I have been a student of crosses
for years. I don't know how it started, but I appreciate
art and one of the things I've appreciated is looking at
the various crosses that are in the world. I think I was
13 years old when the cross on top of the Tower of Hope
was built and it was an incredible sight to see a crane
lift that cross up on top of the tower. That cross is 90
feet tall. It is the size of nine story building. When that
cross was placed on top of the Tower of Hope it was the
tallest structure and highest point in all of Orange County.
It is two hundred and thirty six feet high. I have often
looked at crosses from a design standpoint and thought to
myself, "I wish it was possible to design a cross that
was still a cross from every angle, no matter what way you
looked at it. If you notice, if you look at a cross straight
on, all you see is a line. The cross only becomes apparent
when it is turned ever so slightly. Once it's turned, then
all of a sudden the cross appears. So I've always thought
in my mind, "I just wish I could design a cross that
looks like a cross no matter from what angle you look at
it." Guess what: a few weeks ago when my wife and I
were in Berlin, I found the most amazing cross. This cross
will always look exactly like a cross no matter what angle
you see it from. It will follow you as you walk around the
city. It's absolutely a work of art. You will never guess
who made it. It was built when the wall was up in Berlin
and the communists built it! The communists built it; they
didn't even know what they were building. They put it a
thousand feet in the air so everybody in Berlin, no matter
where they walked, would be followed by this cross. It is
the communication towers in Berlin, one thousand, one hundred
feet tall. Now you may not see the cross right away, but
if you look at a picture you will see a ball. On the ball
is the cross. Here's how it works: The sun shines on this
ball and creates a cross! When the communists saw it, they
did everything they could to get rid of it. They tried to
paint it and it wouldn't go away. They tried to take the
shine off of the ball and it wouldn't go away. No matter
where you walk around the city, if the sun shines on the
ball, there is the cross!
The most amazing thing - the power of the cross. You know the cross is
a symbol of our Christian faith. In this message I am going
to be talking about three things that the cross symbolizes
to us. In the next few weeks, I want to address the meaning
of the cross. I'd like you to write me and tell me what
the cross means to you. What does it symbolize in your life?
You can go to our website and there will be an area there
where you can respond to what the cross means to you.
Today I am going to share with you the fact that:
1. The cross is a symbol of our faith.
2. The cross is a symbol of our hope.
3. The cross is a symbol of our love.
It starts with our faith. There is an interesting passage of scripture
and it is in the New Testament, where you would not expect
to find the true meaning of the cross. It is found in the
Old Testament, in the book of Numbers. This is the passage:
"As Moses was leading the people through the wilderness, the people
grew impatient on the way. They spoke against God and against
Moses and said why have you brought us out of Egypt to die
in the desert? There's no bread, there's no water, and we
detest this miserable food. Then the Lord sent one of His
snakes among them. It bit the people and many Israelites
died. The people came to Moses and said, 'we sinned when
we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the
Lord will take the snakes away from us.' So Moses prayed
for the people and the Lord said to Moses, 'Make a snake
and put it up on a pole. Anyone who is bitten can look at
it and live.' So Moses made a bronze snake, put it up on
a pole that when anyone was bitten by this snake, and looked
at the bronze snake, he lived." That is the passage
of scripture. That's all we know. It makes you wonder, why
would that even be brought up in the scriptures? How is
that relevant to us today? Then we hear these words of Jesus
Christ. In the 3rd Chapter of the Gospel of John,
Jesus is talking with Nicodemus, telling him he must be
born again in order to inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus
says "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert,
so the son of man must be lifted up that everyone who believes
in him may have eternal life." I believe that God allowed
those events to take place in the wilderness so that today
you and I could have a symbol of our faith. We need
to confess our sins. We need to rejoice in the Lord always
and to give thanks to God for all things. When we look upon
the cross of Jesus Christ, it is the symbol of our faith
that our sins are forgiven, that hope is reborn.
The cross is a symbol of our faith, our faith in the God who died for us.
When we come to Him, He will forgive our sins and He will
give us the keys to the kingdom of heaven and He will invite
us to live with Him forever in paradise. It is a symbol
of our faith.
It is also a symbol of our hope, our positive thinking. When we come across
the negatives in life, and we complain about things, we
look at the cross and what do we see? We see a plus sign.
We see a negative turned into a plus. The cross of Jesus
Christ takes the negative things in our lives and through
hope, He turns them into positives. The cross is our symbol
The cross gives us the hope that the words of the Scripture, when we apply
them to our lives, actually work. When we live it, it proves
itself to us. The negatives, the minuses are turned into
a plus through our hope and the symbol that the cross gives
to us, a symbol of hope.
The cross is also a symbol of love.
For God so loved the world, that
He gave His only Son,
that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will
have everlasting life. (John 3:15)
The cross is a symbol of God's enormous unbelievable unfailing love for
every single human being on planet earth. it consists of
a vertical beam. God's love to us is like a vertical beam.
At the same time there's a horizontal beam so that God comes
to us and fills us with His love and then the vertical reality
comes into place when we allow that love to overflow and
we love others.
Jesus said it succinctly; the commands are summed up in these two.
Love the Lord thy God, with all
with all your soul, with all your mind;
and the second is like unto it.
Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22: 37-39)
Charles Steinmetz was an electrical wizard for General Electric in the
early 1900's. General Electric was having problems with
one of their big machines. No one in their company could
fix it and he had retired and he said, "Don't ever
call me. I'm retired." They did everything they could
and finally the chairman of the board said, "We better
call Charles. I think he can fix it." They called Charles
out of retirement. He wasn't too happy about it but he came
down to the main headquarters, and he looked over the machine
for about an hour; he studied it and then he went and took
a piece of chalk and put an "X" on the equipment
and said, "There is your problem." They fixed
the equipment. He sent them a bill for ten thousand dollars.
I want to remind you, this is the early 1900's. That's when
a cup of coffee was two cents. That's when a new car was
$800. That's when an acre of land could be purchased for
a few dollars; and he sent them a bill for $10,000. Then
they told him they wanted the bill itemized! So he itemized
it. One dollar: putting an X on the machine. Nine thousand,
nine hundred and ninety nine dollars for knowing where to
put that X.
Here is my question for you: Do you know where to put the X in your life
to give you the faith and the hope and the love that God
has for you. Do you know where to put the cross? Is it an
adornment or a piece of jewelry around your neck or is it
there because it's in your heart?
Dear Heavenly Father, we stand in Your presence today with a song in our
heart and the cross to adorn it. We thank You Lord for the
tremendous sacrifice and gift that Your Son, Jesus Christ
gave for us. For that, we give You praise and glory forever
and ever, Amen.