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Triumph Of The Cross

Triumph Of The Cross poster

“He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied.”—Isaiah 53:11

That is one of the most remarkable sentences in the whole Word of God. Gathered up in one word, we have the story of the years of toil and weariness, “the travail of his soul.” That soul that was bowed down beneath the tremendous burden of a world of sin, and that soul that was bowed in death to bring to the world life and light and hope and peace.

And yet we cannot read those words of the Old Testament prophet without hearing in them the cry of victory. Isaiah looks into the future and he sees a day coming when the Lord will rise up from under the burden of the world’s sin, and when He shall see of the travail of His soul. I look upon this fifty-third chapter of Isaiah as the very center of the Bible. The Old Testament revolves around it. The New Testament springs out of it. There could have been no New Testament if there had been no fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. There could have been no Gospel if there had been no such a one as is described in this chapter. There would have been no good news for you and me this Sabbath morning if there had not been this travail of soul.

One of the old church fathers, Polycarp, speaks of this chapter as the golden passion, and the old commentaries say that the standard of Calvary’s truth is raised here. This Old Testament prophecy foreshadowed the triumph of the Cross. In the New Testament you will find that triumph spoken of under six great facts. You will find that there is a link between the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross and every aspect of His life on Earth and in Heaven, showing that atoning death is the foundation of God’s plan for His universe. You will find also that the Cross touches your own life at every point. It is the cause of all your blessings. It is the crown of all good purposes within and through you. Therefore, this morning, I wish, as God helps me, to set before you the triumph of the Cross, and I desire to turn you to those passages in the New Testament in which that triumph is referred to.

John 12:31-32 “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

“And I, if I be lifted up from the Earth, will draw all men unto me.”

That is an exact description of the undeniable power of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that power becomes the greater if we bear in mind that the Greek word which the Lord uses has also in it the meaning “to win.” If I be lifted up from the earth I will win all unto me.” I know of no other word in our English language that more clearly describes the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross than that. He is drawing and He is winning in the face of the darkness that is deepening around. Let this fact sink into your hearts, that Christ Jesus is winning. We have twenty centuries of proof that he is winning. Think of how the nations have emerged from darkness into light. Think of how their civilization has been lightened by the gospel of the uplifted Cross. Think of how all our national ideals and laws have been moulded by the inspiration of Christian faith and Christian hope. Look at our mighty missionary enterprises that girdle the globe today, by means of which tribes and nations and peoples have been lifted out of barbarism. Do you know something of what Christianity stands for? You have the proof that the Lord Jesus Christ is winning, and He is going to win. Everything which the world has known, and knows today, of justice and liberty and joy, are the results of Him who allowed Himself to be lifted up on the Cross for the world’s redemption.

Although the Lord Jesus Christ is not speaking today to the nations as nations, or to the Church as a body, yet the day is fast approaching when the whole world will be at His feet, and when the words of the Psalmist will be fulfilled, “All nations shall serve him and all the kings of the earth shall bow down before him.”

He tells us the reason for it. It is because He was lifted up. He has been lifted up and the result of His being lifted up has been this, that the prince of this world has been dealt with. When He hung upon the Cross He broke the spirit of the world and He expelled the prince of this world from his place of sovereignty in this world. There is nothing now standing in the way of a sinner reaching the Saviour because those forces have been dealt with and dethroned.

Is Christ having an increasing attractiveness for you and for me? Just in the proportion in which that is true and in which Christ and His Cross stands, the spiritual is becoming dominant in our lives and regnant over that for which the world and the prince of the world stands.

The second fact that announces the triumph of the Cross is in Matthew 28:5-6. “And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

“He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

The triumph of the Cross is proved by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. What does resurrection imply in life? The angel said, You need not seek for Him in the grave. He is not here. He is done with death. He is out of the atmosphere of death. He is forever beyond the reach of dead things. Are you and I done with dead things? The triumph of the Cross is seen in our triumph over evil forces. How many dead things Christian people carry with them through this world, such as an evil temper, prejudice, malice. The world stumbles as it looks at us and the purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ is defeated. The Cross must triumph in that life of yours, if, through your Christian life and witness, Christ is to triumph in other lives. We read about the Cross. We sing about it. We so often have the symbol of power without the power. What is the Cross for? Something more than to save us from hell and the eternal wrath of God. The Cross is meant, in the purpose of God, to bring death to everything in your life and mine, in our businesses, in our ways of living that belongs to the old creation, the old Adam.

Colossians 3:8 “But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”

When you yield these things to death you are carried by the power of the Cross into a new atmosphere. What is the message of the Word of God to us in view of the resurrection? “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”

I was walking one day with a friend of mine in Scotland, through the woods of his estate, and he knows almost everything that can be known about trees. I was keen upon asking questions, and I asked this question: “What is the most important thing about horticulture?” “Oh,” he said, “the root development.” “But the root development of a tree depends upon the crown development of it. The crown of a tree is the top of it. If the tree is to grow the top must have space to get the air, sun, the light and rain.”

I learned a lesson that day. You know a man may be saved all right, a man may be rooted in Christ. A man may be sure of Heaven, but if he is neglecting the crown development of his life, if he is letting the dead things of Earth crowd in upon him so that there is shut out from him the light and power that the Holy Spirit alone can give him, then the results of his life will be very poor when he reaches Heaven. I am persuaded that that is the reason for so many backsliding men and women. They neglect the prayer meeting. They neglect the study of the Word and they let the dead things of Earth crowd in upon them. They lose their appetite for the things that belong to the throne. If you are such a one this morning, take heed because the devil is laying a trap for you.

We have to live high up in these days if we are to win the battle of life. If you and I live high up, yielded to the Spirit of God, then the risen life of our Saviour is in our souls, and there is given to the world the proof of the death of Jesus Christ.

The third great proof of the triumph of the Cross is in Hebrews 10:11, “And every priest standeth daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.”

Christ, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. Nothing proves the finished work of Christ more clearly than the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. When he went there He sat down. This man, when He had offered one sacrifice forever, sat down.

What is the message of the Word of God to you in the light of ascension? It is this: “God hath raised us up together and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” The triumph of the Cross is seen there. If you and I occupy the position that the death of Christ has made possible for us, that is the position of strength and victory in the battle of life.