THE LIVING PLUS SIGN
THE LIVING PLUS SIGN
Princeton Christian Church 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 28 May 2023
We all know that the cross is at the center of our lives as Christians. The cross is at the center of all we believe and understand about our spiritual lives.
Because of the use of the cross centuries ago as Jesus hung there, and because He died and rose again to new life, we know that we have hope of eternal life.
But how closely have we looked at the cross? Have we really seen the reality and the power of the cross?
This morning I would like us to find what we might more clearly see as we gaze upon the cross, looking at three ways we might really see the cross.
1. We have not really seen the cross of Christ until we have seen it as a great plus sign. A plus sign by which God and man are drawn together in reconciliation. Let’s examine that cross – above, beneath, and upon.
Above that cross there is a loving heavenly Father offering reconciliation to His estranged human family. He was willing to sacrifice His Son to save a lost and dying world.
In fact, God sent His Son into this world for that purpose, knowing it would take His Son’s physical death to provide salvation to the world.
Beneath that cross there is the great confused mass of sinning, suffering humanity. A humanity that is separated from God – lost in its own ways and divided by the barriers that sin creates among humanity.
This was us. We were part of that sinning, suffering humanity that was lost – separated from God – wandering around in the world like sheep without a shepherd. Lost.
Upon that cross there is the form of the living plus sign. That is, Jesus. The bleeding body of the Son of God; the Great Reconciler.
Ephesians 2:14-16 tells us: “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity (mutual hatred or ill will), which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”
2. We have not really seen Christ until we have seen Him as the Christ of the cross.
We must see Him. Not only His personality, not His superior mind, or His character, His ethics, His flawless life – but we must see also His atoning death, by which He paid the price for the sins of all mankind - our sins.
It is important that we know the Christ on the cross and Him crucified. Paul clearly stated his assurance of this truth in as he writes in 1 Corinthians 2:2: “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
This is how Jesus desires to be remembered.
As he instituted the Lord’s Supper for us, he spoke these words recorded in Luke 22:19-20: “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”
In saying this He was previewing His death, rather than reviewing His life. He wasn’t listing all the great things He had done while on the earth.
He was preparing His close followers for what is about to happen – that He is about to accomplish what His Father sent him in human form to do.
3. We really have not seen our earthly mission or our heavenly destination until we have seen it in the light of the cross – that great plus sign – across the skyline of Calvary.
Suspended between heaven and earth – the plus sign – holding the throbbing, outstretched form of the Son of God. And as He hung there, He called out to His Father, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
Beyond the cross angels welcome the returning, crucified, but resurrected and glorified Son of God.
All those who follow – all are sinners – but as they come to accept Jesus’ teaching and instruction to become followers – they are cleansed, forgiven, and reconciled to Him.
This is the destiny that we, as Christ followers, move toward. That reconciliation to reach our heavenly home in the presence of Jesus and our Father, God.
Anywhere we look in this life, wherever we may find ourselves we will see that there are lost souls – those who are not reconciled to Jesus’ teaching.
And a part of Jesus’ teaching was that we have an unfulfilled mission to bring the lost to Him.
First of all, we must reconcile ourselves to Christ.
And then we must be about the business of showing others the great sacrifice Jesus Christ made for them.
The great plus sign of Calvary still speaks to people today.
To those who have not called Jesus Lord of their lives – those who are lost.
Jesus’ work on earth is finished. Remember his last words from the cross? He cried out, “It is Finished.” He has accomplished the purpose for which He came to the earth.
His work is finished. Ours is not finished.
Our work is to seek out the lost souls and cause them to know that they need to be reconciled to Christ.
The plus sign in still adding the lost to the kingdom of God.
The cross has caused all those who accept Christ as Lord to be also brothers and sisters in the family of God – sons and daughters of God.
To the reconciled – those in Christ – we have been redeemed – purchased – by the precious blood of Christ. We see in the Gospel of John (1:7) that John was sent from God, and that he was not the Light, but he came as a witness to testify about the Light (Jesus).
We are committed to introduce those around us who are without Christ in their lives and point them to Him.
Our attitude and aim should be as Luke writes in Acts 4:20: “…we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Paul tells us in Romans 5:10 – “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
He is telling us we were enemies to God. We were against God. We had a hostile attitude toward Him.
Millions of people are still in that condition And, until this change of attitude takes place people are under condemnation and exposed to God’s wrath.
The death of His Son is the means of the removal of this, and so – we receive the reconciliation – the atonement – Jesus Christ as the payment for our sin.
God is not reconciled to us. But we can be reconciled to Him. He never changes. It is we who must change in order to become His friend.