Blog Entry

Sermon of the Week: No. 1717, "The Marvellous Magnet"

By Phillip Ort Sep 30, 2019

“‘I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me.’ This he said, signifying what death he should die.” – John 12:32-33


“There is an attractive power about our Lord’s person, and about his life, and about his teaching; but, still, the main attractive force lies in his death upon the cross.”


For Charles Spurgeon, the “attractive power” of Jesus’ death was a wonderful yet peculiar thing. While meditating on the Scripture, he remarked that “it appears…that our Lord’s power to draw all men unto himself lies mainly in his death.” He found this both marvelous and strange.


Spurgeon thought that “this is rare and strange; for when a great religious leader dies, a large measure of his personal power is gone.” No longer could his “charm,” “personal conviction,” or “daily enthusiasm” invigorate his followers. Indeed, Spurgeon acknowledged that such a loss was a “fearful drawback” and made it “perilous for a religious leader to die.”


But the Lord Jesus Christ was marvelously different. Spurgeon was struck by the contrast he saw when he looked to Christ, he asked “Is it not strange that what is often fatal to the influence of other men is a gain to our Lord Jesus Christ; for it is by his death that he possesses his most powerful influence over the sons of men?” Indeed, Spurgeon declared that “Because Jesus died he is this day the mightiest ruler of human minds, the great centre to which all hearts are being drawn.”


Because of this Spurgeon exclaimed, “Let us never be ashamed…to preach Christ crucified – the Son of God lifted up to die among the condemned.” In his view, the cross was central for “Christ without the cross is no Christ at all.” Indeed, “It is on the tree [that Christ] triumphed over Satan, and it is by the cross that he must triumph over the world.”


In the first section of his sermon, Spurgeon sought to expound the “Attractive force which lies in a crucified Saviour.” Here he illustrated his point by highlighting the contrast between the variety of people drawn and the single Saviour who drew them.


Speaking in denominational terms, Spurgeon remarked that “Certainly the Lord Jesus Christ will not lend himself out to draw men to your sect or to mine.” Simply put, Jesus was not the property of a single denomination.


Neither was Christ limited to English Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, or Anglicans, rather “Jesus is gradually drawing the heathen to himself.” As Spurgeon surveyed the global mission field, he rejoiced that “Jesus is drawing China slowly. Japan is being drawn as in a net.” Indeed, wherever “the testimony of Christ has been borne the idols begin to shake.”


In fact, Christ’s magnetism had the effect of drawing humanity together as they all drew near to Christ. Spurgeon celebrated that “Gentile and Jew, African and European – they shall all meet at the cross, the common centre of our entire manhood; for Christ is lifted up, and he is drawing all men unto him.”


In the second section of his sermon, Spurgeon answered the question “How is this force exercised?” Here his answer was twofold. First, he plainly stated that “This force is exercised through the Holy Spirit.” Indeed, he asserted that “It is the Spirit of God who puts power into the truth about Christ; and then men feel that truth, and come to Christ and live.


Second, Spurgeon reminded his congregation that “our blessed Lord and Master uses instruments.” While he acknowledged that “Jesus works – first by himself,” he emphasized that Jesus also works “by all who are in him.” The model was simple. “One Christian makes many. One believer leads others to faith.”


In the third, and final, section of his sermon, Spurgeon addressed the question “What does all this imply?” He lamented that “men, by nature, are a long way off from Christ.” Speaking directly, he said “You were not born converted….Nor were you born a Christian either.” In truth, there were likely many in the congregation that morning who needed to be saved. And so, Spurgeon concluded his sermon in the best way he knew how, by crying out to the Holy Spirit:

“Oh! Spirit of God, draw men to Jesus!”


Why you should take up and read:


For Charles Spurgeon, the “attractive power” of Jesus’ death was a wonderful yet peculiar thing. Whereas other leaders lost their influence when they died, Christ became “the great centre to which all hearts are being drawn.” In this sermon, Spurgeon meditated at length on the marvelous attractive power of Jesus. For those likewise wanting to mediate on Christ and his cross please take up and read.


Here is the link to the Sermon of the Week:

Phillip Ort serves as the Director of The Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City while studying in The Residency Ph.D. program.