1 The following sermon was preached at Redemption Baptist Church on Sunday, 13 September, We encourage you to look up the Scriptures that are referenced. May the Lord speak to your heart as you study His Word. If I Be Lifted Up John 12:27-33 Sometime in the last 48 hours before Jesus went to the cross, He made a very important claim about Himself. First, Jesus said that the hour had come for Him to be glorified. Secondly, He said that Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. What did Jesus mean by this? He was saying that He was about to die, and be buried in the ground; and through His death, many souls would be saved from their sin, and become children of God. A grain of wheat that falls to the ground doesn t remain by itself: it takes root, springs up from the ground as a stalk of wheat, and produces a multitude of other grains. In the same way, Christ did not remain alone. He is not the only man in heaven today. Because Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, heaven is filled with millions of men, women, and children who were saved from their sin because of what Christ did for them. And millions more souls will be saved in the future. Because Christ made salvation possible for us, His hour on the cross was really an hour of glory. That is why Christ said that the time had come for Him to be glorified. The world looked at Christ s death on the cross as a disgrace. They looked at this bleeding Man, dying a criminal s death, and mocked Him. To this day, people still look at the cross with contempt and scorn. But in God the Father s eyes, the cross was an hour of glory. It wasn t an hour of shame and disgrace: it was an hour of honour and praise. Why? Because through Christ s death, God was able to save lost sinners like you and me. We who have put our faith in Christ see the cross that way, too. We see Christ s death on the cross as the most wonderful hour of history. It was a dark, awful hour; yet, at the same time, it was a wonderful, glorious hour. Because of that hour, we were able to have our sins forgiven, and spend eternity with God. This morning, we are going to talk more about this hour when Christ died on the cross for our sins. The title of this message is If I Be Lifted Up. John 12:27-33 I. The glorification of Christ (vv ) This is one of three times during Christ s earthly ministry when God the Father actually spoke from heaven in a voice that people could hear. The first time the Father spoke from heaven was when Christ was baptised. The Father said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. The second time was when Peter, James, and John were on a mountain with Jesus. They saw Jesus appearance suddenly become bright and radiating, like the light of the sun; and Moses and Elijah appeared, and talked with Him. They then heard the Father speak from heaven and say, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And now, only two days before his death, the Father spoke from heaven for the third time. Jesus had just spoken directly to the Father and said, Father, glorify thy name. The Father then replied, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
2 Now, what does this mean? When would the Father glorify His own name? Well, to answer that question, we need to look at what Jesus had just said. (Read verse 27 again.) Jesus had just been talking about the hour of His death. It was such a horrible hour, that Christ asked His Father to save Him from that hour, if it were possible. It was this hour when the Father would glorify His own name. Christ was glorified as He hung on the cross; and the Father was glorified, as well. Christ was glorified in the Father, and the Father was glorified in the Son. Read John 13:21-32 There were many hours when Christ was glorified in the Father, and when the Father was glorified in Him. For example, Christ was glorified at the hour of His baptism, when the Father spoke from heaven, and the Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove. Christ and His Father were glorified every time Jesus did a miracle. Christ and His Father were glorified when Christ arose from the grave. At this very hour, Christ is glorified as He sits on His throne in heaven, on the right hand of power with His Father. Christ and His Father will be glorified in the future, when Christ returns to earth to set up His 1,000-year Kingdom. Christ and His Father were glorified on many occasions; and they will be glorified on many more occasions. That is why the Father said, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. But the cross that was an hour of glory like no other. Even Christ s resurrection, as glorious as it is, is not quite as exulted as Christ s hour on the cross. If Christ had not gone to the cross, there would be no forgiveness of sins. There would be no redemption, no salvation, no chance of being reconciled to God. That is why the Apostle Paul wrote, But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14). Christ was glorified on the cross; and the Father was glorified in Him. Yet, most of the world fails to see the glory of the cross. Most people either ignore the cross of Christ, or utterly despise it. You can see the world s attitude toward Christ even in the way that they responded when they heard the Father s voice from heaven. You would think that they would have said, Whoa! The Father is speaking from heaven again, just as He did when Jesus was baptised. Maybe we d better listen. But they didn t. Instead, they tried to explain the voice away! Some of them reasoned that it was merely the sound of thunder. (By the way, if it sounded like thunder, it must have been pretty loud!) Some of them were a little more religious in their outlook: they went so far as to admit that it might have been an angel. But few of them acknowledged the obvious truth that it was the God the Father who had spoken from heaven. By the way, why did God speak from heaven on this occasion? Let s read verse 30 again. (Read verse 30.) It wasn t for Christ s sake that the Father spoke. Christ didn t need to hear the Father s voice. He didn t need to be told that the Father would glorify His name through Him. He already knew that, because He is God in human flesh! It was the people who needed to hear it. And it wasn t just the people of Christ s day who needed to hear it: we need to hear it, too. God recorded this event in His Word, through the Apostle John (who, by the way, was a first-hand witness of this event) so that we may believe on Jesus, and be saved. You and I have a responsibility to respond to what God has spoken from heaven. The Apostle Paul wrote, See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven (Hebrews 12:25).
3 II. The judgment of this world (vv ) (Read verses again.) In these verses, Christ names three things that would be accomplish by His death on the cross. First of all, the world would be judged. Secondly, He would defeat the prince of this world. And thirdly, He would draw all men unto Him. Let s look at these one at a time. First of all, through Christ s death on the cross, the world would be judged. Now, what does that mean? It means two things. First of all, this means that the cross of Christ judges men s hearts. Now, to understand this truth, we need to know what judgment means. The Greek word for judgment is krisis. The word krisis simply means a decision. It means a decision for someone, or against someone. A krisis is a judgment (or decision) for, or against someone. With this in mind, let s look again at what Jesus is saying. Jesus says that what He was about to do on the cross was the krisis the judgment of this world. What does He mean by that? Well, the Bible says that the whole world stands guilty before God. (See Romans 3:19.) According to God s Law, every single one of us is guilty. There is absolutely no question about it: We have all broken God s laws. We all deserve to be sentenced for our crimes against God; and the sentence is an eternity in the Lake of Fire. But, on the other hand, there is a way for us to receive mercy and pardon. God Himself, in His love for us, made a way for us to have our sins forgiven, and escape the eternal punishment for our sin. He sent His own sinless Son, Jesus, to die in our place, and take our punishment for sin, so that we could have our case dismissed, and go free. So, a decision must be made concerning the fate of your soul. On the one hand, there is eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire (which you deserve). On the other hand, there is mercy and pardon, and an eternity of joy in the presence of God. Which way will God judge you? Will He pardon you, or will He condemn you? Well, it all depends upon what you decide concerning His Son, Jesus, and what He did on the cross. You see, you have a judgment, or decision, to make. Will you repent of your sin, and trust that what Christ did on the cross for you is all you need to be saved? Or will you reject what Jesus did on the cross for you, and keep trusting in your own goodness to get you to heaven? You must decide. You cannot be neutral. To reject the payment that Christ made for your sins on the cross is to reject Christ Himself, and remain condemned. To believe in the work of Christ on the cross is to receive Christ, and no longer be condemned. (See John 3:18.) The cross of Christ is the krisis the judgment the point of decision. No one can escape that decision. Where do you stand? What is the decision of your heart? Have you turned to Christ in repentance and faith? Or are you still rejecting the Christ who died on the cross? Let s take a look at two men who were faced with a decision about the cross of Christ. Read Luke 23:33, The cross of Christ was the krisis for these two thieves. It was the point of decision. They had a judgment, or decision, that they had to make. They had to decide whether to believe on Jesus, or to reject Him. One of them received pardon from his sin, and was promised that he would be in Paradise with Jesus. The other died in his sins, and went to hell. What made the
4 difference? It was their decision concerning Christ. The one man despised Christ; but the other believed on Him, and received forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. Which of these two sinners are you? Are you the sinner who believed on Christ? Or are you the sinner who rejected Christ? Now, what else did Christ mean when He said now is the judgment of this world? He means this: By dying on the cross, Christ took the world s judgment upon Himself. Every sin that was ever committed, or that ever will be committed, was placed upon Jesus as He hung on the cross; and He paid for them all. Christ s death on the cross was the judgment of the world because Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of the whole world. He took our sins upon Himself, as though they were His own, and paid the full price, so that we, in turn, could be forgiven and pardoned. Read Isaiah 53:5-6, Think of those words in verse 5: The chastisement [in other words, the punishment ] of our peace was upon him. What does that mean? It means that because Christ took our punishment for sin, we, in turn, are able to have peace with God. (See Romans 5:1.) Our sin had made us God s enemy. Our sin had separated us from God. But because Christ took our punishment in our place, we are able to be justified (declared to be righteous). We are able to be pardoned. God is satisfied with the offering that His Son made for us on the cross. Nothing more is needed. There is nothing that you must do in order to earn your salvation. Christ already earned it for you! Salvation isn t through Christ plus my own good works and efforts. No, salvation is entirely through the sacrifice that Christ made for our sins. Let s look at another Scripture. Read 1 John 2:1-2 (The word propitiation means payment or satisfaction. ) So, what have we seen so far? We ve seen that through Christ s death, the world was judged. This means that each man has a judgment, or decision, to make about the cross of Christ (whether to believe on the Christ who died for him, or to reject Him). The decision you make determines how God will judge you. It also means that Christ took the world s judgment upon Himself. He took our punishment for sin upon Himself. Now, what else did Christ accomplish by His death on the cross? Let s look again at verse 31. (Read verse 31 again.) The second thing that Christ accomplished by His death is that He defeated the prince of this world. Now, who is the prince of this world? It s Satan. He is called the prince of this world because he is the one whom most of the world is obeying and following. Few people are aware that Satan is their real prince and master: but he is their master, nonetheless. When Adam and Eve decided to sin against God in the Garden of Eden, they bowed their knees to Satan, and became part of his spiritual family. Tragically, we are all members of Satan s family by default. You don t have to do anything really bad to become part of Satan s family: you are already a member of Satan s family when you enter this world, because you are a sinner. You are a sinner by nature, and by choice; and because you are a sinner, you are under the sentence of eternal death in hell. (See Romans 5:12.)
5 Now, that s very bad news. But Jesus is giving us good news, here. He s telling us that by dying on the cross, He would defeat Satan. In what way would Satan be defeated? Well, when Satan enticed man to rebel against God, we all joined Satan s spiritual family. That was Satan s plan. The entire human race every single one of us came under the power of Satan. But Christ came to snatch men back from the power of Satan, and bring them back to God. By dying for our sins and making it possible for us to be saved, Christ destroyed everything that Satan had been fighting for. Satan s power is broken. He is defeated. Read Colossians 2:13-15 Read Hebrews 2:14-15 Satan thought that he had won. Satan thought that there was no way that man could ever be released from his grasp. But He was wrong. At the cross, Christ destroyed Satan and all his wicked plans. Now, Satan still has great power over mankind, because most men still choose to follow him; but the reality is that there is absolutely nothing that Satan can do to keep a sinner from being saved. The door of salvation is wide open; and Satan cannot close it. The only thing keeping men from being saved is their own pride, selfishness, and self-will. Let s put it this way: If you end up in hell, you won t be able to blame the devil for it. You will have no one to blame but yourself. Christ defeated Satan at the cross, and opened the way of salvation for you: but if you refuse to come to God through the cross of Christ, there is no help for you. You must come to God by way of the cross of Jesus Christ! Now, there is one more thing that Christ accomplished by His death on the cross. Let s look at verses 32 and 33 again. (Read verses 32 and 33 again.) The third thing that Christ accomplished is this: By dying on the cross, Christ guaranteed that all men will be drawn unto Him. At one point or another, every soul will be drawn to Jesus Christ. Now, before I go any farther, there s something I need to explain. When Christ said that all men would be drawn unto Him, He did not mean that all men would be saved. What He meant is that every man will be drawn to Him either in faith...or in judgment. To understand this truth better, let s go back to the Old Testament. Read Numbers 21:5-9 Does this story remind you of what Jesus did for us on the cross? The brass serpent was lifted up on a pole; and Christ was lifted up on the cross. This is why Jesus told Nicodemus, 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 eternal life (John 3:14-15). The serpent on the pole was a prophetic picture of how Christ would be lifted up on the cross. Now, why did God command Moses to make a serpent out of brass? The serpent reminds us of sin, right? Right! That s the whole point! The Bible says that Christ, the sinless Son of God, was made sin for us. When He was lifted up on the cross, He took our sins upon Himself. Just as those who looked to the serpent on the pole were healed of their deadly snake bites, so all who will look to Jesus in faith will be saved from the penalty of their sin.
6 Now, what about the people who refused to look to the serpent of brass? Were they able to escape the consequence of their rebellion? No! If they refused to look to the serpent, they died of the snake bite. It was that simple. So it is with those who refuse to be drawn to the cross of Christ in faith and repentance. One day, they will be made to reckon with the Christ of Calvary. You may ignore Christ now, but you can t ignore Him forever. Some day you will literally be drawn to Christ. You will be gathered before the throne of God to be judged; and you will have to give an answer to God as to why you refused to believe on His Son, Jesus Christ. You will not be able to ignore Christ on that day. You will bow the knee to Christ and call Him Lord, along with Satan, his demons, and every other unsaved person who ever lived; and you will then be cast into the Lake of Fire forever. Read Philippians 2:5-11 If you have not put your trust in Jesus Christ yet, I beseech you to ask yourself this question: When will you be drawn to Christ? Will you be drawn to Him now, in this lifetime, while the door of God s grace and mercy is still open to you? Will you be drawn to Him now, while you may still be saved? Or will you be drawn to Him when you stand before Him to be judged, and sentenced to an eternity in the Lake of Fire? I urge you to come to Him today! Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Conclusion: This message has been mostly for those who are not saved. Throughout this message, I have urged those who have not repented of their sin and believed on Christ to do so. But as I close the message this morning, I would like to address those of you who are saved. Christian, there was a day in your life when you were drawn to the cross of Jesus Christ. You realised that Christ s sacrifice on the cross for your sins, and His resurrection from the grave, were your only hope of salvation; and you turned to Him in repentance and faith. You now belong to Christ; and Satan cannot reclaim you. But I would urge you to remember what the cross means. Christ died not only that you might be saved from the penalty of sin, but from the power of sin. Peter said that Christ bore your sins in His own body on the tree, that you, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. Christ died for you so that you might now be able, by His power, to live a life that is righteous and holy. Are you fulfilling that purpose? Are you allowing Christ to work His righteousness in your life, that you might please God?