Sermon: “Benefits From the Death of Christ”

The following is a somewhat comprehensive manuscript from a recent topical/doctrinal sermon on the death of Jesus Christ. This blog post is part of a requirement for my class. Hope you find this sermon to be Biblical and beneficial, thanks!

Title: “The Benefits from the Death of Christ”

Topic: “Christ’s Death”

  • Introduction:
    • Attention Step: On average, 150,000 people die every single day- Biblehelp.org
    • Interest Step: Since Adam, there have been a lot of really significant people in this world, though they too have encountered death: George Washington, Elvis Presley, William Shakespeare, Michael Jackson, Albert Einstein, the list goes on and on. However, the deaths of all people who have ever lived cannot benefit us. Yet, there is one exception. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on a wooden cross almost 2,000 years ago. The death of Christ is perhaps the most critical event in history.
  • Proposition: As Christians, we should live differently because of the Death of Christ.
  • Interrogative Sentence: Why is the death of Christ life-changing?
  • Transitional Sentence: Because of these three reasons…
  • “Christ’s Death Paints the Clearest Picture of God’s Love” (Romans 5:8)
    • Subject Step: The theme of Romans is the righteousness of God in the Gospel. Chapters 1-3, Paul declares that God has revealed Himself and man has rejected Him- ALL should be condemned. However, at the end of chapter 3 and into chapter 4, Paul talks about Christ’s imputed righteousness and how we as believers are justified by faith. Here in chapter 5, Paul shows how this provided righteousness benefits the believer.
    • Explanation: If we want to find assurance that God loves us, we can look to the cross. This is how “God showed His love toward us.” “We deserve divine punishment, not divine sacrifice” –John Piper.
    • Argumentation: Quite often, our society mixes up what “love” truly is. If we want to go to the source, we look at God. 1 John 4:7 assures that “God is love.” Then, verse 10 says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
    • Illustration: Recently I looked online for some Gospel tracts to buy and I ran into this website that sold these tracts, “One Yard Short.” It introduced the story of Super Bowl XXXIV between the St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans eventually leading up to the last play of the game when Steve McNair connected with Kevin Dyson for a 9 yard completion. Unfortunately for the Titans, Kevin Dyson was one yard short of the end zone. In comparison, this tract began to say that people just fall short of God’s glory. I know I might sound extra critical, but is that a fair comparison of human sinfulness? Do we as God’s created people actively pursue Him and JUST end up a little short? NO. We were once “enemies” with God. We are not in need of Jesus like some of us need a shot of caffeine in the middle of the day just to barely make it through life, we’re dead without Him (Ephesians 2:1)…not just one yard short. And yet, God in His goodness loved us so much, that despite our sin, He sent Jesus to die in our place.
    • Application: Loving others is not always easy or comfortable. I’m sure it was not easy or comfortable for Jesus to die on the cross. From what we can see in Scripture, love is to sacrifice yourself for the well-being of another person. The life-changing love of God compels us to love one another, even if others have wronged us and do not deserve our love. We as Christians must model the love of Christ by following His example of self-sacrifice for the benefit of others, even if it means doing good things for our enemies.
  • II. “Christ Died in Our Place” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
    • Subject Step: The central theme of 2 Corinthians is the relationship between suffering and the power of the Spirit in Paul’s apostolic life, ministry, and message (ESV Study Bible Notes). In chapter 5, Paul describes his ministry as a message of reconciliation.
    • Explanation: Martin Luther once commented on this passage as “the Great Exchange.” Jesus died for our sins by “becoming sin,” and in return we receive the righteousness of Christ.
    • Argumentation: Philippians 3:9 says, “Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ.” You see, it’s because of Christ’s death on the cross that we receive his righteousness by faith. We NEEDED to have a perfect sacrifice in our place.
    • Illustration: Recently, I saw a video about an American Airlines pilot named Steve Sheibner. Leading up to September 11, 2001, Sheibner was planning to make a routine flight. On the afternoon of the 10th and within minutes before the deadline to confirm who gets flight 11 to L.A., Steve Sheibner was erased from the scheduled pilot, and a more senior pilot named Tom McGuiness was penciled in. Flight 11 was the first of two planes to hit the Twin Towers in New York City. Sheibner said he had the distinct privilege of “having someone die in his place…not once, but twice.” Jesus died in our place by “becoming sin for us.” We deserved the wrath of God that He endured on the cross. And in exchange, we receive Christ’s righteousness by placing our faith in Him.
    • Application: Growing up, I essentially thought the Christian life was about “stop doing bad things and start doing good things.” It was as if I Christ’s righteousness wasn’t enough for me…Jesus said “it is finished.” A strong reason why so many Christians, particularly youth, struggle with assurance of salvation is because they don’t grasp 2 Corinthians 5:21. Instead of patterning our lives after Christ, we go into a Baptist Catholicism where on one hand we believe in the death of Christ, but yet day after day we live not for the glory of Christ but for esteeming ourselves as better people- pursuing morality and religious living. It changed my life when I finally realized that Jesus just said to follow Him. No list of religious rules to live by to merit God’s grace, no debt for my sin needed to be paid. On the contrary, God has called you and me to live in remembrance of the cross, while patterning our lives after Jesus Christ.
  • III. “Because Christ died, We Are Given New Life” (Galatians 2:20)
    • Subject Step: Galatians was written to show us that we are not justified by the law, nor do we have to become Jews to be saved. We are justified by faith. Up to this point, Paul has shared his testimony and concludes it with this powerful verse.
    • Explanation: No one survives crucifixion. This passage reminds us of the fact that there is a radical change that occurs in the life of every believer. Paul says he still lives, but now his life is different. Paul is completely convinced that Jesus provides the satisfaction and His sole purpose for living.
    • Argumentation: Here we see a surprising contrast; life comes through death. We as believers are identified with Christ. Romans 6:3-4 says, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
    • Illustration: I’ve used a few different evangelism methods for sharing the Gospel: The Wordless Book, Evangelism Explosion, Share Jesus Without Fear, and probably some others. However, none of those methods ever mention that new believers get crucified. We often hear about the additions: being born again, receiving eternal life, and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. Yet, the subtraction of our old way of living is not mentioned. Even though we receive a new and better life made available through Christ.
    • Application: It almost sounds bizarre to call death “good news” or the “Gospel.” But that’s exactly what the death of Christ is, it’s good news. In total contrast to how we formerly lived, we now live by faith. Sometimes things occur in our life that we just don’t understand: 9/11, hurricanes, tornadoes, crime, racism, etc. At first, the cross of Christ might seem like another example of an unfortunate tragedy. However, God knew exactly what He was doing- it was in His plan before the foundations of the world. If we can trust God with what Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross accomplished, then we can certainly trust Him with our difficulties we face daily, even ones that are difficult to understand.
  • Conclusion
    • Have you come to the understanding that God loves you?
    • Have you come to the understanding that Jesus died in your place?
    • Have you come to the understanding that a new life is available to you?
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