“Lifted Up” Rightly Divided

It is too easy to combine Scriptures that should not be connected to build doctrine.

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John 12:32-33 – And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.  This He said, signifying what death He should die.

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There is a chorus that is still sung in many churches today that was quite popular two decades ago.  The title was “Lift Jesus Higher.”  My writing here is in NO WAY intended as an attack on or slur against the writer, or those who have sung it.  When I first heard the chorus, I sang it, too.  And then in a time of study, I realized that while the chorus was intended to be a praise to the Lord, the basis for the chorus, our Text for Today, was not the message or intent of the chorus.  It is with that in mind that I write these words.  While I consider the intent of the writer’s heart to be pure, the basis of its writing came from wrongly dividing the Word of Truth.  I remember many years ago hearing Kenneth E. Hagin say, “If you can ‘rightly divide’ the Word of Truth, you can ‘wrongly divide’ it.”

The chorus I reference is not the focus of my writing, but merely an example.  The words of the chorus I question say, “Lift Jesus higher. Lift Jesus higher. Lift Him up for the world to see. He said, ‘If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.’”  Now compare the obvious intent of the chorus to the prophetic statement issued by our Lord of His impending death.  The obvious intent of the chorus is to honor the Lord, to give praise to Jesus, to exalt Jesus in the words of this song.  I commend that with all my heart.  But the prophetic statement by our Lord of His impending death has nothing to do with praise and worship.  Rather it has everything to do with the cost of redemption; Jesus was arrested, mocked, beaten, injured, His beard plucked, struck viciously, beaten with the Roman flagrum, forced to carry His cross, stripped naked, nailed to the cross, and then “lifted up from the earth” on that cross as the price of complete redemption for all who would call upon the Name of the Lord.

So often in our world we have heard two different people read from the same document and come to a completely different conclusion.  Words are twisted when people try to make those words say what they desire to be heard.  Sadly, that happens in pulpits, too.  In most cases, I do not believe this happens as a deliberate scheme by the minister.  Rather, I am convinced that it is our tendency to fall prey to traditions we have learned from our former leaders.  Let us guard ourselves, especially when we speak, that we rightly divide the Word of Truth so our ministry is Scripturally sound, and not allowed to be suspect because of the way we USED TO DO THINGS.  Awake, my friend, and alert yourself to the truth so those who hear us may also be alerted to truth. 

Manna for Today – John 12:27-35; Romans 10:6-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

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