I came across a book in a used book store some time back called Our Lord Prays For His Own; thoughts on John 17 by Marcus Rainsford. It was quite a find. In the back of the book is recorded an evangelistic conversation that Dwight Moody and Marcus Rainsford engaged in before the public with the intention of converting people to Christianity. It was very interesting and I thought I would share it with you all.
[b]Gospel Dialogue Between Mr. D.L. Moody And Rev. Marcus Rainsford[/b]
Mr. M.What is it to be a child of God? What is the first step?
Mr. R.Well, sir, I am a child of God when I become united to the Son of God. The Son of God prayed (John 17:20,21) that all who believed upon Him should be one with Him, as He was one with the Father. Believing on Jesus, I receive Him, and become united to Him (John 1:12,13); I become as it were, a member of His Body. I am an heir of God, a joint-heir with Christ (Eph. 5:30; I John 5:1; Gal. 3:26).
Mr. M.What is the best definition of faith?
Mr. R.Trust in the Son of God, as the Saviour He has given to us. Simple trust, not only in a creed, but in a Person. I trust my soul to Him. I trust the keeping of my soul to Him. God has promised that whosoever trusts Him, mercy shall compass him on every side (Ps. 32:10).
Mr. M.Does not the Scripture say that the devils believe? (James 2:19).
Mr. R.They believe the truth, do they not? They believe that Jesus was manifested to destroy them; and they tremble. I wish we believed as truly and as fully that God sent His Son into the world to save us.
Mr. M.What is it to trust?
Mr. R.I take it to mean four things:
(1) Believing on Christ: that is, taking Him at His Word.
(2) Hoping in Christ: that is, expecting help from Him, according to His Word.
(3) Relying on Christ: that is, resting on Him for the times, and ways, and circumstances in which He may be pleased to fulfill His promises according to His Word.
(4) Waiting on Christ: that is, [i]continuing[/i] to do so, notwithstanding delay, darkness, barrenness, perplexing experiences, and the sentence of death in myself (II Cor. 1:9). He may keep me waiting a while (I have kept Him a long time waiting); but He will not keep me waiting always. Believing in Him; hoping in Him; relying upon Him; and waiting for HimI understand to be trusting in Him.
Mr. M.Can all these friends here believe the promises?
Mr. R.The promises are true, whether we believe them or not. We do not make them true by believing them. God could not charge me with being an unbeliever, or condemn me for unbelief, if the promises were not true for me. I could in that case turn and say: Great God, why did You expect me to believe a promise that was not true for me? And yet the Scriptures set forth unbelief as the greatest sin I can continue to commit.
Mr. M.How are we cleansed by the blood?
Mr. R.The blood is the life. The sentence upon sinners for their sin was, The soul that sinneth it shall die. That we might not die, the Son of God died. The blood is [i]the poured-out life of the Son of God[/i], given as the price, the atonement, the substitute, for the forfeited life of the believer in Jesus Christ. Any poor sinner who receives Christ as Gods gift is cleansed from all sin by His blood.
Mr. M.Was the blood shed for us all?
Mr. R.There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuels veins;
And sinners plunged beneath the flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may we, though vile as he,
Wash all our sins away.
Mr. M.Some may think that this is only a hymn, and that it is not Scripture. Did the Lord ever say anything similar to what the hymn says?
Mr. R.He said, I have given you the blood upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls (Lev. 17:11). That was said of the picture of the blood of Christ. And at the Last Supper our Lord said His blood was the blood of the new testament which is shed for you and for many, for the remission of sins. (Matt. 26:28; Luke 22:20; and John 6:37)
Mr. M.What is the gift of God?
Mr. R.There are three great gifts that God has given to us:
(1) His blessed Son (John 3:16)
(2) The Holy Ghost, the promise of the Father, that we might understand the unspeakable gift bestowed on us when He gave His Son.
(3) He has given us His holy Word. The Holy Ghost has inspired the writers of it that we may read and hear and know the love that God has to us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. We could not have the Son for our Saviour unless God gave Him. We could not understand the gift of God unless the Holy Ghost had come to quicken us and teach us; and this He does through the Word.
Mr. M.How much is there in Christ for us who believe?
Mr. R.In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodilyfullness of life, of righteousness, of sanctification, of redemption, title to heaven, and meetness for it; all that God wants from us, and all that we want from God, He gave in the person of Christ.
Mr. M.How long does it take God to justify a sinner?
Mr. R.How long? The moment we receive Him we receive authority to enroll ourselves among the children of God (John 1:12); and are then and there justified from all things (Acts 13:39). The sentence of complete justification does not take long to pronounce. Some persons profess to see a difficulty in the variety of ways in which a sinner is said to be justified before God: (1) Justified by God; (2) Justified by Christ; (3) Justified by His blood; (4) Justified by grace; (5) Justified by faith; (6) Justified by works.
Justification has reference to a court of justice. Suppose a sinner standing at the bar of God, the bar of conscience, and the bar of his fellow-men, charged with a thousand crimes.
(1) There is the judge: that is God, who alone can condemn or justify: It is God that justifieth (Rom. 8:33). That is justification by God
(2) There is the Advocate, who appears at court for the sinner; the Conselor, the Intercessor: that is Christ. Justified by Christ (Gal. 2:17 and I John 2:1)
(3) There is next to be considered the ground and reason on account of which the Advocate pleads before the Judge. That is the merit of His own precious blood. That is justification by His blood (Rom. 5:9).
(4) Next we must remember the law, which the Judge is dispensing. The law of works? Nay, but the law of grace and faith. That is justification by His grace (Rom. 3:24).
(5) And now the Judge Himself pronounces the result. Be it known unto you that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things (Acts 13:38,39). Now for the first time the sinner at the bar knows the fact. This is justification by faith (Rom. 5:1).
(6) But now the justified man leaves the criminals dock. He does not return to his prison or to his chains. He walks forth from the courthouse a justified man; and all men, friends or foes, are made aware that he is free. That is justification by works (James 2:24).
Mr. M.A man says: I have not found peace. How would you deal with him?
Mr. R.He is really looking for the wrong thing. I don not look for peace. I look for [i]Christ[/i]; and I get peace with Him. Some people put peace in the place of Christ. Others put their repentance or prayers in the place of Christ. [i]Anything[/i] put in the place of Christ, or between the sinner and Christ, is in the [i]wrong place[/i]. When I get Christ, I possess in Him everything that belongs to Him, as my Saviour.
Mr. M.Some think they cannot be Christians until they are sanctified.
Mr. R.Christ is my sanctification, as much as my justification. I cannot be sanctified but by His blood (Heb. 13:12). There is a wonderful passage in Exodus 28:36-38. The high priest there represented in picture the Lord Jesus Christ. There was to be placed on the forefront of the mitre of the high priest, when he stood before God, a plate of pure gold, and graven upon it, as with a signet, the words; Holiness to the Lord. My faith sees it on the forefront of the mitre on the brow of my High Priest in heaven. And it shall be upon Aarons forehead, that Aaron my bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts: and it shall be always upon his forehead, that [i]they[/i] may be accepted before the Lord. That was for Israel of old! [i]That[/i] on the brow of Jesus Christ is for me. Yes, for me, That I may be accepted before the Lord. As I believe this truth it purifies my heart, it operates on my affections and my desires; and I seek to walk with Him because He is my sanctification before God, jus as I trust in Him as my justification, because He shed His blood for me.
Mr. M.What is it to believe on His name?
Mr. R.His name is His revealed self. We are informed what it is in Exodus 34:5,6. Moses was in the mount with God; and He had shown him wonderful things of kindness and of love. And Moses said, O God, show me thy glory. And He said, I will make all my [i]goodness[/i] pass before thee. So He put Moses in the cleft of the rock, and proclaimed the name of the Lord: The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sinthere it is, root and branchand that will by no means clear the guilty. That is His name; His glory He will not give unto another; to believe in the name of the Lord is just to shelter under His promises.
Mr. M.What is it to receive the kingdom of God as a little child?
Mr. R.Well, I do not believe in a little child being an innocent thing. I think it means that we are to receive it in all our need and helplessness. A little child is the most dependent thing on earth. All its resources are in its parents love: all it can do is cry; and its necessities explain the meaning to the mothers heart. If we interpret its language it means: Mother, wash me; I cannot was myself. Mother, clothe me; I am naked and cannot clothe myself. Mother, carry me; I cannot walk. A mother may forget her suckling child, yet will I not forget thee (Isa. 49:15). This it is to receive the Kingdom of God as a little childto come to Jesus in our helplessness and say: Lord Jesus, wash me! Clothe me! Feed me! Carry me! Save me, Lord or I perish.
Mr. M.A good many say they are going to try. What would you say to such?
Mr. R.God wants no man to try. Jesus has already tired. [i]He[/i] has not only tried, but He has succeeded. It is finished. Believe in Him who has made an end of sins, making reconciliation for iniquity, finishing transgression, and bringing in everlasting righteousness (cf. Dan. 9:24).
Mr. M.If people say they are going to try, what would you say to them?
Mr. R.I should say, Put trusting in the place of trying, believing in the place of doubting; and I should urge them to come to Christ as they are, instead of waiting to be better. There is nothing now between God the Father and the poor sinner but the Lord Jesus Christ; and Christ has put away sin that I may be joined to the Lord. And he that is joined unto the Lord is on spirit (I Cor. 6:17). And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (II Cor. 3:17).