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TEXT: II Corinthians 2:11b
SUBJECT: Precious Remedies #26
We're going through a book called Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices. The author is Thomas Brooks, a Puritan preacher, born in 1608. He aims to expose the clever ways of Satan and to help us resist them by grace.
Thus far, we've looked at four big topics: (1) How Satan gets us to sin, (2) How he keeps us from holy duties, (3) How he disrupts our assurance, and, now, (4) How he keeps us from believing in Christ.
The outline is quite simple. Brooks begins with a "device" or a trick of Satan. He goes on to offer several "remedies" for it.
The device: "Satan keeps poor sinners from believing in Christ by suggesting His unwillingness to save".
That's pretty clear, isn't it? The devil says, "Jesus Christ is able to save you, but doesn't really want to".
Why would you think that? I can think of three reasons:
1. Maybe you're too great of a sinner. You've done a lot of bad things or maybe only one--but it was really, really bad! From your wickedness, we infer: "Jesus Christ will not save me".
2. Maybe you're too great of a Pharisee. You were brought up in church and never got in trouble. But your heart? It was always polluted by evil desires. You know you're a hypocrite--and surely Jesus Christ won't save you.
3. Maybe you're not Elect. Christ will save everyone His Father chose for salvation. But, did the Father choose you? You doubt it and, therefore, you have to wonder if our Lord will save you.
For some people, this is a real problem. They have no doubt of our Lord's power to save--"He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to Him". But they're not so sure of His willingness to save.
Anyone here feel that way? Do you know anybody who does? If so, let's hear what Thomas Brooks has to say. He offer six brief "remedies".
1. Consider the purpose of our Lord's coming into the world.
Unlike yours and mine, our Lord's conception and birth were voluntary. Kids sometimes sulk, "I didn't ask to be born". Of course not, no one did--no one but Christ. He chose to come into the world. Of His own free will, "the Word was made flesh".
Why did He come? He knows: "The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which is lost" (Luke 19:10). "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Matthew 9:13). "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance: That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief" (I Timothy 1:15).
The verses are free from qualification. He did not come to call "sinners to repentance"--as long as they haven't done anything too bad. Nor has He come to "seek and to save that which is lost"--if they're Elect. Nor is the "saying worthy of some acceptance, but "all".
How can a lost sinner read these verses and infer from them: "Christ is not willing to save me?" If He wasn't after sinners, why did He come to a world so full of them?
That's a good question. And a "precious remedy" against "Satan's device".
The second is just as good,
2. "Think of the glory our Lord gave up to save sinners".
You know, our Lord was not always a Man. Before the Incarnation, He was alive, in heaven, and enjoying the perfect happiness of Divinity. Happiness is an attribute of God. And, like his other qualities, it is perfect. He could not be happier than He is.
But when He became a Man, He wasn't so happy was He? He became "The Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief". In heaven, He was the object of worship and adoration. But down below--the object of scorn and persecution. In heaven, His will was done instantly and from the heart. But on earth, it was resented, argued with, and flatly refused. And this was from His friends! In heaven, He wore a crown of glory. On earth, it was a "crown of thorns". I needn't labor the point. You know our Lord "emptied Himself".
Why did He do this? He did it for the salvation of sinners--II Corinthians 8:9.
This tells us something, doesn't it? It tells us: "He is willing to save". He doesn't save "grudgingly or of necessity, but eagerly and cheerfully".
Think about what He gave up to save sinners. And then ask yourself: "Is He willing to save me?"
3. "Think of the trouble He went through to save sinners."
Brooks called it "That sea of sin, that sea of wrath, that sea of blood that He waded through, that sinners might be pardoned, reconciled, saved".
Was it an easy thing to save sinners? No it wasn't. It required the passion and death of God's Son. What suffering He endured! What a death He died!
Why did He endure these things? Not because He had to, but because He wanted to. Why did He want to suffer? Only to redeem us. "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission". He so wanted us to be saved, that He "Gave His back to the smiters, His cheeks to those who plucked out His beard, and His face to spitting and shame" (Isaiah 50:6).
"Behold the Man!" And tell me He didn't want to save sinners.
4 . "His Apostles, prophets, preachers, and witnesses prove how eagerly He would save sinners".
If He didn't want people to believe in Him, why would He send messengers to them? Why would they plead with sinners; weep for sinners; even die for sinners?
How persistent He is! "I have sent to you all My servants, the prophets, daily rising early and sending them" (Jeremiah 7:25).
He could take His servants away, leaving the world without a witness. He once threatened this: "I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8:11).
But He hasn't. Why not? We needn't guess. "The longsuffering of the Lord is salvation". It's meant to bring sinners to repentance. And "This man receives sinners".
5. "Remember His tears over Jerusalem".
The references are Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34. Assuming they're not faked, what do tears imply? Deep concern and strong desire. You don't weep when some boy is out all night--but when your boy is!
An apathetic man would have shrugged at Jerusalem's plight. A bitter man would have said: "Serves them right". But not our Lord. He weeps over the doomed city--more eager to receive them than they are to receive Him.
How grateful we ought to be that Jonah is not our Savior! He wanted Nineveh nuked! Or John and James who preferred firebombing Samaria to saving it!
Surely, the tears of Christ mean He is willing to save.
6. "Remember His joy over the salvation of sinners".
In Luke 15 our Lord tells three stories to make one point. When the shepherd finds his lost sheep, he throws a party. When the woman finds her lost coin, she throws a party. When the father finds His lost boy, he throws a party.
What's the point? This: When God finds a sinner, He throws a party! "Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner who repents".
Thomas Brooks has made his point. Now let me make mine.
If you haven't come to Christ, it's not His fault. He is willing and eager to receive you. Christ" takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he turn..." And "he" means you.
Christ will welcome you--right now, just as you are. But only if you come to Him. And that means believe. Believe He is able to save you; believe He is willing to save you.
Satan wants you to doubt the goodness of Christ. Will He save you--even you?
"Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps".
That's what Satan says. But not the Lord. He doesn't know the meaning of that word. In Him, "All the promises of God are "Yes and Amen".
"Come every soul, by sin oppressed, There's mercy with the Lord; And He will surely give you rest, by trusting in His Word".
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