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The Cup; The Cross; The Crown
Jesus the Christ  , First begotten From The Dead
Reveleation 1:4-9
 
II. His Cross On Calvary Calls Us To Be Crucified With Him.
 
    1. Jesus left the garden of Gethsemane in full victory over self will and desires.
 
    2. There can be no fear of death to one who has already died to self.
        A. The kiss of betrayal, the arrest, the mock trials, the spit in the face, the scourge, the nails, the                  mockery, the shame, the loss of dignity, had been in the cup.
        B.  The cross was in that bitter cup drained at Gethsemane.
    3. The committed are all ready prepared for crucifixion
 
    4. Jesus was not only paying our debt on the cross but also blazing a trail for us to follow.
 
    5. Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame because He was commited to give us life.
        A. He had legions of angels at his beck and call, did He not?
        B. He was bound to the cross not by spikes but by love for us.
 
    6. Preview of things to come later. Matthew 26:50-54; Mark15:33-38
        A. At noon a thick darkness filled the earth for three hours.
        B. As if God turned His head and there was no light available any more.
        C. Jesus cried out and gave a last gasp of breath
        D. The veil in the temple ripped in two right down the middle. 
        E.  I imagine thunderous claps of thunder and wild strikes of lightening. ( Scripture doesn't say )
        F. The earth tremors .... tombs split open ... the dead roam the streets - " I see dead people."
        G. Jesus is leading the Way to Life out of darkness into His marvelous Light.
 
    7. No one can take a close look at the cross of Jesus and ever be the same again.
 
    8. Success as Christians is gauged by keeping the cross at the center of our lives.
        " If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. " Luke 9:23
 
    9. Gethsemane and Calvary must be persaonal experiences of every Christian.
         A. Committment to God - Gethsemane  ( see Matthew 7:21 )
         B. Crucifixion of self and the old life - Calvary  ( see Romans 6:6 )
 
  10. How can we expect the message of the Gospel to move the world if it isn't moving us?
 
  11. I'd like to see the church get on the cross and quit using it as a decoration or a talisiman.
         A. Until there is a committed life and a crucified heart our burial in baptism means nothing.
         B. If we never died to sin than our burial was premature. 
         C. He can only lead us into life when we commit ourselves to His cause & crucify our flesh.
 
III. His Crown of Victory Calls Us To Rein In Life Through Him.
 " For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. " Romans 5:17
 
1. There would have been no crown of victory over death without the cross.
 
2. The nails of Calvary preceded the cheers of heaven.
 
3. Jesus conquered death and was crowned with glory and life. 
A. The stone is rolled away ... the gravecloths lie there folded ... the tomb is empty!
B. Jesus the Christ, Firstborn of the dead leads the way to life.
 
I Am the Resurrection and the Life, He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosover liveth and believeth in me shall never die. John 11:25,26
"Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. "
1 Corinthians 15:54-57
 
4. The church is built on the risen Jesus not not a dead martyr.
 
5. The church's model is the risen Christ not the empty tomb.
a. Come and see! The tomb is empty!
b. Do not seek the living among the dead!
 
6. We need to breathe the fresh air of the risen Christ not the musty air of the crypt.
a. He is not there! He is risen !
b. This same Spirit that quickened Jesus and raised Him from the dead will fill & quicken us.
" I am he that liveth and was dead and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen. and I have the keys to death and Hades. " Revelation 1:8
 
7. His victory over death leads us to victory in life and life eternal.
 
Conclusion:
 
Crown or Self
I stood alone at the bar of God;
In the hush of the twilight dim,
And faced the question that pierced my heart:
What will you do with Him?
" Crown or self ? Which shall it be? "
No other choice was offered to me.
 
I looked on the face so marred with tears
That were shed in His agony;
The look in His kind eye broke my heart;
Twas so full of love for me.
" The Crown or Yourself ? " it seemed to say
" For or against Me? Choose thou today! "
 
He held out His loving hands to me,
While His pleading voice said, " Obey!
Make Me thy choice, for I love thee so, "
And I could not say to Him nay.
Crown not myself ! This must it be;
No other way is open to me.
 
I knelt in tears at the feet of Christ,
In the hush of the twilight dim,
And all that I was or hoped or sought,
I surrendered unto Him.
Crowned not death! My heart shall know,
No King but Christ, who loves me so.