Lyn Sherlock - The Way of the Cross (Hymn 18) - Rochedale, 2009

Sometimes we understand why Jonah ran away. I know why he found it so hard to deliver the message God gave him to deliver and I also know why many of those old prophets started their books, or some of the chapters by saying, "The burden of the word of the Lord." I hope you people understand that, as it is for me and my fellow workers, they say what they have to say because it is what the Lord has asked them to say and I hope you appreciate that.

There is a chapter in Ezekiel that speaks about the watchmen, chapter 33, and it says about the watchmen if they see the danger coming and they don't sound the warning, the people's blood will be on their heads. It says if the watchman sees the danger coming and tells them and they do not heed the warning, the blood will be on their own heads. I hope you understand that sometimes that is why there are warnings sounded, because we, as watchmen, do not want your blood on our heads. I hope you parents understand also that you are watchmen and you need to sound warnings for your children often. You do not want their blood to be on your head.

That hymn we sang had been on my mind the last few days and I've tried and tried to get it out of my mind, but I cannot. The way of God is the way of the cross and that is how it is. It is not a way that people can have a nice time with everyone else. This is the way of the cross and if we want to get home to God, we need to walk the way of the cross. We understand what the way of the cross is; it is the way that Jesus walked. Jesus knew every step He took was taking Him closer to the cross. The way of the cross is a dying way and it is this dying way that leads to life - dying to our own selves.

The third verse of that hymn says, "I bid farewell to the things of the world, to walk in them never more." When we sing these things, do we really mean them? It tells us about the time that Jesus was about to be crucified and I believe it was the custom that the one being crucified was to carry the cross. I'm sure it was heavy, and we know it was for Jesus. It became too much for Him and they compelled another man called Simon to carry it for Him because Jesus was so weak. You would think anyone looking on at the scene of the crucifixion would know who was dying. They would not have to ask questions, they would be able to see clearly who was going to die. They were dying because they were bearing the cross. Sometimes we think it is all about what is on the inside and the outside does not matter, but we know it does matter. If we are dying, you can see it. We often visit hospitals and nursing homes and you know when someone is dying and you see it.

You know, it grieves me when I see so much worldliness amongst our friends; you know, we can see it. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see someone that is dying to self? Do you see someone that is walking the way of the cross, or do you see someone that is fitting into the ways of the world? It may only be a little bit of fitting in, but it grows. What about you parents? Do you parents teach your children it is the way of the cross? This year, and it is not only this year, but sometimes we see photos of gathering of the young ones, young friends, and it makes us so sad because it is hard to see signs of Godliness and it is hard to see signs of the people walking in the way of the cross. Have we learned as children that it is the way of the cross?

I learned something when I was small in primary school, my age would have been around six, seven, or eight. It was only my sister and I at school at that stage and later some other friends' children came to the school, but at this stage it was just my sister and I. This school would have a fancy dress ball every year. There were 1200 children at the primary school and they practiced for weeks and weeks for the fancy dress ball. My sister and I ,out of 1200 children, sat on the bank of the oval and watched them because we were not going. You know, that is only fancy dress but we have to be careful, don't we, and at all times we must live the life of the child of God as someone who is walking the way of the cross. It is the way of the cross that leads home.

There was a King in the Old Testament and his name was Jeroboam; we read of him in the first Kings chapter 12, before and after that chapter also, and when you read about him later on, you read about the sin that he sinned and how he caused Israel to sin. And do you know what it was? Chapter 12, verse 28, "Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.'" He said it is too much for you, it is a bit too far, you don't have to try quite so hard. Something is closer and easier to worship so just worship that. That is not the way of the cross. It is never too far, it is never too hard to walk the way of the cross. And we know what the end of it is. I hope we would understand more clearly, like we were singing, it is the way of the cross that leads home.

I also have noticed this year, it seems to be a thing for people to go out. I do not know where they go. We stay in homes sometimes for a week, and we see the young people are out every night. They do not seem to value home. Do we really understand what home is, or do we just want to be out and about, enjoying the pleasures and places of this world. Remember, it is the way of the cross that leads home. I do hope that we not only remember it is the way of the cross, but that we learn to love it because it is a way of joy, peace, and holiness.  It is the only way that leads home to Jesus.