Article of the Month
A Sermon on Rev. 21:7a
by Wulfert Floor
Psalter No. 73 st. 1,3,6
In many places of Godís Word, the Lordís people are called a poor people; again, in many other places they carry the name of a rich people. But can a people be rich and still be poor at the same time? Can one be actually so poor that he must live from alms and still be wealthy? This truly seems to be an enigma and it is an enigma for nature, but nevertheless the truth for all the people who are converted and are traveling to heaven. Godís people are and always shall remain poor in themselves.
They are poor in righteousness; they have a debt of ten thousand talents and do not possess a single penny to pay. If they were not saved by the righteousness of another, then they would never enter into heaven.
They are poor in strength; they are a weak and helpless people, not being able to slay a single sin in themselves, nor to turn away a single temptation of Satan, and often they lie over-come before they could think about it, and are overtaken by the strength of depravity which dwells in them.
They are poor in wisdom and must daily accuse themselves before God as being foolish and brutish, not having sufficient wisdom to conduct themselves as they should before friend and foe, and also too foolish to regulate their temporal affairs unless they receive ability from above, as well in the least as in the more important affairs of their temporal and spiritual life.
They are poor in Scripture knowledge; they are A. B. C. children, who daily are ashamed and saddened because they understand so little of that precious Word, out of which they should be able to instruct others and from which they themselves still have daily need of being instructed.
They are poor in sanctification and self-renunciation. The willingness is truly found in them, but in the fulfillment, they are constantly defective, and daily must lament that so often they want it to be different from what the Lord wills, especially in the day of fearful adversity.
Often they are poor in friends. They are reviled and mocked by the boys on the street, and are hated, slandered and held up as being strange by all those people who are good and virtuous in their own eyes.
Sometimes they are also poor in bodily ability, strength and health. Caleb was a man of 85 years and was still as strong and energetic as when he was 40 years, still being capable for his work and for war, (Joshua 14:10 & 11). But I think there are few of those Calebs on the way to heaven; the Lord is free and we do not strictly say that weakness of the body must be a characteristic of a godly person.
Once again: they are sometimes poor in earthly possessions. At all times there have been rich and prominent people among the people of the Lord, as we can see from the examples of Abraham, David, Solomon, Sergius Paulus and many others. However, most God-fearing people are generally no longer rich and great in the world. Hath not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom? (James 2:5).
And still those people, who in so many respects are poor, are people of wealth. The glorified Jesus says of them. Thou art rich, (Rev. 2:9), and Paul says, All things are yours, (ICor. 3:21). Those who are called rich by Jesus and declared to be possessors of all things by Paul, surely must be rich. And no matter how poor Godís people are in themselves, they are nevertheless very rich because of the following important reasons:
First. Those poor people are rich because they have a rich and almighty Father in heaven. All the gold and silver is His and the cattle upon a thousand hills, yea, the world is His and the fulness thereof, (Ps. 50:10 & 12). This God is their Covenant God and Father as it is written: I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty, (2 Cor. 6:18). I am altogether unable to describe what is included in this riches. Indeed, it is a wealth which cannot be named. It is a wealth which makes the soul perfectly happy. It is a wealth which shall endure eternally and therefore shall exist when all other riches shall decay. Hence, a regenerated person is a rich person because he has a rich Father. An unconverted person also has a father but he is a poor father who does promise his servants entire kingdoms and mountains of gold but it is vain boasting, because he is so poor that he possesses nothing and therefore can give nothing but miserable disappointment, terror, grief and unrest. Besides, he is a wicked father, a false father, a murderous father who slaughters his children and seeks by day and night for nothing except the eternal ruin of all those who serve him. If his children were not foolish, disobedient, serving divers lusts and pleasures, hateful and deeply miserable, they would run out of the house of such a degenerate father and turn with supplication to God in Christ to be saved. Read about this father and his children in John 8:44 and prayerfully inquire whether you have as yet escaped from under his power.
Second. Those poor people are rich because they are in possession of a precious Bible full of promises. Just page through the entire Old and New Testament and you shall find everywhere that God gives His precious promises to poor and needy, to concerned and seeking souls. Therefore you read so emphatically, (Luke 6:20) that the Lord says: Blessed be ye poor! And in all these promises the Lord promises to give them what they need in order to be blessed here and hereafter, and this is indeed a very choice wealth, even then, when the soul, to her comfort, cannot be active therein, because Godís promises are always for the poor, whether or not they are able to appropriate these promises to themselves.
Third. Those poor people are rich because real wealth is embraced in being poor. The more the soul is poor before God, the better the soul feels herself to be within. This certainly is an enigma for the blind world who knows of no poverty of the spirit but I know that Godís people will gladly concur with me. Oh, it is so blessed to be poor! And therefore Godís people are pleased to be brought there often so that they can say with David: Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty, (Ps. 131:1).
Fourth. Those poor people are rich because they have the Lord as a refuge in the fearful day of adversity. Where does an unconverted person go in such dreadful circumstances, when all human help and comfort is fruitlessly sought? To whom can he then flee? By whom does he then find comfort and refreshment? Alas, with no one! For he has not learned to shelter with the Lord. But the Lordís children then seek advice and conduct, help and strength, deliverance and relief, comfort and rest, in and with the Lord; yea, with the Lord of Whom the Church once sang: God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble, (Ps. 46:2).
Fifth. Those poor people are rich in their last expectation. Hear Job of this when he said: / know that my Redeemer liveth, and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, (Job 19:25 & 26). O beloved, here below, Godís people do not as yet have the right life, but they still dwell here in this wilderness as strangers who are traveling to the city of God which has foundations and where they shall eternally shine with pure holiness. They not only have a desire for this city but on a clear day they can at times sec it lie on the other side of the Jordan of death, and then they rejoice in their blessed expectation.
Finally. Those poor people shall be rich in the day of death, at the day of resurrection and to all eternity in the blessed heaven. There they never again will need to sigh and to lament, nor to suffer, nor to sin. There Jesus shall perpetually dry the tears from their eyes. There they shall be able to gratify themselves without end in the contemplation and enjoyment of that kingdom which Jesus has purchased for them at such a high price. There all oppression shall be forgotten and they shall delight themselves in the fulness of joy to all eternity.
And now, because of all these things a God-fearing person is a rich person. Especially this last part, namely, the riches of that poor people in the future, we hope to consider further at this time, while at the same time we will also speak of the strife which will precede their eternal rest and salvation.
The text in pursuance of this matter you can find in Rev. 21:7a: He that overeometh shall inherit all things.
In the consideration of these significant words spoken by Him Who sat upon the throne, we will observe the following order:
A. We shall first observe the strife of believers, which of necessity must go before they can overcome. To overcome implies strife, does it not? and strife means having enemies. But now the question is: who are the enemies of Godís children; do they have many, or are they but few; are they strong enemies, or have they little strength? Beloved, the enemies of a true Christian are legion. It is an innumerable multitude which surround them on every side. They are not three enemies as is sometimes said, but they are three armies of enemies, who together aim at the destruction of a poor Christian and they certainly would conquer and destroy him if he were not kept by an almighty hand.
The first army is hell with all the evil spirits which are therein. How these evil spirits have access to our reasonable spirit is impossible, I would say, to be described by us. However, our precious Bible teaches us that the devil is a lion which attacks the sheep of Christ and constantly walks about seeking whom he may devour, (1 Peter 5:8), and that he is the old serpent which follows us, as it were, everywhere and surely also knows how to force his way into the secret prayer chambers in order to hinder our prayers. He did not draw back from even attacking the Son of God when He, as the humble Mediator, was upon earth. He desired greatly to sift Peter as the wheat. He buffeted Paul and rages as a roaring lion about Godís heritage, for which reason Jesus taught His followers to pray against his temptations. Godís children must fight against this enemy or rather against this army of enemies. As long as a person is unconverted, he is led by the devil calmly and carelessly to destruction, without being aware of it himself, while he is asleep in the devilís snares, as Paul teaches in 2 Tim. 2:26, but when God begins to work by His Spirit, and man may be aroused out of the snare of the devil wherein he is imprisoned, then the lion begins to roar and seeks in thousands of ways to make the way difficult for the Christian and if God did not protect him, he surely would lose the battle against this enemy, whereas the might and devices of Satan are great and it can be said of the best of Godís people that they have little strength (Rev. 3:8) because in themselves they are as weak and defenceless as a lamb which could never survive against a lion.
Another army which is used as the devilís assisting horde is the world. In the world you have fire insurance, hail and cattle insurance and many more insurances and organizations which attack the trust upon God of the Christian and in their invitation call to him, by this way you can protect yourself from those blows ó namely the potato blight, fire, accidents, etc. At another place I read a similar invitation like this: and thus a far sighted farmer and business man can prevent his ruin. Behold, this is the language of the world which seeks to make you believe that by paying a few pennies quarterly, you can safeguard yourself from Godís scourge, since the company will compensate you if you have the blight in your fruits or a loss in your business. By this way the world seeks to make you believe that the far sighted farmer and business man can prevent his ruin. If now the farmer or business man is so far sighted and always looking down and around that he never has learned to look above, then no doubt lie will be caught into the trap and hence can expect double loss.
Still more! In the world you have all kinds of insipid styles and sinful practices in order to flatter the vainglorious heart and to constantly catch you in new traps. The vile Delilah dwells in the world who has caught the frail Samson in her net. The Jewish council lives there which will strictly command you not to again speak in the Name of Jesus, the Nazarene. Caiaphas lives there with his followers which have aimed at Jesus and His followers. The hypocritical Judas lives there who will grasp and kiss you for the purpose of binding Jesus. A regenerate person is either oppressed or tempted in the world, and therefore in every respect has need to be on his guard, to watch and pray. His sincerity must be known by everyone and still he must be careful of having a too close relationship with people who love sin. Because the world is so dangerous, therefore it is advisable not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly nor to stand in the way of sinners, nor to sit in the seat of the scornful, (Ps. 1:1).
The third army which the godly must fight against is the numberless army of his inward depravities. It is our innate coveteousness, love for the world, pride, self-will, unthankfulness, listlessness of doing good, and proneness of doing evil which we become aware of daily. It is the aversion to prayer, the irreverence for the Divine Majesty, the distrust for the providence of God, the inclination of becoming rich, the aversion for the way of oppression, the disagreeing with Godís way; these are the things we must wrestle with daily. Our innate sins and deep depravity are indeed a numberless troop by which we are assailed daily. It is a horde we would not have known if the Lord had not revealed them to us. It is a horde, however, which is more easily known than striven against, and again more easily striven against than conquered and which is never entirely driven out on this side of the grave, consequently, believers have ample work striving against the same as long as they are here and from which they will delightfully rest in the future.
An unconverted person is profoundly wretched not knowing this; a converted person is also profoundly wretched but God has revealed this to him. An unconverted person is proud and unbending with the intellectual contemplation of his infirmity; a converted person is humbled and ashamed before God and man because he daily finds himself more and more miserable in all things. An unconverted person has peace with sin; a converted person has a battle with it; he weeps, prays and strives daily against it. Both are wretched but it is a light matter for the one which would be very easy for him if there were no eternity in the future, and for the other sin will finally become a burden and grief, especially then when he can firmly believe that he has been sovereignly purchased by Jesus and never shall be lost. An unconverted person will heal himself when he is being pinched by his conscience; a converted person is aware of his inability and will flee with all his sins to that Person of Whom John testified: For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil, (1 John 3:8).
With this you have something of the strife which precedes the victory of Godís children and of which we will briefly notice the following:
First. That a person is incorporated into the army of the Lord Jesus and appears upon the battlefield when he is regenerated. And then he must remain armed until he is released by death. Here there is no truce of arms; here there is no indefinite furlough, but he must remain in the garrison, or rather upon the battlefield until the victory is completely accomplished, although it is sure that the enemiesí cannon will roar much louder one day than another.
Second. A true Christian must never think he is safe upon the battlefield and take time to sleep, for then, unnoticed, he shall be surprised and caught off his guard by the enemy. The army of our enemies seems at times to be as the army of Saul wherein at that time they all were asleep, (1 Sam. 26:12). But not so, our enemies never sleep although to us it may seem so. The hellish Saul and Abner, with all their subordinates are always active though they often act as if they are asleep so that they can accomplish our destruction with much more subtility. Therefore, O Christian! you too must never sleep but watch and pray and constantly keep yourself armed.
Third. We must here notice that a Christian can never fight better than when he is creeping upon his knees. When he constantly flees to the Captain of their Salvation, pleading for strength and wisdom; then he can handle his arms and weapons best and then he also has the most courage and bravery to face his enemies, but if he should neglect humble prayer, he then injures himself on the left and right with his own weapons and in every respect he is beaten and wounded by the enemy.
Fourth. Each must be warned not to cherish in his heart the proud imagination of his own ability to the conflict, so that he would be let loose from Godís hand a little and that then the enemy in this way would defeat him as Peter experienced in the hall of the high priest.
B. Let us now in the second place inquire into when they can be said to overcome by commencement and advancement.
First. More or less it can be said that they begin to overcome to a degree when they begin to strive. Formerly they lay as slaves bound under the power of Satan and sin but now they have come so far that they no longer yield to the devil and sin. Sin no longer has dominion over them, for they are not under the law, but under grace, (Rom. 6:14). Neither does the devil reign over them as before, but they have by commencement overcome him as John says (1 John 2:13). Though it is that the poor soul often thinks that it is all lost because it goes bowed down under the power of depravity, nevertheless it already begins by commencement to conquer as soon as it prayerfully seeks to avoid sin and attempts to serve the Lord in all its commissions and omissions.
Second. He can be said to overcome particularly when he occasionally has sweet times when Satan must be silent and his depravity lies more subdued and when he then may be heartily and humbly active in the service of the Lord. Of Israel it is written that when Moses held up his hand that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed, (Exodus 17:11). Likewise it also goes at times with a true Christian. Sometimes he must say: Iniquities prevail against me ó I am ready to halt and sink every moment or, my head, as it were, is buried in the waves of my iniquities behold, then Amalek prevails and to him it seems as if he will be entirely overcome by the enemy.
But then again other times will come, times wherein he can run and not be weary, and walk and not faint, (Is. 40:31). Times wherein he can say with Paul: I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, (1 Cor. 9:27). Times wherein his fervent desire of soul is to remain faithful unto death and to dwell here as a traveling stranger, with his eye upon Jesus and upon heaven. Behold, at such times not Amalek but Israel prevails and then he already begins to overcome the world by faith, (1 John 5:4).
Third. He can also be said to overcome by commencement when he comes to more firmness and assurance of his state of grace, so that he can more than ever before rejoice in hope of the glory of God, (Rom. 5:2). When he thus rises above the devil and his assaults and temptations, and is assured that he is a child of God and an heir of heaven, especially when his strong assurance may be attended with a close and tender godly walk so that he becomes more steadfast and immovable in faith and assurance and at the same time abound in the work of the Lord.
Fourth. He shall especially overcome when he shall endure unto the end and then one day lay his head upon the deathbed. Yes, beloved, the deathbed of the godly is the end of the difficult battlefield, where they have stood so long upon their post, where they have received so many wounds, and where they, nevertheless, have remained standing by the strength and unwavering faithfulness of God. There they shall leave all their enemies forever behind, and thus enter into the full enjoyment of glory, receiving the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.
Fifth. They shall overcome completely when their bodies shall be delivered from the dust of death, at the last day, when death shall be fully swallowed up in victory and when they thus shall be more than conquerors through Him that loved us, (Rom. 8:37).
C. Let us now in our third main head notice the blessed all things which is promised to them in the text. By this all things we can understand the goods of the Covenant of Grace, which already here in time are enjoyed by the Lordís people. Righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, (Rom. 14:17). To have God as his Father in Christ; to have a sweet peace with the Father by the death of His Son; to be a constant favorite of this God and to be loved by Him, meanwhile enjoying the blessed feeling of His nearness and delighting himself in the grateful meditation of His statutes. Behold, if we place all these things over against the entire world with all its goods, then it can already be called all things, as it also was said by Jacob in opposition to Esauís enough, (Gem 33:11 mar.).
But especially, the true godly shall be placed in full possession of that blessed all things at the other side of the grave. Here on earth they only enjoy the interest of the full principal which is kept for them in the heavens. Here upon earth they so often must mourn and are concerned but in heaven they shall have fulness of joy for evermore. Here upon earth they must so often lack the sweet presence of the Lord in their hearts, but there they shall eternally know God, enjoy God and rejoice themselves in God. Here upon earth they still must carry about a body of sin and death which frequently is detrimental to them in the service of the Lord, but there they shall have forever put away all their sins and be able to worship God in unblemished perfection. Here upon earth they must often associate with such company which to them is oppressive and saddening, but in heaven they shall forever associate in the agreeable and blessed company of the Triune God, of the holy angels and just men made perfect; in the company of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Peter, John and all the saints of both Testaments, and also in the company of their godly friends and relatives who have already traveled before them to the heavenly Canaan. Here upon earth they are often vexed and tormented by the devil but there Satan shall be forever bruised under their feet, (Rom. 16:20).
In a word: there they shall enjoy a salvation of which it must be said: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.
D. Finally, let us now view the comfort and significance which is bound thereto that the blessed all things is promised as an inheritance. Godís children need not purchase salvation, neither earn it but they shall inherit it. A concerned soul may sometimes say: ďAh, I fear that this blessed all things shall never be my portion, for 1 am such a defective striver and so often overcome by my sins. If the Lord would give me my just reward, then I must go lost.Ē Upon this 1 answer that the heavenly reward which shall follow upon the overcoming is presented in our text under the symbol of an inheritance. He that overcometh shall inherit all things. Now, we never receive an inheritance because we have merited it, but because someone has seen fit to have our name recorded in his will. O, beloved, more than nineteen centuries ago a Testator died Whose will is firm in His death and He has said to His people: ďI appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me,Ē (Luke 22:29). Now it is necessary to strive to enter in at the strait gate and to lay hold on eternal life, but it is also certain that all true and upright strivers, who have learned to seek refuge with Jesus, shall receive eternal life by grace, as a free and beneficial inheritance which shall be given and received as a sovereign gift for Christís sake.
Therefore let not your defectiveness discourage you too much, but observe that salvation is a free gift, flowing from the good pleasure of God and that it becomes us with the contemplation thereof to be humble and grateful.
For the instruction of the Lordís people we will observe the following lessons:
First. Seek refuge often with the Lord and daily pray to Him for the ability, by His Spirit, to be able to strive and overcome. Oh, especially strive by praying much upon your knees and rather be a poor supplicant than a great talker who only seeks to make it well with the mouth before the people. David magnified the Lord because He taught his hands to war and his fingers to fight, (Ps. 144:1). He had need of this to fight against his natural enemies, but no less do you have need of that Divine instruction and ability to fight against your spiritual enemies. The most dangerous of them you carry about in your heart, which you have with you day and night. Prayer, said Luther, is the Christianís heavy artillery and I also think it is our best weapon. The Lord speaks to us by His Word; let us then speak much to Him by prayer and constantly ask to be strengthened in the conflict.
Second. He that overcometh shall inherit all things. If you possess but little of this earthís goods and gold, let this be a comfort to you. Perhaps your capital here is not large; perhaps you belong among those who must say with Peter and John: Silver and gold have 1 none, (Acts 3:6). But why fear! soon you shall receive all things. Therefore, try to manage with the little you have. You only live once in the world, in a world which yields so much of its unpleasantness as well as its sweetness, and wherein Godís people in many respects must manage as best they can. And oh, how they ought to be able to do so very easily, since they are simply traveling through to the best fatherland where they, in a short time, shall become possessors of the blessed all things! Perhaps you must sleep upon a hard bed, wear scanty clothing, and live in a small house. Seek to be resigned with your portion and do not begrudge a poor worldling though he might have several tons of gold. Surely you would not be willing to exchange your portion for such a trifle, would you? Your heavenly treasure cannot be lost and perhaps you have already enjoyed the interest of it for nearly a quarter of a century and soon you will forever receive the principal. Learn then to be content with Paul and look above where your treasure and eternal portion is.
Third. Marvel daily that God has appointed you to be an heir of such a treasure. You, who in your former time was such a rough creature; you, who would have run headlong into eternal fire if grace had not held you back and turned you from your base as well as dangerous path; you, who are still continually so unfaithful, dull and unthankful and indeed, you daily deserve to be cast over the enclosure and outside of the vineyard as a reprobate branch of the vine. Oh, where is boasting then? It is excluded, (Rom. 3:27). Eternal election, eternal good pleasure, free grace ó in this you must always end.
This thing is from the Lord Almighty,
Fourth. Fight the good fight of faith; walk worthy of your calling. Do keep in mind that the world looks with eagleís eyes at the walk of the godly. In my halting they rejoiced, said David, (Ps. 35:15 mar.) and so the enemy will also take notice to your halting and rejoice in it. Therefore it is your bounden duty to distinguish yourself by a tender walk, as the seed which the Lord has blessed, so that the Name of the Lord will not be blasphemed for your sake.
Finally. God-fearing people! in heaven they are waiting for you. Soon your friends who have gone before you shall meet you and you shall meet them. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God and only a very short time will pass by when you in unison with the saints in heaven shall sing: Thou art worthy to receive glory and honour and blessing, for Thou hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, (Rev. 5:9 & 12).
But you unconverted, natural man, tell me, how does the way to heaven appear to you? Would you be willing to enter into the way of continual strife? Ah, do believe the Word of God, which declare that only those who overcome shall inherit all things and therefore the kingdom of heaven must suffer violence and that the violent take it by force. You do not have any desire for this constant strife, do you? For you it is a strange matter of which you have no knowledge. Some persons have far too much knowledge of strife against their neighbors, but no strife against their sins. Others have strife against their conscience which warns them and makes them uneasy if they have sinned, but which they also seek to quiet and rock to sleep because they want to continue living peacefully and carelessly in sin.
With other people there is a strife of the one sin against the other. Pride, for example, can wage a battle with miserliness. Pride wants to be showy and dignified in clothing, house furnishings and many other things but miserliness cannot spend the money for it, and would sooner lay away a room full of money though he must go about clothed as a poor beggar. Abundance and luxury is willing to eat and drink excessively and with the rich man fare sumptuously every day, but miserliness strives against this and cannot miss that adorable money and would sooner have bread and water as long as something can be scraped together for the third and fourth generation which must still be born. Miserliness wants to have money, whether honestly or dishonestly, though it must be stolen or plundered, but pride will fight against it and does not like to be pointed out with the finger and desires to have a good name, to be recognized as being noble. Vile wantonness wants to indulge in sin and make itself guilty of immodesty and other abominations, but pride says: the people shall hear it and then my good name will be gone forever. Behold, thus in various respects one sin can strive against the other, and men can leave some sins with a sinful design and so they carry on.
They who know nothing else except such a wretched strife shall never be one who overcometh and instead of inheriting all things he shall inherit nothing except the righteous curse and eternal wrath of the Almighty God. Hearken therefore, O sinner, to the following three things which I wish to present before you.
First. If you continue to thus go onward upon your way without Christ, then hell is open for you. Hundreds of thousands of people who formerly were just as foolish and obstinate as you are now, must now lament their wretched foolishness with the devils and condemned souls in hell, and endlessly but fruitlessly desire to have but one day to return upon the earth and to come in the possibility of salvation and redemption. Oh, let these then be preachers to you and let their wretched portion persuade you to be warned about yourself. Or do you consider going lost to be a small matter? Or do you possibly think that God will be gracious to you because you esteem yourself somewhat better than others who more openly indulge in sin? Or do you perhaps think as some do, that you shall have enough time to settle your account with God upon your deathbed? Or do you think you shall be saved because your conscience at one time has terrified you, that you for a short time have prayed for grace? All this shall fall away from you at the entrance of eternity, when you perhaps shall see, with terrified eyes, your husband or wife, son or daughter, father or mother at your deathbed, without any of them, neither pastor nor doctor being able to bring any deliverance to your poor soul. O friends! be extorted to forsake the way of sin, for an awful eternity follows this short life which could come upon you this day or the day following. And if you are then still unconverted, then God shall laugh at your calamity and mock when your fear cometh.
Second. That which I still desire to say is this: Oh, be persuaded by those friendly invitations of the Lord Jesus. He still calls this day: Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither ó He still invites all the ends of the earth to come to Him publicans and harlots can still go before self-righteous Pharisees into the kingdom of heaven ó He still can and will cure sick and leprous souls He still proffers His blood to the cleansing of all kinds of sins. The devil desires to cast poor sinners from the earth to hell, but Christ desires to lift up poor sinners from the earth to heaven. Oh, just think how many callings and invitations you already have had under which, to this day, you have remained hardened and unyielding and how righteous the Lord would be if He had long since cast you away forever; but you still have to do with a longsuffering and very gracious God Who continues to call until this day by His Word and servants, by blessings and judgments and by many other means. Ah, sinner, do not remain so unconcerned, but haste ye to Christ for your lifeís sake.
That which I desire thirdly and lastly to say to you now is this: If you desire to be saved by Christ you can be fully assured of His willingness to accept you, but then you must also give yourself over to Him without any stipulations. You must be willing to choose the strife; you must be willing to follow the Lamb wherever He is willing to lead you. You must not be afraid of the hatred and mockery of Godís enemies. You must desire the way of self-denial and holiness for your soul. You must be satisfied when Christ says to you: In the world ye shall have tribulation. You must be willing to forsake your former friends with whom you formerly served sin and the world, and to be ridiculed and hated by them. You must learn to take shelter and trust upon the eternal grace of God in the precious blood of the Lamb without ever trying to save yourself or being your own saviour, or taking the honor to yourself which only God is entitled to.
And now, is this narrow way to heaven agreeable to you? Is Christ of such value to you that you choose and desire Him above all other things, without being desirous of serving God and the world together? Then come forward boldly, no matter who you are, though you have become gray in the service of sin and Satan, and though you be such an abominable sinner that the like of you is not found in the entire land and though you have been much worse than Cain, Esau or Ahab. We say this upon the basis of the Bible. God is a God Who forgiveth sin and afterward upbraideth not. (James 1:5).
Now, everyone choose what is pleasing to him but the end shall carry its result. Therefore I advise, do not postpone so great salvation until tomorrow because by then the poor soul might have already flown out the windows of the clay house and then it will be forever too late.
Now I hope that the Lord will bless this simple message to His honor and to the salvation of immortal souls.
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