have been talking for the last few weeks about the power
of the cross. The first week we talked about the power of
the cross and what it symbolizes, in that it symbolizes
our faith, our hope and our love. Last week I continued
to talk about what the cross means to us and how it symbolizes
our guilt, our grace and our gratitude for all that Christ
does for us. Today I am going to continue by simply expressing
how the cross is a symbol of our past, our present and our
future. It begins with the full understanding and realization
of where our past was before and without the cross of Jesus
Christ. The Bible says we must die to sin and become alive
in Christ. We must realize that without Christ, we are offered
nothing but death and destruction. We see that in everything
we experience. It is the second rule of thermodynamics:
entropy. It says that everything basically is in process
of decay. Isn’t that depressing? I mean it is very
depressing when you stop and think about it. What happens
when you buy a new car? As soon as you start driving it,
it starts to fall apart. The tires begin to wear out, the
windshield wipers wear out, you can polish that car every
single day and I promise you by the time it has a hundred
thousand miles on it, it will not look good. The seats are
going to wear out and there is no way you can keep that
car in pristine condition.
There is an asteroid
heading to planet earth, maybe some of you have heard about
it. It is due to arrive here in the year 2026. According
to astrophysicists, they think we actually are going to
receive a second moon. If this asteroid does what they thinks
it will do, it will suddenly enter our atmosphere but not
close enough to fall into the planet earth; but, instead
will be thrown into circulation and pulled into the gravity
of earth and continue to rotate just like a moon and we’ll
have another moon! What is fascinating about this asteroid
is that when it circles around planet earth it is a young
moon and therefore it will not be a sphere like our current
moon. However, over a few billion years, it will turn into
a sphere. Do you know why? It is another rule of life that
people don’t understand, in fact scientists can’t
explain it, and they just know it is there. It is called
gravity. In a billion years or maybe less, that asteroid
will become a sphere just like our current moon; just like
planet earth. Maybe you’ve noticed that gravity has
a way of taking things and destroying them.
to tear things apart. From a physical perspective, there
is nothing available on planet earth but death and destruction.
That’s it, period. Nothing more. That’s our
past. Listen to these words from Jesus Christ: “For
whoever wishes to save his life, shall lose it. But whoever
loses his life for My sake, shall save it.” (Matthew
16:25) So the only reversal in this total destruction of
existence that we live in is found in the cross of Jesus
Christ. Our past becomes the past and our future becomes
the future when we die to sin and become alive in Christ.
The cross is our present. It gives us the ability to live
for Christ and Christ alone. Hear these words: “But
may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross
of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been
crucified to me and I to the world. But I am a new creation.
Not of flesh and blood but a creation of spirit.”
Through this spirit, we discover the reality of the newness
of God. We die to our sin. It is a daily process that we
go to and God continues to reveal to us the sin that we
find ourselves in.
I just read talked about boasting. There are people who
boast about things other than their cross of Jesus Christ.
When we live in a physical world, our boasting becomes those
things that we acquire; things such as a new car, a new
piece of jewelry. Our boasting becomes the things we acquire
or the things we do. It’s like the man who was recognized
for his great achievements in humility and was given an
award as such and a medal, but he quickly lost his medal
because he wore it! Humility and boasting are found not
in things we acquire, or things we do, but are found in
the cross of Jesus Christ.
this past week one of the things that I’ve been boasting
about throughout my life and I need to repent. This is a
time of confession. I am asking for forgiveness because
I boast about the good deals I get. I love to get nice things
but I don’t like to pay the full price for nice things.
I’ll shop and I’ll look until I find the cheapest
rock bottom price and then I buy what I need. Recently,
I did that with a pair of sunglasses. We are in sunny Southern
California and one of the things you need in sunny Southern
California is a good pair of sunglasses. I bought the finest
pair of sunglasses I could buy. Maui Jim’s. Not just
any Maui Jim’s but the Kahuna Maui Jim’s, as
in “big kahuna.” I bought these Maui Jim sunglasses
and you have to realize that when I saw them, I fell in
love with them but couldn’t afford them. I searched
and found them on e-bay for almost half price! I had them
for about a week and I was golfing with a friend of mine.
He pulls out his Mau Jim Kahuna’s and I pull out my
Maui Jim Kahuna’s and he said, “Aren’t
these great glasses?” I replied “Yes, they sure
are. I’ll bet I didn’t pay as much as you did
for them.” So he told me what he paid for his, and
I told him what I paid for mine. He replied, “That’s
a great deal.”
You know God
is really funny the way He humbles people. I had those glasses
for about two or three weeks and yesterday I sat on them!
I crushed them. I cracked the lenses. They’re gone.
They’re toast. Nothing left. Our past is sin, right?
Our future is forgiveness.
present is where the cross intersects. If you think of a
timeline, the past to the present, that is one timeline.
The other timeline we have is our journey from birth to
life with God. That is our existence, beginning with our
birth, from nothing to coming to be with God forever. Where
those two lines intersect, that is the present. That is
where we are. It’s a journey upward. It’s a
journey up to God. It’s a journey into our future.
It’s a journey into who we want to be. That process
and that journey is a self-discovery journey of our failures,
our mistakes, and our shortcomings, and learning how to
be everything that God has called us to be.
cross is our past,
cross is our present,
cross is our future.
day will come when this physical body has been overtaken,
completely overtaken by gravity, by decay, by entropy, and
our body will no longer breathe. The future is that we will
some day come to live with Jesus Christ forever in paradise,
in heaven. That is our future without exception. Regardless
of how young, regardless of how old, we don’t know
when that is going to be. We just know that every single
living breathing human being on planet earth will someday
come to that event. It’s a guarantee.
This past week
I went to a funeral of a dear friend, Marion Halfacre. He
was just a couple of years older than I am. His wife and
his daughter were in Europe when they got the phone call
saying that he had passed away. On Friday he was in his
jewelry store. He has a beautiful jewelry store in Newport
Beach. I talked with many of his customers and they said,
“We saw him the day before he passed away.”
On Saturday he had a fatal heart attack and he died. He
was an usher in his church. In fact he was a head usher
and one of the things he did was to make sure that all the
other ushers did everything they were supposed to do. He
was an excellent head usher. At his funeral, the pastor
who spoke just before I did said, “We don’t
know why God called Marion now and why He called him when
He did.” I got up and spoke next and I said, “I
think I know why God called Marion Halfacre when He did.
He knew he had somebody special coming to heaven. He scoured
the whole planet to find a special head usher and he found
Marion. God called Marion so that he could open the gates
of heaven to Ruth Graham and usher her to her home.”
know how many days we have. Every day we have is a gift
from God. What we do know is when we are called home to
heaven, that day will bring us to a day of paradise. There
wasn’t a single time that I met with Marion where
I would ask him, “How’s it going?” His
response was the same every single time: “Just another
beautiful day in paradise.” Isn’t that a great
statement? “Just another beautiful day in paradise.”
I want to encourage
you today to say that to somebody if they ask you, “How
is it going? What’s happening?” Just say, “It’s
just another beautiful day in paradise.”
Our journey with
Christ and our future is not one of death, but it is one
of life. Heaven doesn’t begin when we die, heaven
begins when we accept the grace of Jesus Christ into our
life, and we begin living with Christ, with God right now.
1. It's a symbol of the past
2. It's a symbol of the present
3. It's a symbol of our future.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for being a God of goodness
and a God of grace. You are a God of love and faith and
hope. You are a God who comes into the lives of people who
call upon You. You are a God who continues to redeem and
restore. We thank You Lord for all that You are doing in
our lives this very moment, and forever, Amen.