HAVE YOU RUN OUT OF MAGNET?

T. PIERCE BROWN

This morning I was talking with a woman about her relationship with her husband, and she informed me that he had run out of magnet.  I almost laughed, but did not, as I realized that she meant that he had lost his power of attraction. In the 72 years I have lived, I never recall hearing that expression before, although I wonder why, for we have heard of persons with magnetism, and we have heard and talked about magnetic personalities.  As I meditated on what she told me, I thought of the expression in John12:32,  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself. ” Like a magnet, He would attract men of all kinds. Doubtless, He was speaking of His being lifted up on the cross, as references in John 3:14 and John8:28would indicate. However, that “lifting up” would avail very little if there were not three other kinds of lifting up. He had to be lifted up from the tomb, lifted up to the right hand of God in heaven, and lifted up by the proclamation of the gospel and the living of Christlike lives where the life of Christ “may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:10).

This is the point at which my mind kept returning to the question, “Have you run out of magnet?” Have you lost your drawing power? We never had any drawing power that was worth anything in the first place that did not result from lifting up Christ. When I attend a personal evangelism workshop and find the attendance fewer than 100 when a few years ago it was more than 1000, I cannot but wonder “Have we run out of magnet?” When I see congregations all around the country that are able to raise money for fellowship halls, gymnasiums or most any other thing that will satisfy the desire of some member for his own welfare or pleasure, and the pressing need for money for getting the gospel into every home in the world is almost totally disregarded,  I cannot but wonder, “Have we run out of magnet?”

Are we drawing people to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world? If not, what is the purpose of our existence and activity? When Christ is lifted up in our lives and people see in us the qualities that drew men to Christ, then we will have the magnetism approved of God. We will not “run out of magnet.” What are some of those qualities?

The most basic one is the one Jesus prayed for in John 17:20-21 when He said, “Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me.” The reason this is the most basic is because that unless we have the kind of unity Christ and the Father had, we can have no other qualities that will make us attractive as we should be.

The most fundamental unity that existed between Christ and the Father was not merely unity of words, unity of works, unity of purpose, as important as those are. It was a unity of nature. When we are made partakers of the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), then we will demonstrate the kind of love Christ demonstrated. That was not merely a feeling of affection for those who pleased Him, but a willingness to sacrifice Himself for the unpleasant and ungodly person.

It will cause us to be consistent in our life and teaching, with both life and teaching being that which is authorized and practiced by Christ. It will cause a consecration and devotion to the task of saving souls and glorifying God that will leave no question concerning what our real priorities are in the minds of those who look carefully at our lives.

When you see and hear the elders, preachers and members of the congregations with which you are associated talk about how they will spend the time and money that God has given them, where do you conclude their priorities are? Is it on providing more things to minister to their own desires and personal interests, or is on winning more souls from eternal destruction?  My sad conclusion is that even among the congregations that I have counted as the “soundest” in doctrine, the interest in most cases is primarily in material things. Is there any wonder that we seem to have “run out of magnet” and lost whatever power we may have had to attract persons to Christ?

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