Eternity is rushing towards us.
You and everyone else must be ready.

First Importance

May 1, 2006

1 Corinthians 15:1-3

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;”

There are a lot of firsts in life. The first time someone walks. The first time someone talks. The first day of school. Your first home run. The first paycheck you get. Lots of firsts in life. The reason that we remember these ‘firsts’ is because they are important to us. We have crossed over into new territory. The second time won’t be like the first time.

There is something for a Christian that is of the utmost importance. It is of first importance. All else hinges upon this event for a Christian, and, as you read in Corinthians, it is the cross of our Lord. It is Christ crucified. Nothing else even comes close to it. All of history hinges on this one event. Time splits in two because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Without the cross, there is no forgiveness. The wrath of God would not be satisfied without the cross. The rest of Christianity just wouldn’t make sense without Christ crucified.

Just in case you are wondering, Satan knows that also. That is why one of his tricks is to get people focused on other things besides the cross. In the top ten things in your life, what holds the number one slot above all else? Is it your spouse? Is it your kids? Is it your job? Is it your money? Is it your favorite sports team? Is it your college? What holds that top spot? One of the things I think Satan is trying to do is to make sure the cross moves down to at least the second spot. Because once there, it is easy for it to go to the third spot, the fourth, etc. Next thing you know, it is out of the top ten. It is no longer of first importance.

A friend of mine taught me a question he uses when witnessing. He asks people the question, “What is one thing you have learned in life that I ought to know?” What a great question! So when you boil it all down, what have you learned that you would want to deposit into my life? What is the one thing you want to pass on to others? It is very interesting to see how many people do not have an answer to that question. It is a great question because it causes people to think. To this day, I have never had a Christian tell me that the cross of Jesus Christ is the most important thing going on in their life. I am amazed at how many Christians will make a bold stand for the republican party, a bold stand for their college sports team, will talk about their business all day long, but none—not one—has ever told me that the cross of Jesus is all that life is about.

In Galatians 6:14, 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.”

Do you get the sense of what is the most important thing in Paul’s life as he writes this statement?

There is a new movement going on called the Emergent Church movement. The unofficial head is a guy by the name of Brian McLaren. He is a pastor, speaker, and author. I just saw him on the CBS evening news the other night. Brian made the statement to the host of a web podcast, that hell and the cross are almost a distraction, and false advertising for God.

1 Corinthians 1:17,18 says

“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

1 Corinthians 1:23 says

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;”

So which is it? Is the cross false advertising for God, or is it that when the cross is preached it is heard as foolishness to the unbeliever, and a stumbling block to the lost? It is one or the other. It is one or the other in your life. Two things cannot hold the top spot in your life. The cross or nothing else. Your earthly life and eternal life depend upon it. Which one will it be?

The lyrics to the old hymn go:

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,

the emblem of suffering and shame;

And I love that old cross where the dearest and best

For a world of lost sinners was slain.


So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross

Till my trophies at last I lay down;

I will cling to the old rugged cross,

And exchange it someday for a crown.

If you want to know God, you have to know Jesus. If you want to know Jesus, you must know the cross.

One of the editors for my books, Nomi Orr, died a couple of weeks ago. She didn’t really die, but she graduated from this life to the next. Death never means things are over. It is just the beginning of your life on the other side. As I always tell people, every person that has died is either alive and well, or alive in hell. One or the other. No middle ground here. One of the things that I will never forget about Nomi is how when we talked on the phone about the book and how to make it just right, it was just part of what we had to do to make the books glorify the Lord. So many times, what she really wanted to do was to talk about Jesus and pray. She seemed to me at her total, complete, happiest state when she was talking about Jesus. See, to her, the cross held the most important place in her life. Her life was about Jesus. So that means her death is about Jesus. She had the priorities of life stacked in the right order. Please pray for her husband Joel, and her kids and grandkids as they go through this time of transition.

Time is scooting by. What is in the top slot of your life right now that needs to be put at the foot of the cross so the cross can move up to its rightful position as the most important thing in this entire world? Make this change today. You will not regret it while you’re on earth, or on judgment day.

Until the nets are full,

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