TheAttraction Of The Cross

 

Introduction: John 12:20-32

 

Ina recent advertisement of a particular church services, there was an announcementon a billboard that read "Come and hear famous gospel group sing at our services". This advertisement set me to thinking as to what really was the great attraction to men in this day as well as in former days.At once there came to my mind the words of our text. These words contain God's answer to our question.And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself.†††††††† John 12:32

 

There is nothing that will draw like the crucified Christ. movies, ballgames,musical concerts and other forms of entertainment may draw large crowds of fun seekers. But nothing really draws and holds the morally responsible like Jesus Christ lifted up. Twenty centuries bear witness to power of the crucified, Savior.

 

Beginning in the middle 1800's preachers drewlarge crowds of people. This was to hear the gospel of Christ. Larger numbers, than anytime recorded except in the first century were converted. What was the drawing power?And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself

 

I read the story where for two continuous weeks, six afternoonsand evenings of each week, great crowds filled one concert hall. The newspapers wrote these words: "No one has ever attempted to hold two weeksconsecutive meetings here of any kind.Gladstone himself, could not fill this hall for two weeks. "

During the weeks the papers called attention to the fact, that each evening crowds continue to flock to the hall. They mentioned that the preacher was no remarkable orator. He had no gift of wit and humor. Crowds came on pretty days, on rainy day, often standing outside, hoping to get in.

 

N.B. Hardeman preached two week meetings in Nashville, Tennessee, between the years 1920 and 1925 each evening he filled the Ryman auditoriumto capacity, and folks were turned away. Now what drew them?The uplifted Christ and the power of the gospel. The great attraction was not the preacher, not some famous gospel quartet, not George Beverly Shay, But Him who said nearly 2000 years before said:

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself

 

Look again at the textI want tonoticefirst of all who the speaker was, and the circumstances under which He spoke? The speaker of course was our Lord Jesus Christ.Not the Christ of men's imaginings, but the Christ who lived among men and was seen, heard, and handled by men. The Christ who was seen,who dwelt among us,. 1 John 1:1-4

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

 

It was the Christ who walked among men for forty days after His resurrection, whoassembled His small band of disciples together, giving them their final words and then:

9And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

And this Christ made this statement:

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself.

 

The circumstances of these words were these. Certain Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Jewish feast came to one of the apostles Philip,and said, "Sir we would see Jesus."†† Philip went to Andrew and told him what these Greeks had said. Together they bring this saying to Jesus. "theGreeks would see You."

 

The words, of Jesus recognizes the yearning of the universal heart, FOR A SATISFYING SAVIOR.The Greeks had their philosophers the greatest the world has ever known. Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Epicures, and many others.But these could not satisfy, these could not save, and so the Greeks cried: "Sir we would see Jesus."

 

In their eagerness to see the Master, He foresaw the millions of all nations who would flock to Him when He had been crucified as the universal Savior, meeting all the needs of all mankind, and so Jesus cried: And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myselfBut notice the words, "And I, if I be lifted up"To what does Jesus refer?The next verse 33 answers the question, "This, he said, signifying what death he should die."

Jesus referred to His lifting up on the cross as an atoning Savior for all†† ofmankind. Often preachers quote this verse as if what Jesus had in mind was our lifting Him up in our preaching. We do this, Christ must be glorified and honored in all our preaching. This is why Paulwhile among the Corinthian church says:
1And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of manís wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:5That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

 

It is Christ who draws, it isthe preaching of Christand Him crucified, it is the message ofatonement, Preach any Savior but the "Crucified Savior"preach anyother message but the "Gospel of Christ with its atoning blood, and you will not draw people for long.The cross of Christ is the drawing power

 

But next notice the text again., And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself What does all men mean?†† Again the very context of the passage gives our answer.The Greeks, as we have seen came to one of the apostles, Philip, and said: "Sir we would see Jesus." Philip tells Andrew together they come with this message to the Lord. - Remember the Lord's earthly life was to the Jews only. "I have come to the lost sheep of the household of Israel" In the coming of the Greeks, Jesus saw of the coming days when by His death on the cross, the barrier between Jews and Gentiles would be broken down.In Eph. 2:13-16 the apostle Paul expounds on this idea.

 

13But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

 

Thus the atoning death of Christ would give all nations their opportunity,equally with the Jewish nation, to become children of God, and that by faith in Christ.InGalatians3:26-27.

26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye be Christís, then are ye Abrahamís seed, and heirs according to the promise

 

Christ is the universal Savior , and true Christianity is to be the universal religion. Just before He was taken up from them He had commissioned them to "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. "

 

Buddhism, Hinduism and even the Jewish faith, along with many others, are religions of restricted application. Christianity, with acrucified Christ at its center is a universal religion and meets the needs of all mankind.In Romans the first chapter verse 16 we read from the pen of the apostle Paul:

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written,The just shall live by faith.

 

The Gospel of Christ, the preaching of Christ and Him crucified, and lifted up for the sins of the world meets the needs of the European, the Asiatic, the needs of both the Gentile, the Jew. hence the gospel is for all because Christianity is for all, it is universal in its scope.

 

Notice next, the text once again: And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself

 

We are to be drawn unto Jesus. In John 6:44-45 we have these simple but meaningful words of the Lord:

44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me

 

Christ says "I am going to draw all men to Myself, now man can come to Me, excepthe first be drawn by the Father." Now I just want to know, Lord how may I be drawn? Must there be some mystic power and drawing from the Holy Spirit before I can come to Christ?Hear verse 46 again for in it Christ tells us how we are to be drawn.

45It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me††

Christianity is a sensible affair, where men hear the Gospel and drawn by the old, old story of the Cross.Butwhydoes the preaching Christ lifted on the cross draw all men unto himself? There are two reasons that I propose to you at this time.

 

First because Christ crucified meets the 1st greatest and most fundamental need. What then is the greatest most fundamental need of humanity of the hour?A Savior. In Romans the 10th chapter the apostle begins to build a case against humanity.

 

10As it is written,There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not oneÖÖ.17And the way of peace have they not known: 18There is no fear of God before their eyes.And He concludes with the words of verse 23 ó

†††††† 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

We are all stained with sin, and bear the guilt of sin.††† Therefore,we all need a Savior, an atoning Savior, who by His death can make propitiation for, and thus cover our sins. Jesus was both God and man, and he alone can make atonement for sin.

 

In all the universe, there is no religion that even offers an atoning Savior. This is the radical point of differencebetween Christianity and every other religion inthe world. On this point, the Bible and history are at one. Jesus Christ offers Himself lifted up on the cross to redeem us from the curse of the law by becoming "a curse in our behalf".In Galatians 3:13 we read:

13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a†† curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree

 

Nothing gives the guilty conscience PEACE except the atoning blood of JesusAnd so Jesus draws all men to himself by the cross. And happy is the man or woman who yields to that drawing.Will you find peace?If you will not obey the Lord, you will not.. Beloved, not being a Christian might be aright to live by, but it is not a good way to die. And so, 1st, Christ meets that Great need!

 

And in the 2nd Place, Christ's cross and being lifted up "Draws all men because" It was on that cross the love of God, and Son were shown. In 1st John 3:16 we read a most potent passage

 

16Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

 

There is nothing that draws men like love. Love draws men of every walk of life. but often we fail to appreciate the word of God, we fail to give application to ourselves. We see everyone in the world in a passage but US. In Isaiah chapter 53 -verses 1-5 -we read:

 

1Who hast believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no for nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3He is despised and rejected of men; and man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it wereour faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.†† 4Surely hehath borne our(my) griefs, and carried our (my) sorrows; yet we (I) did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted, 5But he was wounded for our (my) transgressions, he was bruised for our (my) iniquities: the chastisement of our(my) peace was upon him: and with his stripes we (I) am healed.

 

A most beautiful and beloved passage John 3:16 we know it by heart, but do we appreciate it as we should?

 

6For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

The word world is so generic, try reading this passage again, and substitute you own name for world. You see, when we read these verses, they are so impersonal,but try putting them in the 1st person. Then love will swell worship, will flow freelyfrom thankful hearts.

 

Conclusion:There is only one hope for you and me today

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself."†††

 

In John 3:14-17 we read:

14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of Man be lifted up: 15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.16For god so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 

You remember the story recorded in Numbers 21. The children of Israel had rebelled and murmured against the Lord, He sent serpents among them. Many were bitten, and were dying. Moses interceded for them. God instructed Moses to make a brazen serpent and set it up in the midst of the camp,"whoever will look upon it will live.††† It takes more than just believing that God's method will work, one must act, as they had to get up and look upon the brazen serpent.. and we today must do more than believe we must obey Christ.He has become the "Captain, the Author, of salvation to all that obey Him.Hebrews 5:8-9

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

 

The book of Acts gives several examples of how one is converted to Christ.Please read Acts 2:14-38 and 41

contact:: Ron Cope minister

email:RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:(678)617-9658