[b]WILL YOU OBEY?[/b]
GOD has been speaking all day, speaking in an unmistakable voice, speaking in the most direct and clearest possible way to many hearts.
He has been saying to them, `Arise, and follow Me'; and our day of convocation will fail of its effect, notwithstanding the congregations&emdash;notwithstanding the beautiful, holy influence which we have had&emdash;notwithstanding the collections and the interest&emdash;it will fail of its effect if these souls do not obey that call and arise tonight to follow Him. We shall deem any less result but lost labour, and so will He.
He wants you. He wants your gifts. He wants your influence. He wants your money. He wants all you have, but He wants most of all You! You! Every one of you! I don't know where you sit, and I don't know to what He calls you; but the question to settle is, Will you obey? Will you rise and follow? Will you face whatever it is He calls you to face? Shut your eyes; never mind me. Look inside. Listen to the voice within. Face God and say, `Yes!' or `No!' Face Him. Oh, this everlasting swinging to and fro like the door on its hinges! Oh, this coming up to the point, coming up to the brink, and then going back again into the wilderness! Oh, this listening and thinking and saying `I would like to&emdash;I wish I could&emdash;I will some day' and then holding back, It has been the damnation of thousands. Oh, how it has robbed the Kingdom of God! How it has robbed Heaven! And how many thousands who might have been saved through the influence of those called, but unfaithful and disobedient ones, have gone to the bottomless pit.
Now what will you do? Will you obey the call? Will you arise and follow? Will you go over the river of decision? I know the reason many of you don't. You have got too much baggage. You have got something that you cannot take over with you. There is something God calls you to give up, to lay down, to cut off, and you halt and shrink and you say, `Oh, if it were not for this I would go over. If it were not for this I would arise and follow Him. If I could only get rid of this; if I could only face that; if I could only embrace the other; then, I would arise and follow Him.' You have been sitting or standing there on the bank, some of you for weeks, some of you for months, and some of you for years. Now then, just face the fact that you never will get saved, you never will become what He wants you to be, till you do sacrifice that thing&emdash;till you do put your foot on that idol, till you do embrace that cross, till you do say in your inmost soul, `Yes, Lord,' to that call, and then rise and follow Him. Now, will you say it?
Some of you, perhaps, say; `It is very well for you people who have done it; you crossed and now it is an easy matter for you?' But do you think that we have never had any sacrifices to make, or any rivers to cross since that day, never shrunk from crossing them, never doubted God's power to bring us through! no! but we have, we have.
Do not suppose that God does not keep demanding of us fresh sacrifices, and laying upon us fresh crosses. We are not asking you to do what we are not doing and are not willing to do ourselves. The Devil takes care that we shall not get it all smooth sea when we have once started. Do not suppose that. But we can tell you that whatever the sacrifice may be&emdash;however dear the idol may be to your bleeding heart; however much it may cost you to trample it in the dust, whatever suffering it may seem to involve&emdash;we can tell you that the gain will be ten times as much. You will not count it sacrifice. You will not count it a loss. You will glory as the Apostle did, in having accounted it but dung and dross, that you might win Christ and the excellency, and the glory, and the power, and the usefulness, and the success, and the heavenly fruit which He will give to you. The cost will be as nothing. But the Devil spreads his great black wing over all that God has in store for, you. He hides it from your view, and only shows you what you will miss. Now then look over his wing or under it. Look at what you will gain. Think how you will gain deliverance from the wretched doubt and fear which have made you so miserable in years gone by; deliverance from that controversy which is always going on. Think of the rest that will come into your spirit. Think of the gladness that will fill your soul; the songs of freedom, of deliverance, and power, with which you will go forward to battle for Him. Think of having your tongue loosed to speak His praises. Think of having your heart set at liberty from seeking and fretting about your own, to care and weep over, and love, and seek, the Salvation of others.
Think what the joy will be of having pearls to bring to your Lord&emdash;sheaves to bring to His garner, now and in the great eternal harvest home which is coming on.
Think of that and say whether you will not put down this petty, paltry hindrance; whether you will. not rise and follow Him, now, this very moment.
Embrace the cross; sacrifice whatever it may be. Say, `Lord, I will arise and follow Thee. I do rise and follow Thee just now.'
Will you? Who will? Now, then, to be&emdash;what? An Officer, perhaps. Well, you will never be happy any more if you hold back&emdash;never. As I said to somebody the other day, you might as well try to be happy in perdition, as to be happy in this life while you have that call in your soul and are refusing to obey it.
To be a Soldier? It may be, to leave a business? Well, if you don't, the business will curse you. It may be the giving up your child to be a Salvationist&emdash;an Officer, perhaps, to be sent to some foreign land to suffer and die for Jesus. Well, if you withhold her, look out. God will perhaps whip you in that very child. God will make that child your punishment. Or does He ask you for a bit of money you have put away somewhere? If you don't give it Him, it will eat your soul as a canker. You will never be happy till you do give it to Him.
Does He call you, young man, to leave father and mother, friends, and home, and go to a foreign land to try to bring the poor heathen into His Kingdom? If you stop here, you will never be happy&emdash;never. You might just as well start at once. You will never have any more peace or test till you obey that call. Oh, the folly! Oh, that I could demonstrate it to you as I have seen and realized it! Oh, that I could show you the supreme foolishness of trying to be happy while you are fighting against God. Oh, that you would get up, determined, facing the consequences, and come out just as if Jesus Christ were here in His flesh, and were calling for volunteers, to go and be His witnesses to the ends of the earth&emdash;people who will come to Him and say, `Here I am, Lord Jesus, to be Your saint and our Soldier?' You who have been fighting against conviction, you who have been holding back, mocking God, lying to the Holy Ghost, by bringing part of the price, let this night end the wretched conflict. Come and give yourself fully to Him. The Lord help you! Amen.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon