Friday, September 12, 2008

Holy Cross - September 14, 2008

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42

Celebrating our 170th Year
Chartered February 25, 1838

September 14, 2008
Proper 19
Holy Cross Day Observed
John 12:20-33
In the Cross of Christ I glory

Introduction: Before we come to a finished product there is a lot of dirty work that has to be done. Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a former member who is undergoing a major renovation at their place of business. It will be a completely new building once the work is done. But for now, it’s quite unsettling. They will take a lot of pictures –before and after, so they can see where they have been and what they have done.

When a building is under construction everything looks so cluttered. The unfinished material sticks out all over; the ground around it is all chewed up from machinery and materials. We wonder, will it ever look nice. Eventually, the mess is cleaned up and the work is done, revealing a truly fine, beautiful structure. The obvious lesson is that the thing of beauty could not have been made without the messy ugliness.

The same is true in the spiritual Kingdom of God. We often talk about the love, joy and peace that we enjoy by faith. But when preceded what we enjoy today was as ugly as anything could be. The path that led to our salvation and to the greater glory of God was paved with blood, pain, sorrow, and hell. Jesus walked that road by Himself for all people. The result is an unexpected glory of God and Jesus Christ, which they share with us. The old hymn reminds us, “In the cross of Christ I glory.” So too, we share the glory of Christ’s cross.

1. God’s glory was the dominating purpose of Christ’s life.

A. The time for glory was there for Jesus. (vs. 23) Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

1. Before this, the time had not been ripe. “My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4)

2. The life of Jesus was arranged so that He could reveal the glory of the Father by word and deed and then seal that glory by His sacrifice.

3. Jesus prayed for this and received an immediate answer. (Vs. 28) Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.

B. The glory that was to come to Christ and the Father is many-sided.

1. God receives glory every time He reveals Himself to us. It started in Old Testament times through the promise of a Savior. The glory of God is evident from the good things said about God, especially that He is merciful.

2. When Christ was born, the heavens were filled with angelic voices praising God. (Luke 2)

3. In His ministry, Jesus directed the credit to his Father in heaven. What He said and did was always to give God the Father glory.

4. The revelation of the glory of God was inclusive (cf. the Greeks. Vv. 20-22) Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

5. What the Bible talks of the glory of God and Christ, it is talking of God’s righteousness, mercy, and love, along with the total of all His attributes.

Transition: The Father’s glory was the dominating purpose of Christ’s life.. It was Christ’s cross that produced this glory.

2. It was Christ’s cross that produced His glory.

A. He despised the cross.

1. He was a man. According to His human nature, Christ did not look forward to the dreadful sacrifice. Recall His personal struggle in Vs. 27 – Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.

2. Jesus knew that His death would not be peaceful. The Father would forsake Him because He would be suffering for the sins of all. His death was a frightfully depressing prospect.

B. But Jesus knew that this cross had to be experienced to bear the fruit of His glory.

1. He likened Himself to a seed that must be planted (Vs. 24) – I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. .

2. He admits that this is why He came into the world (Vs. 27) - Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.

C. The sacrifice accomplished much for God’s glory.

1. It brought salvation to all people “I…will draw all men to Myself’ (Vs. 32; cf. again the Greeks.)

2. The sacrifice says that most about God’s righteousness and mercy; everything that needs to be said about God was said when Christ died. That’s glory.

Transition: Christ’s glory was demonstrated at the cross. In the cross of Christ I glory.

3. By faith we share the cross and the glory.

A. We share the same attitude toward this life that Christ had, illustrated in the paradox. (Vs. 25) - The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

1. He who loves life will lose it.

2. He who hates life will keep it to eternal life.

3. This life is lost in Christ – lost as far as the world is concerned.

B. Such a life will bring honor to us. (Vs. 26) - Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

1. The glory we share as slaves of the Master is a gift.

2. The heaven prepared for us is the same one Jesus occupies (John 14:1-3) - Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Conclusion: The glory God has and shares with us could not have happened without the cross. The cross is gory, but it is the stuff of which lasting glory is made.

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