His Wondrous Cross - The Story of Our Redemption

January, February, March 2005

Want to learn more about His Wondrous Cross - The Story of Our Redemption? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.

Lesson 1: The Provocation and Provision (Genesis 1-3, Revelation 12)
Have you ever stopped to consider the "big question" of the world of good and evil? If God exists, why does sin exist? Is there a supernatural conflict between the forces of good and evil? How did evil arise? Are we players in that conflict? If God is in charge, why are we even allowed to sin? Let's dive into our study and see what the Bible has to say about these topics!

Lesson 2: His Glorious Purpose Foreshadowed in Types (Genesis 3, 4, 22 & Numbers 21)
Last week we studied how sin first entered the universe and then our little world. Did God have a plan in place to meet this challenge? Did Satan have a plan to increase his gains? Let's dive into our study and find out!

Lesson 3: Jesus and the Sanctuary (Leviticus 4, Hebrews 9, Isaiah 53)
Consider one of the main arguments against Jesus being God. He was born to an obscure couple, raised in a disreputable village, and at an early age died the death of a criminal. For the uneducated, this is not a resume that would seem to put you on the fast track to being a hero of history, much less being God. It is the qualifier "uneducated" that is so important here. For thousands of years, God had been trying to educate humans that the Messiah was coming to die. Let's jump into our lesson and learn more about God's early education plan!

Lesson 4: A Body You Have Prepared for Me (Philippians 2, Colossians 1)
We ended our discussion last week with the amazing discovery that the "arm of God" (His power) is self-sacrificing love. This week we turn to the nature of Jesus' sacrifice. Exactly what did Jesus' love cause Him to give up? A popular work of fiction claims that Jesus gave up only His life. Why? Because Jesus was a mere man. The Bible reveals a different truth. It tells us that God became man and lived with us. This astonishing truth about how God became man and came to live with us is our study for this week. Let's jump into this timely topic!

Lesson 5: In the Shadow of Calvary (John 1, Mark 10, Luke 18, Acts 1, Matthew 20)
We see disasters all the time. Some are of epic proportions, such as the Tsunami that killed over 165,000 people a few weeks ago in Asia. Some, like cancer, hit a specific family with devastating force. Last week, I spoke with the wife of a man who is battling against a very aggressive form of brain cancer. Why do these things happen? This wife told me she could see no reason for this happening to her family. She was interested in my thoughts about it. When I was younger and less wise, I would venture an explanation. Now, I believe it is wiser to explain the attitude of God rather than the specific strategy of God. That is the subject of our lesson this week - so let's dive in!

Lesson 6: The Passion Week (Luke 19 & 22, John 13)
How do you feel the last day or two of your vacation? Each week, when Sunday evening rolls around, how do you feel? My bet is that a large number of you start thinking about having to go back to work. You wish your vacation or the weekend could be longer. So, you treasure those precious last hours of freedom. Imagine if your vacation or weekend were followed not by work, but by your torture and death? How much more precious would you view your last hours then? Our lesson this week looks at the last week of Jesus' life on earth as a man. Let's plunge in and see what we can learn!

Lesson 7: Passage to Calvary (John 18, Matthew 26 & 27)
Everyone wants to be treated fairly. When we think we have been unfairly treated we get angry. In the United States, we also go out and find a lawyer! In my experience, most people who are mistreated by the authorities, and who think they have the power to correct the mistreatment, do what is in their power to make things right. This week we study the unjust trial and abuse suffered by the most powerful being in the universe. He had "payback power." Did He use it? Let's jump into our study!

Lesson 8: Darkness at Noon (John 19, Matthew 27)
Last week we studied the arrest and the unjust trials of Jesus. This week we continue our study on the conclusion to those trials - the torture and death of Jesus on the cross. Part of me wants to close my eyes. Part of me is astonished that God would allow this to happen. At the same time I rejoice that Jesus, in His boundless love, went through this for me. Let's plunge into our study!

Lesson 9: He is Risen (Matthew 27 & 28, Luke 7, John 5)
Last week, we ended our study with those who crucified Jesus admitting that He was the Messiah. What a mistake! What do you do when you wrongly kill someone? How do you fix this? Let's dive into our lesson and learn the good news about "fixing" Jesus' death and what it means to us!

Lesson 10: The Heart of the Cross (Genesis 18)
Have you ever wondered about the logic, or the calculus, of salvation? Sin entered our world because of the sin of Eve and Adam. If sin brings death, why not just kill them and start new with us? And, by the way, why is it that sin brings death? After Adam and Eve, we all sinned - at least I know I have. Why is it that killing God makes up for all of our sins? Why do the penalties for sin seem to vary? In the range of sin, what Adam and Eve did brought a lot more misery to humans than what Cain did to his brother. Why was Cain punished more severely? We are not going to unravel all of these mysteries this week, but our study explores the logic of the cross. Let's dive in and see what we can learn from God's word!

Lesson 11: The Cross and Justification (Romans 3)
At the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, Meic Pearse gave me an autographed copy of his book "Why The Rest Hates the West." This fascinating book, which I'm half-way through, suggests that "the rest" hates "the West" because our immoral culture is sweeping away their culture. What really caught my eye was Pearse's suggestion that our topic for study this week is one source of the problem. Pearse says the acceptance in the West of Martin Luther's argument for "righteousness by faith" resulted in a decline in right conduct in the West. What is this doctrine? Is it contrary to the will of God? Does it produce evil-doing? This week our study is about justification and next week our study is about sanctification. Let's jump into our study with both feet to learn God's will!

Lesson 12: The Cross and Sanctification (Romans 6)
Last week we learned of an "alternative route" to salvation. This route did not involve keeping the law, it involved having faith in Jesus. As we more closely studied Romans chapter 3, we found that our "bypass" route around the Law turned out to be the only possible route. Instead of being an "alternative, bypass" route, we learned it is the only path to righteousness. That leaves us with the problem pointed out by Meic Pearse; this righteousness by faith stuff leads to an immoral culture. Or, does it? Let's jump into our lesson and find out!

Lesson 13: The Cross and the Great Controversy (Job 1, Revelation 12, 1 Peter 5, Ephesians 6)
This is the last of our series of lessons on the "Wondrous Cross." What we have learned about our wonderful Savior! He died for our sins. We have the opportunity to be declared righteous by accepting His sacrifice. Once we become righteous, what do we do next? In our lesson last week we learned that we should be working, using the power of the Holy Spirit, towards holiness. Is holiness just a personal goal? Is our struggle to obey just about us? Or, instead of being the center of the action, are we just a small part of a greater battle? Let's jump into our final lesson and find out!

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