Following To Know
Sermon delivered at the Moody Tabernacle by Rev. Charles Hurlburt, on January 29, 1922.
Just after His baptism, our Lord was moving in the presence of John the Baptist, who had announced Him, and was even then following Him. Jesus turned to these diffident men and encouraging them in a voice more tender than most of us know how to speak, He said to them: “What seek Ye?” And they did not know what to answer. They scarcely knew themselves, but they answered modestly, “Master, Where dwellest Thou?” A little more about the Master was what they wanted to know. And He said to them, Begin following and thou shalt see, or continue just what you are doing. Continue following Me, search after Me and ye shall see. And they did follow Him, and they found where He dwelt on Earth and where He dwells in the glory land.
In Jeremiah 29:13 we read, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” His is a somewhat similar statement. Ye shall seek for me and ye shall find me when ye search or follow after me with all your affections and all your desires, or with all your heart.
Will you tell me what you came to church for this morning? Will you tell yourself in your own heart? Will you tell the Holy Spirit dwelling within you this morning, what was your real purpose in coming here to this place of worship?
I should be untrue to my calling as a messenger of God to a world that knows Him not, if I should not first of all say to you—you who have come half unconscious, perhaps timidly, possibly some of you half rebellious—you have come here wondering about Jesus, wishing that you knew a little more about Him who said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me.”
I would be untrue to my calling if I did not first of all say to you that the message I bring this morning is primarily for you. Oh, young man or young woman, older men and women, boys and girls, if you came here with any desire in your heart to get nearer to Jesus Christ, to know more about Him, let me bring to you a message that is for your heart, a message for your life, a message that Jesus is saying to you. Follow after Me with all your heart, follow after Me with all the deep longing of your soul and you shall find rest.
I have talked with a good many men and women, asking them why they did not accept Christ as their Saviour. I have not found very many men unsaved who knew what it meant to be saved; who knew what they were seeking when their souls were reaching out for some help.
Union with God
Let me say to the Christian people here this morning: Do you know the way of eternal life? I believe you do if you are a member of The Moody Church. For you who have not accepted Christ this morning, with a world full of unbeliefs, I have no word of chiding for you if you are not quite sure what it is that your very soul is longing for.
The religion of our Lord Jesus Christ is not a mere thing to believe, it is not a mere doctrine, it is not a mere change of attitude. It is all these and a thousand times more, but Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life,” and spiritual life is union with God. All life is union. The life of my hand depends upon its union with my body. As soon as I sever the hand from my body, my hand is dead.
Our Lord Jesus Christ came into this world in order that you might come out of your need, out of your failure, out of all the fading things of this Earth into union and fellowship and communion with God Himself.
I am not forgetful that the great masses of those who teach in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ throughout the whole world today are denying that Jesus Christ is more than a teacher, is more than a dead prophet. They tell great things about Him now because it is very unpopular to speak against Him, but in their hearts they will say that He is not God any more than you yourself can be God. They will tell you that they do not believe in the God you mention in your Covenant of Faith. That God is not the God Christians have served throughout these two thousand and more years, but that God is the sum of man’s best thought and man’s best will.
I bring to you who do know Him, this challenge: He has said, If you will seek for me, follow after me with all your heart, you shall find me, and the man He is talking about in Jeremiah is the God who did create the heavens and the earth, and there is nothing too hard for Him.
Finding Rest in Him
Those of you who know Him and believe in Him, who have read of Him in this eternal Word, and do believe that He is the living God, I ask you to hear this invitation:
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Do you know any other place in all the whole wide world, do you know any other philosophy, or any other religion that brings rest and peace to the hearts of men and women?
It has been my privilege—I had almost said, my sorrow—to be in touch in the last few weeks with a very large number of men who believe as I have suggested, and of all the men I have met in all the world, I do not know of any so full of restlessness—a reaching out for something beyond themselves, and in speaking to them I said, the philosophy you represent is only an interrogation.
I come from the great dark continent where men have tried to find rest through the spirits of their departed fathers, they have tried to find rest in the teachings of false prophets, and not one of them ever finds rest; not one of them ever finds peace. Not one of them ever claims to really find God.
I have come in contact with a great number of these natives who have been taught by the Roman Catholic fathers, and they wear the medal of the Virgin Mary and the crucifix of our Lord, and they are told unless they wear these they will be sure to go to hell. But not a soul of them finds peace. Not a soul of them ever finds God. Never any rest; never any peace; never any finding of God. These people are just as much alone with the Roman Catholic charm hung about their necks as in the old days of paganism. Some are told they must change their environment; they must seek different surroundings, and that with these things in the course of a few thousand years, they will have succeeded, by some process of evolution, in reaching a place such as their teachers occupy today. A place of loneliness and desolation.
Unsaved men and women, you whose hearts are full of unrest, the Lord God of hosts speaks from His throne, the Son of God who bore your sins in His own body on the tree, says in Matthew 11:28 and in Revelation 22:17, Come! Be a follower with all your heart, and ye shall find Me—the God who loved you so much that He gave His only begotten Son. Me, the God who gave Himself for you. Me, the God who bore your sins in His own body on the tree. Me, Who promises peace that passeth all understanding. The presence of an eternal, omnipresent God in your daily life moment by moment and hour by hour, even though it be that you can see Him now as through a glass darkly.
I ask you people who are coming for church membership to reach out your hand to Him whose hand was pierced for you, and to come and join God with a living heart, the dearest friend, the most real factor of every day and every hour. Ye shall. Not may be; not perhaps. Ye shall find Me when you search for Me with your whole heart.
I only pause long enough to ask you: Is there anything in the world worth seeking after first? All your heart, all your desire, all your affections center upon Him.
Once I went through the slums of New York City with a friend, and as we presented tracts and flowers, and gave messages, I said to this friend, “Is it worthwhile? What comes of all this?” He replied: “It does not seem to be very fruitful now, but after a while some of these who reject and refuse the Word tonight, will come to a place where they will turn away from these things and see their folly.” Years later I was with this same friend in the “Joss House” in Chinatown, New York City. A message came to him and he went away hurriedly. When he returned he said: “You remember a young woman we called on years ago when you asked me that question? She had given her life over to sin. She took the carnation we offered her when we told her about Jesus Christ. Tonight she is facing death, and sent for me to tell her how to find Jesus Christ.”
My friends, do not wait until you have faced death. You have come here with a vague longing in your heart for something you have not found. Hear the Master say today: Follow after Me with all your heart and you shall find Me. How shall He not with Christ freely give you all things. You can let go of nothing but what He will give back one hundred fold into your bosom. By following Him you shall see Him and know Him, and doubts cannot overcome you in His presence.
Fullness of Life
To you who are God’s dear children, I bring to you this message. My heart was stirred so that I shall not forget it as our dear brother read that request for prayer: “That our home may be changed,” and then other requests that “a sister might be saved,” and that “friends might be helped.”
I ask you who are following after Him—you who bear the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—to remember that in finding Him you find all the fullness of life. You find all the fullness of victory. That you need to see Him and to know Him to meet the temptations and the difficulties that beset your pathway, and especially to meet the modern infidelity that is reaching like a great tidal wave over the whole wide world. The thing that is needed in order to turn men away from the philosophy that is driving them from God, is men and women who know God, who know Him as the greatest factor in their lives, as the most real personality with whom they have to deal.
A few weeks ago I was at South Wales, where the great revival began seventeen years ago. In God’s providence I was there on the closing night of that seventeenth year. I had been in touch with modern infidelity in England and in America. My heart was stirred as it had never been stirred before for I do not believe you people here, most of you at least, realize the terrific sweep of modernism and infidelity throughout the world.
I came from Africa wanting to touch Christian people with a great need for two thousand missionaries and to translate two hundred languages, and bear the message of God to these people, but I do not find the men and women for this work. I look to our universities in England and America and I find they do not have any gospel to preach. Christian people are sending their children to these schools to be trained for missionaries, and they come home and say they do not believe in Jesus Christ. You may go to these men and say to them that the whole theory of evolution on which they are basing their philosophy has never yet been proven, but it avails nothing to them.
They do not know what they are seeking. They want rest and they have not found it. They are depending upon the only thing they have, and that is their philosophy. I said to the young men and women in Wales—You know the power of God that in an hour turned you from drink and adultery, from thieves and liars to humble worshippers of the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and I want to ask you to so walk with Him that God shall send down on the whole world today revelation of His power, as the mighty transforming God.
Victory in Him
Are you getting answers to your prayers? Is your home being changed? Is your life really a humble life? I know something about missionary work, and when I heard that Covenant read, I wished I might rise up and say, Yes, I will join and live that life with you. But I want to say that you cannot live that life unless you are living close to God. You cannot be humble unless you are walking hand in hand with the God man, Christ Jesus.
Whatever the difficulties, whatever the environments, I say to you, that home can be changed, but the way to change it is that you shall come to Him, and whether you can go to church or not, you may have Him in the home. He solves the problems and brings light out of darkness and joy out of sorrow, and peace out of all the confusion of this world.
I plead with you, dear child of God, don’t misrepresent God any more. Follow Him with all your heart and you shall find Him and walk with Him. “I know Him whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”
Dear fellow Christians: You cannot argue with the man on the other side, that your Saviour and your God is real in your life unless you first of all be victorious over the sins that beset your life. You may conquer the selfish pride and all the things that would mar and spoil our lives, and you may have the peace of God in your life, answering beyond all doubt the questions that arise in the minds of those who do not know Him.
I am often asked to attend Bible conferences in America, and am delighted with the fellowship at them, but if I were to select the place where I would get most spiritual uplift, it would be a British East Africa prayer meeting, and hear them tell how God gave them victories over sins that beset them, and of joy that filled their hearts, even in the midst of the sorrows that filled their pathway. I would find greater spiritual blessing among this little band who know God. So I ask you who hear His name to find Him. Don’t go out into any day in which you have not found Him. We need to find Him in order to find a life that is victorious with Him day by day.
A Vision from God
When we went out into a certain district, the Roman Catholics said, “You need not try to do work for that tribe.” We had a little prayer meeting day after day, until an old chief who was sick, came to us and said: “The fathers cannot do anything for me, and I want to see if you can’t cure me.” The little lady physician prayed as we bowed over that man, and God gave skill and he was cured, and when he got well, he said to her, “Now you are my mother. Come to my village and I will give you a place to stay, and you may tell the Word of God to my people.”
I am sorry I can’t tell you the old chief was saved, but we went out there in the midst of an epidemic, and not one who came to the Christian doctor died. I could tell you of many answers to prayer, but I am more interested in that continent that lies beyond us where two thousand missionaries are needed, and two hundred tribes need to have their language reduced to writing.
I believe God gave Peter Scott, away out in Western Africa, a vision of a chain of mission stations to Lake Schad [sic], 2,500 miles away from the East Coast. He died soon after, but the vision God gave him lives on still. We have covered 1,500 miles of that territory, but at least one thousand miles lies unreached beyond us.
I lay it upon your hearts, you who know Him, that the thing we need is to come to Him and get close enough to Him that we can go on the other thousand miles. But we need men and women who know God. The one whom God is using is walking with God day by day and hour by hour. When we who bear the name of our Lord Jesus Christ seek for Him with all our hearts, and find Him and walk with Him, then we shall have enough missionaries going, and Africa will be evangelized.
We need Christian men and women for Africa, and they will go out when, and only when, we who know Who He is will seek after Him with all our hearts and follow Him. Follow Him, and find Him, and know Him through following, and the needs of Earth will be met in Him!