SERMON DATE AND TITLE:20121230: "Worshippers of the Cross"

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                                                       On September 12 the American embassy of Egypt was under siege. Ultraconservative Islamic protesters climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Egypt’s capital Tuesday and brought down the American flag. They replaced it with a black flag with an Islamic inscription. Apparently, they were protesting a crudely done UTube video clip of a movie ridiculing

Islam's prophet Muhammad. A group of women in black veils and robes that left only their eyes exposed chanted, ‘Worshipers of the Cross, leave the Prophet Muhammad alone.’”


         This ugly epitaph was chanted both in Cario and Benghazi. The Benghazi attack on our embassy there happened hours later after the attacks began in Cairo. "Worshipers of the Cross"  is a Islamic term of derision implying that Christians are pagans and idol worshippers.


         The Christian and Jewish Scriptures explicitly forbid the worship of anything, but God Himself.


Exodus 20:4-6

4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.


         Outwardly, Christians appear to be worshiping the Cross, but that is not so. They are simply venerating the Cross as they remember how Jesus died for their sins.

ie, Venerate: Regard with great respect; revere.

We, who follow Jesus, worship Him and Him alone.

         This sermon is written as we consider the past year with it's joys, heartaches and disappointments and release them to Jesus. We lay it all at the foot of His Cross that we proclaim.



Pastor Phil  <><<
























December 30, 2012





"The Cross is a lone symbol of man's inhumanity to man. It is the most heinous method of execution devised in the dark imaginations of the Satan inspired heart of mankind. Yet, for we who walk with Jesus as our personal Savior and deliverer, the Cross is the symbol of God's transforming power of deliverance."   Pastor Phil  <><<

1 Corinthians 1:18-19

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."     


                                                A. Epic Battle between two ambitious "wanna-be" Roman Generals

                                                                                                                        1. Contending for the position of Emperor of Rome

                                                                                                                        2. Young Constantine and Maxentius

                                                                                                                        3. Two young Generals battle to become Emperor

                                                B. Constantine faces a formidable experienced foe w/more troops                                                                                                                                1. He realizes he needs divine help and

                                                                                           2. Prays to "whoever is the true God" reveal Himself

                                                                                           3. Stretch forth his right hand to help Constantine

                                                            C. Constantine reports seeing  an incredible sign

                                                                                           1. He sees a bright Cross of Light emblazoned against a                                                                                                                                                                   noonday sky

                                                                                           2. It is inscribed, "In hoc signo vinces"

                                                                                           3. Latin, "In this sign conquer"

                                                            D. He orders his soldiers to inscribe crosses on their shields

                                                                                           1. He hurls his troops against his rival Maxentius

                                                                                           2. He wins over his enemy and changes the course of                                                                                                                                                                             Christian History and Western Civilization


"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
                                                A. The Message of the Cross has power to Transform lives

                                                                                    2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
                                                                                    "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have                                                                                                      passed away; behold, all things have become new."  2 Corinthians
                                                                                           1. God's "dynamite" - Power to change

                                                                                                   a. The things I once loved, I now hate

                                                                                                   b. The things I once hated, I now love

                                                                                           2. Formerly, I loved sin, now I hate it


                                                                                           3. Before, I hated church meetings, disliked Christian people

                                                                                           4. Now I love them

                                                B. The Message of the Cross is foolishness to Jews, Greeks, Islamist

                                                                        "For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;" 1 Cor. 1:22
                                                                                           1. The Message of the Cross destroys worldly wisdom

                                                                                              "For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring

                                                                                     to nothing the understanding of the prudent." 20 Where is the

                                                                                     wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has

                                                                                     not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?"
                                                                               2. God doesn't need our Logic to Save People

                                                                               3. God needs faith-filled hearts of those who abandon                                                                                                                                                            themselves to Him


Galatians 2:20
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

                                                A. Worshipers Lose their Desire to Contend and Retaliate

                                                                               1. Agree with your Adversary Quickly - Matthew 5:25                              

                                                                                 "Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with

                                                                                   him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand

                                                                                   you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison."

                                                                               2. Turn the Other Cheek - Matthew 5:39

                                                                                 "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on                                                                                   your right cheek, turn the other to him also."

                                                B. Worshipers Deny themselves Daily - Luke 9:23-25        

                                                                         "Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him

                                                                           deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever

                                                                           desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake

                                                                           will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world,

                                                                           and is himself destroyed or lost?"

                                                                               1. Self-Defense or Selfishness is a Luxury

                                                                               2. Worshippers cannot afford to carry the baggage of grudges

                                                                               3. We give ourselves to Jesus and die with Him

                                                                               4. Not just our sins, but we, ourselves are nailed to His Cross


Romans 6:4
"Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

                                                A. Christianity isn't just about Denying and Dying

                                                                               1. Christianity is about Resurrection and a New and Better Life

                                                                               2. We Die with Him and We Rise with Him

                                                                               3. Each day we die more to self and rise to walk more like Him

                                                                               4. Resurrection isn't only after we physically die


                                                                               5. We can live the Resurrected Life Now

                                                B. We become part of God's Beloved Family - 1 John 3:1-3

                                                   "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we

                                                    should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us,

                                                    because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and

                                                    it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He

                                                    is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And

                                                    everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."

                                                                               1. We are his Beloved Children

                                                                               2. He raises us into resurrected bodies like His Son

                                                                               3. We Worshipers of the Cross hold to that "Purifying Hope"

                                                C. What about You?

                                                                               1. Have you decided to become a "Worshipper of the Cross?"

                                                                               2. You begin with a decision

                                                                               3. Have you experienced Christ's Transforming power?

                                                                               4. Why not now? Today? This morning?

















1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (NKJV)
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."
20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption--
31 that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the LORD."





In AD 312, the Roman Empire is up for grabs. Its previous emperor, Diocletian, divided the realm between two senior and two junior emperors, but the complex arrangement has collapsed. The successors are at one another’s throats. Young general Constantine, son of Constantius, one of Diocletian’s co-emperors, has military successes under his belt, but now he faces a formidable veteran with a larger army and a better strategic position. What shall he do?

Constantine realizes that he needs help from a power greater than himself, but who or what? He has his doubts about the traditional Roman gods. He prays earnestly that the true God, whoever that may be, will “reveal to him who he is, and stretch forth his right hand to help him.”

He does not know it yet, but that prayer will change the course of Christian history as well as of western civilization. Later he will tell his friend Bishop Eusebius the incredible story of that hour. When Eusebius reports it in his history, he admits it is hard to believe.

What happens that is so hard to believe? Constantine suddenly sees a bright cross of light emblazoned against the noonday sky and upon it the inscription: “In hoc signo vinces”—“In this Sign Conquer.”

It brings Constantine the assurance he needs. He accepts this as the answer to his prayer and orders his soldiers to inscribe crosses on their shields. Encouraged by his vision in the heavens, he hurls his troops against his rival Maxentius at Rome’s Milvian Bridge. Surprisingly, Constantine is victorious. Maxentius is among those who drown in the Tiber.

Afterward Constantine does not forget to whom he owes his victory. For close to two hundred and fifty years, since AD 64 when Nero initiated violence against it, the Christian church has been a persecuted minority in Roman lands. Only a few years earlier, between 303 and 311, it suffered through Diocletian’s savage “Great Persecution.” Now Constantine issues orders that the Christian church is to be tolerated just as other religions are. Although he does not make Christianity the official religion of the empire, Constantine bestows favor on it, builds places of worship for Christians, and presides over the first general church council. He becomes the first emperor to embrace Christianity and will be baptized on his death bed—waiting so late for fear his duties as emperor might cause him to sin after he receives the solemn rite, blotting out its efficacy.

Writing Constantine’s biography, Eusebius will describe him as God’s gift to a suffering church. His Greek account will give the quote simply as “Conquer by this.”

For the first time in its short history, the church can worship and grow without constant fear of deadly persecution.

—Dan Graves