Ed Decker

Galatians  6: 14

Glory Only in the Cross

14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by [b]whom the world has been crucified to me,

 and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

Paul made it extremely clear that the law and its requirements have nothing to do in the spiritual and only serve the flesh.

Books signings: everyone wants a special word from the author. Verse 14 has always been and always will be the center of  my faith.

The Word, Cursed, sounds cruel and harsh But that is how Paul described it to the church in Galatia when he wrote:

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, 

having become a curse for us (for it is written, 

Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),  Gal 3: 13

Having come out of darkness into the Light of the truth,

The Cross is now the core of my faith,

Through Jesus Christ who died on it.

It was Not always that way

Early years Dutch Reformed Church    Very Calvinistic

Focused on enduring to the end

Episcopal  dead Jesus.. still on the cross

In the Mormon Church, the Cross is a cursed thing.

The one thing you will never see on any Mormon Church 

Or Temple is a Cross. 

In fact, when I was still an active member of the church

We were there to witness the baptism of a new convert.  

As she was preparing to change into the white baptismal clothes. The bishop’s wife noticed that she was wearing a small cross on a necklace.  

The Bishop’s wife told her to remove it immediately. The lady said that her mother gave it to her just before she passed away and she had no intention of removing it, especially at a time like this.   The Bishop was called to the room and told her she could not be baptized while wearing the cross. 

The lady gathered her things and walked out of the ward building, never to reappear.   I spoke to her just briefly as she left the building. All she said was “I Thought this was a Christian Church. I was wrong. It’s a cult.”

They had no understanding why true Christians would stand before the cross in awe of Christ’s redemptive gift. They see no personal salvation in it.  

They believe that His death on Calvary gave all mankind physical resurrection. They believe that all Mormons will be judged for their own works, their own righteousness. 

They deny that Adam and Eve Sinned; Thus Mankind is born in purity and it is by his/her own works that they will  be judged.   so that they might earn their personal salvation, hopefully even godhood. equal to their man-god of this world.  

Without the fallen nature of mankind there is no need for a redeemer or any sacrifice on any cross.  They enjoy a Jesus without the cross, without the power to save anyone.

Let me go back a few years and fill you in on the background for this message.  Some years ago, I was ministering in Hawaii, with my friend Tom Bauer, the founder of Surfing the Nations.  

We were in front of the Hawaii Temple, just a short shuttle ride from the Polynesian Cultural Center, also owned and operated by the Mormon Church.  The BYU Hawaii campus is also in that North Shore neighborhood.  Most of the role-playing workers at the Center are BYU students from the Pacific islands.

We were handing out a small ministry tract called, “Questions for your Temple Tour.”  It pointed out the very non-Christian nature of the LDS temples and we gave them to the people who were visiting the Cultural Center and had accepted an invitation to also visit the LDS temple nearby.    

When the LDS officials inside the temple realized that we were messing up their tours when they stopped the shuttle in front of the temple to let the people out, they opened a side gate and began driving the shuttle onto LDS property.  

So we just went down the street and ran along both sides of each of the slow moving shuttles. In doing this, we were able to get the tract into every hand before they reached the property gate.

After a few more shuttles came down our path and while we were standing just outside the temple property line, talking to some of these visitors, 

An LDS official came running out, waving his arms in the air and screaming, “When are you going to stop persecuting us?”  

By then, a small crowd had gathered.  I responded just as loud, “When you take down that Moroni statue and replace it with a Cross.”

He screamed out, “We Curse the Cross!”

I responded, “We Preach the Cross!”

He yelled back, “You preach foolishness!”

I could not believe he had just said that.  I thought, “Has this man ever read the Bible?  I smiled at the lead-in he had just given me.

I responded,  “Sir, you call it foolishness, because you are lost and perishing, but we preach it because to us who are saved, it is the power of God manifest to mankind.” 

With a wild look, he stared at the people gathered around him now and raced back into the temple. 

The Bible says it like this: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

Let’s step back one verse and look at this in context

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

The great theologian, Charles Spurgeon spoke about this verse in a message delivered  on JULY 31, 1881.  He stated:

Paul had renounced the “wisdom of words.” He says that he was sent to “preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.” It is very clear, therefore, that there is an excellence, elegance and eloquence of language which would deprive the gospel of its due effect. 

I have never yet heard that the cross of Christ was made of no effect by great plainness of speech, nor even by ruggedness of language—but it is the, “wisdom of words,” which is said to have this destroying power. Oh, dreadful wisdom of words! 

God grant that we may be delivered from making attempts at it, for we ought earnestly to shun anything and everything which can be as mischievous in its influence as to make the cross of Christ of no effect. The “wisdom of words” works evil at times by veiling the truths of God which ought to be set forth in the clearest possible manner. 

The doctrine of atonement by blood, which is the essence of the preaching of the cross, is objectionable to many minds and, therefore, certain preachers take care not to state it too plainly.  It is missing in too many churches today.”

John Piper said this about Gal 6:14

“Only boast in the cross of Jesus Christ. It is a single idea. A single goal. A single passion. Only boast in the cross. 

The word can be translated “exult in” or “rejoice in.” Only exult in the cross of Christ. Only rejoice in the cross of Christ. 

Paul says let this be your single passion, your single boast and joy and exultation. In this great moment called one day let the one thing that you love, the one thing that you cherish, the one thing that you rejoice in and exult over be the cross of Jesus Christ.”

Trusting in works!

It is such a tragic thing to see so many  deceived and spiritually lost people trusting  in their own works to gain favor with God. Instead of being taught the joyous gift of the cross, their weak pastors, their false leaders pound into them the need for their own righteousness and works instead of His righteousness and His work done once and for all at the Cross.

I was having lunch with a local businessman a few weeks ago  and  we were talking openly about the Lord and the wonderful gift of salvation.  As the older couple seated in the next booth slowly rose to leave, my friend asked them if they knew that they were going to heaven when they died.  

The lady said, “Of course we are.”

When asked how she knew that, she replied that they were good people.

In the next few minutes of conversation, it became very apparent that Jesus and the cross had no major part of their journey to the great beyond. They were actually affronted that they might need Jesus and the cross.

A number of years ago, while I was an associate pastor
in a large Seattle church

We had an elderly crusade evangelist speak at our Sunday service.  He was a fireball, preaching with great power. He kept us all on the edges of our seats as he preached as though we were in the last moments of the end of days.  

We had a pastors’ luncheon after the service and I was fortunate enough to sit next to him.  I asked him what had been the ‘secret’ to his many years of seeing so many  tens of thousands come to know the Lord.  “What must I do to see the fruit you have seen?” 

He didn’t hesitate for a second. In a bold voice that boomed across the room, he almost shouted, “Preach the Cross and the Blood! Preach Jesus and Him Crucified!”

I never forgot those words from Dr. T.L. Osborn,   a man who proclaimed the Gospel to millions, face to face, in more than 100 nations. It was a message direct from God’s lips to me personally. It became my passion to preach the Cross.

In the 40 plus years that I have preached the message of  the Cross and blood across many nations, I have seen the sea of those who are  lost. Not Just the Mormons, but even the sweet, church going people like the elderly couple at Coco’s.  Lost to heaven forever.  They are like the Jews and the Greeks of the First Century.

but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews astumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 1 Corinthians 1:23

They are all truly lost to God, just as were the Jews of whom Paul again said, 

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10

One has to wonder how they can carry their Bibles into church every week and totally miss the entire message of the cross.  It speaks out throughout the Word. They are lost to God and Heaven with bibles in their hands

They may deny its power, but the cross still calls out to them. It is the cornerstone of our faith. They will be judged by their denial of its redemptive power.

And it is not just the Mormons who are lost to Christ in their own works. The Christian Church, especially in the I’m Ok, You’re Ok world we now live in, is full of those who justify their right standing with God through their good works.

These politically correct, seeker friendly churches who measure their good deeds in the community as tickets to heaven will be shocked to find out in eternity that they have side-stepped the wondrous cross of Christ and walked the wide path of humanism instead of the narrow road of righteousness in Him who shed His blood for them at the cross.

I discovered a long time ago that

We don’t do works to GET saved! 

 We do works because we ARE saved!

We are justified by 


But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Rom. 5:8-11. 

Redemption is through his blood

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7).

Jesus blood cleanses us from all sin.

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

Jesus’ precious blood 

18 knowing that you were not redeemed with [g]corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.  (1 Pet. 1:18-19). 

Boldness by the blood 

19 Therefore, brethren, having boldnessto enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,  (Heb. 10:19). 

No longer is there a veil between us and God..  Jesus removed it.

We are brought to God by the cross

14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

 19 Now, therefore, you [and I ] are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 

 (Eph. 2:13-17). 

Our peace with God is by the cross
(Col. 1:20).

Eternal life is only by Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

I could keep you here though the afternoon quoting the Biblical words about the Cross of Christ and the power of his shed His Blood.

We do not have the Time.

Let me come back to those words by T.L. Osborn

“Preach the Cross and the Blood! Preach Jesus and Him Crucified!”

We need to live it and  preach it as the upmost important part of our Christian life!

When I turned eighty, I had a long talk with God about my future

 He sent me to this verse.  Numbers 14:24

But My servant Caleb,

 because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.

I felt the zeal and passion of Caleb fall upon me that morning 

 Caleb! What a Guy!

  • He was one of the ten spies Numbers 13:6
  • He was courageous Numbers 13:30; 14:6-9
  • He persevered Numbers 14: 37,38
  • He was vigorous and  faithful in his old age Joshua 14:1014
  • Invincible- drove out the giants from Hebron Joshua 15:14


Paul was a zealot of the same cloth!

Revival or Riots wherever Paul went

Acts 9:20-25 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?”  But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.

Paul was my hero from the start!

I laugh because once, as I traveled and preached through Utah, a Mormon leader was quoted as saying something like, “ We can’t figure this guy and his rag-tail army out! Its like he is bringing riots and chaos everyplace he goes.

Paul lived and died in the walk and the talk of His vision.

When he stood before King Aggippa, he shared his vision of Christ and conversion, saying, that the Lord told him:  in Acts 26:

17 I will [b]deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I [c]now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified[d] by faith in Me.’

19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,

I fully understood Paul’s zeal to reach back to his own lost people.  I have walked that path for over 40 years

And Like Paul, Its time we each t walk our vision. I know you each have one or you would not be here today.

It is time to live it and to take that every next step even if it takes you out of your comfort zone

Let me close with this:  

One of my Favorite Zealots,  Bishop J.C. Ryle
said this about zeal.

 And I center my own life through these words.

Zeal in religion is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to advance His glory in the world in every possible way. It is a desire which no man feels by nature, —which the Spirit puts in the heart of every believer when he is converted,—but which some believers feel so much more strongly than others that they alone deserve to be called “zealots” 

This desire is so strong, when it really reigns in a man, that it impels him to make any sacrifice,—to go through any trouble,—to deny himself to any amount,—to suffer, to work, to labour, to toil,—to spend himself and be spent, and even to die,—if only he can please God and honour Christ.

A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. 

He only sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives, or whether he dies,—whether he has health, or whether he has sickness,—whether he is rich, or whether he is poor,—whether he pleases man, or whether he gives offence,—whether he is thought wise, or whether he is thought foolish,—whether he gets blame, or whether he gets praise,—whether he gets honour, or whether he gets shame,—for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. 

He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory. If he is consumed in the very burning, he cares not for it,—he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn; and if consumed in burning, he has but done the work for which God appointed him. 

Such an one will always find a sphere for his zeal. If he cannot preach, and work, and give money, he will cry, and sigh, and pray. 

Yes: if he is only a pauper, on a perpetual bed of sickness, he will make the wheels of sin around him drive heavily, by continually interceding against it. If he cannot fight in the valley with Joshua, he will do the work of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, on the hill.  

If he is cut off from working himself, he will give the Lord no rest till help is raised up from another quarter, and the work is done. 

This is what I mean when I speak of “zeal” in religion.

I solemnly testify to you, my home church,

Even as I have gone forth to fulfill His vision for my life, across the world, seeing great harvest amidst the curses and threats and attempts on my life…

I have not faltered a step in that walk since the day God freed me from the bondage of sin  at Angle Lake Neighborhood Church on the first Sunday night of 1975.

-My  family , my wife Carol and our sons have walked  right along side me, fellow zealots for Christ. And now they raise up a new generation of zealots!

How about you???

Will you be one of the Zealots of the Lord?

Will you walk the steps, the life, the vision God has given you?

Are you holding back because it has too high a price.?

Will you do it with a whole heart for God?

With all Zeal. In Love, in Obedience, In Trust, In prayer,

In the Word, In repentance…

Is it your time to say

Lord, here am I  …………..Take me

Use me………………………….Send me

Is it is time for the Lord to do wonders amongst us?

In your family In your Life

In   this church? Let’s Pray