Tony Evans — The Centrality of the Cross
This is Tony Evans with the urban alternative. First and foremost, happy resurrection sunday. The greatest event in human history occurred that we are celebrating today. And that is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God's receipt that the payment made on friday on the Cross was received and accepted for you and for me. That's why today we're going to talk about the Centrality of the Cross, why the cross is central not it only to your passport to heaven, but to your well-being in history and on earth.
The cross is to be the centerpiece that all of life encircles. You say, what does that look like? How does that work? What does it mean? Why don't we go and find out what Paul has to say about the Centrality of the Cross?
Paul in writing the book of galatians wants to remind those who are his audience about the Centrality of the Cross. Over and over again in this book in one form or another he brings up Christ and his Cross. We want to clearly understand today and throughout our time the role of the Cross, particularly in the believer's life.
For far too many christians, the Cross is an historical event that's going to take them to heaven. And that is the only benefit that they get from it. The Cross is so much more. Far too many christians are missing the main thing.
Paul in writing the galatians says in chapter, verse as he prepares to close the book see with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.
In other words, this thing is capitalized. As I close the book Paul says, I want to write this thing big, large. Because I don't want you to miss this. This is a transcendent truth that summarizes everything.
In fact, the statement in verse would be the key. But may it never be that I would boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul has been saved for sometime. And yet he's saying I'm still bragging on the Cross. He did not let the historical Reality of the Cross get lost in his mind, his thoughts, his function, his teaching or his training.
I want to return us back to the Cross. Now, what caused him to even talk about this was something that was happening in the Church of Galatia. Galatia bible fellowship. There was something taking place there that made him have to make a big deal about the Cross.
Now you can read the whole book and find it threaded throughout the book. He summarizes it in verse. Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised. Simply so that they will not be persecuted for the Cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh.
He's going to make a statement that if you get this little statement I'm getting ready to make, and understand its ramifications and implications, it will send you on a whole different direction for your christian life. What was getting in the way of the christians in Galatia from experiencing the fullness of Jesus Christ reality in their christian living and christian experience, what was keeping them from realizing all that they had in their salvation was religion.
Religion had gotten in the Way of the Cross. Circumstance sim was the external symbol of religious commitment and involvement in the old testament. There were a group of people who would follow Paul around whenever he would start a Church. And they were known as the judaizers.
These were jews who were still attached to the religion of the Old Testament and who tried to get these new christians to conform to external religious observances symbolized by the chief one called circumcision in order to maintain religious ritual.
The judaizers, those to whom paul is saying that these have come around and they are trying to subvert the Message of the Cross — these were not folk who had lost sight of religion, but they had no relationship.
Whenever religious activity, however sincere, trumps relationship, Christ no longer is experienced by the christian. One of the great dangers of a church like it was in Galatia, is that religion would replace an intimate relationship with the Savior.