Oswald is one of my best dead friends. Look at what he taught me today:
And I, if I am lifted up . . . will draw all peoples to Myself —John 12:32
Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross of Christ is an absurdity and there is absolutely no need for it. What the world needs is not “a little bit of love,” but major surgery.
When you find yourself face to face with a person who is spiritually lost, remind yourself of Jesus Christ on the cross. If that person can get to God in any other way, then the Cross of Christ is unnecessary. If you think you are helping lost people with your sympathy and understanding, you are a traitor to Jesus Christ. You must have a right-standing relationship with Him yourself, and pour your life out in helping others in His way— not in a human way that ignores God. The theme of the world’s religion today is to serve in a pleasant, non-confrontational manner.
But our only priority must be to present Jesus Christ crucified— to lift Him up all the time (see 1 Corinthians 2:2).
The calling of a New Testament worker is to expose sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior. Consequently, he cannot always be charming and friendly, but must be willing to be stern to accomplish major surgery. We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful speeches.We must be willing to examine others as deeply as God has examined us. We must also be sharply intent on sensing those Scripture passages that will drive the truth home, and then not be afraid to apply them.
Our presentation of the Gospel to others is only as deep as we have perceived our own need for it.
That is to say: If you have a shallow, surface level, sentimental relationship with Jesus, that is how you will portray Him, His life, His death, His reign, His power, His glory, and His honor.
You will require no more of your converts than you do yourself. You will not call people further upward or inward than you are willing yourself to go.
There is a rogue bunch of persons who lay heavier burdens on their hearers than they are willing to lift even off of themselves. These are self-defeating and obvious to all. They are hypocrites.
But there are those who require too little of their hearers as well in an effort to keep the Gospel from penetrating too deeply and personally into their own business.
If there is any other way to fix brokenness and heal sickness, Jesus is useless. Not only that, but you are silly to cast your lots in with Him and even sillier to compel others to do the same after you told them that sympathy and self-love are all that is required to mend their situation.
Align your efforts with the accomplishments of God or get off the train. Do not defend Christianity while exhorting others to find hope in themselves, in government, in culture, in art, in journaling, in quiet time, in time itself.
If time alone can heal.
Jesus died for no reason.
When you point someone to sympathy as a means of solace, you join forces with them in accusing God of wrong and trampling the blood of Christ under foot.
When we are hurting, we look down in shame or to our side for sympathy.
We need to look up to the Cross and Christ crucified.