Editor’s Note: Sermon by Robert G. Lee (1886-1978).
And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven
times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shall be clean”
II Kings 5:10
“Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases”
The biography of Naaman is a precious contribution to the evidence that the love and care of God are not restricted within any limits of country or race, but are wide as the world. For King Benhadad, King of Syria, and for the nation, Syrian Naaman weighed sixteen ounces to the pound and measured thirty-six inches to the yard. He was Syria’s George Washington, or Eisenhower, or MacArthur. After Syria’s successful revolt against Assyria, he was occupying a high military post as commander-in-chief of the Syrian army. Highly esteemed by the King, Naaman —a man of great talents, strong personality, valor, and honor, his very name meaning “beautiful or pleasant to look upon”—was held in high favor by the nation as .the political saviour of his country “because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria” (II Kings 5:1) — deliverance meaning not merely victory, but prosperity of every kind. Greeted in city and country with the acclamations of his grateful countrymen, crowded with laurels, enriched with spoils, rich in re-nown, possessed of power, positioned as the right hand man of the king, he stood upon a proud eminence- the boast and toast of the land.
Yet, amid all the insignia of military glory and honor, and all the comforts of his wealth, there was one terrible thing to bring him low. Beneath his jeweled turban and scarlet uniform, he was a leper. Leprosy — loathsome to possessor and repulsive to the beholder— was the discord in his life’s sweet music, the subtle tempter in his life’s paradise, the drops of bitterness in his cup of delight, the black spot in his sunshine, the foul taint in his blood, the signature of death’s skeleton hand upon his flesh. What thoughts like millstones that crushed his spirit! — what woes for him and others! — what heart-ache! — what tears and sighs! — what mental an-guish! “He was a leper!”
What a sad thing it was that with all he had, he was a leper. How sad today that you can say about some men words like these: He is a great lawyer, but not a Christian. He is a great athlete, but not a Christian. He is a great political figure, mighty in political arenas, but not a Christian. He is
a great writer, but not a Christian. He is a marvelous musician, but not a Christian. Such have a biography like that of Naaman—and a condition less desirable because “he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:8).
How sad a thing it is, enough to make angels weep, when you say of a woman: She is beautiful of face, but she is not a Christian. She is lovely of personality, but she is not a Christian. She is as chaste as Mary, mother of Jesus, but she is not a Christian. Such are in a condition, before God, worse than that of the leprous Naaman before the people— because “she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she (liveth (I Tim. 5:6), and because “he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).
How sad it is for any man to know astronomy and not know Jesus, its Bright and Morning Star! —to know history and not know Jesus who is crowned by the centuries with the glory of al history—to know Botany and not know Jesus, the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley whose fragrance has perfumed the stifling atmosphere of continents —to have knowledge of many things and have no knowledge of Jesus who “of God is made unto us wisdom and redemption’ (I Cor. 1:30)! How tragic it is for people to be great musicians and know not Jesus whose name is ceaseless music at the throne of God and whose name sounds down the corridors of the centuries like themusic of all choirs, visible and invisible, poured forth in one anthem. How woefully sad it is to know the ages of rocks and know not and have not refuge in Him who is the Rock of Ages for sinners deft! How sad for men and women to have their names Written on scrolls of fame and not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
How tragic it is in time and eternity for folks to utilize chemicals that cleanse and have not the cleansing from all unrighteousness that comes from the blood drawn From Immanuel’s veins. How sad for any man to know law and not know Christ who is “the end of the law for righteousness to every-one that believeth” (Roman 10:4). How awful for a man to be a judge and hear the pleas of others and have no ears for God who commandeth all men to repent.
How sad for Naaman that he was a leper — with the certitude that from the skin the dread disease, making in the body of a man discolored swellings and abnormal decay, would slowly eat its way through the .tissues to the bones and joints, and even to the marrow, rotting the whole body piecemeal. And this meant Naaman would have to give up his place as right-hand man of the king, leave the wife of his bosom, the children of his loins and love, his home, his all, and dwell in awful lonely isolation, crying out “un-clean” to all who came nigh.
And leprosy is a type of sin. Sin is a deadly leprosy which has involved our whole race in one common ruin. Leprosy, God’s language by which he describes sin as it appears in his sight, is the most loathsome, polluting, defaming, unclean thing in the universe. Leprosy, an anaesthetic malady at first, is constitutional. So sin, undermining the constitutional order of man’s nature, reversing the harmony of his power, dismantling him of his nobility, threw man, woefully deranged, miserable, erratic, lost, in interminable leagues of night.
Sin, violation of God’s law, rebellion against God’s authority, reached its climax in world corruption, and caused the flood of Noah’s day, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sin, though it looks like a cloud no larger than a man’s hand, holds hurricane in its grasp. Sin, though it promises happiness, gives testimony that Hell, with all its power to damn, can not add one thing to the foul and deadly thing sin is. From dying Abel to Calvary’s brow, sin has but one objective — death. But Naaman was cured of his festering and putrid leprosy —and saved from a leper’s death. We shall show you how he was cured and, in doing so, try to point you to the Lamb of God slain—to :he Christ about whom it is written
“Christ died for our SINS”—I Cor. 15:3 “Christ died for the UNGODLY”—Romans 5:6 “Christ died for US”—Romans 5:8 ‘Christ died for ALL, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but- unto him who died for them, and rose again”—II Cor. 5:15.
Note the things Naaman did to be cured: Naaman
I — Admitted He Was a Leper
He did not say he had a toothache— and needed a dentist toextract the tooth. He did not sayhe had a headache and needed some sort of relief. He did not say he had indigestion or dyspepsia, and he would be on a diet until the King’s next banquet. He did not say he had rheumatism or an attack of whooping cough. He did not say he had a temperature and all he needed was an ice pack. No! He admitted that he had the leprosy — the insidious disease that ruins and rots and ravishes the body, making decomposition a cruel certitude.
Naa-man admitted he was a leper. Mrs. Naaman admitted he was a leper. Naaman’s children admitted he was a leper. So did his neighbors, his soldiers, his friends, his King— everybody.
What means that to you? You must admit that you are a sinner, lost and doomed and damned, without Christ as, your personal Saviour by faith. Like Pharaoh, you must say, “I have sinned.” Like Achan, like David, like Baalam, like Micah, like Judas who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, you must say, “I have sinned.” But you must be as the publican who, “standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful ito me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). And of the publican, Jesus said: “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other” (Luke 18:14).
But whether you admit it or not, God admits and declares that you are a sinner under .the yoke of the Devil. He admits it by every thorn that punctured the brow of Jesus, by every ragged mark of the scourge upon His back, by His face which was beaten into a pulp, by the jagged nail holes in His hands and feet, by the hole in His side where the savage Roman spear drank its precious libation of His.sinless blood, by the awful fact that on the Cross God ordered sin, your sins and mine, to execution in the body of His holy Son and dealt with Him as He must deal with sin — in severe and unrelenting judgment.
I note, too, that Naaman
II — Asked Definitely For a Cure
He was concerned about himself. His wife was concerned about her husband. His children were concerned about their father. His neighbors were concerned about their neighbor. There was concern in Naaman’s household and the king’s household. There was concern in the army barracks and on the street and country roads. There was concern everywhere in the land by everybody.
We need that concern about the welfare of souls that they had about Naaman’s physical welfare. Frederick E. Taylor says: “It seems to me we have lost a word out of our Christian vocabulary —CONCERN.” And I say that lost word is a greater loss to our churches than the lost chord to any musical realm — than any lost battalion in any military endeavour.
Unconcern is so unlike Jesus. Jesus was concerned about rich folks who had no concern for folks like Lazarus. Jesus was concerned about the young man who preferred riches to the high and holy possibilities of the Christian life. Jesus was concerned about religious people who preferred the fringes of spiritual matters to the heart — the shallows to the deeps.
Kipling, in The Convert, tells us of Lispeth, a native Indian girl. She was bitterly disappointed in love. The chaplain’s wife, who should have comforted her, was cold and unsympathetic. Laspeth turned her back on Christianity, saying — with a heavy heart: “To my own gods I go. It may be they shall give me greater ease, Than your cold Christ and tangled trinities.”
Would that we had the concern that Professor Tholuck had. Professor Tholuck, the great theological teacher, that successful enemy of German rationalism, in the midst of all his teaching, his work as an exegate, his book writing and publishing, while walking rapidly to the position of a worldwide reputation, gave four hours a day, we are told, to talking to students about their salvation — and when he was but a few years in his office as teacher, he was able to say that he knew where there were more than one thousand young men whom he had led to theLord. Truly we may believe that he said, as reputed: “I have but one passion and that is CHRIST.”
Would .that we had the concern a Cambridge graduate had. Robert Arthington, of Leeds, a Cambridge graduate, lived in a single room, cooking his own meals; and he gave to foreign missions five hundred pounds on the condition that it was all to be spent on pioneer work within twenty-five
years. A slip of paper was found after his death on which he had writtenthese words: “Gladly would I make the floor my bed, a box my chair, and another box my table rather than that men should perish for want of the knowledge of Christ.”
Too much are we guilty under the indictment Jesus brought against the people of his day: “Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye havenot wept” (Luke 7:31, 32)
But the third thing we notice here Naaman’s
III. Acknowledgment of His Inability To Cure Himself
The burden of his disease was upon him, his mind, amid the pursuits of the day, found no answers.. His thoughts can bring him no solution. Amid the shades of night, his eyes are wakeful. He sighs! He groans! He knows not what to do. He knows not where nor to whom to turn. Nor could the wife of his bosom tell him. Nor could the physicians of the land tell him specifics — as “an idiots’s tale full of sound and fury,” revealing no place where a cure could be found. But the record says: “And the Syrians had gone out by companies and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my Lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! For he would recover him of his leprosy” (II Kings 5:2,3). Like Joseph in Egypt, like Daniel in Babylon, this captive little maid was the instrument of making God known among the heathen. Thus a cure for the curse was pointed out, but the cure for the curse was not born of his own ability.
If it had taken intellect to think out a cure, Naaman had that —but leprosy could not be driven from the body by thoughts of the mind. If it had taken authority to bring about a cure, Naaman had that — because armies bowed to his will; but leprosy in his blood departed not at a command. If it had taken culture to assure a cure, he had that — because he moved in circles of cultural advantage; but leprosy givesno heed to culture. If it had taken character to make certain a cure, Naaman had that — because he was trusted by all; but leprosy disregards character as worms the welfare of an apple. If it had taken money to buy a cure, Naaman had plenty of that; but money can not bribe or buy leprosy to give up its piecemeal destruction of the body. So while Naaman soberly acknowledged that he could not cure himself, “one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus, and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel.” (II Kings 5:4, 5)
For you, the sinner, it means you must admit that you cannot save yourself. Could your tears forever flow, could your zeal no languor know, all for sin can not atone, Christ must save and Christ alone. No works of righteousness which you have done will save you— “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9). Not by character are you saved— because he who claims salvation by character makes a counterfeit out of character by passing it for more than it is worth.
Not by observance of any ceremony— because he who expects salvation by any ceremony seeks water ait a broken cistern where no water is. Not by your personal goodness can you secure salvation — because in God’s sight your best conduct cannot merit salvation. Not by the inconsistencies of others can you come out of your bondage, sorrow, and night
Only by faith in Christ who is your earliest, latest, and only refuge— who is the only one who can quell your remorse, end your bankruptcy, blot out the accusing and incriminating record, and be to you in life like .the spring sun putting the fogs of winter to shame. But if you cannot save yourself, will you continue to be lost? Will you refuse the medicine that cures your disease? Will you scorn the refuge provided? Will you scoff
at the diagnosis and the certain prescription of the Great Physician? God forbid that you should be so foolish!
We note now Naaman’s
IV — Repentance
Naaman made ready to go from Damascus, the capital of Syria, called “the Eye of the East,” to Samaria, the capital of ithe kingdom of Israel — about one hundred and twenty miles distant. “And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. And he brought the letter to the Icing of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy” (II Kings 5:5, 6).
Naaman “took with him” the letter from the King of Syria to the King of Israel. Naaman put value on that letter. I do not think he was a Baptist. Had he been like many today, he would have said that he did not know how long he would be in the land of Israel. Naaman “took with him” ten talents of silver, nearly twenty thousand dollars. To come before the king of Israel without a gift when a favor was to be asked would have been inexcusable rudeness. Naaman “took with him” six thousand pieces of gold, about fifty thousand dollars. About seventy thousand dollars in all did Naaman take. He also “took with him” “ten changes of raiment” — costly robes suitable for festive occasions. This very large present was quite in keeping with Naaman’s position, and was not too great for the object in view, namely: his deliverance from a malady which would be certainly, even if slowly, fatal.
Yes, Naaman was on a long trip ready to give a great amount to be physically cured. So would many today if smitten with disease be willing to go half way around the world and pay much money to be cured of physical ailment, but many are not willing to stand up or walk a yard or pay a dime to be saved from their sins. What fools some mortals be! Now the record says “And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? Wherefore consider, 1 pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me. And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel” (II Kings 5:7, 8).
So many seek salvation in the wrong place. Some who seek salvation go to the king instead of to the prophet—and are disappointed. Some seek salvation from their sins in good deeds, acts of kindness, or honesty, or abstinence from outrageous conduct. But they cannot there find forgiveness and a new heart. What can wash away my stain? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
But we read again: “So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the
Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean?”
But Naaman repented — and went. He had to do what God said. What does that mean for you? It means for you to repent “Except’ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). “I am come to call sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:13). “/ say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke15:7). “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:30, 31).
Repentance means a change of mind resulting in a change of conduct. The Greek word “straphate” means to turn around at once and take the opposite direction. It means if you have been going the direction and traveling the direction Satan points, that you will turn around and go the direction Jesus points and travel the road Jesus asks. If you have been saying no to Jesus, you will acknowledge the folly of such and say yes. If you are in darkness, you will go to the Light of the world for light.
We note now Naaman’s
V — Belief In The Promise of The Prophet
“And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean” (H Kings 5:10). Elisha gave this direction while Naaman was waiting in his chariot at the door for the prophet to come forth and humbly ask the great man what he desired —thinking that religion should bow obsequiously to wealth and power and rank, feeling that he was honoring Elisha by coming to his humble home. Naaman had no coercion of argument from Elisha. By human force, he could not overcome Naaman’s will.
By human force, you cannot make men believe. By human force, you cannot force the harness on anybody and compel them to work. By human force, you cannot make a man repent. But you can tell people how they can be saved — cured of sin and receive salvation. This Elisha did. And I believe Naaman believed he would be cured if he did what Elisha said. Though he had been shocked, expecting a demonstration, expecting the prophet to come out with much pomp and ceremony and pronounce a cure, he believed now that he would be cured. Though he was humiliated by being treated as a leper who happened to be a great man when he expected to be treated as a great man who happened to be a leper, still now he believed the prophet. His stormy passion was calmed, reason assured him.
What does that mean for you? It means that you must believe the Word of God. “The wicked shall be turned into hell” Believe that! “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). Believe that! “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). Believe that!
Consider now Naaman’s
VI — Dipping Under The Water
“Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (II Kings 5:14). The cavalcade which, after traveling over one hundred miles from Syria to Samaria, stopped at Elisha’s house now went the thirty miles to the river. Though Naaman had been angry at the reception he had received at the prophet’s house and at the simple prescription for his disease, he is now in the right frame of mind. He stood by the rolling Jordan, ready to dip beneath its waters. Gone now are his preconceptions. Not what he thought but what God said He would do, believing that only the means of God’s appointment could succeed. In truthful response, he was taking God at His word, having no objection now to the ease and simplicity of the requirement.
God was not asking of him the great thing — some deed of prowess befitting the mighty man of valor, some fatiguing journey by way of pilgrimage. God said: “Go and wash in Jordan seven times.” So the proud Naaman, the haughty conqueror, yields. He got down in the river — not ankle deep or knee deep or waist deep, but completely under. And not just one time or four or six but seven times. Not only in the journey to the
river, but in the repeated dippings was. Naaman’s faith put to a test.
For if we may judge from the fall of the walls of Jericho, which stood unmoved until the last time the Ark of the Covenant was carried around them, Naaman’s cure did not show itself until the whole of the ablutions were completed. But then “he was clean” — his flesh fresher and fairer than was natural in a full-grown man. The festering corruption gone! When he had dipped the seventh time, the leprosy was gone — not by the washing of water, but by the power of God. A new man he! His eyes are bright with light. Joy beams in every feature of his countenance! Clean he was — fit for the embrace of his wife and the kisses of his children.
What does this mean for sinful man—sinful you! You must get under the blood. What mean I by the words “getting under the blood?” Look back to the night in Egypt when the destroying angel passed through the land. The command was: “They shall take…every man a lamb.. .without blem-ish…and… kill it. They shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses.” ‘The blood shall be … a token upon the houses… and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Because of the blood marks up-on the doorposts, the first born was sheltered. God said: “When I see ithe blood, I will pass over” (Exod. 12:13-23). The blood of Christ, our Passover sacrificed for us, does the same for every sinner now who takes it home to himself in its spiritual reality. It both shelters and separates. The efficacy of Christ’s blood is beyond all question. “It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Lev. 17:11). The precious atonement of Christ forms the base of that platform on which a just God and a justified sinner meet in sweet communion. In that atonement I see sin condemned, justice satisfied, law magnified, sinners saved, and the adversary confounded. On Jesus’ cross this record’s graved, Let sin be judged and sinners saved.”
No Abana of our own wisdom can heal us. For those who wash by faith in the fountain of Jesus’ blood, there is perfect cleansing.
Again, we notice Naaman’s
VII — Public Obedience
As publicly, not in secret, Naaman left Damascus and came to Samaria; so publicly, not in secret, he went down the public highway. As publicly, not in secret he delivered the letters of his king to the king of Israel — as publicly, not in secret, he stood at tin preacher’s house — so publicly he showed his submission to Elisha’s directions. As on a public highway, he came from Syria’s capital to Israel’s capital so along a public road he went the thirty miles from Elisha’s house to the Jordan river.
Naaman did not say: “Let me have a closed carriage so nobody will see me.” He did not say to wait until the sun is down and darkness is upon the earth so no human eye can see me.” He did not say: “I will wait until the excitement dies down and disguise myself so nobody will recognize me.” Nor did he say that he would go unaccompanied. But in bright daylight, down a public highway to a public river, he and all his company went and publicly, with nobody to screen him from public gaze, he dipped seven times. Openly, as a leper, he went to Jordan Openly, before the eyes ,of all, he humbled himself. And not in secrecy, but openly, was he made clean.
What does that mean for the sinner? Just what the Bible says: “It is a faithful saying … if we deny him he will also deny us” (II Tim. 2:12). “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt.l0:32,33). Come kneel to him who came down from the heights of deity to the depths of humanity for you. Come in public and accept Him who received the wages of sin which He did not earn that you might receive eternal life which you do not deserve. Come to Him who was numbered with .the transgressors that you might be numbered with the redeemed. Come ito Him whose blood appeases every storm, heals every wound, blots out every sin, removes every curse, makes a heavy chain
into a gentle yoke.
Note, moreover, in all those things, Naaman’s
VIII — Promptness
Not an hour, not a minute, did he procrastinate. Not once did he make delaying excuse. Not once did have the put-off attitude. Not once did he say, “Tomorrow.” The time is Now. ‘Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart” (Heb. 4:7). But so many say, “Tomorrow.” Tomorrow is the philosophy of fools, the subterfuge of procrastination, the day you may never have. Tomorrow is a ship in which many have gone to shipwreck, a lamp that failed and left many in eternal darkness, a guillotine that has beheaded the hopes of Heaven for many, a key that has locked many in dungeons of despair, an inexorable jailor that has imprisoned many behind Hell’s bars. Tomorrow is the road that has often led to the House of Never.
Tomorrow, a word never written in the almanac of Time, may be too late to win that friend or loved one or neighbor to faith in Christ. Tomorrow, always written in Satan’s almanac, may toe too late to brighten the dark road which some with fear and trembling travel. Tomorrow, a rock whitened by the bones of mariners wrecked thereon, may be too late to lighten the load beneath which someone staggers. Tomorrow, the floating island of Lochlomond which none has ever seen, may be too late to extend the helping hand and to supply the weapons somebody needs in life’s battle. Tomorrow, the idiot’s cup in which is the sorcery of death may be too late to lift one who today is in the miry clay of the horrible pit. Tomorrow, the pot of gold at the root of the rainbow may be too late to keep someone from Hell. Tomorrow, the lost key to the treasure chest which nobody claims, may ‘be too late to become a fisher of men. Tomorow is a dream — a delusion! “Boast not thyself of tomorrow!” Life is too short to say, “Tomorrow.” Wisdom disclaims the word, nor holds society with those who use it. “Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2) — and he that beieveth NOW on the Son has everlasting life.”
As a Christian, will you Now forsake the vain things that charm you most? Are you willing to decrease that Christ may increase until He fills the whole of your horizon? Will you say goodbye to preoccupation of every kind? Will you serve with zeal for Christ’s honor and the conversion of men? Will you help perpetuate His rescuing and redeeming activities?
Yes, I ask, what will you do with Jesus Now? O backslider, look to your Lord now — and ask His forgiveness. Spare not yourself. Judge yourself in His presence. He will restore the joy of salvation. O, unenlisted Christian, step into the ranks Now. O, undedicated Christian, living the ‘halfway life, ‘having only that “shallow stream of piety that runs on sabbath days a fresher course,” place your all at His disposal Now. O, unsaved one, come to Him now! The world, which will cheat you, says, “Put it off.” Satan, who would destroy you, says: “Put it off.” But Christ says Now.
Be not held in the dangerous bondage of indecision; act as though TODAY was the decisive hour of human history for you. “Now perform the doing of it.” “Now hear the word of the Lord.” “Now amend your ways and your doing.” “Now … it is high time to awake out of sleep.” “Turn ye Now from your evil ways.” “Do this Now . . . and deliver thyself.” TODAY, which is your Saviour as to the question of TIME, is often crucified between two thieves — Yesterday and Tomorrow. Yonder clock says ‘TODAY.” Yonder calendar says “TODAY.” Yonder sick bed says “TODAY.” Yonder plane crash says ‘TO- DAY.” Yonder train wreck says ‘TO-DAY.” Yonder funeral procession says “TODAY.” Your own heart beat says “TO-DAY.” ‘Tomorrow” found only in the fool’s calendar when it comes to the soul’s destiny, is when the idle man works, the fool reforms, the unbeliever trusts, the thief becomes honest, the drunkard sober, the libertine pure.
“Be wise today! “Tis madness to defer.” “Today — if you WILL!” saith the Lord.