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The Old Rugged Cross

The Old Rugged Cross is the Only Door whereby we may Enter into Eternal Life

The hands of Jesus Christ are hands of forgiveness, healing and unconditional love stretched out with “everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27. “He took them up in his arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them.” Mark 10:16. This is the experience of all that come to the Son of God. With His hands He touched men contaminated with the feared plague of leprosy. The despised, rejected, unlearned and poor were His closest followers. His love was most clearly seen by those who were the most wretched sinners.

At times He would be found sharing a meal with the town drunk, forgiving prostitutes, and sharing the love of God to those who were rejected, wounded and hurt, “His hands make whole.” Job 5:18. There were men hated by society, He called His friends. The religious people that He came to bless, and forgive, despised and rejected Him. It was the outcast that received Him. “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37.

In His own teachings was given the story of two men. One a religious leader who was zealous and dedicated to godly living. Second, a worldly man, called a publican, who lived a very sinful life, who exclaimed, “God be merciful to me a sinner” Jesus said, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.” Luke 18:13, 14. “Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” Matthew 21:31. Those who think they are pretty good are in greater danger of being deceived than those who know they are really bad.

Hours before Judas betrayed Jesus to death, Christ’s love for him was as strong as ever. “Jesus hungered for his soul.” “His heart was crying how can I give thee up?” This was just hours before Judas killed himself and forever sealed his fate. No matter how deep into rebellion the sinner is against God, the love of Jesus Christ still yearns with desire stronger than a man for his bride, to forgive and restore the sinner to eternal life and peace with God.

“But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings.” “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings. So the Lord did lead him.” Malachi 4:2; Deuteronomy 32:11,12. So it was with Judas. Jesus longed to heal and forgive him. After three years of being with Him, Judas decided to betray God’s dear Son to death. “How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” Matthew 23:37.

The same hands that multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the multitude washed Judas’ feet in humble service. The King of Kings bowed to serve the man who had sold him for the price of a common slave. It was Jesus who said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and do good to them that hate you,” Matthew 5:44. “God is love!” 1 John 4:8. Jesus came to reveal the love of God to a world that did not love Him. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” “We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:10,19.

The hands of Jesus reveal the unconditional love of God. The faith of Jesus works by love. On the Cross His hands show that there is no sin or burden to great for Him to bear. You can place your life into His hands. Those hands took nails in their palms. There is no sin to strong for Him to free you from, if only you will ask Him to. He loves you right now just as strongly as when He hung on the Cross and died for you. His hand is knocking right now on the door of your heart.

“Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20.

Jesus Christ is the only door that leads to everlasting life. “I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” John 10:9. The death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God is the only door that leads eternal life. You must experience all three by faith to enter through that door. On the other side of that door Christ sits at the right hand of God as the victorious King that conquered sin and death. There He makes intercession in the Heavenly judgment on behalf of the fallen race. Victorious over all sin, He is worthy to be our Advocate. To stand as our High Priest and only Mediator between the fallen sinner and God’s Holy Law, The Ten Commandments.

The Savior is pictured standing at a door knocking on the hearts of men and women with the still small voice of His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God leads the sinner down the strait and narrow path to the only door that leads to everlasting life, the Cross. The will of man surrendered to God is crucified with Christ. The sinful desires of the carnal mind with the lusts of the old man are rendered dead. At the foot of Calvary we behold the sufferings of God’s dear Son. Through an understanding of the night of woe endured by the Lord Jesus Christ a deep sorrow is experienced while at the same time an unspeakable love is seen for “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” Romans 2:4.

Through the Savior’s sufferings we find the only door to everlasting life. The Majesty of Heaven Himself went through that door (John 10:2) making it possible for the sheep that hear His voice to follow Him and enter into eternal life. Christ desires you to open the door. You cannot accomplish this without Jesus. For it is, “He that openeth, and no man shutteth: and shutteth, and no man openeth” Revelation 3:7.

Man must surrender to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and allow God to baptize him into the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, passing through His death by faith into everlasting life. Look to Jesus hanging upon the Cross, there confess your sins upon the Lamb of God. His blood takes away our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness, granting every repentant sinner eternal life.

It is through confession of sin and faith in God’s gift of repentance in Christ Jesus that the Holy Spirit leads the humble contrite heart of man through the door of the Cross. Passing through that door Christ declares, “I will sup with him, and he with Me” Revelation 3:20. The sufferings of Christ are the bread and wine he wishes to share with us. It is as we meditate on them that we become converted. “I am the bread of life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” John 6:48,53,54.

We eat His flesh and drink his blood by remembering His sufferings. During Christ’s last supper with His disciples before experiencing these sufferings, He shared with them some unleavened bread and fresh grape juice. He then said, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me.” The Lord’s supper was given to remind His followers of the heartache He was to experience for them. Jesus taught that unless we gave thoughtful time each day to remembering His sufferings we could not overcome sin and inherit eternal life.

“And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 12:11.

It is the blood of the Lamb that grants the sinner the victory of Jesus Christ. As I approach Calvary and realize my sins drove the nails into His flesh, the desires of my flesh are crucified with Christ. The sin I once loved or was simply held in bondage to is seen in its true light as it caused the death of the Son of God. Now I begin to hate that same sin; and at the same time begin to love Jesus Christ. “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil” Proverbs 8:13. The Cross is where the sinner obtains the fear of the Lord.

The Holy Spirit converts the lower nature of man, as he beholds the sufferings of Jesus. Are bad feelings a sin? Certainly they are. “Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:22,28. Carnal desires, appetites, and passions must be converted and brought under the power of God.

Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Matthew 22:37,38. Being double minded is a sin. We must obey God with all our heart. Any carnal feelings that are unsanctified must be brought to Calvary. When you behold the broken body of Jesus through prayer and faith the sin loving heart will begin to hate that evil character trait. Only when sin, by the grace of God, is made to be repulsive in the heart will a repentance that is not to be repented of be experienced.
Jesus said, “whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” Matthew 5:39. Jesus lived His teachings even unto death. “Then did they spit in His face, and buffeted Him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands” ” and they spit upon Him and took the reed, and smote Him on the head” “And the men that held Jesus mocked Him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face.” “And they smote Him with their hands” Matthew 26:67; 27:30; Luke 22:63,64; John 19:3.

“But He was wounded for our transgression, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” Isaiah 53:5. A careful study of the Gospels reveal that Christ was “twice tortured by the scourge”- Desire of Ages p.742. A cat o’ nine tails; a leather handled whip with nine tips coated with broken sharp objects tore the flesh of Christ. Human law prohibited a beating of this type to reach 40 blows. Since Christ was scourged twice at 39 times each He was struck by this cruel instrument of Satan’s 78 times. The strongest of men often would die on the 40th beating of the scourge. By surviving this, Christ testified, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” John 10:17,18.

“Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say to Him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously” Hosea 14:2. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” John 1:29. God will not take the sin from you, unless you surrender it to Him, and ask Him to take it. Then you must believe in the name of Jesus Christ for His salvation. Strive to enter the narrow gate by keeping your eyes upon the flesh and blood of Jesus. Look upon His sufferings by faith. At the same time ask God to change your desires, by creating in you a new heart. Confess your sins and repent and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. As you behold the sacrifice of Christ the power of witnessing His suffering for you will “reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin” Romans 6:11.

He, “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” 2 Peter 2:24.

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32.

Beholding by faith, the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ is the only way to receive repentance unto life. Peter’s sermon lasted only ninety seconds in Acts 10. It was about the life of Christ and His death on the Cross. Those who heard this fisherman speak, received the Holy Spirit with the same power given on the day of Pentecost. It is the spilled blood of Jesus Christ that grants the power of God unto salvation. “Knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” Romans 2:4. Through prayer confession is made. By faith repentance is granted, leading to peace with God. “He leadeth me beside the still waters” Psalm 23:2. Christ’s gift of repentance leads the sinner from the confusion of sin to the living waters with “the peace of God that passeth all understanding.” Philippians 4:7. “Having made peace through the blood of His Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself.” Colossians 1:20.

Christ was willing to sacrifice an entire night of torture and cruel mocking and beatings, and even six hours of hanging on nails. A true Christian will not think it too much to sacrifice an hour each day to remember the gift of God in His Son to redeem the world. “Would you be free from your burden of sin? There is wonderful power in the blood.” By faith go to Jesus as he hangs on the Cross. Cling to Christ. Behold His blood drip down His body and onto your right hand and down your arm and over your heart as you cling to Him by faith in prayer as you remember the Cross. There confess your sins and allow the Lamb of God to take away your burdens. Don’t let go of Christ! He will change you more and more every moment you touch Him by faith.

Jesus was beaten, bruised, His face deformed, and His heart broken. “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than any of the sons of men” Isaiah 52:14. “Christ the Son of God, was led forth, and the cross was laid upon His shoulders. At every step was left blood, which flowed, from his wounds. Thronged by an immense crowd of bitter enemies and Unfeeling spectators, He is led away to the crucifixion. ‘He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and a sheep before is Shearer’s is dumb, so He opened not His mouth’ (Isaiah 53:7). Not one word did Jesus answer to all this. While the nails were being driven through His hands, and the sweat drops of agony were forced from His pores, from the pale quivering lips of the innocent Sufferer a prayer of pardoning love was breathed for His murderers: ‘Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to Come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:38,39.

The greatest revelation of God’s love is seen in the death of Christ on the Cross. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down His life for His friends.” John 15:13. Have you seen the revelation of God’s love for you in the death of Christ on the Cross and experienced His love personally to the point that NOTHING COULD SEPARATE YOU FROM THAT LOVE YOU SEE IN CHRIST JESUS, AT CALVARY? Oh that YOU would cling to Christ remembering His flesh and His blood. We must experience the Cross daily!

“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” Matthew 16:24. The Cross Jesus took up was YOUR CROSS. It is as we deny self and take up that Cross by faith that we take up the yoke of the Meek & Lowly One. Matthew 11:28-30. We must personally by faith lift Christ’s yoke by submitting to the authority of God Word. We cannot serve Jesus and self. Knowing this that the old man is Crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed” Romans 6:6. The whole issue of the great controversy is that of character. Loving God and our neighbor verses self seeking. We should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead” 2 Corinthians 1:9

Christ on the Cross in lowliness of mind esteemed your needs above His own even to the point of death. He did not look to His own problems as He hung there dying for the people that mocked Him. Rather He said, “Father forgive them.” He was thinking about you and me, desiring to forgive and free us from a lifetime of sin and disobedience.

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:14,15. The people of Israel in the wilderness were plagued by serpents, “and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died . . . And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, WHEN HE LOOKETH ON IT SHALL LIVE” Numbers 21:6,8. The entire world has been bitten by that Serpent, called Satan. Unless we look to Calvary we too shall die. ALL WE MUST DO IS LOOK TO THE CROSS DAILY BY FAITH, CONFESSING OUR SINS, WEEPING AND MOURNING AND IN SORROW REPENT. Do this and you shall find the way to EVERLASTING LIFE!”

Christ was born to a virgin named Mary (Matthew 1:18). During the dedication at the temple Simeon prophesied to the mother of Christ, “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also” Luke 2:35. “Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus HIS MOTHER” John 19:25. The sword pierced Mary’s heart as she beheld her Son die. YOU TOO MUST STAND BY THE CROSS AND HAVE THE SWORD PIERCE YOUR HEART SEPARATING YOUR SIN FROM YOU.

You must remember the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ; “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood ye have no life in you.” John 6:53. Just a word of warning, every time the Bible says, “Remember” Satan and the powers behind him will work hard to lead you to forget. “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13.

Friend’s who know me best know that this is the message I like more than any other. “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2. I listen to sermons on the Cross, read about the Cross, talk about the Cross, and think often about the Cross. In the next two chapters we will explore the vast resources of the power of God in Christ Jesus. The gospel is power. Unlimited power. May the Holy Spirit guide you into these precious truths and transform your life into something wonderful and beautiful. My prayer is that you will be a bright and shining light for Jesus and His Cross. Amen.

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