If I Be Lifted Up
Krugersdorp, Republic of South Africa
It is apparent that the words of our Saviour in John 12:32 are being neglected, both by the denominations and by many of our liberal brethren. Worldly wise men fail to recognize the importance of using the right motives to induce men to become followers of the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. Let us notice first what draws men to Christ, and then we will be in, a better position to recognize the failure of the worldly inducements used by these modernists.
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me (John 12:32). Firstly, let us realize that Jesus does not indicate that He will draw every individual, but rather people of every nation, and from all walks of life. There are individuals that never will be drawn to Christ, and to continually try to reach such people is to cast our pearls before the swine. Jesus does, however, promise to provide a way which shall present a strong motive or inducement for people of all nations to become Christians. Our Saviour shows that this drawing power is conditional on, or centers on him being lifted up from the earth. In John 3:14 Jesus said, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up."
The Lord's statement here in John 12 had its fulfillment firstly when He was lifted up onto the cross; secondly, with his resurrection from the dead; and, finally, it had its culmination as his disciples witnessed his ascension to heaven. In I Cor. 15:1-4 the apostle Paul shows that the gospel centers around Christ dying for our sins (verse 3), his burial and resurrection (verse 4). Paul thus states the theme of his preaching in I Cor. 2:2, "For I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." Let us couple two scriptures together to further illustrate this point. John 6:44, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." 2 Thess. 2:14, "Whereunto he (God) called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." It is evident that God intends the GOSPEL to be the drawing power.
I would be the first to agree that it is scriptural and proper for the church to own a meeting place, but when brethren spend a million dollars in erecting a temple in any given locality, with the hope that it will draw men, then they miss the mark and their appeal is to the lust of the eyes.
Again, let me say that I believe that it is the duty of every Christian to assist people in need, providing that said Christian has the ability to do so; but when the church starts using hamburgers, food parcels, etc., as a bait to draw men to worship God, they again fall short in that they appeal to the lust of the flesh.
We all agree that there is a great need for men to preach the gospel of God, and we admire men who set themselves to this noble task, and what is more, spare no effort to do it effectively. But when the church makes demands for well-cultured speakers, with high educational degrees hoping that these polished men will tickle the ears of their audiences, and thus draw great masses, they are making their appeal to the pride of life. Now notice I John 2:16. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
The task set before us is to preach the gospel to every creature. The incentive for people to obey the gospel is the spiritual blessings to be found in Christ Jesus; namely, the remission of sins, and eternal salvation. When eternal salvation is held in contrast to eternal damnation, then there is sufficient motive for people to obey the gospel.
NOTE: Brother Cass is a South African citizen who has been preaching the gospel for the past eight years. He has been training and studying with me during much of this time. At considerable financial sacrifice, Basil left a stable secular position to preach fulltime. He is a family man, having a fine Christian as a mate and three lovely daughters. Being supported by two South African churches and four American congregations, he is yet receiving only $350 a month. This is obviously not enough to support a family of five. We are appealing to both individuals and congregations to help this willing worker. After reading his good article, won't you take some steps to communicate with Brother Cass directly? Here is a man you can trust.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XII: 4, pp. 7-8