Priorities: Is it really that simple?
John’s gospel records Christ stating an amazing thing. He says, “And I, if I am lifted up…will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:32). In the Greek here the phrase “lifted up” is the Word ὑψόω [hupsoō]. It means “to lift up on high, to exalt, to raise to dignity and honour.” This is what Christ asks the believer to do. The Word “draw” in the Greek has two forms, ἑλκύω or ἕλκω [helkuō or helkō]. It means “to draw, to draw by inward power, lead, or impel.” This is what Christ promises He will do.
When we meet with a person who is lost Jesus tells us that the cross is primary. The cross is the principal matter – the “crux” of all things — the priority of all evangelism . “If that person can get to God in any other way,” concludes Chalmers, “then the Cross of Christ is unnecessary.”
Sympathy, social aid, even love is not enough. The cross: Christ’s substitutionary death on our behalf. The cross: Each believer’s unashamed identification with Christ, His Lordship in one’s life and the demonstrated fruits of the Spirit. The cross: the challenge to likewise die to self and self-efforts, to turn from evils and live for God. This is all the cross, the principal thing which “lifts up” Christ.
This is all we can do, and a this is what we must do.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Rom. 1:16).
If a believer is ashamed – embarassed to be identified with the cross of Christ and the gospel that goes with it — it suggests he values the praise of men more than the praise of God.
“What the world needs is not ‘a little bit of love,’ but major surgery,” says Chambers. The cross is that surgery.
Of the written Word of God we read,
“For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12).
And Christ is that Word made flesh. As we exalt Him, He will do the necessary surgery.
By you words, life and purity “lift up” Christ on high, “exalt” Him in your worship, “raise His Name to dignity and honour” in your speech and conversation.
Do this and Christ will do all that remains. He will “draw by inward power,” by conviction of the Holy Spirit, He will “lead” by the truth of His Word, and “impel” by the need of the soul.
Yes! It is really that simple.
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