The Simplicity in Christ

2 Corinthians

The Simplicity in Christ

June 10th, 1956 @ 7:30 PM

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
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SIMPLICITY IN CHRIST

Dr. W. A. Criswell

2 Corinthians 11:1-15

6-10-56    7:30 p.m.

 

 

Now let us turn to the eleventh chapter of the second Corinthian letter, and we shall read together the first fifteen verses, the second Corinthian letter, the eleventh chapter, and the first fifteen verses.  All of us, the eleventh chapter of second Corinthians and the first fifteen verses; now do we have it?  All right, reading it together, 2 Corinthians, the eleventh chapter, the first fifteen verses; now together:

 

Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.

But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things.

Have I committed an offense in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?

I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.

And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.

Wherefore?  because I love you not?  God knoweth.

But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

[2 Corinthians 11: 1-15]

 

Now, I told you this morning that when we leave the first part of the second Corinthian letter and move over into the second part, we come into an altogether different world.  In the first part of the second Corinthian letter, Paul is exalting, exalting, he’s thankful to God for the wonderful encouraging report that came to him through Titus [2 Corinthians 7:6-13].  But in the second part of this letter, from the tenth chapter through the thirteenth chapter [2 Corinthians 10:1-13:14], the last part of the letter, he has a word, a message, a writing concerning that faction in the Corinthian church that was bitterly opposed to the apostleship and the ministry of Paul.  And the last part of the letter is a vindication of his apostleship [2 Corinthians 11:5].  So that’s the tenor of the passage that we have just now read together [2 Corinthians 11:1-15].

They said every conceivably bitter and unkind thing that a mind could think of about the apostle Paul: "What he did he did for himself.  He was a low schemer.  He was always seeking a furtherance of his own cause.  His motives were personal.  All of the things that he said and that he did were pseudo; they were not genuine, they were not real."  So, Paul, in his letter and his reply to these bitter criticisms, was forced into not only a vindication of himself, an apology, a defense for his own ministry, but he also had some things to say in answer to that faction in the church that was so bitterly opposed to him.  Now that’s why he wrote this passage that will comprise our text tonight:

 

I am jealous over you with godly jealousy; for I have pledged you to one husband, that I may present you a chaste virgin to Christ.  But I am afraid, I am afraid, lest as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds shall be corrupted from the singleness of heart and purity of purpose that God hath given you toward Christ.

[2 Corinthians 11: 2-3]

 

Now what he means by that is this: those Judaizers and Gnostic philosophers and others in the church who were belittling the apostleship and the gospel of Paul, they came forward and presented themselves as men with a superior wisdom, with a finer gnōsis.  They had many deep and mystical things to reveal about the true gospel and the true Christ, the one they were preaching.  In the next verse he calls their gospel the gospel preaching of "another Jesus" [2 Corinthians 11: 4].

Now, if you have read anything of the Greek philosophy of that time at all, oh, there were sophists preaching on every corner.  Then they had all kinds of systems, all kinds of mysteries, all kinds of wisdom, and when they intercommingled that with the gospel of Christ, why, they made it wonderful indeed.  But Paul says, "I am afraid that these false teachers, and these false apostles, and these deceitful workers, who transform themselves into the apostles of Christ," and just like Satan who transforms himself into an angel of light [2 Corinthians 11:12-14], "I am afraid that they, coming along preaching to you, pull your mind away from and corrupt your mind from – those great simplicities that flow from a true disciple toward the Lord Jesus Christ."  And he uses an illustration here: he says they are just like the serpent in the garden of Eden" [2 Corinthians 11:3]. 

There was a simple commandment in the days of Adam and Eve, very plain, easily understood: the Lord God said:

 

Out of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat.  It is yours.  Just one is interdicted; I have reserved that for Myself.  In the day that you touch it, you transgress the commandment, and die. 

[Genesis 2: 16-17]

 

But the way of life is simple and plain.  All of it is yours, just obey that one interdiction.

Anybody could understand that; a plain, simple word from the Lord.  But what did Satan do?  He came by, and in a suave and smart and beguiling way, he began to entice Eve, and he corrupted her mind.  Paul uses the word, "he corrupted her mind."  He said, "See this interdiction?  God does that because He knows in the day that you eat thereof, your eyes will be opened and you will understand things now you do not understand, and you will be as God."  And when Eve looked upon that fruit, and saw that it was good to eat, that it was to be desired to make one wise, and other things that Satan had put in her mind, she partook thereof, and gave to her husband [Genesis 3: 1-6].  And Paul says she was deceived: "Satan beguiled her through his subtlety" [2 Corinthians 11: 3].  Now that’s what Paul says about these Judaizers and these Gnostic philosophers and that faction in the church that is trying to pull the hearts of the people away from the plain, simple gospel message in Jesus Christ.  And that’s why he wrote the phrase, "the simplicity that is in Christ" [2 Corinthians 11:3].

Now, not that some of us would do it maliciously, willfully, on purpose, but I often wonder if our much preaching, and our much talking, and our much philosophizing, and our much theologizing, I wonder if we do not cover over the plain, simple message of salvation, the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? [Acts 16:31].  Sometimes I wonder if the way we present Jesus and talk about Him and say things and write things, sometimes I wonder if it isn’t like a man way up in the attic of an old house, and he’s looking out of a window and there are cobwebs of a hundred years that are sown, that are woven all over the pane of glass.  Sometimes I wonder if we don’t make the gospel of the Son of God like that, so covered it over with our philosophizing, our theologizing, our explanations, our extenuations, our preaching, and our sermons, until a man can hardly find the plain, simple truth of the revelation of God in Christ Jesus.  For after all, however the man may write a heavy tome of theology and however the preacher may preach about it, this fact everlastingly remains: that the great central heart and core of the message of the Son of God is always plain and simple.

For one thing, the gospel itself is a plain gospel, a simple gospel.  What is it?  If you were to send a missionary to China and send him over there to preach the gospel, what would he preach?  When a man stands up in the pulpit, and you go out that door and say, "That pastor today preached the gospel of the Son of God," what would you say that he preached?  What is the gospel?  If a man preaches the plain, simple gospel, what does he preach?  Well, you have a definition of that here from the same inspired apostle Paul.  He says, "Brethren, I make known unto you the gospel; the gospel which I preached unto you, the gospel which you received, the gospel by which ye were saved.  For I delivered unto you that which also I myself received" [1 Corinthians 15: 1-3].  Now what is it?  What is it?  When a man preaches the gospel, what does he preach?  When a man delivers a gospel message, as Paul says he delivers it here, what does he deliver?  You listen to the Word:

 

Brethren, I make known unto you the gospel . . . for I delivered unto you that which also I received: how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

[1 Corinthians 15: 1, 3-4]

 

When a man preaches the gospel, he preaches the simple good news of Jesus Christ: He came into this world to die for our sins; He was buried, and the third day triumphantly He rose from the dead [1 Corinthians 15:3-4]; our justification [Romans 4:25], our Intercessor in heaven [Romans 8:24].  When a man preaches the gospel, he preaches the Lord Jesus Christ:  Jesus coming into this world incarnate, Jesus born of a virgin [Matthew 1:23]; Jesus going about doing good [Acts 10:38]; Jesus teaching the great messages and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven [Matthew 5:1-7:29]; Jesus dying on the cross for our sins [1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 10:5-14]; Jesus buried and raised for our justification; Jesus at the right hand of God interceding [Romans 8:24]; Jesus someday in power and in glory coming again [Matthew 24:30].  The gospel message is a simple message: it’s the story of the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for our sins according to the Scriptures [1 Corinthians 15:3].

Now the rest of it, a man may say many things.  He may write great heavy tomes of theology.  He may try to explain it philosophically and in long polysyllabic words.  But the message itself, the doctrine itself, the great saving word itself is a very plain and a simple word: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.  That’s the reason a man can preach Jesus all through the Old Testament; everything in the Old Testament is a type of Him.  This lamb of the Passover [Exodus 12:3-13], that’s the Lord Jesus [1 Corinthians 5:7].  This great Day of Atonement [Leviticus 16:1-34], that’s the Lord Jesus [Romans 5:11].  This great prophecy of Isaiah [Isaiah 53], that’s the Lord Jesus [John 1:29].  This ark with one door [Genesis 6:16], that’s the Lord Jesus [John 14:6].  All of those things in the Old Testament, they’re about Him, the Lord Jesus.  And the Gospels, they’re the Lord Jesus.

When I was a little fellow, in a card class, each Sunday the teacher would give us a little card with a picture of something about Jesus on that card.  Early, early in life came to know the story of the Lord Jesus.  Anybody can understand that.  Anybody can know enough to be saved.  The gospel message of salvation is a simple message: the simplicity that is in Christ [2 Corinthians 11:3].

There’s another avowal to be made about that: the great plan of salvation in Jesus is a simple plan.  The simplicity that is in Christ [2 Corinthians 11:3], how a man is saved is a simple plan.  It’s not abstruse, it is not recondite, it is not hard for a man to follow.  A little child can understand it.  Any man, a wayfarer, a sojourner, he can do it [Isaiah 35:8]; anybody in this earth, a heathen that has heard it for the first time in his life, he can be saved.  The plan of salvation is a simple plan.

One time I told you that I went through the Bible and I marked all of the passages in God’s Word where God tells a man how to be saved.  And then I reviewed all of those passages that I had marked, and I found a remarkable thing, and it is this: wherever in God’s Word that God tells a man how to be saved, He always does it in one sentence, never two.  There’s no exception to that.  Every place, without exception, without fail, in God’s Book, when God tells a man how to be saved, He always does it in one sentence, just one.  May I give you some examples?  In Matthew 10: 32, "Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven"; one simple sentence.  In Mark 1: 15, "And Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel"; one sentence.  John 1: 12, "But as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become the children of God, even to them that trust in His name"; one sentence.  John 3: 14-15, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life"; one sentence.  And the next sentence is the greatest sentence in the world.  If a man can say it, if a man can repeat it, he knows the whole gospel of the Son of God, enough to save the world; one sentence, and a simple sentence, John 3: 16.  Let’s everybody say it together.  This is the whole gospel!  This is the whole message!  This is the simplicity that is in Christ. 

Everybody: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" [John 3:16]; one sentence, never two, one sentence. 

·         John 5: 24, "Verily, verily I say unto you, He that heareth My voice, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but has passed out of death into life"; one sentence, just one. 

·         Acts 16: [30], "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they replied," Acts 16:[31], "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"; one sentence, just one, just one. 

·         In Romans 10: 9, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved"; one sentence. 

·         "For with the heart one believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" [Romans 10:10]; one sentence, never two. 

 

There’s no place in the Bible where God takes two sentences to explain how a man can be saved; always just one sentence.

Now if a man were to come up to you and say, "I want to be saved, tell me how"; what would you do?  I know what I’d do: I’d take about thirty minutes and I’d explain, and expound, and I extenuate, and I give reasons and causes and theologies; the Lord only knows what I try to do when I tell a man how to be saved.  Why, there are whole libraries on it, great theological systems on it.  Well, we’re just that much unlike God, we’re just that much separated from the Book.  Whenever in the Bible a question is asked, "What must I do to be saved?" the answer is always plain and always simple: "There He is, look to Him [Isaiah 46:22].  There He is, believe in Him [Acts 16:31].  There He is, trust in Him."  That’s the way we’re saved: we’re saved by looking to Jesus, trusting Jesus.

I have a wonderful friend, he’s a preacher, and he said one time that there was a teenage boy that had a disease, and the boy was going to die, and he knew it.  And the boy was not a Christian, and they had sent for my friend to tell the boy how to be saved.  So my friend went to the hospital – and there the boy was under an oxygen tent, his life ebbing away – so the preacher asked if he could put his head under the oxygen tent and talk to the boy.  And the nurse gave him that permission.  So he put his head under the oxygen tent, and with a little Bible he had in his hand, he began to talk to the boy and said to him, "Son, you know I am told that you cannot be well, that you’re going to die."

             And the boy said, "Yes," he had been told. 

And the preacher said, "And son, you’re not a Christian, you have never been saved." 

And the boy said, "That’s right, I have never been saved."

 And the preacher said, "And son, I’ve come at your request to show you how to be saved." 

And the boy said, "Yes, yes, yes." 

So the preacher said, "You listen, son," and he was a man of God, thank God.  And when he told the boy how to be saved, what he did was to read from the passages, some of which I’ve just now quoted to you. 

And when he got through with those simple sentences in the Book, how a boy could be saved, the boy looked into the eyes of the preacher and asked, "Sir, is it that easy?  Is it that easy?" 

And this friend of mine, I say, is a wonderful preacher.  He looked back into the eyes of the boy and said, "Son, it is easy for you; but it wasn’t easy for Him." 

That’s why it’s easy for us.  Because it was hard for Christ, for Him: commanded His death, it commanded His life, it commanded His blood, it commanded the suffering and the agony of the cross [Philippians 2:8]; we are saved because of His sufferings and His death [Isaiah 53:5].  The plan, the way has been made plain and simple because of Jesus: He bore our guilt [2 Peter 2:24], by His stripes we are healed; all of the iniquity of our lives is heaped upon Him [Isaiah 53:5].  He washes us clean in His blood [1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5], in the gift of His life.  That plan of salvation is a simple plan, and a boy who cannot live, on a bed facing eternity, by looking to Jesus in trust, in confession, can be saved, "Lord, remember me, remember me."

Now, this last avowal, an inevitable one: if the great message of Christ is a simple message, the gospel of Jesus is a simple gospel.  If the plan of salvation is a simple plan, then the inevitable corollary: the great act of conversion is a simple act.  And that, dear people, was one of the hardest, hardest lessons I ever had to learn in my life; that the great act of conversion is a simple act.  Now, may I give my witness and my testimony?

I was saved when I was ten years old, a young, young boy, ten years old.  When I see these little fellows ten years of age now, they look like little babies almost to me, just little fellows, just nine and ten years of age.  Well, that was when I gave my heart to Christ and when I was baptized, when I was ten years of age.  They were having a revival meeting, and they were having weekday morning services.  It was in the springtime; school was in session.  But the teacher said any child with a note from the parent can be dismissed and go to the church services.  The man who was holding the revival meeting was in our home, and he talked to me at night about the Lord.  So my mother wrote out a little note, and I gave it to the teacher, and she gave me permission to be dismissed, and to go to that little white crackerbox church.  And I’d sit there and listen to the man preach.  And that particular morning, I just happened to be seated back of my mother.  And when he preached and gave the invitation and we stood up, and they sang the hymn, "There’s a Fountain Filled with Blood," my mother turned around, and she was moved to tears and said to me, "Son, today, don’t you want to take Jesus as your Savior?"  And I said, "Yes, Mother, yes, and I do."  And I went down the aisle and gave the preacher my hand, and confessed my faith in Christ, was received for baptism, and that was all.  I became a Christian that way.

Well, I began preaching way out in the country, way out in the country; first in Central Texas and then for six years in Kentucky.  Out there in some of those places, among my own pastorates and then where I’d hold revival meetings, they’d have grove prayer services.  There’d be men here and women there, and they’d have testimony meetings in those grove prayer services.  And I never heard such testimonies in my life, marvelous things, all beyond compare, how those men were saved, how they became Christians.  This will be a typical one that I can so well remember.  One of those deacons in the church said, "See that place right there?  I was standing in that place right there," and he said, "I had been mourning for my sins for years, and I was standing in that place right there."  And he said, "While I was standing there, a great ball of fire came down from God out of heaven, and it burst over my head, and I was struck to the ground.  And how long," he said, "I laid in that estate I do not know, but when I came to myself, I arose from the ground and the burden of my sins had passed away."  And then he spoke of how the whole world looked new, and he was plowing and how the mules looked different, and the whole field and trees and birds and the whole earth was new.

  Well, that would be a typical testimony that I listened to.  And finally, as I listened to those marvelous stories of conversion, I came to the certain conclusion that I had not been converted, I was not saved, I was not born again.  I had no testimony.  I had no conversion experience.  I had no thing to relate, none at all.  I came to the conclusion I didn’t know the Lord, I hadn’t been saved, I hadn’t found Him, I wasn’t born again.  I had no great story to tell of my conversion.  And I want you to know that there’s no agony, not in all of this world, as the agony that I went through for several years as I would stand up to preach, and then by myself get down on my knees and confess to God that I wasn’t a Christian, I hadn’t been saved, I hadn’t been born again, I had no experience to relate.

Well, I read through the Bible, and I pored over these Scriptures, and I came across some marvelous things.  You read in the passage just a moment ago, you read, "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" [2 Corinthians 11:14]; Satan is.  Then over here in the Book of the Revelation, I read, "And that false prophet doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast" [Revelation 13: 13-14].  And as I prayed, there formed in my mind a tremendous conclusion, and it went like this: some of these days I’m going to die, if the Lord delays His coming, and some of these days I shall appear before the great judgment bar of Almighty God [2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5], and some of these days there’ll be the marching in to glory of the saints of the God of all of the ages, some of these days I’ll be there.  "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment" [Hebrews 9: 27]; we’ll all be there.  You’ll be there, I’ll be there, that great and final day of the Lord.  When that day comes and I stand before the Lord Jesus, and He looks into my face and He says, "By what right do you deign to enter My beautiful city and walk on My golden streets?"  Suppose I say, "Lord God, Judge of all the earth [Hebrews 12:23], I know I’ve been saved, I know I’m a Christian because I saw an angel of light from heaven.  I know I’ve been saved, I had a great experience."  And Satan laughs, "Ha, ha, ha, ha, listen at him, listen at him.  He says he saw an angel of light.  He knows he’s been converted.  Ha, listen to him.  I was that angel of light.  I transformed myself into an angel just to fool him, just to deceive him! [2 Corinthians 11:14].  He belongs to me!"  And he drags my soul down to hell.  What could I say?  And what could I do?

 In that great and final day of the Lord, when I stand at the judgment bar of Almighty God and the saints are marching in and I deign to enter in with them, and I’m stopped and I’m asked, "By what right do you dare to enter the beautiful city?"  And I say, "I know I’ve been saved, I know I’m a Christian.  I know I’ve been born again, I’ve been regenerated.  I had a great experience: a ball of fire burst over my head, and struck me to the ground!  I know I’ve been saved, I saw a ball of fire!"  And Satan laughs, "Ha, listen to him, a ball of fire.  Ha, ha, listen to him.  I sent that ball of fire just to deceive him.  He belongs to me," and he drags my soul down to death and down to hell.  What could I do?  And what could I say?

Some of these days, I’ll stand at the judgment seat of Christ [2 Corinthians 5:10] – you’ll be there, I’ll be there, we’ll all be there – and the Lord will look into my face, and He will say, "By what right and by what prerogative do you dare to enter My beautiful city and to walk on My golden streets?" [Revelation 21:21].  You know what I’ll do?  I turn over here to the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and to my favorite verse, and I hold it up and I show it to the Lord.  And this is what it says, "But as many as received Him, to them gave He the right, the prerogative, to become the children of God, even to them that trust in His name" [John 1: 12].   "And Lord God, back yonder, when I was just ten years old, in a little bitty town, in a little white church house, the preacher who was spending the week with us preached the gospel of Christ.  And on a weekday morning, I happened to be seated back of my mother.  And when the preacher had done his message, and raised his hand and said, ‘Is there somebody today who will trust Jesus as his Savior?  Is there someone here?’ my old mother turned around and said, ‘Son, today won’t you take Jesus as your Savior?’  And I said, ‘Yes, Mother, today I’ll take Him as my Savior.’  And I went down the aisle, and I gave the preacher my hand, and I took Jesus as my Savior.  And Lord, I’m counting on You to keep Your promise: ‘But as many as received Him, to them gave He the right, the prerogative, the power to become the children of God, even to them that trust in His name’ [John 1:12].  And Lord, I’m not trusting any miracle, and I’m not trusting any angel, and I’m not trusting any light, and I’m not trusting any great experience, and I’m not trusting any marvelous testimony, but Lord I’m trusting You to keep Your Word.  There it is in the Book."

Then let Satan laugh, if he dare.  He wouldn’t dare.  Let him mock; he wouldn’t dare!  For my salvation is based upon the Word and the promise of Almighty God [John 1:12].  And heaven and earth may pass away, but that Word and that promise will never pass away.  "The flower fadeth, the grass withereth, but the promise of our God shall stand forever" [Isaiah 40: 8].  And when I wake up at two o’clock in the morning, there that verse is unchanged.  And when I go to bed at night, there that verse is unchanged.  When I was a youth, there it was written large; and down to old age, there it is unchanged; never, never moved.

So, when a man has a marvelous experience of salvation, I rejoice in it.  I’m glad for him.  That’s wonderful.  If you ever see an angel, I’m glad for you.  I wish I could say I have seen an angel.   If you see a great vision of heaven, I’m glad.  I wish I could say I have looked beyond the veil into the very courts of glory.  I rejoice with you.  And I’m encouraged by a great testimony and a marvelous experience.  I just have the observation to make, and that is this: just don’t forget, just don’t forget you’re not saved by the vision, and you’re not saved by the light, and you’re not saved by the angel, but you’re saved just like all the rest of us poor sinners.  You’re saved, too, by looking to Jesus, by trusting Jesus [Acts 16:31].  The great act of conversion is a simple act.  However it may be surrounded by many emotional experiences, or no emotional experience at all, the thing itself is this: that we’re trusting Jesus, not trusting myself, not trusting the church, not trusting ordinances, but we’re looking to Jesus, we’re trusting Jesus [Hebrews 12:2].

May I close with this?  I prayed one time, "Dear Lord, show me in the Bible what it is to trust in Jesus.  What is it to believe in the Lord Jesus?"  And the Lord laid this answer on my heart: this is what it is to trust in Jesus, "For I am not ashamed," Second Timothy 1: 12, "For I know whom I have believed," see, believed, trust, "for I know whom I have trusted, for I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."  And that was God’s answer to my heart.  What is it to trust in Jesus?  What is it to believe in Him?  This is it: it’s to commit to Him your soul and your life.  "Lord, I lay it in Thy hands.  I can’t keep myself, I can’t save myself.  When I die, nobody wants me, even those who love me will put me away and bury me out of sight, no longer could they stand to look upon my face.  But Lord, I commit to Thee in life, in death, in this world, and in the world to come, I commit to Thee my soul.  O God, in Jesus save and keep me."

And that’s what it is to become a Christian.  "For I know whom I have trusted, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day" [2 Timothy 1:12].  The great act of conversion, I say, is a simple act:  committing into the hands of Christ your soul, your life, your destiny forever and ever.

And that’s the appeal we make to your heart tonight.  You, somebody you, trusting Jesus, looking to Jesus, committing to Him all the issue and destiny of your life, will you do it?  Humbly, prayerfully, simply, faith, looking to Him, trusting Him, will you?  And then, somebody you, into the fellowship of this church, "Preacher, I have done that, my humble best, I have taken Jesus as my Savior, I have opened my heart to Him.   Here I am, we’ve already been baptized, we want to be in your church," would you come?  One you, a family you, a couple you, anybody you, while we sing this song, would you come?  As God says, as God leads, as God draws, would you come?  Would you make it now, while we stand and while we sing?

SIMPLICITY IN CHRIST

Dr. W. A. Criswell

2 Corinthians 11:1-15

6-10-56

 

I.          Introduction

A.  Second part of this letter Paul writes concerning faction in the church opposed to his apostleship and ministry – a vindication of his apostleship

1.  Not only a defense for his ministry, but an answer to the faction opposed to him(2 Corinthians 11:2-3)

B.  Judaizers, gnostics presented themselves as having a superior wisdom

1.  Paul fears they will pull church away from simplicities of Christ – like the serpent in Eden(Genesis 2:16-17, 3:1-6, 2 Corinthians 11:3)

C.  How often do we cover the plain, simple message of salvation?

 

II.         The gospel message is a simple message

A.  What is the gospel?(1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

B.  When a man preaches the gospel, what does he preach?

C.  Our message is Jesus, just Jesus

 

III.        The plan of salvation is a simple plan

A.  Even a child can understand it

B.  Always presented in one or two sentences(Matthew 10:32, Mark 1:15, John 1:12, 3:14-16, 5:24, Acts 16:30-31, Romans 10:9-10)

C.  Easy for us, but not easy for Him

 

IV.       The act of conversion is a simple act

A.  My personal testimony – saved when I was ten years old

B.  Preaching in the country – marvelous stories of conversion experiences caused me to doubt my own

1.  The answer God gave me(2 Corinthians 11:14, Revelation 13:13-14, Hebrews 9:27, John 1:12, Isaiah 40:8)

C. "Lord, show me what it is to trust in Jesus"(2 Timothy 1:12)