32534 In the hand of God
Every man and every woman that God has used to halt this sin cursed world and set it going God ward has been a Christian of prayer. Martin Luther arose from his bed and prayed at night, and when the break of day came he called his wife and said to her, "It has come." History records that on that very day King Charles granted religious toleration, a thing for which Luther had prayed.
John Knox, whom his queen feared more than any other man, was in such agony of prayer that he ran out into the street and fell on his face and cried, "Oh, God, give me Scotland or I'll die." And God gave him Scotland, and not only that, He threw England in for good measure.
When Jonathan Edwards was about to preach his greatest sermon on "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," he prayed for days- and when he stood before his congregation and preached it, men caught at the seat in their terror, and some fell to the floor; and the people cited out in their fear, "Mr. Edwards, tell us how we can be saved!"
I believe that if you will pray as you ought to pray, you will have more people at the altar in the next week than you have had in all the weeks that are passed. You have never had the people of this community in such a frame of mind as they are in now, and you may never have things as they now are again. Now is the time to save souls. If you can't save them now, God pity you, for you never will.
An old infidel - a blacksmith - said that he could refute any argument that a Christian could make. There was an old deacon there - he was a Baptist, and he heard of it. He told his wife and they got down on their knees and prayed until 3 o'clock in the morning. That morning the old deacon hitched up and drove over to see the man. He went into the blacksmith shop and the infidel was standing there, and the deacon stood before him. He said, "My wife and I prayed for you until 3 o'clock this morning." Then his eyes filled with tears and he sobbed and turned away. He couldn't think of one of the arguments he had prepared. He drove back home, and when he got there he said to his wife, "I've made an old fool of myself. It was all for nothing. When I saw him I just told him that we had been praying for him, then I broke down and couldn't think of another thing, and came home".
In the meantime the infidel went into his own house and he said to his wife: "I heard a new argument this morning." She said, "What was that?" "Why," he said, "the old deacon drove in to see me this morning and told me that he and his wife had prayed for me until 3 o'clock in the morning. Then he sobbed and went away." And the infidel said, "I'd like to talk to him." They drove over and he told the deacon why he had come, and it was not long before the deacon had him on his knees and he was saved.
A mother had some daughters, and they were frivolous and coquettish girls. She couldn't get them to give up their pleasures and live for God. She prayed for them, and finally one day she said to them: "I'm ashamed of you. I'm almost sorry that I bore you and held you on my knees. You care more for others than you do for your God or your mother. Others ask you to go with them, and you go. I ask you to go with me, and you won't go. I'm going into my closet and I'm going to pray for you, I don't know that I shall ever come out alive."
She went in and prayed. The hours went by and still she prayed. Finally there was a knock at the door, and one of her daughters stood there. She was weeping, and she said, "Mother, I want to be saved. I've come to pray with you." So the two of them prayed and the hours went by, and presently another daughter came and joined them there; and before night came all those girls had found Jesus.
Then, we learn a lesson of the spirit of deep concern over soul.
The spirit of concern that we find in the Bible puts to shame many who are in Omaha. Some of you have been coming to this tabernacle ever since the meetings were begun, but you have simply sat here. You haven't put forth a hand to bring anyone to Christ. If you are one of these, you are absolutely worthless so far as God is concerned. You are of no use to him and he looks on you as an unprofitable servant. How can you sit by while souls are going to Hell? What are you going to say to God about it after a while? Go and see an unsaved person die, and read the obituary not once, but twice, and realize that he died unsaved, and then see what you think of it!
Someone may say, "How do I know how God feels about it?" How do I know whether he is really concerned over sinners? I know it. It would be a sin of presumption if I did not. If God cared as little for the souls of men as some of you care, not a soul ever would have been saved - it is not possible for the human mind to have a greater conception of God than is revealed to us in Jesus Christ. For a man to say he loves God and then turn his back on Jesus Christ is an insult to the Almighty. You will find in Him just what your heart has been looking for, and you'll find it nowhere else.
I can see Jesus in the Garden looking down on Jerusalem and saying, "Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kills the prophets, and stoned them which are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathered her chickens under her wings, and ye would not." It is a matter of history that from that day Jesus turned away from the Jews. He never appealed to them again, but turned to the Gentiles - but God's got a plan for the Jews. So Jesus is God made manifest in the flesh.
Salvation all comes through Jesus. You've got to see Jesus in order to see God, and you've got to see God in order to enter Heaven. The hope of the world is in Jesus Christ. The hope of America is in Christ, not in free trade; it's not in the banking system, it's not in tariff reform, or conservation of natural resources or the ship problem or universities. We need a great tidal wave of religion.
One time I found a little boy in the street. After that boy had been restored to his mother, I found that the mother had been frantic for his return. She could not do enough to show her appreciation. It opened my eyes and I said, "God, I know how you feel about all this unsaved world, for I know how that mother felt over that little lost boy."
Another lesson we find is that much concern moves the unsaved for God.
Much concern is aroused by prayerHe told me that he had often apologized to God since then for calling it that. He would preach, and then he would say, "If anyone would like to join the Church, let them step in and meet the session." If that isn't as cold-blooded a proposition as you can find, I'll give it up. Nobody stepped in to meet the session. They didn't believe in excitement in the church. No, sir. If anybody wanted to join he could step in and meet the session.