Sermon 2249. Even Now
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, MARCH 27, 1892.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 8, 1891.
"Even now." John 11:22
I HOPE that there are a great many persons here who are interested in the souls of those around them. We shall certainly neverexercise faith concerning those for whose salvation we have no care. I trust, also, that we are diligent in looking afterindividuals, especially those who are among our own family and friends. This is what Martha did-her whole care was for herbrother. It is often easier to have faith that Christ can save sinners in general, than to believe that He can come into ourown home and save some particular member of our household. But, oh, the joy when this comes to pass-when we are able to kneelbeside some of our loved ones and rejoice with them in being made alive by the power of the Holy Spirit! We cannot expectto have this privilege, however, unless, like Martha, we send our prayers to Jesus and go to meet Him and tell Him of ourneed. In the Presence of Christ it seems very natural to trust Him even at the worst extremity. It is when we are at our wits'end that He delights to help us. When our hopes seem to be buried, then it is that God can give a resurrection! When our Isaacis on the altar, then the heavens are opened and the voice of the Eternal is heard. Are you giving way to despair concerningyour dear friend? Are you beginning to doubt your Savior and to complain of His delay? Be sure that Jesus will come at theright time, though He will be the judge of which is the best time for Him to appear.
Martha had a fine faith. If we all had such an honest belief in Christ as she had, many a man who now lies dead in his sins,would, before long, hear that Voice which would call him forth from his tomb and restore him unto his friends. Martha's faithhad to do with a dreadful case. Her brother was dead and had been buried, but her faith still lived and, in spite of all thingswhich went against her, she believed in Christ and looked to Him for help in her extremity. Her faith went to the very edgeof the gulf as she said, "But I know, that even now, whatever You will ask of God, God will give it to You."
Still, Martha had not so much faith as she thought she had. But a few hours after she had confessed her confidence in thepower of the Lord Jesus, or perhaps it was only a few minutes, she stood at the grave of her brother and evidently doubtedthe wisdom of Him she professed to trust. She objected to the stone being removed and, strong in the admitted facts of thecase, she urged her reason and said, "Lord, by this time he stinks." Well, but, Martha, you said, not very long ago, "I knowthat even now Christ can interpose." Yes, she said it-and she believed it in the way in which most of us believe-but whenher faith was sharply tried by a matter of fact, she did not appear to have had all the faith she professed! I suspect thisalso is true of most of us. We often fancy our confidence in Christ is much stronger than it really is.
I think I have told you of my old friend, Will Richardson, who said, when he was 75 years of age, that it was a very curiousthing, that all the winter through, he had thought he should like to be a-harvesting, or out in the hay field, because hefelt so strong. He imagined that he could do as much as any of the youngsters. "But," he said, "do you know, Mr. Spurgeon,when the summer comes, I do not get through the haymaking; and when the autumn comes, I find I have not sufficient strengthfor reaping?" So it often is in spiritual things! When we are not called upon to bear the trouble, we feel wonderfully strong-butwhen the trial comes, very much of our boasted faith is gone in smoke! Take heed that you examine well your faith! Let itbe true and real, for you will need it all.
However, Christ did not take Martha at her worst, but at her best. When our Lord says, "According to your faith be it untoyou," He does not mean "According to your faith in its ebb," but, "According to your faith in its flood." He
reads the thermometer at its highest point, not at its lowest-not even using the "mean temperature" of our trust. He givesus credit for our quickest pace, not counting our slowest, nor seeking to discover our average speed in this matter of faith.Christ did for Martha all she could have asked or believed-her brother did rise again and he was restored to her, and to hisfriends. In your case, too, O you trembling, timorous Believer, the Lord Jesus will take you at your best, and He will dofor you great things, seeing that you desire to believe greatly and that your prayer is, "Lord, I believe; help You my unbelief!"
The point upon which Martha chiefly rested, when she expressed her faith, was the power of Christ in intercession with HisFather. "I know," she said, "that, even now, whatever You will ask of God, God will give it to You." Since the Omnipotenceof God could be claimed, she felt no anxiety as to the greatness of the request. "Whatever" was asked could easily be gained,if it were only asked by Him who never was denied! Beloved in the Lord, our Christ is still alive and He is still pleading!Can you believe, even now, that whatever He shall ask of God, God will give it to Him and give it you for His dear Son's sake?What an anchorage is the intercession of Christ! "He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him,seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them." Here is a grand pillar to rest the weight of our souls upon-"He everlives to make intercession for them." Surely, we may have great faith in Him who never wearies, and who never fails! Who lives,indeed, for no other purpose than to plead for those who trust in His dying love and in His living power! "Who is He thatcondemns? It is Christ that died, yes, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercessionfor us." Fall back upon the intercessory power of Christ, in every time of need, and you will find comfort that will neverfail you!
It is a grand thing to have faith for the present, not bemoaning the past, nor dreaming of some future faith which we hopemay yet be ours. The present hour is the only time we really possess. The past is gone beyond recall. If it has been filledwith faith in God, we can no more live on that faith, now, than we can live, today, on this bread we ate last week. If, onthe contrary, the past has been marred by our unbelief, that is no reason why this moment should not witness a grand triumphof trust in the faithful Savior! Let us not excuse our present lack of faith by the thought of some future blessing. No confidencewhich we may learn to put in Christ, in the days to come, can atone for our present unbelief. If we ever mean to trust Him,why should we not do so now, since He is as worthy of our belief, now, as He will ever be, and, since what we miss, now, wemiss beyond recall-
"The present, the present, is all you have
For your sure possessing,
Like the Patriarch's angel, hold it fast,
Till it gives its blessing."
In this verse, "I know, that even now, whatever You will ask of God, God will give it to You," I want to fix your attentiononly on the two words, "Even now." We have just sung-
"Pass me not, O tender Savior, Let me lo ve and cling to You. I am longing for Your favor, When You come, call for me-Evenme." Our hymn was "Even me." The sermon is to be "Even now." If you have been singing "Even me" and so applying the truthto your own case, say, also, with an energy of heart that will take no denial, "Even now," and listen with earnest expectationto that Gospel which is always in the present tense-"While it is said, Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your heart,as in the provocation." Remember, too, that this is not only the preacher's word, for the Holy Spirit says, "Today"-"Evennow."
I shall use these words, first, in reference to those who are concerned about the souls of others, as Martha was about herdead brother. Believe that Christ can save even now! Then I shall speak to you who are somewhat concerned about your own souls.You believe, perhaps, that Christ can save. I want you to be persuaded that He can save you even now! That is to say, at thisexact hour and minute, going by the clock, while you hear these words-even now-Christ can forgive! Even now Christ can save!Even now Christ can bless!
I. First, CAN WE BELIEVE THIS WITH REFERENCE TO OTHERS? If you are in the same position as Martha, I can bring out severalpoints of likeness which should encourage you to persevere. You, Mother, have prayed for your boy. You, Father, have pleadedfor your girl. You, dear Wife, have been much in prayer for your husband. You beloved
Teacher, have frequently brought your class before God-and yet there is a bad case pressing upon your mind and your heartis heavy about some dear one whose condition seems hopeless. I want you to believe that now, even now, Christ can grant yourprayer and save that soul! That now, even now, He can give you such a blessing that the past delay shall be more than recompensedto you.
There is one, for instance, in whom we are deeply interested, and we can say that the case has cost great sorrow. So Marthacould have said of Lazarus. "Blessed Master," she might have said, "my brother took the fever"-(for I should think it wasa fever that he had)-"and I watched him. I brought cold water from the well and I washed his burning brow. I was by his bedsideall night. I never took off my clothes. Nobody knows how my heart was wrung with anguish as I saw the hot beads drops uponhis brow, and tried to moisten his parched tongue and lips. I sorrowed as though I was about to die, myself, but in spiteof all that, I believe, even now, that You can help me. Even now." Alas! There are many griefs in the world like this. A mothersays, "Nobody knows what I have suffered through that son of mine. I shall die of a broken heart because of his conduct.""No one can tell," says the father, "what grief that daughter of mine has caused me. I have sometimes wished that she hadnever been born." There have been many, many such stories told me, in which a beloved one has been the cause of untold anguishand agony to gracious, loving hearts. To those so sorely troubled I now speak! Can you believe that even now the Living Intercessoris "mighty to save?" It may be that you are, at this moment, trembling on the verge of the blessing you so long have sought.God give you faith to grasp it "even now!"
With other persons we are met with a fresh difficulty. The case has already disappointed us. That is how some of you havefound it, is it not? "Yes," you say, "I have prayed long for a dear friend, and I believed, some time ago, that my prayerwas heard and that there was a change for the better. Indeed, there was an apparent change, but it came to nothing." You arejust like Martha. She kept saying to herself, "Christ will come. Brother is very ill, but Jesus will come before he dies!I know He will. It cannot be that He will stay away much longer. And when He comes, Lazarus will soon be well." Day afterday, Mary and she sent their messenger to look toward the Jordan, to see if Jesus was coming. But He did not come. It musthave been a terrible disappointment to both these sisters-enough to stagger the strongest faith that they had ever had inthe sympathy of Christ! But Martha got the better of it and she said, "Even now, though disappointed so bitterly, I believethat You can do whatever You will." Learn from Martha, my discouraged Brothers and Sisters! You thought that your friend wasconverted, but he wanted to go back, again. You thought that there was a real work of Grace upon his heart, but it turnedout to be a mere disappointment and disappeared like the mist of the sun. But can you not believe over the head of your disappointmentand say, "I believe even now, even now"? Blessed shall your faith be, if it gets so far!
Perhaps further difficulties have met us. We have attempted to help someone and the case has proved our helplessness. "Ah,yes," says one, "that exactly describes me. I never felt so helpless in my life! I have done all that I can do and it amountsto nothing. I have been careful in my example. I have been prayerful in my words. I have been very patient and long-suffering.I have tried to induce my beloved one to go and listen to the Gospel here and there. I have put holy books in his way and,all the while, I have seized opportunities to plead with him-often with tears in my eyes-but I can do nothing! I am dead beat."Yes, that is just where Martha got to-she had done everything but nothing seemed to be of the least use. None of the medicinesshe applied seemed to soothe the sufferer. She had gone down to the village-perhaps to the home of Simon the leper, who wasa friend of hers, and he possibly advised some new remedies-but nothing seemed to make the least difference. Her brother grewworse and worse, until she saw that, though she had nursed him back to health the last time he had been ill, she was now utterlypowerless. Then he died. Yet, even though things had gone as far as that, she had faith in Christ! In like manner, your caseis beyond your skill, but can you not believe that, even now, the end of nature will be the beginning of Grace? Can you noteven now feel that you shall find that word true, "He shall not fail"? Christ never failed, yet, and He never will! When allthe doctors give a patient up, the Great Physician can step in and heal! Can you believe, concerning your friend, "even now"?
But perhaps you are in a worse plight. The case has been given up. I think I hear one kind, gracious soul, whose hope hasbeen crushed, say, "Well, Sir, that is just what we have come to about my boy. We held a little family meeting and said wemust get him to go away to Australia, if we can. If he will only go to America, or somewhere abroad, it will be a relief tohave him out of our sight. He keeps coming home intoxicated and gets brought before the magistrates. He is a disgrace to us!He is a shame to the name he bears. We have given him up." Martha had come to this. She had given her
brother up and had actually buried him-yet she believed in the power of Christ! Ah, there are many people that are buriedalive! I do not know that such a thing ever happens in the cemetery, but I know it happens in our streets and homes. Manyare buried, morally, and given up by us before God gives them up. And, somehow, it is often the given-up people that God delightsto bless! Can you believe that even now-even now-prayer can be heard? That even now the Holy Spirit can change the natureand that even now Christ can save the soul? Do you believe this? I shall rejoice if you can and you, too, shall rejoice beforelong!
But there is still a lower depth. Here is one who is much concerned about an individual and the case is loathsome. "Thoughwe loved him once," he says, "his character has now become such that it is pestilential to the family. He leads others astray.We cannot think of what he has done without the very memory of his life spreading a taint over our conscience and over ourmind." There are persons alive in the world who are just masses of living putridity. There may be such here. I would be gladif a word I said could reach them. It is a shocking thing that there are men and women, made in the image of God, with talentsand ability, with capacity and conscience, who, nevertheless, seem to live for nothing else but to indulge their licentiouspassions and to lead others into vices which otherwise they had never known. There must come an awful day of reckoning tosuch when the Christ of God shall sit upon His Throne and shall weigh before all men the secret doings of libertines, of debauchedmen and depraved women!
If any of you have such a one related to you, can you believe that even now Christ can raise that one? Yours is just the samesort of case as Martha had. She could have said, "Brother is buried! Worse than that, he stinks." She did not like to saythat of dear Lazarus, her own brother, but she could not help saying it. And there are some men of whom we are compelled tosay, no matter how much our love seeks to shield them, that their character stinks. But can you still believe that, even now,there is hope that God can intervene and that Grace can save? Why, my dear Friend, you and I know that it is so! I believeit-we must all believe it! If it comes to a case very near and dear to you and you begin to be a little bit staggered, rememberwhat you used to be-not openly so depraved, perhaps, but inwardly, quite the same-and take hope for these foul men and womenfrom the remembrance of what you were! "And such were some of you; but you are washed."
When John Newton used to preach at St. Mary Woolnoth, he always believed in the possibility of the salvation of the worstof his hearers, for he had been, himself, one of the vilest of the vile! When he was very old and they said, "Dear Mr. Newton,you are too old to preach. You had better not go into the pulpit, now," he said, "What? Shall the old African blasphemer whohas been saved by Grace leave off preaching the Gospel while there is a breath in his body? Never!" I think while there isbreath in the body of some of us, we must go on telling the Gospel, for, if it saved us, it can save the worst of sinners!We are bound to believe that even now, Christ can save even the most horrible and the most vile-
"His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood availed for me!"
Perhaps there is still even a more desperate difficulty with reference to someone whom we would wish to see living for God.The case is beyond our reach. "Yes," that Brother quickly answers, "now you have come to my trouble. I do not even know wheremy boy is! He ran away and we have not heard from him for years. How can I help him?" Why, believe that, "even now," Christcan speak to him and save him! He can send His Grace where we can send our love. The great difficulty which lies like a stoneat the door of the sepulcher will not prevent Him speaking the life-giving Word! He has all forces at His command and whenHe says the Word, the stone shall be rolled away and the son that is lost shall be found! Even the dead shall be made alive!Though you cannot reach your son, or your daughter, Christ can meet with them! "The Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannotsave; neither is His ear heavy, that it cannot hear." Though your prodigal boy or your wandering girl is at the end of theearth, Christ can reach them and save them! "Have faith in God." "Even now" Christ can aid you-
"Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
And looks to God alone,
Laughs at impossibilities,
And says, 'It shall be done.'"
I know there are some Christian people who have drifted into the terribly wicked state of giving up their relatives as hopeless.There was a Brother here, who is now in Heaven-a good, earnest Christian man-whose son had treated him very shockingly, indeed,and the father, justly indignant, felt it right to give his son up. He had often tried to help him,
but the young man was so scandalous a scapegrace that I did not wonder that the old man turned him away. But one night, asI was preaching here, I spoke in something like the same way in which I have spoken now, and the next morning the old man'sarm was about his child's neck. He could not help himself! He felt he must go and find his son out and seek, again, to reclaimhim. It seemed to have been the appointed time for that boy's salvation, for it pleased God that within a few months thatson died and he passed away with a good hope, through Grace, that he had been brought to his Savior's feet by his father'slove! If any of you have a very bad son, go after him, seeking, until, by the Grace of God, you shall find him! And you thathave grown hopeless about your relatives, you must try not to give them up. If other people cast them off, you must not, forthey are allied to you by the ties of blood. Seek them out! You are the best person in the world to seek them and the mostlikely to find them, if you can believe that even now, when the worst has come to the worst, "even now," almighty Grace canstep in and save the lost soul.
Oh, that some here may have faith to claim, at this moment, the salvation of their friends! May desire be worked into expectancyand hope become certainty! Like Jacob at Jabbok, may we lay hold of God, saying, "I will not let You go, except You blessme." To such faith the Lord will give a quick response. He that will not be denied shall not be denied! My Friend, HudsonTaylor, who has done such a wonderful work for China, is an instance of this. Brought up in a godly home, he, as a young man,tried to imitate the lives of his parents. But failing in his own strength to make himself better, he swung to the other extremeand began to entertain skeptical notions. One day, when his mother was from home, a great yearning after her boy possessedher and she went up to her room to plead with God that, "even now," He would save Him.
If I remember aright, she said that she would not leave the room until she had the assurance that her boy would be broughtto Christ. At length her faith triumphed and she rose quite certain that all was well and that, "even now," her son was saved!What was he doing at that time? Having half an hour to spare, he wandered into his father's library and aimlessly took downone book after another to find some short and interesting passage to divert his mind. He could not find what he wanted inany of the books, so, seeing a narrative tract, he took it up with the intention of reading the story and putting it downwhere the sermon part of it began. As he read, he came to the words, "the finished work of Christ," and almost at the verymoment in which his mother, who was miles away, claimed his soul of God, light came into his heart! He saw that it was bythe finished work of Christ that he was to be saved. And kneeling in his father's library, he sought and found the life ofGod.
Some days afterwards, when his mother returned, he said to her, "I have some news to tell you." "Oh, I know what it is!" sheanswered, smiling, "You have given yourself to God." "Who told you?" he asked in astonishment! "God told me," she said, andtogether they praised Him, who, at the same moment, gave faith to the mother and the life to the son-and who has since madehim such a blessing to the world! It was the mother's faith, claiming the blessing, "even now," that did it! I tell you thisremarkable incident that many others may be stirred up to the same immediate and importunate desire for the salvation of theirchildren and relatives. There are some things we must always pray for with submission as to whether it is the will of Godto bestow them upon us-but for the salvation of men and women we may ask without fear. God delights to save and to bless;and when the faith is given to us to expect an immediate answer to such a prayer, thrice happy we are! Seek such faith evennow, I beseech you, "even now."
II. But, in the second place, I want to speak very earnestly to any here who are concerned about their own souls. Jesus cameto save you "even now." CAN WE BELIEVE THIS FOR OURSELVES? Can you expect the Lord, even while you hear these words, to speakto you the Word of Power and bring you forth from your sleep of sin?
For some of you, the time is late, very late-yet it is not too late. You are getting into years, my Friend. I want you tobelieve that even now Christ can save you. I often notice the number of old people who come to the Tabernacle. I am glad tosee the aged saints, but among so many elderly people, no doubt, there are some unsaved sinners whose gray hairs are not acrown of glory, but a fool's cap! But, however old you are, though you are 60, seventy, 80 or even 90 years of age, yet, "evennow," Christ can give you life! Blessed be God for that! But it is not altogether the years that trouble you-it is your sins.As I have already said, if you have gone to the very extremity of sin, you may believe that, after all those years of wandering,the arms of Free Grace are still open to receive you-"even now." There is an old proverb, "It is never too late to mend."It is always too late for us to mend ourselves, but it is never too late for Christ to mend us! Christ
can make us new and it is never too late for Him to do it. If you come to Him and trust Him, He will receive you, "even now!"
By the long-suffering of God, there is a time left to you in which you may turn to Him. What a thousand mercies it is that,"even now," is a time of mercy to you-it might have been the moment of your everlasting doom! You have been in accidents-youhave been within an inch of the grave many times! You have been ill, seriously ill. You have been well-near given up for deadand here you are, still alive, but still an enemy of God! Plucked by His hand from the fire and flood and, perhaps, from battle.Delivered from fever and cholera-and still ungrateful, still rebelling, still spending the life that Grace has lent you inresisting the love of God! Long years ago you should have believed in Christ, but the text is, "even now." Do not begin tosay, "I believe that God could have saved me years ago"-there is no faith in that. Do not meet my earnest plea by saying,"I believe that God can save me under such-and-such conditions." Believe that He can save you now, up in the top gallery there,just as you are! You came in here careless and thoughtless, yet, even now, He can save you! Away yonder, quite a man of theworld, free and easy, destitute of all religious inclinations though you may be, He can save you even now! O God, strike manya man down, as You did Saul of Tarsus, and change their hearts by Your own supreme love, as You can do it, even now, on thevery spot where they sit or stand!
But though God waits to be gracious to you, though you have yet time to repent, remember, it is but a time, therefore seizeit. Your opportunity will not last forever. I believe that even now God can save, but if you reject Christ, there will comea time when salvation will be impossible. On earth, as long as a man desires to be saved, he may be saved-while there is lifethere is hope. I believe that if a man's breath were going from his body, if he could then look to Christ, he would live.But-
"There are no acts of pardon passed In the cold grave, to which we haste! But darkness, death, and long despair, Reign ineternal silence there!"
Do not venture on that last leap without Christ, but even now, before the clock strikes another time, fly to Jesus! TrustHim "even now!"
It is a time of hope. Even now there is still every opportunity and every preparation for the sinner's salvation. "Behold,now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." Shall I give you some reasons for believing that "even now"is a time of hope? There are many good arguments which may be brought forward in order to banish the thought of despair.
First, the Gospel is still preached. The old-fashioned Gospel is not dead. There are a great many who would like to muzzlethe mouths of God's ministers, but they never will. The old Gospel will live when they are dead and, because it is still preachedto you, you may believe and live! What is the old Gospel? It is seeing that you are helpless to save yourself, or bring yourselfback to God, Christ came to restore you-that He took those sins of yours, which were enough to sink you to Hell-and bore themon the Cross, that He might bring you to Heaven! If you will but trust Him, even now, He will deliver you from the curse ofthe Law of God, for it is written, "He that believes on Him is not condemned." If you will trust Him, even now, He will giveyou a life of blessedness which will never end, for, again, it is written, "He that believes on the Son has everlasting life."Because that Gospel is preached, there is hope for you! When there is no hope, there will be no presentation of the Gospel.God must, by an edict, suspend the preaching of the Gospel before He can suspend the fulfillment of the Gospel promise toevery soul that believes! Since there is a Gospel, take it! Take it now, even now! God help you to do so!
In the second place, I know there is hope now, "even now," for the Christ still lives. He rose from the dead, no more to die,and He is as strong as ever. "I am He that lives and was dead." He says, "and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen." Thesewords were spoken to the Apostle John and when he saw Him, he said that, "His head and His hairs were white like wool, aswhite as snow." But when the spouse saw Him, she said, "His locks are busy, and black as a raven." Yet both truly saw! John'svision of the white hair was to show that Christ is the Ancient of Days, but the view of the spouse was to show His everlastingyouth, His unceasing strength and power to save! If there is any difference in Him, Christ is, today, more mighty to savethan He was when Martha saw Him. He had not, then, completed the work of salvation, but He has perfectly accomplished it nowand, therefore, there is hope for everyone who trusts in Him. My Lord has gone up yonder where a prayer will find Him withthe keys of death and Hell jingling at His belt, and with the Omnipo-
tence of God in His right hand! If you believe on Him, by His "eternal power and Godhead" He will save you, and save you evennow, on the spot, before you leave this house!
Moreover, I know that this is a time of hope, in the next place, because the precious blood still has power. All salvationis through the blood of the Lamb. Still-
"There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel's veins,"
and still, "even now"-
"Sinners, plunged beneath the flood, Lose all their guilty stains."
The endless efficacy of the atoning Sacrifice is the reason why you may come and believe in Jesus, "even now!" If that bloodhad diminished in its force, I should not dare to speak as I do. But I can, "even now," say with confidence-
"Dear dying Lamb, Your precious blood Shall never lose its power, Till all the ransomed Church of God Be sa ved to sin nomore."
How many have already entered into Glory by the blood of the Lamb! When a man comes to die, nothing else will do for him butthis! Our own works are a poor staff for us when we pass through the river. All those who are now in the Land of Light havebut one confidence and but one song-they stand upon the merit of Jesus Christ-and they praise the Lamb who was slain, by whoseblood they have been cleansed and sanctified! There is no other way of salvation but that! "Even now" that blood has virtueto take away your sin! Christ is a sufficient Savior because His death has unexhausted power. Believe that He can save you"even now."
Again, I would remind you that "even now" is a time of hope to you because the Spirit still can renew. He is yet at work,regenerating and sanctifying. He came down at Pentecost to dwell with His people and has never gone back. He is still in theChurch! Sometimes we feel His mighty power more than at other times, but He is always at work. Oh, you that do not know anythingabout the power of the Holy Spirit, let me tell you that this is the most wonderful phenomenon that can ever be observed!Those of us who have seen and known His mighty energy can bear testimony to it! In my retirement, at Mentone, during the lastfew weeks, if you had seen me, you would have found me sitting every morning, at half-past nine o'clock, at my little table,with my Bible, just reading a chapter and offering prayer-my family prayer with the little group of 40 to 50 friends, whogathered for that morning act of worship. There they met-and the Spirit of God was manifestly moving among them, converting,cheering, comforting! It was because of no effort of mine-it was simply the Word of God, attended by the Spirit of God, bindingus together and binding us all to Christ!
And here, in this House of God, for 37 years I have, in all simplicity, preached this old-fashioned Gospel. I have just keptto that one theme-content to know nothing else among men-and where are they that preached new gospels? They have been likethe mist upon the mountain's brow! They came and they have gone. And so it will always be with those who preach anything butthe Word of God, for nothing will abide but the Mountain, itself, the everlasting Truth of the Gospel to which the Holy Spiritbears witness! That same Holy Spirit is able to give you a new heart "even now," to make you a new creature in Christ Jesusat this moment! Do you believe this?
Once more. I know that "even now" Christ can save you and I pray you to believe it, for the Father is still waiting to receivereturning prodigals. Still, as of old, the door is open and the best robe hangs in the hall, ready to be put upon the shouldersof the son who comes back from the far country, even though he returns reeking with the odor of the swine trough. How longinglythe Father looks along the road to see whether, at last, some of you are turning homeward! Ah, did you but know the joy thatawaits those who come, and the feast which would load the welcoming table, you would "even now" say, "I will arise and goto my Father." You should have returned long ago, but, blessed be His love, which "even now" waits to clasp you to His heart!
Last of all, faith is but the work of a moment. Believe and live! You have nothing to do! You need no preparations! Come asyou are, without a single plea, but that He bids you to come! Come now, "even now!" If Christ were far away, the time thatis left to some of you might be too short to reach Him. If there were many things which first of all you had to do, your lifemight close before they were half done! If faith had to grow strong before it received salvation, you might be in the placeof eternal despair before your faith had time to be more than a mere mustard seed! But Christ is not far
away-He is in our midst-He is by your side! You have nothing to do before you trust Him-He has done it all and, however weakyour faith, if it but comes in contact with Christ, it will convey instant blessings to you! "Even now" you may be saved forever,for-
"The moment a sinner believes, And trusts in His crucified God, His pardon at one He receives, Redemption in full, throughHis blood."
Surely all these are sufficient reasons why, "even now," is a time of hope to you! May it also be a time of blessing! It shallbe so if you will but, at this instant, cast yourself on Christ. He says to you that if you will but believe, you shall seethe Glory of God! Martha saw that Glory! You shall see it, too, if you have the same precious faith.
I long that God would give me some souls tonight, on this first occasion when I have met an evening congregation since myreturn from the sunny South. I desire earnestly that He would set the bells of Heaven ringing because sinners have returnedand heirs of Glory have been born into the family of Grace! I stirred you up to pray this morning. Pray mightily that thisword, tonight, simple but pointed, may be blessed to many!
Portion of Scripture Read before Sermon-John 11.