| "Come out of her my people" -- Jesus Christ
THE THREE STATIONS OF MAN
|THE THREE STATIONS OF MAN --- Where Do you Stand?
In the following sermon I wish to show that all men may fall into three stations or three positions spiritually. They are either spiritually asleep, in the yoke of bondage, or in the grace of God. We will now examine the first category.
THE SLEEP OF DEATH
Romans 3:10-11, 18 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.... There is no fear of God before their eyes.
All men enter the world spiritually dead, they are dead to the things of God. The vast majority of men in the world today are in this condition. In this condition they do not love God neither do they fear God [vs 18]. They love the world and the things of this world. They seek not God, but rather they seek pleasure, riches, entertainment and power. They are “dead while they liveth”, “Dead in their trespasses and sins”.
The atheist would certainly be in this category, he does not believe God exists, and thus does not profess to love nor to fear him. Neither does he seek after God seeing that he is sure that there is no God to seek after.
The deist is also dead. He may believe that God exists but he believes that God does not involve himself in the affairs of men. He does not believe there is a reward for seeking after God, or punishment for not. Thus deist do not love God nor fear God.
There are also those who profess a belief in the God of the Bible, yet they to are dead. They do not love him, nor fear him, neither do they seek him. They consider God merely ‘love’, and strictly ‘merciful’; one who does not hate sin or judge sinners. They are content to live in their sinful condition, with out any thoughts of repentance. These may even say at times, “I may become a Christian before I die, when I am old, seeing I have much living to do”. Thus they show themselves dead spiritually, a sleep in their sins.
All of these would be considered slumbering the sleep of death spiritually. As the fires of judgment kindle all around them they are oblivious to them. As the cry of “Escape for your life!” Is heralded they sleep on. There is no worry, no fear, no love, no searching for God, just a false peace, a false sense of security.
THE WORK OF THE LAW
Psalms 119:18, 105 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.... Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
Those who are asleep have not been awakened to the righteous law of God, nor to the threatenings of a Holy God. The Law of God with its moral commands stands above mankind, and it is his duty to obey it. As creatures of God we are obligated to obey God in all that he commands.
To fail to render God strict obedience is sin, it is unrighteousness, it is evil and rebellion. And it comes with harsh consequences. God tell us “The Soul that Sins shall surely die”. Because God is holy he abhors sin, and thus sin separates man from God. Sin kindles anger in God, he hates sin and he is angry with the wicked everyday [Psalms 7:11].
Consider Satan for a moment. He was an holy angel, he was stationed near the throne of God, he was a light bearer. Yet when he sinned God cast him out of heaven: that is separation. Then God prepared a lake of fire and brimestone for the devil and his angels. A place where they shall be tormented day and night. It is eternal punishment, and truly eternal death.
When man sins he separates himself from God and reserves for himself a place in hell. The Bible promises that Christ shall come “To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.... Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” -- Jude 15, 2 Thessalonians 1:9
God has appointed a day of judgment where all the sinners shall stand before him and give account for every sin, for every evil deed, for every evil word, and for every evil thought. And there shall not be a more fearful sentence ever heard than when the voice of God shall speak to the wicked and say, “Depart from me... You are cursed into the eternal fire, prepare for the devil and his angels”.
THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Some may think that the preaching of the law and the judgment of God is harsh, and that sinners need not hear such fearful things, but the Bible teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, it is the law of God that converts the soul [Psalms 19:7]. With out the sleeping sinner realizing his fearful condition he will never truly be converted. Who would submit themselves to radiation who did not first realize they had cancer? The law of God and the threatenings of judgment are for the slumbering sinner, to jolt him into awareness of his state. And it is by the Grace of GOD that this law has that affect upon men. As the hymn says, “It was Grace that taught my heart to fear”.
THE AWAKENED SINNER
Ephesians 5:13-14 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
This brings us to the second station of men. It is those who have been awakened to the reality of God’s law and the fearful consequences of breaking it. The Law of God has shown upon their hearts and have made their sinfulness manifest. They are convicted and sure that: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”.
These have been awakened to realize that they are sinners [for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God]. They have been awakened to feel the condemnation of God’s law which they have broken. And to fear the God that they have sinned against. They know in their hearts that they are fit for hell.
THE SPIRIT OF BONDAGE AND FEAR
To these are given the spirit of fear and of bondage. It is fear of facing the God of heaven, it is fear of death and the fear of hell. Those who have been awakened to their sinfulness are afraid to die. They know that death is the door way to judgment and to divine retribution.
The awakened sinner makes up most of the religious people of the world. Because of fear they often enter into different forms of religion in an attempt to appease God. They seek to reform their life, to give up bad habits, and to practice works of kindness. But they never find peace in any of these exercises. Try as they might to live a ‘good’ life after they are awakened, no good work is able to free from the past debt of sin they owe. It is the mercy of God that will not allow these to have peace in this condition.
Paul gave us a picture of the awakened sinner in the Seventh Chapter of Romans.
Romans 7:14-19 ¶ For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
The awakened sinner attempts to fulfill the law, but his indwelling sin will not allow him. The awakened sinner is still spiritually dead and powerless to do the will of God. Try as he might he cannot escape the condemnation of God’s law. Nor can he find true peace with God. Many of those who die in this condition can only hope for some after death purging, but there will be none. As the tree falls so shall it lay. Those who die under the condemnation of the law, shall be eternally condemned by that law. The religious world of our day should take a hard look at this picture of an ‘awakened sinner’, because for most it is a portrait of self.
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Those who are frustrated in this awakened condition often cry out these very words, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me!”. They finally turn their eyes away from all human efforts, ceremonies, rituals, and works. They know that in them exists no power to save or to deliver from their sinful condition. They realize, “If I am to be saved, someone else must save me”.
To them the answer is given:
Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
To the awakened sinner, who is burdened down by the immense weight of his sin and knows that he is helpless in freeing himself from it, is presented Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. To them the Spirit of Grace points:
“Look yonder upon the rugged cross. Do you see the sinless Son of God? He is nailed there for you. And look, do you see the dark cloud that descends upon him? That is your sin, which the Lord God has laid upon him. Now do you see the thunderbolts? That is the sword of God’s vengeance, Christ is being punished for your sins. Listen, do you hear the sad cry, “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The Son has been utterly forsaken by the Father, as the wrath of God falls upon him.
Now listen, “It is finished” is his final words as he bows his head and dies. What is finished? It is our redemption! He has purchased us back from death, by his precious blood. He has paid our sin debt in full. He has taken our record of sin and nailed it to his cross, taking it out of the way.
Now look, the Lord is risen, he has triumphed over sin, death and hell. Now he knocks at your heart. Whosoever receives him, receives the free pardon of sin. And whoever takes him receives the right to be called a child of God.
And from him who believes he shall take away the spirit of fear and bondage and gives instead the Spirit of Adoption.
Romans 8:15-16 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
No longer do we fear God as before, but we reverence him as our Father. We have peace with God through the cross of Christ. Here is true Salvation. It is by the Grace of GOD. It is the gift of God received by faith in Christ. It is the forgiveness of sins, it is the adoption of God, it is the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ in the believer.
THE LIFE OF THOSE UNDER THE GRACE OF GOD
Romans 8:3-4 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The spirit of bondage and of fear by the law could only awaken us to our sinful condition, “By the law is the knowledge of sin... Sin is the transgression of the Law”. But it had no power to forgive our past sins, or to enable us to obey the righteous requirements. But the Spirit of adoption fills the believer with love for God and in that love is the power to obey God.
Romans 13:9-10 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law
Here in is true salvation, here is true freedom. In Christ there is no condemnation [Romans 8:1], in Christ is plenteous mercy, amazing grace, forgiveness, and power. Power? Power in what? Power in the new birth, the transformed life, the renewed mind. All that we need, all that we could want, all that we could desire as awakened sinners is fulfilled in Christ.
Dear friend which are you? Are you asleep? Are you content to be in your sins and there is no fear of God in your eyes? You may have been baptized as a child, or many years ago, and you put your confidence in that long forgotten experience. But yet you live in sin, and have pleasure in riotousness. Oh awake from your deadly slumber, hell cometh. Flee from the wrath to come.
Or are you awakened? You feel condemnation in your soul. You know that death is on your trail, and that you are not prepared to meet thy God. You have tried to ‘do good’, but you have found no peace. Dear friend, turn your eyes upon Jesus, look to him that can only save your soul and bring peace into your life. Believe that he is God’s only Son, believe that he has died in your place and suffered for your sins, believe that he is risen, and ask him in faith to forgive you and to come into your life and make you a new creature.
Romans 10:9-13 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.... for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.