So Long, Wide, High And Deep


Sermon By Terry Siverd

Cortland Church of Christ / June 02, 2019


Our 43rd Annual Camp 2:52 Summer Youth Retreat is now just three weeks away.

Last year we have 46 campers.  Currently we have about 35 campers, but that number is growing almost daily.


At midnight this Tuesday, Bodie and I will be picking up Betina and the boys at the Cleveland airport.

We jokingly (and lovingly) refer to this as “the invasion”.

Last summer they stayed with us for a month and they liked it so much they've decided to stay two months.

We don't view this in any way as an intrusion - - they're beloved family and we can't wait to welcome them.



There are so many facets to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Every Sunday we enter a room called remember where we attempt to ponder these different angles.


We might choose to concentrate on THE MENTAL ANGUISH inherent within the cross.

Again, as we did last week, we find ourselves painfully revisiting the words contained in Isaiah 53.

Vs.3 / He was despised and forsaken of men...He was despised and we did not esteem Him.

Vs.4 / speaks of the grief and sorrow of the cross

Vs.7 / refers to how Jesus was oppressed and afflicted

Heb.12:2 is the only place in Scripture where we meet up with the term despising the shame.

Jesus was the King of kings and Lord of lords yet He was treated with total disrespect - - as if a common criminal.


We often focus on the body and blood of Jesus as we think about THE PHYSICAL SUFFERING He endured:

scourging, crown of thorns, nails in hands and feet and the spear that pierced His side.


I don't intend to rehearse all that we spoke about last Sunday.

If you missed that sermon, please go online to our church website and read it prayerfully.

I'm grateful to you for you positive comments.  Your feedback was abundant - - perhaps more than I've ever received.

Sometime in the not-too-distant future I intend to put that sermon in a pamphlet form - -

a printed version that can be tucked away in our Bibles and accessed repeatedly.


At the heart of our message last Sunday was a Scriptural emphasis that we don't hear nearly enough.

God's Word offers a perspective on the cross that is critical to understand if we're to truly appreciate what happened

2,000 years ago in Jerusalem on a hill called Calvary at a location known as Golgotha (place of a skull / Mt.27:33).


Our sermon last Sunday called upon us to think more deeply on the cross.

The most agonizing aspect of the cross of Christ transcends both mental anguish and physical suffering.

Those are real elements of the cross and we do not mean to diminish them in any way.


However, there was A SPIRITUAL DIMENSION of the cross that superseded both the mental and the physical.


This element of the cross jumps off the pages of Scripture.

Mt.27:45-46 records - - Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land

until the ninth hour.  About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying:

'My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?'


This wasn't just a case of Jesus mistakenly feeling forsaken, He was indeed forsaken by God.


Right here, in this astonishing declaration. we find the very apex of the agony of Calvary. 


We are driven to ask, “Why would God the Father forsake His only begotten God?”

To discover the answer to this precise question we only need to turn a few pages to the epistles.


In Gal.3:13, Paul writes emphatically - -

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become A CURSE for us.


To further illuminate this grace-filled act of substitution and sacrifice on our behalf,

Paul makes it clear that this was not a case of Jesus going rogue, but rather this was

the plan of The Father in the aftermath of the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden.


In 2Cor.5:21 we read - -

(God) made (Jesus) who knew no sin TO BE SIN on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.


In his first gospel sermon Peter testifies to this grand truth (Acts 2:23a) - -

this man (Jesus), (was) delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.


The greatest weight and heaviest burden of the cross was this CURSE.

Because Jesus became the full embodiment of all of our sins, He became a curse.

The horror of becoming a curse for us was that such a transaction required that He be forsaken by God.


God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all (1Jn.1:5).


This is another way of saying God cannot countenance sin.

The prophet Isaiah explains this in no uncertain terms (Isa.59:1-2) - - Behold, the Lord's hand

is not so short that it cannot save; neither is His ear so dull that it cannot hear.

But you iniquities have made a SEPARATION between you and your God,

And your SINS have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.


We will never see the full glory of the cross of Christ if we downplay and minimize THE GRAVITY OF SIN.

The seriousness of sin is clearly seen in the expulsion of Adam & Eve from the garden of Eden.

Whereas God had previously walked with Adam & Eve in the garden (Gen.3:8),

Gen.3:24 states, God drove (them) out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the

cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life.


When the Law (of Moses) was instituted it provided “a temporary bridge”.

It opened the door for man to commune again with God, but it was not only temporary it was also inadequate.

Although millions of animal sacrifice were sacrificed on altars, Heb.10:4 reminds us - -

It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.


Two primary things were accomplished by the Old Testament Law.

First, the day of reckoning was postponed or delayed.

Secondly, The Law became a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ (Gal.3:24).

Gal.3:22 clarifies - - The Scripture has shut up all men under sin,

that the promise by faith in Christ Jesus might be given to those who believe.


The cross of Christ became the meeting place of Heaven's JUSTICE and God's LOVING MERCY.


The reason that God hates sin (Prov.6:16f) is because He is pure and holy in every way.


God had to be true to Himself.

He could not look the other way in the face of man's sinfulness.

As Paul succinctly states (Rom.6:23), the wages of sin is death.

This is not physical death but spiritual death or a “separation from God”.


In God's eternal plan to redeem man He sought to find a solution for this problem.

Our Holy God's answer to man's enormous sin problem could only be found in one remedy.


Jn.3:16 / For God so loved the world, that HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON,

that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.


This theological proclamation (2Cor.5:21) created a new ledger, whereby God reckoned/charged/imputed our sins to Christ.

Equally important, God imputed (accounted) the righteousness of Christ to us if we will but faithfully abide in Him.

This act of imputation (transferring our sin to Christ) is an act of mercy and grace that defies comprehension.

It is the gospel of Christ - - good news that sounds too good to be true, but it is true nonethelss.


The apostle Peter reflects on this when he writes (1Pet.1:18) - -

knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold

from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but (you were redeemed)



It was God the Father's willingness to sacrifice His only begotten Son, that secures

a way back for any and all who would choose to anchor themselves in Christ Jesus.


What more could God have done than that which He has done?

The cross quantifies the Love of God.

His love is so wide, so long, so high and so deep (Eph.3:18).

Nothing was so painful to God than to forsake His Son in the crucifixion event.

Yet, as Isa.53:10, exclaims - -

The Lord was PLEASED to crush Him, putting Him to grief, if He would render Himself as a guilt offering.


And regarding this, Heb.12:2 states the similar disposition of Jesus - -

For the JOY set before Him, he endured the cross...


Let me close this message with two more Biblical citations - - both I think from the apostle Paul.

The first is from Gal.6:14 - -

May it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,

through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.


Last of all, and this is a sober and stark warning (Heb.10:26-27a) - -

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth,

there no longer remain a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment...


Let me see if can summarize what I have said over the last two Sundays in one single paragraph.

Jesus died on the cross for us.  The greatest agony of His cross was that He became a Curse.

He became a curse because He became sin for us.  When He who knew no sin became sin

for us, He became forsaken by God.  The cross of Christ is God's ultimate expression of

His love for us and it is so long and so wide and so high and so deep, that all we

can do is either stand in utter awe or fall to our knees in totally amazement. 


Next week we will begin a new series, “The Way Of Salvation”.

God has done all that He can do, all that He asks of us it that we follow His word.

Jn.1:12 states, As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God...

Our series will center on how we can become God's children.

We'll talk about hearing and believing and repenting and confession and baptism.

These are all elements of what Paul calls, “the obedience of faith” (Rom.1:5 and 16:26).

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