WHAT CHRIST IS TO US?
Now I am not going to take a text to-night. I am going to take a subject, and that subject will be "What Christ is to us. A
take a And if you say when I get through, that Christ is not what I try to make im out to be, it will be your own fault and no one else's; because he is a thousand times more to every soul here than I can make him out to be to-night. A man cannot tell what Christ is in a few moments—cannot begin to express what Christ is to us. I remember talking on the same subject, at a meeting in the north of England. 1 felt that I had not said enough about him, when I got through. When I went home I went with a Scotchman, and I was complaining and groaning over the meeting, and told him that I had only got half through with my subject; when the Scotchman turned to me and said, "Ye dinna expect to tell a' about Christ in one hour, d'ye? Why, 'twould tak a' eternity to do it, mon." I thought I could get through in an hour; but, my friends, it cannot be done. I'm not going to talk to you an hour to-night, however. And now I would like to call your attention to the 2d chapter of Luke and 11th verse: "For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." That's what Christ offers to be to every soul that comes into this world. God gives him to the world, "Unto you is born this day a Savior." God gave him to free us from our sins; that is what Christ came into the world to do. To get him, we must first meet him at Calvary as our Jesus, our purifier, our sanctification, our Redemption. We must first pass Calvary, before we can see him as our Savior. And he wants you to come there; he wants to be a Savior to every soul in Chicago. He is not only a Savior, who takes us from the pit of hell, but he delivers us from sin. A great many people have a wrong idea of Christ. They think he only saves us from hell; but he keeps us from sin, day by day. God knew a great deal better what the world needed than ourselves. Therefore he gave us Christ; not only to save us from death, but to free us from sin. He is not only a Savior; he is a Redeemer. Redemption is more real than salvation. I asked a man, some time ago, why he thought so much about a certain man. I noticed that he could not speak of him but tears came into his eyes; and so I asked him: "Why is it that you love that man as you do?" "Why, Mr. Moody," he said, "that man saved me." He told me in confidence how he got involved; he took what did not belong to him, thinking he could replace it in a few weeks; but when the
time came found he could not. In a week or two exposure would come; and it would be sure ruin to him, wife and family. How he went to a friend and poured out his heart, and how that friend advanced the money and paid the debt; and, he added, "I would be willing to lay down my life for that friend. He saved me." It was out of gratitude to that man that he was willing to give his life for him. When we appreciate what redemption is, and what Christ has done for us, we are willing to lay down our life for him—sacrifice everything for his sake.
Redemption is more. It is buying back, for we are told in Galations, "He hath redeemed us from the curse." The curse of the law rests upon every son of Adam—" He hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." Redemption is buying back. He has bought us back from sentence of justice. We belong to him—" He hath redeemed us by his blood." I remember, I was going from my home to preach in a neighboring village. My brother was with me, and I saw a young man driving before us. I said to my brother: "Who is that young man; I've never seen him before." "Do you see that farm, those beautiful buildings, do you see all these fields, and the pasture? That is his farm. His father was a drunkard and squandered his money, buried his home in debt, and died. His mother had to go to the poor-house. That young man went away, earned money, came back and redeemed the farm, and took his mother from the poor-house; and he is looked upon as one of the noblest young men in the country." That's what Christ is doing for us. Adam sold us very cheap; and Christ comes and redeems us— does it without any cost. He is more than a Savior and a Redeemer —he is a Deliverer. A great many people go to Calvary, and believe he is their Redeemer; but they forget that he came to deliver us from all temptation, from all appetite, from all lust. Now, when God put the children of Israel behind the blood of Goshen, they were safe. When they came to the Red Sea, and they heard the king of Egypt with his mighty army, his horsemen, and his chariots came rolling on to their destruction, it was then that the God of heaven showed his power as a deliverer. He said to Moses, "Stretch out thy rod;" and the sea opened, and his chosen people passed over in safety. God is a deliverer of all his children, whatever you may be. He is a great physician to us all; and he will deliver you from all your difficulties.
In the 5th ohapter of Mark, we see him as a deliverer. I do not think that God ever found harder cases in Chicago, than those were there. We have got hospitals for the incurables; and if they had had them in those days, these cases would have been put there. First look at that man who had his dwelling in the tombs. They tried to tame him; but he snapped the chains, as Samson did the pillars. They tried to bind him; they tried to keep him clothed; but
he tore his garments into shreds. There he was, a wild man and t terror to everybody. The children were afraid of him; and the women and men hearing his cries at night, dreaded to go near the spot. There he was, a slave of the devils. But Christ came to that part of the country. See how they tried to chain him, to bind him, to tame him; but they all failed. But Christ came, and with one word delivered him. One word, and those devils forsook him. And his countrymen, hearing of the incident, came out. They did not go out to see what Christ had been doing; but they came out to look for their swine. A good many men here in Chicago value swine more than they do the salvation of souls. Let pork go up or down, and see what a commotion there would be. But if there are souls to save here to-night, they would never trouble themselves. They came out to see the swine, and they found the wild man sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind. When the man found himself delivered, he wanted to go with the Savior. That was gratitude. Christ had saved him, had redeemed him; he had delivered him from the hand of the enemy. And this man cried: "letme follow you round the world; where you go I will go." But the Lord said: "You go home, and tell your friends what good things the Lord has done for you." And he started home. I would like to have been in that house when he came there. I can imagine how the children would look when they saw him, and say, "Father is coming." "Shut the door," the mother would cry; "look out; fasten the windows; bolt every door in the house." Many times, he very likely had come home and abused his family, and broken the chairs and tables, and turned the mother into the street, and alarmed all the neighbors. They see him now, coming down the street Down he comes till he gets to the door, and then gently knocks. You don't hear a sound, as he stands there. At last he sees his wife at the window, and he says, "Maryl" "Why," she says, "why^he speaks as he did when I first married him; I wonder if he has got well?" So she looks out and says, "John, is that you?" "Yes, Mary," he replies; "Pte me. Don't be afraid anymore; I'm well now." I see that mother; how she pulls back the bolts of that door, and looks at him. The first look is sufficient, and she springs into his arms, and clings about his neck. She takes him in and asks him a hundred questions—how it all happened—all about it. "Well, just take a chair, and I'll tell you how I got cured." The children hang back, and look amazed. He says: "I was there in the tombs, you know, cutting myself with stones, and running about in my nakedness, when Jesus of Nazareth came that way. Mary, did you ever hear of him? He is the most wonderful man. I've never seen a man like him. He just ran in and told those devils to leave me, and they left me. When he had cured me, I wanted to follow him; but he told me to come home, and tell you all about it." The children, byand-by, gather about his knee; and the elder ones run to tell their playmates what wonderful things Jesus has done for their father.
Ah, my friends, we have got a mighty deliverer. Don't care what affliction you have, he will deliver you from it. The Son of God, who cast out those devils, can deliver you from your besetting sin. A man told me last night, in speaking about drunkards, the trouble is that the passion for drink becomes a disease; and when it does there is no hope. That man didn't know the gospel, my friend. Christ is the physician who has never lost a case yet. We've got a great many fine physicians; how many of them can say: "I have never lost a case." Christ has never failed; and he has had some pretty hard cases.
Just look at that woman, suffering for years from an issue of blood. Probably she had visited all the physicians round—had gone clear up to Damascus, and down to Egypt. Perhaps she had spent all her money in trying to get better, but instead had only grown worse. That's just the case with Christians, to-day. Instead of her coming to Christ, she went to the physicians around. I can imagine one of her friends coming in and saying, "Have you ever heard of Jesus of Nazareth?" "No." "Well, he is a great prophet. I have never seen him myself; but they tell me he is in Jerusalem, doing wonderful things. I heard of a man who was troubled with leprosy, and another with palsy; and they went to him, and in a moment were cured. They say, too, he gives sight to blind men." As her friend tells her these things, a ray of hope breaks upon the poor woman's soul; and she questions the friend further. "Yes, and I heard of another cure of a poor cripple who had been lame for years, so lame that he had to be carried to the prophet. When they got there, they found such a crowd that they had to cut a hole in the roof and let him down; and as soon as he saw him, he just touched him, and he was healed." "He must be a great physician. How much does he charge?" "Don't charge you anything." And this is the trouble with a great many people to-day. They think they have something to do for the Lord—something to give him in return for the salvation he offers. "Do you mean to tell me he don't charge anything?" "Yes; I tell you, he cures all the people who come to him for nothing!" "I never heard of such a thing in my life. Whenever he comes here, I am going to see him." By-and-by, she hears that he is passing through her town, and she prepares to go. Her children probably come to her and urge her not to go. "Don't go to any more physicians. You've been running after too many, and they've only made you worse." But she gives them a deaf ear. She wants to be blessed. I don't know what they called the women's garments in those days; but we will come down to the present. She gets down her old shawl. The doctor took all her money, and she can't afford to buy a new one. When she gets to where he is, she finds a crowd around him, perhaps four or five times as many people as we have here. I can see that woman elbowing her way through the crowd, as she says to herself: "If I can only get near that man, I know by his look he can bless me." There she goes, pushing her way through the crowd of able-bodied men standing between her and the Savior. "Why don't you go away, or stand still?" they say to her; "there are plenty more besides you who want to get near him." But she keeps on; and by-and-by she is .gust about to touch him, when some one is thrust in between her and the Savior, and she is driven back. But she works her way on, and comes near enough again; and I can see that thin, pale hand as it comes from under that shawl, and it creeps to his garment—lo! in a moment, she is well. Some one has said that he has got more medicine in thii garment than there is in all the apothecaries' stores of the world. A mighty physician!
If you have a sick soul come up to him. There is no case too bad for him. I don't care if you have some sin to which you are a slave —he can heal you of it. Yes, my friends; he is a mighty physician, and can save all who come and seek his aid. I can imagine some of you say: "I am a good deal worse than any you have spoken of. I am dead to everything that is pure and holy. I come here night after night, and those remarks never touch me. Those sweet songs never thrill me. I am dead." Well, right here we find the story of one who was dead, Jairus' daughter. When he came to the house, they said he was too late. You and I have been too late, but Christ never. They forgot he was the resurrection and the life. When he went into that room with Peter and John, among the weeping mourners, he just said to that dead girl, "Damsel, I say unto tin?-. arise;" and she was awakened from the sleep of death. If there if a dead soul here to-night, he can save you. He said at the creation, "Let there be light;" and lo! the light appeared. If he commands your dead souls to live, they will surely live. Let your prayers be going up to God, that your dead souls may be filled with the light of his presence. He said to that woman's son, "Young man, arise." Why, he could raise men out of the stones in the street. There is no limit to the power of the Lord God of Israel. If there is a dead soul here, he can fill it with purity. Our Savior, our Redeemer, our Deliverer, our Physician, is able to do this. He can quicken dead souls; he can make them alive.
You know, when hfi took the children of Israel through the Red Sea and into the wilderness, he became their way. You hear people sometimes saying: "If I become a Christian, 1 don't know what church I will join. I find the Roman Catholic church saying that they are the only true church—the only Apostolic church; and unless I join it, they say I cannot enter heaven. Then the Baptists tell me, I cannot get into heaven unless I become immersed; the Episcopalian church claims to be the only true church. So with the Presbyterians, and the Methodists; and I don't know really what way to take." Thank God, we need not be in darkness about that. He tells us, "I am the way." The greatest mistake of the present day is, the following of this creed and that one, this church and that church; and agreat many listen to the voice of the church, instead of the voice of God. The Catholic ciiurch, or any other, never saved a soul. The Son of God is the Savior of the world. The very name of Jesus can save his people from their sins. He is a real personal Savior; and if a man wants to become a Christian, let him put his eyes on that Savior, and he will be saved. You know that the children of Israel had a cloud going ahead of them. When the cloud moved they moved; when it stopped they stopped; and when it started they followed it. So, my friends, it is Jesus that is our way; and if we follow his footseps, we will be in the right church. Who could have led those chosen people through that wilderness better than God Almighty? He knew of all dangers and difficulties. When they wanted bread, he opened his hand and gave it them; when they wanted water, he commanded Moses to strike a rock, and, Jo, the crystal stream gushed forth. Who could better lead them through the wilderness; and who could better lead us to heaven than Jesus? A great many people don't like the old way our fathers taught. Well, the people in the days of Jeremiah didn't like the old way; they hated it, and so he put them in slavery for seventy years. The good old way our fathers taught is better than our own way.
People say this Bible was good enough for ancient days; but we have men of culture, of science, of literature now, and its value has decreased to the people of our day. Now, give me a better book, and I will throw it away. Has the world ever offered us a better book? These men want us to give up the Bible. What are you going to give us in its place? Oh, how cruel infidelity is to tell us to give up all the hope we have—to throw away the only book which t«lls us the story of the resurrection. They try to tell us it is all a fiction, so that, when we lay our loved ones in the grave, we bid them farewell for time and eternity. Away with this terrible doctrine. The Bible of our fathers and mothers is true; and the good old way is true. When man comes and tries to draw us from the old to the new way, it is the work of the devil. But men say we have outgrown this way. Why don't men outgrow the light of the sun? They shouldn't let the light of the sun come into their buildings—should have gas; the sun is old, and gas is a new light. There is just as much sense in this as to take away the Bible. How much weowe the blessed Biblel Why, I don't think human life would be safe in this city, if it wasn't for it. Look at the history of the nations where the Bible has been trampled under foot. Only a few years ago, France and England were pretty nearly equal. England threw the Bible open to the world; and France tried to trample it. Now the English language is spoken around the world, and its prosperity has increased, while it stands foremost among nations. But look at France. It has gone down and down, with anarchy and revolution. Let us not forsake the old way. The Chief Shepherd has gone in through the gates, and tells us to come in through him. When I was in Dublin, I heard of a little boy who, while being taught in one of the mission schools, had found Christ. When he got Borne he tried to talk to his father and mother about his Redeemer. The little fellow sickened and died; and when I was there, four years after the death of that boy, the father might have been seen night after night reading his Bible. If you had asked him what he was looking for, he would have told you he was looking for the way his little son had taken to get into heaven. He was trying to find the way. My friends, our elder brother has gone before us, and has taken his seat at the right hand of his God, and he won't leave us in darkness.
I remember, a number of years ago, I went out of Chicago to try to preach. I went down to a little town, where was being held a Sunday-school convention. I was a perfect stranger in the place; and on my arrival, a man stepped up to me and asked me if my name was Moody. I told him it was, and he invited me to his house. When I arrived, he said he had to go to the convention, and asked me to excuse his wife, as she, not having a servant, had to attend to her household duties. He put me into the parlor, and told me to amuse myself as best I could till he came back. I sat there, but the room was dark and I could not read; and I got tired. So I thought I would try and get the children and play with them. I listened for some sound of childhood in the house, but could not hear a single evidence of the presence of little ones. When my friend came back I said, "Haven't you any children?" "Yes," he replied, "I have one, but she's in heaven; and I am glad she is there, Moody." "Are you glad that your child is dead?" I inquired. He went on to tell me how he had worshiped that child; how his whole life he had been bound up in her, to the neglect of his Savior. One day he had come home and found her dying. Upon her death, he accused God of being unjust. He saw some of his neighbors with their children around them. Why hadn't he taken some of them away? He was rebellious. After he came home from her funeral, he said: "All »t once I thought I heard her little voice calling me, but the truth came to my heart that she was gone. Then I thought I heard her feet upon the stairs; but I knew she was lying in the grave. The thought of her loss made me almost mad. I threw myself on my bed, and wept bitterly. I fell asleep, and while I slept I had a dream; but it almost seems to me like a vision. I thought I was going over a barren field, and I came to a river so dark and chill-looking that I was going to turn away; when, at once, I saw, on the opposite bank, the most beautiful sight I ever looked at. I thought death and sorrow could never enter into that lovely region. Then I began to see beings all so happy looking, and among them I saw my little child. She waved her little angel nand at me and cried, 'Father, father, come this way.' I thought her voice sounded much sweeter than it did on earth. In my dream, I thought I went to the water and tried to cross it; but found it deep, and the current so rapid that I thought if I entered, it would carry me away from her for ever. I tried to find a boatman to take me over, but couldn't; and I walked up and down the river trying to find a crossing, and still she cried: 'Come this way.' All at once, I heard a voice come rolling down: 'I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.' The voice awoke me from my sleep; and I knew it was my Savior calling me, and pointing the way for me to reach my darling child. I am now superintendent of a Sabbathschool; I have made many converts; my wife has been converted, and we will, through Jesus as the way, see one day our child."
Am I not speaking to some father to-night, who has some loved one in yonder land? Am I not speaking to some mother, who has a little one in that happy land? And if you could but hear their voice, would they not say: "Come right this way?" Am I not speaking to some here who have representatives there? There's not a son here, if he could hear his mother's voice, but who would be told to come right that way. Thank God, we have all our Elder Brother there. Nearly one thousand nine hundred years have passed since he went there; but he is as constant to us now as he was when first he went there. Dear friends, as he calls us up to him, let us turn our backs to this world. Let us take Christ as our Redeemer, as our Deliverer, as our Physician, as our Way, as our Truth, and as our Light. May the blessing of heaven fall upon us all to-night; and may every man and woman here who is out of the kingdom, accept him and press into his dominions.