From The Gospel Awakening

Prayer Meeting Talks


   I have believed in God for thirty years. When first converted I did not believe in him very much, but ever since then I have believed in him, more and more every year. When people come to me, tell me they can't believe, and ask what they shall do, I tell them to do as I once knew a man to do. He went and knelt down and told God honestly he could not believe in him, and I advise them to go off alone and tell it right out to the Lord. But if you stop to ask yourself why you don't believe in him, is there really any reason? People read infidel books and wonder why they are unbelievers, I ask why they read such books. They think they must read both sides. I say that book is a lie; how can it be one side when it is a lie? It is not one side at all. Suppose a man tells down right lies about my family, and I read them so as to hear both sides; it would not be long before some suspicion would creep into my mind. I said to a man once, ''Have you got a wife?'' ''Yes, and a good one.'' I asked: ''Now what if I should come to you to cast out insinuations against her?'' And he said, ''Well, your life would not be safe long if you did.'' I told him just to treat the devil as he would treat a man who went around with such stories. We are not to blame for having doubts flitting through our minds, but for harboring them. Let us go out trusting the Lord with heart and soul today.


   We read in the 15th chapter of II Samuel that David was

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fleeing in exile from Jerusalem. Absalom had already undermined his power and superseded him on the throne. But as David went through the gate six hundred men passed on before him, and the king said to Ittai, the leader: ''Wherefore goest thou also with us; return to thy place and abide with the king, for thou art a stranger and also an exile.'' And Ittai answered the king and said, ''As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.'' There was another man, too, called Hushai, who went out to meet the king, but he returned again to the city. How it must have pleased David to have found Ittai outside the gate. Ittai is worth thousands of Hushais. David did not know who his friends were until trouble came. There was true fellowship, true love in that act. In time of distress Ittai would not desert his king, but followed him into exile. So it should be in the church. That is just what Christ looks for; the only thing which can please him is the true love that will leave all to follow him. Some people do not know the meaning of the word fellowship it means partnership. Our partnership is with Christ the Son, and when we come into it everything we have belongs to the firm; we can do nothing by ourselves without consulting Christ. We must be like Ittai, willing to leave the city and all we possess, if necessary, to follow him.


   What I want to call attention to this morning is how one act done for Christ, with a pure motive, will live forever. All four of the disciples give an account of this deed. Joseph of Arimathaea, was a rich man and a counselor, a good and just man, and John tells us he had long been a secret disciple of Christ. He had never come out boldly for fear of the Jews, but in that hour, when all had deserted him and one had betrayed him, the death of Christ brought Joseph out, and he alone came forward to care for the

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crucified body. It is the death of Christ which should enlist us all. The fact that he died for us should make us all come forward to advance his kingdom. Joseph had been opposed to the death of Jesus, but he had taken no part in his trial and crucifixion. Dr. Bonner says, ''When you have a trial before a committee and one of its members will oppose the measure you want to carry, you don't send for him you have the meeting without him if you can.'' So when this matter came up before the Sanhedrin, Joseph was not there and was not sent for. It is only when Christ is dead upon the cross that Joseph comes forward as a disciple and begs the body to Pilate an act which has lived nearly one thousand nine hundred years, and which will continue to live throughout all the time. Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not tell us where Joseph got the myrrh and aloes, but John tells us Nicodemus brought a hundred pounds weight, and that they put linen clothes upon the body of Jesus, with the spices, and laid it in a new sepulchre wherein was never man yet laid. It was a tomb Joseph had built for himself, expecting to lie there someday, but he probably thought the sepulchre would be all the sweeter if Christ had laid there.

   When we go away from here, let us see what we can do for the sake of Jesus, what acts that deserve to live.


   I want to call your attention to the six cities of refuge appointed by Joshua for the children of Israel. These cities were set apart that all men who killed any person unawares or unwittingly, and without hatred, might flee to them and be safe within their gates. The magistrates had to see to it that guide-boards were put up, stones cleared away, and the roads kept clear for those who fled for their lives from the avengers of blood. These ancient cities of refuge are in our day represented by Christ. He is our refuge in all times of trouble.

   The names of the cities are Hebrew, and all have a meaning.

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Kedish means holiness. If we flee to this city of refuge we will be made holy. Had Christ committed sin we could have no hope, but since he is without sin, if we are in Christ we are made perfect. Shechem meant shoulder, which means strength and power. If a man needs strength he must flee there. Sins are in one of two places, on us or on Christ. If we are weak we must find strength in Shechem. Hebron means joined. If we can get there we are joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Beser means fortified; you are secured there if you want to get away from the world. Ramoth means heights and Golan means exile exile in this world and citizenship in heaven. These six cities ought to be a help to you. Have we Christ for our refuge? If a man is away from God, what hope has he? It is folly for a man who has an appetite for drink to try and overcome it by himself; he can't overcome both his appetite and the devil alone. It is only through Christ that we can be secure.


   If we have the Spirit, we have the fruit of the Spirit. If the Spirit of God is in us, we will have these qualities of his Spirit. ''He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.'' Some one said to me the other day that he understood about belief, but could not understand what it was to be born again. I told him that he that believed had life eternal, and whoever received life through Christ was born again. A man cannot get that life by merely going to church and observing forms; he must get the Spirit of God, and then he will have light and peace. We have no peace so long as we have sin, but if we accept Christ, and salvation through him, our sins are blotted out, and we have peace in reviewing the past. Spiritual power is what we want next. As soon as the Holy Ghost comes we want boldness to go out and proclaim Jesus. There was once a man on trial for his life. The king of the country in which he lived said the law must take its course, but, after he was tried and condemned, he would pardon him. The

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man was cool all through his trial, and when they brought in a verdict of guilty, the man was perfectly unconcerned. So with the Christian. He will have boldness in his heart on the day of judgment, because he knows Christ became a propitiation for his sins and he has his pardon laid up in his heart.


   I always notice many here at noon whom we have met in the inquiry-rooms, and I want to speak a word to them. There are three classes of people who will not accept salvation those who neglect it, those who refuse it, and those who despise it. Many think they are not so bad as the scoffer at religion because they only neglect it, but if they keep on they are lost just the same. Suppose there is a man in a boat going in a swift current down the stream; if he neglects to pull for the shore he is a doomed man. He will go over the rapids, won't he? If Noah had neglected to go into the ark after they had built it, he would have been lost with the other antediluvians. Nothing could have saved him. You let the cry be raised that this building is on fire, and see how many will keep their seats; they would be burned up as sure as they did.

   Then again in the 12th chapter of Hebrews, 25th verse, ''See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.'' The next step is to refuse salvation. A while ago they only neglected it, now they refuse it that is the second round of the ladder. You can only do one of two things, take it or refuse it. You have all been in a house where the waiter passed ice-water to a number of people sitting together, and seen how some would take it and some would not; so the cup of salvation is passed among you today. How many of you will accept it? Are you almost persuaded? Remember a hair's breadth from heaven is not an inch from hell.

   Again, in the 10th chapter of Hebrews, 28th verse, we read: ''He that despised Moses's law died without mercy under two or three witnesses.'' Many despise the whole thing, hate it, and will

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have none of it  give them a tract and they light their cigars with it. There are the three words neglect, refuse, despise. When there is but one engine and three cars attached, don't they all go the same way? If you do either of these three things, you must suffer the eternal consequences.

Chapter Sixteen  ||  Table of Contents for The Best of D.L. Moody