Summary: I believe in this day and age the Church is in the condition it is and can be summed up by understanding the importance of HEAVY LIFTING. I believe we have stopped doing the HEAVY LIFTING required to lead the Lost to Christ.
TITLE: HEAVY LIFTING
One of the things I enjoyed about lifting weights is there's no gray area –
• You either manage to lift a certain weight - or you don't
• There are clear successes and clear failures
• Either you Can or you Can’t
• This is rare in life to have such Absolutes
• It also means that if you don't put in the work - you lose your strength
It is always amazing if you stay out of the Gym too long because of an illness or busyness of life, when you return to the gym after an absence, you quickly realize the weight you were accustomed to lifting is now a struggle. You are reminded quickly you have neglected to put in the work to keep up your strength.
But, you know, sometimes it's good to have a tangible reminder of what happens when we stop doing the things that help to strengthen us. One of the dangers of grace is it's easy to allow it to be, as Bonhoeffer said, "cheap." We can allow ourselves to believe our faith requires nothing of us and that we can stop doing the hard work of conditioning ourselves to live it out in the world.
I believe in this day and age the Church is in the condition it is and can be summed up by understanding the importance of HEAVY LIFTING. I believe we have stopped doing the HEAVY LIFTING required to lead the Lost to Christ. We no longer –
• Desire to Lead others to Christ
• Desire to Evangelize the Lost
• Desire to Invite others to Church to hear the Word of God
• Desire to do the Heavy Lifting required to grow the Kingdom
The purpose and duty of every believer - every pastor - every church of the Lord Jesus Christ can be summed up in just three words- LIFTING UP JESUS! Lifting requires work, ordinarily hard work. If we were to define lifting, we would come to the understanding that Lifting is the power or force required for Lifting to take place. To Lift something requires our strength, we must exhert ourselves in some form or fashion that we might be able to do the Lifting.
In our text Jesus said that if he were lifted up that he would draw all men unto himself.
• In the providence and purpose of God, Jesus was lifted up on the Cross of Calvary by the hands of wicked men
• Because Jesus was lifted up on the Cross to die
• Because He was buried in the Tomb
• Because He Rose again the third day
• Because He was Highly Exalted to the right hand of the Majesty on High
• Jesus is Drawing all men unto Himself
That is, He is drawing all kinds of men from every nation - every class - every age - every sex -- color. Jesus is drawing all of His chosen ones whose names were written in the Lamb's book of life from the foundation of the world. But it requires HEAVY LIFTING on our part.
• We are required to do the Lifting
• That He may do the required Drawing
Every Christian, every Child of God and every Minister should want to know how to reach the masses of unconverted people in the world - in their country - in their town. there are all kinds of books – articles - videos, that have been produced on the subject. How do we evangelize people? There are many sellers of goods, profiting from such endeavors, but very little light has been produced on the subject. I have a number of books in my library that cite the same biblical texts over and over.
• Acts 1:8
• And the list goes on
While these are important biblical texts, however, Jesus’ words in this text give us the key to reaching the masses. The Key is found in that great hymn of the church and God’s Word -- HOW TO REACH THE MASSES MEN OF EVERY BIRTH, FOR AN ANSWER JESUS GAVE THE KEY -- “AND I, IF I AM LIFTED UP FROM THE EARTH, WILL DRAW ALL MEN TO ME.” The key is not demographic studies - surveying people to see what they want in a church (and then giving them that), not in –
• Sinner’s Prayers
• Alter Calls
• Many other gimmicks commonly seen today
The Gospel message, and focusing upon the Redemption that Christ Jesus has brought, through His life, death and resurrection on the cross is the key. Not that all individuals will come to Him, but we are all still required to do the HEAVY LIFTING. The reality is, all of us, I'm sure, at some time in our ministry, have been concerned about the limited results in soul winning when compared with the effort expended. How often we have felt inadequate for the encounter with hardened sinners. Looking back on my own ministry, I am sure much more could have been accomplished if I had more fully comprehended that in uplifting the crucified Savior a mysterious power touches the sinner's heart such as nothing else does.