All For Christ # 5
With two thoughts I will close this address.
1. If this standard be the true one, if the Christian is to do all in the name of Christ - then what multitudes of the professing people of God will be found lacking at the Great Day!
There are many who bear the name of Christ - who yield only a divided heart and a very partial service. You wish to be a Christian - but you have no intention of giving God your best, and doing everything as Christ bids you, and being unreservedly and entirely devoted to Him. You know perfectly well, that you are not whole-hearted in God's service. Your conduct in business tells it. Your neglect of week-day means of grace testifies to it. Your love of ease and comfort that hinders you from taking an active part in good works, your shrinking from confessing Christ to the world - all speak the same language, and prove that hitherto you have been very far from doing all "in the name of the Lord Jesus."
What a hollow, empty, worthless thing this profession of yours is! What possible good can come from a Sunday religion, from a little head knowledge of Christian truth, which leaves you so utterly unlike the Lord Jesus? Hear the Lord's own solemn words: "Not every one who says unto Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven."
I have often used a very simple illustration as to the value of such profession. Your little girl has an egg for breakfast; when she has finished it, she turns over the shell and says, "See my egg." It looks like an egg, but it is only a shell, it is all hollow, and a minute or two after it is crushed and crumpled up, and loses the very appearance of an egg.
Such is your religion. It has no heart about it. It has no substance. It is only a deceit and a pretense. And very soon it will be made plain to others that it is so - and that when it will be too late for a remedy. Friend, don't make a mistake for eternity. Search your own heart. Don't bequile and deceive yourself with a name, and a shadow, and a Christian profession - when you have never given yourself really to Christ, and have nothing of His Spirit dwelling in you. Take heed in time! Turn to God now in sincerity and truth. Confess all the unreality and heartlessness of days gone by.
It is true, a vast, enormous debt of guilt lies at your door. It is true that every action of your life, every moment of days gone by condemns you - for when did you do one single thing for the glory of God? But there is free forgiveness. There is a righteousness in Christ which can cover all your mountain of sin. There is a full salvation through His blood, and there is a mighty power to raise you through His Spirit. Nor is it far to seek. It is very near you. Only creep low. Only lay aside every proud, self-confident pretension, and on the footing of a sinner deserving damnation, seek life in Christ, and it is yours. It cannot be denied you. Christ never yet rejected a sinner that sincerely came to Him, and He never will. "Christ is all," and He is enough. He gives all, He does all that the sinner needs.
Salvation to the uttermost,
a perfect justification,
grace to be holy,
strength for the journey, and
everlasting life in His kingdom -
He gives, and gives freely, to every one who
sincerely returns to Him.
2. I would add a few words of encouragement to those who desire to put God first, and who wish in everything to follow Christ. While many are contented with serving God a little - and serving the world a great deal more; while there are many double-minded ones who go two ways, as King Saul, and Balaam,and Judas, and Ananias, and Sapphira, and Demas, and the like - you desire to have one aim - to keep a single eye, and through good report and ill report, through storm and sunshine, to serve Christ at all hazards, and under all circumstances to fulfill His commandments.
Let this ever be your object in life. Set it ever before you as the only end worth living for. When, for a moment, you have been drawn aside by some subtle form of self-pleasing, or have turned away to escape a painful cross - yet go back again to your great purpose and determination. Fall back on Christ's justifying righteousness for your acceptance - look up to the risen Saviour to give you more of the mighty power of His quickening Spirit - and pray fervently for steadfastness, perseverance, and reality.
"Let my heart be sound in Your statutes, that I be not ashamed!" Let this be your cry, so that you be not like some tempting orchard fruit - on the outside all rosy smiles, and within rottenness and the worm and decay, making it bitter and loathsome to the eater. But rather sound and true to the heart's core, so that the more you are known, the more you are valued for your genuine piety and unswerving integrity of purpose.
Follow this course - be all one thing in the fear and love of God - and great shall be your reward. You shall have the comfort of a good conscience. Though in conscious unworthiness before God, and knowing how far you fail of reaching the high standard of holiness which He has set before you - yet you will be conscious that you wish in everything to be true as in His sight. Your conscience will bear witness that you allow yourself in no known evil, and that it is your most earnest endeavor to fulfill every duty which He sets before you.
You shall have the consolation of God's presence and love. He will never fail His servant who thus desires to honor Him. You may look for His Spirit to rest abundantly upon you. You may feel assured that He delights in your service, and will be with you at all seasons.
He is with you, with you always!
All the nights, and all the days;
Never failing, never frowning,
With His loving-kindness crowning;
Tuning all you life to praise.
He is with you, your own Master,
Leading, loving to the end;
Brightening joy,and lightening sorrow,
All today, and more tomorrow,
King and Saviour, Lord and Friend.
The life of her who wrote these lines, and who was, a few years ago, called to her eternal rest - was a very marked evidence of the double consolation which those enjoy who are wholly consecrated to the Lord's service. Miss Frances Havergal has been removed from us in the flesh, but she lives in many a heart by the remembrance of her bright and joyous Christian life, and her unflagging zeal and earnestness in the Saviour's cause, and in many a home by her loyal utterances for the King she loved.
Once she heard me speak on the topic of this address. Afterwards she spoke on the matter with great feeling, longing that all Christian people should thus "do all for Christ." And, doubtless, through her writings, and the fragrance of her own holy and devoted life, it will be seen hereafter that not a few have so learned to act.
Christian, remember the time is short! Workers in the vineyard are called away, and you and I must soon follow. You may remember the saying of a poor seamstress, hard at work with her needle in a London attic: "I must make haste,for I have but one candle, and it will soon go out!"
Our one candle is burning out apace. Year follows year, and the stream of life quickly rolls on. Let us seize the passing hour. Let us work while we may. It it is true that in a hive of bees there are fifteen thousand workers, and only a few hundred drones - why, in the Church of Christ, should there be such a large proportion of drones who are neither building the cells nor gathering in honey? May God grant that it may not be the ease with any reader of this article!