This past Sunday, Chris Exias shared a communion message with the Hudson Valley Ministry of the New York City Church of Christ. I found the message to be incredibly inspiring and asked Chris if I could share the message with you. He graciously allowed me to post his message. Here is the message followed by a short bio from Chris. –GSK
Good morning church and Happy New Year. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you about what the cross means to me. I am Chris Exias and both my wife, Alejandra and I were baptized last year, so 2018 was a big year in our household.
New Year’s is often the time for goals, whether spiritual, professional, personal or familial. Although we are often fixated on the future at this early period of the year, the God we serve is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. With this in mind, I’d like to speak about how Jesus’s expression of love on the cross covers our past, present and future. I’d like to share a few Bible passages that embody why He died and why He lives in us today.
It was Christ’s sacrifice that allowed us to be called sons and daughters of the Most High. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” As I studied the word, it was hard to come to terms with my selfish and worldly desires, which were nailed to the cross with our Lord so that I could be born again into Christ.
But as the old adage says, old habits die hard. Today, I constantly remind myself of Jesus’s statement in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Lately, my walk with God has revealed areas of weakness in my spiritual and family life. When my wife and I were married, there was that oh-so popular but still oh-so-relevant reading from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, which states “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails”. I admit that I have failed to be patient and kind to my loved ones, the ones I hold most dear to my heart. Indeed, I prayed just this morning that God help me in these areas so that I can be the spiritual leader and man of God He wants me to be and my family needs me to be.
2019 brings great promise and lots of possibilities. Alejandra and I are looking forward to meeting our son Mateo, Matthew in Spanish. Matthew ends his gospel account with the Great Commission, which is as follows: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Surely I am with you always to the very end of the age. What a great source of comfort and joy, two ideas that need not end after the Christmas season has passed.
The cross means that no matter what season I am in, whether I am looking back, down or forward, the cross reminds me to always look up, as our Heavenly father was, is and will always be there. In sum, the cross means reconciliation for the past, faith for the present, and hope for the future.