THE CALL TO CONVERSION
Have You Been Born Again?
Author of “The Gospel of Salvation”
II. WHO CRUCIFIED CHRIST?
III. HOW JESUS WOULD DO IT
IV. HOLY GHOST POWER
V. JESUS THE SAVIOUR
IV. WAS JESUS REALLY THE SON OF GOD?
VII. VICTORY OF FAITH
VIII. THE UTTERMOST SAVIOUR
IX. GLORYING IN THE CROSS
X. HOLY GHOST POWER
XI. THE HATED JEW
XII. “SON, GO”
“And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” – Acts 16: 27-33.
This is the greatest question in all the world, in all the Bible. As a matter of fact, the Bible was written to answer it. It is a personal question. You cannot be saved for me. I cannot be saved for you. It is a pressing question. You must answer it. You will answer it. You are answering it. It is a present question. Before you leave this auditorium, you will have answered it one way or the other, for Christ or for the Devil, for Salvation or for Damnation, for Death or for Life, for Hell or for Heaven. The very importance of the question requires our deepest thought, study, consideration. Let us then analyze it from these three views. First, what is it to be saved? Secondly, why should we be saved? Third, what must we do to be saved?
The word “salvation” in the original language means “deliverance from danger” and “healing from disease.” This is the heart of our religion. We are delivered from the danger incurred by the guilt of our transgressions. We are healed from the diseases brought into our lives by sin.
To be saved, first of all, means to be freed from sin, from the penalty of sin. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to those which are in Christ Jesus.” “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law being made a curse for us.” “All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” All of the guilt, all of the pain, all of the punishment, for all of our sins, have been borne by the Lord Jesus Christ, and salvation frees us from them.
We are delivered from the pollution of sin. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” “Come, now, and let us reason together, sayeth the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” All the stain, the stigma, the blotting, the blemishing of sin is cleansed from our souls, from our lives, from our records by Calvary’s shed blood.
We are given the grace and strength to overcome the power of sin. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me,” is the dictum, not only of the Apostle Paul, but of every twice-born child of God. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever,” is the testimony, not only of the Apostle Jude, but of every one who has come to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan has no hold; sin has no attraction; temptation has no strength, that the child of God cannot break in the power of the Spirit.
To be saved means to be adopted into the family of God, to be made a child of God. “To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,” is for us as well as for the Apostle John. God becomes our father; Christ is our elder brother. We are heirs, joint heirs with Jesus to all of the treasures, all of the possessions, all of the powers of Heaven and Eternity. Surely, it is infinitely better to be a son, a daughter of God than a slave, a subject of Satan.
To be saved is to be baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, unto the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to as many as are far off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call,” is God’s offer to every man, woman and child in all the world. “By one Spirit are we baptized into one body,” is the unshakable, unmistakable triumph of every believer. It is the Holy Spirit who worketh in us both to will and to do after God’s own good pleasure.
To be saved means to be translated from earth to Heaven when our work is done, when our life is finished, here upon this earth. Heaven is the eternal home of every washed-in-the-blood son and daughter of the Most High. That is what Jesus meant when he said “In my Father’s house are many mansions. …I go to prepare a place for you. … I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” What eternal blessing, what never-ending joy, what everlasting happiness, is reserved for all those who have put their faith in the crucified, resurrected Son of God.
But why should we be saved? Wherein lies the necessity for salvation? What pressure or force of circumstances is there upon us to constrain us to seek this blood-purchased redemption? There are many reasons for it. I do not have time for all of them. May I press four of them definitely upon your souls?
We ought to be saved because we are all sinners. “There is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” covers every man, woman and child in all creation. There is no exception to that blanket description. There is no escape from it. There is no excuse out of it. Sin will either be pardoned in Christ or punished in Hell.
We need to be saved because every one of us is going to die. If the Lord Jesus Christ witholds His coming for a reasonable time, every one of us will go through the experience of death. We may not all be rich; we may not all be poor; we may not all be educated; we may not all be ignorant. There are as many differences between us as there are individuals here, but in this one thing we are all alike – we shall all die. It is a terrible thing to die unconfessed, unforgiven, unsaved. To die in the Lord is merely just one more experience of the Christian on the road to Heaven.
We need to be saved because we shall all face the judgment. “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” “It is appointed unto men once to die but after that the judgment.” Christians, unsaved ones, every one of us will face Jesus at the Judgment bar of God. We, who are Christians, are going to be judged for our works, not for our sins. The unsaved will be judged for their transgressions. It is a fearful thing to know that this same patient, long-suffering, tender, loving, sacrificing, atoning Jesus, whom you may have rejected, will be no longer a Saviour, but a Judge and an Executioner.
We must be saved because we must all spend eternity somewhere, either with God in Heaven or with the Devil in Hell. There is no third place. There is no period of purgatory or probation. It is Heaven or Hell, forever. The minute we accept Christ as our personal Saviour, that selfsame minute our feet are placed in the way of the Cross. We start our journey to Glory never to finish until we drop our crosses at the feet of the Redeemer, to receive our crowns of reward. If we refuse, or reject, or neglect Christ, there is nothing God can do to keep us out of the torments of an endless, bottomless Hell.
Now, what must we do to be saved? The answer is specific – “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Consider in whom we are to believe. It doesn’t say, “Believe on the Church and thou shalt be saved.” Thank God for that. Supposing it were to say that. Which church would it mean, the Baptist, the Methodist, the Presbyterian, the Catholic, the Church of Christ? It would put us in a desperate strait to decide which church to join. It doesn’t say, “Believe on the preacher and thou shalt be saved.” There are Modernist preachers and Fundamentalists. There are preachers who are called of God and preachers who have called themselves. The great majority of preachers are godly men, trying to serve the Lord and their generation, but our salvation does not depend on them. It does not say, “Believe on the church member and thou shalt be saved.” This obviates the excuse of the fact that there are too many hypocrites in our churches. It does not say, “Believe in yourself and thou shalt be saved.” That removes the difficulty of the Devil-suggested argument and alibi, “I am afraid I cannot hold out.” It says plainly, simply, definitely, universally, individually, eternally, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
What are we to believe about Jesus? We must believe that He is the virgin-born, the only begotten Son of God. We must believe that He died for our sins. We must believe that God raised Him from the dead and took Him back to Himself in Glory. We must believe that He wants to save us, that He can save us, that He will save us, if we but trust Him.
But what does it mean to believe? That is vital. That is important. It means three things, definite, plain, easy of comprehension. First, it means to rely on testimony, the testimony of God’s word about Jesus. “But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, you might have life through his name.” You believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Why? Because the Bible says so. You believe that He died on Calvary’s Cross for your sins, and the sins of the whole world. Why? The Bible says so. You believe that God raised Him from the dead. Why? Because the Bible says so. You never saw Him. You never saw Him die on the tree. You never saw Him raised from the dead. You never saw Him after the resurrection. Yet you believe all these things, because the Bible says so. That is Faith. That is what it means to believe.
Second, to believe means to depend on another person, on someone outside of yourself. Jesus is that person. He is the Rock and Foundation of our confidence. Faith means to step out on Jesus, to rely on Jesus, to stand in Jesus, to turn it all over to Jesus, to expect your salvation from Jesus. It means to look to Jesus and not to anyone or anything else in all the world. It means to look to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. It means to look to Jesus for sustaining grace and power. It means to look to Jesus for a supply of your needs. It means to look to Jesus for the answer to all your prayers. Personally, that is why I am so certain of my own salvation, because it all depends on Jesus. Times may change. Circumstances may change. Jesus remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. I trusted in Him for salvation. He saved me. If he saved me then, I am saved now, and I shall be saved a hundred years from now, an eternity from now.
Third, to believe means to accept the Holy Spirit’s offer. The Holy Spirit says, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” To believe means to do exactly just that, knowing that this offer and promise are backed up by the love of God, the Blood of Christ, the power of the Spirit. Believing means taking God at His word, doing what God says to do, and joyfully, unhesitatingly, receiving in full assurance the blessings God has in store for us. Believing is making a decision. Believing is taking a stand. Believing is entering upon a course of life and action.
For nineteen hundred years this offer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,” has been proposed to the children of men. For nineteen hundred years, from all the ends of the earth, men, women and children of every condition and circumstance have come to God by the Lord Jesus Christ. They have accepted and confessed Him as Saviour and have gone on their way rejoicing. This way is open to each of you. Will you take it, now?
Gypsy Smith tells this story over and over again:
He was in his home in Cambridge, England, one afternoon, when there came a knock on the door. He walked over to the door, opened it, and in walked a bedraggled, dishevelled, dusty, torn-clothed gypsy stranger. He acted very shyly.
He said, “Are you Gypsy Smith, the preacher, the evangelist?”
“Yes,” replied the preacher, “I am. What do you want?”
“I have a nineteen-year-old boy,” replied the man. “He is out in the meadow in a covered wagon about to die. The doctor said he could do nothing for him. The boy is not a Christian. I am, but a poor one. Won’t you please come and help my boy in?”
Gypsy got his hat and coat and followed the man out to the covered wagon. Climbing in from the back, he ordered the father to draw back the curtains so that the sun could shine upon the outstretched boy. The sick one was tall, emaciated, yellow of skin, with the pallor of death upon him. The preacher knelt by the boy’s side and said, “Son, I am a preacher.”
The boy remained quiet, his eyes closed.
Gypsy Smith went on, “Do you know you are going to die, son?”
The boy nodded his head.
“Son, are you a Christian?”
The boy shook his head.
“Do you want to be Christian?”
The boy nodded his head several times, his eyes still closed.
“Son, have you been to church much? Have you read the New Testament?”
The lad, keeping his eyes closed, shook his head to each question.
“Son, would you be willing to do what God tells you to do to be saved?”
Again the boy nodded his head. Gypsy took out his own little Testament, turned the pages, and read, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
“Do you understand it, son?”
The boy shook his head. The preacher read it again and again and again, three times over. Before he could say anything, the boy opened his eyes and asked, “Mister, can I read it?”
Gypsy said, “Can you read?”
The boy said, “A little.”
Gypsy put his arm under the boy’s shoulders and lifted him to a sitting posture.
“Son, you see where it says 16? Read right there.”
The boy couldn’t read well; he had almost to spell out every word as he read very, very slowly, “For – God – so – lov-ed – the – world – that – he – gave – his – on-ly – ” and the rest of it.
“Son, do you understand it now?” asked the evangelist.
The boy didn’t answer, but went on reading the verse. He knew it almost by heart, when he shivered and stiffened a little.
Gypsy laid him down again on the pallet. Spasms of pain crossed the boy’s face. He kept on whispering, “For – God – so – loved – the – world – ,” Gypsy helping him as he went along. Again the boy opened his eyes and looked into the face bending over him.
“Mister,” he whispered, “does that mean that God loves me?”
“Yes, son, that means that God loves you.”
“Mister, does that mean that God gave His Son for me?”
“Yes, son, God gave His Son for you.”
The boy was quiet for a minute, then asked, “Mister, does that mean that I can believe in Him?”
“Yes, son, that word ‘whosoever’ means you and me and your daddy and the whole world. It does mean you may believe on Him.”
“Mister, nobody ever told me. Are you sure it all means me?”
“With all my heart, I know it means you.”
The boy looked up at him again, then closed his eyes and went on whispering, “God – so – loved – the – world – ” and all of it.
Quiet moments sped past. After a while, with great hot tears coursing down his cheeks from under closed eyelids, the boy whispered,
“It means me. It means me. Nobody ever told me. It means me. It means me. Nobody ever told me. It means me.”
Gypsy knelt there quietly, praying. The boy kept on whispering, “Nobody ever told me before. It means me. I believe it. It means me. I believe it.”
He stiffened out, shuddered, and died. Gypsy says the boy was saved, and that his soul went to be with Jesus. With all my heart, I say, Amen, to that.
All of your lives, you have heard that cry, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” You know it means you. Will you, right now, come to Jesus. Believe on Him. Accept Him as Saviour. Confess this wonderful Jesus, who loved you and died for you as your personal Redeemer.