Sunday service, Erlo Stegen, 05 Mar 2017
4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
We also read in 1Cor 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
I would like to speak about the cross. It is used in many ways today. Some use it when they swear. Others make the sign of the cross to say they are speaking the truth. Some hang it around their necks or wear it as an earring and they don’t even know what it means. Even men do it. Some men wear it as an earring to convey that they are on drugs and some wear two earrings and by that they say they are gay.
But the true meaning of the cross is amazing!
On the cross our Saviour hung and died for us. He shed His precious blood and it wasn’t ordinary blood but it was the blood of the Lord Himself that saves us. God took all of our sins and placed them on Him. Jesus gave His last drop of blood for your sins and mine. His blood wasn’t like the blood of an animal, it was the precious blood of God. The Lamb of God suffered for our sakes. By His wounds we are healed. As you probably know, a human doesn’t get their blood from the mother but from the father. It was unique with the Lord Jesus for He was the son of God and so that is how His blood can wash us as white as snow.
Long ago a blind man from far away came and asked to be prayed for to receive his sight. I explained to him that I didn’t just pray for people. He was upset and said that he knew of many people who had received their sight here and asked why he couldn’t also be helped? I explained to him that the Bible says if you are sick, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The first thing isn’t just to pray. The first thing is that we must be cleansed of our sins. First your soul must be healed then comes the physical healing. But he insisted that he didn’t know of any sins he had. Then I realized in what darkness this man was in. Are there people among us that say they haven’t sinned? Then I explained that we have all gone astray. I tried to enlighten him. I tried to explain that it wasn’t just the nails that kept the Lord Jesus on the cross but it was our sins. The man said how could it be that the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross because of him and it was the Romans who had done it. I prayed, “Lord please help me to shed light on this matter for him and make it clear to him.” Again I explained to him that it was my and your sins that nailed Him to the cross. If you are jealous, or tell lies or are immoral then you nail Him to the cross again. He was nailed to the cross and they put the crown of thorns on His head, because of our sins. The way they tortured Him, should have killed Him but because He had special strength it helped Him. He did all that for you and for me. He had that special blood and so the poison didn’t have the same effect on Him as it does on us. In His blood there is a power that can cleanse us and wash us whiter than snow.
In Hebrews 6 it says that if we sin after having received forgiveness, we crucify Him afresh. So we should not take sin lightly. When I spoke to that blind man, I said, “You have crucified the Lord Jesus by sinning: lying and doing wrong things.” If you curse or get irritated with a little child, you sin. Suddenly he said, “I think I understand what you mean that the Lord was crucified because of my sin. I see that I have sinned and I am sorry for what I did.” I saw that he had godly remorse for his sin. He realized that he was the guilty party and had crucified the Lord Jesus afresh. The message of the cross is amazing. There is nothing to be compared to it. He had the power to come off the cross. The scoffers were there saying, ”If you are the Son of God, why don’t you come off the cross?” But He chose to stay on the cross to carry our sins. I remember John Bunyan and his book Pilgrim’s Progress. He describes a person with a huge burden and he was tired and called desperately, “Who can deliver me?” But when he met Jesus at the cross his burden was rolled away. He was completely set free from his burden of sin. There are those who experience that burden and the true Godly sorrow for their sin. It’s wonderful for the one who comes to the cross and the Lord Jesus removes that burden.
In 1963 when I first got to Tugela Ferry, I pitched a tent. The first service was in the evening. At 3 o’clock I went to the tent to see if everything was alright because it wasn’t the safest area. I saw a group of women there. One was the mother of Barney Mabaso. She asked,” What must I do to get rid of my burden of sin?” She hadn’t been in contact with the gospel and still wore skins and yet she asked such a question. She said, ”I am weighed down by my sin. How can I get rid of this sin?” This came from a heathen woman. She said, ”I need to confess my sin.” Even though some said she didn’t need to confess her sin. She was an attractive young woman and she had won competitions for her traditional way of dressing and her son also wore skins. I said to her, ”I must just get ready for the service and then you will have an opportunity to confess your sins.” Later she was still waiting. I said, ”It’s good that you came because no matter what you have done, you can be forgiven even if you have had an abortion.” There is nothing like this gospel. We need never be ashamed of the gospel. For those who are perishing, it is foolishness but for those who believe in the Lord Jesus, it is the power of God. Through the blood we have the power to overcome sin. This blood saves us from our sin. Some confess their son, but they continue in their sin. If you come to the Lord Jesus and confess your sin, He cleanses you and gives you the power to overcome that sin. Some smoke or there is the lust of the flesh and they keep on going back to it. They are bound by their sin. But it is wonderful that we can come to the cross and receive deliverance. To those who are perishing, it is foolishness but to those who are being saved, they receive forgiveness of sin. The message of the cross should make our hearts overflow.
There is a legend that people discovered three crosses and wanted to know which one was the Lord’s. Eventually they brought a sick person who was paralyzed to touch each cross. Nothing happened when he touched the first cross, but when he touched the second cross he was healed instantly and leapt from his wheelchair and praised God. In that way they identified which one was the Lord’s. The cross does something to you when you touch it. The paralysed person was healed. The Bible says that by His stripes we are healed. It is just a story but it tells us a wonderful truth about the cross.
I mentioned Godly sorrow. When you confess your sin, there must be a true sorrow for your sin. If you have never experienced that then you will go back to your sin. Jesus must be the very first in your life. If you have been at the Cross, the Lord Jesus will be the most precious in your life; even more than your child. You will love Him because He is the one who set you free from your sin.
There was a true story about John Brown. He had much fervor for the Lord and he could preach as few people could. When he was on his deathbed before the Lord took him, he said that he had no strength or courage left. He was a very gifted person but now he had no strength to walk or read his Bible. He said he couldn’t do the slightest thing but he said he still felt the power of God. He called his 2 sons who were both preachers. Some say preacher’s children are the worst but how wrong that is. If you are true to God, you will see how your children also follow the Lord. He spoke to his sons and said, ”I plead with you to live for the Lord with all your strength. Because today I have regret that I didn’t do more for Him. Tell people how glorious and wondrous Christ is. I portrayed Christ to you because there is none like Him. If I had 10 000 hearts, all would belong to Him. Not one would not belong to Him.” I ask you servants of the Lord, have you heard what John Brown said? You preachers and preachers’ wives, do you understand? Because sometimes a preacher’s wife can be a tool in the devil’s hand and stand in her husband’s way. We preachers and Christians, is that the language we speak? That’s a personal question I would like to ask everyone today. Is this your feeling? If not, shame on you. Can’t you devote that one body to the service of Christ? John Brown said if he had 10 000 bodies,he would have devoted them all to Christ. Not just 9999! Then he said to his 2 sons that were preachers of the gospel, ”If God made me young again, I would study ways to win people to Christ much more than I have ever done before.” If you are just satisfied with driving your lorry and doing your business, then you are living the life of a cursed person. What do you do for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ? Will the Lord Jesus be the first to you today and for the rest of your life? You heard what John Brown said. All our sins are placed on Him. May that not be in vain but be the power of God in our lives.
Sermon audio in other languages: