NOTE: Dr. Robert Sumner just celebrated his 92nd birthday on August 3, 2014. He is still writing, editing his fine Christian paper, The Biblical Evangelist, and preaching.
“Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God,to you is the word of this salvation sent …
“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
“And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified b – Acts 13:26, 38-39, emphasis added
Note especially the words in the above text we have emphasized: “to you is the word of this salvation sent.” It is not alone a message to the “children of the stock of Abraham,” but it is for anyone who fears God. In other words, it is a message of salvation directed by God to you!
It is a “sent” message. God sent this message through His Son. In I John 4:9, 10, we read: “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
It is also a message sent by God through His Word. In II Peter 1:19-21 we are assured: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” This message of redemption is one divinely inspired, directed with the accuracy of the Holy Spirit of God Himself.
Yet God not only sent this message to you through His Son and His Word, but it is sent through His servants. That is why we are told in II Corinthians 5:18-20: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
If you have never received the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior, if you are not absolutely certain that if you were to die this moment you would step immediately into His glorious Heaven, then God is sending this message to you today through this writer. I am, in His stead, pleading with you to be reconciled to God.
You see, not only is this special message a sent one, but it is a “salvation” message as well. As Paul told the people at Antioch, “To you is the word OF THIS SALVATION sent.” In other words, it is a message about how to be saved, about how to miss Hell, about how to gain Heaven, about the wiping out of all your sins and transgressions for eternity! No greater or more blessed message was ever announced to anyone than this message to you from Almighty God!
Note some simple truths about this salvation message God is sending you.
I. A SALVATION “THROUGH THIS MAN”: JESUS CHRIST!
Verse 38 announces: “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.” The one described as “this man” is the one Paul had already announced as the Son of David, “A Savior, Jesus” (Vss. 22, 23).
A. Salvation Only In Jesus Christ
There is absolutely, positively no salvation apart from Him! How strong was Peter’s statement to the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:10-12 where he thundered: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Nothing could be plainer than this!
The entire issue of “condemned” or “not condemned” is settled by what an individual does with the Lord Jesus Christ. In John 3:18 we are told, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” And in verse 36 of the same chapter it is emphasized again: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
This issue of redemption only in Christ is summed up plainly in words no one can miss in I John 5:12 with divine insistence: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” That’s it. Regarding eternal life, you either have it or you don’t have it according to your relationship to God’s dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation rises or falls, is confirmed or denied, though Him and Him alone.
Dr. Lee Roberson told of a German statesman approaching death, a man who had been an agnostic through his long life of service to his beloved country. There was a Christian minister in the community for whom he had respect, however, and he invited him to come to his home and talk to him about God.
There was one stipulation to the invitation, however: he must not mention the name of Jesus Christ a single time in the discussion. While he welcomed teaching about the love of God, he did not want it to include Jesus of Nazareth.
Strangely, the minister agreed and in the first session he discussed at great length the love of God. Since God has manifested His love in so many ways, this was not difficult to do without referring to Jesus Christ. After an hour or so he closed the discussion, still without mentioning the Name of Christ, and left.
On his second visit the minister talked about God’s power and wisdom, still discreetly refraining from a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. His third visit discussed the holiness of God, His hatred of sin, and the absolute necessity of righteous judgment being poured out upon every sin. The clergyman called attention to the fact that God could not condone sin in any form and still be holy Himself.
At the conclusion of that discussion the statesman turned to the preacher and noted that he had said strong things, indeed. He added, “Isn’t there a solution? Can’t anything be done to escape the judgment of God against sin?”
When he returned he readily realized that the Holy Spirit had been working in the dying man’s heart and the latter greeted him, insisting, “You must tell me the whole story. In these past few days you have talked about God’s love, about His wisdom, and even about His judgment. Is there no solution? Is this all there is to God’s message?”
The preacher stood by his bed and looked directly into his eyes, replying, “No, I have not told you the whole story, but it is all I can tell you under the circumstances. You have forbidden me to mention the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and apart from Him there is no solution.”
Immediately the statesman responded, “Sir, I apologize. Please tell me how my sins can be forgiven; tell me about this One who can pardon my iniquity and release me from the judgment of Hell which hangs over my head. I do want to know God’s truth.”
Naturally, the man of God opened the Word of God and explained the redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ to the dying sinner, who then happily placed his faith in Him and received the divine pardon. But the preacher was right: there is no message, we have absolutely nothing to say, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ! This special message of salvation to you hinges totally upon the Son of God.
B. All Is Based Upon Him!
There is nothing about this salvation which does not hinge upon Jesus Christ. Everything about it rests upon what He has done to provide a redemption.
It was His WISDOM that thought it. We are told in Romans 11:33, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” no mere mortal could have ever even planned – to say nothing of provided – such a salvation.
It was His GRACE that bought it. Paul declared in Romans 3:24, 25: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”
What the psalmist said about others is true of ourselves: “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him” (Psalm 59:7). We simply had no price to pay, so He provided it for us.
Too, it was His LOVE that offered it. We are told in Romans 5:6-11: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” William R. Newell expressed it so beautifully:
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
C. Amazement Upon Amazement– Christ Rejected!
How strange it is that, in the light of the above, wicked men will not accept Him, preferring to go on in sin and risk spending eternity in an unending, conscious Hell. This is especially strange since man by nature wants something for nothing; he is always seeking a bargain.
A case in point is the “Washington’s Birthday Sales” which have become so popular around the country every February. The craze started in 1919 when a haberdasher in our nation’s capital offered some shirts, which had been in his store window so long the sun had faded them, for 50¢ each. The crowds came and an annual sale was launched, one which soon spread beyond the confines of theDistrict of Columbia, every February 22. Eventually the merchants were pricing their specials at 22¢ or $22, capitalizing on the day – or $17.76, taking advantage of the year our forefathers declared their independence from England.
The late Tom Olson described what he called “the zaniest of all” zany birthday sales. One merchant offered a power mower for 22¢ and an elderly man shivered outside the store all night long in order to be the first customer. So excited was he over his accomplishment that he rushed off without getting change from his $20 greenback!
This gentleman was not alone and others either stood in line or slept on the sidewalk all night to grab the bargains when the stores opened. Among them was a 14-year-old lad, wrapped in blankets, whose diligence was rewarded with a 22¢ typewriter. In one suburb of Washington, a lucky buyer purchased a 12-year-old automobile for $17.76! And in another suburb, a man spent the night in an automobile being offered for $22 (he brought an electric blanket and plugged it in the lighter socket).
After recounting these incidents Olson remarked: “It is amazing what strange things people will do in order to get bargains! But when it is a matter of accepting gifts, the values of which infinitely outweigh all bargains, they ‘haven’t the time’! They would not think of losing sleep, or of inconveniencing themselves in the least.
“Multitudes of people will watch TV, listen to radio, and peruse newspapers to learn where merchandise will be put on sale at bargain prices.
“Comparatively few persons will read the Bible or listen to preachers to learn that they can be ‘justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 3:24).”
Yes, this salvation is for you!
Again, it is,
II. A SALVATION OF FORGIVENESS AND JUSTIFICATION!
This offer is not for the cancellation of a note on a new automobile or the payment of a mortgage on a home. No, this is an offer outweighing anything and everything else.
A. “Forgiveness of Sins”
Note again the statement: “through this man is preached unto to you the forgiveness of sins.” Here is something all need, since all are sinners. Romans 3:22, 23 express it like this: “…for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” In this respect – the fact of sin – there is no difference between the down-and-out and the up-and-out.
Solomon, in his wisdom, rightly concluded: “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
How admirably the psalmist evaluated the situation when he wrote: “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah. But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.” (Psalm 4:1-3). Not one individual is excluded or excepted; here is a mini-biography of us all.
Not only is forgiveness of sin something all need, but it is available for all who want it. Remember what Peter told Cornelius and the crowd assembled in his home, waiting to learn how they might be accepted by God. He declared, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). And then he added in verse 43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
Ah, that is the key: “whosoever!”
That is why even Isaiah, ministering during the dispensation of legalism, could boldly announce: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
Paul, in the dispensation of grace, could only confirm Isaiah’s truth: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (I Timothy 1:15).
No wonder the Bible concludes with the invitation: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Yes, it is “whosoever will.”
Dr. R. A. Torrey tells a beautiful story which illustrates this matter exactly. During the days when he pastored what is now the Moody Church in Chicago, one of his godly ladies invited a fallen woman to the services. The latter bluntly refused, insisting that going to church was very definitely “not for the likes of me.” She declared that there could be and would be no welcome for her.The child of God insisted that her church was different and she would, indeed, find a warm welcome. The fallen woman lamented that such couldn’t possibly be true and so all of the Christian lady’s pleas fell on deaf ears. Even the offer to accompany her was rejected. Finally, however, the saint’s persistence paid off and the sinner reluctantly agreed to attend one time, stating the conditions under which she would do so. Saying that the Christian’s testimony would be impaired if seen walking with such a sinner, the latter demanded that the saint proceed up the avenue several feet ahead. And up LaSalle Avenue they went until they reached the intersection at Chicago Avenue where the church was located. Part of the agreement was that the two not enter the church together, so the Christian lady went in and took her usual seat. The other looked in the door and saw an empty seat in the last row, under the balcony, went to it, then settled back to listen. The service was already in progress and Dr. Torrey had just announced his text, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). He passionately declared, “If the vilest woman in Chicago should come into this church this morning, and should here and now accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, that very moment every sin she had ever committed would be blotted out and her record would be as white in the sight of God as that of the purest woman in the room.” Torrey knew nothing, of course, of the fallen woman on the back row. But the Spirit of God took the words and drove them into the heart and soul of the hungering, thirsting sinner. And when the message was concluded, down the aisle came the sinful woman, tears streaming down her face, to claim the Christ who loved her and the redemption He so freely offered. Yes, this salvation is one of “forgiveness of sins.”
B. “Justified From All Things”
It is one thing to be pardoned; it is still another to be declared righteous. So our text adds in verse 39, “By him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
The word “justify” means “to reckon righteous,” or, “to declare righteous.” Our record of sin is completely wiped out when we come to Him; we are absolutely blameless before Him! It makes absolutely no difference how vile or how vicious our iniquity has been, the Word of God insists, “all things.” Glory to God!
Some time ago a friend in the ministry wrote to rejoice about a revival in his church. Among those saved was a 40-year-old man who had been seeking his father for 26 years, hoping to find him and kill him. Now the man wanted to find his father to tell him about the Lord Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sin available through Him!
To be justified means that the one forgiven can never be brought to account by God for his or her sins. As Jesus said in John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Never, never will the one in Christ be brought into condemnation; his record is forever wiped clean!
The Apostle Paul enthused about this: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit … Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:1, 33-34).
Our friend and former columnist, the late Bill Harvey, wrote about this so beautifully:
I came to the River, destruction,
And the bridge that went over was Law,
My burden too large for the crossing,
Kept me from that City I saw.
I wept, in despair, for deliv’rance,
My burden was all of my sin.
Then Jesus took all on His shoulder!
And told me, “You’re free! Enter in!”
I’m JUSTIFIED, I’m happy in Jesus, today.
The sins I have committed are all in
They will never condemn me, for He holds
I’m JUSTIFIED! I’m JUSTIFIED! And I’m
happy in Jesus, today!
There was a lovely, moving, sweet illustration of justification which took place in Dallas nearly three-fourths of a century ago. A Methodist minister’s wife, Mrs. W. E. Hawkins, had just turned on to Tenth Street from Edgefield when she heard a honking behind her and looked back to see a gruff looking policeman with brass buttons all over his uniform motioning for her to pull over. Her heart began to pound and she found herself so flustered she had difficulty blurting out a question as to what she had done.
As he wrote on the pad he responded, without even looking up, “You ran a stop sign at the boulevard.” And he handed her the pad and indicated where she should sign her name. The officer informed her that in five days she was to appear in court and pay the fine for her violation. With tear-filled eyes she managed to drive home, where she went immediately to the one she knew loved her devotedly. She handed her husband the ticket and confessed her guilt in the matter. When he saw how troubled and upset she was, he assured her that he would take care of it for her. He tenderly said, “Don’t worry about it. Just turn it over to me and I will handle it for you.” Thus it was that five days later, when Mrs. Hawkins was supposed to be in court, her preacher husband was there in her place. When her name was called he answered and approached the bench. The judge inquired, “Are you representing Mrs. Hawkins?” “Yes, your Honor.” “Is she guilty?” “She is.” The judge sternly responded, “She’s fined $3.” That may be an insignificant sum today, but it was big money back then. Mrs. Hawkins’ substitute told the judge, “I will pay it for her,” and he took out his billfold and removed three $1 bills, laying them on the table. An hour later he was home again, placing in Mrs. Hawkins’ hands her pardon – signed, sealed and delivered!She was free from the claims of the law! She had not done a thing nor paid a thing to gain that pardon, but it was hers through the grace of one who loved her. As sweet as this story is, it pales almost into insignificance when compared to the message and justification available in Christ. Because of our sin, we deserved the judgment and condemnation of the law of God. We could do nothing; we could pay nothing. Yet the holy Son of God came to this earth – and died in our place – to settle the claims of the divine law once and for all. Galatians 3:13 expresses it, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
Have you claimed this forgiveness and justification in Christ?
III. A SALVATION FOR “ALL THAT BELIEVE”
How simple it is to be forgiven and justified by God! Verse 39 of our text says, “And by him all that believe are justified from all things ….” God’s offer is all-inclusive!
A. Only Way Any Saved in The Past
How were the Old Testament sinners forgiven and justified? They were saved by grace, through faith.
Consider the case of Abel. It says in Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
Consider the case of Enoch. In Hebrews 11:5, 6 we are told: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” In other words, it was true of Enoch and what was true of him is true of all. Faith is a “must.”
Consider the case of Abraham. In Genesis 15:6 we are told: “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” And the Apostle Paul expanded on this by telling the Church at Rome: “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:1-5).
What was true of Abel, Enoch and Abraham was equally true of David. Romans 4:6-8 tells us: “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
No one in the Old Testament obtained forgiveness of sin and justification before God in any other manner than by grace, through faith!
The same was true of those concerted in New Testament times. The woman who was a sinner, in Luke 7, was told by Jesus, “Thy sins are forgiven” (Vs. 48). Then He explained to the woman, “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace” (Vs. 50). What saved her? Her faith!
On the day of Pentecost, when Peter preached to the multitudes and explained the salvation available in Christ, he quoted the Prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).
Later, during the persecution at Jerusalem which followed Peter’s second sermon, we are told: “Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand” (Acts 4:4).
At the time of our text, when Paul preached his sermon at Antioch, he told them, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 13:38).
Who was included in that “you” here? The Jews were included, of course; verse 39 says, “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” This was an offer to the “men and brethren” of Israel who were under the Law of Moses. They could receive forgiveness and justification simply by believing.
The same was true of the Gentiles, and we read in verse 48, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” That is, the Gentiles who were “found disposed to eternal life,” as the text is literally saying, believed and the salvation was theirs that very moment!
B. The Only Way Any Saved in Our Day!
Not only was believing the only way Old and New Testament sinners were able to receive forgiveness and justification, but it is also the only way to be saved in our day.
Recall the trembling warden who fell down before Paul and Silas, following the earthquake, and then pleaded, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts16:30, 31). There has never been any other answer to that question, nor is there at this hour.
A quick look in the Gospel of John confirms the way in its simplicity: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name… 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. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God … Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life … Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 1:11, 12; John 3:14-18; John 5:24; John 11:25, 26).
The Apostle Paul emphasized the same truth in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Because so many are under the erroneous impression that one can obtain forgiveness and justification through good deeds, Galatians 2:16 emphasizes, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
And in the next chapter, the apostle pointed out, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” He did not say that all are the children of God; he said that all are the children of God “by faith in Christ Jesus.” That is the way it has always been and that is the way it is at this hour.
Decision for Christ
We started this message by reminding the reader that this is a special message for you – sent through God’s Son, His word, and His servant. Our text tells us, “… that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
So the message is “unto you … that believe.”
Will you accept this “special message” to you from God? Like a registered letter, there is a sense in which it must be “signed” for.
As a minister, I am simply God’s mailman, His delivery boy. Don’t make me report in your case, “Refused – Return to Sender!” Instead, this very moment, claim the forgiveness and justification available to you through the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you will surrender to Christ today, write and let me know so that I can join in Heaven’s rejoicing. If you will do so, we will send you a letter of counsel and instruction about a right start in the Christian life. Either let us know in your own words, or, if you prefer, you may use the following form:
Evangelist Robert L. Sumner
THE BIBLICAL EVANGELIST
5717 Pine Drive
Raleigh, NC 27606
Dear Brother Sumner:
I have read your sermon, “A Special Message For You!” Since God sent this message through His Son, His Word and His servant, I would be both foolish and wicked not to accept it. This very moment, believing that Jesus died for my sins on the cross of Calvary and was raised again for my justification the third day, I claim Him as my Lord and Savior.
I am willing to trust the promise Peter quoted from Joel, “And it shall come to pass, that whosever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” and I call upon Him right now to save me. This very moment I place my future destiny, both for time and for eternity, into His hands. I trust Him to give me a life worth living down here, and a home in his Heaven forever.Please send me some information about how I can make my new life in Christ effective.
“When they saw the boldness of Peter and John…they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
These two men drew one quality from the same source; they had both become bold from living with Jesus. Yet it was not the same kind of boldness. Peter and John were both courageous; yet the courage of Peter was as unlike the courage of John as the sun is unlike the moon. When Christ gives the same quality to two men He does not thereby make them the same man. The light which shines on the wall comes from the same source as the light which shines on the river; but no one would mistake the light on the river for the light on the wall. Even so, no one would mistake the courage of Peter for the courage of John. They are not only different; they are in some sense opposite. Peter has the courage that strikes; John has the courage that waits. Peter is a force of action; John is a force of bearing. Peter draws the sword; John lies on the bosom. Peter crosses the sea to meet Jesus; John tarries till the Lord comes. Peter goes into the sepulchre where the body of Jesus has lain; John merely looks in–keeps the image of sorrow in his heart.
Christ needs each of these types. There are times when His kingdom requires the courage of the hand–the power of actual contact with danger. There are times when it needs the courage of the heart–the power to wait when nothing can be done, and to keep the spirit up when the hand must be let down. Life has both its Galilee and its Patmos–its place for work and its place for waiting; and for both it requires courage.
George Matheson, who died in 1906, was a great devotional preacher and his books blessed many. He had very poor vision when only a child and then early in childhood became blind. Congregations were hesitant to call him as pastor, but when one did it was a blessing and almost an immediate success. The man had power with God. His public prayers in the congregation often brought strong men to tears. The man spent hours in study and meditation on the Scriptures. He had to memorize his text and it was said he never missed a line. His sister was his great helper. George never married. In fact, he said he had never been in love. Look at what he wrote about this song:
My hymn was composed in the manse of Innelan [Argyleshire, Scotland] on the evening of the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone in the manse at that time. It was the night of my sister’s marriage, and the rest of the family were staying overnight in Glasgow. Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering. It was the quickest bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the impression of having it dictated to me by some inward voice rather than of working it out myself. I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes, and equally sure that it never received at my hands any retouching or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm. All the other verses I have ever written are manufactured articles; this came like a dayspring from on high. Note: It is not often you get to read the words of a song that seemed to the author as though the song was dictated to him and it was written within about 5 minutes. Divine? You decide.
O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
George Matheson FRSE was a Scottish minister and hymn writer. Wikipedia
Born: March 27, 1842, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Died: August 28, 1906
Education: University of Glasgow
Words: George Matheson, in the Church of Scotland magazine Life and Work,
Music: St. Margaret (Peace), Albert L. Peace, 1884 (MIDI, score). Alternate tunes:
Hampstead (Davies), H. Walford Davies, in In hoc Signo, 1915, number 31 (MIDI, score)
Wyke, Leslie H. Heward (1897-1943) (MIDI, score). Heward is said have written the tune while a choir boy at Manchester Cathedral.
Hanging above my office chair is a drawing entitled, Hands. It was drawn by an artist in Rochester, MI. The hands in the drawing are of many different sizes and shapes; some little representing small children; some big representing adults; some scared representing hard work or accidents; some appear as though they have never been soiled. The hands in the drawing tell the story about how all hands are different, how important they are and what they are used for. The hands of Jesus tell a very important story. angingHe used His hands to hold the tools of a carpenter and turn pieces of wood into useful objects. He used His hands to offer hungry people a piece of bread and fish. He used His hands to hold small children. He used His hands to touch the eyes of the blind and restore their sight. He used His hands to open the ears of the deaf. He used His hands to quiet the raging seas. He used His hands to point people in the direction of the Kingdom of His Father. He never used His hands to make a fist. He never used His hands to grasp things from others. He never used His hands to point people in the wrong direction. He never used His hands to do anything that was evil. He never used His hands to strike others. He never used His hands to push people away from Him. One fateful day those hands were pierced and nailed to a cross. Pierced but not closed. They were on the end of arms that were reaching out to a lost and dying world. The Psalmist wrote, They pierce my hands.
Prayer:Thank You, Father, for loving us, for reaching out to us with hands that were pierced because of our sins. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today:Psalm 22:16c They pierced My hands and My feet;
Come SOW with us: Please forward this message to ten of your best friends, on behalf of Sower Ministries. And if these Seeds have ministered to you, email us and let us know, please. (Note: if you forward this email, remove the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom first or they may unsubscribe you from our mailing list.)
The Bible says, ” The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.” Psalm 121:6. Our post today says our Lord God is both a Sun and Shield. When you think abut our earthly sun…the sun that shines so brightly in the summer and tans our skin is far more than an entertainment center. Everything we eat, drink, wear or ride has its ultimate root in the sun. God, in His marvelous creation, has carefully measured out the rays of the sun to perfectly minister to His earth creatures (man and animal). Life, as earth people know it, could not and would not exist with out our earthly sun. Look at the plant life, the vegetation, the trees, the vines…can only survive with the sun doing her perfect, created work. Seed time and harvest requires the sun. The verse says, ” The sun shall not smite thee by day…” Here He does not at all mean you will not have all of the benefits of the great sun, rather the horrors of too much unprotected sun…the ravages of the sun as on a cruel desert with out water and shade will not smite God’s people. Jesus is our Water and if need be His Moses has a rod to strike the rock from which will flow life giving water to sustain us on our journey. Has it not been so thus far on your pilgrimage? As God led the Children of Israel through the wilderness…He was their shield in the daytime. No enemy, no bandits, no kingdoms dared come up against them. The verse continues, “…nor the moon by night.” The Blessed Psalm Writer encourages us with the promise that God protects us in the daylight, the sunlight… and He protects us at night…in the moonlight. God is ever our Protector. Did you not notice He says in our post below…that God “will give grace and glory”.? The “grace” part surely has a spiritual ring to it as if to say you have my salvation full and free having to do with our internal peace and joy. And the “glory” part an earthly protection and blessing to it…God’s constant peace. Christians see God’s Glory in a hundred ways and this speaks to our external worship and praise of Him. To take away any possible doubt of the matter He ends that verse by saying, “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” You may not have every luxury you crave, you may not have a dozen expensive suits and multiple pairs of shoes and a pantry filled with every delicacy, but He is not withholding those good things you need, things you require to be an effective witness for Him. Remember, this world is not Home…we are just passing through…Our Heavenly Home is yet to come where the abundance is bountiful. Remember that the children of Israel did not have a second pair of shoes, but the ones they were wearing never wore out. For 40 years He sustained them with manna, long lasting clothes and 24-7 protection. Count your blessings today. See what God has already done for you. Look what you have in Him. Rejoice and praise His holy Name. Now I quote the eminent Puritan preacher of yesteryear (1600s) Thomas Brooks. ”
“Grace and glory differ very little. One is the seed, the other is the flower. Grace is glory militant, glory is grace triumphant. The sun, which among all inanimate creatures is the most excellent, notes all manner of excellency, provision, and prosperity; and the shield, which among all artificial creatures is the chiefest, notes all manner of protection whatsoever. Under the name of grace, all spiritual good is wrapped up; and under the name of glory, all eternal good is wrapped up; and under the last clause, No good thing will he withhold, is wrapped up all temporal good: all put together speaks out God to be an all sufficient portion.” Thomas Brooks.
Thomas Brooks (1608–1680) was an English non-conformist Puritan preacher and author. Much of what is known about Thomas Brooks has been ascertained from his writings. Born, likely to well-to-do parents, in 1608, Brooks entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1625, where he was preceded by such men as Thomas Hooker, John Cotton, and Thomas Shepard. He was licensed as a preacher of the Gospel by 1640. Before that date, he appears to have spent a number of years at sea, probably as a chaplain with the fleet.After the conclusion of the First English Civil War, Thomas Brooks became minister at Thomas Apostle’s, London, and was sufficiently renowned to be chosen as preacher before the House of Commons on December 26, 1648. His sermon was afterwards published under the title, ‘God’s Delight in the Progress of the Upright’, the text being Psalm 44:18: ‘Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from Thy way’. Three or four years afterwards, he transferred to St. Margaret’s, Fish-street Hill, London. In 1662, he fell victim to the notorious Act of Uniformity, but he appears to have remained in his parish and to have preached as opportunity arose. [More via Wikipedia] The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks:
The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 1. (558 pages) [pdfmobiepubweb via Internet Archive]
Containing the following: A Memoir; Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices; Apples of Gold for Young Men and Women; The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod; and A String of Pearls.
The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 2. (552 pages) [pdfmobiepubweb via Internet Archive]
Containing the following: An Ark for all Noahs, The Privy Key of Heaven; and Heaven on Earth (or, Well-Grounded Assurance).
The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 3. (520 pages) [pdfmobiepubweb via Internet Archive]
Containing the following: The Unsearchable Riches of Christ and A Cabinet of Jewels.
The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 4. (464 pages) [pdfmobiepubweb via Internet Archive]
Containing the following: The Crown and Glory of Christianity.
The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 5. (614 pages) [pdfmobiepubweb via Internet Archive]
Containing the following: The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures; Paradise Opened; and A Word in Season.
The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 6. (520 pages) [pdfmobiepubweb via Internet Archive]
Containing the following: London’s Lamentations on the Late Fiery Dispensation; The Glorious Day of the Saints’ Appearance; God’s Delight in the Progress of the Upright; Hypocrites Detected; A Believer’s Last Day is His Best Day; A Heavenly Cordial; The Legacy of a Dying Mother and Mrs. Bell’s Experiences; and Indices.
Promises are like pie crusts, begins an old proverb. They are made to be broken. Not so Gods promises.
Read this amazing statement: The Maker of heaven and earth, the seas and everything in them, the Lord…remains faithful forever.
Behind Gods promises are His past performances. He is a God of truth and will not forget or forfeit His Word. Whatever He said He would do, He did. Whatever promise He made, He has kept. If He said it, He meant it and He will do it! Behind His promises is His passionate love. He is the very definition of the word, love. Whenever we doubt the fact that God loves us, look at Christ on His cross. Unfortunately, we tend to only look at an empty cross. But, never forget that Jesus, our Savior, at one time hung on that cross for three painful, lonely, humiliating hours. How can we ever doubt Gods love? Behind every promise is His power. As the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, all of the laws that govern it are under His control. No one or no thing can stand in the way of the fulfillment of the laws that govern His universe – His creation. And if that is not enough, look once again into the empty tomb. He has the power to do whatever He said He will do. On a very special occasion, Alexander the Great gave one of his loyal supporters a generous gift. Said the recipient, This is too much for me to receive. Said the giver, But it is not too much for me to give.
Prayer: Forgive us, Father, for those times when we have doubted Your promises, passionate love or power. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 146:6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them he remains faithful forever.
In a cell of the Philippian dungeon, dark, damp, chill, unilluminated save by the torch Of some official who comes to see whether they are yet alive, are two Ministers of Jesus Christ; their feet fast in instruments of torture, their shoulders dripping from the strokes of leather thongs, their mouths hot with inflammation of thirst, their heads faint because they may not lie down. In another room of the same building is a man asleep on a comfortable couch. He is a supervisor, a paid officer of the government to look after that prison. I take him to have been a moral and an honorable man from the trust reposed in him. It is twelve o’clock at night. No sound in all the corridors and wards in that prison, save as some culprit turns over in his chains or there is the cough of a slow consumptive or some wanderer, far away from her father’s house, cries out in her dream: “Mother! mother!”
At midnight, Crash! Go the prison walls, and the two Ministers of religion, Paul and Silas, are free. The supervisor of the jail, although he had been accustomed to the shadows hovering around the dungeon, is startled beyond all bounds; and flambeau in hand he rushes through between the falling walls, and throws himself down at the feet of his Apostolic prisoners, crying out in the memorable words of my text: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
There are hundreds and thousands with more or less earnestness asking the same question, and in this severe crisis of your soul I meet you with a message from the throne of God. There may be some who could surpass me in skillfulness of argument, there may be many who could drink from deeper fountains of knowledge and science, there may be many before whom, in some respects, I would be willing to bow as the inferior to the superior; but I yield to no one in this presence in a wish to have all the people saved; and with an all conquering desire that sometimes well nigh overcomes my utterance, I beg you to accept the eternal life of the Gospel. Lord, help us! Lord, help us now!
I proceed to characterize this question of the jail warden, and I characterize it in the first place as a courteous question. He did not come up to these men and say: “You outragers of the law, you miscreants, you vagabonds against society, you have upturned the whole city with excitement, and now you are trying to break down the walls of our prison, destroying government property; let me put on you these handcuffs and hopples, or else get out beyond the confines of the city.” He said no such thing. He addresses them with that one word, “Sirs,” a synonym for lords – as much as to say: “I acknowledge the dignity of your mission. I acknowledge the honor of your manhood, and I am here to see what you can do for my soul.” It was a courteous question.
But it is often the case when people begin to inquire about religion they become impertinent, and they denounce all Christians as hypocrites, and the Church of God as a cheat, and they criticize this and they denounce that and they complain of something else. Is that fair? Is that right? Is that courteous? Suppose I should come into an audience of lawyers and denounce them all as pettifoggers, or an audience of physicians and denounce them all as quacks? “Oh,” you say, “that would not be fair.” It would be just as fair as for you to denounce all Christians as hypocrites. There are pettifoggers among lawyers, and there are quacks among physicians, and there are hypocrites among Christians; but that is not the character of all lawyers or all physicians or all Christians. It was a courteous question, it was a gentlemanly question, it was a polite question, it was a deferential question. “Sirs! Sirs!”
I go further, and I characterize the question of the jail supervisor as a practical question. He did not ask why God let sin come into the world – he did not ask how the Christ about whom they were preaching could be God and man at the same time; he did not ask who Cain married; he did not ask who was Melchizedek; he did not ask the proportionate number of the finally saved and the finally lost. No; his question involved his present and his everlasting welfare. Was not that a practical question? Yet a great many people, when they begin to seek after religion, begin to find fault with the Bible, and they say, “If this is so, how can that be so?” And they complain of this and they complain of that and they go fishing after snapping turtles instead of fishing after the truth. They do not seem to be satisfied with the plain Gospel of the Son of God. Now, the question for you is not whether John Calvin or Arminius was right, not what will be the proportion of the finally saved and the finally lost, not who was Melchizedek, not who Cain married; the question for you is, “Where will I spend eternity?” It is a practical question.
I go further and I characterize this question of the jail supervisor as a question personal to himself. He may have had hundreds of friends; he is not asking about them. In that catastrophe of the failing prison some or those friends may have perished. He is not asking about them. He throws all the emphasis of his question upon the pronoun of the first person: “What shall I do to be saved?” When a man becomes a Christian, of course he is anxious to have everybody else saved. You are not a Christian if you are not anxious to have all the world saved; but until your own sins are pardoned, my brother, you must look at home. The difficulty is, we are so anxious about the lack of culture in our neighbor’s yard that we let our own garden go to weeds – we are so anxious to get the people into the lifeboat of the Gospel that we ourselves drown in the wave. We cry, “Fire! fire!” because our neighbor’s house is consuming; while ours is in a blaze. Now, let us blot out everything, let us obliterate all other considerations, let it be as though you were the only person present, the rest of the audience all gone. Your sin – is it pardoned? Your Heaven – is it secure?
I come up to the door of your soul with a message from the throne of God -about your pardon, your repentance, your enthronement, your exile, your eternal residence. This man of the text knew that there was coming an earthquake mightier than that which shook down the Philippian dungeon. The foundations of the earth shall give way. At one tremor of the world, all the modern cities will fall into the dust. Temples and towers that have stood a thousand years will fall as quickly as a child’s block house. The waves of the sea will roll over the land, and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans will join hands above the Sierra Nevadas and the Alps and the Pyrenees. This man of the text was guarding not more against the falling of the prison than he was against the falling of a world.
I go further, and characterize this question of the jail supervisor as a question of incomparable importance. Perhaps he was anxious to have his salary raised as a supervisor; perhaps he wished to have better apartments; perhaps he was discussing some questions of prison reform, something about warmth, light, ventilation, medical treatment, discipline. Men are wonderfully alike, and I suppose he may have had a hundred questions to discuss; but all earthly questions are submerged, are bushed up, are annihilated by the one question: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And what question have you, my brother, comparable with that in importance?
Is it a business question? Do you not realize that you will soon have to go out of that store, that you will soon have to resign that partnership, that soon among all the millions of dollars’ worth of goods that are sold in New York you will not have the handling of a yard of cloth or a pound of sugar or a pennyworth of anything, that soon, if a conflagration should start at Central Park and sweep everything to the Battery, it would not disturb you; that soon if every cashier should abscond, and every bank should suspend payment, and every insurance company should fail, it would not affect you? What are all the questions that stop this side the grave compared with the questions that reach beyond it? Are you making losses that are to be everlasting? Are you making purchases for eternity? Are you retailing for time, when you might be wholesaling for eternity? What question of the store is so broad at the base, and so altitudinous, and so overwhelming as the question, “What must I do to be saved?”
Or is it a domestic question? Is it something about father or mother or companion or son or daughter that you think is comparable with this question in importance? Do you not realize that by universal and inexorable law all these relations will be broken up? Your father will he gone, your mother will be gone, your companion will be gone, your child will be gone, you will be gone; and then this supernal question will begin to harvest its chief gains or deplore its worst losses, roll up into its mightiest magnitude or sweep its vastest circles – a question deciding whether you will live unending ages with God, the Blessed, or go into exile; whether you will take wing and fly, or chain and drop; whether you will forever be built up or pulled down; whether for all the future you will be praising or blaspheming, chanting or groaning, living the life that always lives, or dying the death that always dies. Is there any question comparable with that?
What difference now does it make to Napoleon III whether he triumphed or surrendered at Sedan? Whether he lived at the Tuileries or at Chiselhurst? Whether he was emperor or exile? They laid him out in his coffin in the dress of a field marshal. Did that give him any better chance for the next world than if he had been laid out in a plain shroud? Soon to us what will be the difference whether in this world we rode or walked, were bowed to or maltreated, were applauded or hissed at, were welcomed in or kicked out; while, grasping the great future, and burning in splendor or grief, and over arching and under girding all time and all eternity, is the plain, simple, practical, thrilling, agonizing, overwhelming question: “What must I do to be saved?”
I go further, and I characterize this question of the jail supervisor as one pressed out by crushing misfortune. The penitentiary fallen, his business was gone. It was a financial loss. Besides that, the flight of a prisoner ordinarily in those times meant the death of the jailer. If the prison wars had stood solidly all that night, and the incarcerated had been quiet in the stocks, and the sunlight on the following morning had dropped on the calm pillow of the supervisor, would he have hurled the agitating words of my text into the ears of the Apostles? You know as well as I, it was the earthquake that roused his anxieties. And is it not the shaking of misfortune and trouble, and the crashing down of earthly hopes that has driven many of you to the Gospel? Your dress is not so bright as once. Why have you come to more subdued garb? You like the saffron and the crimson and the bright colors as well as ever; but you say: “Things that were in harmony with my feelings when I was young and bright and prosperous and gay would be a discord now.” And so you have gathered up and plaited the darkness into your apparel.
There have been dark days in your house. It does not seem any more like home. You once wished the house might be quiet. It is too quiet. Others say they would not bring their loved ones back to this trouble some world if they could; but if you had the power, how soon those hushed voices would be back in the home circle; and it would be as it was in the Christmas or the Thanksgiving holiday so long gone by, never to come back with its hilarity’s. Oh! It is the earthquake of domestic trouble that has started one half of you toward God. The grave is so cruel, so relentless, so devouring, that when our loved ones are swallowed up by it, we must have some one to whom we can take our torn and bleeding hearts.
It needs a balsam better than ever exuded from any earthly tree to stop the sharpness of the pang. It is pleasant at such times to have friends come in and try to break up the loneliness; but Jesus only can take the frenzied spirit on His bosom and hush it with the lullaby of Heaven. Alas the heavy grave stone will never be lifted from your heart until Jesus lifts it. Has it not been the loss of your friends, has it not been the crushing down of your estate, has it not been the earthquake of misfortune that led you to ask the question spelled in tears and heart breaks, the impassioned outcry: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
I take one step further, and I characterize this question of the jail supervisor as an urgent, hasty, immediate question that demanded an immediate answer. It was a question put on the run. You can see by the torch the jailer holds in his hand the startled and anxious look. He had no time to prepare himself in especial apparel, no time to comb his hair, no time to fix himself up. He must have that question answered before the earthquake has stopped rocking, or never perhaps have it answered at all. Is that the way you propound the question of your salvation, or do you drawl it out as much as to say: “Any time within fifteen years I would like to have it answered”? Do you know that thousands of souls have been ruined because they did not ask the question in time? If the door of the lost world could be opened, and one word of warning could come forth, and they could utter only one word of warning, that word would come sounding up like the howl of the everlasting storm: “Now!” I open the gate of those there incarcerated. I find some of the young are there. What is their history? Now did they lose their souls? By procrastinating to old age, or to mid-life; but the rail train shot from the track and in an instant they were gone; or they slipped on the icy pavement and the skull was fractured; or the typhoid fever came down and drove them in delirium out of life. There are some of the middle aged who have lost their souls. What was their history? They adjourned religion until they got more time, until they got their worldly affairs arranged, until they made a competency. In the attempt to win the world they lost their soul. All their government securities, all their certificates of stock, all their warehouses, all their bonds, all their daybooks and ledgers, all their worldly accumulations are of no service to them now. There are some of the aged who lost their souls – through what cause? Adjourning religion until their hearts were so hard when they tried to repent they could not repent, and when they tried to pray they could not pray; and they went tottering on leaning heavier and heavier on their staff until it broke, and they fell headlong into outer darkness.
Are you proposing the question of the text with an urgency such as this man of the text employed, or are you adjourning it to the last hour? Adjourning it to the last hour, are you? I suppose that out of the one hundred death bed repentances, ninety nine amount to nothing. Of the large number of people in this Bible who are represented as dying, how many of them are represented as repenting successfully in the last hour? Fifty? No. Thirty? No. Twenty? No. Ten? No. Five? No. Two? No. One? Just one. Only one. As much as to say: “it is possible that a man may repent in the last hour of his life, but it is improbable; it is a hundred chances to one against him.”
Have you ever seen a man after living a life of sin and idleness worrying to repent in the last hour? I have seen that spectacle. If you had ever seen it you would not try to repeat it. Why, it is most inopportune. There is the physician standing with the medicine, and here is the lawyer standing with the half written will; and the bells of eternity are tolling at the passage of the soul from the body; and all the past is surging upon us, and all the future; and angels are flying through the room, and devils are plotting for the overthrow. The man is a fool who adjourns repentance until the death hour.
My text asks the question, but does not answer it. That comes on in the next verse, and strict rules of sermonizing would say that must come in some other sermon. But what are rules of sermonizing to me when I am after souls immortal? Wait until another time! I might be dead before that time, and many of you I confront only once.
After a friend in Philadelphia died, his children gave his Church Bible to me, and I read it with much interest. I saw in the margin written in lead pencil; “Mr. Talmage said this morning that the most useless thing in God’s universe is that any sinner should perish.” I did not remember saying it; but it is true, and I say it now, whether I said it then or not – the most useless thing in all God’s universe is that any sinner should perish. Twelve gates wide open. Have you not heard how Christ bore our sorrows, and how sympathetic He is with all our woes? Have you not heard how that with all the sorrows of heart and all the agonies of hell upon him He cried: “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do!” By His feet blistered of the mountain way – by His back whipped until the skin came off; by His death couch of your spikes, two for the hands and two for the feet; by His sepulcher, in which for the first time for thirty three years the cruel world let him alone; and by the heavens from which he this morning bends in compassion, offering pardon and peace and life eternal to all your souls. I beg of you put down your all at his feet.
I saw one hanging on a tree,
In agony and blood,
Who put His languid eyes on me,
As near His Cross I stood,
Oh, never till my latest breath,
Will I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.
In the troubled times of Scotland, Sir John Cochrane was condemned to death by the king. The death warrant was on the way. Sir John Cochrane was bidding farewell to his daughter Crizelle at the Prison door, He said: “Farewell, my darling child! I must die.” His daughter said: “No father, you shall not die.” “But,” he said, “the king is against me, and the law is after me, and the death warrant is on its way, and I must die; do not deceive yourself, my dear child.” The daughter said: “Father, you shall not die,” as she left the prison gate. At night, on the moors of Scotland, a disguised wayfarer stood waiting for the horseman carrying the mail bags containing the death warrant. The disguised wayfarer, as the horse came by, clutched the bridle and shouted to the rider – to the man who carried the mail-bags: “Dismount!” He felt for his arms, and was about to shoot, but the wayfarer jerked him from his saddle and he fell flat. The wayfarer picked up the mail bags, put them on his shoulder and vanished in the darkness – and fourteen days were thus gained for the prisoner’s life, during which the father confessor was pleading for the pardon of Sir John Cochrane. The second time the death warrant is on its way. The disguised wayfarer comes along, and asks for a little bread and a little wine, starts on across the moors, and they say: “Poor man, to have to go out such a stormy night – it is dark and you will lose yourself on the moors.” “Oh, no,” he says: “I will not.” He trudged on and stopped amid the brambles and waited for the horseman to come carrying the mail bags containing the death warrant of Sir John Cochrane. The mail carrier spurred on his steed, for he was fearful because of what had occurred on the former journey, spurred on his steed; when suddenly through the storm and through the darkness there was a flash of firearms, and the horse became unmanageable; and as the mail carrier discharged his pistol in response, the horse flung him, and the disguised wayfarer put his foot on the breast of the overthrown rider, and said: “Surrender now!” The mail carrier surrendered his arms, and the disguised wayfarer put upon his shoulders the mail bags, leaped upon the horse, and sped away into the darkness, gaining fourteen more days for the poor prisoner, Sir John Cochrane; and before the fourteen days had expired pardon had come from the king. The door of the prison swung open, and Sir John Cochrane was free. One day when he was standing amid his friends, they congratulating him, the disguised wayfarer appeared at the gate, and he said: “Admit him right away,” The disguised wayfarer came in and said: “Here are two letters; read them, sir, and cast them into the fire.” Sir John Cochrane read them. They were his two death warrants, and he threw them into the fire. Then said Sir John Cochrane: “To whom am I indebted? Who is the poor wayfarer that saved my life? Who is it?” And the wayfarer pulled aside and pulled off the jerkin and the cloak and the hat, and lo! it was Grizelle, the daughter of Sir John Cochrane. “Gracious Heaven!” he cried, “my child, my Savior, my own Grizelle!”
But a more thrilling story. The death warrant had come forth from the King of Heaven and earth. The death warrant read: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” The death warrant coming on the black horse of eternal night. We must die! We must die! But breasting the storm and putting out through the darkness was a disguised wayfarer who gripped by the bridle the on coming doom and hung it back, and put His wounded and bleeding foot on the overthrown rider. Mean while pardon flashed from the throne, and, “Go free! Open the gate! Strike off the chain! Go free!” And today your liberated soul stands in the presence of the disguised wayfarer, and as he pulls off the disguise of his earthly humiliation and the disguise of his thorns and the disguise of the seamless robe, you find he is bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh, your Brother, your Christ, your pardon, your eternal life. Let all earth and Heaven break forth in vociferation! Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!