Pastor’s Desk October 14th

Scripture Passage:  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Having had a whirlwind of activity the past few weeks, it is good to be sitting at my desk catching up on unfinished task and looking forward to new adventures. The princess is married, her mother got her trip to the beach, and I got some much needed rest.  It seems that Patty and I live in a constant state of activity and the church migrates from one big event to the other.  As I look at my week’s calendar I realize I have something every night this week including a wedding on Saturday. I do not intentionally plan things this way it just seems to happen on a consistent basis.  We have our associational meeting next week and Judgment Day Drama the following week for three nights.  It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activity that we miss the main focus – lifting up Jesus.  If we fail to do that, all that we have accomplished only amounts to busy work and a lot of noise.  If we lift Jesus up in all we do, then men, women, boys and girls, are drawn to the saving grace of Christ and the church grows in numbers and strength.  The church vision statement is simple.  We lift up Jesus that sinners might be saved and saints might be made disciples.
 
     Three times in the book of John, Jesus talks about the manner of his death and its importance to God’s redemptive plan of salvation.  He began by sharing with Nicodemus in John 3:14 and 15.  “And 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 everlasting life.”  Nicodemus would have been very familiar with the story from Numbers 21 about the fiery serpents that God sent upon Israel for their grumbling and disobedience.  Moses was told to make a brazen serpent and mount it atop a pole.  Everyone who looked upon it would be saved and spared a horrendous death because of their faith.  There was no other remedy made available.  They could look and live or turn away and die.  The choice was theirs to make.  Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in John 8:28 about His upcoming death and the importance of faithful obedience to the Father’s will.  “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.”  The final pronouncement of this Scripture occurred after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem the week of his death.  A group of Greek proselytes had come to Jerusalem to worship during Passover and desired an audience with Jesus. Jesus began to explain that the time had come for Him to be glorified by the Father.  Our Savior’s soul was troubled.  He prayed not that he would be delivered from the cross, but that the Father’s name would be glorified in His death on the cross.  Then there came a voice from Heaven that said, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”  Jesus said that “This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world:  now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” John 12:27-31.  Christ’s death on the cross had been a part of God’s plan from before the foundation of the world and now the time had come for that plan to be fulfilled.  Some refused to believe on Jesus while others did believe, but failed to confess Him lest they be put out of the synagogue: “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”  John 12: 37-43
 
     The people of that day were living before the cross.  When the day of Jesus’ death came they were blinded by the evil one lest they should see and believe.  They experienced His death on the cross but refused to look upon Him and believe.  We of this generation live after the cross and have evidence of all the Scripture having been fulfilled in its entirety.  Yet many have been blinded by the evil one and refuse to look to the cross and live.  There has been no other remedy given for the salvation of mankind and deliverance from sin except for the exalted Savior and His sacrificial death.  Because Christ has been lifted up in our hearts, let us lift up and exalt Him that others might believe and live also.  The promise was given and the provision made for the redemption of all mankind.  May Jesus continue to be lifted up in our lives and our church that others might be drawn to Him.
 
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny