“The Cross and Evil”
Pastor David Moore
Old Testament reading: Zechariah 9:9-13
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim. I will rouse your sons, Zion, against your sons, Greece, and make you like a warrior’s sword.
Theme: we are going to think about the Cross as the answer to the problem of evil. The Cross changes our relationship to evil. God is the antidote for evil. The good we offer the world is a direct consequence of the Holy Spirit working in our changed lives.
New Testament reading: Romans 12:14-21
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The Cross defines us and redefines us. We are sinful people but deeply loved
by God. ~D. Moore
Matthew 5:44: But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
To overcome evil the Christian must have four characteristics:
1. Hate evil. (Romans 12:9)
2. Have a humble spirit. (Romans 12:16)
3. Have blessings of words. (Romans 12:14)
4. Have a forgiving heart. (Matthew 6:12)
1 Thessalonians 5:15 (ESV): See that no one repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
Romans 12:20-21: If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads. Don’t let evil conquer you, but overcome evil by doing good.
It is mercy, not justice or courage or even heroism, that alone can defeat evil. ~Peter Kreeft
“In an awful and surprising truth, we are objects of his love. You asked for a loving God; you have one…not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes (us all well in our own way), not the cold philanthropy of a (kind) magistrate…but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work…venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes.” ~C.S. Lewis
Ephesians 4:29: Let your words speak grace to those who hear them.
“Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.” ~Peter Ustinov
Galatians 6:14 (KJV): “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.”
The Cross has changed us. As a forgiven sinner, we have been given up our glory…we have admitted we are sinners, saved only by God’s grace. But that means the person who sinned against us does not affect our relationship with God; and neither does our honor, neither does our performance affect who we are in God, neither does our reputation affect how God loves us. It is all about the Cross and what Jesus has done. ~D. Moore
If Jesus is our righteousness, our peace, our perfection before God, then nobody can really harm us. Turning the other cheek becomes possible—really, inevitable if the Cross is who we are. Paul, as always, said it very well, “God forbid that I should glory in anything except the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.” ~D. Moore
This week as we prepare for Easter, think about your true nature and dwell on the significance of the Cross. Think about the transforming power of the Cross in your life as you dwell in a broken world.
God bless have a great week!