Bringing Men to Christ and Christ to Men
(Note: The following is a radio sermon delivered by brother Orlan Hogue, who finished his course on earth and departed to be with the Christ he loved and servcd on May 10, 1956. "By it he being dead yet speaketh." He earnestly tried to bring men to Christ and Christ to men from the time he obeyed the gospel on August 10, 1947 until his departure. -Earl Fly.)
"Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with we. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Rev. 3:20, 21.)
This my friends is the language of the Lord Jesus Christ. He pictures himself as standing before each man pleading for entrance into our lives. This my friends is the answer to all our problems and to the problems of all the world. Let Christ in! This is the remedy for all the scandals and corruption among the peoples of this nation of ours and others of the world. Open the door of your heart for the Lord Jesus Christ and there will no longer be an room for corruption, communism or any false religion of any kind.
All the problems of the human race are the result of a terrible disease and this awful disease is shaking the very foundation of our civilization. It can be described in one single word. Here it is: S-I-N, sin. This disease is not only found among the men in high places of the nations of the world, but it reaches down to the grass roots of this nation and every other-to little people like you and me, who in our every day life and dealings with our fellow man have not only left but also forgotten God. You know, my friend, and I know that with the vast majority of people the only time the name of God or Christ ever passes their lips is when they use it in vain. My dear friends, Jesus Christ is the answer! He is standing before you and your life pleading for entrance thereinto. Open the door and let him in!
Your speaker recently heard a nationally known preacher on one of the networks dealing with the political picture of the world. His subject was, I believe, bringing Christ to the nation or the nation to Christ, or maybe it was Christ to the world and the world to Christ. Anyway, he painted a tragic picture of this nation because of the political condition thereof. He dealt with the war in Korea, the sad conditions behind the iron curtain, the economy of England and the corruption among the politicians of this nation. He made it sound like this nation might fall within a very short time unless something was done, and that something of course was according to the formula that he had. But my friend, not one time did he give a scriptural answer for bringing the nation to Christ. Not one time did he tell men in the language of the Lord what to do in order to be saved, to have their sins blotted out.
It is true that Christ and Christianity are the on1y hope for the preservation of our freedoms and of our civilization. But my friends, there is a far greater tragedy awaiting us, and that is the tragedy of facing God at the Judgment without Christ. It is the story of a Christless hell in a tormenting eternity. The apostle Paul tells us in no uncertain language what is going to happen to those people who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I would like for you to hear him in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9: "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." This my friends is language that we cannot misunderstand. This is language directed to every man and every woman who, are accountable for their sins and who die in their sins. They will stand before God if they disobey or fail to obey the gospel and hear him say, depart from me into everlasting punishment. These are dreadful words, they are dreadful facts, they are a problem. And this of course is a problem that has to do with everv child of God, every Christian, every lover of the word of the Lord-a problem of bringing Christ to the hearts of men and men to Christ. What is the answer? How must it be accomplished ? Christ has provided a specific way in which he operates and works in the lives of men. He has the power to transform a life that is filled with sin into a beautiful and useful life. And when these lives are transformed as they ought to be according to God's word the nations of our world will again see peace and all the problems will be carried away.
I would like for you to note, my friend, the very first thing that must be done for men to be brought to Christ. They must hear God's word. The writer of the book of Hebrews said in chapter eleven and verse six, "without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." This same writer said in Romans 10:17: "So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." You cannot bring men to Christ or Christ into their hearts until men hear the word of God. I would like for you to listen, my friends, very carefully: When the doctrines of men are preached the word of God is not heard. Christ said, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matt. 15:9.) We cannot bring Christ to the nation or the nation to Christ by discussing the philosophies of men and the political picture of the world. We can bring Christ to the nation and the nation to Christ only when the Bible, the word of God, is taught, for men must first hear God's word. When men hear the gospel, believe the gospel and obey the gospel they will be in Christ and Christ in them.
But that faith which cometh by hearing the word of God, which is necessary for men to come to God or Christ, is something more than just an assent of the mind. Christ Jesus our Lord said, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21.) The inspired apostle James had this to say: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (James 2:26.) That is easy for us to see and understand. The saving faith of the Bible is a faith in God and in Christ. My friends, I believe that there was an Adolph Hitler. I never saw this man, but I believe he existed just the same. But I never did believe in him. I also believe that there was a Joseph Stalin, but I do not and have not ever believed in him. Surely every man and woman in the audience today will agree that the saving faith in the Bible means more than the faith which I have concerning Hitler or Stalin. We cannot bring Christ to the nation or the nation to Christ until men have faith in Christ.
Let us go one step further. It is impossible for men to scripturally believe in Christ, to have a saving faith, and not follow Christ in obedience. It is impossible for men to believe in Christ scripturally and not love him. Neither can you love him without obeying him, for Christ said in John 14:23: "If a man love me, he will keep my words." Note that my friends: "If a man love me he WILL keep my words." Well, that all goes back to what James and Christ said: "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven" and "faith without works is dead." The faith of the Bible will move men to action. It requires that man turn from sin, or if you please, repent. In the days of Christ he cried to the masses who had left God, "Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3.) And Paul said in Acts 17:30, "God commandeth all men everywhere to repent." We have to turn from our corruption and sin and immorality. I am sure that you do not think for a mement that a man could have Christ and Christ have him when he refuses to cease the practices of sin. And so step number three for bringing this nation to Christ and Christ to the nation is for men to repent.
But then my friends, that faith also demands that it be expressed both in words and in deed. It demands the throwing off of all fear and all pride and confessing before men the sweetest name that was ever confessed, the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Christ said in Matthew 10:32, 33, "Everyone therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven, but whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven." (ASV.) The man who thinks he believes in Christ and will not confess him before men is a man who has never been brought to Christ, nor is he willing for Christ to come into his life. Christ still stands without knocking and bidding entrance into his life.
But not only must that faith be expressed in word, but it must also be expressed in deed. By being buried in the watery grave of baptism for the remission of sins we confess that we believe Christ died, was buried and was raised from the dead that you and I might live. Romans the sixth chapter, the first through the sixth verscs unfolds to us the marvelous picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we portray by our confession of faith in baptism. Hear it: "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Chrst was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted togther in the likeness of his death, we shall be also the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroved, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
But there is one more phase that we can see in bringing Christ to the nation and the nation to Christ through baptism. The apostle Paul says in Galatians 3:27, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ." (ASV.) Hence for us to put on Christ we must be baptized, and before Christ abides in us we must abide in him. Christ said in John fifteen, verse five, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing." (ASV.) Therefore the baptized penitent believer has put on Christ; and we can say with assurance that when man has put on Christ, that Christ has been brought to him and into him. The only way that Christ can be brought to the nation and the nation to Christ is for thousands and millions to rise up and say, "Lord, I will obey thy commandments. I have heard thy word and I believe it. I want to repent and confess thy name, and be baptized that Christ might abide in me and I in him." We must then continue to live faithfully and worship God acceptably according to his word, the Bible.
My friends, this is the answer for the problems of this sin-cursed earth. This is the answer for bringing Christ to the nation and Christ to the world. This is the answer for bringing Christ to you and you to Christ. He is standing without the door of your heart and knocking, saying, "Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him and will sup with him and he with me." He taught, "For apart from me ye can do nothing;" ye can bring forth no fruit to perfection without me.
Yes, Christ is the answer and Christ is pleading for entrance into your lives. If we expect to bring Christ to this nation and this nation to Christ, and to the nations of the world also, we must plead with men to listen to God's word, hear his word and do what that word declare, so emphatically we must do in order to bring Christ into our lives. Open the door, if you please, and let him into your life. It is our plea and our prayer to God almighty that you will have the courage and the faith and the determination to allow Christ to come into your life. We hope that you will go to the church of Christ in your community arid there study God's word, Be led by faith in God's word to do those things that the Bible so clearly teaches we must do in order to become the children of God. Then meet faithfully with the children of God every time they assemble together, especially upon the first day of the week to observe those things that the Lord has taught we should do. This way my friends we will be leading the nation to Christ and Christ to the nation. Together, all together, we can surely do this very thing. This is truly the hour of decision. It is our prayer that at this hour of decision your decision will be this day to obey Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Truth Magazine IV:1, pp. 19-22