hatred and envy and anger and lust and unforgiveness, and so were you. I was there with all of my shame and guilt. I was there with all of my plotting and scheming and betraying, handing him over to be crucified, and so were you. Oh, but I'm ecstatic about the fact that he washed me with his blood. He washed me with his blood. He redeemed me with his sacrifice. He justified me by his grace. And he reconciled me with the Father through his death and resurrection of his Son. All I want to say is, praise God.
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