The Offense of the Cross - Lord's Supper Sermon

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  1 : 18
Subject: Cross; Cross, Offense of; Blood of Jesus; Lord's Supper

Today we are going to remember our Lord through the Lord's Supper. This act of worship obeys our Lord and keeps our focus where it belongs - on the death of our Lord and the blood of the cross. We must never forget how we got to where we are today. It was not in our good works or some act of divine favoritism. Jesus paid for our entrance into God's family through the blood. He is The Door! Lest we forget, let us consider His sacrifice for our sins as we receive the elements of the Lord's Supper this morning.

I Corinthians 1:18 reads, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

A young reporter waxed dramatic about a coal mine cave-in. He wrote, "God looked at the grief in our town this week and he wept." The editor sent him a note saying, "Forget the cave-in at the coal mine and interview God." What if we could interview God, what would we ask Him, or more importantly, what would He say? What might be His favorite topic?

One thing is certain, He would talk about the death of Jesus at the cross. You might wonder how I know what God would talk about. Well, I read what He had to say throughout human history as recorded in the Bible, and I note that His theme was the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross.

In Genesis 3 He spoke of it when He told the serpent that he (the serpent) would bruise the heel of the seed of woman, but that Seed would crush his head. That statement from the Father foretold the victory of Jesus at the Cross and the defeat of the evil one.

In Exodus the cross is seen in the blood upon the door that caused the death angel to pass over God's people. Here again, we see a foreshadowing of the cross of our Lord.

We see this again in the serpent that Moses lifted up on a pole in the wilderness for the healing of the people's sins. Those who looked upon that serpent lived. In the New Testament we are told that the incident in the Old Testament was a direct picture of the cross of Christ. And so it continues from Genesis to Isaiah and on into the New Testament. God loves the theme of the cross.

If we took time this morning to simply remind ourselves of all the passages in the Old Testament alone that refer to or allude to the blood atonement - which points directly to the cross of our Lord - we would tire ourselves out after hours of reading scripture passages. Writers and preachers have often referred to the subject of the blood of Jesus as the scarlet thread through the Bible.

It is interesting to note also just how much space is taken up in the gospels dealing with this subject. Clarence E. Macartney, in his book, The Faith Once Delivered, points out that most biographers spend very little space in their books on the death of the person highlighted in their books. For example, he states that Nicolay and Hay wrote a huge study on the life of Abraham Lincoln covering over 5,000 pages. In that work only 25 pages were devoted to the death of the great president. In a biography of Daniel Webster the author wrote 863 pages, but used only 5 to tell of his death. But consider the New Testament. Matthew spent one third of his text to describe the death of Jesus. Mark also used a third of his writing and Luke a full fourth of his gospel. John used just one half of his gospel to discuss events surrounding the death of Jesus. Oh yes, God would talk about the cross.

It is further interesting to note that the matter which concerns the Lord the most is considered to be offensive to so many people in our world today. This has always been true. That is what Paul says in Galatians 5:11. He speaks of the offense of the cross! We see the cross in cemeteries, on top of churches and even as jewelry to adorn people's dress and style. But don't be fooled by the abundance of the images of the cross, the message of the cross is still offensive to the world.

A leader of a church group said recently that Jesus was only an example and that no one could go to heaven through the death of another. A leader in the National Council of Churches stated in an interview that he would not want to go to heaven on the back of another man, even if it was Jesus! Some churches have actually purged their hymnbooks of hymns that mention the blood of Jesus because they consider the gospel of salvation through the blood of the cross offensive!

Why are people bothered by the cross? Why do some consider it offensive? Note three reasons this morning before we receive the Lord's Supper.


The cross is foolishness to the world. In fact, the cross causes men to lie about their sinful condition. The cross seems so foolish to people that they lie and claim that sin is not really a problem. The cross, however, reveals the lie of mankind regarding sin. If sin does not exist, there is no need for a cross. If sin is not a horrible thing, the cross is unnecessary. The mere existence of the cross reveals the lie of those who deny sin and who deny the awfulness of sin.

At the cross Christ became sin for us. God dealt with sin at the cross. So a look at the cross tells us what God thinks of our sins.

It has been interesting to me to note how difficult it is for people to admit sin. Through the years I have spoken to an untold number of people about Jesus. When it comes to the issue of sin, many people simply deny they are sinners. Yes, they will admit they are not perfect, but they don't want to call their misdeeds by their real name - sin!

Many people will admit wrongdoing, but they add, "I'm really not a bad person." What do they mean by such a statement? The claim is made because the person is comparing himself to Adolf Hitler of Osama Bin Laden. The measuring stick they use to judge themselves is in error. The only One to whom mankind is measured is Jesus Christ, and He is perfect. Any act in our lives which is less than perfect declares us as missing the mark - falling short of the One by whom we are measured. No wonder we are told in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." 

Someone who admits, based on this measure, that he is a sinner might ask, "So What? I'm just like everyone else. What's the big deal?" The big deal is seen at the cross. If you want to know what God thinks of your sin, look at Jesus dying for you at Calvary. There at Calvary, Jesus paid for our sins through the shedding of His perfect blood. The person who denies sin is lying! Worse than that, He is rejecting the amazing sacrifice that Jesus poured out for our forgiveness.

I heard about a lady who was shopping the other day and accidentally pulled out her blood donor card and gave it to the clerk to pay for her purchases. The clerk said, "Ma'am, that really isn't necessary, money will be just fine." No so with God. The only thing that could pay for the forgiveness of our sins is the blood of Jesus - the perfect Lamb of God!

Our sins are not mere weaknesses, they are wickedness. They are not mere flaws in our personalities, they are mortal faults in our person. Sins are not just mistakes, they reveal the malady of the human heart. Sin is not just a defect in personality, it is a disease of the soul. Jesus came to offer healing for the disease and the cross was the price!

The Lord's Supper reminds us of this important truth and rejects the lies of men and women who deny their sin. Look at the cross and see your sins! Look to the cross and see the Savior of your soul.

The hymn writer penned these words:

"Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary." (William R. Newell)


John 3:16 is a verse that can be quoted by more people than perhaps any other verse in the Bible. In that great passage we are reminded that God's love is what sent Jesus to the cross for sinners like you and me. Perhaps people reject the cross because they hate to admit that they need God's love. The pride of self-righteousness stands in the way of humility. Accepting God's love in Christ means that we have to admit that we are helpless without that love.

One part of our human nature that reveals itself from the very earliest days of life is the desire to stand alone. For example, a child will say, "I can do it myself," even when the parent knows full well that the child is incapable of doing what is necessary. Take tying one's shoes as an example. The child will push his parent's hand away while saying, "I can do it." Only after futile attempts, ending in failure, will the child submit to the parent tying the shoes. Mankind is like that with God. Basically, those rejecting Him are saying, "I can do this myself. I don't need you." When it comes to having a relationship with God, no one can do it alone. Ephesians 2:8-10 reads, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (NKJV)" And just what caused the Lord to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves? Go back to Ephesians 2:4, "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us. (NKJV)" It is God's great love that made it possible for us to know the forgiveness for sin and for us to have a personal relationship with Him.

Our best service is so short of the mark that the cross is the only means of making us right with God. If we were in any way good enough to please God, the cross would not have been necessary. Our best deeds are as filthy rags when it comes to providing Cleansing of our evil deeds, thoughts and words. Look at the cross and see what value your best deeds are worth when they stand alone. At the cross Jesus was taking the punishment we deserve. As we receive the Lord's Supper this morning, reflect on just how much God loved you and loves you still. Don't ever take this wonderful salvation for granted. Without the cross, there is not hope in eternity.

The world hates the cross because it signifies the world's greatest need - forgiveness. We who are saved adore the cross because it signifies just how much God loves us and the price He paid to forgive us. The world stands away from the cross and curses it. We stand beneath the cross and claim it. The world stands apart from the cross and spits upon it. We bow beneath the cross and kiss it.

"I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me
And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow:
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

I'll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death-dew lies cold on my brow.
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now." (William R. Featherston)


In Galatians 2:20 we read, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who liveS, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."  How strange. We lose our life but gain a new life. How can that be?

At the cross, Jesus took my place and your place. He bore the wrath of the Father in our stead. The fire of judgment that was meant to fall on us as poor sinners was placed on Christ. When we sense God's call to us, the drawing of His Holy Spirit bringing us to Jesus, we lay down our old life and pick up His perfect life. You see, He didn't remain on the cross - He arose! By receiving His gift of salvation, I die in Him and I am made alive in Him. I have a new life - everlasting life.

In 1 Peter 1:3-5 we read, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (NKJV)"

Note that Christians have be born again - we have a new life. This new life is ours because of God's abundant mercy, which He displayed at Calvary where He died in our place. But that is not all. We are alive through His resurrection. Our life is as secure as Jesus is secure. As long as Jesus lives, I will live. Since He cannot die again, I will not die. My salvation is inherited, incorruptible and undefiled. It will never fade away. It is not reserved by my works on earth but is reserved in heaven and kept by the power of God. What a Savior we have!

Note, however, that we are required in this new life to take up the cross of Christ. To follow Him means to live a new life. Jesus warned all who follow Him that the world hates Him and, thus, the world will hate those who follow Him. In John 15:18 we read, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. (KJV)"  In Luke 6:22 we a read, "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. (KJV)" In other words, this new life demands that we stand with Christ at a cross that is despised by the world.

The hymn writer penned:

"Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary."

And then two verses later he wrote:

"To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share." (George Bennard)

Yes, the world despises the cross. We must be willing to share in its shame and reproach. We have a new resurrection life, so we must never be ashamed of the cross of our Lord. We come to the Lord's Table to receive the bread and the cup as a reminder, but also as a renewed commitment to always honor our Lord and Savior!

We come to celebrate the Lord's Supper today because we have life in Christ. We celebrate because we do not believe Satan's lies. We celebrate because we know and have experienced the love of God in Christ. We celebrate here because one day we will celebrate around the table with Him in heaven!


A woman went into a store and tried on a dress that she really liked. She knew that the dress was too small but she hoped that somehow she might be able to wear it. She held herself in with all her might and slipped the dress over her head. She asked the clerk what she thought about the fit. The clerk looked at her all squeezed into that small dress and said, "Well, it looks a little crowded in there."

The cross and self don't fit well inside the human heart. It is more than a little crowded in any one's life if he or she tries to carry the cross and embrace the world at the same time. If you have never trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior, come to Him today. Lay aside your self and take up the cross. The world doesn't like the cross because it calls upon to give up self to make room for the cross and its self-denying message, but  you can't come to Jesus and hold onto self! Do not be offended by the cross - be offended by your own sin. If you have never trusted Him as your Savior, do so now. He loves you. He died for you. He rose for you. He will reserve a place in heaven for you. Admit that you are a sinner. Believe upon Him! The world sees the cross as foolishness, but to us who believe it is the power of God unto salvation. Come now to confess Him as your Savior. We are going to sing a hymn and give you time to come forward to accept Christ as your Savior.


Also, every Christian who feels the wooing of the Holy Spirit can come now and rededicate your lives to Him before you place the cup and bread to your lips this morning. Perhaps the reminder of what Jesus has done for you has caused you to feel a new love for Him and commitment to Him. Come and tell Him that during this invitation time.

Now let us sing and let us obey the call of the Lord.