The Message of the Cross
What is the message of the cross and what does it entail? For example, Jimmy Swaggart Ministries and Sonlife Broadcasting Network focus primarily on the message of the cross. Many preach the message of the cross as it applies to salvation, however, it’s much more than that. When applied properly, it gives us victory in every aspect of our lives.
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On a personal note, I like the Swaggarts and their ministry. I’m convinced they’re doing a great work and have a great ministry and are reaching many for Christ. However, they do not have a corner on the message of the cross that no one else has. We have to be careful, whenever someone says they have a revelation that no one else has we’re in sketchy territory. Anyone who is saved is so because they have believed in and trusted Jesus and what He did for them on Calvary. It’s not the cross (a wooden beam) alone but faith in the person of Christ who sacrificed Himself on the cross for us and a relationship with Him. It’s the total package!
When we talk of preaching the cross we’re not simply referring to a wooden beam. The message of the cross refers to Jesus’ finished work on the cross – His shed blood, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under His feet” (Ephesians 1:21-22). The message of the cross applies to and affords us victory in every aspect of life.
It means we are trusting in the cross and person of Christ alone not only for salvation but for everything in life. We’re trusting exclusively in Jesus, the cross, and all Jesus did there and nothing else. Many who are saved by trusting in the finished work of Christ on Calvary’s hill but stop there. We must not trust in anything but Christ alone for every aspect of life. Too many believers are trusting in Jesus for their salvation but trust in the world and the philosophies and doctrines of man for the problems of living rather than Jesus. We must place our faith in Jesus and what He did for us on the cross for all of life.
“See to it that no one who takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
Because of what Jesus did for us on Golgotha’s hill we’re afforded victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. Just as Jesus is “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under His feet” so are we. “Because as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). We’re with Him in Heavenly places. “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
Paul on Mars Hill attempted to reach those there by beginning on a philosophical basis and then bring them to Jesus. As a result, the fruit he saw was minimal at best. When he went to Corinth he was determined not to make the same mistake.
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
How many today point our people to Jesus for salvation but afterwards direct them to the doctrines and philosophies of men rather than to Christ. We preachers need to get back to pointing people to the crucified Christ and trusting in Him alone for not only salvation but everything in life.
The Message of the Cross
- Salvation through the cross. First and foremost our salvation was purchased at the cross. Without the shedding of Jesus’ blood on Calvary’s cross we would be forever lost. Our salvation is by faith in Him and Him alone. He was beaten and marred beyond any man and nailed to an old rugged cross bearing all our sins. At the most intense moment on the cross when Jesus was bearing the sins of the world (our sins) the Father, with whom He had fellowship with throughout eternity, had to turn His back on Him. He could not look on sin.
Matthew 27:46 – “About the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?”
Habakkuk 1:13 – “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
Hebrews 9:22 – “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
Romans 4:4-5 – “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
- Redemption from the curse through the cross. What Jesus did for us on the cross redeems us from the curse of the law and resulting judgment and from every curse of life in the fallen world we live in. We cover this thoroughly in our message Seven Places Jesus Bled. We’re primarily looking at here the redemptive plan which covers forgiveness, cleansing, deliverance, and victory in life.
Galatians 3:13 – “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
1 Peter 1:18-19 – “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Romans 3:25-26 – “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
Romans 5:9-10 – “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
Ephesians 1:7 – “In Whom we have redemption (deliverance) through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
- Victory over the powers of darkness through the cross. When Jesus died on the cross He won victory over the powers of darkness. Satan is a defeated foe. If we will trust solely and exclusively in what Jesus did for us on the cross we can claim victory over the devil and all his emissaries. He is defeated and we have the victory.
Colosians 2:15 – “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him – the cross.”
Revelation 12:11 – “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
Luke 10:18-19 – “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
- Reigning in life through the cross. Through Jesus’ vicarious substitutionary death and atoning work on the cross we not only have victory over the devil but we are able to reign in this life. God’s will is that we reign over the things in this life. This is made possible through His shed blood and sacrificial death.
Romans 5:17 – “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”
Revelation 1:6 – “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Revelation 5:9-10 – “They sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
- Divine health and healing through the cross. Jesus’ atoning work on the cross paid for our healing. This encompasses spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical healing. We can claim and expect to walk in divine health and healing because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Our healing was provided for us in the atonement. This was exemplified when Israel placed the blood on the door posts and was delivered out of Egypt and was a type of the cross (Exodus 12:13).
Exodus 15:26 – “I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians – the world: For I am the Lord (Jehovah Rapha) that healeth thee.”
Psalm 91:10 – “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”
Psalm 103:3 – “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.”
Isaiah 53:3-6 – “For He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
Jeremiah 30:17 – “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord.”
1 Peter 2:24-25 – “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
Divine health and healing is a touch of future resurrection power:
Romans 8:23 – “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
Romans 8:11 – “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
- We have abundance through the cross. When Israel left Egypt, the death angel passed over all who applied the blood (a type of Christ and the cross) to their door posts. Not only were they delivered from death and the bondage of Pharaoh, they left Egypt with their goods and riches. Whatever you may be facing, claim the delivering power of His blood in your life, situation, and also His abundance.
Exodus 12:35-36 – “The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for, so they plundered the Egyptians.”
John 10:10 – “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Deuteronomy 8:18 – “It is He that giveth thee power to get wealth.”
Psalm 37:25 – “I have been young, and now am old; Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
Proverbs 10:22 – “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it.”
Proverbs 13:22 – “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.”
Isaiah 48:17 – “Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”
Isaiah 60:5 – “Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Philippians 4:19 – “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 – “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
3 John 2 – “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
Psalms 35:27 – “Let them shout for joy, and be glad, which favor My righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, Who hath pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
- Self-denial and death is demanded at the cross. The message of the cross also encompasses death and self-denial. When we come to Christ there must be a death to self. We die with Him, are buried, and risen to walk a new life with Him. There should be a death to all selfish ambition and put Him and His purpose first in our lives. We are following Him and His plan for our life.
Luke 9:23 – “And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Galatians 2:20 – “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Matthew 10:39 – “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.”
Matthew 16:25 – “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”
Romans 6:5 – “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
- Sanctification through the cross. We are sanctified by His atoning work on the cross and His shed blood. Once we’ve accepted Christ as our Lord and Savoir we are instantly justified and sanctified in the eyes of God just as if we had never sinned. God sees us through the lens of Jesus’ blood and He sees nothing but the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Hebrews 10:14 – “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
Hebrews 10:29 – “And hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified.”
There is also progressive sanctification. This is where in life we are set apart from self, sin, and this world unto God. This also is accomplished through the cross. We are to work out our salvation in our daily life and this too is done through the cross. I recall reading Newell’s commentary on Romans in which he said we must see every sin as nailed to and put to death at the cross. We’re laborers together with God in the sanctification process.
Philippians 2:12-13 – “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
Romans 6:10-11 – “For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Galatians 6:14 – “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
- The power of God is released through the cross. When we placed our trust in Jesus and all He did for us on the cross the power of God is released in our life. This is done through the indwelling Holy Spirit at conversion. Even so when we preach the cross God’s power is unleashed in and through us and in the lives of those to whom we minister. It’s not by any works we might do, even religious things. It’s all His work on the cross.
2 Peter 1:3-4 – “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.”
1 Corinthians 1:17-18 – “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
Ephesians 1:19-20 – “And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.”
- The fullness of the Holy Spirit released at the cross. Up until the day of Pentecost Jesus was the only one who received the Spirit without measure. At the cross a soldier pierced His side and blood and water gushed out. Water in scripture is a type of the Holy Spirit. This made it possible for followers of Christ to receive the Spirit without measure and be filled with all the fullness of God.
John 3:34 – “For He Whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.”
John 19:34 – “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.”
John 4:14 – “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
John 7:37-39 – “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
I would encourage you to read and watch the videos on The Five-Fold Ministry of the Holy Spirit, The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit. It will be time well spent.
God desires to pour out His Spirit in these last days like never before. If the Spirit was poured out so mightily at the beginning of the last days on the Day of Pentecost, how much more at the end of the last days. In Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians he released “the fullness of Him that filleth all in all,” and prayed that we might be “filled with all the fullness of God,” and he commanded to “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 1:23, 3:19, and 5:18).
All our trust and glorying must be exclusively in the cross. All we are and can be is due to and found at the cross. We have nothing else to boast in. Without what Jesus did for us on Calvary we would have no hope. Let’s place all our trust, hope, and boasting in the cross.
Galatians 6:14 – “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
2 Corinthians 1:30 – “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”
Glory be to God! There’s salvation, redemption, deliverance, victory, sanctification, abundance, and the fullness of the Spirit released through the finished work of Christ on the cross alone. Let’s place our trust in what Jesus did for us on Calvary. It must be in Him alone for salvation and every aspect in life. Jesus alone saves us, sets us free, and gives us victory in life.