Cross Equals Love

Happy Easter! Wow, what a Sunday we had in the house over the weekend. It was awesome to come together and celebrate Jesus, our risen Savior! If you weren’t able to make it to church, let us catch you up real quick.

crossequalslove

The celebration of Easter is always so special for the church. What took place all those years ago, is monumental for us Christians as individuals. On Good Friday, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross for our sins so that there would no longer be separation between us and God. On Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the day He got up and walked out of the tomb. The sacrifice Jesus made for us all, gives us an opportunity of relationship with the Father.

On Sunday at C3 Church Wellington, we celebrated the cross. It is quite odd to say we celebrate the cross, a device made for torture and death was also the same device that hung a man that bought our freedom. We celebrate what the cross represents; victory, hope, freedom, family, purpose, salvation but ultimately the cross represents love. We believe that the cross is the pinnacle of his passion, pursuit and love for us.

We unpacked two gifts the cross purchased for us; the “what” of the cross, then we unpacked the “why” of the cross - the motivation.

The cross purchased freedom.

There have been so many battles fought for freedom, so many lives given up in the pursuit of freedom. In World War I, forty one million people lost their lives in the name of freedom. Also in Word War II, another fifty five million people lost their lives in the name of freedom. Our ancestors have gone before us to fight for our freedom which we now have today.

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. [1 John 3:8]

The word sin is actually an archery term which means ‘to miss the mark’. See before sin, God had created everything in perfect harmony and rhythm, how he had always intended his creation to be. Sin began with Adam and Eve, God asked them to not eat from one particular tree in the Garden of Eden but yet they did. They sinned against God. They simply missed the mark. Sin fractured the perfect rhythm and harmony which then distorted and disrupted relationship between us and God. Sin created distance between us and God, now there was separation.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. [Genesis 3:8]

Adam and Eve quickly went from communing with God to then hiding from God. When they disobeyed God, sin entered the world and took them captive. Sin is what imprisons us, traps us, and causes us to hide from God. Adam and Eve were not created to hide from God - they were made for God’s presence; and so were you.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned [Romans 5:12]

But let’s just rewind a couple of verses;

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [Romans 5:8]

Sin may have entered into this world taking us captive but God sent Jesus to die on the cross to set us free. We no longer need to be bound by selfishness, greed, addiction, anger, brokenness, guilt, or shame. We don’t have to hide from God!  Jesus bought our freedom. His blood paid the price for our sin so that we could be free! Free to enter God’s presence. Free to commune again with our creator as Adam & Eve once did.

The cross purchased a family.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” [John 14:1-3}

The bible is an outline of God’s plan to create a family. God wants all of us in His family. God wants to adopt us as His own sons and daughters.

For it was always in His perfect plan to adopt us as His delightful children, through our union with Jesus. [Ephesians 1:5]

The sacrifice of Jesus and the price he paid then brings us into the family of God. The church is the family of God, we are each a son or daughter and we get to come together to do life with each other. We are called into communion with God and into community.

We, C3 Church Wellington, believe that regardless of what your biological family looks like, there is always a place for you in God’s family. We want to do life with you, love you, support you, champion you, laugh with you, cry with you, and go on mission with you. We want you to find the place of belonging that God always intended for you. God’s gift of family is always yours, if you want it.

Why do we believe that the cross represents freedom and family?

Because the cross equals love.

His [Jesus] example is this: Because s heart as focused on the joy of knowing that you would be Hi, He endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God. [Hebrews 12:2 ]

What got him through the agony and the humiliation of the cross?

His HEART was fixed on YOU!

For this is how much God loved the world - he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. [John 3:16]

The simple answer is that Jesus wants to set you free because He loves you and Jesus wants you in His family because He loves you. Jesus died on that cross for you. Jesus created a space so He could know you and you know Him. Jesus did all of this so He could have a relationship with you.

Our hope for you are echoed in these words from the Apostle Paul:

“Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released inside of you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life. Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences - the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding - this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!” [Ephesians 3:17-19]

The blood of Jesus shed on the cross purchased our freedom.
The blood of Jesus shed on the cross shouts “I  WANT YOU IN MY FAMILY!”.

Why?
Why did Jesus give his life to make these gifts available to you?

Simple. Love.
The cross equals love.

By Shekinah Rapata

Hollie Arnett

Hollie Arnett Design, Wellington, New Zealand