Sermon 2667. A Pressed Man Yielding to Christ
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, MARCH 25, 1900.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 12, 1882.
"Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said unto him, Do you believe on the Son of God? Heanswered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him? And Jesus said unto him, You have both seen Him, and it isHe that talks with you. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped Hun." John 9:35-38.
LAST Sabbath morning [Sermon #1683, Volume 28-The Great Cross-Bearer and His Followers] I spoke to you concerning one whowas forced into the King's service. That was Simon, the Cyre-nian, who was compelled to bear Christ's Cross. He was not avolunteer, but a pressed man, yet, I think that after he had been forced to bear the Cross, he willingly carried it and Ihope that he, afterwards, became a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, strange to say, here is another pressed man, for I do not think that this man, whose eyes had been opened by Christ,had thought of becoming a Believer in the Son of God until the Lord Jesus found him. Before he had reached that point-indeed,before he knew that the Prophet who had opened his eyes was the Son of God-the Pharisees had cast him out of the synagogueso that he was compelled to bear the cross for Christ although he did not, then, fully know Christ and certainly had not believedupon the Son of God. Yet, in his case, also, it appears that he cheerfully took up the cross which had been, at the first,forcibly laid upon him.
It may happen that there are some persons here who are in a similar position-some who have been ridiculed for being Christianseven before they are Christians! Some who have been mocked merely because they go to a place of worship, though as yet theyhave not yielded themselves to Christ. Well, if that is the case with any, seeing that the cross is laid upon their shoulders,I trust that they will not throw it off, but that they will bravely bear it for Christ and freely suffer what, up till now,has seemed to them to be a piece of injustice, for they have been treated as if they were believers in Christ, when reallythey are not yet on the Lord's side.
This man, then, bearing Christ's Cross in a certain way, was cast out of the synagogue. And then Christ found him and blessedhim. Observe, dear Friend, where Christ began with him, for it will show us where and how the blessing usually enters. Thedoor by which the richest of Heaven's favors must come to us is indicated by our Lord going to that door and opening it. Hesaid to the man, "Do you believe on the Son of God." So that faith in the Son of God is the gate of benediction. Faith isthat window of agate and gate of carbuncle by which the Divine Light of Jesus' love comes streaming into the soul. This isthe way by which God's mercy enters the heart of man and, therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, begins there. And inall our dealings with the unconverted, it will be wise for us, also, to begin there. That is the place where the decisivebattle will have to be fought, for, upon the believing or the not believing on the Son of God, the eternal destiny of eachindividual will turn! "He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life;but the wrath of God abides on him."
That wrath abides even now upon him if the life of God is not in him. Let us hammer away at that all-important point of faithin Christ. This is the Thermopylae [narrow pass] of Christian experience. If this pass can be stormed and carried, we cancapture the citadel of men's hearts. But if unbelief continues to guard that narrow passage to eternal life and to hold itagainst the Gospel and its invitations, exhortations, promises and threats, then nothing whatever can be
done! So, in this enquiry of our Lord, we have most instructive teaching. His objective, no doubt, was to bless this man byworking in him saving faith and, therefore, He said to him, "Do you believe on the Son of God?"
I think our text will help us, first, to speak of true faith-how it is known. Secondly, true faith-how it progresses. Andthirdly, true faith-how we can promote it
I. First, I want to speak concerning TRUE FAITH-the faith that saves-HOW IT IS KNOWN.
First, it is absolutely essential that it should be faith in the Son of God. Our blessed Lord knew that this man believedin Him as a Prophet-so might He not have been content with that? No, because to believe in Christ merely as a Prophet is notsaving faith. It may be a step towards salvation and it may lead up to it, but the faith that is absolutely necessary is thatbelief in Him as the Son of God. And he who does not believe in the Deity of Christ has not a Savior who can save him! Thework of saving a soul is a Divine operation and no one but a Divine Being can accomplish it. It is He who sits upon the Throneof God who says, "Behold, I make all things new!" There cannot be anyone except the Creator who can create-and the Creatormust, in every case, be God. To save a soul, there must be a work performed which is analogous to the Resurrection. But, inorder to raise the dead, there must be the Presence and Power of God. It is one of those operations which it is not conceivablecan be performed by an angel or by any created being. The Highest alone can accomplish it-has He not said of Himself, "I killand I make alive"? The power of life and death must rest with God alone. Hence, then, the work of salvation needs a Powernothing less than Divine. He who believes in Christ as a mere man has not believed in a Person who can give him salvation-andChrist cannot accomplish the stupendous task if He is only man, for the Savior must be God!
There is no true and logical standpoint, in reference to the Deity of Christ, except one of two things. Either our Lord wasthe Son of God, equal with the Father, or else He was an impostor, for He most distinctly claimed that He was the Son of God.In the chapter preceding our text, at the 54th verse, we read that Jesus said to the Jews, "If I honor Myself, My honor isnothing: it is My Father who honors Me; of whom you say, that He is your God." Then they took up stones to cast at Him becauseHe said that He was the Son of God! And, in this case of the blind man whom He had healed, He took pains to find him thatHe might communicate to him in private the fact that He was, Himself, the Son of God. He never withdrew His claim to the Deity!If He had only said to the Jews, "No, I am not the Son of God. You are mistaken in supposing that I said I was. The expressionsI used are not intended to convey that idea," then they would not have crucified Him. This was the chief point of their quarrelwith Him and I must again say that either He was God, or He willfully misled the people by using words which made them thinkthat He was God.
His words have led millions of Christians, from those days until now, to worship Him as God. And they were perfectly justified,by His utterances, in doing so. And if He meant anything less than that, then He was a deceiver. But He did mean that He wasGod and it is our joy and glory to rest in Him as being, alike, the Son of Mary and the Son of Jehovah, Himself-"Light ofLight, very God of very God"-co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. And here we feel that we can rest for our soul's salvation!We can lean with our whole weight on One who is, indeed, "mighty to save. Seeing that all power is His and that He is equalwith God, He can and He will save all those who put their trust in Him!" Do not any of you, I beseech you, be content withany faith less than that! If you have any sort of faith which does not recognize Christ as God, do with it as the man didwith the bank note, when he found that it was bad-he laid it down and ran away from it, for fear anybody should suspect himof being its owner. Put away every kind of confidence that is short of faith in the Son of God and abhor it, for it is a damnabledelusion! And may the Lord bring you fully into this blessed state of salvation through believing on the Son of God!
A second point about saving faith is that it rests upon a knowledge of Him. This man said to Jesus, "Who is He, Lord, thatI might believe on Him?" He was not one whose notion of faith was that he need not knowwhat he believed. The Church of Romeseems to inculcate some kind of implicit faith (or credulity) which can exist apart from knowledge-but how can I believe thatwhich I do not know? Paul puts it thus, "Faith comes by hearing." You must first hear and know what it is you are to believebefore you can believe it Otherwise your faith is vain, like that of the man of whom I have sometimes spoken, who said, "Ibelieve what the church believes." "But what does the church believe?" It believes what I believe." "Then what do you andthe church believe?" "Why, we both believe the same thing."
That is not the kind of believing that can save the soul! It is through the knowledge of Christ that we are saved. To knowChristis sometimes said to be analogous to believing in Christ. You must know what it is that you have to believe!
A faith that does not know is no faith at all. Read through the Epistles of John and mark with your pencil every time theword, "know, "is used. The Apostle makes that word, "know,"come in again and again, for a man must know that which he is tobelieve and hence this man says to Christ, "Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?"
For my part, I could never be content without unquestioning certainty as to my soul's salvation. Do you think that is morethan a man ought to wish for? Are any of you at ease while you are afraid that you have a mortal disease working within you?Oh, no! You want to know, from a qualified physician, the truth about your case. And if it were whispered in your ear, atthis moment, that your house was being broken into or was on fire, would you sit still and not trouble yourself as to whetherthe report were true or not? Would you not want to go at once and see for yourself? If you knew that you bought an estate,some time ago, but you have since heard that the title to it is a very uncertain one, in fact, in all probability, you willlose all you have paid for it, would you not say, "I ought to have taken care to be certain about the title. And I would nothave bought the estate if I had not felt that the deeds relating to it were all right." Well, then, if you desire certaintyabout your bodily health, about the safety of your house and about the validity of your title-deeds, can you afford to gowithout certainty as to your soul's affairs? No, you cannot. Therefore, rest not till you have it. If you have various questionsabout your spiritual condition, boldly face those questions and answer them. Never let any questions about your eternal welfarebe such that you dare not face them and do not wish to search out the answers to them. Pry to the very bottom of them and,better still, ask the Lord to search you, and know your heart, to try you, and know your thoughts, and to lead you in theway everlasting. And be not content till you can truthfully say, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He isable to keep that which I have committed unto Him."
This man, of whom I am speaking, knew that Christ had opened his eyes and, therefore, He must be at least a Prophet. He alsoknew, further, that whatever that Prophet told him must be true, for the Man who had opened his eyes must have been sent byGod-and God does not work miracles by liars. He said to himself, "This Man is undoubtedly a faithful person, or God wouldnot employ Him in such a wonderful work as that of opening the eyes of a man who was born blind." And then he stood perfectlyprepared to receive whatever might be spoken by this Prophet of whom he knew something, though he did not know enough to understandwhat was meant by the Savior when He asked, "Do you believe on the Son of God"? He, therefore, sat as an enquirer at the Savior'sfeet, waiting for something to be told him which should enable him to believe!
You, dear Friend, may not be in exactly the same condition that this man was, but, still, your case may be, in many respects,a parallel one. You say, perhaps, "I wish, above all things in the world, that I could believe in Christ." Do you intend tosit down and try to make yourselfbelieve in Him? That would be a very unwise thing because faith is not worked in the soulin that fashion! Suppose it was rumored, at the present moment, that there had been another massacre in Alexandria, and thatour troops had been driven out of the city? How would you decide whether the report was to be believed or not? Would you sitdown in your pew and say, "I will try to make myself believe it"? Well, you might come, by a process of reasoning, to somesort of conclusion as to whether it was or was not a likely thing, but the mere sensible plan would be to enquire what foundationthere was for the report. And if, on going to the War Office, you were informed by someone in authority, "Yes, there has beena very great disaster," well, then, knowing the facts of the case, you could believe. The enquiry at headquarters would bethe way to ascertain the truth of the report, and just so is it in connection with believing in Christ. If I am to believein Him, I ask, with this man, "Who is He?" and until I know who He is, it is idle for me to talk about forcing myself to believein Him!
Now listen, He in whom you are asked to believe for salvation is, first, of all, Himself God! Then, in Infinite mercy, Hecame and took upon Himself our nature and dwelt among men. He voluntarily came-being God-but He was also sent of God, appointedand authorized to be God's Ambassador to man. He was, in addition to being sent of God, anointed of God, for the Spirit ofGod rested upon Him without measure, qualifying Him for His work. The life He led here on earth was unique-there was neveranother like it-and the imagination of man cannot write the history of another man that shall be at all comparable to thelife of Christ! It stands apart in a lone, simple majesty, utterly inimitable, absolutely perfect. Then He died and by thatdeath He forever put away the sin of His people. He took upon Himself the sin which He had never committed. He was numberedwith the transgressors and He suffered as if men's transgressions had been His own. He died, "the Just for the unjust, thatHe might bring us to God."
And God has accepted those sufferings as a propitiation for all who believe in Him. And now, this is the witness of God concerningHim, that He has raised Him from the dead, and taken Him up to His Throne and made Him to sit there, at His Father's righthand, where, at this moment, He is making intercession for all who come to God by Him. And now, our prayers are accepted throughHim-and the infinite blessings which are His, He distributes among us! And He is shortly coming again with sound of trumpet,and attended by myriads of saints and angels. As He ascended from Olivet, in like manner He will also descend to earth again.King of Kings and Lord of Lords shall He be in that day-"And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separatethem, one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats." He is God! He still lives! It is the living, reigningChrist whom we preach to you! He lives in Glory and He also lives here by the Presence of His Holy Spirit who is with us andwho is to abide with us evermore. And it is upon Him as God Incarnate, as Savior-crucified, risen, and gone into Glory-thatyou are asked to place your soul's confidence!
If you would learn this Truth of God more fully, read the four Gospels and the Epistles, and ask the Spirit, who inspiredthe writers of them, to explain and apply them to you. That is the way to obtain faith! Many a man has been reading in theBible the story of the Cross, and so he has believed in Jesus. Many another has heard about the Savior, and so has been ledto believe in Him. It is the simplest thing in the world to believe upon trustworthy evidence and when we get the evidenceof Christ's life and death manifesting the glory of His Person, the graciousness of His Character and the efficacy of Hisatoning blood, then are we led to believe in Him! True faith is based upon knowledge of Christ, as it was in this man's case.Take care, dear Friends, that you always remember that simple but important Truth of God.
And, further, true faith always expresses itself to the Lord. This man, when he had believed in Jesus, said, "Lord, I believe."True faith ought also to express itself to men, as Paul puts it, in writing to the Romans, "For with the heart man believesunto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Or, as the Master Himself puts it, "He that believesand is baptized shall be saved." Therefore, the confession before men ought not to be neglected in any case, yet I fear, andhope, that there are some pilgrims who steal into Heaven, scarcely known by men to be Christians-at least, not acknowledgedas such by open profession. I do not recommend dodging behind the hedges and getting to Heaven along back roads-that is abad plan-but still, I trust some have managed it, though with much trouble and loss to themselves. But, in every case, everyonewho has believed has made the confession of that faith to the Master Himself. He has said to Jesus, as this man did, "Lord,I believe," even though he has added, with another man, "Help You my unbelief." He has said to Jesus, with Thomas, "My Lordand my God." There has been a personal acknowledgment, as we sometimes sing it-
"My faith looks up to You, You Lamb of Calvary, Savior Divine."
It is a very vital point about true faith, that it thus recognizes its obligation to speak to Him and to acknowledge itselfto Him. How sweetly does faith, sometimes, come up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved and acknowledging to Himthat she is His and He is hers! She cannot help making this confession-she would be untrue to herself and to her Lord if shedid not do so.
In one respect, we are better off than this man was, for we have many Divine promises to help us to believe in Christ. Haveyou ever noticed, dear Friends, how much we live upon the promises of our fellow men? In buying a small article at a shop,you pay your twopence for it across the counter, but, the larger the business transaction gets to be, the less there is ofmetallic currency in connection with it-then you often pay each other in promises. The most common form of a promise is abank note-and it is worth while to observe how much a bank note is made after the model of God's promises. How does the wordingof this bank note run? It is headed, "Bank of England." And it begins, "I promise." You take this note readily enough insteadof five golden sovereigns, because you read on it, "I promise to pay the bearer," and God's promise is payable to "the bearer."Whoever has the promise in his possession, whoever has faith enough to lay hold of God's promise, may read it in this way-"Ipromise to pay the bearer."
I remember when I first snatched at one of God's precious promises. I could hardly hope that I had any right to it, for Ifelt myself so utterly unworthy, but I snatched it up and ran with it to the Bank of Faith! And as soon as I presented it,I received its full value. God always honors His own promises. Here is one: "Him that comes to Me I will in no wise
cast out." Go to Him with that gracious message and it shall be fulfilled to you, whoever you are! The note says, "I promiseto pay the bearer." If a janitor takes that note to the Bank of England, he will get the money for it-I mean a janitor incharacteras well as by trade, for the declaration on it is, "I promise to pay the bearer."
What does it now say on the bank note "I promise to pay the bearer on demand." That is how all God's promises run-"on demand."It is worthy of note that in the olden times, when the Lord had made many promises to His people, He added, "I will yet forthis be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them," as though the fulfillment of the promise was delayed untilit was asked for! No doubt many of God's great and precious promises are not realized by you and me because they are not presentedto the Lord as we should take a note to the bank to get it cashed. We do not enquire of God as much as we ought. You hearof enquirers going to see the minister-that may be a good thing, but the best sort of enquirers are those I heard before Icame up here to preach tonight-when some good earnest souls met downs in the lecture hall to enquire of God for a blessing,and to ask Him to help His servant to speak the Word with power.
Now, coming back to this bank note, I daresay you would not mind having a pile of paper of this kind reaching from the floorto the ceiling-then you would say to yourself, "Now I am a rich man." But you have not a single farthing there, you have onlya promise "to pay the bearer on demand the sum of five pounds." "Ah," you say, "but that promise is good all the world over."Whose promise is it? Well, it is signed by the chief cashier, but he only signs it, "for the Governor and Company of the Bankof England." Thatis where the value of the promise lies! And it is our comfort to know that we have a noble name written belowall God's promises, for the Lord Jesus Christ has signed them all in God's behalf-for the great Governor of Heaven and earth,who has no need of any "company" to be joined with Him, for His sole resources are fully equal to the fulfillment of everypromise that He has ever issued!
Now, if we treat men's promises with respect, and pass them from hand to hand as if they were genuine gold, and we constantlydo so, shall we not treat God's promises with something more than respect and trust them with implicit confidence? Will anyman have the impudence to say, "I have faith in a note signed by the chief cashier of the Bank of England, but cannot trusta promise that is certified by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself?" Shall I consider that bank note to be as good as the moneyit represents and yet, when I hold in my hand, God's Word, signed, sealed and ratified by the sprinkling of the very bloodof His dear Son, shall I dare to say, "I find it hard to believe in that Word"? If I talk so, I shall grieve the people ofGod and, what is far worse, shall grieve the Lord Himself!
II. Now I turn to the second part of our subject, which is, TRUE FAITH, HOW IT PROGRESSES.
Very often it has a very small beginning. Saving faith does not always come all of a sudden. Some men are saved, as Saul ofTarsus was-they are struck down in the midst of their sins and converted in remarkable and unusual manner. But with many othersthere is, first, a faint twilight. Then, by-and-by, a little more and, at last, the sun has fully risen upon them. Perhapsyou cannot tell when it did actually rise, but you know that it has risen, for there is the light and the brightness of itsshining!
In the case of the man of whom I am speaking, faith began with a preparedness to believe. His eyes had been opened and hewas, thereby, made ready to believe anything that Jesus might tell him. And there is many a man who, looking back upon God'sgoodness to himself and God's goodness to his father and mother, and God's goodness to gracious people in general-and thinkingof the holy and lovely Character of Christ-has, in that way, been prepared to believe when the Truth of God was clearly setbefore him!
This man went a step further on the right road, for he desired to believe. He said, "Who is He, Lord," not, "that I mightknow about Him, and talk about Him"-but, "that I might believe on Him?" He had a desire to possess true faith! And there aremany like he, who desire to believe, but who have not exercised faith in Christ. This is very amazing, but it is true. Ofall things in the world, to believe in Christ is one of the most simple, yet that is the reason why many find it so difficult.If it were difficult, it would seem easy to them, but, being easy, it appears difficult. Some of you, dear Friends, when Itry to describe how we come to trust in Christ, will twist and turn what I say, even if I make it "as plain as a pikestaff."You think, "Oh, he must mean something very different from what he says!" You really cannot get this idea into your heads-thatyou have only to depend on Christ, to trust Him and then you are saved, for "he that believes on the Son has everlasting life."
Whenever we use a metaphor, or figure, or illustration to try to explain the simplicity of faith, straightway somebody findsa difficulty even in that. When I have been trying to catch a sinner, I find that he has as many hiding places as there aredays in the year. I have stopped up one after another, and I have said to him, "No, salvation only comes through believing.""Yes, Sir, I know, but"-and down he runs into another hole! When I have dug him out of that, and fancied I will surely catchhim, he says, "Oh, yes, we are to trust the Savior, but"-and again he is off. Somehow, men seem very ingenious in trying tofind out reasons why they should not be saved! And all their foolish ingenuity seems to be employed in attempting to escapefrom this blessed Divine simplicity-"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." May God the Holy Spirit leadthem to believe in Him! He must lead them, for no man can see Christ until his eyes are Divinely opened. We may put the Truthas plainly as we can, and preach it so that we think we cannot be misunderstood, but men willmisunderstand us, even thosewho desire to believe in Christ, until the Holy Spirit works effectually in them!
This man went still further on the right road, for he not only desired to believe, but he made enquiry in order that he mightbelieve. I put it to you very simply, just now, with regard to making enquiries concerning a certain piece of news. Well,this man did the same. He said to the Master, "Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?" If sinners would only make enquiriesabout the Savior, they would soon trust in Him. You will find, as a rule, that the people who rail at the New Testament, havenever read it. If they would but read it, their foolishness might soon come to an end and be followed by a blessed faith inChrist. But, instead of doing so, they read what some objection-manufacturer has said about the Bible, instead of going tothe Book, itself, and seeing what it really teaches. If I were very thirsty, I do not think that I would abstain from goingto a well because somebody told me that it contained bad water-but I would go and see, and taste for myself. And when a soulgets very thirsty, if it is wise, it goes to the Word for itself. I advise you to do that, dear Friends. "O taste and seethat the Lord is good: blessed is the man who trusts in Him."
When this man had made his enquiry and received Christ's answer, he soon became decided. He said, "Lord, I believe." I likethat simple, clear acknowledgement of faith. So often, when we are conversing with an enquirer, he says, "Yes, Sir. I hopeI believe." Oh, dear, is that all you can say? "Well, I trust I believe"-and so faith is surrounded by fog-"I hope I believe.I trust I believe." Man, don't you know whether you believe or not? You may know it! One thing I know, you have no businessto go to sleep till you know, once and for all, for, if you are not a Believer, you are an unbeliever! There is no middlestate between the two. And if you are an unbeliever, you are "condemned already," because you have not believed in the nameof the only-begotten Son of God! This matter of believing ought never to be left in doubt at all, but it should be definitelysettled, so that you can say with this man, "Lord, I believe."
Then, further, he acted as a Believer, for, "he worshipped Him." This proves how his faith had grown. I should like to askyou, who are the people of God, when you are happiest. I think you will agree with what I am going to say, but if you do not,it will still be just as true to me. My happiest moments are when I am worshipping God, really adoring the Lord Jesus Christ,and having fellowship with the ever-blessed Spirit. In that worship, I forget the cares of the Church and everything else.And, to me, it is the nearest approach to what it will be in Heaven, where, day without night, they offer perpetual adorationunto Him that sits upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb. Therefore, what a memorable moment it was for this man when he worshippedChrist!
Now, if Christ was not God, that man was an idolater, a man-worshipper. And you and I, instead of being regarded as very excellentpeople, by those who call themselves, "Unitarian Brethren," should be condemned as idolaters! If Christ was not God, we arenot Christians! We are deceived dupes, we are idolaters as bad as the heathen whom we now pity. It is making a man into agod if Christ is not God. But, blessed be His holy name, He is God, and we feel that it is the supreme delight of our beingto worship Him! We cannot veil our face with our wings, for we have none, but we do veil them with His own robe of righteousnesswhenever we approach Him. We cannot cover our feet with our wings, as the angels do, but we do take His blood and His righteousnessboth as a covering for our feet, and as wings with which we fly up to Him. And though as yet we have no crowns to cast atHis dear feet, yet, if we have any honor, any good repute, any Grace, anything that is comely, anything that is honest, welay it all at His feet and cry, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Your name give glory, for Your mercy and for Yourtruth's sake."
III. Now I come to the third point, which is this, TRUE FAITH-HOW TO PROMOTE IT.
Beloved Brothers and Sisters, there are many of you who are constantly looking out for souls and trying to bring them to Christ.You have, here, an example of what you may do in endeavoring to lead them to exercise faith in Jesus.
First, if you have any choice as to those to whom you go, seek out the oppressed. You are to go, as far as you can, "intoall the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." But if you may specially look for some more than others, seek outthe sick, the sad, the weary, the poor, the broken-down ones and especially such as have been put out of the synagogue. Whenour missionaries have gone among the Brahmins in India, they have had a few converts, but the most blessing has been givenamong the poor people who have no high caste of which they are proud. When the Gospel was taken to them, they gladly receivedit! The Gospel worker will be wise if, instead of shunning those whom even nominally religious people put away, he looks afterthem, first. They are likely soil for the good Seed of the Kingdom to grow in and bring forth fruit. Our Lord Jesus Christ,at Sychar, did not go to some goodly matron who was an ornament to her sex. You know where He found the woman who became Hisdisciple and missionary, and you know what kind of woman she was and, to this day, He delights to go about, as Whitefieldused to say, "sweeping up the devil's castaways." Those whom nobody else wants and nobody else will have-our blessed Lordand Master delights to receive. Therefore, look after those out-of-the-way sinners! I like that expression, those out-of-the-waySinners, because our Lord Jesus Christ is the High Priest "who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are outof the way." Out-of-the-way sinners are the sort He came to save, therefore, look out for them, you who would follow the exampleof the great Soul-Winner.
Then, next, when you come to close quarters with them, ask them questions, as Christ did. He said to this man, "Do you believeon the Son of God." Put the enquiry pointedly and personally. Here am I, up in the pulpit, firing the Gospel gun, and theshot flies where God directs it. But you, downstairs, who love the Lord, can, as it were, hold a pistol close to the sinner'shead! Take them separately, one by one, and make them "stand and deliver." Put the question as our Lord did, "Do you believe?""See, Friend," you can say, "the minister has been preaching about faith. 'Do you believe?'" This is what nine people outof ten need-somebody to come and make a personal application of the Truth of God to them. They are like soldiers out uponthe battlefield. They lie there, wounded, bleeding, dying. Close by, there is all that is needed to bind up their wounds andplenty of it! Then, why do they lie there in agony? They need personal attention and it is your business, as an army surgeon,to go and put on the splint and bind up the wounds. Oh, that we had multitudes who would do this, and that all God's peoplewere constantly looking out for opportunities of making a personal application of the Truth to those who hear it! "Do youbelieve?" said the Lord Jesus to this man, and by that question He held him fast. That is the way to win souls-begin witha personal question!
Then, be ready to answer enquiries. This is what our Lord Himself did when He revealed Himself to this man. Tell them allyou know and if you cannot tell them all they need to know, try to bring them to somebody more advanced in spiritual thingsthan you, yourself, are, so that, with prayer, patience and wise instruction, hemay lead them to Christ.
Next, pray to the Lord Jesus Christ to reveal Himself to them, for that is the way faith comes. We cannot speak of Christas He should be spoken of, but when He reveals Himself, then the sinners see Him. All the portraits of a beauty never touchthe heart like one glance from her eyes-and all the portraits of Christ that were ever painted by His most admiring disciples,never make such an impression on the heart of man as when once He says, as He said to this man, "You have both seen Him, andit is He that talks with you." None but Christ Himself can preach Christ to the fullest. He must reveal Himself, or the Spiritmust reveal Him, or else men do not see Him.
Finally, glorify Christ by your own personal testimony. Remember that wondrous intercessory prayer of our Lord, in which Hesaid, "Neither pray I for these, alone, but for them, also, which shall believe on Me through their word." It was so kind,yet just like He, not to say, "through My Word," though it is His Word that we are to proclaim. But we get it into our heartsand so appropriate it that when we utter it, we speak out of our own heart, and soul, and then it becomes our word, too, andso sinners believe on Christ through our word. Go on speaking your word, that is, Christ's Word spoken by you, for this ishow to win souls for Him!
Now, in closing, I want to begin again, and give you another little sermon altogether, only I shall not be able to preachit to you, but just to give you the heads of it and leave it with you.
The first head is, when you are believing, mind that you believe in Jesus Himself''Do you believe in the Son of God?" or isit somebody else in whom you are believing? Is it merely what others say about Christ that you believe? Is it
your own opinion of Christ? Or is it really the Son of God upon whom you are believing? When you are believing, believe inJesus Himself.
Next, when you are enquiring, enquire of Jesus Himself This is a beautiful thing, to my mind. Here is a man asking Christabout Christ-asking Jesus, "Who is He?" and, all the while, speaking to the very Person about whom he was enquiring! He didnot know it was Jesus, yet he had gone to the very Fountainhead! Now, perhaps some of you have made enquiries of Christianpeople and you have read the Bible, and prayed, and yet you cannot find Jesus. Then go direct to Him, by faith, and say, "Lord,show me Yourself." That is the way to learn of Him. Have I a book of which I cannot make heads or tail as I read it? If Iknew where the author lived, I would call on him and say, "Dear Sir, will you kindly tell me what you mean by this expression?I cannot understand it." That is the way to find anything out-go to the fountainhead. So, always go to Christ and, when youare enquiring, enquire of Christ Himself.
Next, when you are seeking Christ, ask Christ to reveal Himself to you, for there is nobody who can reveal Christ as Christcan reveal Himself by His blessed Spirit.
And, next, when you are confessing your faith, confess it to Christ Himself Say, as this man did, "Lord, I believe." Say toyour minister, or to your mother, or to your friends, "I believe," but take care, above all the rest, that you say, "Lord,I believe."
And, lastly, when you are worshipping, worship Christ Himself ' 'He worshipped HIM" and no one else. Take care that your reverenceand adoration are not given, in any degree, to the church, or to any person in it, or to any priest, or minister, or anythingcreated or made. Worship God, and God in Christ Jesus. And the Lord bless you, Beloved, for His name's sake! Amen.