You may have thought that by reading the title of this entry that perhaps I had gotten flogged or something. But that isn't the case... I am writing this because of a part of a sermon I heard lately.
What is it about the preaching of the Cross or the Cross itself that is soo offensive to people? What is it about telling someone that someone was beaten and then hung on a tree (all the while being bloodied and their physical body being mutilated and bent out of shape) and taking this persons sins upon themselves and giving their life as a ransom for many, that is soo offensive and bothersome to many? Is it the fact that this person, Jesus Christ, did this as a way to reconcile the sinner to God the Father? And now this person has a way to not sin but live a holy lifestyle?
In 1 Corinthians, Paul says that "Jews demand a sign and Greeks look for wisdom, but i preach the Cross of Christ and Him crucified." Does that mean that whenever someone asked Paul for advice on something, He just said that Jesus was crucified on a Cross? Because then later on Paul is talking about spiritual gifts and He's baptizing folks in the Holy Spirit. I think (and this is just my opinion in reading the Scriptures and just kinda common sense), but i think He was moreso saying that the Cross is to be the very foundation of the gospel and everything should stem from that.
Jesus dying on the cross and taking my sins on Himself, and thus giving me a way to live a holy and sinless lifestyle is the foundation for Christianity. Repenting of your sins is the way to get in to Heaven. And then once you have Jesus are your Lord and Savior, you can start to live a lifestyle that is pleasing to the Father. Then you get to start to develop and maintain a relationship with Jesus, seeing as how He is your Lord and Savior. And you get to start doing like really cool things. Like praying for folks and seeing people get healed and set free from all sorts of oppressions and diseases. Some might say that we don't need emotional healing because Jesus died for that already. And therefore, once you receive Jesus, He takes all of that away. And some people haven't been through a lot of junk. But some have. And that's where the power of the gospel comes into play at. Through the authority that God has given us through Jesus, we get to make sick people better.
John the Immerser said that he (John) baptizes with water, but that there was one greater coming (Jesus) who would baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Lately, i've been reading a book called "Surprised by the Power of the Spirit" by Jack Deere. I was just reading a chapter about spiritual abuses. Every church has them. I've noticed in some circles that they emphasize being baptized in the Holy Spirit and praying in tongues MORE than repenting of sins and getting your life right back with God. While i firmly believe in the baptism of the Spirit, that has to be handled properly.
I think that's all for now.