In a speech made in 1863, Abraham Lincoln said, “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”
There are almost always, three groups of people in every gathering. I would like to look at these three groups in this message today.
The Crowd Of Sympathy
The crowd of sympathy is the first crowd of people that were there that day. These are those who stood by with tears in their eyes. They were sobbing, and saying, Why? Why? Are they killing Jesus? What did He do to them? Who has He hurt, and not helped? What wrong has He done?
This is always the way it is with the sympathetic crowd. They always stand by and Boo, Boo! hoo!
But that is all that they did. They didn’t try to defend Him. They didn’t cry to Pilate to release Him and not Barabbas. They just stood there and cried! This crowd is also with us today. They sand by and watch as God’s servants work in the harvest of souls. hey sometimes cry and say how terrible things are, and that they are all in favor of the Word of God, but these never lift a finger to help, they just stand by and cry, and Boohoo! They never come to Worship services, memorial services, Bible studies, or Prayer meetings, But, Oh, They are sympathetic though!
Next let us look at the second crowd that was at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ that day.
The Crowd Of Antipathy
What does that word mean, preacher? You are probably asking. It means, total opposition Jesus Christ and His ministry. This is the crowd who shouted to Pilate; Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him! We hate Him, Kill Him, kill Him!
This crowd wanted Jesus to die. He was a threat to them. His teachings were directly opposed to their life style. He was a threat to expose their crooked ways, and they hated him. Hated Him so much that they rejoiced in watching the Son of Man die in agony and pain! This crowd is also with us today. This is the crowd that wants to burn all the Bibles, close the door to every true Church in the neighborhood. They want to keep the Gospel from the radio airwaves, and off of TV stations. They hate Christianity and its teachings so much they want to eradicate it from the face of the earth. There is one thing about this crowd though. At lest you know where they stand. there is no mistaking of what they want and who they are. This is how it was with the crowd of antipathy.
Next we are going to look at the crowd of;
The Crowd Of Apathy
This is the worst of the three crowds. Apathy means, total unconcern or that they just don’t care. No matter what is going on, they don’t care in the lest bit. There motto is, “What ever!” With a head roll and a hand out! This crowd was there just to see what was happening. They didn’t care either way as to who was dyeing. They just came along for the ride, and to see someone else die. They didn’t
care who was dying, or how many were dying, they just wanted to watch!
We have this crowd with us today too. They drive by our houses of Worship, and never bat an eye in its direction. If they do look this way it is to say, “that is nice” but they never come to services, never read the Bible, never study God’s Word. They are totally unconcerned. They just don’t care!
The crowd of Sympathy, the crowd of Antipathy, and the crowd of Apathy are the three crowds that are always present, and I can see these crowds at the foot of the cross that day. As Jesus hung on that old rugged cross, these crowds were all there watching.
Are you in one of these three crowds today?
Next, we see not only three crowds, but we can also see three crosses on Golgotha. Jesus was not crucified alone! He was in the middle of two thieves. Godless sinners, on both sides of this righteous man.
If I may, I would like to name each of those three crosses that day. The first one I would like to name;
The Cross Of Rejection
I think that this cross was on the left side of Jesus cross. This cross held the thief that cried to Jesus, “If thou be the Son of God? Get thyself down and get us down also.” He didn’t really believe that Jesus was the Messiah. His words of rejection were, “If thou be?” Showing his doubt in the one being crucified next to him. Not one single born again believer will ever question the Deity of Jesus Christ. There are multitudes today who belong with this thief.
They would rather reject the Christ, rather than to accept Him and have everlasting life. This was the cross of rejection. I have many times heard men and women say no to God’s gift of Salvation. God help them to repent of their sin of unbelief. Come to Christ while there is still time. The second cross, I think was the one on the Right side of Jesus. I call this cross:
The Cross Of Reception
This was the thief who said to Jesus; “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” This is the cross which held the one to whom Jesus replied,”Today,
thou, shalt be with me in paradise.” Many today, Praise God! belong to this cross of reception.
If more people would get totally right before God today, there would be many more labors in the harvest. “The harvest is plenteous, but the labors are few; Jesus said, ’Therefore pray ye that the Lord of the harvest would send forth labours into his harvest.” Do you include this request in your daily prayers? We are told to; by the Lord Jesus Christ, and we should start asking today. God has promised to send converts if we pray for them, and tell them Salvation’s plan. Everlasting life, and forever life with God.
The third cross is the center cross. That one in the middle, the one between these two thieves.
The only human who had no sin! And we shall call this:
The Cross Of Love
Romans 5:8, says, “But God commendeth his love toward us in that while were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” It was not the nails that held his hands to the cross, It was love! Love kept Him on that altar of wood that day that THEY, crucified him. His love is so great that no amount of suffering could have stopped Him for taking your place and my place in being punished for sin. He became sin for us, on the hill called Calvary! Have you ever seen someone who is filled with God’s Love? I have.
The first is:
The Cry Of Unbelief
“If thou be the Son of God,” Do you see the doubt! This man as so many today, want to ask Jesus for proof as to who He really is. They want to make God prove to them, that He exist. Boy, do you have it backwards. If you don’t believe that there is a God in heaven after so many things that can’t be explained outside God’s existence, then you are without a doubt lost in sin.
Satan is the master of deceits, and sin and the Bible says, that he blinds the minds of people.
People break away from Satan’s lies, and call on the Son of God, and receive His Salvation.
“For by grace are ye saved, through faith, it is the gift of God, and not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9.
Have you ever had someone to say no to your invitation, it breaks your heart for a friend to refuse your offer of a gift. But that is just what many are doing each day that they refuse to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Next we see:
The Cry Of Repentance
Here we see the thief who cried out to Jesus; “Lord Jesus Remember Me!”
Luke 23:43. What a joy it is to help someone into the kingdom of God. Have you ever won another person to Christ? There is no greater joy or fulfillment that this, to show another the way of Salvation, and they receive Christ. Praise God, we can win souls today. Some have told me, “Boy, it is really hard to win souls in this day and time.” To which I reply;
“The Bible is the same today, the Holy Spirit is still the same today, God still loves lost sinners today, God’s mercy is the same, and the person who believes on the Lord Jesus is still saved in our day. It is no more difficult today than the very day that Christ ascended into heaven. The problem is that you are not a soul winner.
“Well, preacher, that’s not my calling.” But the Word of God says, that it is everyone’s duty to witness, and share the gospel with all that we can. Why don’t you decide to obey God today and become a soul winner for Jesus? It is as simple as telling another what you did to be saved.
Our last cry is:
The Cry Of Love
There was amidst all the hate on the day of the cross, but also there was a greater amount of love. Jesus mother was there. Other women were there at the foot of the cross that day.
John the beloved disciple was there. I’ll bet that Peter was there somewhere. The other disciples with the exception was there. Many other people were there too, probably among them were, Blind Bartameas, Simon of Cyrene, Solders were there, the chief priest were there gloating and mocking. These had hate but many who were there loved Him, and Jesus Loves them all.
His prayer, “Father Forgive Them, for they know not what they do.” Was for all that day, not just those here that day, but for everyone for all of time. His Love is greater than all; “the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13.
Have you ever seen one who comes to God’s love and confesses Christ? What a difference there is in that life. Love floods their souls. God’s Love!
His love allowed Him to give His only begotten Son to take our place on the cross. We should have been on that cross of judgment instead of Christ, but His love for mankind caused Him to die for us.
“Please don’t make me take off my coat, ” Timmy cried. “Lick me all that you want, but please don’t make me take off my coat.” “You helped make up the rules and their punishment Timmy, and now you like any other must obey those rules.” The teacher exclaimed. “Take off your coat.” Timmy shaking all over removed his coat, and to the surprise of the class and teacher had only a ragged T-shirt under it, the shirt was torn in shreds. The teacher looked in sympathy at the child and said in himself, how can I punish this child so severely? Just then big Tom spoke up and said, “Teacher can someone take the place of another for the punishment?”
“Yes,” replied the teacher, “there is a law written that one can be a substitute for another in the Bible.” And with that big Tom came and took off his coat, “I’ll take his licking,” he told the teacher. At that the teacher when bringing down the rod for the fourth time, heard the rod break, and noticed that the whole class was in tears, through tears of his own the teacher said he looked down at big Tom, and Timmy the little boy, Timmy had put his arms around big Tom’s neck and was telling him; “Big Tom, thank you for taking my whipping for me, I will remember this for the rest of my life!” Friend, Jesus took our whipping for us too! He took my place on that cross, and He took yours. We were the ones who should have paid the
ultimate price for sin, but Jesus Christ stood in our place. He who knew no sin, became sin for us. Oh, do you know Him today? Have you been to the cross for forgiveness? Are you a part of God’s family right now? Have you been Born Again? Come to Christ for forgiveness from sin, confess Him as your Lord and Saviour now.
Prayer: Lord Jesus come into my heart and life. I repent of my sins, and I believe that you
died on the cross and arose from the dead to save me. In Jesus Christ Name I Ask This. Amen!
If you have just received Christ for Salvation, please write and we will rejoice with you in this the greatest decision that you can ever make.