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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 

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  

The Wednesday Word: SAVED

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”(Acts 4:12).

SAVED! What a great Bible term. Some people say it is antiquated, but I disagree. It means deliverance instead of destruction, life instead of death, acquittal instead of punishment and rescue instead of ruin. Saved! What a wonderful multi-faceted word! May we never drop it from our vocabulary.

We are saved!

And how did we get saved? We got saved on the basis of Christ’s finished work outside of us in history (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Believers have been delivered from damnation (Romans 5:1). We are saved.

Believers are no longer under wrath (Romans 5:9)…..we are saved.

Jesus said, ¨I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture¨ (John 10:9).

Again, In Acts 2:21 we learn that “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

‘But surely I am saved by giving up my bad habits?’ Not at all! As Harry Ironside said, “The Gospel is not a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”

Inspite of our unworthiness, we, by faith, receive a complete and finished salvation. We are not half condemned, we are saved. We are not half accepted, we are saved.

Because of the doing, dying and rising again of Christ Jesus we are saved completely (Colossians 2:10).

We are saved forever, (Romans 11:29).

And, we are saved for his glory (Romans 15:7).

Notice how our salvation begins with grace and ends with glory. Grace is the forerunner of Glory. Glory is the consummation of grace.

Across the history of the believer’s life is now written in large bold letters ..SAVED. The more we understand the Gospel the more we realise that the Father cannot discover any state to ‘unfit’ us for Jesus. (see Romans 8:33-39). We are saved!

It’s a wonderful thing to know that the Lord Jesus has nothing against us. We are saved! We are saved because Christ Jesus suffered on the cross. He was charged with our sin and He acknowledged our sin to be his. We are saved! In His life, He gave himself for us. At the cross, He gave Himself for us. We are saved!

What sin can keep the believer out of Glory?

Would you say blasphemy? No it can’t be blasphemy for Saul of Tarsus said, “I was a blasphemer”(1 Timothy 1:13). Yet, God saved him.

Would adultery keep a person out of Glory? That can’t be so. Rahab the harlot had practiced prostitution (Joshua 2:1). Yet God saved her.

Would you say murder would keep a person out of glory? Well, David had a hit man go and kill Uriah; that’s murder. (2 Samuel 12). Yet God saved him.

Would you say divorce would keep you out of Glory? The woman at the well was married five times (John 4:16-18). But God saved her.

We have too small a view of the Lord’s power, grace and mercy. He is the Saviour! We are the saved.

As you remember, the name Jesus comes from the Hebrew ‘Jehoshua’, meaning “Jehovah saves”. Jesus was born as our Saviour. If he loses us, he’s not the saviour who was born to save. But He died on the cross as our saviour. He was buried and rose again as our Saviour! Therefore, we are safe and we are saved!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: The Gospel: Our Best Friend

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:14.

We often feel that we are not worth saving … and this, of course, is an accurate assessment. As Spurgeon said, “When you feel yourself as totally unworthy you have hit the truth.” That is why, as we grow in grace, the Gospel is our best friend.

Let me illustrate. The story is told of how the devil sought to discourage the mighty reformer Martin Luther by continually making him feel guilty. Satan, it seems constantly reminded the great preacher of the list of his sins. When the devil had finished, Luther purportedly said, “Think harder: you must have forgotten some.” And the devil did think, and he listed more sins. When he was done enumerating the sins, Luther said, “Now, with a red ink write over that list, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.” The devil had nothing to say in the light of Luther’s best friend … the Gospel.

As we look by faith to the Lord Jesus, and see His shed blood, we find healing for our wounded conscience. By faith, we understand that His blood has satisfied all claims that unalterable divine justice made against us.

The Gospel is our best friend.

Our sins have been purged perfectly by a perfect offering made with perfect blood. These are the truths to continually feed to the troubled conscience.

If we are regularly condemned by the consciousness of our past sins, we have an evil conscience (Hebrews 10:22). However, the Gospel gives us a perfect conscience that is free from the guilt and condemnation of sins.

The Gospel is our best friend.

I will admit that the legalist in me is sometimes uncomfortable with this arrangement. Maybe you are like me, resistant, at times, to the accomplishments of grace? This is why we need to continually saturate our minds with the Gospel. When we find ourselves more conscious of our former sins than we are of the accomplishments of Christ on our behalf, we need to cleanse our thinking by applying Finished Work teaching to our thinking.

The Gospel is our best friend.

Do you know that your sins are forgiven? Someone says, “I can’t say that they are, but I am doing my best to change my life.” That’s great, but it will never work! You can do your best to reform, but that will never purge your conscience. Only applying the blood of Christ can do that.

The Gospel is our best friend.

Christ, as a man, was the Servant of Yahweh, the one in whom the Father delighted. It was the Father’s purpose to save and cleanse a people for Himself, and His plans were flawlessly executed by His beloved Son, the God/Man. It is only by the shedding of His blood that we are saved, and that blood was shed 2000 years ago at Calvary. The work is finished. He gave His life a ransom for the sins of His people (Isaiah 53:10). Do you know this? Is this truly personal to you?

Our best religious efforts cannot cleanse the conscience. But the Lord wants us to hear him say “Be of good cheer; your sins, which are many, are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2).

What can prevent us going to Him? Our sins? No, it is our sin that is the reason to approach Him. Let us go to Him with freedom of speech (see Hebrews 4:16) to obtain mercy and grace to help in the time of need. He alone can purge the guilty conscience and give peace to the troubled mind.

The Gospel is our best friend.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Grace! Grace! Grace! Part 3

In the entire Bible there is no scripture that indicates that we can be saved without Jesus Christ!

In the Old Testament, He is the coming Messiah. He is the promise of grace. In the New Testament, He is the realized Messiah who makes us alive by grace.

Grace always leads us to Christ Jesus who by grace procured our salvation (Romans 5:8).

He Himself is our salvation (John 11:25).

He Himself is the grace of God (Titus 2:11).

Grace is embedded in His very name, for the name of Jesus, means salvation. Do you remember this verse “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)?

Grace leads the Lord’s people to Christ Jesus, and no one else. Grace enables us to “look unto Him” by faith to be saved.

But what about repentance brother? Yes what about it? Is it not important? Yes it is! But let me ask you…where do we get repentance? It’s the goodness of God exhibited in His Grace that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Dear pastor, do you want to see genuine repentance in your church, then preach Christ crucified. There is no other way! It’s Grace, Grace, Grace! Sometimes we pastors find ourselves trying to motivate our listeners by the Law and its demands instead of by the Gospel. However, it takes no spirituality whatsoever to get behind the pulpit and demand change as we warn about bad habits and lax living. This is not Gospel preaching!

But I digress.

We can say that grace is:

1) Free Grace—the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8)

2) Saving Grace—it brings us to eternal salvation (Ephesians 2:8).

3) Sovereign Grace—not of ourselves, but by God’s sovereign will (Ephesians 2:8)

4) Sustaining Grace—created in Christ Jesus unto good works. He ordained beforehand that we should walk (move forward) in them (Ephesians 2:10).

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now am found

Was blind, but now I see.

T’was grace that taught my heart to fear

And grace, my fears relieved.

How precious did that grace appear,

The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares

I have already come

‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home

John Nelson, a preacher in the 18th century had been a stonemason before God saved him. And God used him mightily to lead people to Christ. One day he was talking to a self-righteous individual who said, “I don’t need your Saviour. I live right, and I’ve done good things. I’ll take my chances with the rest of the people.” Mr Nelson replied, “Well look here my good man, if God let you into heaven, you’d bring discord there, because all the others would be singing ‘worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing,’ and you’d be singing ‘worthy am I, glory to me, because I lived a consistent Christian life.’ He said, “If an angel heard you sing a song like that in heaven, why he’d throw you over the wall.” And the redeemed folks will all chime in and say, “My soul shall make her boast in the Lord, and nothing else.”

There’ll be nobody in heaven singing about what they have done

It’s Grace! Grace! Grace!

God saves us because He is gracious, not because He sees any goodness inherent in us!

It’s Grace! Grace! Grace!

Our certain hope stands on pure Grace, sovereign, unqualified Grace!

It’s Grace! Grace! Grace!

God saves us because He is good, not because we are!

It’s all of Grace.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Grace! Grace! Grace! Part 2

by D. G. Miles McKee

Ephesians 2: 8-10.

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast…..”

Matthew Henry’s commentary on our text says: “Every converted sinner is a saved sinner. Such are delivered from sin and wrath; they are brought into a state of salvation and have a right given them by grace to eternal happiness.

“The grace that saves them is the free, underserved, goodness and favour of God; and He saves them, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, by means of which they come to partake of the great blessings of the gospel; and both that faith and that salvation on which it has so great an influence are the gift of God.”

Salvation is entirely by Grace. Paul says in Ephesians 2:1: “You has he made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins.” We were spiritually dead. We had no spiritual understanding. What did we deserve but a good burial? …If even!

In Ephesians 2:2-3 however, as we read on, we learn the strangest thing, we discover we were dead but walking .. literally we were “walking dead men”…. We were zombies-like walking according to the world system, which is against God, and following “the prince of the power of the air,” which is Satan.

There’s a story about a graveyard in an area in Ayrshire, Scotland, where once a stranger was buried. It greatly distressed the people of that particular parish, so much so that they put a notice up on the outside of the graveyard that read, “This graveyard is reserved exclusively for the dead who are living in this parish.” Funny!

But we were living dead people. We were alive, just like Adam was physically alive after he had sinned, but nevertheless spiritually dead. We were living and were dead, but God made us alive. Grace! Grace ! Grace!

Here’s a good way of looking at grace… Notice in Ephesians 1:1 the apostle calls believers saints. However, look at what we once were. Ephesians 2:1-3..

Dead,

Walking in the devil’s path,

Children of disobedience,

Children of wrath.

And what made the difference? It was grace.

In addition, 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us we are chosen by grace;

In Ephesians 1:7 we learn that we have redemption by grace;

We are adopted by grace Ephesians 1:5.

By that same grace we are accepted Ephesians 1:6.

By grace we have the forgiveness of sins Ephesians 1:7.

By that same grace we have been made alive together with Christ Ephesians 2:5.

He has glorified us by grace Ephesians 2:6.

Nowhere in the Bible is credit given to man regarding his salvation. It is all of grace! The making alive, the undeserved favour, the faith, the union with Christ, the good works that follow after salvation are all the gifts of Almighty God!

Is it any wonder then that Paul would write in Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

To “glory” is “to boast”. Paul is saying that we cannot boast in anything except the cross of the Lord Jesus. That’s another way of saying that we are saved by grace. All our prosperity, all our accomplishments, all our doctrinal understanding, and even all the accumulated knowledge over our lifetime is nothing to glory about. We can boast only in the grace of God as seen in the cross, the cross of Christ! Glory to His name!

To be continued.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Life with a Capital L

December 26, 2018 4 comments

We do not get spiritual life by feeling something about ourselves but by believing something about Jesus. Jesus Christ is both the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). When we have Him as our truth then we enjoy Him as our life.

But, when do we begin to enjoy this life? We enjoy it when we believe. This is why we read, “..And that believing you might have life through his name” (John 20:31).

Too many time we occupy ourselves with our condition. But looking inwards cannot impart life. Constantly looking inwards is as useless as a rubber beak on a woodpecker and as dangerous as a concrete parachute.

Instead of looking inward, we must look outside ourselves to the Lord Jesus, to the one who accomplished our redemption. He is the one who imparts life. But we don’t enjoy that life by focusing on it. No indeed! It is as we occupy ourselves with the Lord Jesus, the more we relish the new life He gives us.

For example, when the stinging memory of ancient sins rises up to plague us, we learn not to dwell on them or even to focus on our repentance. We look instead to the Christ who once hung for us on that center cross and died for that particular sin (s).

The old maxim, ’Seeing is Believing’ does not hold true in the Gospel. In the Gospel,” Seeing is not believing, instead, believing is Seeing.’ As the old Hymn writer said of the cross, “It was there by faith I received my sight.” Believe, trust, rest on the fact that He, the Lord Jesus, has taken our punishment. He is the faithful One. As we focus on Jesus, Life with a capital L will be enjoyed immediately.

Look to Jesus! Look to Jesus!

Look away to Christ our God!

None but Jesus, none but Jesus

Can do helpless sinners good

The more we cling to Jesus the more life we will enjoy. Again, we must be clear on this. The source of our life does not come from anything in us or from having had some new and wonderful experience. The source of our life comes from the Gospel, from the Person of Christ, His doing, dying and rising again.

Every claim which the eternal, righteous Judge held against us has been settled by the blood of Jesus. As we believe the Gospel, the more we will enjoy spiritual life. As we look away from ourselves, we see that God is just and the justifier of them that believeon the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:29). As we behold and confess these gospel truths, our hearts will be full of rejoicing.

It’s no wonder then that Paul wrote, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world (Galatians 6:14).

While the unsaved stay close to the world, we stay close to Jesus and his finished work. He is the center of our message and the center of our life. He is the one who accomplished everything the Father intended Him to finish.

Our life comes from Christ and His cross. In the shadow of the cross, sorrows cannot live and joy cannot die! In the shade of the cross, the attractions of the world perish.

Here it is we find our Heaven,

While on the cross we gaze;

Love we much? We’ve more forgiven,

We are miracles of Grace

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com