Wednesday, August 8, 2012

THE INVITATION OF THE CROSS

God looked down upon a sin-sick world of people bound in prison-houses of fear and despair and He sent His own Son. Jesus came to earth, taking on the frailty of human flesh, and told all who would listen: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

The invitation of the cross is a call to every soul that is sick of sin. Jesus calls out to all who are burdened with binding chains, powerful habits, besetting sins. “Come to Me now with all your heavy burdens. There is no other way but through My cross!" Jesus died on the cross not only to forgive sin, but to break its wearying power over us. You see, sin wearies the flesh. It saps away all that is good and kind and precious. It hardens the heart, destroying peace and causing guilt, sorrow and shame. It consumes the mind's thoughts, weakening and darkening the soul. Sin brings on fear and, worst of all, it shuts off all communion with God.

If I were to preach about the demands of the cross in many churches today, with its death to all lusts and worldly pleasures, the crowds would flee, just as they did when Jesus told them of the cost of following Him.

Such churches never even mention the cross. Instead, they pour their energies into clever meetings full of showmanship, dramatic illustrations, and sermons on how to cope with life's problems.

I believe God must wink at many of these frail attempts to attract souls with modern enticements. He seems to have much patience with such well-intentioned, fleshly efforts to promote the gospel. But God help the ministers of these churches if they refuse to warn their people to forsake their sins.

Jeremiah lamented, "They strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness . . .” (Jeremiah 23:14).

"But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings" (verse 22). I say to ministers, "Bring back the cross — or the people's blood will be upon your hands."