God in Christ gave us victory and destroyed the power of sin
Lord’s Supper: Southbridge 9-23-07
Modified to make a sermon preached in Worc. On 10-07-07
This morning we are going to take a look at what happened at the Cross of Christ. I want us to give some thought to the cross of Christ.
In 1840 there was a Bishop who was a missionary to cantabiles in New Zealand, he wrote: I am in the midst of a sinful people, who have been accustomed to sin uncontrolled from their youth. If I speak to a native on murder, infanticide, cannibalism, and adultery, they laugh in my face and tell me I may think these acts are bad, but they are very good for a native, and they cannot conceive any harm in them. But on the contrary when I tell them that these and other sins brought the son of God, the great creator of the universe, from his eternal glory to this world to be incarnate and to be made a curse and to die – then they open their eyes and ears and mouths, and wish to hear more, and presently they acknowledge themselves sinners, and say they will leave off their sins.
By Leslie D. Weatherhead, A plain mans look at the cross
The cross of Christ has had a powerful effect on this world. There is power in the cross. Turn with me to Colossians chapter 2 verse 9 -15.
2. Forgiven by God in Christ
a. Paul tells the Colossians in 2:13-15 that at one time they were dead in their sins. He says that they were in such a state that they couldn’t fix themselves by themselves, they were dead. Paul says the very same thing in other letters that he writes.
b. Turn with me to Ephesians 2:1 and let’s read what Paul says there.
c. Paul is saying in this passage that the wrongs we comit against other people and the wrongs we comit against God, that’s sin, we were dead in that and there connected. When we sin against others we are sinning against God.
i. According to a statement she gave police, Yates drowned her children one after the other in the family’s bathtub. She told the authorities that she had first drowned the younger sons—John, 5, Paul, 3, Luke 2. While she was attempting to do the same to her six-month-old daughter, seven-year-old Noah walked in and asked, “What’s wrong with Mary?”Yates confessed to chasing Noah through the house and dragging him back to the bathroom. When police arrived, Yates reportedly told them, “I just killed my kids.” The bodies of the four youngest were found still wet under a sheet on a bed. Noah was found in the bathtub.
Did she sin against her children? Yes, but she also sinned against God.
ii. Joseph in Genesis was being tempted by Potiphar’s wife. She was trying to have an affair with Joseph. Listen to this, Genesis 39
1. Genesis 39:7-9 7 And after a time his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, "Lie with me." 8 But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. 9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?"
e. Paul says the wages or the payment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). What we deserve is death, physical and spiritual. These things have separated us from God. We along with the Ephesians and Colossians and everyone else were dead in sin. What was true for the Colossians and the Ephesians is true for us as well, we were at one time dead spiritually and morally, but it doesn’t end there, and that’s good news, God made us alive with Christ.
f. You have a sinner deep in sin dead in sin; God looks down and has mercy. He can’t live with sin, because God is holy and righteous but he loves the sinner. The Godhead takes counsel and the Word of God the pre-incarnate Christ says I’ll go, the Father sends him but he wants to go.
g. He lives the life we didn’t live the perfect life and at the end of that life he sacrifices it to the Father for us in our behalf. And it’s in his life, death, and resurrection that we have atonement, that we can have life. Paul says God made us alive together with him. He has taken us from being dead in sin and brought us to life.
i. Maria: many of you will remember the last time I was here that I mentioned a sister in Christ named Maria who is fighting Cancer. Well she is not doing well, she is getting worse. I visited them on Thursday night and talked to her and her family. You see she is not going on to death, the body, we say is going to die but for the Christian we are not going on to death but to life. More life, more life than we have here and now.
1. John 11:25-26 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.
h. In other places it says we were crucified with Christ, buried with Christ and raised with Him to walk in newness of life. We were resurrected with Christ. Now this is speaking of our spiritual resurrection, we await the physical resurrection, that’s coming but Paul is saying you were dead spiritually and morally but God has resurrected you spiritually in Christ. Which is no less a miracle than when we will be physically resurrected. We have already been brought from death to life and that by God.
i. Paul goes on to tell the Colossians and us that God has forgiven us. Those are sweet words to those who are guilty and know it.
j. You have a young child who has done wrong. He was playing with a ball in the house, he knew that it was something forbidden to do, but he did it anyway and he breaks a lamp. He is truly sorry and feels guilty that he broke the law of the house but his parents forgive him. You see those are sweat words. Forgiveness. Our God is a God of forgiveness, he is a just and holy God that’s true and the cross tells us clearly that sin is to be judged but the cross shows us God’s mercy and forgiveness. God is a God of mercy and forgiveness to those who seek him, who repent and come to him through Christ.
k. Psalm 103:1-5 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
3. Written record of debt wiped out and nailed to the Cross
a. Paul goes on in Colossians 2:14 and says that God forgave us all our sins by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands, this he set aside nailing it to the cross.
b. Paul uses the language of his time of a creditor who keeps track of who is in debt and how much debt they have. In Paul’s time when a person was keeping track of debt they used a few different types of paper. One was very much like our paper it was called Papyri and was made from the papyrus plant. The other was called vellum and vellum was made from animal skin and so they would use one of these to write on. But the ink that they used didn’t dig in to the paper like our pens do today it would be on top of the vellum. Our pens have acid in them that digs in to the paper. Thiers was kind of like the white board and dry erase marker. If you wrote something it would stay there but could be wiped clean and because paper was so expensive when a page was written on and all the debts on that page were settled the owner would just wipe it clean and it would be ready to use again.
That’s the language and image Paul uses. He says God wiped clean the record of our debt, the sin that we committed, it was cleared away and it is as if we never sinned, no record of it, but not only that he says he took the laws and ordinances that testified against us and he nailed it to the cross, it’s executed, it’s done, gone.
c. So our sin and guilt that comes with knowing we were lawbreakers, debtors, has been completely eliminated, but not only that:
4. Striped the wicked powers and made a spectacle of them
a. Paul goes on to say that Christ defeated all the powers, authorities, and rulers of wickedness. He is talking about the power of sin. We are told in other places that we were in slave to sin at one but we have been freed and are now slaves of righteousness. Sin had power over us, we sold ourselves into slavery to sin but Christ has destroyed the power that sin had over us.
b. He’s not only talking about sin, he’s talking about Satan. When we were salves to sin Satan had power over us. Not that he had control over our free will or our bodies but he had an influence over us because we had sold ourselves to sin. Christ defeated Satan and destroyed whatever power or influence he had over us.
c. And Death was defeated by Christ. You see back when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden sin entered the world and the world was changed, we learned about sin and grew up in a sin sick world but it was at that point that death entered the world as well. Before sin there was no death.
d. Along came Satan in the form of a serpent and he influences and lies to Eve and her and her husband rebel against God and sin and death are introduced to the world. But Christ in the cross defeated death.
i. Romans 6:9-11 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
e. 1 Corinthians 15:55 O death where is your victory, O death where is your sting.
f. You see Christ defeated death. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our lord Jesus Christ.
g. We are told by Paul that Christ not only defeated all the authorities, powers, and rulers but that he stripped them of any power they had against us and made an open and public display of them in the Cross. It was in the cross; it was in the crucified Christ that all this took place.
h. You see at this time in the Roman Empire when a commander of armies won a great victory for Rome, when they not only defeated foes but actually conquered and expanded the territory of Rome, they were given a parade, a triumphal procession. Kind of like, I think it was the Patriots who won the super bowl a few years back and they were given a huge parade. The Patriots were the victors over the enemies, who were the other team. Well in Rome that’s what they did, they paraded down the streets of Rome the victorious commander and his men and also the kings, princess, and nobles, and other captives from the loosing army and they were stripped of their royal status and they were stripped of their armor and weapons and were put to utter shame for all of Rome to see that they were defeated.
i. Paul says in Colossians 2:15 that that’s what happened, that in Christ, in the crucified Christ, in that moment that looked to be the darkest, when it looked as if all hell was laughing, Christ was stripping the wicked rulers and authorities of all their power a putting them to open shame for all creation to see that Christ is victor and we are more than conquerors in Christ, we are in that triumphal procession as victors with Christ.
What does all this mean for us? Demon possession, not even a question for the Christian. He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Do you feel guilty over your past sins? You know before you were a Christian. Satan uses that guilt to attack us, there is no more guilt in Christ, if you need to repent of sin then repent and put it behind you, move on because in Christ the slate is cleaned.
I want to encourage every Christian here this morning to live victorious in Christ. No matter what your outward circumstances, you have victory in Christ. Let’s start living like we really believe that truth. When we sing Victory in Jesus, let’s believe it. In the cross we were forgiven, in the cross we have life, in the cross Christ defeated all powers and authorities and put them to open shame. There is power in the cross.