Cross and the Crown
The first and greatest gospel sermon (though it was addressed to the Serpent), contains the essence of God’s great program of redemption. Right at the stricken hour of human failure, the mercy of God blazons with a promise of salvation. Here, at the beginning of sin, in the moment of human alliance with evil, the Lord declares unending warfare between man and Satan, and he predicts the coming of Christ, and the final defeat of Satan.
Notice how God promised that the Deliverer would be born of a woman, that he would suffer, but that his triumph would be inevitable.
There indeed was a remarkable sermon!
That first announcement, made by the Lord God to Adam and Eve, in the already decaying Garden-cathedral of Eden, forms the best place to begin a study of the passion of Christ -
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The Cross and the Crown
THE FIRST GOSPEL SERMON
The Father both warned Satan and promised fallen man that
(A) A CONFLICT WOULD BEGIN
Satan had hoped to have man as his full ally in a rebellion against God. But that evil design was foiled by God’s declaration of war between the devil and man: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and hers.”
Satan is held bound by that eternal decree. Because of it, mankind can never become a partner with Satan and his fallen angels in their rebellion, but must ever remain under pitiless onslaught by the powers of darkness, ever writhing under a burden of sin and sorrow, able to find release only by the saving hand of God.
It is strange but true: every time the devil attacks a man or woman he is displaying his absolute subjection to heaven’s command!
The wise purpose of the Lord in declaring unending conflict between the powers of evil and the human race was, at the very beginning, to establish a basis of victory for man.
That basis is to loathe the devil and all his ways.
Men fall when they like and listen to Satan when they put foolish trust in the blandishments of their most bitter enemy. Satan appears to be an ally; but his one aim is always “to steal, to kill, to destroy” (Jn 10:10). Satan is man’s foulest foe, and will never be his friend.
The devil even sought to enlist Jesus into his service, only so he might destroy him; but Christ, hating iniquity and loving righteousness (He 1:9), trounced the Evil One.
Just so, that same Serpent entices us; but like Christ, we must spurn him. An abhorrence of everything to do with Satan and his wicked machinations is the soundest basis upon which to build continuing victory over all the malignant works of darkness.
Satan conquers us when he cunningly causes us to love him (or his works), while all the time he hates us and is striving to do us every possible injury. So let us hate him; let us wage undaunted warfare against all of his works; then we shall easily triumph (Ja 4:7).
So, by decreeing truceless warfare between Satan and man, God intended to make us sick of sin, and by this to bring us to repentance, calling upon him for pardon and freedom.
(B) A CHAMPION WOULD BE SENT
This Champion would be of “the seed of the woman,” and in the fullness of time, he was born in Bethlehem, and was called Jesus of Nazareth. In him, men and women were to find a mighty ally, one who would lead them to full triumph over sickness and sin.
Satan mustered all his forces, trying to prevent Christ from being born, and to stop him from fulfilling his mission: thus Mary was compelled to give birth to her son among the disease-ridden squalor of a cattle stall; he barely escaped the relentless hatred of King Herod; his parents had to take him on the long and perilous journey to Egypt.
Later came the temptation in the wilderness - a fierce onslaught of hunger and desire extending through 40 days and nights.
Leaving the desert, he several times had to flee the murderous howling mob; then at the end, despite his own earnest plea, he could not evade the agony of Gethsemane, nor the horror of the Roman iron-laced lash, the mockery of his own people, and, finally, the ignominy and torment of the cross.
Yet despite this frenzy of hatred and violence, Satan failed.
This book is now also available as an ebook from Smashwords The Cross And The Crown - Ebook
All Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work. (2Ti 3:16-17)