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December 1, 2019
27:29

Touching Lives with James Merritt

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  • by the friends and partners of "Touching Lives."
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  • James Merritt: The God who brought you into this world,
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  • the God who created this world, the God who created the sun
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  • and the stars and the moon and the galaxies
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  • and the solar system and the entire universe,
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  • here's what this God said at the cross.
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  • You ready for this?
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  • He said, "I'd rather die for you than live without you."
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  • announcer: Teaching people everywhere who Jesus is and why
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  • they need him, this is "Touching Lives" with James Merritt.
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  • James Merritt: Some of the world's major religions have
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  • a visual symbol that illustrates the central feature of its
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  • beliefs, and when you see that symbol, you're actually looking
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  • at a visual commentary of what they believe at the heart of
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  • their very religious faith.
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  • For example, Buddhism is symbolized by the lotus flower.
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  • Now, I find it really interesting.
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  • I didn't know this, but the lotus flower has a life cycle
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  • unlike any other flower that we know of.
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  • It's actually rooted in mud, and every night the flower submerges
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  • into this murky river water.
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  • Somehow, overnight, by morning, it miraculously re-blooms
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  • without any mud on its petals whatsoever.
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  • So this wheel shaped lotus flower depicts the central
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  • belief of Buddhism which is, "We're all in this endless
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  • cycle, you're born, you live, you die, and then based on how
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  • you lived your life, you are reincarnated; you come back
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  • as something or you come back as someone else."
  • 00:01:34.050 --> 00:01:37.210
  • Judaism is symbolized by the Star of David.
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  • And this symbol represents the fact that Jews believe that God
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  • made a covenant with David, that out of his lineage he would send
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  • a messiah who would not only be over the Jewish race,
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  • but he would actually rule over the entire universe.
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  • And then of course Islam is symbolized by the star
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  • and the crescent moon.
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  • That's symbol actually predates the religion.
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  • It was adopted in religious times because what it symbolizes
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  • is that there's a God that is totally sovereign
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  • and totally powerful and over everything.
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  • But without question, the most ubiquitous and the most
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  • universally recognized religious symbol all around the world
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  • is a simple cross.
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  • And there's a big difference in this symbol and every other
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  • symbol of every other religious faith,
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  • and this is the difference.
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  • The cross-- now listen carefully--
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  • the cross is not just a symbol of the Christian faith,
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  • it is the secret to the Christian life.
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  • The way you are a Christian, the way you become a Christian,
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  • the way you live as a Christian is all wrapped up in the cross,
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  • and having said that, I really believe the most misunderstood
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  • religious symbol of the world is the cross, and I'm going
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  • to tell you two reasons why.
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  • First of all, as you know, crosses are worn as pendants,
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  • they're worn as necklaces.
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  • I guarantee you there are people in this room right now.
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  • You came in, you wear a cross around your neck.
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  • And what's so fascinating is anybody and everybody
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  • wears a cross.
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  • Athletes wear crosses.
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  • Movie stars wear crosses.
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  • Celebrities wear crosses.
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  • Rockstars wear crosses.
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  • Politicians wear crosses.
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  • Somebodies, nobodies, everybodies, anybodies--
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  • and it doesn't matter.
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  • They could be a Christian or not a Christian.
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  • They can believe in God or not believe in God, go to church not
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  • go to church, believe the Bible, not believe the Bible, and yet
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  • they will wear a cross around their neck, because people
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  • tend to see the cross as kind of a symbol of goodwill.
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  • It's a symbol of acceptance.
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  • It's almost like they say, "You know what?
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  • It doesn't matter what I believe spiritually.
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  • It doesn't matter whether I have a religion or don't have one.
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  • The cross is just a really cool thing to wear."
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  • But the second reason why I know that many people
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  • don't understand it is because you really kind of can't find
  • 00:03:59.240 --> 00:04:03.130
  • anybody that really says a whole lot against it.
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  • Nobody's gonna slam you, nobody's gonna criticize you,
  • 00:04:06.030 --> 00:04:09.200
  • nobody's gonna knock you, nobody's gonna come up to you
  • 00:04:09.210 --> 00:04:12.150
  • and get your face and go, "Why are you wearing
  • 00:04:12.160 --> 00:04:14.160
  • that cross around your neck?"
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  • But you may say, "Well, why should they?"
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  • Look 'cause 2.000 years ago, you would have never dreamed
  • 00:04:19.110 --> 00:04:22.040
  • about putting a cross on a necklace or a bracelet.
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  • You'd never worn it in public.
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  • You say, "Why?"
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  • Because 2.000 years ago the cross was considered obscene.
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  • It was actually despised.
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  • As matter of fact, to the Romans the cross was so despicable that
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  • Cicero, the Roman orator, wrote these words.
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  • He said, "Even the mere word cross must remain far--
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  • not only from the lips of the citizens of Rome,
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  • but also from their thoughts, their eyes, their ears."
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  • Cicero said don't even teach your kids to use that word.
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  • If they use the word cross, wash your mouth out with soap.
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  • We don't talk about that word in public.
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  • For the Jews, crucifixion was the same thing as hanging.
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  • In the Old Testament thought, if you died by hanging you were
  • 00:05:06.130 --> 00:05:09.100
  • under the curse of God.
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  • To the Greeks, they were philosophers, they were kind
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  • of the intellectual elite, they thought the cross
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  • was foolishness.
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  • They thought the cross was just sheer stupidity.
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  • They thought it was nonsense.
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  • So, everybody and anybody that was anybody rejected the cross.
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  • Don't talk about it, don't point to it, don't think about it,
  • 00:05:26.140 --> 00:05:29.060
  • but there was one exception, the early church.
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  • From it's beginning they said we don't see the cross
  • 00:05:36.150 --> 00:05:40.240
  • the way you see the cross.
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  • We don't have the same attitude toward the cross
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  • that you have toward the cross.
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  • And there was a man by the name of Paul who more than anybody,
  • 00:05:48.170 --> 00:05:52.090
  • really came to the fore and said, "Oh, let me tell you
  • 00:05:52.100 --> 00:05:55.200
  • why we love the cross.
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  • Let me tell you why we glory in the cross.
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  • Let me tell you why all we want to talk about is the cross."
  • 00:06:00.260 --> 00:06:04.070
  • If you're visiting for the first time, we've been in a series
  • 00:06:04.080 --> 00:06:07.160
  • in the Book of Galatians.
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  • We're actually ending that series today.
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  • We've been calling it "Free at Last."
  • 00:06:11.140 --> 00:06:13.070
  • And what this book is all about is very simple.
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  • Paul basically had been saying for sixth chapters, Jesus did
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  • not come to give us another religion, he came
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  • to free us from religion.
  • 00:06:21.230 --> 00:06:23.250
  • He didn't come so we'd have more rituals to follow, more rules to
  • 00:06:23.260 --> 00:06:27.020
  • follow, more this, more that.
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  • He came to free us from all of that, and the way he did it was
  • 00:06:29.080 --> 00:06:32.100
  • by the cross, because the cross frees us not only from the
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  • burden of sin, it frees us from the bondage of religion.
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  • And so he comes to this last chapter, chapter 6 of Galatians,
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  • and he gives this jaw-dropping, breathtaking statement
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  • 2.000 years ago that is just really hard to believe.
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  • Not today, no big deal, but back then it was unbelievable.
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  • 'Cause let me go back and remind you just one more time,
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  • 2.000 years ago people didn't take the cross,
  • 00:06:59.280 --> 00:07:03.150
  • put it in the closet all the way in the back, shut the door,
  • 00:07:03.160 --> 00:07:08.070
  • lock it and throw away the key.
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  • Paul comes along and says, "Oh, no, I want it front and center.
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  • I want to shine a spotlight on it.
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  • I want to put it on a pedestal.
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  • I want you to think about it every day.
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  • I want it to dominate your life.
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  • I want you to talk to your friends and neighbors about it.
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  • I wanna brag about nothing but the cross."
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  • Because here's what's amazing.
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  • If anybody had a reason and a right to brag about themselves,
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  • it was a guy named Paul, because take your pick.
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  • Greatest preacher in the world, check.
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  • Greatest missionary of the church, check.
  • 00:07:45.280 --> 00:07:49.060
  • Greatest apologist in the world, check.
  • 00:07:49.070 --> 00:07:52.120
  • Greatest theologian the world's ever seen, check.
  • 00:07:52.130 --> 00:07:56.040
  • Greatest religious author of the New Testament, check.
  • 00:07:56.050 --> 00:07:59.170
  • If anybody ever had a right to walk up to you and say,
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  • "Would you like my autograph?" it was Paul.
  • 00:08:02.090 --> 00:08:05.170
  • And yet Paul makes this statement, looking at the cross
  • 00:08:05.180 --> 00:08:09.290
  • that's just mind-boggling.
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  • Listen to what he said.
  • 00:08:12.110 --> 00:08:14.070
  • "May I never boast."
  • 00:08:14.080 --> 00:08:16.150
  • Now, this is rock star Paul, superstar Paul, Mount Rushmore
  • 00:08:16.160 --> 00:08:22.130
  • Paul, "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord
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  • Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me,
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  • and I to the world."
  • 00:08:32.110 --> 00:08:35.150
  • Now, let me tell you why that's such an amazing statement.
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  • We should keep the cross front and center.
  • 00:08:39.090 --> 00:08:42.050
  • We oughtta brag about nothing but the cross, but we should
  • 00:08:42.060 --> 00:08:45.050
  • brag about the cross.
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  • There's a reason why I'm glad our church
  • 00:08:47.150 --> 00:08:49.130
  • is called Cross Point.
  • 00:08:49.140 --> 00:08:51.120
  • I want us to point to the cross.
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  • I want us to be people of the cross.
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  • You say, "How in the world?
  • 00:08:55.020 --> 00:08:56.210
  • Why would Paul say that?"
  • 00:08:56.220 --> 00:08:58.090
  • Well, he gives us three tremendous reasons in the simple
  • 00:08:58.100 --> 00:09:00.220
  • little verse why we should forever put the cross front
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  • and center, and we should always brag about the cross.
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  • Number one: We should boast about the person who died
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  • on the cross.
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  • We ought to boast about the person who died on the cross.
  • 00:09:13.050 --> 00:09:16.010
  • Now, Paul normally would have been the very first person that
  • 00:09:16.020 --> 00:09:19.160
  • you would've expected to say, "Look, nobody ought to boast
  • 00:09:19.170 --> 00:09:22.180
  • about an instrument that was used to kill people,
  • 00:09:22.190 --> 00:09:25.070
  • hang people, asphyxiate people, torture people.
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  • Why the world you brag about something like that?
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  • I mean, who in their right mind would brag about a symbol
  • 00:09:31.260 --> 00:09:34.130
  • of what is still today maybe the most horrific way
  • 00:09:34.140 --> 00:09:37.240
  • you can execute a person."
  • 00:09:37.250 --> 00:09:39.170
  • Well, here's why.
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  • This was no ordinary cross Paul was talking about.
  • 00:09:41.200 --> 00:09:43.200
  • Listen to what he said.
  • 00:09:43.210 --> 00:09:45.200
  • He said, "May I never boast except in the cross
  • 00:09:45.210 --> 00:09:48.030
  • of our Lord Jesus Christ."
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  • There's the difference.
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  • Jesus is mentioned 45 times in 6 chapters in Galatians.
  • 00:09:55.090 --> 00:10:00.000
  • One out of every three verses talks about Jesus.
  • 00:10:00.010 --> 00:10:03.240
  • Listen, it wasn't the cross that captivated Paul, it was
  • 00:10:03.250 --> 00:10:07.080
  • the person that died on the cross that dominated Paul.
  • 00:10:07.090 --> 00:10:10.230
  • Here's what I want you to understand.
  • 00:10:10.240 --> 00:10:12.210
  • It is not the cross that makes Jesus Christ so special,
  • 00:10:12.220 --> 00:10:17.130
  • it is Jesus Christ that makes the cross so special.
  • 00:10:17.140 --> 00:10:21.120
  • He said, "It is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
  • 00:10:21.130 --> 00:10:24.050
  • Paul said, "Look, I'm not proud of the cross, I'm proud
  • 00:10:24.060 --> 00:10:27.040
  • of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ."
  • 00:10:27.050 --> 00:10:29.130
  • And here's why.
  • 00:10:29.140 --> 00:10:31.130
  • Every other religious symbol points to that religion.
  • 00:10:31.140 --> 00:10:34.030
  • The lotus flower points to Buddhism.
  • 00:10:34.040 --> 00:10:36.010
  • The Star of David points to Judaism.
  • 00:10:36.020 --> 00:10:37.290
  • The star and crescent points to Islam.
  • 00:10:38.000 --> 00:10:40.040
  • The cross does not point to a religion, it points
  • 00:10:40.050 --> 00:10:42.230
  • to a redeemer.
  • 00:10:42.240 --> 00:10:44.270
  • It doesn't point to a philosophy, it points to a
  • 00:10:44.280 --> 00:10:47.150
  • person, and it doesn't point to a belief you hold in your head,
  • 00:10:47.160 --> 00:10:51.000
  • it points to a Lord that you carry in your heart.
  • 00:10:51.010 --> 00:10:54.000
  • 30.000 Jews were crucified by the Roman Empire.
  • 00:10:54.010 --> 00:10:58.010
  • Jesus was one of them.
  • 00:10:58.020 --> 00:11:00.080
  • A crucified Jew just wasn't that big a deal, but there was
  • 00:11:00.090 --> 00:11:02.210
  • a day when a man named Jesus was crucified.
  • 00:11:02.220 --> 00:11:06.050
  • And on that day, he wasn't just another criminal dying
  • 00:11:06.060 --> 00:11:10.100
  • on just another cross for just another crime.
  • 00:11:10.110 --> 00:11:13.250
  • He didn't die for what he did, he died for what we did.
  • 00:11:13.260 --> 00:11:21.050
  • And that's what makes the cross so completely,
  • 00:11:21.060 --> 00:11:23.190
  • totally different.
  • 00:11:23.200 --> 00:11:25.130
  • What makes this cross, the cross of Christ, like no other cross
  • 00:11:25.140 --> 00:11:28.010
  • is who died on that cross.
  • 00:11:28.020 --> 00:11:30.030
  • That's why Paul refers to it as,
  • 00:11:30.040 --> 00:11:32.040
  • "The cross of the Lord Jesus Christ."
  • 00:11:32.050 --> 00:11:34.100
  • He said, "You don't know who died on that cross?"
  • 00:11:34.110 --> 00:11:36.100
  • First of all, he is the Lord of the universe.
  • 00:11:36.110 --> 00:11:39.120
  • Number two: he is the savior of the World.
  • 00:11:39.130 --> 00:11:42.080
  • Number three: he is the Jewish Messiah.
  • 00:11:42.090 --> 00:11:44.140
  • He is the Lord. That is, he is God.
  • 00:11:44.150 --> 00:11:46.200
  • He is Jesus.
  • 00:11:46.210 --> 00:11:48.270
  • The word Jesus is from Joshua, means Jehovah is salvation.
  • 00:11:48.280 --> 00:11:51.090
  • He is the Christ, he is the one promised Messiah.
  • 00:11:51.100 --> 00:11:54.180
  • So what he's saying is on that day, the one that died on that
  • 00:11:54.190 --> 00:11:58.130
  • cross was no less and no other than the Jewish Messiah, the
  • 00:11:58.140 --> 00:12:02.250
  • Savior of the World, the Lord of the Universe.
  • 00:12:02.260 --> 00:12:05.160
  • That's why out of 30.000 Jews that were crucified in history,
  • 00:12:05.170 --> 00:12:09.200
  • the only one we can name is Jesus, 'cause he wasn't just a
  • 00:12:09.210 --> 00:12:17.110
  • guy, and he wasn't a criminal, he wasn't just a man, he was one
  • 00:12:17.120 --> 00:12:24.270
  • in three and three in one.
  • 00:12:24.280 --> 00:12:27.090
  • "I am the Son of God.
  • 00:12:27.100 --> 00:12:30.030
  • I am the Lord of the universe.
  • 00:12:30.040 --> 00:12:32.120
  • I am the Jewish Messiah.
  • 00:12:32.130 --> 00:12:34.250
  • I am the Savior of the World."
  • 00:12:34.260 --> 00:12:37.110
  • See, every other Jew, 29.999 Jews died in their sin.
  • 00:12:37.120 --> 00:12:44.150
  • Jesus died for our sin, and that's why Paul said, "When I
  • 00:12:44.160 --> 00:12:48.270
  • brag, I wanna brag on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ."
  • 00:12:48.280 --> 00:12:52.170
  • That's why every time you look at the cross, you ought to think
  • 00:12:52.180 --> 00:12:55.200
  • about what God has done for you.
  • 00:12:55.210 --> 00:12:58.010
  • That cross should always point to Jesus.
  • 00:12:58.020 --> 00:13:00.150
  • You know, the first half of our mission statement,
  • 00:13:00.160 --> 00:13:02.210
  • as you well know, is to point people to Jesus.
  • 00:13:02.220 --> 00:13:05.040
  • And here's the point.
  • 00:13:05.050 --> 00:13:06.290
  • When we point people to the cross, we're not pointing people
  • 00:13:07.000 --> 00:13:10.010
  • to two pieces of wood where they used to nail Jewish prisoners to
  • 00:13:10.020 --> 00:13:13.170
  • the cross, we're pointing people to the person who died
  • 00:13:13.180 --> 00:13:16.160
  • on that cross for our sins.
  • 00:13:16.170 --> 00:13:20.000
  • Paul said we ought to brag about the person who died
  • 00:13:20.010 --> 00:13:26.070
  • on the cross.
  • 00:13:26.080 --> 00:13:28.220
  • 'Cause even that Roman centurion, when Jesus drew
  • 00:13:28.230 --> 00:13:31.290
  • his last breath, even that Roman Centurion said, "Surely!
  • 00:13:32.000 --> 00:13:37.260
  • This was the Son of God."
  • 00:13:37.270 --> 00:13:40.180
  • What a brag about the person who died on the cross.
  • 00:13:40.190 --> 00:13:44.290
  • Number two: We should boast about the purpose that was
  • 00:13:45.000 --> 00:13:48.280
  • demonstrated in the cross.
  • 00:13:48.290 --> 00:13:51.280
  • So, what was the purpose?
  • 00:13:51.290 --> 00:13:54.240
  • Understand this, that was no accident,
  • 00:13:54.250 --> 00:13:58.170
  • that was an appointment.
  • 00:13:58.180 --> 00:14:00.140
  • As a matter of fact, one of the disciples named Peter
  • 00:14:00.150 --> 00:14:02.270
  • who was nearby, both before and after the crucifixion,
  • 00:14:02.280 --> 00:14:05.120
  • here's what he said.
  • 00:14:05.130 --> 00:14:07.070
  • Talking about the crucifixion, he said,
  • 00:14:07.080 --> 00:14:09.040
  • "This man was handed over to you."
  • 00:14:09.050 --> 00:14:10.270
  • He was talking to the Pharisees.
  • 00:14:10.280 --> 00:14:12.180
  • "This man was handed over to you by God's deliberate plan
  • 00:14:12.190 --> 00:14:16.040
  • and foreknowledge."
  • 00:14:16.050 --> 00:14:18.040
  • When Jesus Christ died on the cross, God had a plan,
  • 00:14:18.050 --> 00:14:20.250
  • and God had a purpose.
  • 00:14:20.260 --> 00:14:23.010
  • The God who brought you into this world.
  • 00:14:23.020 --> 00:14:26.270
  • The God who created this world.
  • 00:14:26.280 --> 00:14:29.160
  • The God who created the sun and the stars and the moon and the
  • 00:14:29.170 --> 00:14:34.150
  • galaxies and the solar system and the entire universe,
  • 00:14:34.160 --> 00:14:38.030
  • here's what this God said at the cross.
  • 00:14:38.040 --> 00:14:39.290
  • You ready for this?
  • 00:14:40.000 --> 00:14:41.240
  • He said, "I'd rather die for you than live without you.
  • 00:14:41.250 --> 00:14:45.050
  • That's how much I love you."
  • 00:14:45.060 --> 00:14:47.010
  • So, we ought to boast about the person who died on the cross.
  • 00:14:47.020 --> 00:14:52.100
  • We ought to boast about the purpose that was demonstrated
  • 00:14:52.110 --> 00:14:55.230
  • at the cross.
  • 00:14:55.240 --> 00:14:57.170
  • God gave us love, and God shows us life.
  • 00:14:57.180 --> 00:14:59.080
  • But there's one last thing, we ought to boast about the power
  • 00:14:59.090 --> 00:15:02.060
  • that was delivered by the cross.
  • 00:15:02.070 --> 00:15:04.150
  • Now this is something you don't hear very often,
  • 00:15:04.160 --> 00:15:06.140
  • so I want you to hear, 'cause we leave this out.
  • 00:15:06.150 --> 00:15:09.130
  • There's a power that comes.
  • 00:15:09.140 --> 00:15:11.040
  • When you come to the cross, you don't just get salvation, you
  • 00:15:11.050 --> 00:15:15.070
  • don't just get pie-in-the-sky, you don't just get
  • 00:15:15.080 --> 00:15:17.110
  • a home in heaven.
  • 00:15:17.120 --> 00:15:19.040
  • When you come to the cross and you accept the person who died
  • 00:15:19.050 --> 00:15:21.040
  • on the cross, you get a power nobody else has.
  • 00:15:21.050 --> 00:15:25.000
  • You get a streak nobody else has.
  • 00:15:25.010 --> 00:15:26.240
  • When you trust the person who died on the cross and you accept
  • 00:15:26.250 --> 00:15:29.140
  • that purpose, you get a power that no one else has,
  • 00:15:29.150 --> 00:15:32.250
  • and let me tell you why.
  • 00:15:32.260 --> 00:15:34.150
  • It's got a lot to do with the world that we live in,
  • 00:15:34.160 --> 00:15:36.040
  • and I don't mean the physical world.
  • 00:15:36.050 --> 00:15:37.230
  • I mean the moral world.
  • 00:15:37.240 --> 00:15:39.180
  • I should say the immoral world.
  • 00:15:39.190 --> 00:15:41.090
  • I'm talkin' about the world of sin and success and wickedness
  • 00:15:41.100 --> 00:15:43.190
  • and wealth and greed and gold.
  • 00:15:43.200 --> 00:15:45.220
  • Here's what Paul said, "You know why I brag on the cross?
  • 00:15:45.230 --> 00:15:50.050
  • You know why I'm so proud of the cross?
  • 00:15:50.060 --> 00:15:52.140
  • You know why my life is dominated by the cross?
  • 00:15:52.150 --> 00:15:55.010
  • Do you know why I live in the shadow of the cross
  • 00:15:55.020 --> 00:15:57.040
  • every single day?
  • 00:15:57.050 --> 00:16:00.100
  • Because the cross gives me victory over the world
  • 00:16:00.110 --> 00:16:03.280
  • that I live in."
  • 00:16:03.290 --> 00:16:05.220
  • 'Cause listen to what he said, watch this.
  • 00:16:05.230 --> 00:16:07.160
  • We miss this part.
  • 00:16:07.170 --> 00:16:09.030
  • Paul said, "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord
  • 00:16:09.040 --> 00:16:13.130
  • Jesus Christ," the person of the cross, the purpose of the cross.
  • 00:16:13.140 --> 00:16:17.030
  • "Hey, he loves me, gives me life."
  • 00:16:17.040 --> 00:16:18.290
  • But listen to this, "Through which--"
  • 00:16:19.000 --> 00:16:20.250
  • and this is really interesting--
  • 00:16:20.260 --> 00:16:22.240
  • "the world has been crucified to me."
  • 00:16:22.250 --> 00:16:28.080
  • Now, what does that mean?
  • 00:16:28.090 --> 00:16:30.090
  • What do you mean?
  • 00:16:30.100 --> 00:16:31.260
  • I understand that Jesus died on the cross, but what do you mean
  • 00:16:31.270 --> 00:16:34.060
  • when you say, The world has been crucified with me?
  • 00:16:34.070 --> 00:16:36.250
  • Well, watch this, when Jesus died on the cross, God also made
  • 00:16:36.260 --> 00:16:42.250
  • sure that the world was crucified on the cross.
  • 00:16:42.260 --> 00:16:46.040
  • And I don't mean, again, the physical world.
  • 00:16:46.050 --> 00:16:47.280
  • I mean the moral world, the ethical world,
  • 00:16:47.290 --> 00:16:50.010
  • the philosophical world, the world that's an enemy
  • 00:16:50.020 --> 00:16:52.080
  • of God, the world that's reject the authority
  • 00:16:52.090 --> 00:16:54.080
  • of the Son of God, the world that turns his back
  • 00:16:54.090 --> 00:16:56.100
  • on the word of God.
  • 00:16:56.110 --> 00:16:58.020
  • I'm talking about the world of Hollywood's fame
  • 00:16:58.030 --> 00:17:00.030
  • and Wall Street's money and Washington's power.
  • 00:17:00.040 --> 00:17:02.120
  • He said, "That's all been crucified to
  • 00:17:02.130 --> 00:17:05.050
  • a follower of Jesus.
  • 00:17:05.060 --> 00:17:07.010
  • The world is dead to you."
  • 00:17:07.020 --> 00:17:11.020
  • But then he goes on and adds this, "And I to the world."
  • 00:17:11.030 --> 00:17:17.190
  • What?
  • 00:17:17.200 --> 00:17:19.100
  • Oh yeah.
  • 00:17:19.110 --> 00:17:20.250
  • When I gave my life to Jesus as a 9-year-old boy, I didn't
  • 00:17:20.260 --> 00:17:22.150
  • realize all that happened to me, and I still don't realize all
  • 00:17:22.160 --> 00:17:24.240
  • that happened, but I'll tell you one thing
  • 00:17:24.250 --> 00:17:26.200
  • I realize now that happened.
  • 00:17:26.210 --> 00:17:28.140
  • The moment I gave my life to Jesus, two things happened,
  • 00:17:28.150 --> 00:17:31.070
  • two things died.
  • 00:17:31.080 --> 00:17:32.280
  • The world died to me, and I died to the world.
  • 00:17:32.290 --> 00:17:35.260
  • Now, let me tell you why that's such a big deal.
  • 00:17:35.270 --> 00:17:39.180
  • The biggest difference between a follower of Jesus and a
  • 00:17:39.190 --> 00:17:43.020
  • non-follower of Jesus is this: we all live in this world, but
  • 00:17:43.030 --> 00:17:50.150
  • a follower of Jesus is dead to this world, and the world is
  • 00:17:50.160 --> 00:17:54.250
  • dead to this follower of Jesus.
  • 00:17:54.260 --> 00:17:57.070
  • See, we really do march to the beat of a different drum.
  • 00:17:57.080 --> 00:17:59.240
  • We really do walk a different path.
  • 00:17:59.250 --> 00:18:02.010
  • We really are citizens of another world, and that's why
  • 00:18:02.020 --> 00:18:04.070
  • the cross is the one place you can go to and you can lay at
  • 00:18:04.080 --> 00:18:08.180
  • it's feet all of your faults and all of your flaws
  • 00:18:08.190 --> 00:18:11.010
  • and all of your failures.
  • 00:18:11.020 --> 00:18:13.010
  • You can nail them there, you can leave them there, and you can
  • 00:18:13.020 --> 00:18:15.080
  • find complete forgiveness and victory in this life.
  • 00:18:15.090 --> 00:18:19.250
  • This cross can solve racism in a heartbeat if we get under it.
  • 00:18:19.260 --> 00:18:26.200
  • It can solve our biggest problems.
  • 00:18:26.210 --> 00:18:29.120
  • It's the one place you can go to and know
  • 00:18:29.130 --> 00:18:31.130
  • I'll always be accepted.
  • 00:18:31.140 --> 00:18:33.110
  • It's the one place you can go to and you can say I failed,
  • 00:18:33.120 --> 00:18:36.050
  • and he'll say, "I know it, I forgive you, let's move on."
  • 00:18:36.060 --> 00:18:38.150
  • It's the one place you can go to and know I'm always
  • 00:18:38.160 --> 00:18:41.230
  • gonna find love and grace.
  • 00:18:41.240 --> 00:18:43.180
  • So, because of the cross, we can overcome the flaws
  • 00:18:43.190 --> 00:18:45.200
  • of this world.
  • 00:18:45.210 --> 00:18:47.120
  • We can overcome the power of sin.
  • 00:18:47.130 --> 00:18:49.050
  • We can escape the trap of temptation.
  • 00:18:49.060 --> 00:18:50.250
  • We can even resist the devil himself.
  • 00:18:50.260 --> 00:18:53.080
  • That's why the second half of our statement is not just to
  • 00:18:53.090 --> 00:18:56.110
  • point people to Jesus, it's to inspire them to live
  • 00:18:56.120 --> 00:18:59.050
  • the cross-shaped life.
  • 00:18:59.060 --> 00:19:00.290
  • What is that?
  • 00:19:01.000 --> 00:19:02.190
  • It's a life where you say to the world: You don't own me,
  • 00:19:02.200 --> 00:19:04.290
  • you don't run me, you don't direct me.
  • 00:19:05.000 --> 00:19:07.200
  • I have one God, and you're not it.
  • 00:19:07.210 --> 00:19:12.020
  • I have died to you, you've died to me, so I don't need
  • 00:19:12.030 --> 00:19:14.190
  • the world's applause.
  • 00:19:14.200 --> 00:19:16.140
  • I don't need the world success.
  • 00:19:16.150 --> 00:19:18.040
  • I don't need the world's fame.
  • 00:19:18.050 --> 00:19:19.190
  • I don't need the world fortune.
  • 00:19:19.200 --> 00:19:21.040
  • It doesn't matter to me what the Gallup Poll say.
  • 00:19:21.050 --> 00:19:22.290
  • It doesn't matter to me what the Congress thinks.
  • 00:19:23.000 --> 00:19:24.190
  • I'm here to do God's will.
  • 00:19:24.200 --> 00:19:26.090
  • I'm here to do what's right, not do what is wrong,
  • 00:19:26.100 --> 00:19:28.140
  • and live for his glory.
  • 00:19:28.150 --> 00:19:30.110
  • And I'm telling you, when you do that, you are free
  • 00:19:30.120 --> 00:19:33.010
  • at last, totally free.
  • 00:19:33.020 --> 00:19:36.260
  • So, I want you to think about these three last questions,
  • 00:19:36.270 --> 00:19:39.200
  • 'cause I've tried to answer every one of them.
  • 00:19:39.210 --> 00:19:42.080
  • Who died on that cross?
  • 00:19:42.090 --> 00:19:43.250
  • When you get that straight, you won't see the cross
  • 00:19:43.260 --> 00:19:46.060
  • the same way.
  • 00:19:46.070 --> 00:19:47.280
  • Why did he die on that cross?
  • 00:19:47.290 --> 00:19:49.150
  • When you understand that, you won't see the cross
  • 00:19:49.160 --> 00:19:51.060
  • the same way.
  • 00:19:51.070 --> 00:19:52.260
  • And what is the cross done and what does the cross do for me?
  • 00:19:52.270 --> 00:19:55.010
  • When you understand that, you will not see the cross
  • 00:19:55.020 --> 00:19:57.000
  • the same way.
  • 00:19:57.010 --> 00:19:58.220
  • That's why we put the cross front and center.
  • 00:19:58.230 --> 00:20:00.250
  • You'll understand there's something about the cross,
  • 00:20:00.260 --> 00:20:03.170
  • it both kills life, and it gives life.
  • 00:20:03.180 --> 00:20:07.050
  • What do you mean?
  • 00:20:07.060 --> 00:20:08.270
  • Oh, it kills, it kills the joy of sin, it kills the thrill of
  • 00:20:08.280 --> 00:20:14.270
  • temptation, it kills the pleasure of doing wrong,
  • 00:20:14.280 --> 00:20:20.070
  • but what does it give you?
  • 00:20:20.080 --> 00:20:22.120
  • The desire to be holy, the desire to be godly,
  • 00:20:22.130 --> 00:20:27.020
  • the desire to be kind, the desire to be gracious,
  • 00:20:27.030 --> 00:20:31.220
  • the desire to be righteous.
  • 00:20:31.230 --> 00:20:34.090
  • So you know why I put the cross front and center?
  • 00:20:34.100 --> 00:20:37.170
  • Because this cross is the dividing line between the world
  • 00:20:37.180 --> 00:20:41.050
  • and every follower of Jesus.
  • 00:20:41.060 --> 00:20:43.130
  • Because let me tell you something.
  • 00:20:43.140 --> 00:20:45.140
  • You're on one side of the cross or the other.
  • 00:20:45.150 --> 00:20:49.230
  • Mahatma Gandhi, the great Indian wrote these words.
  • 00:20:49.240 --> 00:20:53.040
  • It's heartbreaking.
  • 00:20:53.050 --> 00:20:55.070
  • He said, "I could accept Jesus as a martyr, an embodiment
  • 00:20:55.080 --> 00:20:58.290
  • of sacrifice and a divine teacher.
  • 00:20:59.000 --> 00:21:01.280
  • His death on the cross was a great example to the world but
  • 00:21:01.290 --> 00:21:05.180
  • that there was anything like a mysterious or miraculous
  • 00:21:05.190 --> 00:21:08.290
  • virtue in it, my heart could not accept."
  • 00:21:09.000 --> 00:21:16.170
  • He has now, I promise you.
  • 00:21:16.180 --> 00:21:21.050
  • Too late, but he has now.
  • 00:21:21.060 --> 00:21:24.250
  • Because the cross is front and center--listen--
  • 00:21:24.260 --> 00:21:28.010
  • for everybody.
  • 00:21:28.020 --> 00:21:30.130
  • For those who come to it, it is a fountain of eternal life.
  • 00:21:30.140 --> 00:21:36.200
  • But for those who don't, it is the condemnation
  • 00:21:36.210 --> 00:21:40.080
  • of eternal death.
  • 00:21:40.090 --> 00:21:42.190
  • Let me just tell you this, and we're done.
  • 00:21:42.200 --> 00:21:45.050
  • George H.W. Bush, not George W.,
  • 00:21:45.060 --> 00:21:47.260
  • but the father.
  • 00:21:47.270 --> 00:21:49.150
  • He's president of United States.
  • 00:21:49.160 --> 00:21:51.100
  • He's going to have his first meeting with Vladimir Putin.
  • 00:21:51.110 --> 00:21:54.090
  • So, he asked for materials to be brought into study up on Putin
  • 00:21:54.100 --> 00:21:57.170
  • to kind of find out what kind of guy he's dealing with.
  • 00:21:57.180 --> 00:22:00.060
  • One of the books they gave him, in that book there was this long
  • 00:22:00.070 --> 00:22:02.280
  • interview that President Putin had given,
  • 00:22:02.290 --> 00:22:05.080
  • and it was about his mother.
  • 00:22:05.090 --> 00:22:07.230
  • Evidently, his mother was a devout believer, and she had
  • 00:22:07.240 --> 00:22:12.070
  • actually gotten a Christian cross, she had it blessed
  • 00:22:12.080 --> 00:22:15.070
  • in Jerusalem, and she had given it to Putin.
  • 00:22:15.080 --> 00:22:18.250
  • So, when president Bush met with Putin, he brought this up,
  • 00:22:18.260 --> 00:22:22.050
  • and this is the conversation that they had.
  • 00:22:22.060 --> 00:22:24.080
  • This is Bush talking.
  • 00:22:24.090 --> 00:22:25.290
  • "I said to him, 'I found that story very interesting.
  • 00:22:26.000 --> 00:22:29.020
  • You see, President Putin, I think you judge a person
  • 00:22:29.030 --> 00:22:31.130
  • on something other than just politics.
  • 00:22:31.140 --> 00:22:33.180
  • I think it's important for me and for you to look for the
  • 00:22:33.190 --> 00:22:35.160
  • depth of a person's soul and character.'
  • 00:22:35.170 --> 00:22:38.010
  • Then I said I was touched by the fact
  • 00:22:38.020 --> 00:22:40.070
  • that your mother gave you the cross."
  • 00:22:40.080 --> 00:22:43.290
  • He was dumbfounded when Putin told him a story in return.
  • 00:22:44.000 --> 00:22:48.180
  • When his mother gave him on that cross, he began
  • 00:22:48.190 --> 00:22:50.210
  • to wear that cross.
  • 00:22:50.220 --> 00:22:52.150
  • Took it everywhere he went.
  • 00:22:52.160 --> 00:22:54.110
  • In a beautiful house, he was visiting with someone very
  • 00:22:54.120 --> 00:22:56.260
  • important, and he happened to put the cross down
  • 00:22:56.270 --> 00:22:59.160
  • on a table and he forgot it.
  • 00:22:59.170 --> 00:23:01.190
  • Well, the house burned down.
  • 00:23:01.200 --> 00:23:04.030
  • And Bush then recounts the conversation.
  • 00:23:04.040 --> 00:23:06.240
  • He said, "Putin said to me, 'The thing I was most worried about
  • 00:23:06.250 --> 00:23:09.260
  • was I lost my cross that my mother had given me.'
  • 00:23:09.270 --> 00:23:13.120
  • He said about that time, a worker came up to me
  • 00:23:13.130 --> 00:23:15.200
  • and I was going to tell the worker, 'Go find the cross.
  • 00:23:15.210 --> 00:23:18.270
  • I lost my cross.'
  • 00:23:18.280 --> 00:23:21.040
  • And about that time, the worker had walked up
  • 00:23:21.050 --> 00:23:23.120
  • to me, put out his hand and opened it up,
  • 00:23:23.130 --> 00:23:26.000
  • and he was holding that cross.'
  • 00:23:26.010 --> 00:23:28.120
  • Putin said, 'It was as if something was meant
  • 00:23:28.130 --> 00:23:31.130
  • for me to have that cross.'"
  • 00:23:31.140 --> 00:23:33.160
  • At that moment, President Bush felt that Putin
  • 00:23:33.170 --> 00:23:35.260
  • was basically saying there must be
  • 00:23:35.270 --> 00:23:37.230
  • a higher power up there.
  • 00:23:37.240 --> 00:23:39.220
  • And then to his credit, President Bush leaned forward,
  • 00:23:39.230 --> 00:23:42.090
  • took him by the hand, looked him in the eye, and he said this,
  • 00:23:42.100 --> 00:23:46.130
  • "President Putin, that's what it's all about.
  • 00:23:46.140 --> 00:23:52.000
  • That's what life is all about.
  • 00:23:52.010 --> 00:23:54.120
  • That's what you are all about.
  • 00:23:54.130 --> 00:23:56.210
  • That's what the world is all about.
  • 00:23:56.220 --> 00:23:58.220
  • It's all about the story of the Cross."
  • 00:23:58.230 --> 00:24:02.240
  • And I want to tell you something,
  • 00:24:02.250 --> 00:24:04.200
  • President Bush was so right.
  • 00:24:04.210 --> 00:24:06.230
  • The cross is what it's all about.
  • 00:24:06.240 --> 00:24:09.150
  • It should always be front and center, because the only hope
  • 00:24:09.160 --> 00:24:14.040
  • for this world has been, is, and always will be at the foot
  • 00:24:14.050 --> 00:24:20.000
  • of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 00:24:20.010 --> 00:24:23.260
  • male announcer: To watch an extended version of today's
  • 00:24:23.270 --> 00:24:26.020
  • teaching message with Dr. James Merritt,
  • 00:24:26.030 --> 00:24:28.090
  • go to TouchingLives.org.
  • 00:24:28.100 --> 00:24:31.170
  • James Merritt: Another broadcast here's coming to a close,
  • 00:24:34.040 --> 00:24:36.010
  • and I want to thank you for tuning in and especially
  • 00:24:36.020 --> 00:24:38.060
  • for praying for me.
  • 00:24:38.070 --> 00:24:39.290
  • If you've grown in your faith and been encouraged by this
  • 00:24:40.000 --> 00:24:42.070
  • ministry, I want to ask you to invest in the ministry.
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  • Not just give, invest.
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  • Because we're preaching the gospel around the world.
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  • on the air so we can impact the World for Jesus Christ
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  • as we head into 2020?
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  • Jesus said it's more blessed to give than it is to receive,
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  • and your gift of any amount is a tangible sign of your
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  • partnership in touching the lives of the lost and enriching
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  • [drum music playing]
  • 00:25:54.240 --> 00:26:04.230
  • [drum music playing]
  • 00:26:04.240 --> 00:26:14.230
  • [drum music playing]
  • 00:26:14.240 --> 00:26:24.230
  • [drum music playing]
  • 00:26:24.240 --> 00:26:28.050
  • James Merritt: You know, everyone associates the cross
  • 00:26:30.210 --> 00:26:32.230
  • with Christianity, but not everyone truly understands
  • 00:26:32.240 --> 00:26:35.200
  • what faith in Jesus means.
  • 00:26:35.210 --> 00:26:38.120
  • Paul knew the impact of the cross, so he addressed the
  • 00:26:38.130 --> 00:26:40.260
  • importance of it as he closed out his letter
  • 00:26:40.270 --> 00:26:43.170
  • to this church in Galatia.
  • 00:26:43.180 --> 00:26:45.190
  • Paul emphatically says he wants us to boast only in the cross
  • 00:26:45.200 --> 00:26:50.070
  • of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 00:26:50.080 --> 00:26:52.090
  • Here's why he says this: If you will put the cross front
  • 00:26:52.100 --> 00:26:56.080
  • and center in your life, it will build in you a desire to be
  • 00:26:56.090 --> 00:27:01.070
  • holy, to be godly, and to be righteous.
  • 00:27:01.080 --> 00:27:04.210
  • So as we close out this series, this is my prayer: Let's both
  • 00:27:04.220 --> 00:27:08.130
  • keep the cross front and center in our lives.
  • 00:27:08.140 --> 00:27:11.260
  • Until we meet again for the next episode of Touching Lives.
  • 00:27:11.270 --> 00:27:16.170
  • announcer: Touching Lives, teaching people everywhere who
  • 00:27:16.180 --> 00:27:19.100
  • Jesus is and why they need him.
  • 00:27:19.110 --> 00:27:21.250
  • This program is sponsored by Touching Lives Ministries
  • 00:27:21.260 --> 00:27:24.070
  • and is made possible by the grace of God
  • 00:27:24.080 --> 00:27:26.090
  • and your faithful prayers and gifts.
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