On May 21, 1946 in Los Alamos, New Mexico, a young and daring scientist was carrying
out a necessary experiment in preparation for the atomic test to be conducted in the waters
of the South Pacific.
In his effort to determine the amount of U-235 necessary for a chain reaction, he would
push two hemispheres of uranium together. Then, just as the mass became critical, he
would push them apart with his screwdriver, thus instantly stopping the chain reaction.
Even though the young scientist had successfully performed this experiment many times
before, on that day something went terribly wrong. As the material became critical, the
screwdriver slipped. The hemispheres of uranium came too close together. Instantly the
room was filled with a dazzling bluish haze.
Young Louis Slotin, instead of ducking and thereby possibly saving himself, tore the two
hemispheres apart with his hands and consequently interrupted the chain reaction. From
his instant, heroic act, he saved the lives of seven other people in the room.
As he waited for the car that was to take them to the hospital, he said quietly to his
companion, "You'll come through all right. But I haven't the faintest chance myself." It
was true. Nine days later he died in agony.
2. Before Jesus Christ came to the earth, mankind was contaminated by a deadly uranium
called sin. But Jesus heroically stepped in right in the nick of time and saved mankind
from spiritual destruction. He died on the cross, to free us from our sins.
& For the Bible reveals "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we
might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed" (1 Pet.
3. My friends, the cross, or the death of Jesus Christ, is the most significant event that
this world has ever witnessed. It is the magna charta of Christianity. It is the Oscar of
the religious world. It is the central theme of the Bible.
4. Yet to some people, the cross means very little.
A young boy once accompanied his mother to worship. During the sermon, the boy was
listening very attentively to the lesson that day. The preacher's sermon on the crucifixion
of Christ was so moving that the boy began to weep. Soon he began to cry aloud. His
mother became so embarrassed that she whispered to him, "Don't take it so seriously."
5. How many people today do not take the cross of Christ seriously? Some people think
that cross was some boring historical account that has no meaning in life.
6. Well, my friends, the cross has meaning; it has significance and we need to start taking
the cross of Christ more seriously. We need to embrace the value of the cross.
& "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and
therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for
themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).
7. The cross has a compelling power. It compels us to live not for ourselves but for the
Lord. We are not on this earth to do as we please. We are here to live for Jesus and to
do whatever He wants us to do. His love should compel us to return that love back to
THE CROSS-OF CHRIST SHOULD COMPELL AND MOTIVATE US TO LIVE OUR
LIVES FOR JESUS.
THIS MORNING, I AM GOING TO PRESENT THREE POINTS ON THE
COMPELLING POWER OF THE CROSS.
I. FIRST, THE CROSS-SHOULD COMPEL GRATITUDE.
1. When Jesus died on the cross outside the city of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, something
a. When Jesus died, He "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb. 9:26). In other
words, His death, and the blood that He shed, makes it possible for us to be forgiven of
b. Also, through His death, Jesus opened up the door which at one time separated man
from God (Col. 1:20-22).
c. Jesus, through His death, made it possible for us to spend eternity in heaven (Heb.
2. These thoughts should stir our souls. They should cause us to appreciate what our
Savior did for us and to respond with a deep sense of gratitude and thankfulness.
3. How often do you thank the Lord for the blessings He bestows upon you?
One stormy night in Lake Michigan, a side-wheeler steamboat was rammed by another
boat. The steamboat sank just a mile offshore from the village of Winnetka, Illinois. Out
of 393 passengers on board, 279 drowned.
A man named Edward Spencer after seeing the situation unfold plunged into the lake and
swam to the drowning people. He towed one person to shore and went for another. In all,
he brought seventeen people to safety. However, the strain on this young man caused him
to collapse. The nerves in his legs were so completely destroyed that he could never walk
again. He was an invalid wheel chair victim for his entire life.
On his eightieth birthday, someone asked him to relate his most vivid memory of that
dreadful day. He replied, "Not one of the seventeen returned to thank me."
n Can you imagine what the Lord feels like when we show Him little gratitude for what He
did for us?
4. In (Luke 17:11-19), Jesus healed ten people of leprosy. Out of the ten people who were
healed only one person returned to thank Jesus. What did Jesus think about that?
& Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one
found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner" (Lk. 17:17, 18).
a. With this comment, Jesus was expecting the other nine to also return and give Him
5. God expects us to be grateful and to express thanks to Him. The cross should compel
us to give thanks to the Lord every single day of our lives for the great blessings that
we received from the cross.
II. SECOND, THE CROSS-SHOULD COMPEL SELF-DENIAL.
1. Please turn your Bibles to (Mt. 16:21-27). This passage reveals a conversation that
Jesus had with His disciples about the cross.
& From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to
Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and
teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord.” he said. “This shall
never happen to you.” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan. You
are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things
of men.” Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must
deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life
will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man
if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange
for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His
angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done.
2. If we are going to be true followers and disciples of Jesus, we must deny ourselves.
What does this mean? Jesus gives us a definition of what it means to deny self. To
deny self is to mind the things of God and put God's will first in our lives. We must put
our own personal desires and wants secondary to what the Lord would want. What God
wants must come first.
3. When we look at the cross, we see the supreme example of self-denial. According to
(Lk. 22:42), it appears that Jesus did not want to die on the cross.
& “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
a. Jesus was hoping that His Father had another plan for redemption, instead of the
cross. But even though Jesus asked God to remove the cup of suffering from Him, the
bottom line however, was that Jesus had the mind-set to be obedient to the Father's will
and not to seek his own will. Jesus put God and His will first before his own will.
4. Brethren, it is time for us to start putting God's will ahead of our own will. We need to
get our priorities back in order.
It was a 99-degree September day in San Antonio, when a 10-month-old baby girl was
accidentally locked inside a parked car by her aunt. Frantically the mother and aunt ran
around the auto in near hysteria, while a neighbor attempted to unlock the car with a
clothes hanger. Soon the infant was turning purple and had foam on her mouth.
It had become a life-or-death situation when Fred Arriola, a wrecker driver, arrived on the
scene. He grabbed a hammer and smashed the back window of the car to set her free.
Was he heralded a hero? Arriola reported, "The lady was mad at me because I broke the
window." "I just thought, What's more important--the baby or the window?"
a. In our lives, what's more important?
(1) Doing God's will or doing our own will.
(2) According to Jesus, it is God's will. Serving the Lord is far more important than
b. It is possible that some of us may need to make some changes in our lifestyles to get
our priorities back in order. Lets deny ourselves, take up his cross, and once again
follow Jesus wholeheartedly. The cross compels self-denial.
III. THIRD, THE CROSS-SHOULD COMPEL POVERTY OF SPIRIT.
1. The cross of Christ teaches that man cannot make it to heaven by himself. We cannot
pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and get into heaven by our own efforts. If so, it
would be as though one went to the foot of the cross and told Jesus, "You don't need to
die for my sins; I can make it without your death." Of course, this is non-sense. Every
person is in need of Jesus to be saved.
& “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through
me" (Jn. 14:6).
2. If you would like to go to heaven, the first step to becoming a Christian is found in (Mt.
& “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 5:3).
a. To be "poor in spirit" is to acknowledge our spiritual poverty--our spiritual bankruptcy,
b. We must admit to ourselves and to God that we are unworthy sinners who need God's
c. We are to have the same type of attitude that was demonstrated by the tax collector in
& “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like
other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast
twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance.
He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy
on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified
before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles
himself will be exalted.”
n Just like the tax collector realized how sinful he was we also need to realize this in our
& (Rom. 3:12) The Bible says, "There is no one who does good, not even one."
& (Rom. 3:23) "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
& (Lk. 5:8) Peter said to Jesus, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man."
d. What God desires in everyone above all else is a broken, contrite heart" that reaches
out to God for mercy.
& "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit"
In his book Great Themes of the Bible, Louis Albert Banks told of a time D.L. Moody
visited a prison called "The Tombs" to preach to the inmates. After he had finished
speaking, Moody talked with a number of men in their cells. He asked each prisoner this
question, "What brought you here?" Again and again he received replies like this: "I
don't deserve to be here." "I was framed." "I was falsely accused." "I was given an
unfair trial." Not one inmate would admit he was guilty.
Finally, Moody found a man with his face buried in his hands, weeping. "And what's wrong
my friend?" He inquired. The prisoner responded, "My sins are more than I can bear."
3. More than anything else God wants a heart that says "God, I'm helpless. I'm tired of
running my own life. I need your help. I need your mercy. Please help me."
1. Brethren, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross has a compelling power. This
demonstration of love on our behalf should compel us to do many things.
a. It should compel us to show gratitude, to deny ourselves and put God first, and to have
a heart that recognizes the need to have the Lord in our lives.
2. Perhaps you have been guilty of neglecting the love and power of the cross.
3. Perhaps you have failed to recognize that you need the cleansing power of the cross in
4. But there is good news. You can start over today. If you are not a Christian, you can
become one this morning.
a. The first step to becoming a Christian is to recognize that you are a sinner and that you
need the Lord to cleans your sins and heal your broken heart.
b. Then, you must be willing to repent and turn away from your sins, and be baptized for
the forgiveness of your sins. For the Bible says in (Acts 2:38)
& "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the
forgiveness of your sins."
c. You must then be willing to live faithfully to God until the end (Rev. 2:10).
5. Maybe you are already a Christian, but have not shown the proper respect and
gratitude towards the cross by living faithfully for God. We would love to pray with you
and for you and help you in any way we can, for God loves you and who is a God that
6. If we can help you for any reason and in any way, please come now as we stand and
Keith Smith, Minister
Elam Road Church of Christ