I have been preparing for ministry in Romania, Switzerland and Germany. One of the messages I am to give is “What is Gospel-Centered Ministry?” I have let my mind run back over the decades of preaching about this. One message leaps out of my memory with great joy and force. The message at One Day in May, 2000.
The text was Galatians 6:14, just one verse — for One Day with one Passion.
Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Or to state it positively: Only boast in the cross of Jesus Christ. The word can be translated “exult in” or “rejoice in.” Only exult in the cross of Christ. Only rejoice in the cross of Christ.
In preparing for this message twelve years ago two things blew me away as never before. Two shocking things in this one verse.
1) It’s like saying: Only boast in the electric chair. Only exult in the gas chamber. Only rejoice in lethal injection. Let your one boast, and one joy, and one exultation be the lynching rope.
No manner of execution that has ever been devised was more cruel and agonizing than to be nailed to a cross, and then hung up till dead. It was horrible. You would not have been able to watch it — not without screaming and pulling at your hair and tearing your clothes.
So boast in that. Exult in that. Rejoice in that.
2) And as if that were not enough, Paul says this is to be the only boast of your life. The only joy. The only exultation. “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
What can he possibly mean? No other boast? No other exultation? No other joy.
That is what I tried to answer in “Boasting Only in the Cross.” That is some of what I am asking the Lord to help me say on this trip to Europe. Thank you for praying.