By C M Ward, for 25 Years the Voice of Revivaltime
C M Ward
“A certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his [the rich man’s gate . . . and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from . . . the table. . . .”
-Luke 16:20, 21
“He cried and said . . . send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip o f his finger in water and cool my tongue . . .” –Luke 16:24
This account reduces life to “bread and water” – and it’s a page out of the Bible that sets forth the truth in the plainest of fashions. First of all – Jesus is not trying to say that you go to heaven because you are poor and you go to hell because you are rich. It isn’t the state of your pocketbook so much as it is the state of your heart. The dogs had a better “conscience” than the gentleman on the boulevard. The Bible says that “. . . the dogs came and licked the beggar’s sores. . . :’ That was the only hospitalization he ever had. His canine friends did the best they could for him. It will be a solemn moment in the universe when God calls upon the animal creation to testify against man’s inhumanity to man and man’s unfaithfulness to his God. Simple animal-sense would cause us to go God’s way! God didn’t have to speak twice to the animals when He wanted them to march into Noah’s ark. The wisest of earth could stand around and scoff at God and laugh at the ark and prove so easily that it would never rain – while the animal obeyed its Creator. The lion – in the Persian pit of capitol punishment – will hush its roar in reverent respect for God’s servant, Daniel. Two she-bears – demanding more courtesy from their cubs – than parents were demanding from their crop of juvenile delinquents in Elisha’s day – would be so startled at the blasphemy of the younger generation and their mockery of old-time religion that they, themselves, would open war against such ribald indecency. Crows will bring meals on time to a preacher being tracked down by a blood-thirsty Jezebel. A whale will give a submarine ride to one of God’s evangelists. A mule will try to reason a man away from his willful backsliding – and dogs will lick Lazarus’ sores!
What makes man’s heart so hard for God to reach? The answer is right here on this page of the Bible. The answer is selfishness. The Bible says that this man was “. . . clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. . . ” – while an honorable but unfortunate man sat at his gate every day asking but for a crumb. How selfish and hard can men get? Ask the American prisoner-of-war from Korea– He’ll tell you. Oh, yes – the human heart will so often put the animal to shame. That’s why this man went to hell.
Now there’s a second truth that Jesus presents in a very plain fashion. It’s the truth about death. He says that rich men die as well as poor men – that politicians will die and voters will die – that scientists will die and the ignorant will die – that athletes will die and. the sick will die. This is the way it is written on this page of the Bible: “. . . and it came to pass, that the beggar died . . . .” And the very same verse records this fact: “. . . the rich man also died . . . .” He couldn’t bribe death. His influence couldn’t cheat the undertaker. All of his financial assets couldn’t demand a special deal. Death is a “common-denominator.” That is what Jesus is saying here. And it is interesting to see what Jesus says about these two men in death. He says about one man: “. . . the beggar died, and was carried by angels . . . .” He says about the other man: “. . . the rich man also died, and was buried . . . .” One man’s honors began after death while the other man’s honors ended with the burial committal in the cemetery. To-one man death meant a glorious release – to the other man it meant the end of every privilege he had ever enjoyed. His life had become worthless a long time before they ever buried him. He might have found life in feeding the poor – in binding up the wounds of the sick – in sharing his wealth with the underprivileged, but he buried himself in his purple and fine linen and the heaped-up food on his table and behind the locked gates of his private estate. He was “dead” inside a long time before some physician pronounced him dead on the outside. I want to ask you, neighbor, in this hour: “What will the record say about you.’ Will a band of angels come to gather you home or will they simply bury you?” That’s what you must decide.
Don’t deceive yourself! Death is more than a chapel-service. It’s more than a beautiful casket and a new suit of clothes. It’s more than a head-stone. Death is a report card. It’s a final auditing. Its the figures on the score board. In this hour I want you to think. I want you to answer this question: “How will I die?” One man can die in purple but be rotten inside – the other man can die full of sores on the outside but be clean as a whip on the inside. They say: “Clothes make the man.” Don’t believe it! It’s what is behind those clothes that counts.
And there is a third lesson that Jesus writes so all men may read. It’s this. The justice of God cannot be limited to this life. There’s another world whether men want to believe it or not. The Bible says:
“Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” -I Tim. 5:24
Here’s an example of that truth. One man begged for bread in this world and the other man begged for water in the next world. As long as there is a God in heaven there will be “an evening-up process.” Folk so often get an idea from what they see on this side of eternity that it pays to be a rogue – that a good man gets a raw deal – that it is smart to be crooked and that the only law to live by is to get all you can and hold on to all you get and let the next fellow look out for himself. King David was so troubled about this that he wrote about it in one of his Psalms. Let me read it to you.
“As for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For 1 was envious at the foolish, when 1 saw the prosperity o f the wicked . . . . They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men …. Their eyes stand out with fatness; they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt . . . . And they say, How doth God know? And is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning ….When I thought to know this; it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood 1 their end.” -Ps. 73:2-17
Jesus pulls back the curtain and lets us take a look into eternity. Here on this page of God’s Book is the echo of eternity:
“Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things – but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” -Luke 16:25
One man took the “good things” of this world and used them selfishly and sinfully to his damnation – the other man took the sorrows and heartaches of this world and made them lead him to God and Paradise. If I had to, I would rather beg on this side of the grave than on the other side. The word here is “remember!”
Don’t think you’re getting away with anything. God is keeping the books. If we suffer we shall reign. If we shut God out of our lives here – He will shut us out of Himself in the life to come. You’ve got to look farther than the grave, neighbor! Look into eternity in this hour – and then – and then only – give me your final answer on how you want to live.
And there’s something else that speaks to us from this page in
the Bible. It’s this. Changes have to be made on this side of the grave. The only “second chance” is the “second chance” you get in this life and not in the next. I don’t know whether the rich man made a will before he died or not – but I know he tried to make one after he reached eternity. He said: “I’d like to contribute something toward the gospel. I’d like to warn my family not to come here. I’d be in favor of sending Lazarus back to life and let him preach in the same city where I lived for so many years when I was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day,” He said:
“I pray thee . . . that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” -Luke 16:27
There’ll be plenty of people in hell with a missionary spirit. They never had a dime to give toward spreading the gospel in this world. They said the church was always begging for money. It matters not to them that two-thirds of our world are hungry and diseased. It doesn’t disturb them that 55 per cent of the hospital beds in America are filled by mental patients and there is an immediate need for beds for 329,000 other cases. They think it is a waste of time and life that fifty-two martyrs have given their lives for Christ in Colombia alone since 1915. These folk never think of the gospel in their purple and fine linen and sumptuous living, until it’s too late. Then they want a special miracle! My friend, let me tell you that the only special miracle that God will ever provide for our salvation was done for all of us when He gave His Son to die in our stead on the cross of Calvary. Take a tip from me – you had better do your supporting of preachers on this side of the grave when you are having the chance!
Christ would have us know one more thing. “There is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” Mankind has bridged most distances. Perhaps in our lifetime man will bridge the distance between earth and Mars or the Moon with his rocket ships and nations will be racing to establish air-bases on other planets. Let that be as it may – one thing is certain – no false doctrine – no wishful thinking
no ingenuity of man – no new translation of the Bible will even build a bridge between hell and heaven. Men’s hearts would ha-. to change first. And this man was just as selfish after death a? he was before. It was still – “cool my tongue” and “send him
my house.” There’s no heaven in this man’s soul. There may remorse but there’s no repentance. There is torment but there’s no confession.
Death does not change a sinner. A funeral sermon may preach a dead man into heaven, but that’s only preacher’s talk. Men’s sins follow them into eternity.
How wonderful in this hour that on this side of the grave any man who would change sides may do so! It’s up to you in this moment. There aren’t enough devils in hell to keep you from becoming a Christian if you want to, and there aren’t enough angels in heaven to keep you out of a lost eternity if you are determined to squander your soul. Christ opened up the way. Only in eternity can it ever be said “. . . that neither can they pass to us that would come from thence.” Today you may change sides. And with all my heart I urge you to do so. I want you to do now what you will wish you would have done one minute after you reach eternity. This is the moment of your choice. To you the Creator has given a free will. Yours is the responsibility to exercise that will for good. Eternity is a long time in which to remember. Don’t wait until “the gulf is fixed” – and you are forever a lost soul.
Dr. B. R. Lakin, may well have been America’s Prince of Preachers, or something very close to that. At one time he was one of, if not the most famous name in Gospel preaching. He preached to 10,000 people each week before that was even thought of as a mega church event. He was welcome in the largest churches in America and the next week be just at home in the smallest. Dr. Lakin loved to preach. I met him when he was already an older evangelist. He was in Mufreesboro, Tennessee for two or three weeks of revival at Rev. Woodrow Medlock’s church. I went out to hear him for the first time and immediately admired the man and his preaching. I was back the next night and the next. The next week after leaving Murfreesboro (I think it was the next) he was in Texas for another revival. I had to be there for business and went to hear him preach again. We talked after the service and he asked what I would be doing the next day. He invited me to his motel and we had the best time talking. He did most of the talking. He loved to talk about the old days. From that time we were friends.
Later, after I had left my position at The Sword, my wife and I were in Ohio. She always thought the world of Dr. John Rawlings so we made it a point to be at his church for Sunday. We were there early and we took a place down close to the front (not too close) and in the center section. During the service Dr. John looked out and called my name and welcomed me to their service. Dr. Lakin was the guest speaker. When he stood to preach he, too, addressed me by name and very graciously told that crowd that I was his good friend. He said other kind things, but I shall always remember his kindness in saying anything at all. It was good to be recognized by two great men of God–John Rawlings and B. R. Lakin. Neither knew that I was to be there that day and how they recognized me in the crowd I will never know. But they did and I am pleased to salute them now.
Dr. Jerry Falwell loved Dr. Lakin and often had him preach in his great church. Dr. Lakin was loved by Falwell’s TV audience. It was ironic that Lakin started his national ministry on radio and was loved by millions. His closing ministry was on television and was, again, loved by millions. He was a remarkable man. He loved to tell his audience he was just a simple, mule riding, circuit-riding preacher from the Big Hurricane Creek in West Virginia. He still had his old saddle bags from that era. He traded his mule for a jet and travelled to all the big cities in America and many places around the world. He was still that old circuit riding preacher till the end. God bless his memory.
Dr. Lakin had a tremendous gift of humor. His sermons were peppered with his wit and humor. One that I remember: “I would rather be eaten by a shark than nibbled to death by minnows.”
Another was: “If they are kicking you in the seat, that means you still have the lead.”
Another: “A preacher said, Brother Lakin, So and so is lying about me, I’m gonna make him prove it. I told him, No, don’t do that. That will ruin you.”
Bascom Ray Lakin (June 5,1901- March 15, 1984) was a Baptist pastor and evangelist.
On June 5, 1901, a baby boy was born to Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lakin in a farmhouse on Big Hurricane Creek in the hill country of Wayne County, West Virginia. Mrs. Lakin had prayed for a “preacher man” and had dedicated this baby to the Lord even before he was born. Lakin attended a one-room schoolhouse in West Virginia through the 4th grade.
Lakin was converted in a revival meeting at age 18 and baptized in Big Hurricane Creek. The minister who baptized him was the nephew of Devil Anse Hatfield, of the Hatfield-McCoy feud families. One week later, he preached his first sermon and soon after became a circuit preacher, riding a mule to country churches near the forks of the Big Sandy River.
Dr. Lakin was ordained on May 28, 1921 at the Big Hurricane Baptist Church in Big Hurricane Creek, West Virginia. The moderator was Rev. J.C. Simpkins, the same preacher who baptized him and was also related to Devil Anse Hatfield. Later B.R. Lakin pastored his first church; the Evangel Baptist Church in Greenbrier Creek, West Virginia. Realizing his need for further training and education for the ministry, Lakin left the hills of his home for the big city of Chicago to attend Bible College.
B.R. Lakin attended and graduated from Moody Bible Institute. Because of his dedication to his calling and longevity in ministry, Bob Jones University and (the now defunct) Kletzing College bestowed honorary doctorates.
B.R. Lakin was married to the former Violet Crabtree on August 30, 1922. They only had one son, William. William passed away on March 27, 1955 as the result of a combination of car accident precipitated by a cronic health issue. William Lakin was survived by his wife and son. B.R. Lakins grandson, Ronald, would eventually become his assistant throughout the rest of his ministry.
In 1939, he was called to assist E. Howard Cadle (1884-1942) at the Cadle Tabernacle in Indianapolis, Indiana, a church that seated ten thousand with an additional fourteen hundred seats for the choir. Cadle conducted a daily radio program, Nations Family Prayer Period,” on the 50,000-watt clear channel WLW in Cincinnati, and the program became the most listened to religious broadcast during the 1930s. Upon Cadle’s death in 1942, Lakin became senior pastor and continued the broadcast. B.R. Lakin was one of the first mega-church pastors before the term was ever coined some fifty years later. In those thirteen years at the Cadle Tabernacle, Lakin became a household word across America.
In 1952, he entered full-time evangelism after resigning from the Cadle Tabernacle and moving to Florida. His ministry carried him around the world, resulting in an estimated 100,000 conversions, and legion the number entering the ministry. B.R. Lakin travelled extensively as an Evangelist averaging 50,000 miles annually and preaching to 4,000 people weekly. He witnessed more than 100,000 conversions to Christ.
In later years of his ministry, B.R. Lakin moved his church membership to the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. While there, Lakin became a close mentor and confidant to Dr. Jerry Falwell. Here, B.R. Lakin finished his ministry. On March 15, 1984, B. R. Lakin was called to Heaven by the Lord Jesus through death after deteriorating health due to battling for years with adult on-set diabetes. He used to say of his diabetes, I asked the Lord to make me sweet, and he over did it. After more than 65 years of preaching, Dr. Lakin “hung his sword on the shimmering walls of the city of God. His funeral was conducted at the Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Virginia, and attended by more than 5,000 people.
B.R. Lakin was used of God to be the preacher’s friend, the church’s helper, the common man’s leader, and for sixty-five years, God’s mighty messenger. He was one of the most sought-after gospel preachers in America. The department of religion at Liberty University is named in honor of Lakin, who is interred on the campus. B.R. Lakin used to coach young preachers by saying of trouble-makers and critics, Love them, pray for them, and outlive them.
General William Booth, Founder of The Salvation Army, Said:
“To attempt to save the lost we must accept no limitations to human brotherhood. If the scheme which I set forth in these and the following pages is not applicable to the thief, the harlot, the drunkard and the sluggard, it may as well be dismissed without ceremony. As Christ came to call not the Saints but sinners to repentance, so the new message of Temporal Salvation, of Salvation from pinching poverty, from rags and misery, must be offered to all. They may reject it, of course. But we who call ourselves by the name of Christ are not worthy to profess to be His disciples until we have set an open door before the least and worst of these who are now apparently imprisoned for life in a horrible dungeon of misery and despair.
To get a man soundly Saved it is not enough to put on him a pair of new breeches, to give him regular work, or even to give him a university education. These things are all outside a man, and if the inside remains unchanged you have wasted your labor. What is the use of preaching the Gospel to men whose whole attention is concentrated upon a mad, desperate struggle to keep themselves alive?
You might as well give a tract to a ship wrecked sailor who is battling with the surf which has drowned his comrades and threatens to drown him. He will not listen to you. Nay, he cannot hear you any more than a man whose head is under water can listen to a Sermon. The first thing to do is to get him at least a footing on firm ground, and to give him room to live. Then you may have a chance. At present you have none. And you will have all the better opportunity to find a way to his heart, if he comes to know that it was you who pulled him out of the horrible pit and the miry clay in which he was sinking to perdition. “
Taken from General Booth’s message, “Darkest England Scheme: The Cab Horse Charter message.
We have taken a very important address of Dr. B. H. Carroll and inserted questions that he answers in the message. These questions are designed to help you pause and consider the importance of Dr. Carroll’s presentation. First, a little bio of this great Bible teacher of yesteryear.Dr. Carroll was one of the preeminent theologians of his generation.This message is not only a classic representation of his skill as a theologian, but displays his enormous understanding of and passion for the Scriptures.“Our Inspired Bible” should be read, studied and delivered by every preacher of our day.
B. H. Carroll was born December 27, 1843 and died on November 11, 1914.During his life he was a Baptist pastor, theologian, teacher and author.He served in the Confederate Sates of America from 1862-1864.In 1865, at the age of twenty-two, he converted to Christianity.He became one of the leading voices for Christianity.He was a denominational leader both in the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Southern Baptist Convention.He was one of the founding fathers of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas in 1908.Heserved as president of that seminary until his death.Before we present his powerful message, “Our Inspired Bible,”look at this quote from him on this subject.
It has always been a matter of profound surprise to me that anybody should ever question the verbal inspiration of the Bible. The whole thing had to be written in words. Words are signs of ideas, and if the words are not inspired, then there is no way of getting at anything in connection with inspiration… What is the object of inspirations? It is to put accurately, in human words, ideas from God… When you hear the silly talk that the Bible “contains” the word of God and is not the word of God, you hear a fool’s talk. I don’t care if he is a Doctor of Divinity, a President of a University covered with medals from the universities of Europe and the United States, it is fool talk. There can be no inspiration of the book without the words of the book. [Quoted in Baptists and the Bible, 281.]
Our Inspired Bible
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.
QUESTION:Dr. Carroll, I note that you have selected the Scripture passage found in Second Timothy Chapter 3:16-17.This text boldly claims that “All Scripture is given by Inspiration of God.”What do you think the Bible is claiming for itself with this statement?
ANSWER:When it says “all Scripture,” there is a reference back to the preceding verse: “From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures.”Nothing on earth is more clearly understood than that the Holy Scriptures that boy studied from the time he could learn at all, was that Book, or twenty-two books, called now the Old Testament.Every Jewish child in the land had access in some way to that volume.
QUESTION:Why do you say “twenty-two books” make up the Old Testament when we clearly understand that the Old Testament is made up of thirty-nine books?
ANSWER:There are twenty-two divisions of the entire Old Testament.I mean to say that the Jews divided it for convenience to themselves in its use.They made just as many divisions as there were letters in the Hebrew alphabet.As you read the one hundred nineteenth (119) Psalm you will find it is divided into twenty-two parts, each part for convenience being named so as to correspond to a letter of the Hebrew alphabet.So the Jewish division of the Old Testament into twenty-two parts, as set forth by Josephus, includes the thirty-nine books as we now have them.
QUESTION:So to clarify your thoughts on this question, you believe there is no real conflict between the Jewish twenty-two books and the current thirty-nine books we accept today as being the Old Testament?
ANSWER:Anybody who will give five minutes’ attention to it can receive a perfect demonstration of the historical correctness of the fact that our thirty-nine books of the Old Testament correspond to the twenty-two Jewish books. For instance, they put all the twelve Minor Prophets into one book, and they counted First and Second Kings one book. Their twenty-two and our thirty-nine correspond in text, and that volume of twenty-two books was translated into the Greek language and the translation completed at least one hundred and fifty years before Christ came into the world. That translation is the Septuagint.
QUESTION:Could you elaborate further on this?
ANSWER:I am happy to.That Book, subdivided into twenty-two books, was, by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and by His apostles and by uninspired Jewish rabbis, called in a body the Holy Scriptures. It is the declaration of this text that every one of these sacred writings is – now here, just one word – God-inspired, i.e., in the Greek it is just one word. Every one of these books is God-inspired, and it means God-inspired in every part of every one of them. And it means much more that it is inspired in its words than it means inspired in the thoughts of the men who wrote it. Often the thought in the mind of the man who wrote it was not the right thought, but the words he wrote were from God, and it is verbalinspiration.Take the case of one of the prophets included in that list of twenty-two books.
QUESTION:What do you mean by the “case of one of the prophets?”
ANSWER:When the revelation came to him, he was not expecting it at all. It was as much a surprise to him as it was to anybody else in the world. Take another case – the man who was inspired didn’t in any sense understand what he said and what he wrote.His thoughts did not enter into it at all. Very many of the ancient prophets recorded under divine direction and proclaimed under divine authority things that were as mysterious to them as they were to anybody else in the world. So, to make it an inspiration at all, it is absolutely essential that the words should have been inspired.Not only is this true, but in the case of some of them they were not themselves conscious that they were under inspiration at all at the time, as when Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest made a prophecy concerning Christ, sothat the thought of the human writer had nothing to do with the inspiration.
QUESTION:You must provide more information on this doctrine called Inspiration.What you have said so far raises more questions that require a fuller explanation.I guess this is more of an observation than a question.Please address this thought.
ANSWER:This inspiration may be mentioned under three parts: First, its revelation; second, its record; and third, the authentication of the record. God may reveal His will to a man; or He may reveal to that man some event that will happen in the future and so far it is known only to that man. The record is made up either by that man or by somebody else, and it makes no difference whatever who does the recording. It makes no difference whatever whether the one who recorded it had himself any inspiration at all, if you can get inspired authentication of the accuracy of the record afterward.
The whole question of the Old Testament practically comes before us upon a simple question of authentication. Is it authenticated to us? And does this authentication declare that it is God’s revealed will, and that the record is accurate, as God had it recorded? Do the proofs that authenticate it to us cover the question? With the rest of it we need have nothing to do. Indeed, it is wholly unnecessary for the average man to consider it. Therefore, we take the Book itself. We find the Book in use at that time. We find that it was completed many years before Christ. We find that every little Hebrew boy in the land had access in some way to a copy of that Book.And it makes no difference who wrote any particular part of this Book.
QUESTION:Wait just minute.It makes no difference who wrote any particular part of this Book?How then can we say it is God’s inspired Word?
ANSWER:As a whole, is it by a proper authority authenticated as the Word of God, as the standard, the supreme and infallible standard, of human conduct? If one is disposed to study the subject twenty-five minutes, he can see that the entire authority of Jesus Christ is pledged to the fidelity and accuracy and sufficiency of that Book (I am so far discussing the Old Testament), and to reject any part of the Old Testament is to reject the authentication of the Son of God. As for me, it is a small matter to go back and pick up any part of it in detail and verify any particular part of it.“From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures.” and I take it that every one of these holy writings is God-inspired – every one of them.Now, with reference to the New Testament, our Savior declares that He is the Word of God to men; that He comes to make known the way of life, and again His Word, so far as we are concerned, depends upon its authentication. Is it authenticated? He rested the authenticity of all of it on one single fact, on one single sign.
He put the standing or falling of both the Old Testament and the New
Testament upon one solitary issue – His own resurrection from the dead; that there should no sign be given but the sign of the prophet Jonah; that as Jonah was three days and nights in the body of the great fish, so the Son of Man should be three days and three nights in the earth; and that if Christ be not risen, ourfaith is vain and we are yet in our sins. But if Christ be risen, and if He has ascended into heaven, and is at the right hand of the majesty of God, and from that standpoint of absolute and universal sovereignty and power, if He has given a proof that authenticates the Book, that covers the question of the whole of it without going into any of the details of it.
Every one of the objections to Biblical inspiration rests on sinking sand, whether presented from the standpoint of science, or translation, or variations in texts, or certain expressions used in the Book itself that would seem to imply that its human authors were not at all times inspired. But I am not on that subject now. Just now I stand on the authentication of the entire Book; that it is sacred writing; that it comes to us accredited in such a way that we are criminal if we do not receive it in its entirety.
QUESTION:Dr. Carroll, if this Book, our Bible, has been authenticated by God, why do men reject it and teach others to do the same?Why do you object to some of the Catholic Popes teaching and their hesitation to promote the owning of a personal Bible to their people?
ANSWER:I will make the following application. There were men, and there are some millions of them living now, who have practically set aside that Book as authority and substituted in the place of it mere traditions and reference to it. I could cite here for one-half hour declarations of distinguished Jews, some of them when dying, telling those about them not to look to the law, but to look to the Talmud, to look to the comment on the law, to look to the tradition as better than the law. Then there are two hundred million professing Christians in the world today who are averse to putting the Book itself in the hands of the people. And I could cite you authentic and official so-called infallible declarations from different popes, to the effect that the Bible societies, when they put the Word of God in circulation among the peoples of Italy and Spain and France, were committing a great sin, and that the people must look to the traditions and interpretations of the church and not to the Book itself.
I now come to press home upon your hearts one or two thoughts. First, there is a
God. Then, touching His character, a good God would reveal to His immortal
creatures a standard of right and wrong. He would not leave them to grope in
darkness. There is bound to be, wherever there is moral accountability, a standard that measures right and wrong and that standard must be, if it comes from God, an infallible standard. You cannot conceive of right and wrong without a law that makes one thing right and another thing wrong. You cannot even think of a good God – the thought is inconceivable – who would leave His moral and accountable creatures without a standard of human conduct.
QUESTION:You have brought us to an awareness that certain religious men have introduced teaching that contradict the Bible and would restrict its use among the people in the pew.What do you see that such teaching has caused and will cause in the world?
ANSWER:Here is the historical fact that I want to impress upon you. Where men have turned aside from this Bible standard, they have been utterly at sea as to what is the standard. There has been no agreement among them. There have been just as many standards as individuals. It is a people without a king, each man following the bent of his own inclination.
Take the case of our text. Here was a little boy with that Book before him – that
authenticated Book. His mother loved him, his grandmother loved him, and they
believed that it could make him wise unto salvation by faith in the Redeemer it
discloses. And they taught this boy this Book as the Word of God. He grew up in
the knowledge of it, and when he got to be a man, he went out into the world and he found people who said, “Look here, and look there. I would not go by that Book.You take this. Here is something better than that.” Paul said to him: “You remember that from a child you studied this Book. You remember from whom it came. You remember why it came. Turn awayfrom these men who would call your attention to any other standard.”
I know of one man who said to souls under conviction of sin. “Here, leave that; that is old. Come to modern Spiritualism. Let us turn away from the love and oracles of God and look to the spirits to tell us what is right.” A man, intelligent upon other subjects, said, “When I die, that is the last of me. I go out like a candle, and I do not live again.” And he is living as if this life were all, as if after death there was no judgment. He has turned away his heart from the supreme standard of right and wrong – the Word of God.
QUESTION:Why do you think men reject the Bible and look to other means of justifying their earthly existence?
ANSWER:Why do men turn away? This Book tells us. They become lovers of self. They become lovers of money. They become haters of God. They become implacable to men. They become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Their deeds being evil, they hated the light of the Bible that shone on those deeds and called them sin, and they turned away from the Book, from the standard of right and wrong.Now, look at the declaration in that text. Because that Book is God-inspired, every bit of it is profitable. There is not a word in it that is not profitable.
QUESTION:Profitable?What do you mean when you say profitable?How is the Bible profitable to the believer?
ANSWER:It is profitable for instruction. You want to know your relations to God and to your fellowmen in this world and in the world to come.
A steady and unwavering light shines from that Book on the human heart and on the human life.This light gives every man instruction as to what he should do.It will show him what is right and what is wrong, and here is the proof of it – that within himself a witness rises up and affirms it. His conscience speaks in attestation of the truth of God’s Word, turns away from the lies that have been whispered into his ear as a substitute for that Book.
It is profitable for conviction. You have seen illustrations of that during this meeting.Men have been going along through this city attending to their business or pleasure perfectly unconcerned, absolutely thoughtless with regard to the trend of their drifting and of their tendencies and of their moral bearings, and they hear the Word of God preached, and all at once they become thoughtful: “Where am I? Where am I?” And that Book becomes a discerner of the thoughts and intents of their hearts; that Word becomes sharper than a two-edged sword; that Word un-joints their bones and cuts into their marrow and penetrates to the very secrets of their souls, and they are convicted. And they say, “We are sinners.” They show that they are convicted. They tremble under its revelations and by their actions they testify that those revelations are from God.
It is profitable for rectification. “How shall a young man cleanse his way?By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.” That Word is a straight-edge, laid by the side of his crooked conduct to show that it is out of plumb, out of line. That Word, laid parallel with his life, reveals the moral discrepancies in his conduct and shows him what will conform his life to truth and to righteousness.
That Word is profitable in training, in discipline. Here are feet new to the path of
righteousness. They have not walked in it much. They are not strong in God and in the power of His might. Their spiritual limbs are not yet sturdy, and their muscles supple and pliant with power. They do not yet know how to endure, and that Word takes them and trains them until they become spiritual athletes in the sight of God.But the main point and the last point that I want to bring in on it is this: If you close that Book; if you tear out its pages; if you shut out its light, in all the whole universe of God there is not revealed a way by which a sinner can be saved, not one in the world. To me that is a stupendous fact.
QUESTION:So you see the importance of Scripture, the “profitability” of the Scriptures to be of supreme importance?Can you explain further?
ANSWER:Since being a sinner myself, since my friends are sinners, since my neighbors are sinners, and all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, it is to me of supreme consideration, where shall there be found a God-inspired and God-authenticated method of saving a sinner? Outside of that Book there is none, and there is not a man living, who has intelligently studied the subject, who will say so. In all the literature of this world, sacred or profane, civilized or barbaric, coming from white men, or brown or black men, take away the Bible, and there is not in all the literature of this world even a glow-worm light on the subject of how a sinner can be saved, not a bit of it.
Take away that Book and there is not even a glow-worm light on the condition of
the dead – on their eternal destiny. After a profound investigation of the subject, I do not hesitate to say that everything in the two or three thousand books that are
published upon the subject of Spiritualism as a revelation is no more than the clatter of apes in a coconut tree on this point.
QUESTION:What are you really saying?Are you saying there is no other way for a human to find peace with God?
ANSWER: How shall a sinner be saved? How shall a man whose conscience condemns him and who feels that he is under the condemnation of God be justified before God? You go to that Book or none. And what does it say? What are its directions? I want to come to that in a few words. I want, to put before you the way of life, and I shall take a single case – the case of the publican. Here was a man perfectly conscious that he was a sinner. He knew it. There were some things that he didn’t know, but upon that question he didn’t have the least shadow of a doubt. The question that came to this sinner’s heart was: “How can I be justified before God?”
There was a way appointed, and he came to the Temple, and that Temple spoke of a propitiation, of a sacrifice, of the slain, of blood shed on account of the penalty for sins, and he came there and he beat upon his heart and he said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Or, to put his language into English, “God, be propitious to me through a sacrifice. God, let Thy mercy reach me through an atonement made by another.” That is a fair rendering of the Greek expression that he used, “God be merciful to me”; be propitious to me through a sacrifice. And Jesus said that man went down that very day justified. He went down acquitted. He went down absolved from his sin, freed from its penalty, a man against whom the law had no charge at all.
QUESTION:I suppose you have seen many people turn from sin to accept the saving grace of God.Can you tell us of a few that come to mind?
ANSWER:Today there rush into my mind the memories of men whose faces I have seen when they first began to be interested, the first steps that they took, the eagerness with which they pressed forward, finally the depths of conviction that came upon them when they felt they were lost; and then that sweet and happy transition from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God. And they are today witnesses of the truth and power of this Book of God as revealing a way of life and of salvation.
I have seen the wife, the jewels of tears in her eyes, steal over softly and sit down by her husband and look up appealingly into his sin-scarred face, as if she would say, “Thou art dearer to me than life, and thou art lost. Oh, come to the fountain of cleansing.” And I have seen him start, take her hand, and come up and fall down before God, and say, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” And I have seen the light of heaven shine in his eyes when the glorious redemption came to him and he stood up before all men present and said, “God Almighty, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven my sins.”
I have seen fair maidens, against the propriety of whose conduct from a worldly
standpoint nothing could be said, and who, in worldly parlance, would he called
innocent, and who were not guilty according to the world’s standards of right and
wrong, but whose hearts, in the sight of God, were alienated from Him, who did not love Him, who loved pleasure more than they loved God; who did not worship Him; who, if they worshiped Him at all, worshiped Him only in an empty form and denied the power, the vital and eternal and spiritual power, of religion. And I have seen them, under sharp conviction of sin, seek for mercy and find peace in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have seen Christians who, with this perfect standard of life and conduct as their
guide, had deflected from it; went away from it into irregularities; went into
dissipation; departed from the true and the living God, and lived by day and by night contrary to His expressed precepts. And I have seen this Word, under the power of the Spirit who inspired it, reconvict them and bring them with tears to confess their sins and to forsake their sins, and to turn back to the fountain of truth and righteousness, to light, and peace, and holiness.
QUESTION:Dr. Carroll, do you believe this is enough?Are you sure that your observations and teaching will suffice the demands of a holy God?
ANSWER:What more do you want? What kind of a standard do you ask? By what standard of right and wrong will you regulate your life? By what forecast of the future will you outline your own destiny? Unto what oracle will you go to receive the truth concerning the realms that lie in the outskirts of darkness beyond the grave? What will they tell you? What have they to offer you? O Book of God – God-inspired Book – precious volume! All thy words are power, those infallible oracles, those living oracles of God to men! It makes my soul shudder within me when I hear any man speak slightingly of God’s revealed will.
QUESTION:Do you have some last words for us to consider?Do you have some parting words that we should take into our heart and ponder?
ANSWER: There are some here today upon whose hearts and consciences I want to impress repentance or impending doom. I have always, throughout my life, even in the days of my dark rebellion against God, had an admiration for men of decision, for men who were not reeds shaken by the wind; for men of action; for men who would not be influenced in vital concerns by that most trifling of all shifting clouds, the influence of other people; but upon personal conviction, when the individual soul is confronted with a question of right or wrong, under responsibility to God, and under the ‘ light of His eye, and under the determination to be the arbiter, the sole person who should settle the question that pertained to self, would take the step, and take it regardless of time and circumstances and people.I would always rather preach to people in the daytime than at night.
I would rather preach to them when there is the least suspicion of undue influence operating upon their minds; when you can look right into their eyes and they can look right into yours; and when the question presented is one whose important bearings they can recognize, and in the light of God’s bright day stand up and say, “Here I am. I take my stand. I follow that Book. You show me in that Book what I am to do and I will do it. I am no child. I am no straw, taken up by the west wind and carried east, and by the east wind and carried west. But with full purpose of heart, and because it is right in the sight of God and eternity, I say I want to be saved. I want to be reconciled to God. I know I am a sinner. I don’t need any argument on that point, but how shall I get right? How shall I realize in my own lost soul that God loves me and that my soul is precious in His sight?”
Well, I shall tell you the way. It is to come directly to the Lord Jesus Christ. Come to Him face to face. I do not pretend to put Him before you here in the flesh, but I do say to you today that He is here in the Spirit, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and that He is sensibly here, and that His power is here, and that if you will come to Him as your mind sees Him, as your soul recognizes Him, and say, “Lord Jesus Christ, I am here according to thy Word, a lost sinner. I come on Your invitation. I come on Your promise that if I would come You would not cast me out; I come right to You, and I say, ‘Help, help, Lord, for I perish.’” He will save your soul this day.
O sinner, sinner, if you would know the things that make for you great peace; if you will, today, make one earnest, straightforward, honest effort to come to the Son of God for light, I pledge you my honor you will find it. Will you come? Sinner, turn around; why will you die? Separate yourselves from the throng that shuts you in. MOVE! The law of motion is the law of life. Stir up your minds. Stagnation is death. Rouse your energies and exert your powers to overcome the inertia of long rest in sin. Break away from restraints. Throw off the stupor of irresolution. Convert inaction into movement. It is thy salvation; seek it. It is thy promise; claim it. It is thy door of escape; knock, knock, now; knock loudly and escape for thy life. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is being interpreted, My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?”
– Mark 15:33, 34
Here is an insight into the tremendous depths of the personal suffering which the Lord Jesus endured on the cross of Calvary. This is what He prophetically referred to when the two brothers, James and John, came to Him, as recorded in the tenth chapter of this same Gospel, asking for the privileged seats on His right hand and on His left in the coming kingdom. The Lord Jesus told them, “Ye know not what ye ask; can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Vs. 38). The cup, of course, referred to His inward sufferings; the baptism to the outward.
They foolishly said, “We can.”
Then the Lord replied, in effect, “Well, all right, you can. You, too, will die a violent death at the hands of men.”
One of the brothers, James, was the first of the apostles to die a violent death, and John, the other brother, was the last. But when Jesus asked, “Can you drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with,” He was in reality referring to the agonies, the sufferings at Calvary that He was to endure in our place and stead.
Of the depth of the drinking of that cup and the awfulness of that baptism, I don’t suppose any individual can ever know or will ever fully, truly understand. In order to comprehend the intense sufferings of Christ, in order to understand this cry, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” one would have to go to Hell and taste the agonies of Hell itself.
But even to go to Hell would not be sufficient. We would need to go to Hell as a sinless one, as one who had never committed any iniquity of our own, one never guilty of any personal sin. Yet even that would not be sufficient.
In order to understand the agonies of the suffering He endured it would be necessary to go to Hell as the sinless Son of God. Only He, God the Son – the only one who was sinless in Himself – could understand fully all that was involved when He died on the cross and cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
It was said that the great reformer, Martin Luther, sat for hours in one position in his study studying this cry from the cross. After considerable meditation he was seen to rise from his seat and heard to exclaim in amazement, “God forsaken by God! Who can understand that?”
Who can understand that? God forsaken by God! When we arrive in Glory and know as we are known, I dare say we will not even then fully comprehend all the sufferings and all the implications behind the agony of Jesus Christ when He was forsaken by the Father. And let me emphasize, too, that He was forsaken on the cross, that the Father did turn His back upon Him at Calvary.
One time I was talking with a fellow minister of the gospel who was passing through a particularly grievous situation. His boy had gotten into trouble out in the West; word had come to the father and mother about his awful sin, and they were heartbroken. I talked with them a bit and prayed with them; then, as I got ready to go, the man’s wife said to me, “Brother Sumner, I don‘t see how I can stand it sometimes. It seems in this that God has forgotten all about us. It is like the heavens are brass. It just seems that the heavens have clouded over and hidden God’s presence, and God doesn’t even know or care about the circumstances we are passing through.”
When she said that, the husband interrupted with an emphatic, “No, no!” And turning to me, he said, “Robert, it’s just as I’ve tried to tell her and help her to see: Our situation is like that of the Savior on the cross. His agony was so great and His suffering so intense that when He died, He cried out, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ But the Father hadn’t forsaken His Son. It was just that in agony of the hour He imagined His Father had forsaken Him.”
That was neither the time nor the place for a theological controversy – and he was old enough to be my grandfather, say nothing of my father – so I remained silent, but as I left the house that day, I said in my heart, “No, that is not right; Jesus Christ was never mistaken about one single thing, ever, not on one single occasion. He was never deceived about any matter whatsoever! It was not merely that He thought He was forsaken by the Father, but He actually had been forsaken, and there was a real reason for it.”
There are several reasons, for that matter, but note first that the word forsaken in itself is a composite of three different words – “to leave,” “down,” and “in.” It means literally to leave in the lurch, to leave destitute, to leave helpless, to forsake, to quit. And the total meaning is that of leaving someone helpless in a terrible situation – when everything looks hopeless – in a circumstance of despair and apparent defeat. That is exactly the meaning of the word, and that is exactly what happened on the cross of Calvary when the Father turned His back, and when the Son cried out in agony, “My God, my God, why …?”
Surely you will acknowledge that the reasons compelling the Father to turn His back upon the Son must have been tremendous! So much so that the earth trembled and shook beneath the load and the sun blushingly refused to look upon the scene, dressing itself instead in a black mourning robe for three solid hours – from 12:00 o’clock noon until 3:00 o’clock that afternoon. Tradition says that Diogenes – the man literature portrays with a lantern going about looking for an honest man – observed in Egypt the solar darkness that covered the earth and said to his companions, “Either Deity suffers at this hour or sympathizes with one who does.”
Deity was suffering at that hour! Eternal fellowship was being broken between Deity – Father and Son. But why? What was the reason; what was the cause? Was it necessary? Did it have to be? There are three answers that I want to impress upon you now, any one of which is alone sufficient to prove it was necessary for the Son to be forsaken.
The First Answer I present to You is:
I. BECAUSE OF HIS POSITION:
Bearing Our Sin!
The first reason the Father forsook the Son was because of His position – He was bearing our sin. Please keep in mind that God has always, eternally, as long as iniquity has existed, hated sin with a holy passion. You need only to pick up the pages of this sacred Book and begin to read its story until you are impressed over and over and over again with the intensity of the hatred of God against iniquity, against unrighteousness, against sin.
For example, when you commence reading this Book, in only the third chapter of Genesis you will find an earthly pair – Adam and Eve – who lost an earthly paradise because of a single sin. It tells of the curse of God upon the man, the curse of God upon the woman, the curse of God upon Satan, and the curse of God upon the ground because of one single act of disobedience. Just onesin caused them to lose that wonderful paradise! Just one sin and the wrath and the judgment and the curse of God came upon them. Just one sin expelled them from the beautiful Garden of Eden. Just one sin – but the awful curse and wrath of God was poured out upon them because of it.
A few chapters on in the Word of God you will find where, because of the sin of man and because of God’s holy hatred of that iniquity, God broke up the fountains of the deep and opened wide the windows of Heaven – water boiled up from beneath and water flooded down from above – and a mighty torrent of water which continued for forty days and forty nights blotted out all life, destroying every single human being upon the earth with the exception of the eight righteous souls who were in the ark that had been prepared under the instruction and supervision of Almighty God. An entire human race save eight souls was wiped out in a moment’s time because of God’s holy hatred of sin!
You read on in the book of Genesis a few more chapters and you will learn how the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Lot, because of the stench of their sin and the wickedness of their actions, were destroyed as “the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven” (Genesis 19:24). Yes, from God, from Heaven, came the mighty judgment of the Almighty upon the Sodomites because of their homosexual sin. God does hate sin with a holy hatred!
You read on in the Bible and you will discover, in the tenth chapter of Leviticus, where the sons of a High Priest – Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu – offered strange fire which God had not commanded at the altar of the Lord. Verse 2 tells us, “And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord” because they had offered the strange fire. Strange fire, and the judgment of God came! The iniquity of a priest in his service for God, but doing that which God had not commanded – or contrary to what God had commanded – brought the judgment of God immediately upon them. Yes, God hates sin.
You can read in Joshua 7 how an entire nation was defeated in battle, stymied in their forward advance into the Promised Land, because of the one sin of one man, Achan. Because of God’s wrath over that single sin, the entire nation was blighted and held back in defeat until it had been judged and put away; then the nation rode on again to victory and triumph with the blessing of God.
You will read in the New Testament the same story of God’s hatred of sin. Just one illustration: Ananias and Sapphira were both struck dead – both of them smitten by the judgment of God about three hours apart – because they broke their vow and lied to the Holy Spirit.
Yes, all the way through this Book – Old and New Testament alike – every place you turn you will find the curse, the wrath, the blight, the judgment of Almighty God upon sin. God hates sin!
Everything in the world about you reminds you of His hatred of sin. The toiling laborer who earns his bread by the sweat of his face is a reminder of God’s hatred of sin. The laboring, travailing woman who goes down into the valley of the shadow of death in childbirth to bring back life – the sorrow, the agony of that pain is a mark, an evidence of His hatred against sin. The thistles, thorns, briars and kindred results of God’s curse upon the ground are evidences, reminders of the Divine hatred of sin. Sickness, sorrow, death, blindness, deafness, lameness, – all are evidences of the fact that God hates sin with a holy hatred.
Even in such things as beautiful roses – with all their fragrance and loveliness – God has attached the piercing thorns to remind the admirers of the rose and the lovers of beauty, fragrance and sweetness that He hates sin, and that His curse because of sin is upon this earthly creation. Yes, wherever you turn you find the evidence, the fruit, the proof that God hates sin.
Then remember that when Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary, He was dying according to I Peter 2:24: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree …” He was bearing our sins on the cross of Calvary.
It says in II Corinthians 5:21 “He [God] hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” When Jesus Christ hung on that wooden cross on that skull-shaped hill of Golgotha, he was bearing your sin, my sin, and the sin of all the world. God had made Him to be sin for us!
The word translated sin here is a word that means – and is translated thus in other places – a sin offering. He made Him to be a sin offering for us and the Father placed all of the sin of all ages on Him there. John 1:29 describes it with the words, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
We sometimes talk about this sin offering in abstract terms. We speak of how Jesus died for the sin of all mankind, how all the sin of all men of all ages was upon Him at the cross of Calvary; yet our weak finite minds comprehend very little of the magnitude of that load of sin.
Take the sin of lying for example. People are born liars, and continue to lie throughout their lifetimes. “They go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies,” the Scripture tells us (Psalm 58:3). Think of the lies that were spoken just today, this one day in this nice religious college town of Wheaton [where this message was preached]. Then add to that the lies of Dupage County, plus all the lies told in neighboring Cook County’s Chicago, plus all the lies told throughout the State of Illinois, plus all the lies told today throughout the entire United States of America. Then add to that all the lies of the Kremlin and the rest of Russia, England, France, Spain, Portugal and the remainder of Europe; all the lies of Asia, Africa, Australia, South America and the islands of the sea.
Then add to the lies told around the world just this one day, the lies of all the days, years and millenniums past from the time that Satan first began speaking lies and fathering them in the hearts of all who would permit him. Then visualize the lies that will be told tomorrow and all the tomorrows until the end of time when Satan is hurled into the lake of fire forever, all sin is put down, and righteousness rules and reigns without interruption. If your mind could grasp the immensity of this you would have a picture of just the guilt, the curse, the condemnation, the stigma of this one sin of lying which He bore “in his own body on the tree!”
Then multiply by that the sins of murder, adultery, stealing, gossip, slander, unbelief, sorcery, envy, drunkenness, hatred, murmuring, homosexuality, and all of the thousand-and-one different sins of all people of all times of all ages – past, present and future! Then realize that the awful guilt and condemnation of them all was placed upon Jesus Christ at the cross of Calvary. What an awful sight it must have been for the One whom Habakkuk 1:13 tells us “is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.”
When all the sin of all ages was placed upon the Lord Jesus, the Father – because of His personality, because of His nature, because of His hatred of sin – was compelled to turn His back. The Son cried out in anguish of that hour, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The fact that He was taking our place, bearing our guilt, receiving our condemnation forced that forsaking by the Father of the Son.
I tell you, it was an awful thing when He died. Can you imagine, not just the physical agony of the crown of thorns, the spear, the nails in His hands and feet, the Roman cat-o-nine-tails upon His back, but the spiritual and the mental agony that the holy, sinless Son of God endured as the weight and woe and guilt of the sin of the world was placed upon Him?
Voltaire, the infidel historian, tells us that when King Charles IX of France died, his death was “of a most unusual order.” He died in such agony that the blood actually forced its way out through the pores of his skin. We know that this wicked king died in such anguish because of the terrible crime he committed in the heinous murder of the Huguenots, when he had them viciously and helplessly slaughtered. Before he died he said to his physician, “Doctor, for months I have been in a fever, physically, spiritually. If only I had spared the innocent, the weak-minded, the crippled, the women and children!” The awfulness of that sin as it weighed upon his mind literally drove King Charles IX of France insane! One sin! And remember, too, that one sin was committed at the desire, instigation and compulsion of another: wicked, vengeful Catherine de’ Medici. Yet that lone sin drove him mad.
Then, when you realize the Son of God had not just one sin upon Him, but all and every sin of every sinner of all ages, you can well imagine the awfulness of the mental anguish He suffered on the cross of Calvary.
They crowned Him with thorns,
He was beaten with stripes,
He was smitten and nailed to the tree;
But the pain in His heart
Was the hardest to bear,
The heart that was broken for me.
But let’s make it personal. It wasn’t just the sin of the whole world. It wasn’t just the sin of all ages. It was my sin, it was your sin that caused Him to suffer on the cross to such an extent – being forsaken by the Father!
In talking about Barabbas, one author let his imagination run wild in considering his reaction after the jailer came, opened his cell, and roughly dragged him out. He expected, of course, to be led to the place of crucifixion; after all, he was scheduled to die that very day. He was under condemnation with a just sentence of death by crucifixion. He was expecting to die a cruel, painful death on a cross. Then, imagine his joyous surprise when he was told that he was free; that as a result of the pleading of the people and the decision of the Roman governor, Pilate, he had been chosen as the one to be given freedom that Passover season!
This writer continued his flight of fancy as he portrayed Barabbas meeting his cronies, going from tavern to tavern, drinking the cheap wine of the day and gradually becoming intoxicated. Then, the writer visualized, about noon or a little before, Barabbas staggered out of one tavern, was hurled or jostled along with the crowd out toward that hill named Golgotha. There he saw the three rugged crosses planted on the brow of the hill, not an unusual sight for that particular day and time, perhaps. The writer then imagines that as Barabbas turned to one of his cronies to make a jesting remark about the agony of those on the crosses, suddenly his eyes met the eyes of the One in the middle and something more powerful than wine sobered his heart and mind. The grin was wiped from his face as he cried out in exclamation, “Jehovah God! That’s my cross He’s dying on!”
That is simply the imagination of one Christian author about what might have happened to Barabbas. What really did happen we have no way of knowing, but you listen to me about this! One thing is certain: this business of Heaven, this matter of soul salvation will never be obtained by any individual until he comes to the place of realization about the death of Jesus Christ: “Jehovah God! That’s my cross He is dying upon! That’s my place He’s taking! He is dying in my stead, in my room, on my behalf!”
As the prophet Isaiah tells us, “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). This is a personal matter, an individual matter. Jesus Christ died for my sin. Jesus Christ died in my place. Jesus Christ died in my behalf. Yes,
Down from, His glory and splendor He came,
Into a world of woe;
Took on Himself all MY sin and MY shame,
Why should He love me so!
But because He did,
How can I help but love Him,
When He loved me so;
How can I help but love Him,
When He loved me so.
Yes, “My God, my God, why …?” Because of His position – He was bearing our sin.
You have just read the first part of Dr. Sumner’s message. Part Two will be here soon.
This message first published in The Biblical Evangelist. Used by permission.
My God, My God, Why? (Part 2) Evangelist Robert L. Sumner
II. BECAUSE OF HIS PERSON:
Becoming our Sacrifice!
Hear me again. Not only because of His position, but because of His person the Father was forced to forsake Him; He was becoming our sacrifice. John 1:29 says, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the whole world.” First John 2:2 tells us, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the world.” The Lord Jesus Christ was taking our place at the cross of Calvary. He was becoming our sacrifice. He was God’s sacrificial lamb being offered to take away our sin.
Read the Old Testament. Every sacrifice in the Old Testament that had to do with atoning for sin was consumed, or cut off, or completely destroyed in some way. For example, there was the whole burnt-offering which burned all night long on the altar of fire that never went out. And even then, the next morning, the ashes were taken without the camp and cast away.
It was the same with the sin offering. It was first slain and the blood sprinkled seven times before the veil of the sanctuary, then on the horns of the altar of sweet incense and poured out at the altar of burnt-offering. The fat was burned on the same altar and then what remained was burned without the camp.
It was the same with the trespass-offering. It, too, was slain and the blood sprinkled at the side and bottom of the altar, a memorial portion was burned, and the remainder was consumed by the priest.
The same was true on the Day of Atonement when the High Priest selected two kids of the goats for sacrifice. One of them was slain, the blood was caught in a basin, and the High Priest with incense burning before him to hide from his view the mercy seat in the holy of holies that he die not, entered the secret place to sprinkle the blood upon that mercy seat. He then came forth and took the other goat, the one called the scapegoat, placed his hands upon its head and confessed the sins of the children of Israel. Then that scapegoat was consumed; that is, it was taken outside the camp and driven into the wilderness never to return again. Yes, all the Old Testament sacrifices that had to do with judgment against sin were cast off; they were consumed; they were destroyed!
The Lord Jesus Christ was our sacrifice, our offering for sin. As Isaiah 53:10 tells us, “His soul shall be made an offering for sin.” Since He was our offering for sin it was necessary for Him to be consumed; He needed to be cast off. And it tells us in Hebrews 2:9, He “was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Notice that statement: “That he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Death here, of course, as always in the Scripture when used in the spiritual sense, simply refers to that separation which takes place between the individual and God.
Death is separation! That is why the Bible tells us that the person who is not saved is dead in his trespasses and sins. That is, he is separated from God. He is cut off from God. He has no connection, no union with God. The Bible goes on to tell us that if the individual continues in that separation of death, when he dies physically and stands before God in judgment, he will be cast into the lake of fire. This, we are told in the Bible, is the second death; that is, it is the second separation, the eternal final separation of the sinner from Almighty God.
Therefore, when Hebrews 2:9 tells us that the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary was tasting death for every man, it simply means He was tasting that separation from God which our sins had earned and deserved. As another has said, “My Hell, your Hell, and all the fires of all the Hells of all guilty sinners were burning themselves out upon Him when He died at Calvary.” And so they were! He was tasting death and paying the price of spiritual separation from the Father in your behalf, in my behalf, and in the behalf of every single sinner of all ages.
Oh, what a wonderful story we have to tell of this Savior who came to take our place, the Lord of Glory who came to die in our stead! I could not pay for my own sins. I could not give a sacrifice of my own that would be sufficient to atone for my sins. So He came and took my place. He paid the price. He met all the requirements at the cross of Calvary.
The wrath of God that was my due
Upon the Lamb was laid;
And by the shedding of His blood,
My debt was fully paid.
Yes, so it was! My debt, and the debt of every sinner who will put his faith and trust in Him, was paid at Calvary. Someone may say, “But I don’t understand how the death of just one could take care of all the sins of all mankind. How could this suffering separation by one atone for the sins of all who put their faith and trust in Him?”
It all depends, of course, upon the sacrifice. It is conditioned upon the merit of the one who pays the price. And the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, because of who He was as God the Son, paid completely the price of sin for all sinners.
Here is an illustration of how this principle works. Back in the Old Testament, in II Samuel 18, David was talking to his people about going out to war to regain the kingdom his son had stolen. He said in verse 2, “I will surely go forth with you myself also.” He said, in effect, “I will personally lead you into battle.” The people responded, “Thou shalt not go forth; for if we flee away, they will not care for u; neither if half of us die, will they care for us; but now thou art worth ten thousand of us therefore now it is better that thou succor us out of the city.”
Notice that they said about David, “It would be better for ten thousand of us to die than for you to die.” In other words, “You alone – because of who you are as the king of the people – are worth ten thousand of us.” If David had been slain, it might have been the end of that young kingdom. It surely would have thrown all the people into confusion and turmoil with the result, no doubt, of a terrible slaughter among the Israelites. So they said, “No, no; you are worth ten thousand of us!” And in that sense he was.
So, because of who He was, the Son of God was worth, as far as the scales and balances of eternity were concerned, more than all of the world with all its individuals of all ages. His death could and did pay the penalty of all sin, of all sinners, past, present and future who would receive Him as their personal Lord and Savior. “My God, my God, why …?” – because of His person; He was becoming our sacrifice.
III. BECAUSE OF HIS PURPOSE:
Buying Our Salvation!
Let me give you one other reason: not only was He forsaken because of His position in bearing our sins, not only because of His person in becoming our sacrifice, but because of His purpose: He was buying our salvation.
He said in Luke 19:10, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Mark 10:45 declares, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” It says in I Timothy 1:15, “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.”
Jesus Christ came to earth for one reason and that was to save sinners, to give His life a ransom for many, to purchase the salvation of everyone who would accept it as a gift from Him. He said in Hebrews 10:7, “Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will O God.” He said, in effect, ‘The whole book tells about Me and bears witness to the fact that I have come to do the Father’s will.’ He came to fulfill the will of God in buying salvation for sinners who would trust Him.
The Bible tells us about those who have already accepted His salvation, “ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:20, emphasis added). Yes, we “are bought with a price,” purchased with the very blood of Jesus Christ poured out at Calvary. He said to the redeemed in I Peter 1:18, 19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” We are blood-bought! Our salvation was purchased at Calvary when the Son was forsaken by the Father. Gerhard Ter Steegen, the Swedish poet wrote about it:
“Still, O Soul! the sign and wonder
Of all ages see –
Christ, thy God, the King of glory,
On the cross for thee;
From the Father’s bosom come,
Wandering soul, to bring thee home.
“Wouldest thou know if Jesus loves thee?
If He loves thee well?
See Him suffer, broken-hearted,
All the pains of Hell –
Smitten, bearing in thy room
All thy guilt, and all thy doom.
“See Him of His God forsaken,
Hear His bitter cries
Rise unanswered through the darkness
Of the silent skies –
See the fountain of the blood
Shed to bring thee back to God.
“Mine the sin, O mighty Saviour,
Laid by God on Thee—
Mine eternal condemnation
In Thy cross I see –
In Thine agony divine
See the curse that else were mine.
“See the conquest and the triumph
Thou for me hast won;
Justice satisfied for ever,
All God’s pleasure done.
Thus, O Smitten Rock! from Thee,
Life eternal flows to me.
“Unto me, the base, the guilty,
Flows that living flood;
I, Thine enemy, am ransomed
By Thy precious blood.
Silent at Thy feet I lie,
Lost in love’s immensity.”
I wonder what that love means to you today? It was this great love that brought the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, down from the glories of Heaven to the tasting of the Hell of Calvary for sinners such as you and me.
The story is told that Kazainak, the robber chieftain of Greenland, came to a missionary’s hut one day as he was translating the Scripture into the native language. He stood and silently watched the minister a moment, then inquired as to what he was doing. The missionary said, “I’m taking these letters and with the letters I am making words. With these words this Book is able to talk to us.”
The robber chieftain said, “Would it talk to me?”
“I’d like to hear it talk to me.”
The missionary turned to the story of the crucifixion and began to read of the sufferings and the humiliation of the Son of God. The robber chieftain listened very carefully and when the missionary paused in the reading he interrupted to question, “Why? What’s this man done? Has He killed someone? Has He stolen another man’s wife? Has He robbed? What has He done?”
The missionary said, “No, He hasn’t killed. He hasn’t robbed. He hasn’t stolen another man’s wife. He has done nothing of that nature. This man never once sinned.”
And the amazed robber chieftain asked, “Then tell me why they are doing that to Him? Why are they treating Him so?”
The missionary then explained to him some of the wonders of the atonement and told him the story of His taking Kazainak’s place on the cross of Calvary. As he told him about Christ’s dying in his stead, that robber chieftain, whose hands were stained with his own brother’s blood, stood and wept like a baby at the wonderfully sweet love story of the One who had paid that kind of a price to buy him an eternal salvation.
I wonder about you. Have you heard it too much? Has this story of the cross become so commonplace, so general run-of-the-mill variety that it no longer stirs your heart in loving appreciation for what He has done?
When I was a boy my father used to tell us fascinating stories. As a matter of fact, the folks could get us to go to bed at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon if Dad would tell a story. He had stories about Jimmy Chipmunk; stories about Robert the Rabbit; stories about Harold the Snake – every kind of story you could think of. Some were made-up animal stories and some were true-life human stories. I didn’t always know when he was telling true stories or when he was making them up to please us.
But I remember one story he told me time and again that broke my heart every time I heard it. After I came to years I learned it really was a true story and that he got it from one of Dr. Rueben Archer Torrey’s sermons. Dr. Torrey, the successor to Dwight Lyman Moody at the Chicago church, insisted that it had been verified by a professor at the University, where the incident took place. of North Carolina
My dad used to put me up on his knee and tell me about this husband and wife – a fine farm couple – and their only son. They solemnly vowed when the baby was born that he was going to have a chance in life and not be handicapped as they were by a lack of formal education.
They stayed true to their word. When he graduated from high school they gathered together what they had saved for his tuition and sent him off to college. He was going to become a medical doctor and they figured it would be at least seven long years before they saw him again, since he would need to work summers in the city to stay in school.
After about two years, the father said to the mother, “I just can’t stand it any longer. I will have to make the long journey to visit our boy.”
He went out and hitched the horse to the buggy and started off. It took him several days to get there but he didn’t mind the journey for the joy in his heart. They were in very poor circumstances; every penny they had been able to set aside had been used to help their boy through school. The daddy’s clothes weren’t so good; the buggy was pretty much out of date; and the bones on the old horse were sticking out. When he hit that college town, my, the laughter! Everyone who saw him said, “Look at that old man! Look at that old horse!” So they joked. But he didn’t mind; he was looking for his boy.
As he drove along across that campus looking and searching, way off down the street his old eyes recognized his son and another boy coming toward him. But what he didn’t know was that the boy walking with his son had looked up and said, “Hey, would you look at that! Look at this old fool coming down the road with that old horse and that old buggy!” And so they laughed together.
When the father got almost to the young men, he dropped the reins, bounced over the side of that buggy, ran full speed down the sidewalk, threw his arms open to the boy and shouted, “Son! I’m so glad to see you!”
But the boy quickly sidestepped and said, “Sir, you must have made a mistake. You’re not my father. I don’t know you. I’ve never seen you before in my life, so far as I know.” The ungrateful son turned on his heels and walked off, leaving his brokenhearted daddy standing there in open-mouthed amazement.
When my father would tell me this story and remind me of the sacrifices those loving parents had made for their son in sending him to school, I would weep like a baby. I could never understand why the boy would treat his daddy so contemptuously, even though he didn’t have good clothes and the horse and buggy weren’t much. Even if everyone else were laughing and mocking, I couldn’t understand why the boy wouldn’t boldly step out, throw his arms around his daddy, claim him as his own, and return a portion of the sacrificial love his father had made for him!
My father said that the old man got back in the buggy, went back home, unhitched the horse, fed him, watered him, went into the house, sat down in his rocking chair, and died of a broken heart. I say, I’ve never been able to understand that story. I couldn’t when I was a boy; I cannot now.
But I tell you truly that the story of the ungrateful son is dead easy to understand – it is the height of simplicity to comprehend – in comparison with the story that God Himself left Heaven’s glory; took upon Himself the form of a servant; went all the way to the cross of Calvary; was spit upon; had His beard pulled out by the roots from His face; had His back beaten with the lashes of the dreaded cat-of-nine-tails had the Roman nails driven through His hands and feet; had the crown of thorns jammed upon His brow; was jeered at, laughed at; was blindfolded and smitten in the face; was mockingly invited to prophesy; was challenged to come down from the cross; was weighted with all the sins of the world upon Him; tasted all the physical, mental and spiritual agony that He did in order to buy salvation for sinners; then to have a sinner meet Him and say, “I won’t have You. I won’t let You come into my heart. I won’t receive You. I won’t let You save me. I won’t let you take me to Heaven. I want my own way. I prefer my own sin. I want my own life,” and turn away from Him. I tell you, it is far easier to understand the attitude of the boy who turned down his daddy than it is to understand the attitude of a sinner who turns down such a Savior as this!
Can you reject such matchless love?
Can you His claim disown?
Come give your all in gratitude,
Nor leave Him thus alone.
Why not right now, this moment, let this lovely, wonderful Savior come into your heart and save you forever? He will! He said in Romans 10:13, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is God’s Word and all of Heaven stands behind it. The sinner who will trust Him and will call upon His name shall be, shall be, shall be saved, according to God’s own Word! Will you trust Him?
Decision for Christ
If you are willing to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior right now, simply ask Him, in the light of the above Scripture, to forgive your sin and become your Lord and Savior. Then, let us know of your decision. Either write us a letter in your own words, or use the following decision form to let us know and rejoice.
Dr. Robert L. Sumner
5717 Pine Drive
Dear Dr. Sumner: I have read your sermon about the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary and can no longer remain indifferent or ungrateful. Right now, this very moment, I am receiving Him as my Lord and Savior, trusting Him to forgive my sins and change my life. In humble, earnest gratitude, I want to love Him and serve Him the rest of my life.
Kindly send me some information about how to live for Him and honor Him as a Christian.
State _______________ Zip _____
This two-part message first appeared in Dr. R0bert L. Sumner’s publication, The Biblical Evangelist. Used by permission.