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The Wednesday Word: Christ Lifted Up Part 2

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32).

There is no doubt or hesitation in this statement. Jesus is saying, if He dies on the cross, multitudes of people will be drawn to Him. There is no hint or suggestion in this statement of any kind of failure in the cross. He MUST be lifted up and as a result He WILL draw all to Himself.

Because of His being crucified, there will be a great multitude which no man can number drawn to him. They will come to Him out of all nations, peoples, and tongues (see Revelation 7:9).

Of course, we must not read into the text (John 12:32) that which is not there. When the Master said He would draw all men unto Him, He didn´t mean all men without exception. That would be contrary to Scripture. That would mean that Hell is a monumental testimony of the failure of the cross. Plainly, the words mean that He will draw all manner of people to Him — Kings, Queens, high, low, rich, poor, moral, immoral and people of every description. All will be drawn to Him (Revelation 5:9).

If we read Acts 15:14, we will see that in the great Council of Jerusalem, James stood up and said that God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name.

And the truth is, God is yet calling out a people for His name, a people for His praise and a people for the glory of His grace.

If you are a believer, and I trust you are, let me ask, do you witness for Him and engage to some degree in His work? Is it not an immense encouragement to know that His death was not in vain? His work upon the cross has definite results —the results that He intended. Is it not an encouragement to know that Christ is not disappointed by the outcome of Calvary?

Every mansion in heaven will be occupied. There will be no empty seats. It is the great purpose of the Lord Jesus to, because of the cross, draw all kinds of people to Himself.

It is an immense comfort as we gossip the Gospel to know that there is no failure in the work the Lord finished. Christ is accomplishing His purposes and will continually accomplish them until He comes back again and welcomes all His believing people to Himself.

Hudson Taylor, missionary to China in the 1800s, said, if he had gone out to China with the idea that God was going to convert all the Chinese, he would have left China long ago. But he said he went there with the idea that God would call out a people for His name, and this purpose, he said, was accomplished. He said that in almost every province in China there were numbers ready to meet Christ when He returned.

And so, it is an immense encouragement, as we witness, to know that the Lord´s purposes shall be fully accomplished; His death was not in vain. He shall see, the travail of His soul and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).

Therefore, we should take Him at His word and believe Him when He says,

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32).

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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Thou art free to the throne of grace

Next, recollect that thou art free to the throne of grace. It is the privilege of Englishmen, that they can always send a petition to Parliament; and it is the privilege of a believer, that he can always send a petition to the throne of God. I am free to God’s throne. If I want to talk to God to-morrow morning, I can. If to-night I wish to have conversation with my Master, I can go to him. I have a right to go to his throne. It matters not how much I may have sinned. I go and ask for pardon. It signifies nothing how poor I am-I go and plead his promise that he will provide all things needful. I have a right to go to his throne at all times-in midnight’s darkest hour, or in noontide’s heat. Wherever I am; if fate command me to the utmost verge of the wide earth, I have still constant admission to his throne. Use that right, beloved-use that right. There is not one of you that lives up to his privilege. Many a gentleman will live beyond his income, spending more than he has coming in; but there is not a Christian that does that-I mean that lives up to his spiritual income. Oh, no! you have an infinite income-an income of promises-an income of grace; and no Christian ever lived up to his income. Some people say, “If I had more money I should have a larger house, and horses, and carriage, and so on.” Very well and good; but I wish the Christian would do the same. I wish they would set up a larger house, and do greater things for God; look more happy, and take those tears away from their eyes.

Religion never was designed

To make our pleasures less.”

With such stores in the bank, and so much in hand, that God gives you, you have no right to be poor. Up! rejoice! rejoice! The Christian ought to live up to his income, and not below it.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855

The Wednesday Word: Christ Lifted Up: Part 1

And if I be lifted up from the earth: I will draw all men unto Me; (see John 12:32-33.)

THREE times in the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to the fact of His being lifted up on the cross. On the first occasion, He spoke about it in a private conversation with Nicodemus. Remember how He said, ´´As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness. even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish; but have eternal life´´ (John 3:14-15).

Notice also how He spoke of the necessity of the cross. He said, “Even so MUST the Son of Man be lifted up: “

Again, in a public discourse: in the Temple, Jesus said. “When you have lifted up the Son of Man then shall you know that I am He.” (John 8:28).

Then shortly after His triumphal. entry into Jerusalem He said, “And, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto Me ” (John 12:32-33).

Those were prophetic words telling of the manner and results of Christ’s death.

If He had been put to death by the Jewish authorities as a blasphemer, His death would have been by stoning; But that was not the way the Father intended. He had purposed to inflict the death penalty on the Beloved One, the representative man. The Father was responsible for Christ´s death. Neither the Jews nor the Romans killed Jesus…. They were used in that terrible event, but Jesus was executed by the Father. Otherwise, justice would not have been served.

But back to our main theme. One of the things we learn from our text is that the drawing of men to Christ would be absolutely dependent upon His death. The Master said, “And if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto Me.” There could have been no ‘drawing of men’ to Christ for salvation if He had not died upon the cross!

We read in John 6:44, “No man can come unto Me except the Father which hath sent Me draw him.” But what would have been the point of the Father drawing men if Jesus had not died for their sins? There would have been no salvation if Christ had not died! And so, in John 12:24 He says, ” except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides, alone.” Jesus was speaking of Himself. He was that corn of wheat, and unless He had died on the cross, He would have been alone. No one would have been saved.

And so, our Lord here teaches us that it was absolutely necessary for the salvation of His people that He should die upon the cross. He does not say. ” If I go on working miracles, my miracles will draw all men unto Me “; or ” I if I go on living a holy, and godly life I will draw all men unto Me. No! A thousand times No! Here´s what He did say. “If I be lifted up (on the cross) I will draw all men unto Me. Thus, our Lord fixes our attention upon His death in order to show that His death was essential for our salvation.

His death upon the cross is the great central truth of the Gospel and except He had died no one would ever have been saved. Therefore, let us hold fast to what has sneeringly been referred to as “Blood Theology.” Without the shedding of blood there is no remission (Hebrews 9:22). God justifies … freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). Whom God hath set forth to be a wrath offering through faith in His blood (Romans 3:25).

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

You are free to all that is in the Bible

And now, dear friends, I have shown you as briefly as I can the negative side of this liberty. I have tried to tell you, as well as I could put it in a few words, what we are freed from. But there are two sides to such questions as this. There are some glorious things that we are free to. Not only are we freed from sin in every sense from the law, and from the fear of death; but we are free to do something. I shall not occupy many moments, but shall just run over a few things we are free to; for, my brother Christians, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty;” and that liberty gives us certain rights and privileges.

In the first place, we are free to heaven’s charter. There is heaven’s charter-the Magna Charta-the Bible; and, my brother, you are free to it. There is a choice passage here: “When thou passest through the river I will be with thee, and the floods shall not overflow thee;” thou art free to that. Here is another: “Mountains may depart, and hills may be removed; but my lovingkindness shall not depart:” you are free to that. Here is another “Having loved his own, he loved them unto the end.” You are free to that. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Here is a chapter touching election: you are free to that if you are elect. Here is another, speaking of the non-condemnation of the righteous, and their justification; you are free to that. You are free to all that is in the Bible. Here is a never failing treasure filled with boundless stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven: you may draw from it as much as you please without let or hindrance. Bring nothing with you, except faith. Bring as much faith as you can get, and you are welcome to all that is in the Bible. There is not a promise, not a word in it, that is not yours. In the depths of tribulation let it comfort you. Mid waves of distress let it cheer you. When sorrows surround thee, let it be thy helper. This is thy father’s love-token: let it never be shut up and covered with dust. Thou art free to it-use, then, thy freedom.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” from the Fear of Death

6. But to conclude, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” from the Fear of Death. O death! how many a sweet cup hast thou made bitter. O death! how many a revel hast thou broken up. O death! how many a gluttonous banquet hast thou spoiled. O death! how many a sinful pleasure hast thou turned into pain. Take ye, my friends, the telescope this morning, and look through the vista of a few years, and what see you? Grim death in the distance grasping his scythe. He is coming, coming, coming; and what is behind him? Ay, that depends upon your own character. If ye are the sons of God, there is the palm-branch; if ye are not, ye know what followeth death-Hell follows him. O death! thy specter hath haunted many a house where sin otherwise would have rioted O death! thy chilly hand hath touched many a heart that was big with lust, and made it start affrighted from its crime. Oh! how many men are slaves to the fear of death. Half the people in the world are afraid to die. There are some madmen who can march up to the cannon’s mouth, there are some fools who rush with bloody hands before their Maker’s tribunal; but most men fear to die. Who is the man that does not fear to die? I will tell you. The man that is a believer. Fear to die! Thank God, I do not. The cholera may come again next summer-I pray God it may not, but if it does, it matters not to me: I will toil and visit the sick by night and by day, until I drop, and if it takes me, sudden death is sudden glory. And so-with the weakest saint in this hall; the prospect of dissolution does not make you tremble. Sometimes you fear, but oftener you rejoice. You sit down calmly and think of dying. What is death? It is a low porch through which you stoop to enter heaven. What is life? It is a narrow screen that separates us from glory, and death kindly removes it. I recollect a saying of a good old woman, who said, “Afraid to die, sir! I have dipped my foot in Jordan every morning before breakfast for the last fifty years, and do you think I am afraid to die now?” Die! beloved: why we die hundreds of times, we “die daily,” we die every morning, we die each night when we sleep, by faith we die, and so dying will be old work when we come to it. We shall say, “Ah, death! you and I have been old acquaintances; I have had thee in my bedroom every night. I have talked with thee each day; I have had the skull upon my dressing table, and I have ofttimes thought of thee. Death! thou art come at last, but thou art a welcome guest- thou art an angel of light, and the best friend I have had “Why, then, dread death since there is no fear of God’s leaving you when you come to die! Here I must tell you that anecdote of the good Welch lady, who, when she lay a-dying, was visited by her minister. He said to her, “Sister are you sinking?” She answered him not a word, but looked at him with an incredulous eye. He repeated the question, “Sister, are you sinking?” She looked at him again, as if she could not believe that he would ask such a question. At last, rising a little in the bed, she said, “Sinking! Sinking! Did you ever know a sinner sink through a rock? If I had been standing on the sand, I might sink; but, thank God I am on the Rock of Ages, and there is no sinking there.” How glorious to diet Oh, angels, come! Oh, cohorts of the Lord of hosts, stretch, stretch your broad wings and lift us up from earth; O, winged seraphs, bear us far above the reach of these inferior things; but till ye come, I’ll sing,

Since Jesus is mine, I’ll not fear undressing-

But gladly put off these garments of clay,

To die in the lord is a covenant blessing;

Since Jesus to glory, though death lead the way.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” in all holy acts of love-liberty from a slavish fear of law

5. Once more: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” in all holy acts of love-liberty from a slavish fear of law. Many people are honest because they are afraid of the policeman. Many are sober because they are afraid of the eye of the public. Many persons are seemingly religious because of their neighbors. There is much virtue which is like the juice of the grape-it has to be squeezed before you get it; it is not like the generous drop of the honeycomb, distilling willingly and freely. I am bold to say, that if a man be destitute of the grace of God, his works are only works of slavery, he feels forced to do them. I know before I came into the liberty of the children of God, if I went to God’s house, I went because I thought I must do it; if I prayed, it was because I feared some misfortune would happen in the day if I did not; if I ever thanked God for a mercy, it was because I thought I should not get another if I were not thankful; if I performed a righteous deed it was with the hope that very likely God would reward me at last, and I should be winning some crown in heaven. A poor slave, a mere Gibeonite, hewing wood and drawing water. If I could have left off doing it, I should have loved to do so. If I could have had my will, there would have been no chapel-going for me, no religion for me-I would have lived in the world and followed the ways of Satan if I could have done as I pleased. As for righteousness, it was slavery; sin would have been my liberty. But now, Christian, what is your liberty? What makes you come to the house of God to day?

Love made your willing feet

In swift obedience move.”

What makes you bend your knee in prayer? It is because you like to talk with your Father who seeth in secret. What is it that opens your purses, and makes you give liberally? It is because you love the poor children of God, and you feel, so much being given to you, that it is a privilege to give something back to Christ. What is it that constrains you to live honestly, righteously, and soberly; Is it the fear of the jail? No; you might pull the jail down; you might annihilate the Convict settlements; you might hurl all

chains into the sea; and we should be just as holy as we are now. Some people say, “Then, sir, you mean to say that Christians may live as they like.” I wish they could, sir. If I could live as I liked, I would, always live holily. If a Christian could live as he liked, he would always live as he ought. It is a slavery to him to sin; righteousness is his delight. Oh! if I could but live as I list, I would list to live as I ought. If I could but live as I would I would live as God commands me. The greatest happiness of a Christian is to be holy. It is no slavery to him. Put him where you will, he will not sin, Expose him to any temptation, if it were not for that evil heart still remaining, you would never find him sinning. Holiness is his pleasure; sin is his slavery. Ah ye poor bondsmen who come to church and chapel because ye must; ah! ye poor slavish moralists that are honest because of the gyves, and sober because of the prison, ah! ye poor slaves! We are not so; we are not under the law, but under grace. Call us Antinomians if you will; we will even glory in the scandalous title; we are freed from the law, but we are freed from it that we may obey it more than ever we did. The true-born child of God serves his Master more than ever he did. As old Erskine says:-

Slight now his loving presence if they can;

No, no; his conquering kindness leads the van.

When everlasting love exerts the sway,

They judge themselves most kindly bound to obey;

Bound by redeeming love in stricter sense,

Than ever Adam was in innocence.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855

The Christian man, whilst delivered from the guilt and punishment of sin, is likewise delivered from the dominion of it

4. Furthermore, the Christian man, whilst delivered from the guilt and punishment of sin, is likewise delivered from the dominion of it. Every living man before he is converted, is a slave to lust. Profane men glory in free living and free thinking. They call this free living-a full glass, a Bacchanalian revel, shouting wantonness, chambering.-Free living, sir! Let the slave hold up his fetters and jingle them in my ears, and say, “This is music, and I am free.” The man is a poor maniac. Let the man chained in his cell, the madman of Bethlehem, tell me he is a king, and grin a horrible smile; I say, “Ah, poor wretch, I know wherefore he counteth that he is a king; he is demented, and is mad.” So it is with the worldling who says he is free. Free sir! you are a slave. You think you are happy; but at night, when you lay yourself upon your bed, how many times have you tossed from side to side sleepless and ill at ease, and when you awaked have you not said, “Ah! that yesterday-that yesterday!” And though you plunged into another day of sin, that “yesterday,” like a hell-dog, barked at you, and followed at your heels. You know it, sir,-sin is a bondage and a slavery. And have you ever tried to get rid of that slavery? “Yes,” you say, “I have.” But I will tell you what has been the end of it. When you have tried, you have bound your fetters firmer than ever; you have rivetted your chains. A sinner without grace attempting to reform himself is like Sisiphus rolling the stone up hill, which always comes down with greater force. A man without grace attempting to save himself, is engaged in as hopeless a task as the daughters of Danaus, when they attempted to fill a vast vessel with bottomless buckets. He has a bow without a string, a sword without a blade a gun without powder. He needs strength. I grant you, he may produce a hollow reformation; he may earth up the volcano, and sow flowers around its crater; but when it once begins to stir again, it shall move the earth away, and the hot lava shall roll over all the fair flowers which he had planted, and devastate both his works and his righteousness. A sinner without grace is a slave: he cannot deliver himself from his sins. But not so the Christian! Is he a slave to his sin? Is a true-born heir of God a slave? Oh, no. He does not sin, because he is born of God; he does not live in uncleanness, because he is an heir of immortality. Ye beggars of the earth may stoop to deeds of wrong, but princes of heaven’s blood must follow acts of right. Ye poor worldlings, mean and pitiful wretches in God’s sight — ye may live in dishonesty and unrighteousness, but the heir of heaven cannot; he loves his Lord; he is free from the power of sin; his work is righteousness, and his end is everlasting life. We are free from the dominion of sin.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855