This message is written to enlarge our hearts and develop our love for the perishing. It is not meant to be controversial or a message for the "arena of debate" but written to arouse the believers in assembly fellowship as to the "last hour" of gospel preaching and of the spreading of the good seed of the Word. Opportunities are passing, the day demands involvement of brethren and sisters alike to take advantage of the times, to do all and give all to this greatest work on earth, "the salvation of the souls of the lost." Lift up the eyes and look on the fields! Bend the knees and pray for the lost! Weep over the eternal misery that awaits the Christ-rejector! Strive together for the faith of the gospel! Put the telescope toward a perishing world and together as one uphold the banner of the Cross as the only answer for ruined sinners! One has said that we are spectators in the great work of evangelism. This is true with this qualification, we are also "activists" in reaching the lost with this unparalleled, unsurpassed and heaven-sent message. If this message expands our vision, increases our passion for the world and brings us to "a fervency" in prayer, then the message will not be a "sermon" but a word from Heaven! This is my desire!
It will ever amaze us that sinners saved by matchless grace are given this privilege of telling forth the silvery word of redemption to the whole world. This is beyond human comprehension! Not to angels, those ministering spirits who do the bidding of the Throne, but to the redeemed of earth is this stewardship given. Most are aware of the theological debates re: election and predestination etc., volumes are written, some that would make "the head spin,' some that would give spiritual indigestion and before long would have us walking among 'the tombs!" Reading some of this well-worded and sophisticated lingo, from the middle ages to the Puritanical times through the period of the Reformers up to the present can be thought provoking, giving insight into these eternal matters, but some we fear would leave us as dry as a stick and empty as a drum and we will end up in a rocking chair, singing, 'rescue the perishing etc." Beloved saints we need a wake-up call in this Western world and in the UK, "this is an emergency!' The urgent need of our day is to see "soul-winners" raised up of God, equipped by the Spirit of God, and sent forth from the assemblies in this eleventh hour to reach the unreached, to be "that sanctified vessel" in the hand of the Master, to gather in the lost in our world and fulfill the great commission (Matt. 28). (An interjection here! Some of the Puritans, Reformers etc., would put us to shame with their godly living and disciplined lives. This is beyond dispute. We are humbled before some of these spiritual giants). While it is to our advantage to have a spiritual understanding of God's program, which will ultimately climax when our God will be eternally glorified and His Son the center of all His great designs, this is good, and we add our hearty "amen" to this. We admittedly need a wholesome and dedicated study of the infinite Book, this God-breathed treasure placed in our hands, that produces godly, devoted living. However, the danger we need to avoid is debating about subjects of election that confuse with a complexity of ideas that have left the normal Christian baffled and bewildered. The secret things belong unto the Lord our God. I pray the above prepares our hearts for what follows, which is basic to all our lives and a lifeline to the assembly testimony.
One of the prominent words that fills and floods the heart of the soul-winner is the word 'whosoever,' found in the greatest text in gospel preaching in our Bibles John. 3:16, and is almost the last word in our bibles, Rev 22:17. This one word took men, some with their wives and families, to all parts of our world, some to the habitations of cruelty, some to the jungles and to the unknown peoples of our world to tell the old, old story of the Cross. It was with great hardships and sacrifice they went, God honored them, their record is on high. Our prayer could well be, "Lord, revive this word, whosoever in our souls, deeply etch it upon our hearts, enable us to carry it everywhere."
This word enlarges our coasts, and takes us from our narrow-thinking of those who surround us, lifting our sights beyond the family circle, giving us fresh zeal for humankind.
What is the background to this word "whosoever"?
a) It is the word LOVE. This is the motivation that indwells the heart and enables us to encompass all the world as our parish. No one should ever embark on the path of 'soul-winning,' without this major ingredient predominant in their hearts. A LOVE to God, to Christ and to the lost. This is a love that compels, appeals, embraces, enlarges, encompasses all humankind. It removes barriers, breaks down strongholds, and puts holy boldness into timid hearts. Can we reach a higher note than this? God so LOVED the world.
That grand word 'whosoever' is ringing
through my soul,
Whosoever will may come.
b) It is the word GRACE. What a word! This grace that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL men. This is the foundation of the gospel, called the gospel of the grace of God. Grace that has its dwelling in the heart of God, Titus. 2:11, and is displayed in His Son. 2 Cor. 8:9, and is demonstrated in the salvation of a soul, Eph. 2:8 & 9. Grace was ever in the heart of God. It is an eternal quality. God's grace appeared to all of Adam's posterity, without stipulations, without any inhibitions, free grace, marvelous grace, eternal grace. No era will ever experience such a period in God's ways as this dispensation of the grace of God. Grace floods the heart of the soul-winner. The gift of salvation flows to all the world in purest grace and is received on the principle of faith.
Grace, grace alone is the saved sinner's
Not of works, the scripture saith, Salvation is free!
c) It is the word MERCY. What a word! Eph. 2:4 But God who is rich in MERCY. God's infinite mercy held back the judgment the world deserved. That He might have mercy on all. Romans 11:32; Titus 3:5. This quality of God helps us in our presentation of the grand word "whosoever". The soul-winner never limits the mercy of God toward the perishing and can sound out to all, that there is mercy with the Lord. Luke's loved gospel has mercy interjected throughout. Luke 18 would be a apt illustration of this mercy. Calvary is the unique drama that signals to the world, His infinite love, His unfathomable grace and His marvelous mercy. The gospel song sums it up;
Come, every soul by sin oppressed,
There's mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest,
By trusting in His word.
d) It is the Work of the Cross. I Tim 2:5 says it all as to the infinite, unlimited, all encompassing Work. It is God's eternal, monumental testimony of the acceptability of the death of Christ for all the world. 1 Tim 2:4, "Who will have ALL men (humankind) to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is ONE God and ONE Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a (substitutionary) ransom on the behalf of ALL men (humankind)". This verse stands side by side with John 3:16 & 17, also Mark 16: 15, plus many, many more. The potential of the message, "who would have all men to be saved!' The provision of the message, "for the world, He gave His only begotten Son!" The perimeter of the message, 'go ye in all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," and in Romans 1: 16, "The power of the message," to everyone that believeth!" We need to hand to this generation this torch of evangelism, engrave the word "whosoever" upon their hearts as they take this powerful message to the world from the heart of God. Let not scanty minds limit and bring into bondage the heaven-set, Spirit-given and world-encompassing message for the whosoever. Hebrews 2:9... "He tasted death for every man" (I John 2:2).
"And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only but ALSO for the sins of the WHOLE world." Blessed be God for this mighty work, such will stand forever throughout the ages of eternity.
What means a universal call
If there be not enough for all?
As if the Saviour passed some by
While He for other's sins did die,
And that, though some are told to come,
There's but provision made for some;
Let hampered minds their thoughts expand,
Nor on such narrow footing stand:
The mighty work of Jesus scan
He tasted death for every man.
e) It is the Blood of Christ. It is with reverent and bowed hearts we mention the precious blood, the theme of the ages of the ages. We do well to handle the subject with unshod foot. The writings of men and their irreverent insinuations on this subject is distasteful and damaging to put it mildly. It is not for us to question as to what kind it was before He shed it, or what happened to it after He shed it. It is for us to appreciate it, thank God for its emancipation, preach it with clarity, and to sing about it now and forever, amen.' There is value, virtue and victory in the precious, cleansing, justifying, redeeming, sanctifying and reconciling blood of our Blest Redeemer. He has entered heaven by virtue of His blood. The Lord took special care to instruct as to the blood of animals etc. It is certainty a proof that DEATH had taken place, but it is more than that. 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls, for IT is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul' (Lev 17:11). The blood was sprinkled on the two side posts and upper door post on the houses in Egypt. It was sprinkled ceremonial in the ritual of the tabernacle and in the consecration of the priests it touched their ear, their thumb and their toe. Heb. 9:22 says, 'and without shedding of blood there is no remission." But the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, has an efficacy that was never in the types. They were valueless in respect to putting away sin. But the blood of the Lamb of God, clears the guilty, cleanses from ALL sin, calls us near to God, never needs repetition. The Savior's outpoured blood has eternal efficacy. Unlimited is its value! Undiminished its virtue! Unending its victory. It is heaven's highest, sweetest, noblest and greatest melody. This song will vibrate, re-echo throughout timeless, endless and eternal ages. No song on earth can compete with it! No power on earth can match it! All the powers of darkness recede before it! Let then the "whosoever' possess our souls assured that it can reach from the penitentiary to the palace and all in between! They shall come from every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation to join in this eternal chorus the central theme, "by Thy blood."
We rightfully state that there is not a sin that the blood of Christ cannot cleanse nor a sinner the blood of Christ cannot deliver. The blood of Christ is within the reach and available and can be applied by the "whosoever." His blood can make the vilest clean, His blood avails for me. May the ' whosoever" of John 3:16, thrill our souls in 1998 and that many who in our world commenced in the darkness and bondage of sin will take in the truth of the grand word "whosoever". Henry Moorehouse "the boy preacher" handled this text for one week in the Moody Tabernacle, the final night D. L. Moody was present. He had previously been informed by his wife that the young preacher preached different than he did. Moody heard this soul-thrilling strains of the gospel front John 3:16, by the Spirit-filled youth that Moody's preaching was changed from that day forward. May such profound yet basic truth capture our hearts, fill our minds, challenge our lives that overwhelmed with the love of Christ and a love for the lost we will live consecrated, devoted and surrendered lives from this day forward.