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Appreciating The Cross


"24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls."

Good Morning my beloved,


I welcome each of you to worship this Lord's day! We're so glad to have all of you here with us today. We continue to pray for those of you who are facing and suffering persecution for your faith in Christ. We respectfully ask that all of you would do the same. For we are called by God to be in prayer with and for another. 
We are so grateful for those of you who have been sharing the ministry website with all of your family and friends. Your faithfulness to share God's Word with others has brought about tremendous results. Where will God's Word be heard today? We pray that God's Word will continue to reach those who desperately need to hear it, as we draw nearer to the coming day of our Lord. 
Today, God redirects the attention of suffering Christians to the sufferings of Christ. By looking to Jesus the Christian who suffers unjustly receives direction, comfort and strength. By looking to Jesus the Christian experiences a renewal of motivation and a change of disposition in their suffering. God knows the injustice which believers endure and has given Himself that  I do not believe that they might have the empowering to overcome sin, both within and without by continued obedience.There is a more practical subject in all the Bible, than the cross of Christ.  
As Christians, we are called to follow Christ's example in suffering, while doing what is right. Christians need to understand that suffering is not a foreign concept to our faith. Christ suffered in our behalf and our lives are to be lived redemptively for others, even to the point of suffering. Undeserved suffering comes with the territory. Christ Himself suffered and left behind an example of not only how to suffer but all the good can result through suffering. Christ is then our standard pattern for suffering.
Let us pray
Heavenly Father,
Father, thank You for Your Word for us today. Thank you for the great reminder that it is all about Christ and His finished work on the cross. Lord, we bless You for sending Christ, to be our sin-bearing substitute, who paid the penalty for our sin and died in our place. Accept our humble thanks and praise.

Lord, help us to patiently accept unjust suffering, entrusting righteousness into Your hands. Help us to pattern our response to suffering and unjust treatment after His. Thank You for reminding us that in Him, all is gain.
In Christ's name we pray

Today's Message: Appreciating The Cross

Charles Spurgeon once said, "When the pangs shoot through our body and ghastly death appears in view, people see the patience of the dying Christian. Our infirmities become the black velvet on which the diamond of God’s love glitters all the more brightly. Thank God I can suffer. Thank God I can be made the object of shame and contempt, for in this way God shall be glorified." 

Christ died for you in order that you might depart from sin and live a life of righteousness. To convert you from unregenerate to regenerate, to create in you a new person. Transforming you from sinner, to saint. We have been crucified with Christ in which we have died to sin. In the simplest terms, in Christ, we have paid the penalty for sin, therefore, sin has no claim on us. The doctrine of substitution is at the very core of Christianity.

The purpose of Christ’s substitutionary death is not just the forgiveness of sin, it is not just the removal of guilt, Christ took our place to transform our lives that we might die to sin. As a footnote, the word "die" here is not the normal word die, it is the verb "apogenomenoi," meaning to be away from, to
be removed from, to depart. It is a unique word in the New Testament, in fact, its the only time that it is used. Peter is saying that purpose of the substitutionary work of Christ is that we might depart from sin. If Christ is not your substitute, then you still occupy the position of a condemned sinner!

Open with me your Bibles to I Peter chapter 2, verses 24 and 25. As we conclude our study on this wonderfully practical portion of God's Word, we have been learning, rather explicitly I believe, what the Bible says about our responsibility as believers to live a kind of life that manifests Jesus Christ in the midst of an ungodly culture. I believe that this has been a very timely message, as it comes at a time when the world, and even Christians, have been engaged in civil disobedience.

I invite you to follow along with me as I read to set the text in our minds, as we prepare our hearts for what the Holy Spirit has to say to each of us. Listen for the voice of our Lord. I Peter 2:24-25.

"And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls." 

I believe that there is a sense of gratitude should begin to develop, when Christians understand and begin to embrace what Christ has done in our behalf. Christ's inspiring character was due to the fact He lived continuously trusting that His earthly circumstances of oppression were either designed or permitted by a sovereign God, who was wholly righteous in His judgments and His decisions concerning Him. Jesus completely handed over to His Father the injustice of the revilings and the revilers for God's righteous judgment and continued in doing the Father's will. Jesus committed His life and His cause into God's hands. This life-long practice would allow Him, even while on the cross, to commit His Spirit into the Father's keeping.
There are some theologians who have suggested that it is immoral to teach that God in human flesh took on sin and bore my sin and your sin. It is not immoral, you are not tainting His holiness. God is not transferring the penalty from one man guilty to another man who is innocent. The truth of the matter is that He is bearing the sin Himself, because Jesus was God in the flesh. It is not immoral, God took it on Himself. And He did it of His own free will. The bottomline is then, that either He paid the penalty for your sin or you will bear the punishment for it yourself, forever, in hell!
By living life in faith Jesus instituted a precedent and principle to those who would follow Him that although they may suffer unjustly they should also entrust their lives to their Faithful Father. And just as God raised Christ, believe that in God's due time, He will raise the faithful Christian up out of suffering also. Though this should be recognized that the believer may be raised up out or suffering through death, this attitude is difficult to attain. It can only be brought about, by trusting in the sovereignty and righteousness of God, in the life of one who has suffered unjustly for the cause of Christ.
In Hebrews 5:7-9, it states that Jesus as the Son of God, learned obedience through the things He suffered. "In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation."
And so Peter begins verse 25 with these words, "And He Himself bore our sins," He Himself is emphatic, it is emphasizing that this is God in human flesh bearing our sins, not because somebody outside the Trinity put it upon Him, He Himself chose it. The emphatic personal pronoun indicates He did it alone, and He did it voluntarily. God came into the world in the person of Jesus Christ to save His people from their sin. Peter is simply affirming that Jesus willingly took on Himself sin. He did it under the influence of no one.
There are a number of people who think then, that Christ died as a martyr. While a martyr admittedly, is an example of suffering, a martyr cannot be a substitute. A martyr cannot take away my sin by the sacrifice of himself. Peter later reiterates this same great truth of substitution, in chapter 3 at the beginning of verse 18, which says "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust." He, the just, died as a substitute for us, the unjust.
By the way, the phrase "Jesus bore our sins," is not common in the New Testament. In fact, it is only used here and in Hebrews 9:28. However, it appears frequently in the Old Testament. If you understand how the Old Testament used it, then you will understand how Peter who was an Old Testament saint, before he was a New Testament, would have understood it. In the Old Testament it becomes very clear what bearing sin means. 
You remember back in Numbers when God brought Israel out of Egypt and brought them to the land of Canaan to Kadesh Barnea, the spies went into the land for forty days. They came back out of the land and told the people, "We can't handle it. There are giants there. They'll destroy us!" So God said " Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness. According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition. I, the Lord, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they will die." 
God punished them by making them wander in the desert for 40 years instead of going right into the Promised Land. Israel bore her sins by wondering around in the desert for forty years. In other words, you will suffer the punishment of your sin. There are many more examples, I'll only show you a few.
In Ezekiel 18, you have another illustration. Verse 20, "The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself."  
To bear iniquity means to be punished. God says "The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity." The soul that sins shall die. To bear sin means to endure the penalty of sin and that’s a very important biblical distinction to make in order to clearly understand what Jesus did on the cross. He bore our sin and endured the penalty. The wrath of God against sin was put on Him instead of us. Christ's suffering according to the will of God was the means of man's redemption. Therefore, through Christ’s death on the cross, those who turn to Him are delivered from both the penalty and the power of sin. All of our problems are from the result of sin. And so, the solutions to all of our problems is Christ.

Christ endured the penalty of sin, but it wasn't just a physical death. We see in  Matthew 27:46, "About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" That is the cry of spiritual death. It was a spiritual death, a separation from God. What an astonishing truth.

Back to verse 24, Peter says "In His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness." By the way, the word cross is the word "xulon," it literally means the word "wood."
He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the wood. And He did it "so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness." 
I would like you to notice, that it doesn't say that we might have peace, it doesn't say that we might go to heaven. It says that He did it "so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness." He did it to regenerate us, that our lives might be changed, that we would transformed from sinners to saints, that's why He did it! It was not just for some declared change, but a real change. That's why the way we live out our Christian life is so important folks.
Peter then says in verse 24, "for by His wounds you were healed." He's obviously alluding to Isaiah 53:5, which says "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed."
Now, I have often heard people use this as a you're claim to physical healing, that not what he's talking about. He’s talking about transformation from death to life, from sin to righteousness. He's talking about spiritual healing. The healing in the atonement is going to come in our glorification. That's not to say that God doesn't heal people today, He certainly does, according to His will and choosing. There is healing in the atonement, I won't argue that. But that's not what this verse is talking about, it's about spiritual healing. By His stripes we will be healed physically because the day will come when we will have no more physical pain.
If there was physical healing in the atonement given now, no one would ever be sick, or die right? He did promise healing in the atonement in the future, not now. It's in the future. By mentioning Christ’s body, Peter is calling attention to the fact of Christs' humanity. Since it was the human race sinned, a member of the human race had to pay the just penalty God demands. Only one who was sinless Himself could pay such a penalty, others would have to pay for their own sin. Jesus Christ, alone, who was among the human race, committed no sin, was the only one capable of bearing the sins of the human race.
Finally, in verse 25, Peter says He is not only our standard and substitute, He’s our Shepherd. "For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls." Peter is obviously still thinking of Isaiah 53, now verse 6. "All of us like sheep have gone astray." If the Lord hadn't provided a sacrifice, He never could have brought you into His fold. Because "Each of us has turned to his own way. But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him."  He had to bear your sin to be your Shepard. When Peter says "For you were continually straying like sheep, " he’s talking about our unsaved condition in the past. "but now you have returned to the Shepherd, " because of God’s provision in Christ, "you have returned to the Shepherd," he's referring to repentant faith.
Man was constantly straying before the wounded Christ forged the way to life. By the death of Christ man is provided the means not only to return to God but to return to God's righteous way of living life. The believer was healed of sin's power over him, the sinful way of his fallen nature. Therefore, the indication of Shepherd and Guardian is again that God providentially cares for His people. He watches over them and guides them like a good shepherd does his valued flock. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd.
By the way, that is very significant, because in the Old Testament it says "The Lord is my shepherd." Peter is saying Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is God. This is an affirmation of Christs' deity. As a footnote, the term "Shepherd" is His title. The term "Guardian" is His function. Interesting the word shepherd is the word "poimḗn," which is the word "pastor." And the word guardian is the word "episkopos," which is bishop.
Now in Ezekiel 34 and chapter 37, the title of Shepherd for God becomes Messianic. Every Jew would have understood that was a promise that the Messiah would be God. 
When we sin, we lose out testimony. Peter wants us to understand that when we sin with our mouth, when we sin with our attitude and actions, when we retaliate, that is not consistent with what God calls us to do.  Even though we may suffer unjustly, we can overcome! Sin and its temptations lure man from God and then destroy the life which they infest.  You overcome through the blood of the Lamb, because you have been given the power of God to overcome.
 Look at Revelation 12:10-11, "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death." You have the power of God to overcome!
Secondly, you overcome "because of the word of their testimony." When they were persecuted, when they were treated hostilely, they would not forfeit their testimony. They had bold courage and an uncompromising spirit. They would not retaliate, so that they wouldn't lose their testimony. These people wouldn’t compromise.
You know, there is so much compromise today.  If you have through salvation the power of God, if you have through conviction the non-compromising boldness, not to equivocate on your testimony, but at all costs keep your testimony pure, and if you really don’t care that much about your life here, you’re going to overcome. You're going to overcome, that's the point. What a tremendous thought. Through the power of God in Christ, through faith, we are overcomers!
In Closing..
God cares for believers. By the might and power of that which can bring life out of death they providentially watch over the affairs of earth and the lives of believers. Those that follow Christ and live a life of redemptive value to and for man, will suffer. 
Like Jesus, we need to trust that suffering is part of God's plan. We need to affirm that the Lord God brings good out of bad. Out of the Christian's suffering for good, God will bring about His great redemption. Through death God brings righteousness to life. The suffering that comes from patterning one's life after Christ and following in His steps, always leads to glory, for this was Christ's destination, and is His eternal home. And through belief in God, through faith in Christ, it is also ours.
May it be so..
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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