For the Lord’s Day, April 3, 2022
In preparation for both sermons tomorrow, I’d like to share the following stories with you (from Aquilla Webb’s One Thousand Evangelistic Illustrations):
Many years ago in Russia a regiment of troops mutinied. They were at some distance from the capital, and were so furious that they murdered their officers, and resolved never to submit to discipline; but the emperor, who was an exceedingly wise and sagacious man, no sooner heard of it than, all alone and unattended, he went into the barracks where the men were drawn up, and, addressing them sternly, he said to them: “Soldiers! you have committed such offenses against the law that every one of you deserves to be put to death. There is no hope of any mercy for one of you unless you lay down your arms immediately, and surrender at discretion to me, your emperor.” They did so, there and then. The emperor said at once: “Men, I pardon you; you will be the bravest troops I ever had.” And so they were. Now, this is just what God does with the sinner. The sinner has dared to rebel against God, and God says: “Now, sinner, you have done that which deserves My wrath. Ground your weapons of rebellion. I will not talk with you until you submit at discretion to My sovereign authority.” And then He says: “Believe in My Son; accept Him as your Saviour. This done, you are forgiven, and henceforth you will be the most loving subjects that My hands have made.” — W.R. Bradlaugh.
It is said that Luther during a serious illness seemed to see Satan coming to him with a great scroll, on which were written all the sins and errors of his life. Looking at him with a triumphant smile, he unrolled it before the saint: “These are your sins. There is no hope of your going to heaven.” Luther read the long list, with growing consternation, when suddenly it flashed upon his mind that there was one thing not written there. He said aloud, “One thing you have forgotten. The rest is all true, but one thing you have forgotten. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sins.” — H. F. Sayles.
These excerpts remind me of these verses in the Psalms we will sing to prepare us for the morning sermon, “Mercy is Merry and Mightiest” (based on James 2:13), and the evening sermon, “Forgiveness Best Comes First” (based on John 8:1-11):
Psalm 86:5: For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
Psalm 130:4: But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.