Luke 4: 38-39; 5: 1-8;
John 4: 4-24;
Luke 10: 30-35
I want to speak about divine interest in you. Maybe you have not thought very much about how divine Persons are interested in you. Maybe you have not thought too much about how much they have mapped your pathway thus far, taken account of your pathway, in many cases hedged you in, and have brought you to this occasion. And divine Persons are very concerned as to what kind of results they are going to get from you.
The Lord Jesus is very interested in you. Think of the expenditure there has been so far because Scripture says that, “We being still sinners, Christ has died for us”, Rom 5: 8. The work has all been completed, it is all finished, and the presentation of the glad tidings is what God delights in today. He delights in the presentation of the glad tidings because Jesus has done the work. He has completed it, and He has completed it to God’s infinite satisfaction and delight, and that is what God is finding His pleasure in today. He is finding His delight in what Christ has done, and the presentation of the glad tidings is so that you might come to appreciate it too. Think of the value of coming in and understanding something of God’s appreciation of Jesus. You can do that, and God would present Him today in the glad tidings so that you might be attracted to Him. You can go through the Scriptures and you can see where persons altered their course because God was speaking to them. You think of Moses in the wilderness and he saw a bush burning, which I do not think was an uncommon sight, but there was something that took his eye because the bush was not being consumed. So he drew aside, and God was able to speak to him.
Now God may be speaking to you in this preaching. He has maybe spoken many times in the preaching to you, but tonight He is speaking afresh. Perhaps something has come in to your life of late, and God is very interested in it. And there is one thing I want to say - the Lord Jesus wants you to put your trust in Him, because He is able to do far more for you than you can do for yourself. He wants you to trust Him. Now you have got to have your initial trust, and you need faith for that, you need faith to believe, you need faith to put your trust in Him to be able to understand, to be able to see that Christ carried out the great work of redemption at Calvary’s cross, and that He laid a basis in it for your blessing. How great it is! But you think of how He wants your trust, He wants you to put your trust in Him. He wants you to be able to turn to Him at any time.
Do you pray? There was a woman here who prayed. Do you turn to Jesus and ask Him to help you? It is a very simple thing. It is not just a Monday night matter, because for each one of us our pathway is different, and your exercises are different from my exercises. But the Lord Jesus knows them all, and He is ready to help you. It is right down to the smallest detail, the detail of your life. You think of the Lord Jesus looking at you tonight to see if there is going to be a response from your heart for Him. He died to save you. You think of that work. You think of Him coming into this scene to die, the only One of whom it could be said of that He came to die. We come here and we come here to live, we want to live. But He came to die. That was the specific purpose: to give up His life and lay a basis for salvation in the shedding of His precious blood.
And think of what He had to go through. He had to be rejected. Man had to say, “Away with this man!” (Luke 23: 18). “We will not have Him to reign over us” (Luke 19: 14). You might say it was the best of men, the religious world, and yet they said, ‘Away with Him’. They did not want Him. It speaks about the stone which the builders rejected, as if they tried to fit Him into their system and He would not fit. They rejected Him, and that would be the very same today. The world is the same today, it would reject Him. He had to go to Calvary’s cross and He had to suffer under the hand of man. Think of the humiliation and the ignominy of man accorded to Him. They spat at Him, buffeted Him. Think of what He suffered. He had to say beforehand, of course, “But this is your hour and the power of darkness” (Luke 22: 53), and you think of the way it was unleashed.
Then it came to these three hours of darkness when the Lord Jesus had to be the sin-bearer, and He had to suffer as to sin and sins, and He had to die there. Everything that stood out against us He had to take on. He “gave Himself a ransom for all”, 1 Tim 2: 6. Think of the wonder of that, the greatness of it, the spread of it: a ransom for all. Yet it is only those that come under the shelter of the blood that get the benefit of it.
Well, the gospel, dear friends, goes out in all its attractiveness so that you might understand that He died there for you. I can say, ‘He died for me’. I can say, ‘He suffered for me, for my sins’. God has given you a conscience so that you might feel your condition before Him. You think of a sin-hating God, a holy God, yet moving from His own side. The Lord Jesus came into manhood so as to be able to draw near to man and accomplish the great work of redemption and so that He might bring you back to Him. Think of His interest in you; think of the cost it has been to divine Persons to set this gospel preaching on in Aberdeen tonight. That is what it comes down to, that there has been terrific cost on God’s side, and now God is appealing to your heart that you might open your heart and receive Christ tonight. Has everyone here received the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour? You have to do that yourself. There are many things that your parents can do, there are many things that your friends can do for you, but when it comes to your salvation you have to exercise faith yourself.
God is interested in you and He would encourage you. You might say that He would hedge you in; He would put everything in the way so as to make it easy for you to open your heart and let Christ in. So you have been baptised; everyone here no doubt has been baptised. It may be that it was not your responsibility that you are baptised yourself. It is a baptised house, your parents have done it - you have been brought on to Christian ground. But then you have to answer to it too because the eunuch could say, “Behold water; what hinders my being baptised?”, Acts 8: 36. He said in effect, ‘The Lord Jesus suffered on Calvary’s cross and He died, and He shed His precious blood and He went into the grave and He went out by death, and I want to be out of sight too’. That is what baptism means, he wants to go out of sight. The first man had been dealt with on the cross. God is not viewing man today in the flesh, but He is looking at man in all the preciousness of what the Lord Jesus has done. How wonderful to think of it, in reconciliation. Think of the whole world in reconciliation. Think of God not imputing trespasses! Think of Him looking over your history and He is not imputing anything to you.
You know, the books are closed just now. There is going to be a day when the books are going to be opened and every detail of a person’s life is going to be in these books. But they are not open today: God is not imputing trespasses. He is still recording trespasses, but He is not imputing them. What glad tidings! He is inviting you to accept Christ today, and in the blood of Jesus all your sins can be washed away. How glorious! How wonderful! How about your sins? Scripture says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”, Rom 3: 23. I can look at everyone here and I can know that you are a sinner, and the exercise is as to whether you are a saved sinner. Has everyone come under the shelter of the blood of Jesus? Do you know what it is to have your conscience cleared? You may have a bad conscience. You may be suffering in your conscience. You may know that your history is not what it should be. The Lord Jesus can cleanse you from every sin and every stain. The glory of the work of Christ can remove everything. What glad tidings! So the Lord Jesus is looking into your heart today, and He is looking into it that you might decide for Him.
We read about Peter first of all. The Lord Jesus came into Peter’s house and his mother-in-law was in a fever, and the Lord Jesus healed her. It did not seem to have any effect on Peter. Maybe you have been under many preachings and they have not had much effect on you at all. Then the next time Peter is under the word of Christ he is on the boat - it draws out and He is speaking to the people. You think of the wonder of that, the grace of the Lord Jesus, that He was really after Peter. The Lord Jesus was after one person - He was after Simon Peter, and he went from his house; then he went down to the sea, and it says that Christ spoke the word of God, and it still did not have any effect on him. Then He says to Peter, “Draw out … and let down your nets for a haul”, v 4. Think of the grace of the Lord Jesus that He would go on patiently, speaking to you, speaking to you in your history, speaking to you in your life, maybe your time at school or something. Something comes in, and you feel the Lord Jesus is speaking to you, and here He is, He is speaking to Peter. It does not seem to have any effect but then He says, “Draw out now”, and Peter says, ‘Look I have been trying all night and I have got nothing’. But do you know what he came to? He says, “But at thy word …”, v 5. Now when the word of God comes, just accept it, accept the word of God tonight. The Lord Jesus would press that on you, just to accept His word tonight. You will get blessing because Peter went out and here he found that the Lord Jesus was not only wonderful at helping his mother-in-law with the fever, and speaking, but He was able to bring all these fish into the net. And it says, “But Simon Peter, seeing it, fell at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord”, v 8.
Now that is what the Lord Jesus is expecting, not for you to go out of this room but for you to fall at His feet. You think of how attractive the Lord Jesus is. He would draw you to Him. You might feel how wretched and how wicked you have been, but the Lord Jesus would attract you to Him as the One who is able to save you from all your sins. That is the glory of the glad tidings: here is Peter, He got Peter. No doubt many of you here have been brought up in Christian households, and the Lord Jesus is looking for you. Think of how the Lord speaks. He got his mother-in-law, then later it says the partners were brought into it too, those that were in the business with him, He got them too. Think of how the Lord is working. He is working one by one, because it says in scripture that many came to Him, those that were needing to be healed, and He touched each one of them. You have to do it individually. It is a glorious gospel, but you have to say to Him individually.
Now I also want to say about the need of trust because you do need to trust Him. He is the only One that will never let you down. Now remember that, remember that from this preaching, that the Lord Jesus is the only One that will never let you down. Your friends may let you down; the brethren may let you down. I am not being critical in saying that because there is only one Man that will never let you down, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why you need to trust Him. You need to be able to come to Him in any difficulty and prove His help and His power in what He is able to do.
Now the woman in John 4, He drew her out but she had to do something. The person in Luke 10 did not do anything; he was in a half dead state. The Lord Jesus did everything for him, but He speaks to this woman to draw her out. How the Lord would draw near to you, and He would ask you questions. You think of Luke 24, the two going to Emmaüs, and He drew alongside them and He questioned them. They spoke of all that has happened in Jerusalem, and He said, “What things?”, v 19. Think of how the Lord in His patience would draw near to you and ask questions to draw you out to see where you stand so that He might fill your heart, and you might get some fresh impression of the glory of His greatness, the One who has gone through death, the One who has accomplished redemption, and the One who is now seated on the Father’s throne. Think of it! Think of the greatness and glory of the One who can be your Saviour today. He has not only gone through death but He has come out alive, and He has ascended, and He is glorified, and it is from heaven that the gospel comes.
So this person was asking Him questions. First of all she did not understand why He even spoke to her. There are many like that today. You think of the other Simon in Luke’s gospel, where the woman came behind Jesus weeping and Simon said, “This person if he were a prophet would have known who and what the woman is who touches him …”, Luke 7: 39. The Lord Jesus is very near to you; He is very approachable and He is ready to bless you. This woman did not understand but the Lord drew her out because He had great things in mind. She must have been reasonably intelligent because she said, “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and ye say that in Jerusalem …”, but the Lord had more than that because He was eclipsing everything. It did not relate to Samaria and it did not relate to Jerusalem at all because He says, “God is a spirit; and they who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth“. “For also the Father seeks such as his worshippers.” There is a whole new avenue now opened up to you. Think of this water that the Lord would give you! “Whosoever drinks of the water which I shall give him shall never thirst for ever, but the water which I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water”. Have you got that water? It speaks of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, and that is what is needed because we are here for a time to be spent for Christ.
You think of the thief on the cross. He did not really have any time, but you think of his testimony, “But this man has done nothing amiss”, Luke 23: 41. What a testimony! Well, what kind of testimony do we have? In the gospel there is the gift of the Holy Spirit. He would give you power in your testimony so that you might be here for Christ. There is no intention of you being saved and just left to go on your own. The gospel comes that you might have part in God’s service. That is what the Lord Jesus was speaking of here, “They who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth”. We have to have part in that, part in the worship, what is the outflow of the heart to God in thankfulness. You think of God wanting you to have part in His service. What dignity! How great that is. You might say, ’Who am I?’ Think of the interest that the Lord has in you. You might not think you are much. You need to be here for Christ and you need to test the Lord and prove Him in the exercises you go through. You need to prove Him.
Think of Gideon in the Old Testament, in Judges 6. It says he was told what to do and he was not sure. He says, ’Look, I am going to put a piece of fleece down, and if the dew is on the fleece and it is dry all round then I will know’, and God did that. Then he said, ’Do not be angry - do it the other way round, may the fleece be dry and the dew on everything else’. You think of how patient God is, and He would draw you out so that you might prove Him, prove Him in your life. There is a need for that at the present time. Exercise faith and prove God in your life, so that your life is not just a blank, but something definite comes into your life, so that you might be here for Him. What does that involve? It involves that you keep yourself, that you go through this scene for Him, and that you know that you are brought into this inn. You are brought into this great area where you can enjoy the divine presence. That is what God has in mind.
The woman in John 4 went into the city, and she became a preacher herself. She did not even think about it. She did not need to think about it because she was so full of her impression of Christ. She says, “Come, see a man who told me all things I had ever done”. Think of how in a flash, she saw how Christ knew everything about her; and that is what matters. Christ knows everything about you, and He still loves you, and He still wants you. You might say, ‘What a history I have had!’ But then the Lord Jesus would say, ‘I know, I know’.
Think of the greatness and glory of being attached to a system, a glorious system, where the Lord knows all about you, and He is here to support you and strengthen you. There is a need of committal. I wonder if everyone here has committed himself wholeheartedly to Christ. Think of the matter as to the breaking of bread. That was the one thing that the Lord asked, ‘Remember me’. Think of the Lord asking for you to remember Him. Think of the preciousness of that, that in this very scene in which He was cast out, in which He was rejected, He says, ‘Would you remember me?’. It is only temporary, it is only going to be for a short time because the Lord Jesus is coming again and that service will no longer be required. But at the present time of His absence, He is no longer here, and He says, ‘While I am away, you remember me’. Well, it is a privilege for us, a glorious privilege and we need to take it up. I do not know if I need to say very much more.
In Luke 10, here is this certain man, it does not say his name, but it says he was journeying, and he descended from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was leaving Jerusalem. He may have been disillusioned. Maybe he had just given everything up. He had known brighter days but he says, ‘I am away off to Jericho’. The little he had, the robbers took it all away, and they left him in a half dead state. I wonder if there is anyone backsliding, anyone thinking of going away. The good Samaritan is always available - He is ready. It says he came up to him, as if the Samaritan went even lower, and He came up to him and bound up his wounds, and put him on his own beast and took him to the inn. It does not say that the man has even asked for it. Maybe you have got into such a state you do not know what to do next. The Lord Jesus would draw near to you and He would say, ‘I can do everything for you’. Well, may it be so for His Name’s sake!
5th June 2005