Hebrews 4: 13
Romans 3: 23
1 Timothy 2: 3 (from “our Saviour God”) - 6
1 John 1: 7
John 16: 13
Each of these scriptures that I have read contains the word “all”. I suppose the children would know what that means. If I said, ’All of the people in this room’, you would know that would include everyone; no-one would be excluded. It is a complete thought, a full thought, and in the glad tidings we have to do with what is full, what is complete. In this world in which we live, man tries his best to do certain things, but he always falls short. He is not able to do things completely. He runs out of time, runs out of money, runs out of the will to do it, runs out of resources. He is not able to do things completely, but it is a wonderful comfort to know that in the glad tidings we have to do with what is full, what is complete. But it is also a solemn thing to see first of all the complete failure of man, the complete inability to do anything for himself in the way of salvation, the complete failure to meet God’s standard.
Where we read in Hebrews it speaks about all things being seen by God. What impressed me was that not one thing is “unapparent before him; but all things are naked and laid bare to his eyes”. Do you know that, dear friend? That is an absolute statement, “all things are naked and laid bare to his eyes”. That is God. He is the One with whom we have to do, and we have to do with Him. It is not optional. You might not want to do with God. You might think you can avoid Him. God sees everything that you do without exception. He saw what you did last night. He saw the things you were occupied with. He saw where you went yesterday. He saw who you spoke to. He saw the company you were keeping, and not only that, He saw what you were thinking. If I was there I could see where you go, and what you do, but I could not see what you were thinking. I cannot see what is in your heart. God can. How does that make you feel? How do you feel? You might think, ’I am quite good at covering things up so that my parents do not even know it, my friends do not know it, my wife or my husband does not know it’. God knows it. You cannot hide it from Him. “And there is not a creature unapparent before him; but all things are naked and laid bare to his eyes” - complete, full knowledge of everything: that is God, that is the One with whom we have to do.
The wonderful thing is that although God knows you, knows what is in our heart and sees that it is disobedience to Him, wanting to satisfy the flesh, He has also provided the answer so that there can be a change with you; so that you do not have to try and cover things up. You can just be open and honest with God. The gospel is a time to be honest with ourselves before God. A lot of what goes on in the world, in systems of men, or in the media, may look good and have an appearance of what is right, but it is only a very thin veneer, and below it is corruption driven by “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”, 1 John 2: 16. That is what is in the world and God sees all these things.
In Romans where we read, it is very clear that there is no difference between persons. It is speaking about different persons, such as Jews and Gentiles, and there is no difference, no difference depending on your nationality, background, or the company that you keep, or the upbringing that you have had, or the life that you live. There is no difference, “for all have sinned”. That is a complete statement: “all have sinned” - that includes you, and it includes me - “and come short of the glory of God”. It is interesting that “all have sinned” is in the past and “come short” is present. That is - we do “come short of the glory of God”. You might say, ’I have tried hard to be good. I have tried to do what would please God. I have tried to be obedient to Him. Is that not enough?’. Have you found that you have succeeded? God gave man a full opportunity to prove that he was able to obey God, to be subject to Him. He gave him the law; He gave him a set of commandments. How far did man get? How far would you have got? How far would I have got? No further than those that failed so quickly. Come to it that there is nothing you can do for yourself, and that you are a sinner. What are you going to do? What a hopeless situation you find yourself in. I realise that I am a sinner, and I come short of the glory of God. God is not going to lower His standards. God is not going to overlook anything, or pretend that your sins do not exist. A price has to be paid on your account. Are you going to be able to pay it yourself? Oh, dear friend, it is not possible, and the best that you could do is not enough. It says in Luke’s gospel, “as they had nothing to pay ...”, chap 7: 42. Come to it that you have nothing to offer God in relation to your sins or your sinful state. You are just another sinner from Adam’s race, descended from the disobedient one and, not only that, practising disobedience, proving that you are from that race, disobeying God. Think of how simple God’s requirements for men were, simple obedience, subjection to Him, “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole of man”, Eccl 12: 13. How far have I got in doing that? I fail hopelessly but we can thank God that He has provided One who did satisfy Him, who obeyed Him perfectly, and His name is Jesus. Do you know Him? I am sure you have heard His name before, the name of Jesus. What does that Name mean to you? He wants to have to do with you. He is speaking to you. He wants to speak to you about your soul, that soul that everyone here has, a soul that is never-dying.
I read in Timothy because it speaks there about God’s attitude. You might think that, God having seen that all were sinners, He might have given up on man. We might think He might have said, ’Man has proved himself to be a failure, I will give up on him’. Thanks be to God that He has not done that! God has a perfect standard of righteousness and holiness but He is also a God of love:
The heart of God is love;
That love extends to thee
Think of that dear friend: God’s heart of love is towards you as an individual. We have spoken of all men, we have spoken of God knowing all things, He knows everything about you, and He knows that you are a sinner but, dear friend, what does it say? “Our Saviour God, who desires that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”. That is wonderful, is it not? God has not excluded anyone. It might be thought that it would be reasonable for God to preach forgiveness to those who would be considered to have had quite good lives, preach the gospel to them, but those that would be considered really wicked, He cannot possibly preach to them. No matter who you are or what you have done, no matter how good or vile you are in your own estimation or anyone else’s, you are a sinner in God’s estimation; but He commends His love to you. Even what you might think the smallest sin is abhorrent to God. You have personally offended God. I have personally offended God. Do not make light of sin. We might think a sin is of little account - just telling a little lie, just doing my own will instead of His; but these things are offensive to God. But He is One “who desires that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”. That is God’s desire, that you should not remain in your sins, because God will ultimately have to judge persons, and He will judge perfectly and righteously, and there will be no appeal court. In this country and in these times it seems there are more and more avenues for appeal. You can keep appealing to a higher and higher court. When the day of God’s judgment comes there will be no appeal. God will be righteous in doing that. Do not trifle with what God has to offer in the glad tidings. He “desires that all men should be saved”, and how is He going to do it? Further down it says, “the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all”. There it is again. A ransom only for the good? No! A ransom only for those in the Western world? No! A ransom only for those from a middle class upbringing? No: “a ransom for all”. What a Saviour! What a work! How has He done it? How has this price been paid? Do you know what a ransom is? It is a price that has to be paid to set someone free, and, you know, sin holds us captive; but the price has already been paid; but you need to accept in faith that it was paid for you; to believe is that Jesus paid that price Himself. How did He do it? Did He do it by some vast sum of money? Did He do it by some political arrangement? Did He do it by some words of power? No, dear friend, He “gave himself a ransom for all”. He gave up that life that was precious to God, that life that was perfect. There was no-one else ever like that on the earth, perfect. Think of God’s delight in Him in His life here. It was that life that had to be given up for you and for me who were without any hope at all; but He did it, He finished it, that work that God gave Him to do. What a Saviour! Do you know Him? Have you accepted Jesus for yourself? If you do not, you have no hope. I appeal to you, that you have to do with Jesus now, “the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all”. That is a wonderful thing!
The children know that He came to Bethlehem’s manger, a Babe “wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and lying in a manger”, Luke 2: 12. It was not a grand entrance in the world’s view. But He was God, God Himself come down to draw near to persons; not to frighten them, but to draw near to them. He came into manhood’s form, not an angel, not some other being, but into manhood’s form, so that He could draw near to men like you and me, so that we could draw near to Him, so that we could believe on Him. But that perfect life in which He did nothing but the Father’s will ended in death, ended in a cruel and wicked death which exposed the heart of man for what it was, because they crucified Him, they crucified the Lord of glory, they crucified the Originator of life. Think of that, One who was God Himself, but here in manhood allowing Himself to be taken by men, a perfect Man crucified on the cross. Why? For anything that He had done? Far be the thought! He was perfect. The wages of sin did not apply to Him, the penalty of death did not apply to Him. He was sinless, He was the sinless One, but He went to the cross for you, if you believe. Do you believe it? Do you have faith? God would give you faith to believe it: He gave Himself “a ransom for all”. Can you say, ’He gave Himself a ransom for me’? He paid that price in dying and shedding His precious blood so that I could go free before God. What a wonderful Saviour He is! Think of Him there on the cross. Think of man in his hatred putting Him there, and think of Him bearing in those three hours of darkness what no man could bear apart from that sinless One. Think of Him being abandoned of God. Think of the pouring out of God’s wrath on the head of Jesus in condemnation of sin, on that sinless One, who was “made sin for us”, 2 Cor 5: 21. What a Saviour, dear friend! He went that way for me. Can you say He went that way for you? I trust you can because, if you can your sins are forgiven you can have peace towards God, and know that your eternal salvation is secure and that nothing can change it. What a wonderful free and full message there is in the glad tidings.
I read in John’s epistle because it says there “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin”. You might accept He gave Himself a ransom for all men, but you may ask is it for all their sins, is it for all my sins? “The blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son cleanses us from all sin”. Would you like to have a sense of being completely clean before God? God looks at you as a sinner and He looks at me, and if we do not have our sins forgiven, have them covered by the blood of Jesus, He sees them there, outstanding in their scarlet and crimson dye, clearly apparent to Him and offensive. But if they are covered by the blood of Jesus they are gone and they are gone forever. How would you like to be able to stand before God, and not be afraid of Him looking at your heart, because He sees Jesus has been received there? Would you let Jesus into your heart? He wants a place there and He deserves a place there. Let Him in! You will never regret it. Think of Him cleansing us from all sin. You might say, ’what if I sin again?’. Well, “the blood of Jesus Christ … cleanses us from all sin”. All our sins are covered and we can go on, in the assurance that our sins are covered.
Have you repented to God? Have you accepted that you are a sinner? Have you confessed your sins to Him? Confession, it has been said, is the fruit of repentance (FER vol 20, p42). You do not have to tell anyone else about those sins. You must own them to God, tell them to the Lord Jesus. You can confide in Him. You do not have to be afraid. He knows them all anyway, but He loves persons to come to Him and tell Him that they need Him as their Saviour. Have you done it? I urge you to do it, dear friend.
I read in John’s gospel where it speaks about “the Spirit of truth”. This is the Lord Jesus speaking. He is speaking to those that loved Him while He was here on earth, and He is comforting them because He is going away. The Lord Jesus is not here any more; that is apparent. He died, He shed His blood, He went into the grave, but He did not remain there. He was raised by the glory of the Father. He laid down His life Himself and He took it again. He had authority to do so. Not only that, not only was He seen by many after He had risen from the dead, but He went into heaven, and that is where He is tonight, and it is from heaven that He is speaking to you. What He says here is that Someone else is coming, “the Spirit of truth”. What will He do? “He shall guide you into all the truth”. God has nothing but full and complete blessing in mind for you. You might think, ’I have been such a bad sinner, perhaps God will only just forgive me my sins but keep me in a place where I am made to feel guilty’. No, dear friend, that will not do! That will not do for God. He wants you to be in full liberty in His presence. If you are a believer He has justified you. That means that you are no longer held as guilty before God, because God has cleansed you and has done so on a righteous basis. You might think that, if someone offends me and I forgive them, other people can still look at that person and say that he is guilty, but in the presence of God sinners justified cannot be accused. Satan would try to do that. He would try to make you feel bad about your sins, try to bring up the guilt of them again, but God will not do that. Their guilt is gone, gone forever. What a wonderful comfort! But there is more, “he shall guide you into all the truth”. You know what a guide is. It is someone that knows a place better than you do. You might go to a foreign city. What is the best way to find your way around? Find someone who knows it well. The Holy Spirit knows the truth, perfectly, and He would guide you into all the truth. You have to be willing to be led by Him. How much are you willing to have Him guide you into the truth? Are you willing to give up some of the things that you do for your own will? You might think, ‘I am saved. I can go and do my own thing again. My eternal salvation is secure’. What about God? How does He feel if I just do my own will again? He has so much in store for you, and the Holy Spirit is the power He would give, a blessed divine Person, “he shall guide you into all the truth”. There is no limit to what He is able to show you because He is a divine Person, “he shall guide you into all the truth”. Well, I just leave it as an appeal. Let Him guide you a little further than you have been already. Give Him a bit more time in your life. Let Him show you something more about your Saviour. Let Him make you realise that Jesus is not only your Saviour but He is your Lord, that is you are to be subject to Him, that you take direction from Him, and that you also see that He is the glorious Son of God. You see that Christ desires to bring you before His Father in liberty and joy. He has in mind that you should have a place there as a worshipper.
And He has in mind too that you should be faithful to Him in the testimony down here. Have you done that? Have you publicly associated yourself with Jesus? Perhaps you would like to do that. Perhaps because you know how much He has done for you, you would like to do something for Him. He says, “This do in remembrance of me”, Luke 22: 19. Have you remembered Him in the breaking of bread? Would you like to do so? The Lord Jesus would love you to. He has done everything for you, would you not do this for Him? I leave this word with you: the Spirit would “guide you into all the truth”. That is what is available. God has no half measures, I would say carefully, in mind for the believer. He has full blessing in mind, and then eternally you shall be with Him. Dear friend, if you continue to refuse God’s glad tidings, a time will come when you will be banished from God’s presence for ever and endure eternal suffering. That is a solemn fact, but that need not be your portion because Jesus is available tonight. Simply come to Him in repentance, believe that He died for you, believe that He shed His precious blood for you, and your sins will be forgiven. Come to Him! Ask for the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to guide you into the truth and you will not be disappointed. As you do so God will get something too. If you go in for the truth, you see what God has prepared for those that love Him, and the result would be worship. That is what God is looking for, “the Father seeks such as his worshippers”, John 4: 23. Are you a worshipper? You worship in the power of the Spirit; He would help you to do that.
Well, I would just leave the impression of the fulness of the glad tidings that we have, that we know that God sees all things laid bare before Him, and that all men are sinners, but He desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus Christ gave Himself a ransom for all, His blood cleanses us from all sin, and the Spirit would guide you into all the truth. May you come into it by faith yourself, personally, you have to accept it for yourself. Come to Jesus tonight. Accept Him as your Saviour.
May it be so for His Name’s sake!
24th February 2013