The Cross

Scripture: Colossians 2:11-15, NLT

When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. 13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

INTRODUCTION

When studying a passage and trying to organize your thoughts into a sermon, you look for connections and I see a vital connection in this passage. Paul begins this passage talking about Circumcision and he concludes by mentioning the cross twice and there in lies the connection.

I. THE CROSS IS THE INSTRUMENT OF CIRCUMCISION

  1. Old Testament circumcision was a rite or act of removing, clipping away, the flesh [skin] from that part of the male anatomy that the Jews considered the most impure or unclean. The act of circumcision became a symbol of the covenant.
  2. Circumcision, like Baptism is an outward ceremony symbolizing inward change. It symbolizes the cutting of away of our fleshly [selfish] nature. All the prophets understood that circumcision had no value within itself and that true circumcision was a matter of the heart. Even Moses said, “Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.” Jeremiah said the same thing,Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your hearts.”
  3. A part of our great SALVATION is called Sanctification and it is the process of God via grace and the Holy Spirit clipping away at our flesh life or our self-centeredness.
  4. You cannot have circumcision without and instrument: for the physician, it is a scalpel but for God, it is the cross. God uses the cross as the tool of circumcision. [Nicodemus and Joseph or good examples]

II. THE CROSS IS THE MEANS OF OUR REDEMPTION

  1. Paul said,  He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” The AV reads “Hand writing or ordinances”, NASB reads “Certificate of Debt,” and here you have “Record of the Charges”. In ancient time, edicts, laws, or certificate of debt were posted on trees, walls, what have you for all to see.
  2. We are talking about our sin debt. We are talking about every act of rebellion from the day we became accountable and that would be quite a list of charges. I am prone to wonder and wander. The other day I was wondering about some sins of others and how God would let them do such things without immediate punishment and then the LORD reminded me that I was wandering from the straight and narrow myself by focusing on someone else’s sin and not my own. As the LORD began convicting me of my sins, I felt ashamed. Then I begin to wonder just how long that list would be if He revealed all my sins. So the bottom line is: over the years, I have amassed a huge sin debt, a far greater debt than I can imagine. How can this debt be paid? Anytime we have a debt, we must have means of payment or in the old days, you were condemned to a debtor’s prison.
  3. Not only have the charges against us been recorded: our signature is at the bottom of the list. The Greek word for “Hand Writing” is the word from which we get autographs or signatures. Our sins are recorded and our name is assigned to the list. They will be no alibiing in judgment because our names are affixed to our sins.
  4. The word “Canceled” literally means erased. How did Jesus erase our sin? He did it with His blood. The cross is a bloody instrument but the blood of Christ has cleansing power. Ancient ink had no acid in it so it did not have biting power and was easily erased. Jesus erased our sins with His blood. Wiped the slate clean.
  5. Hallelujah, the CROSS IS THE MEANS OF OUR REDEMPTION!

III. THE CROSS IS THE GROUND OF OUR VICTORY

  1. There is victory is Jesus but there would be not victory for us had there not been a cross.
  2. Jesus did not become God’s Son when He died on the Cross but He did become our Savior. He was God’s Son before a cross and would be without a cross but you and I would have no hope if not for the cross.
  3. As Christian Soldiers, we fight with the Cross to our backs. Our victory was secured at Calvary. We stand on conquered land when we stand beneath the cross.
  4. The cross is our spiritual barometer. We never operate from feelings. Our assurance of God’s love is based on Jesus death on the cross. The cross is our strength.
  5. Paul makes it clear that the victory has been won…In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. Satan is officially defeated: He cannot win but he will not accept this truth because he hates truth. He continues to fight, thinking that he can win but if you believe God’s word, you know that he cannot win.
  6. I sure that many would respond, “Well, it sure looks like he is winning.” Yes, it does appear that he is winning but it also appeared that way at Calvary. Are things any worse now than they were that day, appearance wise?
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