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THE OLD CROSS AND THE NEW

Christians in the hands of a Jealous God

(Parenthetical)

 

 

I would like to insert this parenthetical before the final chapter to give this study an overview.  The preaching of another gospel by another spirit presenting another jesus seems to be nothing new in fighting the good fight of faith!  The Bible said that, in the Last Days when the "apostasy" takes place,  people would HEAP to themselves these kind of teachers who will tell us what we want to hear!  So, though it is nothing new, it's just more acceptable in the times in which we live, proving and signifying that these are Last of the Last Days!   The following sermon was written 56 years ago, how much more prevalent is it in our generation upon whom the ends of the world have come, being even closer to the Lord's appearing!  It all centers around the cross, " 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." (Matt 16:24)   We want a Christ, but not a cross, we want to reign, but we don't want to suffer (2 Tim 2:12), we want all the riches and blessings, but not the reproach associated with following Jesus in this life whereby we are pilgrims and strangers.  Jesus is the good shepherd and we are His sheep.  He came as a rebuke to this world, it's riches, it's pomp and pride, how much more are we, who are IN Christ to follow His example!  Taking scriptures like "the wealth of the wicked… the forces of the gentiles" which are for the millennial reign of Christ when we reign with Him, and applying them for the Church age, trying to get God's sheep to go after gold and apparel, is nothing more than the spirit of covetousness, we are told to flee from idolatry (1 Cor 10:1-14)

 

(The Editor of "What saith the Scriptures" has no knowledge of who

this person is, and makes reference only to his following sermon)

 

THE OLD CROSS AND THE NEW
by A.W. Tozer, 1946


Man: The Dwelling Place Of God, Published 1966 -

ALL UNANNOUNCED AND MOSTLY UNDETECTED there has come in modem times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial; the differences, fundamental.

From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life, and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical techniques new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before.

The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam's proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he takes delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of singing bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally if not
intellectually.

The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment is
cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.

The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, "Come and assert yourself for Christ." To the egotist it says, "Come and do your boasting in the Lord." To the thrillseeker it says, "Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship." The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to
the public.

The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.

The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said goodby to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and bard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.

The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by
liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life.

That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its bearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to
Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modem education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God's just sentence against him.

What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God's stem displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.

Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power. The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner; and the power
that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ.



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