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Crux of the Cross Week 5: Victory – Colossians 2:10-15

Mary Ellen Ermis March 31, 2024 sermons, 1 Corinthians, cityrise, houston, Roger Patterson, The Crux of the Cross, West U Baptist,

The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Senior Pastor Dr. Roger Patterson on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2024 at our West U Baptist campus. To view the sermon in full, check out the link below.

Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin was a Russian Communist leader in the early 1900s.  He was as powerful a man as there was on earth. He took part in the Bolshevik Revolution 1917, and he promoted Communist and atheistic ideas, saying there was no God. There is a story told about a journey he took from Moscow to Kiev in 1930 to address a huge assembly on the subject of atheism. Addressing the crowd he aimed his heavy artillery at Christianity hurling insult, argument, and proof against it. An hour later he was finished. He looked out at what seemed to be the smoldering ashes of men’s faith. “Are there any questions?” Bukharin demanded. Deafening silence filled the auditorium but then one man approached the platform and mounted the lectern standing near the communist leader. He surveyed the crowd first to the left then to the right. Finally he shouted the ancient greeting known well in the Russian Orthodox Church: “CHRIST IS RISEN!” En masse the crowd arose as one man and the response came crashing like the sound of thunder: “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”

I say to you this morning: CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!).

My name is Roger Patterson, Pastor. I don’t know about you, but I love Easter! This is one of my favorite times of the year. Spring is here. The trees and flowers are starting to bloom. Baseball season is starting up. I have fond memories of Easter. I remember in elementary school going on the Easter Egg Hunt with my classmates, and we were looking for the golden egg.  The golden egg had extra good chocolate in it, and it was something that would give us special recognition if we found it.

There are many reasons to enjoy this time of the year and to celebrate. But, the greatest reason to love this time of the year is that it is the opportunity to celebrate the most significant event in all of history—The Cross and the Resurrection! There is nothing more significant than the Cross-and the Resurrection.

We are in Week 4 of our series called “The Crux of the Cross” We are examining the Cross of Christ and asking these questions: (1) Why Did Jesus Come To Die? (2) What difference does it make in my life?

We have seen over the past few weeks that Jesus is our:

  • Susbstitute – HEB BAG
  • Redemption – Gift Card
  • Reconciliation – Astros Ring
  • Revelation – Binoculars

The answer we will look at today to the question, “What is at the crux of the cross…the center of the Cross of Jesus?” And the Answer I want you to hear today is the word, “VICTORY!”

Jesus came to Secure our Victory over DEATH!

Championship Belt – This belt is for a heavy weight championship when LOU SAVARESE defeated BUSTER MATHIS to win the United States Boxing Association’s Heavy Weight Championship.

This wasn’t the greatest belt that Lou won…Pastor Chris has that over at Crosspoint…the IBF Heavyweight Championship of the world…where Lou beat Buster Douglas after Buster Douglas defeated Mike Tyson.

This belt represents a champion…one who has gone to battle and come out victorious.

For the Christian, Jesus is our CHAMPION! He has gone to battle and come out victorious. And we who are followers of Jesus share in his VICTORY!

We are going to look at 1 Corinthians 15. It is the most extensive treatment of the meaning and significance of the Resurrection in Scripture. This is the very heart of the gospel…the demonstration of God’s amazing love for us. This demonstrates and talks about how significant the resurrection is. And how it secures our victory!

1 Corinthians 15:57

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul the Apostle is near the end of his theological argument for the resurrection of the dead. In his argument Paul states what you and I both know:

            DEATH HURTS

Death hurts, doesn’t it?

I didn’t experience the loss of a loved one until I was 18 years old.  That is when my grandfather, Troy James, died.

In ministry, all too often, I find myself preparing for funeral after funeral.  It seems as though they come in twos or threes.

  • I have done the funeral of babies born prematurely and
  • I have done the funeral of a 107 year old woman named Helen Craig.
  • I did the funeral of a 95 year old great grand-father who was a WWII Bomber Pilot.
  • I have done the funerals of fathers my age who died prematurely and unexpectedly and
  • I have buried sweet old ladies who had great, long, meaningful lives.

And at EVERY funeral, do you know what I have seen, over and over again?

I have seen that DEATH HURTS!

Death’s friend, DESTRUCTION, hurts as well.

You see, DESTRUCTION tears apart this life, while death takes it away.

  • Destruction rips families apart through divorce.
  • Destruction destroys tissues and bones and organ through disease.
  • Destruction leaves scars and creates hardship, bitterness and loneliness.
  • Destruction speaks lies that tell us we have no worth, that we are stupid, and that we deserve the abuse that we have received.
  • Destruction tells us that the way to survive hurt is to dish out hurt ourselves.
  • Destruction wreaks Havoc and then death comes along and finishes the job.

I have learned the truth of Proverbs 27:20 which states:

Proverbs 27:20

Death and Destruction are never satisfied…

Though we are each affected by death and destruction, though we know that we are subject to them in this old order of things, I have good news for you today:

Jesus Christ died to secure for us Victory over Death and Destruction!

Q:  How did Christ secure our victory over Death and Destruction?

A:  He is the first one to be raised from the dead, never to die again.

Would you look with me at 1 Corinthians 15:23?

1 Corinthians 15:23

But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits…

The firstfruits is the first of a crop to be harvested.  It is tasted and it indicates what a crop will be like.

It’s also the first spoils of war.

Or, it’s the firstborn of a womb.

The Law tells us that all of these belong to the Lord, and that all of these are DEVOTED TO DESTRUCTION – the Hebrew term is Karem! They are to be destroyed.

In Revelation 1:17-18, Jesus says to John the Apostle:

Revelation 1:17-18

“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

These two verses teach us that:

  • Christ is the firstfruits – He was devoted to destruction…and he was killed!
  • But now, because of the resurrection He is the Living One!
  • He was dead, and He is alive forever and ever.

Jesus Christ is the first to be raised from the dead, never to die again.

Others in Scripture who died and were raised to life, like Lazuras, Jarius’ daughter, and others, all died again.

Some people cannot fathom that Christ, or anyone else could be raised from the dead.  This was the view of the Sadducees in the gospels, it was the view of someone who was influencing the church at Corinth, and it is also the view of some in pulpits in churches around this world on this day.

An Arlington, Virginia, minister said,

“We have closed our minds to such trivial considerations as the question of the resurrection of Christ. If you fundamentalists wish to believe that nonsense, we have no objections, but we have more important things to preach than the presence or absence of an empty tomb 20 centuries old.”

But, my friends, if there is no resurrection of Christ from the dead, the Apostle Paul says in verse 17 of 1 Corinthians 15, that we are still in our sins.

1 Corinthians 15:17

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

You see, the Resurrection of Christ IS God’s declaration that the death of Jesus, was THE ALL-SUFFICIENT PRICE that was paid for sin.

As a matter of fact, Hebrews 13:20 says that it was, “through the blood of the eternal covenant,” that, “brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus.”

John Piper says, “What the death of Christ accomplished was so full and so perfect that the resurrection was the reward and vindication of Christ’s achievement in death.  The wrath of God was satisfied with the suffering and death of Jesus.  The holy curse against sin was fully absorbed.”

  • The obedience to Christ was completed to the fullest measure.
  • The price of forgiveness was totally paid.
  • All that was left was the public declaration of God’s endorsement.
  • This he gave by raising Jesus from the dead.

Theologian, Wayne Grudem, in his book, Bible Doctrine, says: “When Christ was raised from the dead, it was God’s declaration of approval of Christ’s work of redemption…By raising Christ from the dead, God the Father was in effect saying that he approved of Christ’s work of suffering and dying for our sins, that his work was completed, and that Christ no longer had any need to remain dead.”

  • You see: no longer was there any penalty left to pay.
  • No longer was there a wrath of God to bear.
  • No longer was there guilt or liability to be punished.

As a result, a new way has been opened for you and for me.

MAX LUCADO, in his book, “Six Hours One Friday,” tells the story of a missionary in Brazil who discovered a tribe of Indians in a remote part of the jungle. They lived near a large river. The tribe was in need of medical attention. A contagious disease was ravaging the population. People were dying daily.

A hospital was not too terribly far away — across the river, but the Indians would not cross it because they believed the river was inhabited by evil spirits. And to enter its water would mean certain death.

The missionary explained how he had crossed the river & was unharmed. But they were not impressed. He then took them to the bank & placed his hand in the water. They still wouldn’t go in. He walked into the water up to his waist & splashed water on his face. It didn’t matter. They were still afraid to enter the river.

Finally, he dove into the river, swam beneath the surface until he emerged on the other side. He raised a triumphant fist into the air. He had entered the water & escaped. It was then that the Indians broke into a cheer & followed him across.

Isn’t that what Jesus did? He entered the river of death & came out on the other side so that we might no longer fear death, but find eternal life in Him.


Now, what difference does this make in our lives?

Remember, Christ came to die to secure our victory

1 Corinthians 15:57

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

How does Christ’s death and resurrection secure our victory over death and destruction?


I. Christ’s Resurrection Secures our Resurrection from the Dead!

  • Look again at 1 Corinthians 15:23.

1 Corinthians 15:23

But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.”

Romans 6:5 states,

Romans 6:5

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 

Romans 8:11 states,

Romans 8:11

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

You see, the Bible rings with the truth that belonging to Jesus means we will be raised from the dead with him and like him.

As a result, we can be confident that we will be raised victorious over death!

When that great Christian and scientist, Sir Michael Faraday, was dying, some journalists questioned him as to his speculations for a life after death. “Speculations!” said he, “I know nothing about speculations. I’m resting on certainties. “I know that my redeemer liveth,” and because He lives, I shall live also.”

His Resurrection Secures our Resurrection, if we have put our faith in Christ.

Now, what other difference does this Victory of Resurrection make in our lives?

II. Christ also brings us victory because the power of the Resurrection is available to us today!

Before Death, Destruction often rears its head in my life.  Often times, I invite destruction through my own choices, decisions, and life-style.

How many of us allow destruction into our relationships, our careers, our families, and our finances because of the choices we make?

We violate God’s precepts time and again because we have not been shown or taught another way.

Well friends, because of Christ’s resurrection, the power that raised Christ from the dead is available to you and me each day.

We don’t have to embrace destruction through our choices. And we don’t have to turn to destructive behaviors to cope.

Romans 6:9-13 urges us to live victorious lives because of the Resurrection.

Romans 6:9-13

9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

We are to offer our lives to God so that sin and its consequences do not reign and wreak havoc and destruction.

I had coffee this week with a guy who has an incredible story about overcoming addiction. He had come to the end of his rope…there was a lot of pressure from every side…and it was because he was surrounded by people who loved him that called him on it, that he went to rehab.

They loved him enough to confront him!

At the Rehab facility, he had an encounter with Jesus. And it was a profound encounter. And he gave Jesus his everything, and Jesus gave him his peace.

I was profoundly blessed to hear his story and to hear how Jesus met him at his lowest point and freed him from his addiction and pain.

And now, do you know what is there?

Instead of addiction and pain, there is joy! Sweet Joy! And deep satisfaction! Gratitude and Peace.

God’s resurrection power to break the bonds of DESTRUCTION are available to you. But you have to draw near to Him, and offer yourself to Him, offering your heart, eyes, mind, and mouth to the Lord as His servant.

You see, because He is risen indeed, I can experience victory in my daily life, today!

Lastly…Look further at this Victory with me. The third reality about the resurrection is this:

III. The Resurrection of Christ secures our victory by giving our lives purpose.

Would you look with me one more time at 1 Corinthians 15:57-58?

1 Corinthians 15:57-58

57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

I love the word, therefore in verse 58.

Essentially, Paul has given us 57 verses of a great theology of the resurrection and he gives us one verse to make practical application. 

When you see the word, “Therefore,” in scripture, you are to ask the question:  What’s that therefore, there for?

Here, it is to show us our purpose while we await Christ’s return.

Do you know your purpose?

If you are a Christian, your purpose is clear – give yourself fully to the work of the Lord!

You are to maximize and steward the gifts, talents, and abilities that God has given you to make him known to others.

  • Be Steadfast and let nothing move you!
  • Know that your labor is not in vain!

The Resurrection gives you a victorious purpose – to point others to Christ.

Maybe someone is trying to point you to Christ, so they invited you to church today.  I want you to know that we celebrate with joy this holy day because Jesus Christ has died for our sins, and is risen from the dead.

Because of his death and resurrection, we have victoryThose who brought you today want you to know this victory as well.  They would want nothing more than for you to consider the claims the Bible makes about Jesus and consider receiving Christ into your life.

  • Give invitation to respond to gospel.

I’m about to pray, the orchestra is going to move forward, and as they are moving, I am going to invite you to take Christ as your Savior.

            A – Admit

            B – Believe

            C – Confess

I’ll lead you in a prayer for you to pray along.

To you who believe already, are you living out your purpose? Have you offered yourselves fully to the Lord? Do you need his resurrection power in your life?

Offer yourself afresh to the Lord again today. Place yourself into the offering plate today…I’ll lead you in a prayer to offer yourselves again to Christ.

The German theologian Jurgen Moltmann expresses in a single sentence the great span from Good Friday to Easter. It is, in fact, a summary of human history, past, present, and future:

“God weeps with us so that we may someday laugh with him.”

You see, death and destruction will never be satisfied, and I am confident of this, because through the cross and resurrection of Christ, they are defeated.

This my friends is sweet victory!

We will someday laugh with God because – He is Risen!  He is Risen, Indeed!