Introduction: It is said that Billy Graham once attributed the large number of responses to his sermons on one central theme. It was, that he always drew attention in his sermons to the Lord Jesus Christ and to ‘the power of the cross’.
As we draw close to Good Friday, it’s good to remind ourselves of the power of the cross and what the Lord accomplished through His mighty sacrifice. Although the cross was a symbol of execution at that time (much like an electric chair today), God’s saving power in full was revealed at the cross. It symbolized the greatest rescue mission the world has ever seen!!
From Colossians 2:13-15, I would like to leave 3 thoughts about ‘The Power of the Cross’ in this sermon outline. They are:
1) Through the power of the cross anyone can receive forgiveness (verse 13b)
The forgiveness that comes through the sacrifice of Jesus is available to the worst of sinners. As a result, no one is beyond the reach of God’s saving grace. In 1 Timothy 1:15 the Apostle Paul refers to this truth in speaking about his own transformation .
The power of sin follows every human like a stalking shadow. It never let’s go and destroys lives through all types of evil. However, Colossians 2:14 tells us that Christ has cancelled the penalty of sin that was against us, having nailed it to the cross. He therefore sets us free from all condemnation and guilt.
Illustration: At the age of 16, I was a demoralized and frustrated teenager, plagued by constant sickness and physical weakness. Belief in the occult and astrology had left a deep emptiness in my heart and I was searching for a purpose for living. That’s when I came to the cross one day, and as I accepted the forgiveness of Christ into my life, I found the purpose I was looking for. My life has never been the same and the greatest joy I have today is in serving Him. I’ve been doing so for most of my life, with no regrets!
2) Through the power of the cross God makes us alive (verse 13)
God gives us new life through the power of the cross. This life comes through His Spirit indwelling us and it is eternal in nature. It is also described and experienced as ‘abundant life’!
In the song ‘Baker Street’, Gerry Rafferty sang about a man who is ‘Light in his head and dead on his feet’. That may well be the story of many walking this earth. Maybe, it describes your life. If so, come to the cross today and be ‘made alive’ through Christ. He died so that you might find true and abundant life; that you too might experience the power of the cross!
Illustration: John Newton was a man who lived a wicked life, being involved in the horrible practice of slave trading. We call it human trafficking today. In the midst of a violent storm, when hope was almost over, as the story goes, John Newton opened his heart to God. As a result, he encountered the transformation that only comes through Christ and the power of the Cross. The story of the abundant life he received as a result, is best expressed through his hymn, Amazing Grace, which carries these lyrics.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see
3) Through the cross, Christ triumphed over all powers (verse 15)
In Colossians 2:15, Paul illustrates the triumph of Jesus on Good Friday in the following ways.
Illustrations that show the power of the cross:
a) Paul tells us that at the cross, Jesus disarmed all of satan’s forces and made a public spectacle of them. It was a bold display of total victory over the power of the enemy! The NIV Study Bible describes it in this manner – ‘The picture is of conquered soldiers stripped of their clothes as well as their weapons to symbolize their total defeat’ (Page 1815).
b) Paul also re-emphasizes that at the cross, Jesus triumphed over all the power of satan. The phrase ‘triumphing over them’ showcases “a Roman General leading his captives through the streets of his city for all the citizens to see, as evidence of his complete victory” (NIV Study Bible).
I would also like to add one of my favorite scriptures, found in 1 John 3:8 which says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work”. Therefore, if the powers of darkness are coming against you right now, stand firm on the finished work of our Lord at the cross!!
Download an inspiring Good Friday sermon titled ‘5 ways God spoke to Pilate’ here.
Closing: As we approach Good Friday, let’s remember what we have inherited through the power of the cross. They are,
Forgiveness of sin
Being made alive
Victory over the enemy
God bless you!
For thoughts on the Resurrection click here.