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256. Power of the cross.

'For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the gospel - not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.'* ( 1 Corinthians 1:17) The power of the cross is in preaching the gospel and not in *wielding* (to hold and use) a cross like a weapon! Demons flee when believers command them in the name of Jesus. Unbelievers too have tried to invoke the name of Jesus but they had to flee for their lives instead! *'Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." ... the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know and I know about Paul, but who are you?" ... and he gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.'* ( Acts 19:13-16) So to believe that the symbol of the cross can drive away evil spirits, without requiring any consecration and sanctification in our lives, is just superstition! Infact, such belief has been popularized by secular films but there are no Scriptural evidences to prove it. *The power of the cross is not in the symbol but in the message of the cross.* Those who have believed the message of the cross have experienced the power of the cross at work in them while others who wear the symbol around their necks haven't experienced the power of the cross because they don't live according to the message. *'For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their God is their stomach and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.'* ( Philippians 3:18-19) *'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.'* ( 1 Corinthians 1:18)

*WHAT IS THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS?* *"God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."* (John 3:16) *'God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.* (Romans 5:8) *WHAT DOES THE MESSAGE REQUIRE OF US?* *'Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died. And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.'* ( 2 Corinthians 5:14-15) It's the resurrection of Christ that triumphed over the cross. ( Had not Christ been raised from the dead, it would have been just an executioner's cross and not venerated but today it has become the symbol of Christianity! However, we are not commanded to worship the cross he endured but the Risen Christ who endured the cross.) Without identifying with the death of Christ, the resurrection power that triumphed over the cross will not be at work in us. Let's obey the glorious gospel of Jesus to witness the power of the cross at work in our lives. Amen.

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