Billy Graham Talks about Death

“We think of the cross as being at the very center of Christianity—and it is. And yet, apart from the resurrection, the cross stands for death, not life. It is possible for us to stand on the wrong side of Easter and look at the cross all our lives and never be redeemed or saved.”

Those words taken from the following sermon by Billy Graham.

We Can Face Death With Confidence

Physical life is a possession we all hold on to, and yet we know that sooner or later we will die. Death hangs over our heads from the cradle to the grave. The Bible teaches that death is no respecter of persons. Death enters the home of the rich as boldly as it enters the humble apartment in a ghetto. It brings down the final curtain as swiftly on the famous as it does on the unknown. The Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die.”(1) Our appointment with death is as certain as sunrise or sunset. Before this year ends, many of us will have kept our appointments with death.

A Message by Billy Graham

The Scriptures talk a great deal about the end of the world. But when we die, that is the end of the world to us. We can’t bargain with death. When Queen Elizabeth I lay dying, she whispered, “All my possessions for a moment of time!” But she couldn’t strike a bargain with death.

I have learned that you can tell how a person values life by his estimate of death. What a person believes about death shows what he thinks about life. Over the years I have had opportunities to talk with people who were facing the possibility of death.

One man who had always been healthy had never given a serious thought to death. Then one day he had a pain in his side. He went to a doctor who discovered that the man had cancer. The man said, “Immediately my entire world changed. The things I valued most became worthless, and the things that I considered of little value are now the most important things in the world to me.”

There are at least three philosophies about death that people hold today:

In the first philosophy about death, a person says, “When I am dead, I am dead. I will take my chances with the hereafter.”

Those who hold that kind of philosophy see the drama of life to be without plot or purpose. They see life as a meaningless puzzle, and to them life is a maze in which they wander aimlessly throughout their lifespan and never once catch a glimpse of a higher destiny.

Jesus told of a man who thought that earthly existence was the chief end of man. This man did not believe in life after death, nor did he have any faith in God. This man toiled and prospered, and he became famous. But he also grew old. The only “heaven” that he had hoped for was security, and he had attained it. He said, “I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.”(2) He said, “I will take my chances.” He gambled, and he lost.

How different that is from the triumphant statement of the Apostle Paul who said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”(3) The writers in the Bible were looking forward to death with keen anticipation. They knew that this life is only a dressing room for eternity.

The Bible teaches that this life is short and that we can never know when the moment of death will come. Therefore we should be prepared at all times to meet death face to face.

In the second philosophy about death, a person says, “I believe in life after death, but I am not concerned about crossing that bridge until I get to it.” This philosophy was expressed in a newspaper column some time ago. The writer said, “I have come to believe in life after death, but I am not going to worry about it until I face it.”

How strange that people should spend 20 or more years preparing for life’s vocation, and not take so much as five minutes to prepare to meet God! The Bible urges us to “prepare to meet thy God.”(4) We are so taken up with building a good life here that we have forgotten about eternity. C. S. Lewis once warned that when we become so preoccupied with this life and lose the value of eternity, then we lose this life as well.

Some years ago a rich man died, and his servant was asked: “Did your master go to heaven?”

“No, sir,” came the reply. “My master always made careful preparations when he was going someplace, and I didn’t notice him getting ready to go anywhere. No, sir, I don’t think he went to heaven.”

Nothing in life is more important than your appointment with destiny and your date with death. Are you certain that you are prepared? This month, by the time we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, thousands of people will have died. I cannot help but wonder how many of them will be prepared to meet God.

In the third philosophy about death, a person says, “I stand with Christ, the Lord of life and death, and rest my case in His hands.” The Psalmist David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”(5) Here is the trumpet of hope that has echoed down through every cemetery of the world; it has made the experience of death not a bitter end, but a bright dawning.

Jesus Christ, who Himself went down into the grave and came forth with “the keys of hell and of death”(6) in His hands that first Easter, said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”(7)

Victor Hugo in his old age said, “When I go down to the grave, I can say, ‘I have finished my day’s work,’ but I cannot say, ‘I have finished my life’s work.’ … The tomb is not a blind alley; it is an open thoroughfare. … The tomb, which closes on the dead, opens the firmament. And that what on earth we call the end is the commencement. Death is the portal of life.”(8)

We think of the cross as being at the very center of Christianity—and it is. And yet, apart from the resurrection, the cross stands for death, not life. It is possible for us to stand on the wrong side of Easter and look at the cross all our lives and never be redeemed or saved.

No other word in all our vocabulary is more expressive of the message of Christ than the word “resurrection.” At Calvary the little band of disciples watched their Lord Jesus die, and they saw His broken body taken from the cross. Earlier, one of them had betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver. Another had cursed and had sworn that he never knew Him. Most of them, turning and running for their lives, had forsaken Him. When Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb and the stone was rolled against it, it seemed that this was the end of all their hopes.

Then came Easter morning, and the midnight of despair was turned into glorious dawning. It was the resurrection of all their hopes.

But Calvary does not tell the whole story. Jesus died for all our sins, but the Bible says that Jesus “was raised again for our justification.”(9)

Several years ago I talked with Chancellor Adenauer, of Germany, and he asked me, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive?”

I replied, “Yes, I do.”

He said, “So do I. If Jesus Christ is not alive, then I see no hope for the world. It is the fact of the resurrection that gives me hope for the future.” As he spoke those words, his eyes lighted up.

Indeed, the resurrection of Christ is the only hope of the world: “If Christ be not risen, then our hopes and dreams and faith are in vain.”(10)
“The resurrection of Christ is the only hope of the world.”
But Christ is alive. And because He is alive, that makes all the difference in the world. In His resurrection evil has been defeated, Satan has been defeated, death has lost its sting, love has conquered hate, God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross, and all of creation bursts forth in a new song. Because Christ is alive, we can face death with confidence.

As we look at the world today and see what is happening, only those who are foolish could be undisturbed. Scientists say that mankind faces the possibility of destruction. Economists say that the world is in economic trouble. We hear dire predictions of the future.

But the resurrection of Christ tells us that if we believe in Him, then we need not panic. We need not wring our hands, asking, “What shall we do?” It is true that we are concerned and burdened, and it is certain that we will pray to God, but we do not cry out in terror as others do.

Is the hope and peace and joy of Christ yours today even as you contemplate death? Can you face death with full confidence that you will enter into the presence of Christ? You can have this hope if you are willing to turn from your sin and receive Christ. You can do it now. The Bible says that “if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead, then we shall be saved.”(11) Will you be saved?

Something to Sing About

 

God is Pleased when His Children Sing Spiritual Songs

By Ron English, Editor
Text: Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; –Ephesians 5:19

Here is a simple message, an acrostic from the word SING.  We should lift our voices and sing these four Themes again and again.

Salvation –   We should sing about Salvation. Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”
Philip P. Bliss wrote: “Sing them over again to me, Wonderful words of Life; Let me more of their beauty see, Wonderful words of life. Christ the blessed One, gives to all, wonderful words of life; Sinner, list to the loving call, wonderful words of life.  Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.”  Dr. Joe Henry Hankins said, “If you are not saved…nothing else matters.  That, my friend, is one of the most profound statements you are likely to ever hear.
Inspiration– We should sing about our Inspired Bible. II Timothy 3:16,17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.  B. B. McKinney, one of the Southern Baptist’s great songwriters and music evangelists wrote, “I know the Bible was sent from God, The Old, as well as the New; Inspired and holy, the living Word, I know the Bible is true.  I know…I know… I know the Bible is true; …Divinely inspired the whole way thro’, I know the bible is true.”  If you have a Bible, you can know that the very words were breathed out of the mouth of Almighty God.  Hide the Word in your heart…that you might not sin against God.
New Things-We should sing about ALL THINGS are made New.  II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  — William Cowper penned these words in song and blessed thousands, ” There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins; And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains: Lose all their guilty stains, Lose all their guilty stains; and sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.  The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day; and there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away:”
Great—We should sing about the Greatness of God. Years ago an old preacher taught us to sing the first two verses of Psalm 48.  “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.”  Thomas O. Chisholm wrote these words that branded our hearts with joy and peace: “Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassion, they fail not; As thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.  Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy Faithfulness!  Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided–Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”
Permission: Blanket permission granted to those who might wish to take this simple outline and turn it into a Bible study, a sermon or a spiritual talk.  No credit to this editor or this blog necessary.  May God bless the use of it.

 

 

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Avoid Hell at All Cost

Not everyone believes the Bible, or accepts it as a historic Book dictated and preserved by God. I suppose I could broaden my first statement by saying not everyone believes in God. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God or accept His Book as being the Instruction Book of the ages.

How to Avoid the Bible’s Hell

By Ron English

Not everyone believes the Bible, or accepts it as a historic Book dictated and preserved by God.  I suppose I could broaden my first statement by saying not everyone believes in God.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God or accept His Book as being the Instruction Book of the ages.

In my early years I would have argued for the Bible, but I was not reading it.  I believed in God, bur rarely called on Him.  Perhaps I could say I had a distant respect for the two, the Bible and God, but no real relationship with either.

One old preacher said, “Most people live a guilty distance from God.”  I think that was where I was.  I wasn’t opposed to the Bible in theory or discussion, but I lived in opposition to it.

No one ever stopped me on the street and asked if I was going to Heaven, or asked if I had any interest in Heaven.  Like many kids in my town I attended vacation Bible school and occasionally attended one of the local churches.  Still no spiritual lights came on and no personal worker approached me.  It is safe to say that the big questions found in the Scriptures never troubled me in my early years.

My grandmother talked often of Jesus and made me believe He was important to her.  She loved to read her Bible and she often listened to Christian music.  In later years I would remember her as a saint.  Now, looking back, I sense she planted a few spiritual seed in my mind and heart and watered them.   I am not sure she was aware that was what she did, but I am.

I had an uncle who was dedicated to his church known by the townspeople as Red Hill because of the red clay hill it was built on.  I would one day come to know that congregation as being “hard shells” because of the rigid doctrines they believed.  My uncle was surely a “hard shell” believer.  He was a good man, a devout man, but stern in his understanding of the Scriptures.

It was in the light of that church teaching that I think the subject of Heaven and Hell was first contrasted in my mind.  Some in our town who did not attend that church often joked that the “Hard Shell’s” believed some were going to Heaven and some were going to Hell.  The Heaven bound were chosen by God and they had no real say in the matter.  Those going to Hell were destined for the flames and had no recourse.

Because that contrast was so vivid and that concept so strange I started asking questions.  It made no sense to me that one was consigned for Hell without any choice.  Just as it made no sense to me that God would tag certain ones for Heaven and give them no choice.   I realize now that I was not exactly fair with “Red Hill” and their “Hard Shells.”

I soon realized that people held strong beliefs about all kinds of churches.  The one they attended and the others.  We had several brands of churches.  The next town over from us was larger in population and they had even more churches.  Fifty miles away was an even larger city and still more churches, more denominations.  I knew little of any of them.  But that didn’t keep me from forming opinions about the churches and the people who attended them.

One day I decided if I am ever to make sense of church and churches I should look into the Bible.  To my surprise the Bible said very little about local churches that appeared on nearly every block in our cities.

Somewhere along the line I started attending a local church.  It was not the hunger for the Word of God, but for the association of a young lady who was attending church every Sunday.  Between attending church and hearing the pastor speak from the Bible and from my own reading of the Scriptures certain thoughts began to form in my mind.  I started thinking more of Heaven, the place, and Hell, the place.  I looked in the Bible to learn all I could about both.

I soon learned that I wanted, some day, to go to Heaven and I knew for dead sure I didn’t want to go to Hell.  My spiritual journey lasted for a good long time and I accumulated a good bit of doctrine that resides in my heart until this day.

I learned early how one might avoid Hell.  Here are the simple, but I think true, things that everyone who has an interest in this subject might appreciate.

1. If one is to avoid Hell, he must first realize there is a Hell.
2. Hell is a separation from God and goodness.
3. Hell is a place of torment.
4. Hell is permanent: Once in Hell there is no getting out.
5. I discovered that Jesus spoke more about Hell and judgment than He ever spoke about Heaven.  That fact startled me at the first and continues to amaze me.

There are any number of things I could list about Hell and all of them true from the Bible, but I think it good to move on with our theme, “How to avoid the Bible’s Hell.”

I think the single greatest truth I learned from the Scriptures was that God loved me and didn’t want me to go to Hell.  That was different than any thing I learned from my uncle and the “hard shells.”  God loved me!

The second great truth had to do with the action God took to make sure I could escape Hell.   When I learned that I was condemned to Hell as a sinner by virtue of my birth, you can imagine how relieved I was to learn Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins.  God’s Son died for me!

God is so loving and generous.  He didn’t just pay for my sins, but He paid for the sins of the whole world.  The debt—my debt and the debt of the world was placed on Jesus at the cross.  The old Gospel hymn, At the Cross, written by Isaac Watts, and Ralph Hudson says:

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?
o Refrain:
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

That great song encapsulates the whole idea of the Gospel, the price for sin and the great redemption that Christ provided.  I have come to believe that most of the great doctrines of the Bible that are now so precious to me was first planted in my heart by the repeated singing of hymns like this one.
Avoiding Hell requires one to accept the amazing gift that God provided through Jesus and His death on the cross.  Not just His death, but His resurrection, too.  During that time I discovered J. Wilbur Chapman’s hymn, One Day! that instilled more truth in my heart concerning the work Jesus did.

Living, he loved me; dying, he saved me;
Buried, he carried my sins far away;
Rising, he justified freely, for ever:
One day he’s coming—O, glorious day!

Looking back on my love for the old hymns I find them instrumental in helping me find God’s path to avoiding Hell.  God loves me and has made a way for me to escape Hell and one day, thankfully, live with Him in Heaven.  I realized not everyone is comfortable with this concept, but for me it brings great joy and peace and happiness.

Do you ever have reason to be concerned about Heaven and Hell?  Do you know for sure, if you should die tonight, that you would go to Heaven?  That is a profound question and thought.  Your eternity rests on it.   Notice I did not ask anything about your church affiliation.  I didn’t ask if you had been baptized.  I didn’t ask if you are a good person.  I didn’t even ask if you believe the Bible, or believe in Jesus.

Without a doubt one should believe the Bible.  When you believe the Bible it is understood you will also believe in Jesus.  The Book as a whole is about Him.   “Search the Scriptures; for in them (the Scriptures) ye think ye have eternal life: and they (the Scriptures) are they which testify of me.”  — John 5:39

I hope you will give these matters your undivided attention and come to some determination quickly.   Do you have Eternal Life?  First John 1: 1-5 is rich with wonderful truth about Jesus, the Christ.  John testifies that he and the other disciples saw Jesus with their own eyes; we looked upon Him.  Our hands have touched Him–the Word of life.  He went deeper by saying we have seen that Life and now we bear witness and show everyone that Eternal Life,  that life which was with the Father and that life was manifested unto us.  John said what we have seen and heard we declare unto you.  Why?  So all of us can have fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.  Read for yourself the Scriptures where I paraphrased the above remarks.  1John 1:1-5  (I hope you will read all of that chapter).

In the last chapter of First John, Chapter 5, He reports, And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”  (verses 11,12)

Do you have Eternal Life?  Eternal Life is Jesus Christ!  For you to have it–you must be in Jesus Christ.  No exceptions.  No “ifs, ands and buts.”  YOU MUST BE IN CHRIST TO POSSESS ETERNAL LIFE.

How can you become a person who is in Christ?  By believing on Him, the Son of God.  (Verse 10) That word believing means trusting.  You know how to get into a boat.  You know how to get into your car.  You must trust Jesus Christ and be in Him.  You must believe and accept the work He did on the cross.  You must believe that He died for your sins and that He was buried and three days later resurrected from the dead.  He is alive!  Trust Him.  Believe on Him.  Follow Him.

On this blog you will find a number of Bible messages that give great detail on how to be saved and to know you will go to Heaven when you die.  Don’t be lazy–do some research.  Read the sermons.  Read the one by Dr. John R. Rice, “What Must I Do to Be Saved?”  There are some audio messages on this blog.  You can listen to a message.

God has left you a long message in the Bible.  It is the highest form of foolishness to neglect it.   If a rich uncle died and left a Last Will and Testament I believe you would be greatly interested in what he left and to whom he left it.  A greater death took place than a rich uncle–it was the death of God’s Son, Jesus.  He has left you His Last Will and Testament.  Greater riches than silver and gold are left for those who receive Him.  Read it!  Study it!  Love it!  Tell others about it!  By all means–tell your family.  Don’t be left behind.

I would love to hear from you.  Write me Editor@salvationlinks.com and I will be happy to assist you with additional helps.  If you trust the Lord as a result of reading this message please write me and let me rejoice with you.  God bless you.

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

4And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full

Editor’s Note: The theme for this message was first published in Ezine Articles under the title, “How to Avoid the Bible Hell.”  You can find it by going to www.ezinearticles.com and searching for that title under the author’s name, Ronald English.

Dr. Chapman

“No Difference!”

by Evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1918)

“For there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the      glory    of God.”– Romans 3:23

This is one of the most difficult statements to receive in all the Bible, and I     can well understand how the unregenerate man would resent its application. I can hear him say, “What! no difference between the man who has fallen to the very lowest depths of sin and wretchedness, and the man who, boasting of his morality, has swerved only a little from the path of duty and the law of God?” And the answer to this question is both “yes” and “no.”

There is a difference and degradation wide as the poles; but “no difference” so far as guilt is concerned, for both have rejected the Son of God, and this is the sin of sins.

If two men were before the court, one charged with a great offence and the other with one of less degree, it would profit the latter man but little to say, “But, your Honor, I am not so great an offender as my companion in misery.” The judge might well reply, “You are both guilty; in that ‘there is no difference,’” and this is the teaching of my text.

God’s Word declares, “He that offends in one point is guilty of all”; not meaning, of course, that he has of necessity broken every law, but he has broken away from God for his transgression. If I am held prisoner by a chain, it is not necessary that I should break every link in the chain that I might go free, but only one and that the very weakest; and so be that offends in one point is guilty of all and nothing less, while he that offends in all points is guilty of all and nothing more. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Three important questions grow out of this text as I have considered it. First, I do not ask if you are a sinner, for as we ordinarily use this word, we of one who is lawless, wild and profane. But I ask,

I. Have You Offended in

One Single Point?

If so, “There is no difference.” Man would not say it, I know; but God says it and it is written the Book, and by the Book we shall be judged.

Look at the prodigal. He was as truly a prodigal when he had taken the first step over the threshold of his father’s house, as when afterward you see him sitting in the midst of the swine, and trying to fill his belly with husks which the swine did eat.

He is more degraded in the second picture, but not more guilty.

Look at the leper. He is just as truly dead when the first sign of the dread disease appears, small though it may be, as when afterward you behold him, a loathsome object, sitting outside the city gates, with bandaged mouth, crying “Unclean! Unclean!” He was a leper, however from the first, and by the law dead. This is the teaching of the text. If you have rejected the Son of God, whatever your position, “There is no difference” – all are alike lost.

It is not even a question of great sin. Many a man might plead “not guilty” if such a charge were made; but first of all,

I. Secret Sins

There is a text which declares “our secret sins in the light of His countenance,” and another reads that “All things are naked and open before Him with whom we have to do.” In the light of this, who can stand?

Not long ago in one of the school buildings of Chicago a picture of an eye was placed on the blackboard as an illustration, and in a little time by order of the school board it was painted out, for it had been so perfectly painted that whatever position a child might be in the room that eyes was upon it. The effect was disastrous.

But there is one eye which never slumbers and can never be painted out. “Thou God seest me.” The sin was at midnight. He saw it. It was in New York or London or Paris. He saw it. Thus to the charge of “secret sin” you must plead guilty, and “there is no difference.”

II. Sinful Thoughts

But the charge is even closer. We are responsible for the sinful thought which tarries in the mind by the consent of our will. Who can stand in the light of this?

A distinguished scientist has made the statement, which wise men receive, that if a man stands out in the sunlight and acts, his act, good or bad, flashes away to the sun and a picture which is never lost is made. And if he speaks, the sound bounds away, up and up, far beyond his reach, and makes its record forever. And if he refuses to step into the light, or in the darkness speak a word, this scientist declares that by the very thoughts of his mind certain physical disturbances occur which make a record lasting as time.

I remember sending a telegram in a western city, and shortly after realizing that my message had been wrong, I made my way to the office to recall it.

“Why,” said the operator, with a smile, “it is gone, and is flashing over the wires now, beyond my recall.” So with your sinful thoughts. They bound away, and no man can recall them when once they go.

The answer to this charge must be – “guilty.”

III. Beginning In Sin

Some are beginning NOW. Held by the fascination of the evil one, and lured on by his charms, they are rushing on to Hell. On one of the busiest streets of the gay city of Paris stands a building famous for its beauty. Over the magnificent doorway you may read these words, “Nothing to pay.” The admission is free, the entertainment within is fascinating, and hundreds of young men pass through the portals, the rank and file of them taking their first or last step to Hell.

All sin is dearly bought, for it has Hell back of it. It blights the life, wrecks the character, and blasts the fondest hopes of the soul. And when that awful day comes, and situation is gone, and character lost, and the hearts of loved ones broken, and you are cast a stranded wreck on the shores of time, you will cry out in terror, “O, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me” – and there will be no deliverance. You will be more degraded then but not more guilty than now, for the chiefest of sins is the sin of unbelief, and that was the cause of your downfall. “There is no difference.” God pity you.

Do you know the Bible description of the end of a career of sin from the world-standpoint? “Weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.” “Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whore-mongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” God save us from such a company. A minister could never lead a man to serious thought until he quoted the text: “The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the nations that forget God.”

Great sin humanly speaking is not necessary, but only forget Him and “There is no difference.”

If you have read that remarkable book, “Robert Falconer,” written by George MacDonald, you will remember the dream of the wife of Andrew Falconer. He was a drunkard and after her death, her dream being told him, resulted in his conversion. She said in her letter, which she had written him:

“I thought, Andrew, that the resurrection morn had come, and I was looking everywhere for you. Finally in my wanderings, I came to a great abyss. It was not so very wide, but it was very deep and was filled with blue, like the blue of the sky. On the other side I saw you, Andrew, and I gave a shriek which all the Universe must have heard. Something made me look around. Then I saw One coming toward me. He had a face – O, such a face! fairer than all the sons of men; He had on a garment which came down to His feet; and as He walked toward me, I saw in His feet the print of the nails. Then I knew who He was. I fell at His feet and cried, ‘ O Lord, Andrew, Andrew.’ ‘ Daughter, would you go to him ?’ I said, ‘ Yes, Lord.’ And, Andrew, He took me by the hand, and led out over the abyss, and we came nearer and nearer, until at last we were united, and then He led us back to be with Him forever.”

O, my friends, not in the next world if not in this, but here and now we may be made one in Him, one for time and eternity; but failing here, all hope is gone and there is before us only the blackness of darkness of despair. “For there is no difference.”

The next question is of the greatest importance:

IV. Do You Come Up to

God’s Standard?

It is not enough to be simply a member of the church. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils ? and I will profess unto them, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:22, 23).

We have such a way of measuring ourselves by ourselves that we may feel well satisfied with the result. But how about God’s standard ?

Upon my return home at one time, my wife placed in my hands a piece of paper, written all over, but only two words were intel1igible. At the top of the page was the word ‘carriage’ plainly written; the next word was the same, only not so well written.

It was my little daughter’s first copy-book. The teacher had written the word at the top of the line, and she had done fairly well so long as she had looked at the copy. But she had fallen into the serious error of copying the line just above her work, and the word at the bottom of the page as nearly spelled “man” as “carriage.” Thus people measure themselves by those around them, forgetting that He said, “Look unto me and be ye saved” (Isaiah 45:22).

You may be better than the members of the church; but what doth it profit? You may be the best man in your community, but that does not save.

How about God’s standard?

Her Majesty, the Queen, I am told, frequently issues an order for soldiers to compose her guard. Every man must be at least six feet tall. I can imagine some young Englishmen measuring themselves by themselves, until at last one man in great delight exclaims, “I will surely get in for I am the tallest man in town.” And so he is; but when he stands before her Majesty’s officer, he is rejected, for he is three-quarters of an inch under the mark.

His being taller than his friends profited nothing; they had all fallen short; some more, some less. But “there was no difference.”

And if you turn my question in upon myself, I confess that I do fully come up to the high standard of God; not in myself in any way, far from it – but in Christ; for “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” and wherein I fail, He makes up.

It is no point as to whether Adam or Eve were the more sinful; they were both guilty, and “there is no difference.”

The chiefest of all sins is not drunkenness, although that is horrible; it is not licentiousness, although that is vile; it is the rejection of God’s mercy – or the sin of unbelief. “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). And whosoever he be among you – sinner, either great or small, if he fail here, he stands with the condemned, and “there is no difference.”

The last important question is this,

V. What Is the Remedy?

There is another “no difference” which answers the question. “For there is no difference … for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:12, 13).

1. It is useless to try by any amount of exertion, or feeling, or even prayer, to bring about faith. I have had my own experience in this. God says in His Word, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

This is a sure way. A college student was greatly troubled spiritually, and was in conference with one of the professors until midnight. Just as he was leaving the house, going out into the darkness, the professor placed in his hands a lantern saying, “Take it, George, it will light you home a step at a time.” And this is what the Bible does.

That lantern did not light up the forests, nor make luminous the landscape; it was not meant that it should; but it made every step bright.

Man was lost by hearing Satan. He can only be saved by hearing God. Plant your feet firmly by faith on one single promise, and God will begin at once to make clear the way if you will only believe Him.

2. To the Philippian jailor’s question, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul’s answer was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” And there is no respecting of persons, for “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

A friend of mine told me that when he climbed the Matterhorn he was besieged by men, waiting at the base of the mountain, ready to guide him up the difficult way; but the most of them would have never brought him down in safety, for they were simply men out of employment. He very easily, however, secured a safe guide when he said, “Show me your papers.” Then the men who were without them stepped back, while the real guides stepped forward and holding out their papers he read something like this:

“We, the undersigned, have climbed the Matterhorn under the care of such a guide (giving his name), and we commend him to our friends” – and then followed the names of people of great renown at home and abroad, a member of Parliament, a member of Congress, and your personal friend; and my friend at once felt secure because others had made the trip in safety.

It is like that when under condemnation you ask, “What must I do?”

Infidelity attempts an answer; Philosophy makes a vain effort to reply; and Jesus Christ the Son of God comes with the rest. Let me suggest to you the real test. Ask them each, “What have you done?” Demand of each that their papers be shown. Then will He come whose garments are dyed red, whose hands were pierced, and whose heart was broken, who died and rose again that He might become the justifier of all them that believe; and on the very palms of His hands you read the names, John Bunyan, John Newton, Jerry McCauley, and brighter than them all – Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“He hath saved us, and kept us, and in His presence we rejoice with a joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

And this is enough. I for one will say, “Blessed Lord, if You can save others, and I know that You can, You can save me; and I will let You do it now.” Will you join me in this now?

3. To sum it all up, if you would escape condemnation you need simply to

V. Have A Willing Mind

About Salvation

Then by faith accept what He in grace offers you. I have heard Christian workers say to earnest inquirers, “Give your heart to God, and you maybe saved.” But this is unscriptural – at least the order is wrong. Accept first the gift of eternal life, then give yourself, out of gratitude for His goodness.

The first saves you; the second is the first-fruit of your salvation.

When William Dawson, the celebrated street preacher, was conducting a street meeting in London, he was told of a young man in a neighboring house that was dying. He climbed the rickety stairway and stood by the bedside of a young man, a victim of consumption, and just nearing eternity. He found that he was the son of wealthy parents, but that his father had cast him off because of his sin.

When William Dawson said he would intercede with the father in behalf of the son, the boy said it would be useless, for the father had long ago cast him off. And it almost seemed that he was right, for when Mr. Dawson entered the spacious mansion, and mentioned the boy’s name, the father said, “If you have come, sir, to talk of that scapegrace, I shall ask you to leave. He is no son of mine.”

“Well, sir,” said the preacher, “he will not be here long to trouble you, for I left him dying.”

In a moment the man’s whole attitude had changed. “Is he sick? ” he asked. “Is Joseph ill? Then take me to him.”

And soon he was on his knees by the side of the dying boy, his arms about him, and his head pillowed on his breast. All the boy could say was, “Father can you forgive me?” and the strong man could only sob, “O Joseph, my son, my son; I would have forgiven you months ago if you would only have received it.”

My friends, I bring you good news indeed, glad tidings of great joy. “God hath for Christ’s sake forgiven you,” and if you would be saved, you need only to accept His gracious gift. The first “no difference” is discouraging, but the second one is sweeter than honey in the honey comb.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”

You have read this wonderful message that tells you how to be saved and why you should be saved.  Dr. Chapman was a famous evangelist and then a famous pastor.  Dr. Robert L. Sumner published this message in his publication, The Biblical Evangelist(May-June 2010). Dr. Sumner says of the sermon, “It deals with what has long been a troublesome text to some, especially “good people” hearing for the first time of their desperate need of redemption.”  Dr. Chapman’s pastorates included one of  the largest churches in the country at the time, Bethany Presbyterian in Philadelphia, with members like John Wannamaker, the department store magnate and Postmaster General in the administration of Benjamin Harrison.  We hope you will remember Dr. Chapman for giving Billy Sunday his start in evangelism.  What a gift that was!

http://jwilburchapman.blogspot.com/

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Earthquake Sparks Important Bible Question

There are many questions of importance that we face throughout our lives and experiences. There are questions about health, romance, sex, money, jobs, war and peace and politics. There are questions about God, life and death. There are so many questions to ponder. But there is one question that was asked so important that one of the inspired New Testament writers recorded it in Scripture. The question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30, KJV).

Ron English
Ron English

There are many questions of importance that we face throughout our lives and experiences. There are questions about health, romance, sex, money, jobs, war and peace and politics. There are questions about God, life and death. There are so many questions to ponder. But there is one question that was asked so important that one of the inspired New Testament writers recorded it in Scripture. The question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30, KJV).

The man asking that question thinking his prisoners had escaped from his jail was about to commit suicide. He understood that if his prisoners had escaped the authorities would administer a fate to him worse than death and at the end surely execute him. So he would avoid that and take his own life (Verse 27).

His prisoners were well-known Christians. The famous Christian, the Apostle Paul, had been converted to Christianity after hearing a fiery sermon by an early church deacon, Stephen (Acts 7). Before his conversion, Paul had been one of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem charged with the responsibility of arresting Christians and putting many of them to death. Now he was not only a believer, but a leading proponent for Christ.

This jailer had heard Paul and Silas singing in the night. No doubt he mused over their plight. Here were two men who had been arrested, beaten with many stripes and thrown into his prison where they would soon appear before the authorities for trial. He had been charged with the task of keeping them safe. To make sure they were secure he took them to the inner prison-the most secure area of confinement. Since he was certain there was no way for them to escape he drifted off to sleep.

But Paul and Silas didn’t feel like sleeping. Instead, at midnight, they sang songs, spiritual songs and prayed to God. In answer to their prayers there was a great earthquake. The very foundations of the prison were shaken. All of the doors to the prison were opened and every prisoner’s chains were loosened. No doubt these men could have escaped, but they did not choose to do so.

This calamity woke the jailer from his sleep and immediately he thought the worst. Surely his prisoners had escaped and the logical thing for him to do was kill himself. He couldn’t dare face his superiors with this massive failure to keep safely the men in his charge.

When Paul saw what the jailer was about to do, he shouted for him to stop, “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here” (Acts 16:28).

Here is where one must read between the lines of Scripture. And I have no problem doing this. The jailer, no doubt, was familiar with Paul’s background. He knew why Paul was beaten and why he was in jail. He knew that sooner or later Paul would be tried and most likely put to death. He had heard the two men singing and praying and praising God. All of this impressed him, made him consider his own spiritual condition.

It was then he fell down before Paul and Silas and formed that most important question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

That question lives on today. It has survived all the earthquakes, floods and wars and political divisions of all stripes. If the Bible is true (and I believe it to be so) the answer to this question is vital-a matter of spiritual life, or spiritual death.

Paul did not hesitate to tell the jailer what he must do. It was a simple answer. He did not suggest the man enroll in a study of sacred Scripture. He did not suggest he seek out a minister of his own faith. He simply said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31, KJV).

Jesus does the saving. The individual does the believing. You must know something of Jesus-who He is, what He did and what He will do in the future. All of this is clearly recorded in Scripture. The jailer would have already known this background through the news of the day and through the singing and testimony of Paul and Silas. He had some knowledge. Then Paul and Silas shared with him the Word of the Lord (Verse 32). Now he knew about the death and resurrection of Jesus. He had experienced the moving of God through the earthquake and the timely attention of Paul and Silas that saved his life.

He gladly believed on the Lord that night.   Later, apparently his entire household believed and was baptized (Acts 16:33, KJV).

Have you considered this great question? Have you joined the jailer and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ? I hope so. If not, there will never be a better time than today. I am certain that the word of the Lord Paul shared with the Philippian jailer included the following: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:14-17 KJV).

This article first published in Ezine Articles

Do You have Your Ticket to Heaven? Click Dr. Wemp’s Link

http://www.sumnerwemp.com/witnessing/

Salvation Link: Titus 2:11

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Pants on the Ground

Why Pants on the Ground is So Hot, Hot, Hot…

General Larry Platt

When General Larry Platt pounced onto the American Idol stage for his debut he caught the judges by surprise and Americans roared from their sofas—why?

The answer may be simple.  America is neck deep in shell shock over so many disappointments with the falling economy, with the tragedy of Haiti, with politicians making promises they can’t keep.  People losing their jobs, kids flunking in school.  So many illnesses dragging folks down.  We needed a break.

People tune in to American Idol for a few minutes of escape.  Then here comes General Larry Platt.  Wow!  He shook up the place.  The song, not much of a song, was swept into our idled brains with the contagious enthusiasm of The General—the new black rapper from Atlanta tryouts.  We liked him immediately and his infectious song registered with positive vibes.

Many have actually observed young people with those ridiculous “pants on the ground” styles and the cap turned sideways look.  Adults mostly shake their heads in wonder.  Surely no woman in her right mind looks at one of those guys and says, “He is one more handsome dude!  I must see if I can wrangle a date.”  Who would want to walk along side of such?

So, The General expresses our sentiments.   Thank you General.  You are getting your 15 minutes of fame, but more than that, you are providing Americans with their 15 minutes of relief.  Thank you again.  I watched as Brett Favre and his team picked up the song after their astounding victory over The Dallas Cowboys; the ladies on the View had The General come on and sing.  His song is hot! Pants on the ground–could well be pants on fire! 

You know there is a story recorded in the Bible about a man who had a problem with his pants.  He mostly tore his clothes off and was known as a crazy man who lived in the tombs in the land of the Gadarenes—a place near the Sea of Galilee.

When Jesus saw this poor man in his awful condition He didn’t compose a song, or suggest he go in for professional counseling—He healed him on the spot.  The man was possessed with so many devils that when the demons left the man and entered into the hogs nearby—almost 2000 of them—even the hogs went crazy and rushed over the edge and into the water where they drowned.

The tragic case of the devil-possessed man was changed in an instant.  He wanted to follow along with Jesus and share his great blessing with the great crowds that would come to the meetings.  But Jesus told him to “Return to your own house, and show people who know you what great and wonderful things God has done unto you” (Luke 8).  Most of us would do well to impress the folks at home with our new found faith before we launch out into the deep waters of ministry.

Let’s enjoy The General and his amusing song for now, but let us not forget many people are hurting.  We should do what we can to help them.  The best thing you can do for any one who is hurting is point them towards the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He can help.  He can save.  He loves the sinner, but hates his sin.  Prayerfully read Romans Chapter 10.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  FOR OUR NEIGHBORS TO THE SOUTH, HAITI, THE POOR PEOPLE WHO ARE HURTING FROM THE AWFUL TRAGEDY THAT DESTROYED THEIR HOMES, INUJURED SO MANY AND TOOK THE LIVES OF THOUSANDS, THERE IS A WAY YOU CAN HELP.  SEND A DONATION TO: SAMARITAN’S PURSE: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/

VISIT THEIR SITE AND REVIEW THE WONDERFUL WORK THIS ORGANIZATION IS DOING IN HAITI AND OTHER TROUBLED SPOTS AROUND THE GLOBE.  The son of Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, directs this fine work.  Within hours of the earthquake in Haiti the Samaritan’s Purse Team was packing up supplies, water purification plant and doctors to go there and provide relief.  Pray for Franklin and that mighty team of workers.  God bless them one and all.  Your gifts make their work possible.  May God bless and protect all of the men and women who went there to help.

The Gypsy Boy Prayed Hard!

KEEP ON PRAYING
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Devotinal By Michael Guido

Gypsy Smith (Born Rodney “Gipsy” Smith), the great evangelist, was converted when he was a boy. He loved his grandfather, and he tried to win him to the Lord.

Not being allowed to talk to his grandfather, he prayed for his conversion.

One day the grandfather asked, “Laddie, why are the knees of your trousers so badly worn?”

“Because I’ve been praying for your conversion,” he explained.

Weeping, he knelt with the boy, and received the Lord.

Have you ever worn out your trousers by praying for the conversion of your family and friends?

Try it, won’t you?

Prayer: O God, all through today make me brave enough to follow Thee, strong enough to witness for Thee, and convincing enough to win souls to Thee. Constrain me to pray persistently for the conversion of my family and friends: through Christ. Amen.

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Who was Gipsy Smith? 

Gypsy (Gipsy) Smith

His Early life
Parent's Grave


The grave of Polly and Cornelius Smith in St Nicholas churchyard in Norton now part of Letchworth Garden City.

Smith was born in a gypsy tent six miles northeast of London, in Epping Forest. The site is marked with a large, commemorative stone,in the woods near Waterworks Corner, Woodford Green. Smith received no education. The family made a living selling baskets, tinware, and clothespegs. His father, Cornelius, and his mother, Mary (Polly) Welch, provided a home that was happy in the gypsy wagon. Smith was a child when his mother died from smallpox near Baldock in Hertfordshire. She is buried in the nearby churchyard of St Nicholas church in Norton, now part of Letchworth Garden City. The Smith children numbered four girls and two boys (Rodney was the fourth child).
Cornelius was in and out of jail for various offences. There, he heard the gospel from a prison chaplain; later, he and his brothers were converted at a mission meeting. From 1873 on, “The Converted Gypsies” were involved in numerous evangelistic efforts.
Smith’s conversion as a sixteen-year-old came as a result of a combination of things. The witness of his father, hearing Ira Sankey sing and the visit to the home of John Bunyan in Bedford all contributed. He taught himself to read and write and began to practice preaching. He would sing hymns to the people he met and was known as “the singing gypsy boy.

Smith was born in a gypsy tent six miles northeast of London, in Epping Forest. The site is marked with a large, commemorative stone,in the woods near Waterworks Corner, Woodford Green. Smith received no education. The family made a living selling baskets, tinware, and clothespegs. His father, Cornelius, and his mother, Mary (Polly) Welch, provided a home that was happy in the gypsy wagon. Smith was a child when his mother died from smallpox near Baldock in Hertfordshire. She is buried in the nearby churchyard of St Nicholas church in Norton, now part of Letchworth Garden City. The Smith children numbered four girls and two boys (Rodney was the fourth child).
Cornelius was in and out of jail for various offences. There, he heard the gospel from a prison chaplain; later, he and his brothers were converted at a mission meeting. From 1873 on, “The Converted Gypsies” were involved in numerous evangelistic efforts.
Smith’s conversion as a sixteen-year-old came as a result of a combination of things. The witness of his father, hearing Ira Sankey sing and the visit to the home of John Bunyan in Bedford all contributed. He taught himself to read and write and began to practice preaching. He would sing hymns to the people he met and was known as “the singing gypsy boy.

At a convention at the Christian Mission (later to become the Salvation Army) headquarters in London, William Booth noticed the Gypsies and realized the potential in young Smith. On 25 June 1877, he accepted the invitation of Booth to be an evangelist with and for the Mission. For six years (1877–1882), he served on street corners and mission halls.

Family

He was married on 17 December 1879 to Annie E. Pennock, one of his converts. It was from this marriage that Rodney and Annie had three children, two boys and one girl. Albany Rodney, the eldest, became a Christian later in life and eventually followed in his father’s footsteps and became an evangelist in the United States. He was known as Gipsy Smith, Jr. and served as an evangelist from 1911 to August 24, 1951 when he died. Albany was married and had three children of his own. His eldest was John Rodney or (Jack) and was known as a well-respected lawyer. G. Wilbur Smith was a Presbyterian pastor and pastored three different churches, 1 in Missouri, 1 in Stuttgart, Arkansas and his last pastorate was at Batesville, Mississippi. Albany’s youngest was Betty and was the apple of his eye, she grew up into a fine wife. Rodney’s youngest son, Alfred Hanley became a Christian while he was yet young and became a Wesleyan pastor in England and served at 11 different pastorates during his 43 years in the ministry. Hanley died on February 11, 1949 at the age of 67. Rhoda Zillah served with her father in his great South African campaign known as the “Mission of Peace”. She eventually married a banker named James Lean and had two children, Rodney James Lean and Zillah Lean. Zillah Elizabeth Lean, Gipsy’s granddaughter, worked with the late English author David Lazell, of East Leake, in his first biographical account of Gipsy Smith entitled, “Gipsy Smith, From the Forest I Came”. Also, Reverend Charles Smith, of Van Buren, Arkansas wrote a brief biographical account of the Gipsy Smith family for the British Evangelical Magazine, The Flame (July-September 2006: Volume 72 No. 3).

Salvation Army

 

Gipsy (Gypsy) Smith & Salvation Army

 

‘Gipsy’ Smith as a Captain in the Salvation Army

Rodney and Annie served in several assignments and saw membership rise to hundreds, then a thousand. By June 1882, great crowds were coming and the work was growing. A gold watch was given to him and about £20.00 was presented to his wife by the warm-hearted members of a local congregation. Acceptance of these gifts was a breach of the rules and regulations of the Salvation Army, and for this, he was dismissed from the Army. This happened so suddenly that other evangelists had to step in to take up his preaching engagements, including a contemporary preacher Charles Crowie Smith, who took over 2 engagements in Hanley. His eight assignments with the Salvation Army had produced 23,000 decisions and his crowds were anywhere up to 1,500.

Evangelist travels

He traveled extensively around the world on evagelistic crusades, drawing crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands throughout his life. Busy as he was, he never grew tired of visiting gypsy encampments whenever he could on both sides of the Atlantic. Gipsy never wrote a sermon out for preaching purposes. Smith wrote several books and could sing as well as he preached. Sometimes he would interrupt his sermon and burst into song. Several of these hymns he would sing were recorded by Columbia Records. Although he was Methodist, ministers of all denominations loved him. It is said that he never had a meeting without conversions.

During World War I he ministered under the auspices of the Y.M.C.A.to the British troops in France, often visiting the front lines. As a result of this, King George VI made him a member of the Order of the British Empire.

Later life

Gipsy Smith’s wife, Annie, died in 1937 at the age of 79 while he was in America. Front page headlines in 1938 carried the news of the 78-year-old widower marrying Mary Alice Shaw on her 27th birthday. This, of course, brought some criticism. But it was a good marriage, for she helped him in his meetings, sang, did secretarial work, and later nursed him when his health failed.

Stricken by a heart attack, he died on the Queen Mary on a cruise in America, age 87. It was estimated that this was his 45th crossing of the Atlantic. His funeral was held 8 August 1947 in New York City. A memorial with a plaque was unveiled on 2 July 1949 at Mill Plain, Epping Forest, England, his birthplace. So ends the life of one who once said, “I didn’t go through your colleges and seminaries. They wouldn’t have me…but I have been to the feet of Jesus where the only true scholarship is learned.”

Much of this report was taken from work done by Charles Smith (No relation to Gipsy Smith) and published in the online “The Free Encyclopedia” Wikipedia.  Charles wrote to suggest I credit this report and I am most happy to do so.  Charles is working, I believe, on a larger work on Rodney “Gipsy” Smith’s life & ministry. He hopes to publish soon.  Click this link for Wikipedia report:  http://bit.ly/ccU244 

You will find more detail about “Gipsy” Smith in the story about his father’s conversion to Christ.  A remarkable story and one you should share with others.  http://bit.ly/9Utx8u