"Wherefore, holy brethren., partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus" Heb. 3:1.
Consider Jesus Christ! Consider Him who has been the subject of consideration both by men, and angelic hosts, and even the demons of Hell, for the past thousands of years. After considering Him throughout eternity past, an angel of God announced the birth of Jesus to Mary, saying: "Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:30-33). Prior to His birth the prophet Isaiah considered Him and wrote: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" (Isa. 9:6, 7). As a result of his considerations, the prophet Micah even declared the exact place where Jesus was to be born. "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2). When He came to this earth the wise men sat before the cradle contemplating Him, with the result that, "They fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh" (Matt. 2:11). Even God the Father considering Him said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" (Matt. 17:5). The audience which heard His messages considered Him and appraised Him thus: "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Matt. 7:28,29). Even Pilate, the judge who permitted His crucifixion, said concerning Him: "I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it" (Matt. 27:24). Judas the betrayer declared: "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood" (Matt. 27:4). Even the devil on considering Jesus in the days of His flesh cried out: "What have I to do with thee, Jesus thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not" (Mark 5:7). A thief who was crucified with Him, considered Jesus in His dying agony and shouted: "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom" (Luke 23:42). Even the centurion whose business it was to crucify Him said: "Certainly this was
a righteous man" (Luke 23:47).
Thus the angel, the prophets, the wise men. God the Father, His audience, Pilate, Judas, the thief crucified with Him, the centurion, and even the Devil, on considering Jesus have declared themselves that He was, and is, the righteous Son of God, the Saviour of man. In view of their consideration and conclusion, I ask you to consider Jesus Christ.
Consider Jesus Christ as creator. "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him" (Col. 1:16). "All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not" (John 1:3, 10). "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds" (Heb. 1:1,2). The only satisfactory explanation as to the creation of this world and all things therein is Jesus Christ. Evolution in an attempt to explain creation is built upon a system of guesses.
A few years ago about the time that higher criticism and German rationalism began to affect our denominational colleges, a farmer in Louisiana plowed up some large bones. On reporting his find, a little "two by four" scientist drove out to the farm and pronounced the bones as that of the missing link. Scientists of all kinds began flocking into that section of the state. Each declared that this undoubtedly linked man back to the lower animals. The newspapers carried this story far and wide. A few days later an old countryman with a blade of alfalfa dropping out of one corner of his mouth stopped in at the office of the newspaper and said, "What's all this I hear about this prehistoric monster? I owned that farm about 30 years ago where those bones were found. Barnum & Bailey's big circus elephant died when they showed here in town and I permitted them to bury him on my land." And thus the missing link is still missing, the lower animals still produce lower animals, and all forms of life still beget life after their own kind, and we still believe that Jesus Christ is the Creator of this universe and all things therein.
Consider Jesus Christ as the sinless Son of God. "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" (I Pet. 1:18,19). "For he hath made him, who knew no sin; to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (II Cor. 5:21). "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" (Heb. 7:26). These verses give to us the Scriptural pedigree of the Lord Jesus. When we consider that both Peter and Paul were writing under inspiration, then surely it would be impossible for us to believe that Jesus was anyone other than the sinless Son of God.
In this day of pure food laws, each company delights in advertising that its products are pure. Who is there of my audience but what recalls that Ivory soap is advertised as ninety-nine and forty-four one-hundredths per cent pure. Yet Jesus is greater than this. He is fully one hundred per cent pure and sinless.
A few years ago I had an attack of illness growing out of symptoms of an excruciating pain in my abdomen. The doctors thought I had a gall-bladder infection. I was not surprised, for I had been told by many, who had heard me preach, that I had "too much gall." The doctor determined to make a complete examination. He gave me some Graham dye capsules and told me to go home to take these, eat no breakfast the next morning, and return to his office. He stood me up before a fluoroscope and looked at each organ of my body in its operation. He had said that if his supposed analysis of my condition were correct, that dark spots would show up on my gall. But to his apparent disappointment, there wasn't a single dark spot that appeared. You can put the Lord Jesus Christ to every criticism and analysis which is humanly possible; you may turn the most powerful telescope or microscope upon His character, but there's not a spot nor a stain nor a blemish to be found. Truly He is the sinless Son of God.
Consider Jesus Christ's love. It was love which sent Jesus into this world; it was love which caused Him to weep over Jerusalem, and caused Him to sweat blood in Gethsemane, and finally nailed Him to the cross. John 3:16, "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," never means as much as when we view the Son of God upon the cross. Then it is that we say with the poet:
"0 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."
Look at Jesus on the cross. The rulers hated Him; the soldiers mocked Him with vinegar; He was blasphemed even by one of those who was crucified with Him. "And one of the malefactors which was hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, gave thyself and us" (Luke 23:39). Christ might have lifted His voice and hurled that angry, blood-thirsty mob into Hell with justice. He was still God and with the power of the Father, He might have slain them with His wrath. Instead, now that He has been crucified. His lips begin to move. As I gaze toward the blessed Saviour, I wonder what shall be the first words to fall from His lips. With justice may He pronounce a curse upon His accusers but instead we hear Him say: "Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:24). As we stand and gaze upon this scene we lift up our hearts to sing:
"There is a wideness in God's mercy
Like the wideness of the sea;
There is a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.
"For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man's mind,
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind."
Truly the greatest manifestation of the love of God is the cross of Calvary. I bow to Him who died and beg you to consider His love.
Consider Jesus Christ's vicarious death. His death was no ordinary one. The thief on either the right or the left hand who died with Jesus were suffering for their sins and dying because of their own misdeeds. Yet Jesus, as we have already seen, had no sins. Why then was He dying? "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" (I Cor. 15:3). "For he hath made him, who knew no sin; to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (II Cor. 5:21). "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (I Pet. 2:24). "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit"' (I Pet. 3:18).
Yes, Jesus Christ died for our sine your sins and my sins. What a scene this was. The angels who had ministered so graciously to Jesus on so many occasions in the past had now taken wings and flown away to other worlds. The disciples that had pledged their allegiance to Him have now turned their backs and fled away in cowardice. Even God the Father has turned His back upon His Son and in the darkness Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46). If you would listen carefully you would hear His blood as it drops from the wounds in Jesus' body. You can see His bosom as it heaves and falls from the pain He feels. The pain leaps through every vein in His body. His throat became so parched that He cried; "I thirst." Eventually His tongue became so swollen that He could speak no longer. Oh, what sufferings were these! And for whom did He suffer? "Christ died for our sins" (I Cor. 15:3).
Arnold Von Winkelreid of the Swiss army saw the solid phalanx of the enemies' army drawn up before him, and rushing forward he shouted, "Make way for liberty." Fully twenty of the enemies thrust spears into his body, but a gap was made, 20 feet wide or better in the lines of the enemies and through this gap the Swiss army passed to victory. The Lord Jesus Christ seeing the hosts of sin and Satan standing before us cried, "Make way for salvation," and by His crucifixion He opened a blood sprinkled path for us.
Consider Jesus Christ as having completed the plan of salvation. As He was dying He said, "It is finished" (John 19:30). Then there is nothing left for a sinner to do in the realm of salvation. This explains Titus 3:5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." It shows us the meaning of Eph. 2:8,9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." When we stand by the cross we can sing:
"Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe,
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow."
Only a few nights ago I attended a class meeting which in reality was a social hour, prefaced by a pot-luck supper. That is, each person present brought a dish of food and when it was all placed together it meant a complete meal. Many have some such idea of salvation. They think that Jesus did a part on Calvary, that the church does a part, that the preacher in the baptistry adds his portion, and that the individual by his life and efforts continues to add his part and that all together they make up the plan of salvation. How utterly foreign to Bible teaching this is. I do not offer to sinners a pot-luck salvation but rather I preach Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again for our justification.
A few weeks ago I was invited into a wealthy home for dinner. In fact, I was the guest of honor that evening. When we sat down to the table it was literally covered with delicacies, both in season and out of season. Suppose that as we sat there, I had pulled out of my pocket a package of cheese and crackers and started to eat on this which I had brought with me. Suppose I had carried my insult to the host and hostess further by saying, "I was afraid you would not have enough to eat, so I brought along this little lunch with me." Do you realize, beloved, that this is exactly the way the Lord of all grace is being treated today. He is inviting sinners to a banquet which He has spread. He offers the Bread of Life and the Water of Life freely, without money and without price. Yet many a sinner is trying to bring along his little "cheese and crackers;" namely, his good works, baptism, and human merit on his part. Such is an insult to Almighty God. Free sovereign grace is God's offer to man. I therefore urge you to consider Jesus Christ as having Himself completed the plan of salvation.
Consider Jesus Christ as our great High Priest. In the Old Testament dispensation, a priest was a necessity, for the priest represented man to God in the religion of the Jews. There was a veil in the Temple of the Holy of Holies which separated the Holy of Holies from the outer Holy Place. Only the priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. On the day when Jesus died the veil was rent from top to bottom as though the unseen hand of God had reached down from Heaven and torn this veil. This meant that Christ having paid the penalty for our sins, had become our great High Priest, and indicates to us that we have need no longer for any other priest.
This is the meaning of Paul's statement to Timothy. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Tim. 2:5). There is just one mediator to come between God and man and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. A Catholic priest or a priest of any other religion is a man 2,000 years behind time, for the priest died when Jesus died, since He is now our great High Priest, and each believer is his own priest under Christ.
Some time ago I was talking to a friend, a Roman Catholic, yet with all a dear friend of mine. He said, "I have put my salvation in the hands of my priest and he is responsible for it." To this I replied, "That is exactly where my salvation is too; it is in the hands of my Priest, the only difference is the priest; you have a man; mine is the Lord Jesus."
Consider Jesus Christ as coming back again. Some day He's coming again to this earth. He promised it in the days of His flesh. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, / will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:1-3). On the day of His ascension, the angel said to the disciples, "Ye men of Galileo, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Every time we partake of the Memorial Supper in which the bread is broken and the wine is poured, we have a prophecy of Jesus' return. "For as often, as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come" (I Cor. 11:26).
I was in a doctor's office a few days ago and saw there a little notice relative to his absence. It was the face of a clock and on it were these words, "Doctor out, will be back soon." So it is with Jesus. He is away from this earth today, but He will be back soon.
In the course of my work I have to be away from home many, many times at night. I live on a high hill just back of
town, surrounded by 3,000 acres of woodland with my nearest neighbor a half mile away. It is often quite dark as I drive home at night. Being a home lover, no one knows the thrill when I see the lights of my home shining out of the darkness to greet me. It always makes me think of that time when the blessed Saviour is going to pierce the sky, to come for His redeemed, to receive me in that home of many mansions.
"I can see the lights of home,
I can see the lights of home,
Gleaming from the many mansions,
I can see the lights of home.
"I can see the lights of home
Far across the billows' foam,
Gleaming from the many mansions
I can see the lights of home.
"Home, home, sweet, sweet home,
I'll soon be with Jesus,
Ill soon be at home."
I ask you who have been considering Jesus with me tonight that you consider Him well, consider Him carefully, consider Him Scripturally, consider Him penitently, and then having considered Him, make Him your Saviour tonight. Truly, we can Bay of Him that He is the:
"Sweetest note in seraph song,
Sweetest carol ever sung,
Sweetest name on mortal tongue,
Jesus, blessed Jesus."
"And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence and gave them to the host, and said unto him, take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee" Luke 10:30-35,
This passage is commonly called, "The Parable of the Good Samaritan." The thought of kindness to a fallen brother is usually considered the reason why Jesus gave this incident. While it is true that it does answer conclusively the question, "And who is my neighbor?", I feel that there is a deeper meaning than that which appears upon the surface.
In this story four characters play their separate parts. The poor unfortunate, the priest, the Levite, and the good Samaritan in orderly sequence, appear upon the scene. Together they illustrate the plan of salvation.
Notice the poor unfortunate. "A certain man." This represents each of Adam's fallen descendants. Stand before a mirror and look at the visage you see therein. Lift the accusing index finger and say like Nathan of old, "Thou art the man." Your character thus appears in this portrait of the poor unfortunate.
"Went down from Jerusalem to Jericho." How careful the Scriptures are in their wording. The fact that this man "went down" pictures the course of each of Adam's descendants from childhood on. "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies" (Psalm 58:3). "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:1). No man outside of Jesus ever gets closer to God, but rather, farther from Him.
"Fell among thieves." Every person in this world has fallen into the hands of the arch-thief of all times, even Satan himself. Look at the drunkard, who was once his mother's delight. Today he is a physical, mental, and moral wreck. What's wrong with him? Only one answer can be made; he has fallen into the hands of Satan and his manhood and sobriety have been stolen. Or consider the girl who makes her living through merchandising her womanhood. Once she was a proud mother's daughter, but now her modesty and virtue have been stolen by Satan. Even the moral man and the moral, refined woman have not lived up to their highest ideals. One conclusion remains, that whether moral or immoral, all have suffered loss at the hands of Satan, the prince of thieves.
"Which stripped him of his raiment." In the Garden of Eden, Satan stripped Adam and Eve of their righteousness. Their attempt to cover themselves with fig-leaves was an admission that their righteousness, wherewith they were clothed was gone. Their loss is our loss, for all from that day on have been born destitute of man's original righteousness and sadly in need of God's eternal righteousness. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Paul speaks of those who are "ignorant of God's righteousness" (Rom. 10:3). This poor unfortunate naked man only illustrates the spiritual nakedness of each outside of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"And wounded him." Every sinner is wounded in the conscience. "Having the conscience seared with a hot iron" (I Tim. 4:2). The mind is also wounded. "Having the understanding darkened" (Eph. 4:18). Every sinner is a spiritual lunatic. No one is in his right mind until he becomes a Christian. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Tim. 1:7). Likewise the imagination is wounded. "And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Gen. 8:21). Furthermore the heart is wounded. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked' (Jer. 17:9).
"Leaving him half dead." Every sinner is conscious that death has already begun its work and that he is spiritually dead in God's sight. "For the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:4).
Look now at those who passed by. A priest walked by on the other side. He was a representative of religion. There is no hope for any of Adam's fallen descendants in religion. "Not every one that saith unto me. Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day. Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt 7:21-23) Jesus thus declares that there will be preachers who will appear at the Judgment lost and condemned. Then church record books, baptismal certificates, church letters and other paraphernalia of religion will be valueless, for, "Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:15). Peter Cartwright, a Methodist evangelist of days gone by went into a blacksmith shop in Missouri to talk to a man about his soul. The man said, "You're a Methodist, aren't you?" When the preacher answered affirmatively, he said, "Well, I moved from Vermont to New York when the Methodists got too thick there, and then on to northern Ohio, and finally out here, moving each time to get away from the Methodists; I guess I'll have to move on again." Peter Cartwright said, "Yes, you may move on out on the prairies and you'll find Methodists there; you may go down to the golden gate and you'll find Methodists there; you may die and go to Heaven and you'll find Methodists there; you may die and go to Hell and you'll find Methodists there." And Peter Cartwright was right. There will be Methodists in Hell, great loud singing, hallelujah-shouting Methodists. There'll be Presbyterians in Hell, Presbyterians who could swallow the whole of the Westminster Catechism. And there will be Baptists and Campbellites and Holy Rollers and Catholics and Jews and folk of every denomination in the world in Hell, who thought that religion would save.
Isn't it pitiably strange that the world at large believes religion will save? A man stated to me recently, "It doesn't make any difference what a person believes so long as he is sincere in it; there are many roads to heaven." Then he went ahead to illustrate his idea by referring to the city of Washington, declaring that everything was built around the Capitol buildings, so that regardless of what direction you started from, North, East, South, or West, it would lead you eventually to the same spot, the center of the city the Capitol buildings. Thus his idea was that regardless of what plan of religion one espoused, eventually he would get to Heaven. He said, "As there may be roads leading to the one place so there are many roads to Heaven a Methodist road, a Baptist road, a Catholic road, or Jewish road." How sad that one could be so deluded! There is no Methodist road to Heaven, no Baptist road, no Jewish road, no Catholic road. There is only one plan of salvation, and that is the Bible plan of salvation. There is only one road and that is the highway that is marked with the precious Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A Levite also passed by. He was a representative of the law. Then there is no hope for any man in the law. "And by Jesus all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:39). "Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight" (Rom. 3:20). "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh. God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us" (Titus 3:5). "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8,9). Just as the Levite passed the poor unfortunate by, so the deeds of the law pass every sinner by. What the sinner does is no part of salvation, for Christ completed the plan of salvation at Calvary.
A terrible fire was raging in Liverpool, and the fire engines had arrived. There was a man in the fifth story crying for help. A ladder was pushed up along side of the burning building but to the horror of the crowd, it fell short six feet. An old sailor who had sailed the seven seas and had climbed about the rigging of many a storm-tossed vessel pushed his way through the crowd and climbed up to the top of the ladder. He stood on the top-most rung of the ladder and placed his hands on the window sill above and the individual entrapped by the flames climbed down over his body to safety. To rescue that man in the fifth story required the length of a man. To save your soul and mine requires likewise the length of a man. Not an ordinary man, not an imperfect man, but an absolutely perfect man the perfect Son of God. You can lift up your ladder of morality and goodness and good deeds as high in the sky as possible, but it falls short of Heaven. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can save your soul and to do so He must die on the cross.
Consider the Good Samaritan. "He saw him." Jesus sees every sinner every hour of every day. We are never hidden from His sight. "Thou God sees me" (Gen. 16:13). "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into Heaven, thou art there; If I make my bed in Hell, behold thou art there. If I take wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me" (Psalm 139:7-10).
"Come where he was." He didn't come part way and say to the poor unfortunate. "You come the rest of the way." Neither does Jesus do part of that which is necessary for our salvation and demand of us that we do the rest. He doesn't come half way to us and demand that we come the other half way to Him. Jesus has done everything necessary for our salvation. When He said, "It is finished" (John 19:30), there was nothing left for the sinner to do in the realm of salvation. In view of this, we do not sing,
That saved a wretch like me."
But we sing,
"Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see."
We do not sing,
"Jesus paid a part, and I,
A part you know,
Sin had left a crimson stain,
We washed it white as snow."
Instead we sing,
"Jesus paid it all,
All to him I owe,
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow."
He met the wounded stranger's present need. And what does every sinner need? Above all of his fancied needs, one paramount need stands out, that of salvation. The very hour that Jesus and a sinner meet, salvation becomes the sinner's possession.
He provided for the poor unfortunate's future needs, in that he paid the host of the inn to care for the wounded man, even promising further pay if such were needed. Salvation is not only a matter of time it is of eternity as well. Jesus provides not only saving grace, but keeping grace as well. Our redemption is eternal as well as present, for Jesus has provided for our future sins as well as our present sins, at Calvary. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38, 39).
Dear sinner friend, suffer this closing admonition. Just as the Levite and the priest could not help this poor unfortunate, so the law and religion cannot help you. Near Jackson, Kentucky, in old bloody Breathitt County, a murder was committed several years ago. The murderer was sentenced to life imprisonment in Frankfort. He was one of the most incorrigible prisoners in our state penitentiary. Punishments of various kinds, even physical torture were inflicted. His stubborn spirit refused to bend. "Big Jim, as he was called, continued to be the penitentiary's worst prisoner. One day a husband, wife and little daughter were being shown through the penitentiary. The little girl was tired from walking. The mother and father were both tired from carrying the little girl and still the little girl begged to be carried. The warden who was taking them through the penitentiary noticed "Big Jim" in the corridor, called him to him, and commanded him to pick up the child and carry her. With a look of insolence upon his face as if to say that he would not do so if he did not have to, he came near. As he looked down she said, "Please carry me, mister, and I will give you a kiss." Perhaps it was the thought of a flaxen, curly-haired child at home or it may have been her innocence, or it may have been her kindness (probably the first he had known in months), but something gripped him, and he stooped over to pick up the child with tears streaming down his face while she placed a kiss upon his cheek. That day "Big Jim," the penitentiary's bad man, became a changed man. Never again was he recognized as the terror of the penitentiary. That act of kindness did for him what the law could never do. What the law fails to do for us, and what religion fails to do, the Lord Jesus Christ can do. You need the Good Samaritan, even Jesus. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved" (Acts 16:31).
"If you could see Christ standing here tonight,
His thorn-crowned head and pierced hands could view,
Could see those eyes that beam with Heav'n's own light,
And hear Him say, '0, sinner, 'Twas for you.'
Would you believe, and Jesus receive,
If He were standing here?
Will you believe, and Jesus receive,
For He is standing here."
"Even every one that is culled by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him" Isa. 43:7.
I don't believe that any man is capable of expounding some portions of God's Word. There are some portions of it that I am sure every preacher would say that he wouldn't feel himself capable of expounding. Nearly fifty years ago, I preached from the 10th verse of the 43rd chapter of Isaiah, "Ye are my witnesses," and I remember that I pushed this 7th verse aside, because I said that it was too deep for my comprehension. For nearly fifty years, I have been thinking and meditating in terms of Isaiah 43:7: "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."
Three verbs stand out in this text, which are most unusual "created," "formed," "made." I do not consider myself an Hebrew scholar. I studied Hebrew, but I do not consider myself to be an Hebraist in any sense of the word. However, I have studied these verbs most carefully through the years and what a blessing they are to me!
God says I have created, as if to say, "I have produced out of nothing." "Formed" I have given him that particular form and shape which are best suited to his situation in life. If you are long, if you are short, if you are tall, if you are skinny. God has given to you that particular form and shape which are best suited for your situation in life.
Then He says, "I have made him." In other words, "I have adapted him to the accomplishments of my counsels and my designs."
So God created us. He made us in the shape, the size, and the form that we are, and He has adapted us to carry out His counsels and His designs. Now that is the meaning of those three verbs: "created," "formed," and "made."
This was spoken primarily to the Jewish nation. God created them out of nothing. He took a Gentile by the name of Abraham and made a Hebrew out of him, and all Hebrews all Jews today are the product of that one Gentile, Abraham. He created them out of nothing. He formed Israel and gave them the shape and the size that they have as a nation, best suited to God's purpose and to the situation of the Jew in life. He certainly has adapted them to the accomplishment of His purposes. His counsels, and His designs, and, beloved. God is going to continue until He finishes His task with the Jews.
What is true of the Jew, is true of the church that Jesus built. He created it out of nothing. He has given to His church the particular form and shape and doctrines and ordinances that He wanted His church to have. Beloved, He has adapted His church for the accomplishment of His purposes and His designs to the end of the age, and He'll never quit until His work with His church is finished.
What is true of the Jewish nation, as this was spoken originally, and what is true of the church that Jesus built, is true of every one of us. God created you and me out of nothing. Tell me, can you explain the procreation of human life? The man or woman, the scientist, the psychologist, the physiologist does not live who can explain the procreation of human life. God has created us out of nothing, and He has given to us the shape, the size and the form that He wanted us to have which was best suited for our particular situation in life. On top of that, He has set you and me aside and adapted us for the accomplishments of His purposes and His designs in our lives.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.
No text in all the Bible magnifies the sovereignty of God quite like the text that I have read to you, for it says, "I have created," "I have formed," "I have made." God is the one that is speaking.
Sometimes we think we are sovereign. In the New Testament, of a man who thought himself sovereign, we read:
"This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul. Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, THOU FOOL, this night thy soul shall be required of thee" (Luke 12:18-20).
Beloved, you are not a sovereign. God is the only sovereign. When I turn to the Word of God, over and over again, I find God's sovereignty taught and exemplified. Listen:
"For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I KNOW all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are MINE. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for THE WORLD IS MINE, and the fullness thereof" (Psa. 50:10.12).
"The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will" (Prov. 21:1).
Your heart is in God's hand, too. It God hadn't wanted to turn you to church, you would not go there. It God didn't put it in your heart, you would be someplace else. You would have easily found a reason for being someplace else. If God wanted you to hate me, and hate the things that I stand for. He would have seen to it that you hated me. If He wanted you to love me and love the truth that I stand for, He can make you do it. The king's heart, and my heart are in the hands of the Lord and He turns the heart like He can turn rivers of water.
"See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I KILL, and I MAKE ALIVE: I WOUND, and I HEAL; neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand" (Deut. 32:39).
Beloved, don't read this unless you want to believe that God is a sovereign. Talk about the accidents on the highways. The National Safety Council has estimated that so many hundred people are going to be killed over this Thanksgiving weekend. I tell you, beloved, everyone that God permits to be killed will be killed, and everyone that God wants to spare, will be spared. He is a sovereign God today.
Notice another Scripture:
"The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: THE LORD HATH HIS WAY in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers" (Nahum 1:3,4).
Don't tell me that God doesn't have His way. I tell you, if a cyclone conies along today and blows your house across the river, you can be certain of one thing. God had His way. Doesn't it thrill your heart today to know that God is a sovereign God? I am not controlling my life. The infidel wrote the poem in which he said:
"I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul."
I tell you, beloved, in contrast. God is the master of my fate, and Jesus Christ is the Captain of my soul. God is sovereign.
THE IRRESISTIBLE CALL OF GOD.
This text also brings us a truth that is so seldom taught today, and that is, the irresistible call of God, for it says, "Every one that is called by my name."
Sometimes when the preacher finishes his sermon, he will go down into the audience and "buttonhole" somebody whom he suspects as being under conviction, and drag him down to the front and pull a profession from him just like you take a corkscrew and pull a stopper out of a bottle. Beloved, I don't believe in a man calling men to God. I believe in the irresistible call of the Holy Spirit of God.
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an HOLY CALLING, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (II Tim. 1:9).
"Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the HEAVENLY CALLING" (Heb. 3:1).
Notice, Paul says that he has a high calling. I thank God for this truth God calls us and. the man who is saved and on the road to Heaven is saved because God called him, just like God called Paul on the roadway to Damascus. If God hadn't called Paul, he would have gone on to Damascus persecuting Christians. If God hadn't called you, you would have gone right on in your sins without ever trusting Jesus Christ as a Saviour.
Beloved, I am glad that when God does the calling. He never changes His mind afterwards. Listen:
"For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Rom. 11:29).
The word "repentance" means "a change of mind." In other words, this says that when God calls you. He never changes His mind about it.
You have heard of Indian-givers. So many times I have seen people who were Indian-givers they give you something today, and ask for it back tomorrow. A woman gave me a dog several years ago, and I took the dog home and got attached to it overnight. The next day I loved the dog to death. That night that woman almost cried her eyes out. The next day she called me, and said, "Brother Gilpin, I wonder if you would give me my dog back."
Beloved, God doesn't give like that. God isn't an Indian-giver. "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." When God calls you, beloved, you can be certain of one thing, He will never recall that call.
THE COMPLETED WORK OF GOD.
This text tells us something about the completed work of God. If you will read the entire text and context, you will find that Isaiah tells how God is going to reach out to the north and south, and the east and the west, and He is going to call the Jews all together as a nation. He is not going to leave them scattered all over the world, but some of these days, every Jew in this world is going to be back in Palestine. That is where he belongs and God is going to take him there. God is going to complete His work. That is what this text says.
What God says concerning the Jew is true of His church, and it is true of you. He is going to complete His work. Listen:
"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform (finish) it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).
Thank God, He never puts His hand to anything and then turns aside, until He finishes it. I am glad that He is going to complete the work that He has begun.
Some of these days. God is going to complete the work of redemption in this world. We read:
"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for THE EARTH SHALL BE FULL OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:9).
I know we are living in a day when we see so much crime, and immorality, and injustice, and war, and raping, and acts of violence on every hand, but the day is coming when the Lord's Word is going to cover the earth, just like the waters cover the sea.
"He SHALL NOT FAIL NOR BE DISCOURAGED, till he have set judgment in the earth" (Isa. 42:4).
Beloved, I get tired sometimes, and I tail. I get discouraged sometimes. But God hasn't given up and God isn't one bit discouraged. He is a sovereign God, and He is not going to quit, He is not going to fail. He is not going to be discouraged until He has set judgment in the earth.
Don't think for one moment that we are on the losing side. We are on the winning side. Some of these days, out yonder in the future, the Lord is going to look out over the host of His redeemed. When He does, "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be SATISFIED" (Isa. 53:11).
Oh, what a day it is going to be when Almighty God looks out over the travail of His soul and sees the souls that have been saved in New Guinea under Elder Fred T. Halliman's ministry, the souls that have been saved under the ministry of many other brethren, and the souls that have been saved the world around! It says that He is going to be satisfied. Why? Because every one that He has called, has been drawn irresistibly by the Holy Spirit, and all of them are going to be in that group that He has called.
Beloved, it thrills my soul just to leave everything in God's hands. In that respect, I am reminded of that old race horse that had become blind and peevish and fretful, and was kept in a stall and not allowed any freedom because he was peevish and fretful. One day, when a change of stable hands came about, the young man that was assigned to take care of him, reached over, as he dropped some hay and grain into the manger, and put his hand on the muzzle of that old horse the first act of kindness that this horse had known for months and months. He strangely responded to it. Instead of biting and kicking, instead of responding as he had in the past to the lack of care and the lack of love, he responded strangely to that affection. The boy began to lead him around, and then later to drive him around, telling the folk that he was getting ready for a race. They laughed at him. But let the poem tell the story;
"The record was this, when the day was done,
Rythmic, the great blind conqueror won;
He sped in the dark, though the sun rode high
In the cloudless arch of an August sky.
He knew not where his feet would fall,
To the eye of the driver he trusted all;
The hand on the whip was love's hand, too.
Strength and courage, faith and speed,
These won the day for the brave blind steed.
Great is the lesson, 0 mortal blind,
Christ is your Master, His whip is kind.
Then trust in His wisdom, though dark be the night,
And the hand of the Saviour will lead you aright,
Faith and courage, an even pace,
With God's eye guiding, will win the race."
Beloved, I say to you, God isn't going to be defeated. His Word is going to be fulfilled. His work is going to be completed just exactly as He planned, and our business is to submit ourselves into His hands.
ALL OF THIS IS FOR GOD'S GLORY.
My text says, "For I have created him for my glory." Did you ever stop to think when you were born into this world, regardless of what your status and your stature is today, you were created for God's glory? Beloved, God does everything for His glory. The Word of God tells us that what God does. He does for His own glory. Listen:
"And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, THE GLORY OF THE LORD appeared in the cloud" (Ex. 16:10).
When the seraphims stood in the temple, we read:
"And one cried unto another, and said. Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is FULL OF HIS GLORY" (Isa. 6:3).
"And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will FILL THIS HOUSE WITH GLORY,
saith the Lord of hosts" (Haggai 2:7).
When we come to the night when the Lord Jesus Christ was born, the angels in that first seraphic melody that was ever sung at the birth of Jesus Christ said:
"GLORY TO GOD in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14).
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he said:
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, DO ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD" (I Cor. 10:31).
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, he said:
"Unto him be GLORY IN THE CHURCH by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Eph. 3:21).
Thank God, He is going to be glorified. He is a sovereign God. Yes, beloved. He calls us. Yes, He is going to complete His work, and, yes, it is all for His glory.
Doesn't that give you something to make you humble today? Can you think of anything that would make a man more humble than the sovereignty of God the fact that He sovereignty chose us; the fact that He irresistibly called us; the fact that He has promised to never quit until the job is all done; the fact that it is all for His glory? Can you think of anything that would make you any more humble than that?
How thankful we ought to be! Talk about Thanksgiving, I tell you, a child of God has something to thank God for when he thinks about this text of Scripture.
Yes, personally, how much I have to thank God for! I go back to the day when God saved me. I thank Him today because He saved me. I thank Him because He called me to preach. You know, if you had been looking the whole country over for a preacher in that day, I would have been the last fellow that you would have called. I will say this, if you had gone out hunting that morning with a shotgun and was going to shoot the first preacher that you found, I would have been the last fellow that you would have ever shot. But God called me. To think that God would call me into His ministry! I am thankful for it.
And to think that God gave me a love for His Word. I love the Bible, beloved. It has been my desire and my delight to study it through the years. I have gone through the Bible two different times and read every word of every verse in the light of every other use of that word in the Bible. In other words, I started in Genesis 1:1 and read "In the beginning God . . . and I took that word "beginning" and I studied it every place that it was found all the rest of the way through the Word of God. I took every word in the Bible and studied it that way.
I studied through the Word of God twice, word by word, of every verse, in the light as it is used in every other verse in the Bible. Beloved, I love His book. It means something to me today. I hug it to my bosom as the greatest thing in this world as far as information and inspiration is concerned, and I thank God that He has given me this love for it.
I thank God that He has kept me from being a modernist. God could just as easily have made a modernist out of me, as a Baptist preacher. Of course, I had one advantage that a lot of fellows don't have in that respect. They say that modernists are all nice looking, handsome men, and I had one advantage. I had one thing in my favor to start with.
I remember a man was preaching, years ago, even a good while ago. He said, "I have noticed that all the modernists and the rationalists of the country are handsome men. That is why it is that they attract everybody." He turned and looked down at me and said, "Brother Gilpin, you are immune. You will never be a modernist."
Well, the Lord kept me from being a modernist. He has given me a good time these fifty years. He has given me a lot of fun. I tell you truly, I don't believe there is anybody in the world that has had more fun than I have had in these last fifty years. I have had a good time. Talk about suffering, I have had a little. Some of it, I have brought on myself by my own stupidity. But, beloved, I have had a good time in the ministry of our Lord. I have had some of the funniest experiences, and I think I will take time to tell you what I consider the funniest experience that I ever had.
I began to preach at Bon-Jellico, Kentucky, a coal camp out of Williamsburg, Kentucky. It is not even there anymore. It is out of existence. But I began preaching there in a little schoolhouse, high upon a mountainside. We had some benches not seats, but benches, with slats in the back and a slat or two in the bottom. There was a lot of open space in those seats. I remember one night right in the midst of my sermon an experience. There was a boy that came to the services, whose name was Jim Henry. He just wasn't bright, and all the boys picked on him. One night, right in the midst of my sermon, those boys had been sticking pins in him, and the mother rose up and said, "Brother Gilpin, if you don't make these boys sitting behind me quit sticking pins in my Jim Henry, I am going to quit coming here to hear you preach."
Beloved, I have had a lot of funny experiences since, but I think that one caps the climax.
I remember also, the time that I was riding on a bus over in Harlan County, Kentucky. A fellow tapped me on the back, and I looked back into the business end of a revolver that was pointed at my face. He got out by the side of the bus and stood there with a couple of guns which he held on everybody as they passed out. People had to put their watches and their money in his hat. It came my turn and I thought, what is the use of being accused of being a big talker and not being able to use that ability when you get in a tight place? So as I came along, and with my hands held high and shaking, I said, "Brother, would you take a watch from a poor little preacher when that is all that he has?" He said, "What kind of a preacher are you?" I said, "I am a Baptist preacher." He put his gun down in his pocket and said, "Put it there, boy, I am a Baptist, too."
As I say, I have had lots of problems and I have had lots of fun. I thank the Lord for His goodness. I thank the Lord for the heartaches and the headaches that I have had. A lot of times I could have run away, I could have quit. I think my son has paid the highest compliment to me that was paid to any father when, years ago, he said, "Dad, I know God called you to preach, because you would have quit a long time ago, if He hadn't." And that is true. I think I would have. I think I would have quit lots of times. I could have run away. I could have gone away someplace else.
I have had many problems. I have had many headaches and many heartaches. Some of them have been caused because I lanced a carbuncle down to the core. You know what I mean, don't you? There have been some heretics that I had to handle like you would lance a carbuncle down to the core. It has caused a lot of difficulties and a lot of problems, but I have had a good time these fifty years.
A man wrote to me the other day and sent me $50 and said, "I want to join the 'Fifty Year $50 Club,' and I want to make application now for the 100 year club." Well, I am in favor of taking him in. I'll not vote against him. I'd like to live another 50 years to preach His Word.
I have had a hard time physically in the last couple of years. Two years ago I invited Brother Jon Rule here for a revival meeting and I never even attended the services one night. Can you imagine a Baptist preacher inviting a man to come hold a revival and then not even attend the services one time? That is right. Well, I got sick, was the reason. I went to the hospital and was operated on, and was there for twenty-three days. Eight times within the last two years I have been in the hospital. Some of you didn't think I was going to live. Several times I thought I wasn't going to live. When that tractor ran over me a little over a year ago, I am satisfied that there were some angels around that held that tractor and the corn-picker and the wagon up to keep them from mashing me. There was no reason in the world why I shouldn't have been killed. I think I can say as I look back across these years as I look back across the last two years particularly, in the eight times that I have been in the hospital I think I can truly say with Ezekiel, "I was spared."
Beloved, I thank God today for all of His goodness and for His purpose in my life. I think how grateful I am to God for His goodness to me. Beloved, I am urging everyone of you in the light of this passage of Scripture that I have read to you I am urging everyone of you to stand fast for the Word of God.
I remember one of the earliest stories that I read in English literature was of the time when Napoleon had lost a battle not the battle of Waterloo, but another battle. One of the officers under Napoleon said to the drummer, "'Beat a retreat." The lad stood immobile. He never moved. He never flinched. That order was repeated, "Beat a retreat." The boy said, "I can't beat a retreat. Napoleon never taught me to beat a retreat." But he said, "I can beat a march that will wake up the dead." History says that he beat that march and the result was that they won the battle that they appeared to have lost.
Beloved, I am asking you today never to retreat, but to move forward and to stand fast for the things of the Lord.
I am a Baptist. I thank God because of it. I believe in the five cardinal truths of grace. I believe in the pre-millennial, pre-tribulation return of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that God created this world. I believe in the inspiration of the Bible from beginning to end, and after fifty years, I thank God that I believe in it more strongly than I believed in it when God called me into the ministry fifty years ago. I would urge each of you to stand fast in the things of the Lord.
I often think of the time when Columbus was trying to discover a new route to the Indies. I often think what difficulty it must have been. What a problem it must have been! Nobody believed the earth was round. Everybody believed that if you went out so far you would sail to the edge, to a precipice, and just fall off. What a problem it must have been! Suppose we let the poet tell it:
Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the Gates of Hercules,
Before him not the ghosts of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good mate said: "Now must we pray,
For lo, the very stars are gone
Brave Adm'r'l, speak; what shall I say?"
"Why, say: 'Sail on! sail on! and on!'"
"My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly wan and weak."
The stout mate thought of home, a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
"What shall I say, brave Admrl say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?"
"Why, you will say, at break of day:
'Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!'"
They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,
Until at last the blanched mate said:
"Why now not even God would know
Should I and all my men fall dead.
These very winds forget their way,
For God from these dread seas is gone.
Now speak, brave Adm'r'l; speak and say"
He said: "Sail on! sail on! and on!"
They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:
"This mad sea shows his teeth to-night;
He curls his lips, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite.
Brave Adm'rl, say but one good word,
What shall we do when hope is gone?"
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
"Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!"
Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck,
And peered through darkness. Ah, that night
Of all dark nights! and then a speck
A light! A light! A light! A light!
It grew, a starlit, flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time's burst of dawn.
He gained a world! he gave that world
Its grandest lesson: "On, sail on!"
That is my appeal to you today as God's children no return, no retreat, but sail on! sail on!