My hearers this evening, I put before you a very important question, a question which I believe should challenge your most serious consideration.
What kind of relationship exists between you and your God? Is this an important question?
Yes, for upon the character of this relationship depends your eternal destiny.
My Bible tells me there lie before us in Eternity two possibilities, and two only: supreme blessedness with God or hopeless despair away from God. Now it is perfectly clear which destiny God wants you to have--I Tim. 2:4, "He will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life."
I rejoice to say we have a God of mercy and love whose heart years after the wayward children of men--so much so that He sent His beloved Son to seek and to save that which was lost--Luke 19:10. "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved."--John 3:17.
Sinner, He loves you with an infinite love. He has sent His Son. He has done everything necessary for your eternal Salvation. Salvation is a supreme purpose of your existence. My friends, we are not here to play, but God has put you in this world for a noble purpose which will find its fullest realization only in Eternity.
We are here to learn to make preparation for the life to come. And in the words of the Prophet Amos, I admonish you to prepare to meet thy God.
In Exodus 32:6 we read of a time when the people sat down to eat and drink and then rose up to play, but as we read on we find that God was not well pleased with many of them. And I think this sweeping inditement applies to this present evil generation. I say to you God is not pleased with this dance-mad, pleasure-mad, drink-mad, sin-mad age. God is not pleased with the utter disregard and open desecration of His Holy Sabbath. God is not pleased with the riotous excesses of immorality which stalk our land. People, we are not here to play, eat, drink, dress up, have a little fun, and then die like a dog. Rather, we are here to prepare for the Hereafter.
Oh, the appalling need of the Christian life in the world today. The Spiritual life of this world is very low. Witness the absence of family altars, blessings at the table, domestic spiritual instruction, and the family pew. Our church members sit on the fear benches. Too often a dead profession and a superficial veneering are all that is in evidence--"They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him." Nothing but Christ and much of Christ can ever rectify this.
Crime is costing America 16 billion dollars a year, or 2 million dollars an hour. 10,000 human lives a year are snuffed out [murdered] like so many candles. Eighty five per cent of our criminals are under 25 years of age.
Many of our Church members insist on leaving at the close of the Sunday School hour and before the worship service. The real, old-fashioned Christian life is not taken very seriously by many today.
This country can never expect to advance much further materially, untill we catch up spiritually. The great fundamental force of science is that all forces must be kept in balance. When any body or any force goes on a tangent, there is a smash-up, and this applies to America today as it has to every nation before it. No nation that forgets God can long endure. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any nation."
And what we need today is a return to the "Old Time Religion." Oh, for the Old-Time fathers and mothers with lots of iron and Church [strong in] domestic and national life. Oh, for a return of the Old Time Christianity, the Old Time revivals, the Old Time family altars, the blessing at the table, the family pews, and the style of dress that will not breed lust and disrespect for womankind. When our women go down, our nation goes down with them. My friends, only Christ, and Much of Christ, and the Word of Christ in human life can save the world from chaos within the coming few years.
It is sad but true how many today are in darkness, alienated from God. No light, no life, only half alive! Would you have light and life? Then you must come to the Great Light and Life Giver, the Lord Jesus Christ. The place to meet Him is here, in the Word of God. Listen to Him as He speak to you.
"He that follows Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life." John 1: In him was life and the life was the light of men." The light which illuminates with undying luster from the Bible's glowing pages, radiates from the face of Jesus Christ. He is its Glory, its light, and its life.
The world will never outgrow this ancient Book. The human race can sprint on at its present speed for another thousand years and will still find the Bible at the head of the procession. Its influence is not impaired or weakened by unjust criticism or scholarly indifference.
Opposition, hatred, ridicule, and misrepresentation can never break down the everlasting Truth of the Word of God. It is what one has rightly called "the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture." Skepticism, unbelief, and literary paganism can ever destroy the validity of this Book. Its eternal certainties grow more pertinent along with the growth in crime, and its truths will ultimately prevail to the ends of the earth.
If you will study this Book and apply its teachings to your daily life, then yours will be a life of happiness for yourself, and a life of blessing to your fellowmen. The Word of God can and does make men unusually happy in life, and it takes away the fear of death and puts new meaning into the [prospect of] Eternity.
But we are here to prepare that we might here and hereafter have a share in Eternal Life.
Do you call yourself a Christian? Then adorn yourself with conduct and [lifestyle] [suitable to] this glorious Gospel which you profess to believe.
If we turn to the Bible we are not left a moment in the dark. Titus 2: God in His loving thoughts has planned for us who love and obey Him a wondrous life and sweet fellowship with Him, that shall not be broken by death but go on through all the cycles of Eternity. But remember, heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Hear again the word, "Prepare to meet thy God," from the Prophet Amos.
My friend, how much of Jesus' teaching would it take to save you? Of course, I know that His teaching would present you an example of [high, moral] conduct. But what about your old sins? Listen! The Blood of Christ cleanses from all sins--I John 1:7. Can the good deed of today blot out the sin of yesterday? But you say, "I believe that God is love." I too believe it with all my heart, but let me ask you, "Have you thought of how God [intends us to respond to His Word]? Not by asking us to do something or obey the Sermon on the Mount! Not even by asking us to thank God. No, Christ died for us, while we were yet sinners. [That is how he intends us to respond--by simple, childlike acceptance].
Those who were nearest to Jesus are united as to the meaning of the Cross. John says, "He (God) first loved us and gave His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Peter says, "He died, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." "Our blessed Lord Himself came not to be ministered to but to give Himself a ransom for many." How many? As many as believed on Him, to them He gives the right to become children of God.
I ask you as intelligent men and women whether those living in this 20th [and 21st] century or those who lived and ate and talked with our Lord should best know the meaning of His passion on Calvary? I ask what does that death mean to you? Does it seem difficult to believe that Jesus died for you? What would satisfy you? If God were to tell you, would you believe that Jesus died for your sins?
Listen! When we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son. God has removed every barrier between Himself and you by the Cross. "Just as I am, thy love unknown has broken every barrier down." Do not fear to come to Jesus.
Christ Himself will take you to the place of blessing, and, moreover, He is the only guide. He says, "No man comes unto the Father but by Me." Do you think you could trust Jesus to guide you? Yes, of course, you could, but you say, "How should I come?"
Let me tell you how with this simple illustration. It will show you exactly how to come to Jesus. A gentleman climbing the Alps learned how. He was with his guide. They had almost reached the top. Just a step or two remained. In his eagerness to reach the summit of the peak, he rose to his full height. Just then the guide's voice broke on his ear, "Get down, you can only go forward on your knees."
Christ, your crucified guide waits to conduct you to your Heavenly Father. But you must go forward on your knees. Kneeling at the Cross, down at Jesus' feet, your heart will find the peace of God which passes understanding. There you will find the the pearl of great price--life everlasting.
Since the Garden of Eden and the sin of Adam and Eve that separated them and their descendants--all us--from God, God has been seeking to reconcile the world to himself. It was for this purpose our Savior went to the Cross. [Through Christ's death on the Cross] we are given the opportunity to be born again as new creations, saved, and made his sons and daughters, fully reconciled to God, with life everlasting in heaven as part of His glorious Gift of Salvation.]