The Savior and the Sinner


The Savior and the Sinner

November 28th, 1965 @ 7:30 PM

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Matthew 9:9-17

11-28-65    7:30 p.m.


On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the evening message entitled The Savior and the Sinner.  And in your Bible, turn to the First Gospel, Matthew, chapter 9; and we shall read verses 9 through 17, verses 9 through 17.  And if your neighbor does not have his Bible with him, you share yours and read out loud together; everybody reading out loud together.  And if you are listening to this message on radio, get your Bible and read it out loud with us.

The Bible was written to be read aloud, every syllable in it.  They did not have books as we have today, and the epistles of Paul were written to be read aloud in the churches; and everything in the Bible was so written.  And when we do this, we are doing what God intended with His blessed Word.  So reading aloud, Matthew 9, beginning at verse 9 and reading through 17, now all of us together:

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He saith unto him, Follow Me.  And he arose, and followed Him.

And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.

And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Then came to Him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but Thy disciples fast not?

And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the [bride chamber] mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.

Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

[Matthew 9:9-17]

Now, “As Jesus passed forth, He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He saith unto him, Follow Me.  And he arose, and followed Him” [Matthew 9:9].  Matthew is described elsewhere in the Bible as a publican [Matthew 10:3], and that carried with it also the epithet “a sinner” [Matthew 9:11].  He was unfit for acceptable society.  So the Pharisees and the scribes, when they looked upon it, did so with profound contempt.

And the fifth chapter of Luke says that when Matthew forsook all and followed Jesus, he made for the Lord a big feast in his house, and he invited all of his friends who likewise were publicans and sinners.  And the scribes and the Pharisees looking upon it curl their lips in sarcastic contempt and said, “houtos—this guy eats with publicans and sinners” [Luke 5:27-30].

You know there is something about all of us, that we’re born—it’s congenital—with the black art of contempt inside of us.  That’s one of the strangest streaks of human nature.  Apparently everybody has to have somebody that he can look down on.  That gives him a feeling of superiority.  He exalts himself, you know, and uplifts himself by looking down in contempt on somebody else.

Now you know this thing is hard to realize, but that’s in the chicken world also.  There’s not a man who’s an authority on chickens in this world that won’t tell you that in every barnyard there are classes of contempt.  This hen can peck this hen, but this hen can’t peck back because she’s one of the down hens in the yard.  And this hen can peck this one, and this one can peck that one, and that one can peck that one, and it goes down and down with each pecker on down and down until the last one; and I suppose the last one dies of nervous frustration.  Now isn’t that an amazing thing?  And yet that’s a chicken fact.  And human beings are just like that, just like that.  All of us have to have somebody that we can look down upon with contempt; and we refer to those people over there as “trash,” and we refer to that fellow over there as “a nobody,” and we refer to that fellow over there with epithets that are unspeakable.  Now that’s human nature, everywhere in ourselves.

That’s the reason that when you read about the Lord Jesus, everything about Him is astonishing!  He is the most unlike of any one you could ever meet.  There was nothing of that in the Lord, nothing at all.  But as He looked upon people, He saw the possibilities in every man.  He would see a great tree in the acorn; out of the germ of a plant, He would envisage a great Lebanese forest.  For example, Zaccheus was one of these contemptible sinners and one of these publicans.  And the scribes and Pharisees looked down upon him literally [Luke 19:1-7].  He was small of stature and he was in an occupation that was offensive.  And yet the Lord Jesus said, “He also is a son of Abraham” [Luke 19:9], and the little fellow stood up like a king!  That’s the Lord Jesus.

Another thing about our blessed Lord, which is something that all of us ought to learn, and especially is it emphasized by the apostle Paul; however we are, and however God has made us––and He made us different for reasons of purpose––there is a place in the body of Christ, in the church, and in the ministry of our Lord for all of us, all of us.  Now this man Matthew was a publican; he was a tax gatherer [Matthew 9:9; Luke 5:27].  Consequently he lived his life with a pencil and with a paper, and he wrote down things, and he made notes of things.

And you will find in the study of biblical criticism that all of your scholars will say that doubtless the original of all of the written representations of the message and ministry of our Lord is first in Matthew.  He wrote a logia, they call it, in Hebrew.  And Matthew’s Gospel is built upon that Hebrew, that Aramaic logia.  Matthew was like that.  He had a little pencil and a paper, and he made notes of the things as he went along.  And some of these marvelous and incomparable teachings of our Lord are found in Matthew alone.  And Luke and Mark incorporated what Matthew wrote in their Gospels also.  It’s a marvelous thing.  Jesus needed that publican!  Same way about Mark; Paul repudiated Mark, “Have nothing to do with him.  I’ll not have him on this journey.  I’ll not take him.”  And there came such an altercation between Barnabas, who was his kinsman, and Paul, that they separated asunder [Acts 15:36-39].  And Barnabas took Mark and sailed away, and Paul chose Silas and he sailed away [Acts 15:39-40].  Isn’t that something in the kingdom of God?  Those people were just like folks as we are today, even though they were holy and sanctified and ordained.  Yet Paul found that he made a mistake in that, and in his age, wrote and said, “Bring Mark with you; for he is profitable to me in the ministry” [2 Timothy 4:11].

And you have the Gospel of Mark, which is the most vivid, by far, the most vivid of all of the stories of our Lord.  It is as though Mark were penning those incisive, descriptive, active words from the lips of Simon Peter himself; which he did.  He was useful to Paul, he wrote, and he was useful to Jesus.  Same thing about the beloved physician Luke; you would never have the nativity stories had it not been for a doctor [Luke 2:1-20].  There’s not a woman in the world that is going to bear her heart and the inner secrets of her life in an open and public meeting.  There is a shyness, there is a timidity, there is a reserve, a withdrawing, about some of these things of motherhood that you would never find described by ordinary men.  But Luke was a physician, and Luke learned those things of the conception of little John the Baptist by Elizabeth [Luke 1:5-13], of the conception of the child Jesus by the virgin Mary [Luke 1:26-35].  And it is only in his stories that you will find those marvelous things that were used of God.  He needed Luke, the beloved physician.

The apostle John, writing after years of meditation, and presenting Jesus as the very Son of God, God of very God [John 20:31], and the whole gospel message of John is filled with those reflective meanings, as he came to look into the deeper significance of what Jesus did, the signs that He wrought, and the marvelous messages that He delivered on the basis of those revealed signs, those sēmeion.  John; God needed John.

And God needed the fiery and impetuous apostle Paul.  Why, you read the letter to the Galatians, and he’s there in the midst of the furor of the Galatian heresy, the Judaizing compromisers.  Or the Colossian heresy, or up and down the land, there is Paul like a firebrand, scattering the seeds of the truth of the blessed revelation of Jesus.  He needed them all.

And when you look out over the congregation, God needs them all; some this, some that, some the other.  As Paul says, “The foot, the hand, the eye, the ear” [1 Corinthians 12:14-26], God needs it all to make a body, the body of our Lord, the church of Jesus Christ.  So there is not any part of us that ought to look with disdain and contempt on any other part, how ever the man may be.  How ever maybe unlettered, unlearned, untaught; how ever he may be, there may be possibilities of infinite service and glory to God in his soul.

Now will you notice another thing about this man Matthew?  He is sitting there at the receipt of custom, busy, busy, very busy [Matthew 9:9].  There’s a big highway, a merchandising highway going from north to south, through Capernaum, there at the head of the lake of Galilee, coming down from Damascus on the way to Egypt.  And there he sits astride of it.  He’s a tax collector and very busy.  Now look at that man.  This man has been baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River [Matthew 3:5-6], and he has opened his heart to the acceptance of the messianic announcement [John 1:27].  For thousands of years, for thousands of years that announcement has been made, “He is coming, the Lord Messiah is coming!” [Genesis 3:15].  And he has heard John the Baptist preach, and he has repented and accepted that glorious announcement, and he has been baptized, and he believes that Jesus is the Messiah to come, according to the announcement of John the Baptist, after thousands of years [Matthew 3:1-11].  And yet look at him.  Here he is, sitting at the receipt of custom, busy, busy, busy [Matthew 9:9].

We have a like announcement to make, a glorious one: our Master is coming again! [Hebrews 9:28]  These skies are going to roll back like a scroll, and in glory and in the shekinah presence and burning and the fire of God shall He descend.  He is coming! [2 Peter 3:10-12]  The whole Bible announces that and ends with the glorious Apocalypse, the Revelation, the appearing of the Lord, the unveiling of our Lord! [Revelation 1:1]  And yet, as with Matthew here, what shall we do as we face that incomparable day of consummation and glory?  Why, we’re going to be about our tasks until that minute when He comes; busy at our work!  And I could not but be moved by an old farmer, when a fellow came up to him and said, “If you knew that in five minutes Jesus was coming again, what would you do?”  He said, “I would finish plowing this furrow to the end of the field.”  Busy.  Busy until He comes.

I one time went to see Mrs. Ed Davidson.  Her husband was a godly man and a deacon in one of the little country churches where I was pastor.  And I went up to the house and knocked at the door, and she came to the door.  Well, she had flour all over her.  She had an apron on.  She had her sleeves rolled up, and she had her hands full of dough.  She was making bread.  And when I appeared at the door and she looked at me, she said, “Oh, pastor, no, no,” she said, “I am not expecting company.  I’m not dressed for company.  Oh,” she said, “Look at me, I’m a sight!  I’m a sight.”

I said, “That’s great.  That’s wonderful.  That’s the way I like to see you.  I wouldn’t want to come at the house and knock at the door and there you are sitting all primed, and primed with your hands folded, and your hair done just so, and your make up on, and you dressed just so, and all like that.  I don’t expect to see you like that.  For one thing, I’m hungry, and I’ve come by to eat!”  Busy!  Busy!  And we please the Lord and glorify God being that way.  He is coming, and we’re going to triumph in Him in His glory; but in the meantime, we’re at our tasks, we’re busy!

Now another thing: “And it came to pass,” now I’d better turn over here to the fifth chapter of Luke because Matthew doesn’t say, he doesn’t say who it was that gave that dinner.  All Matthew says was, “It came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples” [Matthew 9:10].  He’s reticent, he’s timid, he’s modest, and he doesn’t say he made that feast for the Lord.  But you look at Luke, as he describes it here in Luke 5:27, “After those things He went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi”—his name was Levi Matthew—”sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow Me.  And he left all, rose up, and followed Him.”  Then he made Him that feast [Luke 5:29].  “And he left all, rose up, and followed Him” [Luke 5:28].  Just like that, just like that; immediately, immediately.

And isn’t that characteristic of some people?  Some people, it seems to be easy for some people to follow the Lord, just easy for them to accept Christ as Savior, and easy for them to follow in the glorious ways of the Christian life.  And others it’s like a battle, it’s like a civil war.  It’s just like conflict itself.  Some people are just like a bud waiting for the soft, beautiful sunshine to penetrate its deep and sacred beauty, and it just opens and flowers unto the Lord.  Some people are like that.  They just find God and are saved so responsively and immediately and easily.  And some people it’s like digging, it’s like digging diamonds out of a volcanic mine.  It’s hard, hard, difficult!  People that way about praying; some people seemingly can just pray so easily.  They can just pour their souls out before the Lord God, and some people, in praying, are like those who would just walk up a gentle grassy slope to the height to meet God face to face.  And there are the people that, in praying, it’s like climbing a jagged mountain, and they have difficulty rising to the heights!  People are like that about giving.  Some people can give so generously, and graciously, and cheerfully, and lovingly, just to make an appeal for the tithe and the offering, immediately they respond.  And there are other people who it’s just like squeezing blood out of a turnip.  It’s just like plowing stumps.  It’s just hard, hard for them—and harder for us—it just is.  Isn’t that amazing how people are?

And people are that way about their whole life of devotion to the blessed Lord Jesus.  They’re like that about coming to church.  Some people just love to come to church.  I’ve always been that way.  I love to come to church and I love to be here.  I’d rather be here than anywhere in the world, rather be here than at a vaudeville, or a circus, or a show, or a movie, or anything.  I’d rather be here.  I like it here.  I love to come to church.  I’ve always been that way.  But there are people that it’s like taking bad medicine to go to church, and as they sit there and wait and wait, they finally look upon a final “amen” as you’d look upon an amnesty; just an amazing thing, just an amazing thing.  Hard for them.

These stories, the old ones are the best ones.  Do you remember Robert G. Lee preaching here in this pulpit about two Sunday nights, three Sunday nights ago, whenever it was?  Do you remember a story that he told that I’ve always thought one of the best in the world?  He said, “There was a preacher up a-preachin’ and a-preachin’ and a-preachin’, and a-preachin’ and a-preachin’ and a-preachin’.  And he was preaching from the first of the Bible to the end of the Bible, and everybody all in between.  And finally after he’d been preaching about an hour and a half, why, he said, ‘Now my brothers and sisters, we have come to Isaiah.  And what shall I do with Isaiah?’  And a guy got up on the back row and said, ‘Parson, he can have my seat, because I’m going home.’”

I had a dear saintly woman come up to me this morning and say, “Pastor, I wish you would preach longer.”  Oh, bless her heart, bless her heart.  Isn’t that great?  There are some people that just seemingly fall into love with God, and they love the church, and the things of the church, and all of the blessed ministries of the church.  And there are others that it is hard, it is difficult.  And this man Levi Matthew was one of those happy souls that when Jesus came and called him, immediately he left all, rose up, and followed Him [Matthew 9:9]; didn’t give an excuse, didn’t hesitate, didn’t extenuate, didn’t explain, didn’t say “tarry” or “wait” or “some other time.”  He just immediately responded to the appeal of the Lord, and left everything, and followed Jesus.  Isn’t that glorious?  And then made this feast, and Luke says, “And Levi made Him, and Matthew made Him a great feast in his own house:  and there was a great company of publicans and others that sat down with them” [Luke 5:29].

Over here in Matthew it says, “And many publicans and sinners came” [Matthew 9:10].  Well, that’s explicable, isn’t it?  Here Matthew is making a big feast for the Lord.  He’s telling the whole wide world about how he had found Jesus and following the Lord Jesus.  So when he made his feast and had his dinner in his own house, there wasn’t anybody that he knew to invite except his old cronies and his old friends, and they were publicans and sinners like himself!  He didn’t know anybody else to invite.  So when he had his dinner and when he had his feast, he invited those whom he knew, who likewise were publicans and sinners [Matthew 9:10].  Now isn’t that something?  Isn’t that something?  All of those folks around there, in that house, and Jesus in the middle of them, the preacher in the middle of them, publicans and sinners, all accepting invitation; you know, that reminded me, when I was getting ready for this sermon, it reminded me of a story that I read recently in North Carolina.  There was a fellow over there in North Carolina who was a famous rooster fighter, cock fighter; and that’s again’ the law in all this part of the world.  Well anyway, he was converted, this fellow, who was a rooster fighter, cock fighter.  Well, you’re looking at me.  By the way, did you ever see a cockfight, a rooster fight?  I hope not.  I pray that you haven’t.  I have.  I have.  Now isn’t that awful?  Isn’t that terrible?

I was down there in Old Mexico City one time, and a friend said to me, “Would you like to see a rooster fight?”  Why, I said, “I don’t know.”  Well, he said, “Let me take you to one.  I think you need that as a part of your theological education, to see a rooster fight.”  Well, you can’t see a rooster fight, even in Old Mexico City.  It’s again’ the law.  You can’t fight roosters, gamecocks, in Mexico City.  Even down there it’s against the law.  But they went outside of the city limits and they built an arena there.  And there they have their cockfights!  So he took me out there upon an evening.  Man, I never saw anything like that in my life.  I never did in my life!  That arena, people all the way around, you know, like a little bowl ring, bowl, all around on tiers, then down there, like in a circus area, why, there the roosters fight.  Man, never saw anything like it in my life!

They bring in those roosters, guy come in on this side, and a guy come in on that side, and they, those fellows, those roosters, just amazed me.  Their long necks out, see that over there, and man they want to go at them, just like that, just like that.  And the people, when they sit those roosters down, and those sharp spurs tied to their feet, when they sit those roosters down, and they start at one another just like that, just like that—my, the hollering going on around, and those fellows in the arena taking bets all the way around.  Betting on this and betting on that, betting, betting; they change the bets as the fight goes on, and all of that hilarity, and the screaming, and the hollering, and taking bets, and changing bets; it was an amazing thing to me.  But the most amazing of all the things about that rooster fight to me was which one wins!  I thought it’d be according to how you played the game.  That’s what the poem says, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”  Well, I thought that’d be the way, how you play the game, you know there’d be … it’s not that way at all.  The one that wins is the one who has the last peck!  He’s the one that wins.  And it’s just an astonishing thing how it happens.

There they are, fighting one another, until finally both of them keel over, and you think they’re dead.  Well, I say it’s all over.  Both of them are dead.  Oh no; a hush descends all over those betters, and they all lean forward, and they scrutinize, and they look, and they glue their eyes on those two roosters down there lying on the sand in that arena, and they wait breathlessly.  “Well,” I say, “let’s read the obituary, and let’s pass by the remains.  It’s all over.”  No!  They’re waiting for the last peck!  And that is the beatenest thing you ever saw.  And as they lie there, those two roosters, finally one of them will make a little peck like that, and then it’s hilarious again: that one has won; he pecked last!  Now I’m an authority on rooster fighting.

Well, this guy in North Carolina had roosters, and he was fighting roosters against the law up there somewhere.  And the preacher came by and held a revival meeting, and he got saved; and he got saved, marvelously saved, wonderfully saved.  And you know what he did?  He called all of his fellow rooster fighters, and all of his old cronies, and all of his betters, and all of the people whom he’d known there in his roosters days, and he had a big feast for them.  And in the middle of the feast, he had the preacher, and guess what he served the preacher?  And guess what he served all of his old fellow rooster fighters?  He had fried all of his gamecocks and all of his game chickens, and had the biggest fried chicken dinner that the world ever saw, and called all his old cronies, and called all of his old friends, and sat the preacher down there in the middle of them.  And while they were eating his roosters, and while they were eating his game hens, and while they were eating his flock, he announced to them that he’d found the Lord, that he’d been saved, that he was regenerated.  And he wanted them to know about the glorious Savior that had come into his heart and life!  And then turned it over to the preacher and said, “Now, preacher, make an appeal, make an appeal.”  And they had a revival meeting right there at the dinner table, eating those gamecocks.  Now isn’t that a great story?  Now I like that story.

That’s what God’s doing today.  That’s what God’s doing now!  Just like Levi Matthew did back there in those years long ago; when he was saved he called together all of his friends.  The only friends that he knew were those who were publicans and sinners just like himself [Matthew 9:10-11; Luke 5:27-29].  And there Jesus is, there Jesus is in the middle of that group, eating dinner, and breaking bread, and talking to them, and loving them, and saying words of the kingdom of God to them.  That’s what we need to do.  That’s what we need to do.

I’m asking God now to give us wisdom and revelation from above, how to do this thing to get a hold of lost people for the Lord Jesus, because they don’t come to church anymore; not anymore, not anymore.  Here is an evangelist there, who goes around preaching, and preaching, and preaching, and he will verify that it is of a day that is past when lost people crowd into the churches to hear a man preach the Word of God.  Used to be they had a rule that you’d preach to the saints, you’d preach to God’s people at the morning hour, and then you preach to the sinners at the evening hour.  Your great evangelistic service is supposed to be at night.  It’s the opposite now!  What few lost people come to church don’t come at night.  They’re out somewhere.  They’re being entertained somewhere.  They’re looking at the television somewhere.  They’re listening to the radio somewhere.  They’re doing a thousand things, but lost people are not coming to church.

Now we’ve got to do something.  And I’m praying the Lord to give us a revelation of how God would have us do.  And the Lord’s answering that prayer.  There are things being worked out, and I’m going to give my life to them, God grant it.  There are things being worked out how we can get a hold of sinners in the household of the Lord and in the preaching of the gospel of the Son of God; because they’re not here.  These are saved people, almost everybody here.  If I were to have all of the people that are saved to stand up, practically everybody would stand up.  If I were to have all of the people that belong to the church stand up, practically everybody would stand up.  We’ve got to do something like this.

“No!  But preacher, you don’t understand.  I am too holy, and I am too sanctified to mix out there with those people.  Don’t talk to me about it!  I gather my righteous skirts about me, and don’t ever introduce me or let me brush with sinners out there in the world.  I belong to a select company, and I look down upon them in contempt.”  That’s what the Pharisees did.  That’s what the scribes did.  That’s exactly what they did when Jesus came.  But He was the friend of publicans and sinners [Matthew 11:19].  “Yea,” said they, “houtos—this guy eats with them” [Matthew 9:11].  That’s what they say, “Birds of a feather flock together.  He is like them.  That’s the reason He associates with them.  You go out there and find out where He is.  There’s where you’ll find Him, with publicans and sinners.”  Well, aren’t you glad that they made that criticism of Him?  Because that’s where the incomparable and precious parable came from:

And when Jesus was eating with the publicans and the sinners, the scribes and the Pharisees said, houtos—this guy eats with publicans and sinners!

And Jesus spake a parable unto them, saying …

[Matthew 9:10-11]

And do you remember it?  There was a shepherd who had a hundred sheep; and one of them was lost, and he left the ninety and nine, and went out in the wilderness to seek it until he found it [Luke 15:3-7].  And there was a woman who had ten pieces of silver; and she lost one of them, and she swept diligently until she found it [Luke 15:8-10].  And there was a man who had two sons; and one of them was prodigal [Luke 15:11-32].  And he went away and wasted his life and his substance in riotous living [Luke 15:13].  And he came to himself, and returned home [Luke 15:17-21].  And there was rejoicing and merrymaking, and there was music and shouting.  The Bible says “dancing.”  There was “shouting and glorying, For this my son, said the father, was dead, and is alive again: he was lost, and is found” [Luke 15:22-24].

That’s what the gospel is about.  That’s what the message of Jesus is about.  “For,” said the Lord: “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.  And I came not to call righteous to repentance, but sinners [Matthew 9:12-13].  My message is not for the self-righteous; My message is not for the superior; My message is not for those who are holier-than-thou.  My message is for sinners, confessed sinners” [Matthew 9:13].

And if you are a confessed sinner, God has a word for you!  And it’s a glorious one.  It’s of salvation [Romans 10:9-10].  It’s of forgiveness [1 John 1:7].  It’s of welcome.  It’s of joy and gladness [Acts 2:41, 46].  It’s of merrymaking and music.  It’s of the angels rejoicing in heaven [Luke 15:10], and God’s true people rejoicing in earth.  You, God’s message of appeal and redemption and blessing is for you [1 Peter 1:18-19].  And if somebody is holier and righteous than the rest of us, God has nothing to say to you, nothing.  But if there’s somebody who is a confessed sinner, “I know that I have done wrong, and have fallen short of the glory of God” [Romans 3:23], the Lord has a message for you, a glorious one.  Just open your heart and let Jesus come into your soul [Revelation 3:20].  And the joy, and the life, and the gladness, and the glory that only God can bestow is ours for the having, for the asking, for the taking [Matthew 7:7-8].  And that’s His appeal to you tonight.  Would you do it?  Would you do it?  Would you do it? [Romans 10:9-10].

While we sing this song of invitation, while we make this appeal, somebody you”: “Here, preacher, here I am.  I take the Lord as my Savior [Ephesians 2:8-9].  Here I come, pastor.  I’m putting my life in the hands of Jesus, and here I come.”  You, somebody you, is there a family to come tonight?  “Here I am, preacher, I make it now.”  Is there one somebody?  As the Spirit shall open the door, shall make appeal, as God shall press the invitation to your heart—if God’s not in it, it’s dust and ashes—if it’s the voice of a man, it has no significance, but if the Lord is in it, if God bids you come, while we sing this song of appeal, make it tonight, make it tonight.  In the balcony round, on this lower floor, into the aisle, down here to the front: “Here I am, preacher, I give you my hand.  I’ve given my heart to the Lord.”  Or, “I’m putting my life in the fellowship of this precious church.  Tonight, what a glorious time to come, and I make it now.”  Do it, do it, while we stand and while we sing.