This past month, my father’s new message, The Cross, was seen across this nation and Canada, in living rooms, church sanctuaries, community centers, rescue missions and numerous other venues.
Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life gathered to hear my father—celebrating his 95th birthday—proclaim the core message of the Gospel: the sacrificial death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who gave His life on the cross to forgive our sins.
It’s the same message my father has preached for eight decades across the world, the same powerful, triumphant announcement that Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
It is one of the most compelling programs my father has ever done, and his presentation of the saving power of the cross was crystal clear. As he spoke from the living room of his home in North Carolina, it was like your grandfather talking directly to you.
The message of the cross of Jesus Christ is confrontational because it is offensive to human pride. It tells us that we have sinned before a holy God and stand in danger of eternal judgment. It calls for repentance and childlike faith—no amount of morality, good works or good intentions will do. Man is guilty before God and cannot be forgiven apart from trusting in Christ’s atoning work.
As my father says, the cross of Christ does not suggest, it demands. It exposes our depravity, our sin, our lostness and our complete undoing before the Just Judge of all men.
I’m sure the reaction to my father’s message was much the same as the Athenians before whom Paul spoke at Mars Hill. Distinguishing between the many false gods the Greek culture worshipped and the One True God, Paul proclaimed: “[God] commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).
Confronted with these startling claims, most in Paul’s audience reacted with detached disbelief or ridicule: “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, ‘We will hear you again about this.’ So Paul went out from their midst” (Acts 17:32-33). Some, however, after hearing the truth of sin, judgment and salvation, “joined him and believed” (Acts 17:34).
I praise God that upon hearing of Christ’s cross as “the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18), many unsaved people across America and Canada came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They heard the Word of the Gospel, were convicted of their sins by the Holy Spirit and have been born again.
As these new believers are discipled in their walk with Christ, they will become witnesses of God’s saving grace to their families, friends, co-workers and neighbors. They will be Gospel salt and light in two nations that have grown spiritually and morally darker each passing year.
There will be much celebrating this Christmas as these new creations in Christ worship the Savior who was born in a humble manger to die on a rugged cross to save them from their sins.
The celebration will continue for eternity.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.