Published August 31, 2010

Paul's Epistle...

As you've heard on last weekend's broadcast, September's number one Southern Gospel song is the Browders' powerful song, "Message of the Cross." Matthew and Sonya Browder of the group wrote it. The song is so strong it really speaks for itself. But not long ago, Sonya posted this story on their website, providing additional insight into how and why they wrote the song. With their permission, I'd like to share it with you (below).

- Paul

"Message Of The Cross"

Last year while choosing songs for our latest recording, we were doing some concerts one week in Florida, discussing our song choices while riding the bus in between engagements. I told Matt that we were missing one because we didn't have a song that specifically addressed salvation or Calvary or the blood of Jesus, something along those lines.

Well, it didn't take him but a few minutes to start singing the chorus of what has become our latest single to radio, "Message Of The Cross." "They may scoff the cross; criticize the Christ, the Lamb of God who gave His life for all…"

We haven't co-written much in our married life (he's usually got the song finished before I can even begin to help!), but I told him that if he could wait for me, I believed I could help him with it. The result was "Message of the Cross." I had no idea when we began what an important message it would tell.

You may or may not know this, but there is a trend in churches today to diminish the true story of the sacrifice Jesus made to redeem us. Many say it is offensive to people because it is gory and gruesome and it makes people uncomfortable. After all, why would anyone want to hear about a man hanging on a cross, held by nails until He died? It's a horrible thing! Makes people think about death, torture, blood. So the idea is that we can build bigger and better churches, make them more "comfortable" for people, if the gospel we preach doesn't include the crucifixion of Jesus.

Here is the problem with that theory: the opinion of people will never change the Truth of God's Word. No matter how horrific the death of Jesus, He is the sacrifice that God made because He loves us and to give us that abundant life. You can't have the one without the other.

Now I'll be honest with you — I don't understand it all. I don't know why God decided this was the only way to redeem us. I guess that's why God is God and I am not. But one thing I do know is that by faith, I believe it. His Word says that without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sins (Hebrew 9:22). Paul addressed this very subject in I Corinthians 1:17-25. He said that the preaching of the cross seems foolish to those that don't believe. He also said that the message of the cross of Christ would be made ineffective if he were to try to preach it "with wisdom of words." In other words, he couldn't explain it; he simply believed in its power and would preach it exactly the way it was.

I hear stories of American soldiers returning home from Vietnam, ashamed to wear the very uniform that should cause such pride both in the one clothed by it and the American citizen viewing it. They weren't ashamed because they had answered the call to defend their country, but because careless, prideful citizens mocked and scorned them because they [those others] didn't support the war effort. So these soldiers, who had endured such atrocities, viewed such horrendous, haunting scenes, went in airport bathrooms and threw away the uniform that should have commanded such respect, trading it instead for attire that would make them blend in by causing the people around them to be more comfortable. Can you imagine how they must have felt?

Can you imagine how Jesus must feel when He looks down at a people He died for and [who] claim to be His children, but are ashamed of the sacrifice He made? Can you feel His anguish at hearing a pastor say, "If we don't talk about Jesus' death or how Christians should sacrifice their lives for Christ, we can build bigger and better churches!"? But what is the point of a church anyway unless it leads people to a life-changing experience in Jesus? And you can't have that experience without the power of God! And you can't have the power of God without the preaching of the cross!

I have wept while sitting at the computer writing this devotional, because I understand the importance of this message. Don't let it go by unheeded. If our generation dilutes the truth, what will happen to the next and the next?

It's the greatest message ever given, the greatest story ever told — the message of the cross.

Sonya Browder

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