White Oak Baptist Church
The Cross: A Message of Hope
The Cross: A Message of Hope
1 Corinthians 1:18
* Following the attacks
on 9/11, a massive operation was launched to clear the site and attempt to find any survivors amongst all the rubble. On September 13th a worker
at the site named Frank Silecchia discovered a 20 foot cross of two steel beams amongst the debris at #6 World
Trade Center. Those with access
to the site used the cross as a shrine
of sorts, leaving messages on it or praying before it, calling it God’s House.
* After a few weeks within the cleanup
site the cross was an impediment to nearby work, so Silecchia and others working on the project received
an expedited approval from the office of New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, to erect it on a pedestal on a portion of the former
plaza on Church Street.
* Some saw the crossed metal as a Christian
cross and felt its survival was symbolic. One
minister at the site said, "It was as if the cross took in the
grief and loss. I never felt Jesus more."
* The cross was eventually moved to St.
Peter's Church on October 5, 2006 bearing a plaque which reads "The Cross at Ground Zero - Founded September 13, 2001; Blessed
October 4, 2001; Temporarily Relocated
October 15, 2006. Will return to WTC Museum, a sign of comfort for all."
praise God the First Responders found a cross and not some other religious
figures; whether by coincidence
as some say or Divine providence as other say, the cross still gave a message
of hope in the midst of
darkness and evil to those seeking.
though the cross brought hope in the midst of the darkest nightmare, even as I
preach this message, there is an ongoing
battle to remove the cross from the WTC Museum and ceremonies today.
see the cross as an offensive, religious item that and has no place in tax
payer funded buildings, separation
of church and state they say, other see it as a message of hope.
morning, I want us to see the two perspectives of the cross and why it was such
a culture war as it was in the 1st
Century and how it is still a culture war in the 21st Century.
Perspective 1: The
Message of the Cross is Foolishness to Those Who are Perishing: (v.18a)
culture war over the cross is not a legal battle, it is a spiritual battle. The same evil, dark forces that brought on 9/11 are the same evil,
dark forces battling over the cross today.
* Paul told us there are some who have
the perspective the cross is nothing but foolishness. The word
“foolishness” in the Greek is “moria” (3472) which means “folly, foolishness,
is also where we get our English word “moron” from. In other words, a very liberal reading of this statement you could say
“those who don’t believe in the
message of the cross are morons!”
we speak, there is a
group of atheists up in arms over the display of the cross at the 9/11 Memorial and
Museum. According to the organization American
Atheists, they say “the cross’ inclusion
constitutes an impermissible mingling of church and state.”
* If that’s
not enough foolishness for you, here is another act of folly going on today. New York City
Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has chosen to exclude clergy from the ceremony.
Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said “Americans turned to
God for solace
after the 2001 attacks, and clergy were intimately involved in helping the
nation heal. Unfortunately,
New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, would have us look the other way. Mayor
Bloomberg is allowing the presence of politicians and presidents, but no
pastors or prayer.”
* At least
Mayor Bloomberg did agree to allow the cross to be part of the 9/11 Memorial
* Why so much foolishness and folly
about the cross? It’s because the
message of the cross is offensive
and divisive; those who don’t believe in the message of the cross are
of understanding the magnitude of the message of hope and power the cross
gave us insight to this foolishness found in (1 Cor. 2:14). They are spiritually
because they are spiritually blinded (2 Cor. 4:4). It’s like the
Israelites in believing in Jesus
(2 Cor. 3:14-16).
* They are “perishing” (622), which
means they are being destroyed, coming to ruin and destruction.
only when one accepts the message of the cross and believes in Jesus’ sacrifice
can one understand
the true meaning and power of the cross; beyond that it’s just foolishness. Peter and Paul
both said, (1 Peter 2:6-8, 1
Cor. 1:23). They didn’t
understand then just like they don’t
about you? Do you believe in the message
of the cross? What is your perspective?
Perspective 2: The
Message of the Cross is Faith to Those Being Saved: (v.18b)
is the “message of the cross”? The word
“message” (NIV) in the Greek is “logos (3056) and
literally means “to speak intelligently.”
I believe Paul used this word in contrast to the word foolishness.
“word” of the cross is the Gospel message.
The Gospel message has never changed and never will. Even at the end of times we see it being
proclaimed (Rev. 14:6).
* The best
definition I can give you of the Gospel is found in (1 Cor. 15:2-4). An acrostic to the word
G.O.S.P.E.L. would be “God’s Only Son Promises Eternal Life.
* It’s amazing how this message of the cross brings hope, faith
and power to those who believe. It’s the message of
the cross that gets us through those hard times and through those fiery trials of life.
* It’s the
message of the cross that in the middle of the worst nightmare the Lord is with
us. There is no place we can go that He is
not there, no suffering we can endure that He first did not endure, no
hole in the ground or our lives that He is not there with us, and there is no
trauma so bad He can’t heal!
message of the cross is salvation! The
word “saved” (4982), “sozo”, means “to be delivered
from trouble, to be rescued”.
* George Bennard wrote about the salvation of the cross in
1913 hymn, The Old Rugged Cross”
“On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, The
emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that
old cross where the dearest and best For a world of lost sinners was slain.
Oh, that old
rugged cross, so despised by the world, Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb
of God left His glory above To bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged
cross, stained with blood so divine, A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that
old cross Jesus suffered and died, To pardon and sanctify me.
To the old rugged
cross I will ever be true; Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me
some day to my home far away, Where His glory forever I’ll share.
cherish the old rugged cross, Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling
to the old rugged cross, And exchange it some day for a crown.”
* After 9/11 church attendance
spiked to 47 percent of all Americans where Dr. D. James Kennedy,
pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church said he hoped America would never be
the same. He
said, “I hope the
nation will be different, in that the hearts of the people of this country will once more be drawn to God.
It is my prayer that this heinous act may be used of God to bring
about a great spiritual revival.”
embraced the cross and its message after 9/11.
The cross had become a symbol and hope
in the darkest of times.
church, we need to preach the Gospel from the church house to the White House
the message and the power of the cross.
Paul put it like this (Rom.
1:16). It’s the message of the cross that is the hope of America
and the world! It’s our hope!
* The culture war over the
cross in the 1st century is the same as the culture war in the 21st
century, but then again,
the answer to the 21st century is the same as it was in the 1st
century: the cross: a message of hope!
* Many lives we remember today that were
lost that fateful day at Shanksville, PA, the Pentegon and Ground Zero and the Rescuers and First Responders
found their way to “God’s House” where the cross stood for hope and comfort.
* I want to remind us today there is One
who gave His life for all, the true First Responder at ground zero, Mt. Calvary, and how we are all helpless and hopeless, and if we
would come to the cross, we can be rescued.
are two perspectives in the message of the cross, the cross makes a person
choose which side they want to be
on, 1) the side where the thief rejected Jesus-foolishness or 2) the side where
the thief asked the Jesus to
* Which perspective do you have? How will you respond to the message of the
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