which all may preach.
Many ago there was a very remarkable preacher, that drew thousands, and thousands, to hear him. He was a true man of God. We may say he was the most remarkable preacher on earth, and he drew the greatest multitudes after him, far greater than any other man. The whole country came to hear him. It would, if such a thing occurred now, be considered a great revival. To all appearances great numbers repented. Indeed, it seemed to be a great work. But, so far as we know, there was no real lasting effect from these most popular preachings. Not one really followed Christ.
Soon after this, we are told, and it is true such changes do occur, this very same preacher, though in the open air, had a congregation of two. He preached on this occasion a very different sermon, all he said was contained in five words. The effect was marvellous. Both became decided for Christ there and then. They both became most useful servants of Christ; devoted followers of Christ. A work began that day, the like of which had never been seen before on earth, and which has continued until this day; though, we should say, that after three or four years, it became deeper, and even far more blessed.
Do you ask the name of this preacher sent of God? His name was John the Baptist. You may have read the account many times, and like myself, have never noticed the different effect produced, until a brother at a distance called my attention to the contrast. You may read a minute account of the great revival preaching in Matthew 3; and no doubt God used this in preparing the way. And often, the preacher can see no immediate fruit that satisfies his longing heart, he may not see one soul manifestly brought to Christ; and yet the ground may be preparing for the seed. Is it not remarkable how many may be baptised, and not one be brought to follow Christ? How many now may be baptised, and yet be lost for ever?
Let us, however, turn to the short sermon to two, and mark its effects. (John 1:35 to end of chapter.) "Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus." What a living text! The preacher's eyes were on Jesus, "looking upon Jesus," not looking upon the crowd. What he looked at was his text; his subject was the living Person of Jesus, and Jesus as the Lamb of God! And he said, Behold Him, "Behold the Lamb of God." Yes, God's Lamb; hitherto man had brought his lamb. Five words. Without this, tons of volumes of theology are worthless. What words to Jewish ears who had seen in the law, that without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Here was the Son of God; and He was the Lamb of God. Behold Him. The two heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. How simple, yet this is the power of God. Has any message come to your heart yet, and turned you from everything else to follow Jesus? You may have gone to confession, and you may have been baptised, and you may have done many things else, but has this blessed Person, the Lamb of God, attracted your hearts to follow Him?
Jesus saw them, and He sees you at this moment. "And Jesus said unto them," and He says unto you, "what seek ye?" Do you hear Him? You profess to be a Christian. What seek ye? What is your object? They said, "Master, where dwellest thou?" Has the Spirit put a desire in your heart? Do you really want to know where Jesus dwells, He abides? He says, "Where two or three are gathered together my name there am I in the midst of them." Do you say, Where is it, Lord? is that place? "He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day." Will you come and see? Will you abide with Him? We are near the end; soon He will appear. Now, if Jesus is nothing to you, you will say, No, I will stay where am. I see no good in giving everything up to follow Jesus. Oh, what is Jesus to you? Is He everything, or is He nothing?
"Come and see;" and if you see where He dwells abide with Him. You must be with Jesus or with Satan, the god of this world. First abide with Him, and then become a preacher. So did one of them which heard John the preacher, whose name was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He becomes a preacher to the first person he meets. He did not wait until he could get a room, or begin to preach in a room, a chapel, or a hall. "He first findeth his own brother Simon." Oh, if every true follower of Jesus, the Lamb of God, would just go out and seek a brother Simon! Now mark the preaching of Andrew. He says, "We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ." This was true, but we should say much more ― "We have found the Saviour!" Nay, He hath found us. Ah, this kind of preaching would have far more effect than all the learned eloquence in the world.
You walk out in the street, or elsewhere. Who is this? Here comes Simon. For years he has been seeking salvation by law-keeping, by sacraments, by works, by his church, as he calls it. But he is saying to himself, I am as far off as ever. No rest, no real peace. I cannot say I am saved. I cannot look death and judgment in the face; and there are so many opinions I am bewildered; and I have so many sins; I try to forget them but it will not do. Oh, that I could find out the right thing.
Now speak to him; tell him. Just take him by the hand, and try Andrew's sermon. Say, if you can, "I have found the Saviour," the only Saviour; I have found him; I have found all you need in Jesus, the Lamb of God. And just do as Andrew did, "he brought him to Jesus." Mind you do this. Do not bring him to what men call the church, or to any sect or party on earth. "And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona." Yes, it was the very future apostle Peter brought to Jesus by this little sermon-preaching of Andrew.
And mark, this was the way of Jesus. "The day following, Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me." It is quite true the Holy Ghost can and did, and at times still does, work after the Pentecostal way. Thousands heard, and thousands were truly converted, and gathered to the Lord. But John wrote his gospel long after those Pentecostal times; and does he not give by inspiration, that which continues the end? And this is most encouraging for us in these days, when popular preaching may be popular infidelity, or gross superstition.
Philip was immediately imbued with the same spirit: "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Now Nathanael seems to have been a religious Jew. He had been deeply exercised in soul beneath the fig tree, no doubt in self-judgment, and thus without guile, as an Israelite. This religious man was shocked at the thought of any real good coming out of despised Nazareth. Oh, think of Jerusalem the established, with its priests and its temple. Is it not exactly so now? The place where Jesus is in the midst is ever despised. Can there be any good there? "Philip saith unto him, Come and see." Yes. tell the religious man, Nathanael, you have found all he needs (and seeks in vain to find) in Jesus of Nazareth; and say to him, "Come and see." And whom did he find the despised Nazarene to be? He says, "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God."
The Lord give us more of this kind of preaching, telling to others what a Saviour we have found; bringing souls to the blessed Person of Jesus, Lamb of God. And how ready He is to receive them. Oh, beloved reader, have you come to Jesus? Do you abide with Him? Do you follow Him? Then surely you can tell your brother Simon. C. Stanley.