In this sermon, I am going to answer the FAQ in Christianity: what does the cross symbolize in Christianity.
By the way, I have so many sermons on the message of the cross. Since many are led to believe that Christianity is all about peace and joy; because our Lord Jesus has taken upon Himself all the troubles we should face in life.
But in the bible Jesus told His disciples over and over again about the persecutions, trials and temptations they are going to go through because of His name.
So before we jet into ths sermon, let’s look atthe bible verse where Jesus talks about the cross.
Bible verse about the cross.
He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.Mathew 10:38
What the cross symbolize in Christianity.
In Christianity, the cross our Lord Jesus Christ was talking about symbolizes the persecutions, trials and temptations a Christian must go through for the sake of His name as we see in the bible verses below:
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.1 Peter 1: 6-7.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.James 1: 12
And as we see from the above passages, it is this cross that will test the Christian faith; in order to produce patience that will perfect the Christian.
Another outstanding purpose of this test is for us to personally go through the experiences we read about in the scriptures.
Because if we don’t, we might sometimes, or probably every time; be move to doubt those things we see in the bible.
For example, we read about how Moses struck the rock thrice because of anger; and if we have never been angry before to the extent of trying to commit a crime; we will think the bible is lying about Moses’s anger.
And that is why the scripture says that believers glory in tribulations, because they know tribulations produces perseverance; and perseverance, character, and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint; because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
Thus we must always be glad because eventhough many are the afflictions of the righteous; the Lord delivers them out of them all. (Psalm 34:19)
The disciples proof of Christian persecutions.
Peter, Paul and James further confirmed to us:
Peter: For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps (1 Peter 2:21).
Paul: Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)
James: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)
No man is above temptation.
Now there is the other side of temptation that we really have to understand; and that is when the devil misleads us and we find ourselves falling into sin.
Thus, a Christian must never think that because he has repented; there is no way he is ever going to commit sin again.
This can be termed as self-righteousness.
Peter himself had this kind of thought, that was why when our Lord Jesus told him that he was going to deny him thrice that very evening, he responded that he will never because he is ready to go anywhere and die with him.
Even Paul, who used to preach against sacrifice; was tempted to go into the temple and do the sacrifice of purification; so he might escape being lynched by the Jews who misconstrued him to be teaching against the laws of Moses.
But we see how he was delivered from falling into this temptation, when two Jews from Asia caught him; just about a day to the carrying out of the sacrifice. (Acts 21:17-29.)
God tempts no one.
But does this mean that God indeed allows us to sin in order to prove our imperfect nature?
No! Because the bible says that no man should say he is tempted by God; because God cannot be tempted by evil and He also tempts no one.
But people are tempted when they are drawn away by their own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:13-15)
We must not sin willfully.
Thus, there is an understanding we must have when it comes to sin because the scripture say that
if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our hearts, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence towards God.(1 John 3:20)
Now the point is what is going through your mind as a believer when you are about to sin or after you have committed any sin?
Because we must not forget that there are times we will forget the laws of God (as Peter did) when we are about to sin but immediately after sinning our conscience must definitely alert us about the wrong we have done.
And this is when we must decide to either repent and be saved as we saw in the case of Peter, or to harden our minds and face the wrath of that sin which is now considered intentional as we can see in the next scripture:
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery imagination which will devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26-27)
So as it took God many years to prepare Moses, and Paul passed through so many trials and temptations that he had to comment about the thorn in the flesh that was given to humble him in (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)
We must therefore imbibe this same attitude and thereby exercise patience in whatever we are going through, so we could give God enough time to prepare us for whatever mission he has called us into; even if this might take a life time.