Summary: A bold, powerful message of the urgent need today to lift up Jesus Christ through our lives, our actions, and our words. This is a message that will preach!
“IF I BE LIFTED UP”
1. A man had a heart attack and was brought to the ER. The doctor told him that he wouldn’t live unless he got a heart transplant right away.
2. Another doctor ran into the room and said, "You're in luck, two hearts just became available, so you will get to choose which one you want. One belongs to an attorney and the other to a social worker".
3. The man responded quickly, "the attorney's". The doctor says, "Wait! Don't you want to know a little about them before you make your decision?"
4. The man says, "I already know enough. We all know that social workers are bleeding hearts and the attorney probably never used his. So I'll take the attorney's!"
“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” Jn. 12:31-32.
1. This morning, we are going to look at three ways we’re supposed to lift up Jesus; His uniqueness, His Cross, and the great Love He demonstrated.
2. The title of this message is, “If I Be Lifted Up.”
I. LIFTING UP JESUS’ UNIQUENESS
A. THE ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT
1. Our society says about RELIGIONS, "All religions are speaking about the same God; Let's overlook our differences and only focus on our similarities: Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, Chrishna, Jesus – it’s all the same!"
2. But I answer, “Put Jesus on par with anyone else? Impossible!” Jesus’ origin, sinlessness, deity, and resurrection separates Him from all the rest. Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me!" We’re not to lift up denominations, or teachings only, or personalities, but Jesus!
B. LIFT JESUS UP!
1. Greek for "lifted" = (root) hupso-o -- "to elevate."
2. To "lift up" is to "draw attention to," "make obvious," "make visible" in comparison to other objects of faith. We have all been brainwashed that we must be tolerant -- don't offend anybody! But...
3. Throughout the Bible, God showed He was really God, over other deities:
a. In Egypt – God sent plagues on the gods of Egypt; Nile, bugs, cattle…. God howed His control over them.
b. Philistines – God made Dagon fall before the Ark.
c. Over Babylon – God thru Isaiah taunted deity Bel-Marduk
d. Ephesus -- over Artemis/ Diana of the Ephesians, God moved mighty healing, delivering, & saving through Paul.
e. Book of Hebrews -- the writers showed the superiority of Christianity over Judaism:
1). A Better Hope (7:19), based on
2). Better Promises (8:6), because of a
3). Better Sacrifice (9:23), initiating a
4). Better Covenant (8:6), administered by a
5). Better High Priest (7:24) ensuring our
6). Better Resurrection (11:35).
4. We should draw attention to the difference! A Calcutta paper carried the story of how a Hindu came to the house of a missionary for an interview. In the course of the conversation, he said: "Many things which Christianity contains I find in Hinduism; but there is one thing which Christianity has that Hinduism has not." "What is that?" the missionary asked. His reply was striking: "A Savior."
5. There is NO SAVIOR in Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, or Buddhism!
C. DON’T WATER JESUS DOWN!
1. If you water gasoline down, it ceases to be explosive -- it becomes useless for running your car.
2. If you reduce the active ingredients in pain killers, they no longer relieve the pain of the sufferers.
3. If you put too much carbonated water or less syrup in fountain drinks they lose their appeal and flavor. TO REDUCE THE KEY INGREDIENT IN OUR PRODUCTS MAKES
THEM LOSE THEIR PRIMARY FUNCTION! The PRIMARY FUNCTION of Christianity is to Save, Heal, and Deliver!
4. Christianity won't work without its key ingredient -- Jesus Christ (Raw, Pure, Unadulterated!) He must be lifted up – made visible, drawn attention to, exalted to the proper place, shown as Superior and needful!
II. LIFTING UP THE CROSS OF JESUS
1. In Galatians 6:14, Paul said, “But God forbid that I should glory [boast], save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
2. Paul didn't say, "we don't glory, save in the death of Christ," but the cross of Christ; an unusual distinction.
A. THINGS THE WORLD DOESN’T LIKE ABOUT THE CROSS
a. In 1 Cor. 1:23, Paul said the cross was a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to gentiles. The root of the word translated “foolishness” is the same Greek word from which we get our English word moron.
b. So, the world thinks that if we trust in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ – that makes us morons. So why does the world not like the Cross?