A Message from God!
James Smith, 1861
The gospel is a message from God, a message sent to every creature. A message that displays sympathy, manifests love, and proves a concern for our welfare. We may say to everyone we know, or with whom we come in contact, "I have a message from God unto you!" And at suitable and seasonable times, we should say so. Every lost sinner should be personally addressed by some believer, and every believer should personally address some lost sinners. Every one who receives God's message, should carry it to others, and personally deliver it to them. If we are sure we cannot deliver it with the voice, we should send it in writing, or carry it in print, and put it into the sinner's hand. No sinner, in a country like ours, should be left without someone to take an interest in him, and such an interest, as will endeavor to lead him to Jesus — that he may escape from the wrath to come.
O, it is a fearful thing for a soul to perish! For a soul to perish — when there is a Savior at hand! A Savior, who is prepared to save all who apply to him, and who has sent his word to sinners in order to induce them to apply to him.
Reader, "I have a message from God unto you!" for I have a message for lost sinners. For all sinners. For every sinner. For you therefore. Sinners often feel truly miserable, and know not what to do, or how to obtain relief or rest. They feel weary of themselves, of their state, and circumstances. Well, God sends word that he has mercy for miserable sinners. Mercy which will reach their case — and just suit them. Mercy that will pardon all their sins — however great or numerous they may be, and so thoroughly pardon them, that not one of their sins shall ever be brought against them in the judgment. Mercy that will pardon them the moment they believe in Jesus, and confess their sins to God.
They shall find, as David did, and he was no common sinner — but he found God ready to pardon him, and leaves this testimony behind him, "I acknowledged my sin unto you, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord — and you forgave the iniquity of my sin." As soon as he confessed — God forgave; and he is as willing to forgive you as he was David. He therefore sends this message, "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are as scarlet — they shall be as white as snow; and though the are red like crimson — they shall be as wool."
Lost sinners, when convinced by the Holy Spirit of their true state and condition, often feel very unworthy. Unworthy of God's notice or regard, and this sense of unworthiness often discourages them in their attempts to go to Jesus for salvation. But God sends you word that he has grace for the graceless — grace for the unworthy — free grace, for whoever will. Grace, that will change the heart, cleanse the conscience, and perfectly save the soul. He has abundance of grace, and he so loves to bestow it, that he never refuses one that applies for it. Refuses! Why he invites, exhorts, and almost beseeches us to come boldly to his throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help us in time of need.
Graceless sinner, God has grace for graceless ones, for unworthy ones; he has grace that will just meet your case, and save your soul — and the grace he has he gives, gives freely, gives freely to every one that applies for it. Only apply, and that grace is yours — obtain that grace and you are saved with an everlasting salvation!
You may be very poor, your needs may be many — but all you really need is included in the word grace; you may therefore obtain a supply for all your needs, by coming to God through Jesus. He has made provision for all the sinner's needs, and now sends this message to the poor, the halt, the maimed, and the blind, "Come, for all things are now ready!"
Some sinners, feeling their misery, and having a vivid sense of their unworthiness, give way to despondency, and conclude that for them there is no hope. Poor desponding soul, "I have a message from God unto you!" he says, "I have blotted out your sins as a cloud, and your iniquities as a thick cloud; return unto me, for I have redeemed you." And if you hesitate, or feel inclined to doubt whether you will meet with a kind reception, Jesus sends you this assurance, "I will in never cast you out." Nothing shall induce him to reject a coming sinner, or lead him to refuse the soul that flees to him for mercy. He says, and says to you, "As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you, and you shall be comforted." Come then, poor desponding soul — come to Jesus, and he will . . .
receive you graciously,
love you freely, and
save you eternally!
Careless sinner, God sends a message to you, he asks you, "Why will you die?" If you refuse to accept of God's mercy, if you neglect his great salvation, if you trifle and carelessly let things take their course — you must die. But why, why do you choose death? Why, why do you refuse God's message, persevere in sin, and carelessly force your way to everlasting burnings?
Obstinate sinner, God asks you, "What will you say, when I shall punish you?" Again he asks, "Can your heart endure, or can your hands be strong — in the day when I shall deal with you?" O sinner, sinner, "Have you an arm like God, or can you thunder with a voice like him?" "Because there is wrath, beware, lest he take you away with a stroke, then a great ransom cannot deliver you." "Consider this, you that forget God — lest he tear you in pieces and there be none to deliver you." There is a Deliverer now — but the time is coming, when there will be no Deliverer; then there can be no deliverance for the sinner — but he must meet his inevitable doom, and that doom will be dreadful.
Now, God sends to all sinners, to every sinner, and proposes a reconciliation. There is nothing in the way of it. God is prepared for it, and therefore he proposes it. Nor is it a mere cold and heartless proposal — but he sends his servants to treat with you, and endeavor by all means to bring about a reconciliation. He came down in the person of his Son to meet you, and he sends by his servants to assure you of his mercy, grace, and love.
Consider carefully these wondrous words, "God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God!" Then seek the Lord, seek him first, seek him heartily, seek him believing his word — and you shall soon enjoy pardon, peace, and present salvation.
Are you a backslider? God sends a message to you, exhorting, inviting, and entreating you to return unto him. He even puts words into your mouth. He assures you that he only requires you to acknowledge your iniquity — and then promises you a free, full, and everlasting pardon. Return then, backslider, return to your God — confess your sins, plead his promises, be restored to the enjoyment of his favor, and be happy once more.
Believer, "I have a message from God unto you!" He says, "I have something against you, because you has left your first love." You are not what you once were. You are not what you ought to be. God has something against you. But he has something for you too, he has more grace for you to receive, and more work for you to do. He bids you to reflect, "Remember from whence you have fallen." He commands you to repent. Change your mind, and change your course — for you have been thinking wrong, feeling wrong, and acting wrong. He requires you to engage yourself to him anew.
Come and join yourself to the Lord in an everlasting covenant. Return to your first husband — for then it was better with you than now. Go into his vineyard — and begin to work afresh. You have lost time, perhaps much time. You have let opportunities for usefulness slip away. Lose no more time — but repent and do your first works. Get the conscience thoroughly cleansed with the blood of Jesus; get the heart softened with the grace of God; get the whole soul stimulated with the love of God — and thus return to the days of your youth.
Reader, God's messages are plain — you may easily understand them; they are pointed — and you ought to feel them; they are profitable — and you ought to act upon them — so would they become pleasant, and you would bless and praise him for them.
God's messages should be received . . .
with reverence — for they are sent by the Great King;
with humility — for they are proofs of his condescension and grace;
with faith — for they are true and of the greatest importance;
and with a determination to heed and regard them.
What an honor God confers upon you, by sending a message to you at all, especially such a message. It is . . .
a message of mercy — to miserable sinners;
a message of grace — to unworthy sinners;
a message of provision made — for very poor and needy sinners;
a message of comfort — for desponding sinners;
a message to alarm — for careless sinners;
a message to solemnly warn — for obstinate sinners;
an invitation to backsliders to return — that they may once more be happy and holy;
a message of encouragement, direction, and winning love — to those who believe in Jesus.
Well, friends, I have delivered my Master's message. What answer will you return unto him who sent me? Will you receive his message with befitting respect? Will you attend to it at once, and with the heart? Will you treat it now, as you will wish you had treated it, when you stand before him in judgment? Much, O how much! depends upon the treatment this message receives at your hands. Do not insult the Lord by despising it, rejecting it, or ignoring it, saying, "When I have a convenient season — I may attend to it." The Lord is now noticing how you treat his message, and will call you to account for it at length, for "every one of us must give account of himself to God."