We Persuade Men
“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” —2 Corinthians 5:11
Now when God picked out Abraham as the Father of the Faithful, and the one to be the head of His chosen people, the Jews, He took a look at his faith, tested that faith, and found that Abraham would mind Him. Abraham would obey without argument. He picked him, too, as He said, because “I know him, that he will command his children after him.”
Abraham’s children had to mind. Has the great truth that you will have to suffer for your disobedience to God ever swept over your soul? One of the mistakes Christians make is this. They think they are saved and that they can take a little chance once in a while; but I tell you God judges sin in your life, and it doesn’t make any difference who you are.
Thank God, when you get a good change of heart you don’t want to disobey Him. Your heart hungers for Him, and many of you are in darkness today, and haven’t any joy, because you haven’t judged your sin. If pride has come up in your heart and you haven’t judged it, you haven’t any joy today. You can bluff all you please, saying, “I’m all right,” but no joy springs up—you have to pump it up. The minute you confess your sin and obey His voice there is going to be joy in your life, and it will bubble.
A great many people who are Christians, think because they are Christians they can lead a careless life. They don’t go into outbroken sin, but let other sins creep in. That tongue is not the kind of a tongue a Christian ought to have! You wonder why your children haven’t any confidence in you. I wouldn’t have any if I were a boy in your house and you were my father, and you never asked my forgiveness when you wronged me and hurt my feelings. I would put little faith in your kind of Christianity.
Many children have failed because their parents did not confess their sin. How can you look for obedience in your children when you won’t obey God? God won’t look on sin, and won’t put up with it. He wants you to judge it in yourself, or He must judge it.
You have to learn to obey when God tells you to obey; and if the professing church of our day has lost her power it is because she will not obey God, but is obeying men and seeking their favor. When you give God first place you will have joy—and there isn’t any greater joy than the joy of the Lord.
A Bubbling Fountain
We have fellows that are natural born humorists who pump up amusement for the world, but that runs out. I wanted this springing store that bubbles, and bless God, the first morning I woke up after the Holy Ghost came in His fullness into my heart, and found out the thing was self-perpetuating, glory to God, I was happy. Oh, to think I didn’t have to work circumstances into it; but found out that the peace of God that passes all understanding had come. It came from His presence, and obedience reinsures His abiding presence, His joy kept on coming, that comfort, that peace, that grace of God that floods and takes possession in your soul—the joy of the Lord! the joy of His presence.
Some of you never had it. Why? You never came clean with God in your life. You never came clean with anybody. You bluffed from the time you were born, and are bluffing yet. But when a man goes down before God, humbled under that mighty hand (that hand that has a nail-hole in it), and tells God the truth and lets Him tell him the truth, the smile of the Lord is going to be in his heart, and the joy of the presence of the Lord.
A Parent’s Example
I would not let one of my children get by if I knew anything was wrong. I am going to let them know it. Not long ago I was sitting at my desk and my eldest girl came along to get something, and she bothered me, and I said something to her quickly. She turned and took a funny look at me, and went out. I called her back, and she said, “What do you want?” She didn’t know whether she was wrong or what was the matter. I said, “Listen, dear, Daddy never wants to talk to you like that, and I am sorry, and I don’t want you to feel that you cannot come around me any time you want to; but I was worried and perplexed and there wasn’t any need of it. You forgive me, will you?” She said, “Sure,” and she started to cry, and I started to cry, and we had a good bawl together. It was a great joy. I didn’t know it made such an impression on the child; but I know it did on me, and I went off in the closet with Him.
I was in the office one day and the phone rang, and one of the teachers in the school where she was going said, “What does your girl mean when she said “I forgive you?” “I don’t know,” I answered, “Why, what was the matter?” “I came along and she was using the ink and made a blot on the desk, and I slapped on the desk rather impatiently, and she looked up into my face and smiled and said, “I’ll forgive you.” I told her the story, and it gave me a great chance to testify of the thing that God can do in a life.
We can go down before God and be delivered constantly to death, and reckon ourselves dead. Every time we don’t we take a notch up before God and the next time it is a little higher, and the next time a little higher, and when God goes to speak we are clear out of reach and cannot hear Him.
God said, “I am going to pick Abraham because he will bring up his children after him.”
Abraham minded God every time He spoke. You never saw such a minder as Abraham was. His name is Hebrew tonight because he came across. Abraham always came across with God, even when it came down to his only son (miraculously born) through whom he looked for all the promises of God to come to pass. He took even that boy and climbed up on Mount Moriah to offer him up to death.
God never asked Abraham for a thing that he did not come across, and God says, “Now because you haven’t withheld anything.” Not because you have given, and given and given—some of you have given things to God, surrendered to God partially—but God says, “Because you haven’t withheld a thing, and haven’t any pull-back in you, no hold-back straps on you, I am going to bless you through the generations of the generations.”
Respect for Parents
Abraham was looked upon in his house like a father should be. When Abraham spoke the family listened. His words were life. When he died he blessed his children and prophesied what would come to pass in their lives and their posterity, and when his children died they blessed their children. God wonderfully blessed Abraham. For what? For not withholding and for real obedience.
We have had some old rugged fathers in this country that have raised some very big families, and have raised them with prayer and hickory, and that is a mighty fine way to raise a boy. Today they have left out the prayer and the hickory both, and God says that in the latter day there will be a horrible mark: the disobedience of children to parents.
If I should ask the school teachers of the city to rise, and a hundred or more should stand, and I should ask them about the children of today, they would say, “Every year the children become lighter and more frivolous and disobedient to their parents.” Every last teacher would say, “Mr. Rader, it has gotten worse and worse as the days have gone by. All the home culture is thrown over onto the teacher, and when the children go wrong and we talk to the parents about them, the parents say, “We cannot do anything.”
But listen! Just because men and women are getting by dad and mother, don’t you think you are going to treat God like that. Don’t think because we have a lot of soft-hearted mothers that will wash over a washtub and let the little girl save her finger-nails and go to the devil, and put dresses on her that the mother never had, and wear good shoes and go out into society and get frivolous and go to the devil while mother does all the work, that you can do that way with God. Why, if you think that is raising children, God don’t believe in that kind of raising. God believes in that child respecting that mother and father. That is what He believes. We have the thing turned upside down.
One man said a while ago that his baby was already a Methodist Bishop, it made all the appointments for the family. The average child these days makes the appointments. What they say goes. Here is a sixteen year old youngster, with a great big dad, and he cannot control that boy. Fathers may become lax, and mothers may become lax, but don’t think you are going to get by God.
“Because of the terror of the Lord,” my text says, “we persuade men.” Sin is disobedience, and you have to learn obedience some time in your life. I walked into the jail in Pittsburgh, where I have talked a good many times, and one afternoon I thought I would test this out. I said, “Fellows, how many of you believe you are in here because you never learned to mind anybody?” I was staggered, because every fellow raised his hand. I turned around to the Warden and said, “I guess they mistook me, huh?” He said, “No,” but I said “I will ask again.” “Men, I want to know whether disobedience brought you here; whether when you were a little fellow, a boy, you threw off all authority and did not want anybody to throw any ropes on you. How many of you minded your mother?” Not a hand went up. “How many minded your father?” Not a hand went up. “How many called him ‘the old man?’” Every hand went up, it seemed, and one fellow yelled, “Worse.” In there because they never learned to mind anybody!
When you get into hell you will find the same gang; and you will run with them if you haven’t learned that God is God and that you are a sinner because you are bucking Him and have never yielded, and never come clean with God. you still have a little game up your sleeve that you think you are going to pull across. Jesus is not boss of your life. You boss it still.
Genuine or Counterfeit
How can you say you have been converted? My Bible tells me that when a man is born again old things pass away and all things become new. The old haunts see you no more.
There comes a man into my office and says, “Mr. Rader, I am a promoter, and am worth so much money, and so and so.” I can meet all his arguments with a wind-shield, but he keeps on blowing, and I say, “This fellow hasn’t the goods.” I put a detective on his trail, who follows him downtown. A poor newsboy is standing on the corner with a “weenie” between bread, just about to take a bite. The “promoter” reaches over and grabs it and shoves it in his own mouth and goes on. The detective comes back and says, “your fellow that was so rich even stole a hot-dog from a little newsy.” When he came back I would say, “Yes, you haven’t anything. You had to steal the newsboy’s lunch. You’re down mighty low in your finances.”
When you go to the world and say, “I have a great big joy. I am wealthy ‘My father’s rich in houses and lands.’ I have a joy the world cannot give,” and then they see you sneak into a show-house where the world gets all of its own “weenie-wurst,” and you have to go there to get your fun, they say “Cut the bluff. That’s my kind of heaven. What are you doing here?”
Thank God, from the time Jesus came into my heart I asked for no greater amusement than to go around telling people about Him! You say that is narrow. Certainly it is narrow. Don’t you know men are going to hell? Are you looking for rosy flowery beds of ease, when men are going to hell? We are living in a world of holocaust to sin, and it is our business to get out and warn folks. And do you mean to tell me you can persuade your neighbor he is going to hell, when you don’t give a rip and are down in the show-house living on his perishing fun and joys?
In God’s name why don’t you let folks know Jesus is big enough to satisfy? And until you come clean, you will never find out that joy of His presence. Why do you bring amusement into the church? Because you were already in it. Why did you try to get people to come to church by amusement? Because that is all you have. You don’t have the joy to dish out to them that come from separation to Jesus Christ, and have to substitute.
God help you to separate today, and make men and women believe that there is joy in Him. When a man finds Jesus Christ, He satisfies the longing soul with good things, and they live on the fruits of another world, and the joy of another world, and their greatest joy will be to tell the story.
Separation the Cost
It costs as much to live a Christian life in our day as in any day. It has always been easy to live a hypocritical life, carrying water on both shoulders. There has always been a crowd of people that did that. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to go with the bunch, but God showed what He would do with a bunch of liars that say they are Christians! What I am after is this—I want to say so you will hear me, that my God won’t put up with your sin. I don’t care whether it is your sin under the cloak of Christian, or whether you are out and out worldly, God will not put up with it. He despises and judges sin.
No, the man that sees the cross will hate and despise a life of sin, and hate it in himself worse than he hates it in anybody else, and won’t want to be fooling around where the stuff is—it is death stuff. And if you see what hell is, and that you have another life offered from Jesus Christ and drop that old life, you will have His power in your life. We are trying to palm off onto folks these days a Christianity that has no power. My Book says that in the last days we will have a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Why? They would not separate from sin.
“The Terror of the Lord”
We see so many wearing a cross. I would just as leave wear an electric chair! Don’t you know the cross is the place where a criminal died? And I was the criminal that ought to have died on that cross, but Jesus died in my place. I love the cross, and I want to tell you it is not a very pleasant thing to look at; but that gore that came down out of His precious side—I hide my head in shame when I look at it, and I glory in it; but it meant that I was lost and ruined and undone, and God had to pay a mighty ransom in the blood of His own Son to put away my sin, and I am not going to decorate it and wear it—I am going to let it change me. It is a hellish thing and God surrounded it with darkness and judged sin by making His own Son to be sin for us. The price is paid. I tremble when I think of sin. Knowing how God handled sin I am afraid of it, and am not going to fool with it. God help us to see what sin is, and knowing the terror of the Lord, let us persuade men to turn from sin and to Jesus.
When a good woman stands and looks a dirty man in the face, called her husband, she may have love and mercy and tenderness, but, oh, say, the pure life with which she will look at that husband! There is no terror on earth like it. The bum on the street might curse you for your sin, and you would not care, but when that pure woman looks into your face it is awful! When a God that is holy looks down into your heart, I tell you, unless the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses you from sin, God pity you with the sin that is on you. You cannot fool God, nor bluff Him. The blood of Jesus Christ has been shed to put it away. You’d better let Him put it away.
It is all right for men and women to talk against punishment. You can be easy if you want to, but God has always hated sin and punished it. You see men howling and yelling as the flood comes upon them, and then ask me if God is going to put up with sin! What this old world needs today is the judgment of Almighty God, and thank God she is going to get it. The day of mercy and grace is here, and you can come in, but the commencement of troubles and anguish and sorrows is upon us, and God’s hand is already under the checkerboard, and kings and potentates and famines and pestilences and troubles and trials are moving around. Some day every knee is going to bow and every tongue is going to declare to the glory of God that Jesus is both Lord and Christ.
You say, “I don’t want a God like that.” Yes you do. Yes you do. You wouldn’t have any respect for any other kind of a God. You wouldn’t have any respect for God if He would put up with sin. You can love a God that won’t wobble just because you wobble, and won’t lie just because you lie. If God would overlook sin you could drag Him from His throne. He is holy, holy, holy, and you cannot go ahead with your sin and get by. He is God.
You won’t love a woman that goes into the sins you go into. Men that have taken women down to the lowest dregs, spit on her and take another; and you would do the same thing with God; but you are not going to make God lower His standards for a minute. You are going to repent of your sin. God is holy, and is offering you mercy and grace, and the blood is there sufficient to cover your every guilty stain if you will confess your sin and drop before God and say, “Lord, I will take you as my Savior.” There is a mercy way open; take it. “Knowing the terror of God, we persuade men.”
Abraham was outside of Sodom, and said, “Oh, God, I know, I know You are going to strike that city, and all of my prayer will not stop Your judgments. They are going to fall; but I ask You one thing Lord, can You spare it for a while if there are fifty righteous people? Are You going to kill the righteous? And the Lord said, “I will never do that. I will make My separation.” “Well, Lord, Lot is down there; I know Sodom has disappointed You. I took the Plains of Mamre—the place of fatness, and went over to Hebron—communion, and I took my place on the plain, and looked for a city—not like Sodom and Gomorrah, not like Babylon, not like men would build, but looked for a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. You know I did, and Lot slipped, and got to looking toward Sodom, and he has gone down there into it. And now God, hear me, if there are fifty righteous men in the city, will You spare the city?”
The Lord said, “I am merciful and tender, and if there are fifty there I will spare it.” And Abraham said, “Lord there are not fifty, but if I find forty-five will You be merciful? But, Lord, there may not be forty-five, but if I can find forty? Lord, You won’t be weary when I come back and say if thirty are there will You spare the city?” “Yes, I will spare it if there are thirty,” the Lord answers. “Lord, I come back, and if I find twenty, will you spare it?” Poor old Abraham, he hardly wanted to come back again, but he said, “I cannot for the life of me find twenty. I cannot come to God and say ‘God you hold back your judgment.’”
You can never come to say, “Lord hold back Your judgment,” you have to say, “Lord, I didn’t deserve it.’ There never will be a man in hell who can say, “Lord, I didn’t deserve it.” Everyone of them will stand, both small and great before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ, and have an impartial trial about the very deeds done in their bodies, not as to whether they will get into heaven, but for the punishment they are going to have. You will cry out your own deeds, and if you don’t God has all the evidence. You will never be able to hide any witness away, they are all there.
Oh, God give you a vision of the Judgment Day. That is God’s judgment upon sin. You cannot get by with it and bluff God. Abraham said, “Lord, I cannot hold back Your judgment, but Lord, if there are ten will You do it?” “Yes, I will hold back if you find then there.” “But Abraham couldn’t find ten, and God let the judgment fall.
Listen, friends, in God’s name, if there is sin on your heart, don’t you go out into the darkness of the world without settling the sin question with God. Remember that no man can bluff God. “The wages of sin is death,” and “as a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”