James The Lord’s Brother

James

James The Lord’s Brother

July 21st, 1974 @ 10:50 AM

James 1:1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
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JAMES THE LORD’S BROTHER

Dr. W. A. Criswell

James 1:1

7-21-74    10:50 a.m.

 

We begin today, in our First Baptist Church in Dallas with the pastor, a series on the Epistle of James.  This will be the last of the general epistles.  We have preached through 1 and 2 Peter, 1 and 2 and 3 John, through Jude, and now we have come to the Epistle of James.

It is a very Jewish book; the most Jewish one in the New Testament.  And you will see that in the first verse of the first chapter:  “James,” in Hebrew, Yaaqob, in Greek, Iakobos, and when it finally comes out in English it is James.  But James is “Jacob,” coming out of Hebrew through the Greek into the English, it comes out “James.”  The name is really “Jacob.”

“James, a servant,” you know the King James Version is very beautiful and sometimes it will take off the rough edges of a word.   The word is doulos, slave.  “James, a slave of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord, to the twelve tribes” [James 1:1], so they are not lost.  There is no such thing in the Bible as the lost ten tribes.  That is a figment of somebody’s idiotic imagination.  Where it came from I cannot find.

Some foolish, inane, unknowledgeable individual back yonder somewhere started the idea of the lost ten tribes, and all of the inanities that have followed after are our heritage today.  There is no even approach to anything like that in the Bible.  “James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes” [James 1:1]. They are here today—God knows them.  They are in the tribe of Judah, in the tribe of Reuben, in the tribe of Levi; all twelve tribes are known to God today.  “James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” [James 1:1], now that is the translation of the word, but we usually do not translate the word.  The word is “Diaspora, the Diaspora,” the twelve tribes of the Diaspora, the great scattering of the Jewish nation among the Gentiles, the Diaspora.  So, this man James writes his letter to the twelve tribes, to the great family of God’s chosen people, the Jews, which are scattered among the nations of the world [James 1:1].

Who is this man James?  You’ll find in your study an altogether different idea than what most of us suppose.  Back here in the New Testament we have these little epistles, so we think the men that write them are somewhat not to be compared with those great books that are up at the front of the New Testament.  Actually we could not be more mistaken.

There are three Jameses in the New Testament: one is James the son of Zebedee, John’s brother.  Zebedee and his sons, and Simon Peter, were fishing partners in Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee [Mark 1:19-20; Luke 5:10].  James, that James, the apostle James, seems to have been the elder of James and John because he is always mentioned first [Matthew 10:2].  Not one time is it “John and James” but always “James and John.”  He is the first martyr among the apostles.  In 44 AD his head was cut off by Herod Agrippa 1 [Acts 12:1-2].  In the New Testament there are two Herod Agrippas.  In the twelfth chapter of the Book of Acts, Herod Agrippa 1 cuts off the head of James, beheads James this apostle [Acts 12:1-2].  In the twenty-sixth chapter of the Book of Acts, you have the apostle Paul addressing Herod Agrippa.  He says, for example, “Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision” [Acts 26:19].

The first Herod Agrippa, in the twelfth chapter of Acts, is called Herod; he’s Herod Agrippa 1 [Acts 12:1, 6, 11].  The second Herod Agrippa, the son of the first, in the twenty-sixth chapter of the Book of Acts is called just Agrippa [Acts 26:1, 7, 19].  But both of them are Herod Agrippa; number 1, number II, father and son.

So this James the son of Zebedee [Mark 1:19], fulfilled the prophecy of the Lord when He said to him, “Thou shalt indeed drink of the cup that I drink of, and be baptized withal with the baptism that I am baptized with” [Matthew 20:23]; referring to the martyrdom of the apostle [Acts 2:1-2].  So since this James was cut down and martyred so early in the propagation of the Christian faith, you have no record of his life or of his testimony.  That James is as though he did not live.  He was cut down, beheaded, early in the Christian work [Acts 12:1-2].

The second James in the New Testament is also an apostle.  He is called James the son of Alpheus [Matthew 10:3].  Sometimes they will try to identify that James with James the Less, James the Little; sometimes with James the brother of Joses and son of Mary.  But we know nothing about him at all.  He’s one of the apostles and without any further knowledge concerning him.  So that James is unknown to us except just by name [Matthew 10:3].

The great, tremendous towering personality of the New Testament period, not now, but if you had lived back there, the man of greatest stature in the first church and in the propagation of the gospel in the first century was this man James, the brother of our Lord [Galatians 1:19], “a servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ” [James 1:1].  This is the greatest personality in the early church by far, without peer or comparison.  To us, that seems unthinkable because to us Simon Peter and the apostle John and certainly the apostle Paul seem to be such great overpowering characters.  Back there in those early days, it was altogether different.  The tremendously great man of stature in that early church was James, the pastor of the church at Jerusalem and the Lord’s brother.  It’s worth knowing him.  It’s worth looking at him.  It’s worth being introduced to him, and it is certainly worth listening to what he has to say.

This James, as I have mentioned, is the brother of our Lord [Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3].  They had the same mother.  Jesus and James were born of the womb of Mary—Jesus, before she married Joseph [Luke 1:34-35], and James, the eldest son, after Joseph and Mary were married [Matthew 13:55].  That may seem contradictory to tradition, but it is tradition.  The Bible plainly avows that Joseph knew not Mary until, until, until she had been impregnated by the Holy Spirit and had given birth to the Lord Jesus.  “He knew her not until” [Matthew 1:24-25], so, the Virgin Mary gave birth by the Holy Spirit to the Lord Jesus [Matthew 1:18-25], and then she became the wife of Joseph; of which union these four sons were born and those unnamed daughters [Matthew 13:55-56].

James then grew up in the home with the Lord Jesus.  And I presume it’d be psychologically normal, it’d be difficult for a brother to sense and to see and to accept that his older brother is the Messiah, the Son of God.  So James did not believe in the messianic ministry of his brother Jesus [John 7:5].  He refused it.  He did not believe in it.  And he lived all of the days of the life of our Lord in unbelief.

Twice he is named in the Gospels, Matthew [Matthew 13:55], and Mark [Mark 6:3].  And the Gospel of John describes him as being an unbeliever, along with the rest of his brethren [John 7:5].  After the resurrection of Christ from the dead, He appeared personally to James [1 Corinthians 15:7], singled him out, and had a personal conference with James, this James, after the Lord was raised from the dead, and won him personally to the faith—so much so that when you see in the first chapter of the Book of Acts, the hundred-twenty who are gathered in that prayer meeting in the upper room, James has won his brothers to the faith [Acts 1:13-15].  And you will see, with the apostles and with the disciples and with Mary His mother, you will find James and his brothers in that first prayer meeting [Acts 1:14].  Thereafter he rose, and rose, and rose in great stature in the church.  For example, when the apostle Paul writes in the Book of Galatians about his conversion in 37 AD [Acts 9:1-18], and his three years in Arabia [Galatians 1:17-18], the apostle Paul says he “went to Jerusalem and conferred with James,” this James [Galatians 1:19].

In the twelfth chapter of the Book of Acts, Simon Peter is liberated from prison [Acts 12:6-12], and he goes to the prayer meeting of the church and knocks at the door.  And a little girl, Rhoda, came to the door and looked, and it was Simon Peter.  And she came back to the people that were praying and said, “He is alive.  He is at the door.”  And they said, “That is not so, Herod Agrippa I had beheaded James and put Simon Peter in prison to cut off his head also, Herod Agrippa has already killed him, and you are just seeing his spirit” [Acts 12:13-15].  Isn’t that a strange thing?  Pray, and pray, and pray and have no idea God is going to answer your prayers at all.  Isn’t that something?  The church did that in Jerusalem, the first church.  And they said, “Girl, you just beside yourself, you are just seeing things.”

“No,” said, Rhoda, “he is at the door.  He is knocking at the door.  I looked out the window and it’s Peter, Simon Peter.”  So the church got off of its knees, and rushed to the door, and there stood Simon Peter in the flesh.  God’s angel had delivered him.  And what did Simon Peter say?  Simon Peter said to the church, “Go tell James,” this James, “tell James what God has done” [Acts 12:17].

In about, oh 47 AD, when the apostle Paul has returned from his first missionary journey, there grew a great, there grew, arose, a great controversy in the church.  Whenever you see division and controversy and debate in the church, in the household of faith, don’t be alarmed.  It has been that way from the beginning.

There arose a great controversy in the church over these Gentiles, for the apostle Paul and Barnabas and the Hellenistic Jews, preaching to the Gentiles, told them that, “If you will accept the Lord Jesus you will be saved” [Acts 13:38-39].  But the church at Jerusalem, hearing about it said, “Not so.  A man cannot be saved unless first he is circumcised, and keeps the law of Moses, and becomes a full-fledged Jew [Acts 15:1-5].  And then he could be saved by adding to the works of Judaism, adding to it faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 And there was a great debate.  So, they called the first Jerusalem Conference [Acts 15].  And in that conference you have the apostle Paul and Barnabas and the Hellenistic Jews saying that a man can be saved just by trusting in the Lord; no works [Acts 15:7-12].  You don’t have to be baptized.  You don’t have to take the Lord’s Supper.  You don’t have to be circumcised.  You don’t have to observe clean and unclean.  You don’t have to keep the Sabbath day.  You don’t have any laws, or regulations, or rites, or rituals at all.  You are saved just by trusting Jesus.  That was on one side.

And on the other side were all those Judaizers saying in order for a man to be saved he not only must trust Jesus, but he must do this, and he must do this, and he must do this.  And he must do these other things before he can be saved.  And there was a great confrontation in the church [Acts 15:5].

Who presided over that confrontation in the first Jerusalem Conference?  James [Acts 15:13].  Who made the final authoritative decision?  James [Acts 15:13-19].  Who wrote the decree for the church?  James.  Who placed it in the hands of the apostle Paul, for him to distribute it among the Gentile converts?  James [Acts 15:20-22].  He towers above all of the other Christians in the first century.  To us that’s so strange, but had you lived back there, James was a great man of stature in the first church.

Now, in the second chapter of the Book of Galatians, Paul describes that conference.  And Paul mentions James before he does Peter and John [Galatians 2:9].  And Paul shows deference, as does Peter and John, to James.

It is James who presides and pontificates [Acts 15:13-18].  It is James who rules the church.  It is James who is the powering, overpowering personality.  It is James who speaks with final authority.  It is James who hands down the decree [Acts 15:19-21].  And it is James who covers the great horizon of the first Christian church.

Now, pastor, why are you emphasizing that so much?  For one thing; because we don’t realize it.  For the second reason: if there was a pope in the first Christian church, it was James, not Simon Peter, not the beginning of Simon Peter.  It was James the Lord’s brother.  He was the great man of stature in the church.  Now, to confirm that; James is the only one in that first Christian church that you’ll read about in secular history.  You’ll never find the apostle Paul mentioned outside of the New Testament, never.  You’ll never hear of John outside of the New Testament.  You won’t hear of Matthew, Mark, Luke, you won’t hear of any of them outside of the New Testament.  But you will James, you will James.

You will run into him again and again, this great magnificent man and pastor of the church at Jerusalem, James.  For example, Hegesippus, an early second century historian, Hegesippus says that this man James, whom he calls and was known as the Just, James the Just, “He was a holy man,” says Hegesippus, “from his mother’s womb”; that would be Mary.  “From the day he was born he was a holy man of God.  He drank no wine.  He ate no flesh,” and Hegesippus says that, “he prayed so much in the temple for his people that his knees were as camel’s knees.”  And I’ve come across that in my reading many times, that this James had knees calloused like camel’s knees because of his much praying in the temple.

Here again, there is an apocryphal story.  You know there are many apocryphal books in the New Testament, just as you have apocryphal books in the Old Testament, except you have many, many more in the New Testament.  There is an apocryphal book entitled the Martyrdom of James.  And in that story, the apocryphal writer says that, “This man James infuriated Ananias the high priest and ruler of Jerusalem by his preaching.  And that Ananias had him thrown off from a pinnacle of the temple and thus slew him, murdered him, martyred him.”

Again Eusebius, who is the great historian of the third and the fourth centuries, Eusebius says that, “This man James, the Lord’s brother, that he won the animosity and enmity of Ananias, the high priest and the ruler of Jerusalem, by his preaching; and that Ananias had him stoned to death.”  Then Eusebius says, “And then came Vespasian, the great general of the Roman army, who, after he was elected Caesar and his son Titus continued his work, destroyed the temple, and the nation, and the city.”  And Eusebius is inferring that the judgments that came upon Jerusalem and Judah and the destruction of the nation was due to the slaying, the murder of this man James the Just.

Now here is something that I’ve come across many times in my reading.  There was a universal feeling among both the Gentiles and the Jews that one of the reasons for the judgment of God upon Jerusalem that came in the Flavian Caesars, first Vespasian and then Titus, was due to their slaying this holy man James, the Lord’s brother.

Now finally, Josephus writes about James.  And Josephus says that when Ananias the high priest slew this godly man, that it so infuriated the populace of Jerusalem that they deposed Ananias and the governor of Jerusalem, Ananias, they deposed him after a reign of only three months.  I’m just pointing out to you that this man James is the great personality of the first Christian century.

To us, we think of Paul.  He was a missionary out there somewhere in the first century.  To us, we think of John.  We know John only because of these writings we have of his in the New Testament.  And because of tradition, we think of Simon Peter.  Actually, none of that is true.  The tremendous character of the first Christian century is this man James, the Lord’s brother [Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3].

When the apostle Paul came back from his last missionary journey, at which time he was arrested, and on the way sent to Rome in prison, when the apostle Paul came back, in the twenty-first chapter of the Gospel of Acts, he reports to James, to James!  And he does obeisance to the authority and personality of James [Acts 21:18-19].  This is the James, a servant of God, writing this letter to the twelve tribes of the Diaspora [James 1:1].

Now I point out another thing that is amazing as you look at it.  This is the most Jewish of all of the books of the New Testament, by far.  For example, in the second chapter, just taking this as an example, in the second chapter of James in the second verse he writes, “For if there come unto your,” and you have it translated exactly what the word means, “if there come unto your assembly a man, so and so.”  The word that he uses is, is sunagōgē, synagogue.  “If a man come unto your assembly, unto your synagogue” [James 2:2]; he’s talking about the synagogue.  Look here in the eighth verse, he refers to “the royal law,” the law of Moses, the royal law [James 2:8].  In the twelfth verse he refers to the law of Moses as “the law of liberty” [James 2:12].  Look here in the twenty-first verse, he refers to “Abraham our father” [James 2:21].  Why, you wouldn’t do that.  “Abraham our father”; he is a Jew, writing to Jews.  In the twenty-third verse he speaks of Abraham again, “the Friend of God” [Acts 2:23].  And in the twenty-fifth verse he uses another reference to the Old Testament, “Rahab the innkeeper” [James 2:25].  The book is very, very Jewish.

Now an amazing thing; the Greek of the letter, this letter, epistle of James, the Greek is the finest in the New Testament, with possibly Hebrews excepted.  How in the world was that?  The Greek of James is like the pure, chaste, clear, simple English of John Bunyan in his Pilgrim’s Progress, or Daniel Defoe in his Robinson Crusoe.  It is beautiful Greek, unembellished, classical, plain, simple, beautifully written like John Bunyan would write.

Well, how is it that this man writes beautiful Greek like that?  Well, it could have been one of two things.  He could have written it through an amanuensis.  You see, that’s why 1 Peter and 2 Peter are so different.  First Peter is beautiful Greek.  Second Peter is Greek as though a man were writing looking up everything in a lexicon.  First Peter is magnificent in the way it flows.  Second Peter jaunts along awkwardly.

Well, how could they be written by the same man?  The reason lies in this.  First Peter was almost certainly written through an amanuensis.  Peter dictated it in Aramaic and then the secretary, the amanuensis, wrote it out in beautiful Greek, and 2 Peter was doubtless written by the apostle himself, who was unfamiliar with the language, both of them, amanuensis and the apostle both, inspired of God, directed of the Lord, the words that they used [2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21].  Now that’s the way with James.  James could have written this epistle through an amanuensis.  He dictated it in Aramaic, the Hebrew of that day.  Or he could have written it himself, being a great, mighty noble man, and Greek being the universal language of the Roman Empire, he could have written it himself.  But in any event, it’s a strange thing that the most Jewish of all of the books in the New Testament should be written in the most chaste and beautiful Greek tongue.

Now in the time that remains, I want to speak of something that answers for me a question that many times would rise in my heart concerning our Lord and His family, His people Israel.  Now you must bear in mind that when you listen to me preach, I am very much of a kind, of a turn, of a persuasion, of a conviction; I am a premillennialist, that is, I believe in the literal word meaning, interpretation, of the Bible.

When God makes a promise, I may not understand how God could bring it to pass, but I believe that in God’s time, in God’s day, in God’s way, every promise that God has made in the Bible will be fulfilled, every one of them.  At the consummation of the age, therefore, I believe God will bless Israel and God will use them mightily.  If God doesn’t do that, if He breaks His promises to the seed of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, I have no persuasion but that He also might break His promise to me and to us.

So I am a premillennialist.  I believe in the literal return of our Lord, visibly, personally, the Lord Himself, “This same Jesus shall so come as ye have seen Him go away” [Acts 1:11].  I believe that literally.  I believe in the personal appearance of the Lord.

I believe in the resurrection of the dead, this body [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].  I think these very molecules and these very atoms will be spoken and quickened into life by the word and breath of God, out of the dust of the ground, out of the depths of the sea. I believe in a literal resurrection [1 Thessalonians 4:14-17].  I believe in a literal kingdom.  I think the Lord Jesus shall come to this earth and establish a reign in this planet, and He shall preside over it and be King over it forever and ever [Revelation 21-22].

I believe in a New Jerusalem, the capital of this new kingdom of our Savior [Revelation 21:2].  I believe the streets are gold, the gates are pearl [Revelation 21:21], the walls are of jasper [Revelation 21:18].  So when you hear me speak, you have to remember that the pastor is of that turn, of that nature.  He believes in a literal translation, a literal interpretation, a literal meaning of the Word of God.

Now, realizing that, may I point out to you an answer to something that used to bother me?  It says over here in the Book of Zechariah, it says in the twelfth chapter and the thirteenth chapter and the fourteenth chapter, it says in the Book of Zechariah this prophecy:

It shall come to pass that I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me, whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadad Rimmon in the valley of Megiddon.

[Zechariah 12:10-11]

 

When the people cried and lamented and wept over the death of good King Josiah [2 Chronicles 35:23-25]:

And in that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness . . .

And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands?  And He shall answer; Those are the wounds by which I was wounded in the house of My people, in the house of My friends.

[Zechariah 13:1, 6]

 

And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem . . .

And it shall be in that day that living water shall go out of Jerusalem . . .

And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.

[Zechariah 14:4, 8, 9]

Now I believe that literally, just as the prophet said it.  I think the Lord will appear to His people, and He will show them His scars and the nail prints in His hands [Zechariah 13:6], and they will be convicted, and there will be a great mourning and repentance as the mourning when good King Josiah was slain by the armies of Pharaoh Necho at Armageddon [2 Chronicles 35:23-25].  Now I believe that, just as it says here in the Bible.

“Well, pastor,” then this is the question that arise, “Pastor, does that show favoritism to the Jewish people?  The Lord’s going to appear to them personally [Zechariah 12:10-14], and there is going to be a great fountain of cleansing for them when they turn and accept the Lord in repentance [Zechariah 13:1].  What about that?”

Well, this is what about it.  That’s what the Lord did with His family [1 Corinthians 15:7].  And I’m so glad.  I’m so glad.  I’m so glad.  What a tragedy it would have been had the Savior returned to heaven, and James, and His brothers, and His sisters lost in unbelief.

When the Lord died, He didn’t say to James, “James, take care of My mother.”  James didn’t believe in Him [John 7:5].  But when the Lord died He said to John, “John, from now on she is your mother.”  And He said to His mother, “And from now on, Mother, John is your boy.”  And the Book says, “And from that moment on, John took her to his own home” [John 19:26-27].

Why didn’t He commend His mother to James?  Because James wasn’t even there; James was an unbeliever [John 7:5].  And had the Lord returned to heaven and left His own family in unbelief, it would have been of all things sad, sad, sad.  Aren’t you glad, glad, glad, that He won His family to Jesus before He returned to heaven?  You couldn’t help but be glad.  He grew up with those brothers, He loved His family.

Now in the New Testament, the Lord calls Israel, “My people, My brethren.”  He refers to them with that nomenclature.  And there has been no more traumatic thing in the drama of human story than Israel’s rejection of her firstborn Son.  John 1:11 says, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.”  What is John talking about?  He’s talking about Israel.  He came to Israel, and Israel refused Him.

In the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Luke, it says, “And when the Lord came to the brow of Mount Olivet and looked over the city, He wept over it.  He burst into tears” [Luke 19:41].  How does the twenty-third chapter of Matthew close?  That’s the most scathing language in literature, “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, you whited sepulchers full of dead people” [Matthew 23:27].  How does that close?  It closes in a sob, in tears, in lament:  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem. . .how oft would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her brood under her wings; and you would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” [Matthew 23:37-38], referring to the great judgment that came under Vespasian and Titus, when the temple and the city and the nation was destroyed.  And then He says, “Henceforth, you will not see Me until that day when you say, Blessed is He, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord” [Matthew 23:39].  There is a time coming, there is a time coming when the Lord shall appear to His people, His brethren, and they will in mourning and repentance accept Him as their Savior and their Messiah [Zechariah 12:10-14; Matthew 24:30].

Aren’t you glad?  Aren’t you glad?  These people who have suffered so much, who have been driven into ghettos, and into gas chambers, and have perished by the millions and the millions, aren’t you glad that out of their unbelief, someday, they shall look upon their Firstborn and receive Him as their Messiah and their Savior and their Lord? [Romans 11:26-29].  Aren’t you glad?

I had prepared—and our time is already gone—I had prepared to read out of the closing chapter of Isaiah the promises of God to a converted Israel [Isaiah 66:1-24].  I had prepared to read out of the thirtieth chapter of Jeremiah the promises of God to a converted Israel [Jeremiah 30:1-24].  I had prepared to read out of the thirty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel the promises of God to a converted Israel [Ezekiel 36:1-38].  And I had prepared to read out of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans what the apostle says is going to happen when Israel is converted [Romans 11:1-36].  He says, “If the casting of them away has been our salvation” [Romans 11:15-16], God took out the natural olive branch and engrafted us [Romans 11:17], and we became God’s chosen and God’s elect and God’s saved, he says, “If God did that for us, if the casting of them away is the reconciliation of the world, then,” he says, “what is going to be when God takes them back, when they are saved?” [Romans 11:15].  And he closes the eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans with a prophecy of what shall happen when God turns again the favor of heaven toward the Jewish people, and they are saved [Romans 11:26-33].

I make one comment, and I must close.  My dear people remember, conversion is always possible.  A man may be hard, hard, hard—conversion is always possible.  A whole nation may lie in repentance and rejection—conversion is always possible.  Revival is always possible.  The greatest revival the world shall ever know by, by, by, far, far, far, is in the tribulation, when God sends out twelve thousand Jewish preachers from Reuben, and twelve thousand Jewish preachers from Gad, and twelve thousand Jewish preachers from Naphtali, and twelve thousand from Simeon, and twelve thousand from Judah, and twelve thousand from Levi, one hundred forty-four thousand Jewish converts, preaching the gospel in the earth [Revelation 7:4-8].  And John, looking upon them said, “I never saw such a throng in my life.  Their robes have been washed and made clean in the blood of the Lamb” [Revelation 7:9-14].

Revival is always possible.  Miracle is always possible.  Don’t write off the presence and the power of God.  Don’t think His arm is shortened, that He hasn’t ableness to save [Isaiah 50:2, 59:1], or that He is decimated in His almighty sovereignty.  Miracle, change, conversion, revival are always possible.  God is not done with us yet.  There are other chapters that He is writing, and they will be glorious, and victorious, and marvelous beyond what eye ever saw, or ear ever heard, or whatever entered into the imagination of a man [1 Corinthians 2:9].  Well, we shall be blessed as we read what this man says.  It’ll be a strength and an encouragement for us all.

Now we’re going to stand and sing our hymn of appeal.  And while we sing it, prayerfully waiting upon God, a family you, round in the balcony, on the lower floor, or a couple you, or just one somebody you, “I’ve made up my heart, pastor.  I have decided and here I come.  I’m taking the Lord as my Savior.”  Or, “I’m putting my life in the circumference of this church.  I am coming.”  Make the decision in your soul now, and then when we stand to sing, stand up coming down one of these stairways, walking down this aisle, “Here I am, pastor, I’m coming now,” while we stand and while we sing.