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THE CROSS

Booklet Outline:

The Cross Announces Good News to Godís People
The Cross Announces Godís Judgment to the World

The Cross of Jesus Shows the Demise of Satanís Kingdom

The Cross Shows Godís Anger Toward Sin and Wickedness

The Cross is the Means Through Which Jesus Will Draw People from All the World to Himself

Personal Application


The cross of Jesus Christ is the means God designed by which His people can come to Him. It is the means through which menís sins can be forgiven, and through which those who are in Jesus Christ can partake of Godís love, nature, character, and life.

In the closing chapter of Galatians, Paul says:

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." (Galatians 6:14-15 KJV)

Our Christianity is based on the central message of the cross of Jesus Christ and all that it says, for and about us, and about the world. We can know all about Jesus--about His miracles, His descent from heaven as the Son of God, and the Fatherís exaltation of Him as Lord and Christ--and still miss the central and most important teaching of Christianity: the meaning and personal application of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 16 gives an account of Jesus with Peter and the other disciples. In response to a question by Jesus, Peter acknowledges Him to be the Christ, the Messiah of God, and the Son of God. Jesus commends Peter, saying it is only through God's revelation that he has this knowledge.

When Jesus goes on to describe His imminent death on the cross, Peter does not comprehend the necessity and meaning of the cross, and he tries to talk Jesus out of such an action.

Jesus recognizes the source of Peter's lack of understanding and rebukes the devil. Note that Jesus on the one hand has recognized and affirmed a testimony of Peter as being a revelation from God, but now He rebukes this same Peter as bringing forth a desire from satan. Jesus knows that satan wants to keep people--even people who know Him as the Christ, and the Son of God--from understanding the necessity and work of Jesus on the cross.

Having identified Peter's fleshly concern for Jesus' well-being, Jesus relates to His disciples the necessity of all of His followers to experience their own death and resurrection. We all need to let our old ways and our personal desires die with Jesus, so that we can become a new creation--IN HIM. We all need to bring to death the behavior, habits, attitudes, desires, etc., which we have received from our ancestry, from our flesh, or from others. These things must be brought to death so we can receive our life, outlook, desires, etc., from God. (see John 1:12-14, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Matthew says in his Gospel:

"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" And they said, "Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets." He said unto them, "But whom say ye that I am?" And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

And Jesus answered and said unto him, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, ĎThat thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be [having been] bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be [having been] loosed in heaven.í"

Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, "Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee." But he turned, and said unto Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savors not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:13-25 KJV, brackets added)

The cross of Jesus--known about by many, accepted and understood by few. A blessing for some--a stumbling block for many. The reason is simple: it shows God's plan for the world, it shows God's judgments concerning the world's needs, and it shows the fall of satan's kingdom.

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1. THE CROSS ANNOUNCES GOOD NEWS TO GOD'S PEOPLE: "You can be reconciled to God and you can receive the life and character of God. You can be healed! You can be changed!" You can be healed from the world's hurts, pains, and sicknesses; the lusts, attitudes, and desires you have taken into yourself from the world, can be put to death, and you can be filled with a life that knows and loves the will of God.

"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." (Romans 5:10 KJV)

"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5 KJV)

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." (Galatians 6:14-15 KJV)

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2. THE CROSS ANNOUNCES GOD'S JUDGMENT TO THE WORLD: "You need to be changed. You need a new source of life--you need Godís life."

The cross announces God's judgment on all of the world's ways--on all of men's self-righteous acts--on all of man's self-improvement programs--on all of man's attempts to find God through his own understanding or religious programs. NONE OF THESE WAYS WILL CUT IT. There is only one way to be changed--through the cross of Jesus Christ. The people of the world need God's forgiveness; they need God's life; they need to be changed completely, from the inside out. ONLY JESUS CHRIST THROUGH THE GOD-DEVISED MEANS OF THE CROSS CAN ACCOMPLISH THIS.

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags..." (Isaiah 64:6 KJV)

"I am the vine, ye are the branchesÖfor without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5 KJV)

The teaching of the cross will offend the natural man, for he is in bondage to satan, and satan will blind His heart to knowing the greatness of the life and presence of God.

The natural man is not seeking God to change His life. He might realize he needs forgiveness--but not a changed life. He might desire God's blessing or love--but not a changed life. The message of the cross says, "You need a new life--God's life," and this will offend the carnal or natural man. That does not mean, however, that we should stop preaching the message of the cross. We should not water down our message to become less offensive. The teaching of the cross will offend--but I'd rather offend many and save some than to offend few and save none.

Paul knew that his Gospel would offend those who preached both Jesus and circumcision. He knew he would offend those who wanted to believe in the cross while hanging on to their religious rituals as a means of obtaining Godís favor. (He is not condemning the use of rituals, but rather he is condemning reliance upon them to improve oneís standing with God.) He also knew that by preaching this message of the cross he would be persecuted, for he left no room for the operation of man's flesh.

"And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offence of the cross ceased." (Galatians 5:11 KJV)

"As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of ChristÖFor in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." (Galatians 6:12,15 KJV)

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of GodÖBut we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24 KJV)

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3. THE CROSS OF JESUS SHOWS THE DEMISE OF SATAN'S KINGDOM.

In his natural state, man is in bondage to sin. He is content living a life separated from God, relying on his own strength and knowledge to cope with the affairs of life. In his natural state, man does not understand or desire the will and nature of God. In his natural state, man is in bondage to the satanic power--the principalities and demonic strongholds--that rule the kingdom of darkness. BUT GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST--THROUGH THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST--HAS DEFEATED THE POWERS OF DARKNESS. We can be translated out of the rule of satan and his evil kingdom, into the rule and reign of Jesus Christ.

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in [energizes] the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." (Ephesians 2:1-3 KJV, brackets added)

"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2:13-15 KJV)

"Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." (Matthew 27:50-53 KJV)

Jesus won the victory over satan and his forces of evil--at His Cross.

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4. THE CROSS SHOWS GOD'S ANGER TOWARD SIN AND WICKEDNESS.

Jesus knew God loved righteousness and hated evil. Yet, out of love for us, Jesus willingly took our sin upon Himself. God therefore punished Jesus, executing upon Him His wrath and vengeance toward sin. God does not take sin lightly. He does not--indeed cannot--say to the sinner, "Oh, that's OK, Iíll just forget about it; only please donít do it again." God's nature hates sin; He must vent His natural anger and wrath toward it. The cross is the place, and Jesus is the person, for God to vent His Holy anger and wrath toward sin.

"God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day." (Psalms 7:11 KJV)

"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief...He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify manyÖ" (Isaiah 53:10-11 KJV)

The cross proves conclusively that God, in His natural anger and wrath toward sin, must deal with the sin of mankind. The cross is mankindís only place of escaping the holy and righteous wrath of God.

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5. THE CROSS IS THE MEANS THROUGH WHICH JESUS WILL DRAW PEOPLE FROM ALL THE WORLD TO HIMSELF.

Through His cross, Jesus shows the world His love of mankind, His love of righteousness, and His hatred of evil. He knew that the world would not and could not appreciate Godís wrath toward sin, or His love for sinners. He knew the people of the world, in their sinful condition, could not understand, appreciate and desire the Godís nature and character. He knew that if they were free of their sin, and could experience the love and character of God, they would cherish God as He did.

All people will know that Jesus is Lord--some will rejoice when this truth is revealed to all; others will shudder and quake when this truth is revealed, because they neglected to bring their sins to His cross.

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32 KJV)

"Thou [Jesus} hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." (Hebrews 1:9 KJV, brackets added)

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11 KJV)

Therefore we say with Paul;

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, BUT A NEW CREATURE." (Galatians 6:14-15 KJV, emphasis added)

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A Prayer:

Lord Jesus, live in me. Bring me into Your death--the death that I need to die to my old ways. Impart to me Your life--a life that loves the will of the Father and that hates the evil of this world and the independence of my old life. Thank you, Jesus, for providing me Your cross on which to die, and for giving me Your life in which to live. Amen.

 

The Cross -- Personal Application

God wants ALL people to bring all their sins, their sinful desires, their hurts, their pains, their griefs, their sorrows, their self-centeredness, and their self-dependence to the cross of Jesus.

a) For whom did Jesus die? (2 Corinthians 5:15a)

 

b) For what purpose did Jesus die? (2 Corinthians 5:15b)

 

c) What are some of the sins God wants us to put away? (Galatians 5:19-21)

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Attributes of Jesus (for exercises e & f)

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d) Ask God, through the Holy Spirit, to show you times you have committed sinful actions or harbored and/or welcomed sinful desires in each of the above categories. Confess each action revealed or brought back to your memory. Bring the sinful attitude or desire to Jesus, asking Him to cleanse your heart--to remove the sinful desires and to replace them with His righteousness. What two things will God do when we confess our sins in this way? (1 John 1:9)

 

e) The Bible says, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." (Romans 13:14 KJV) Some of the attributes of Jesus are listed below. Select one or more of these or other attributes which might replace the works of the flesh cited in exercise c. For example, on line 1, which has "adultery" as a work of the flesh, you might write "holiness," or "self-control," or "purity"--one of the attributes of Jesus.

Some of Jesusí attributes to draw from in completing this exercise are: holiness, righteousness, love, mercy, gentleness, faithfulness, truthfulness, kindness, longsuffering, humility, meekness, purity, obedience to God, peacefulness, helpfulness, compassion, trust in God, wisdom.

f) Now ask God to replace the old ways of your flesh with the ways of Christ. Specifically ask Him to impart to you the characteristic of Jesus for that area. As you do this, see Christ being formed in you.

 

g) What is the final outcome of people who willfully practice the sinful actions? (Galatians 5:21b)

 

h) What is the fruit of following the Spirit of God?. (Galatians 5:22,23)

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Ask God to develop this fruit in you.

i) Thank God for His commitment and plan to change you. Thank Him for the cross of Jesus Christ--the place where your old ways can be brought to death. Thank Him for His Holy Spirit, Who can live in you, bringing the life of Christ alive in you. Paul is confessing this process in Galatians 2:20. Write out in your own words what Paul has received and is experiencing.

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About Cyrus Ministries International

Rich and Kay Fick are the directors of Cyrus Ministries International. God has anointed and called them to this ministry. Rich, an ex-alcoholic, has personally experienced Godís love, forgiveness, power, healing and restoration. Their ministry involves helping others come out of their spiritual, emotional, mental and physical bondages into the fullness of the Holy Spirit, enabling them to know and live in Godís plan and purposes for them. They minister to individuals, equip churches for ministry, and disciple others in breaking down spiritual bondages over individuals, families, generations, communities and nations. Their calling and vision is to see Godís people living in the spiritual presence and reality of Godís heavenly kingdom as Jesus manifests His life into them and through them on earth.

The ministry has taken them to churches and groups locally and to many locations in the USA, as well as other nations. (Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Romania, India, Israel, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, and Bolivia). As they travel, Rich and Kay minister healing, train leaders, and teach and disciple, as well as establishing ongoing networking relationships. Cyrus Ministries provides oversight to ministries and churches in other nations, helping them to come into their calling and destiny. Leaders from other nations are invited to come and spend time at the Big Rock location for training and impartation.

The Big Rock Ministry Center offers a meeting place for both small and large groups.Ü There are regular times of prayer, worship, teaching, impartation of the gifts of the Spirit, and fellowship.Ü


Serving God as He Unites Heaven and Earth in Christ

     
Rich and Kay Fick, Directors, Cyrus Ministries International

MAILING ADDRESS:
P.O. Box 210
Wasco, IL  60183-0219

MEETING ADDRESS:
46 W 779 Route 30
Big Rock  Illinois 60511

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