Good News for Everyone!
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“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”—Mark 16:15.
That text does not say, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to the elect”; it does not say, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to the rich,” or “to the learned,” or “to the unlearned”; but “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
I am one of those who believe that God means what He says. When He says, “Go…and preach… to every creature,” He means that every man shall be invited to the gospel feast, that none need stay away. Then if a man does not come, it will be because he is not willing to accept the invitation. As Christ says, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40).
It is not because men cannot come; it is because they will not come.
The Devil does not want you to hear the text, for the Word of God gives life. The text is worth more than the sermon. Hear the proclamation:
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned [condemned].”—Mark 16:15,16.
That is plain language, so plain that no one here need misunderstand it. As I said, Christ means what He says. He sends out His messengers to proclaim the glad tidings. Gethsemane is behind; the empty grave is behind; Calvary, in all its horrors, is now past; He is on His way back Home to take His seat at the right hand of the Father. His little church is gathered round Him—a little handful—and He breathes upon them the Holy Ghost; and now this is His parting commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Thank God for that text! Thank God that the commission is for us to proclaim it to every creature and that every person in this wide, wide world is invited to the gospel feast!
The Promise for All
Every one of God’s proclamations is connected with the word “whosoever.” I think it was Richard Baxter who said he would rather have that word “whosoever” than “Richard Baxter”; for if it were “Richard Baxter,” it might refer to some other Richard Baxter, one who had lived and died, but “whosoever” he knew meant him.
A woman once thought there was no promise in the Bible for her; she thought the promises were for someone else. There are a good many of these people in the world. They think it is too good to be true that they can be saved without doing something to earn it.
This woman one day received a letter, and when she opened it, she found it was not for her at all; it was meant for another with her name. Her eyes were thus opened to the fact that if she should find some promise in the Bible directed to her, she would not know whether it meant her or someone else who bore her name.
But you know the word “whosoever” means everyone in this house: that boy down there, that gray-haired man and that young man right in the blush of youth.
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” It does not leave out one. Go and proclaim the glad tidings to every man on the face of the earth.
Pardon for the Prisoners
While in Ohio a few years ago, I was invited to preach in the state prison. Eleven hundred convicts were brought into the chapel, and all sat in front of me. After I had finished preaching, the chaplain said:
“Moody, I want to tell you of a scene which occurred in this room. A few years ago our commissioners went to the governor of the state and got him to promise that he would pardon five men for good behavior.
“The governor consented with this understanding: the record was to be kept in secret, and at the end of six months the five men highest on the roll should receive a pardon, regardless of who they were or what they had done; even if they were there for life, they should receive a pardon.
“At the end of six months, the prisoners were all brought into the chapel. The commissioners came in. The president of the commissioners stood up on the platform, put his hand in his pocket and brought out some papers, saying, ‘I hold in my hand pardons for five men.’”
The chaplain told me he had never witnessed anything on earth like it. Every man was as still as death, many were deathly pale, and the suspense was something awful.
The commissioner went on to tell them how they had earned the pardon. But the chaplain said to him, “Before you make your speech, read out the names. This suspense is awful.”
So he read out the first name: “Reuben Johnson will come up and get his pardon.” He held it out, but no one came forward.
He said to the governor, “Are all the prisoners here?” The governor told him they were all there. Then he said again, “Reuben Johnson will come and get his pardon. It is signed and sealed by the governor. He is a free man.”
The chaplain told me he looked right down where Reuben was and saw him looking all around to find the fortunate man who had received a pardon.
Finally the chaplain caught his eye and said, “Reuben, you are the man.” Reuben turned round and looked behind him to see where Reuben was.
The chaplain said the second time, “Reuben, you are the man.” The second time he looked round, thinking it must be some other Reuben.
Well, the chaplain could see where Reuben was, and he had to say three times, “Reuben, come up and get your pardon.”
At last the old man got up and came along down the hall, trembling from head to foot. When he took the pardon, he looked at it, went back to his seat, buried his face in his hands, and the prisoners saw him weep to think he was a free man.
When the prisoners got into ranks to go back to the cells, Reuben stepped in too. The chaplain had to call, “Reuben, get out of the ranks; you are a free man; you are no longer a prisoner.”
That is the way men make out pardons—for good character or good behavior. But God makes out pardons for men with no character, men who have been very bad. He has a pardon for every sinner in London who will take it.
I do not care who he is or what he is like; he may be the greatest sinner who ever walked the streets of London, but I come with glad tidings and preach the Gospel to every creature that “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). Every man is invited.
Why Is the Door Bolted?
When Dr. Arnot, whom the Lord has since called Home to his reward, was pastor of a church in Glasgow, he heard that a woman he knew was in trouble. She could not pay her debts, nor could she pay her rent; so he went around to her house, thinking he would help her.
He knocked at the door, listened and thought he heard someone inside; so he knocked again, but no one came. He knocked the third time very loudly and listened but did not hear anyone; all was still. After waiting some time, he made a great noise and at last left the house.
Some few days after, he met the woman in the street and said to her, “I was around at your house the other day. I heard you were in trouble and could not pay your rent, so I went to help you.”
The woman said, “Was that you? I was in the house all the time; but I thought it was the landlord come for the rent, and as I hadn’t the money, I kept the door locked.”
That woman represents a sinner. A sinner thinks God is coming to demand something. Instead, God comes to give and to bless.
You all owe God a debt you cannot pay, and the Gospel tells you that Christ came and paid it for you. You had better pull back the bolt and let Him in tonight.
A Dublin Door and the Sinner’s Heart
When we were in Dublin, I went out one morning to an early meeting. I found the servants had not opened the front door, so I pulled back a bolt, but I could not get the door open. Then I turned a key, but the door would not open. Then I found there was another bolt at the top; then I found there was another bolt at the bottom. Still the door would not open. Then I found there was a bar, and then I found a night-lock. I found there were five or six different fastenings.
I am afraid that door represents every sinner’s heart. The door of his heart is double-locked, double-bolted and double-barred. Oh, my friends, pull back the bolts and let the King of Glory in! He wants to bless you; He wants to cancel the debts; He wants you to be reconciled; He wants you to be saved.
He does not wish the death of any but that all may turn to Him and live. What said the angel to those shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem?
“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour.”—Luke 2:10,11.
Liberty Proclaimed to Captives
Now, I contend that men can hear no better news than that a Saviour has been given and that God wants to save them—not that men shall be lost, not that men shall perish, but that a Saviour has been given to save us from our sins. Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world. He came that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17).
Look at Him in Nazareth. What did He do when He turned into the synagogue one Sabbath? He opened the Book at the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted.”—Luke 4:18.
My friends, think of the broken hearts in London! Christ says He is come to heal the brokenhearted. “He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives.”
Think of this, you poor drunkards, slaves to the infernal cup! I bring you good news tonight. The Son of God can set your soul free and make you free men. Is not that good news? Christ was anointed for that purpose. God sent Him to proclaim the glad tidings.
I would to God that every man in this vast assembly would believe the Gospel and be saved! Oh, that you would receive the Lord Jesus as your Way, your Truth and your Life! All you have to do is just to take Him.
How to Take a Gift
This afternoon there were a great many who came up to ask what they must do to be saved. A young lady among the number said to me, “Mr. Moody, I want to be saved. I wish you would tell me how.” The tears trickled down her cheeks as she added, “You do not know how much I want to be saved!”
I said, “My friend, you would know how to take a gift, would you not? If I offered you my Bible, you would know how to take it, would you not?”
“Yes sir,” she said, “I should.”
“Salvation is a gift, and just as you would take a present, you should take God’s present. God’s present to you is His Son from Heaven. Receive Him.”
She said, “Mr. Moody, is that all I have to do?”
I replied, “Yes, that is all you can do. You receive Him first.”
“But won’t I have to ask for Him?”
I answered, “You need not do it. What is the use of asking for what God is offering?”
Suppose I say to this boy, “Look here, I want to give you my Bible,” and the boy says, “I wish you would make me a present of the Bible. Will you give it to me?”
Still I say, “Take it, take it,” yet he keeps asking for it.
Now God is offering salvation to every sinner. You have nothing to do but to take it. Who will take salvation as a gift tonight?
I was out on the Pacific coast in California two or three years ago. I was the guest of a man who had a large vineyard. One day he said, “Moody, while you are my guest I want you to be very happy. If there is anything in the orchard or in the vineyard you would like, help yourself.”
Well, when I wanted an orange, I did not go to an orange tree and pray the orange to fall into my pocket; I walked up to a tree, reached out my hand and took an orange. He said, “Take,” and I took.
God says, “There is My Son; take Him.” “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life” (Rom. 6:23).
God Is a Giver
Satan is down in the audience working while I am preaching. He says, “If you take it, you will have to give up too much. Do not let that man have power over you. Do not believe that man. If you become a Christian, you have to give up too much.”
Let me say—mark the words—God does not come here and ask any man to give up anything. The first thing God wants you to do is to take; and after you have taken the new life and have a new nature, old things will pass away, and all things will become new.
I tried to stop swearing before I was converted, but the more I tried, the worse I became. But one night when Jesus met me, I received Him, and I have had no desire to swear since. It stopped itself; I got something better. The things I once loved I now hate, and the things I once hated I now love.
There was a perfect change, a revolution in my life, when God revealed Himself to me; and since then His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
God does not come down and say, “Young man, give up this and that.” He says, “There is My Son; take Him.”
There is the gift. And there is nothing that God can give us that is worth more than the gift of eternal life. If you were allowed to choose, you would ask for eternal life. You would rather have that gift than any other. Well, that is the gift that God wants to bestow upon you. He says, “Here it is, all in My Son. If you receive Him here, He will receive you yonder. If you reject Him here, He will reject you yonder.”
He came unto His own, the Jews, and they would not have Him. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).
Now, even now, the moment you receive Christ, you get power to serve Him; the moment you receive the Lord Jesus, you get power to live for Him.
A Little Boy and a Pair of Scissors
My wife had a schoolmate who had a little boy about four years old. This beautiful little boy was one day cutting a piece of string with a penknife. The knife went into his eye and put it out. My wife was therefore very careful about not allowing our children to use knives.
She went out one day, and our little boy, two years old, got hold of a pair of scissors. Our little girl knew he ought not to have them, so she went to him and tried to take them away. But the little fellow held onto the scissors and would not give them up.
She was afraid of his sticking them into his eyes, so she ran off to another room, got an orange and came running in holding it up, saying, “Willie, don’t you want the orange?” The little fellow dropped the scissors and went for the orange.
If you will allow me the illustration, God comes here and says, “Here is My Son; take Him.” He saves the sinner; and the moment we get Him, these things we love so much float away into the dim past.
Christ is worth more than all the world. God comes and says, “Here is My Son; take Him and believe on Him.” The moment you receive Him, you get power over the flesh, the world and the Devil. But you do not get the power until you receive life from Christ, until you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
May God help you to believe now and to receive the Gospel tonight!
The Rich Evangelist and the People’s Debts
I will give another illustration, for illustrations are better than dry sermons.
I heard of an Englishman who was converted some time ago. When the Lord converted him, he in turn had a great desire to see every man converted. (I would not give much for a man’s conversion who did not have that desire.) This man was so filled with the love of Christ that he wanted to go out and publish the good tidings.
He went into a town and gave notice that he would preach in a certain place. It got noised around that the man was rich; so, many went to see him out of curiosity. He had a great audience the first night, but as he was not a very eloquent man, people did not become interested. Men looked at the messenger instead of the message.
The next night hardly anyone was there.
Then he got out great placards and placed them around the town. He stated that any man in that town who owed a debt and would come around to the office between nine and twelve o’clock on a certain day would get the debt paid.
Of course, it went through the town like wildfire. One said to the other, “John, do you believe that?”
“I am not going to believe that any stranger is going to pay our debts.” No one believed it, although there were a good many, no doubt, who would have liked to have gotten their debts paid.
Well, the day came, and at nine o’clock the man was there. At ten o’clock none had come. At eleven o’clock a man was seen walking up and down, looking over his shoulder. Finally he put his head in at the door and said, “Is it true that you will pay any man’s debt?”
“Yes. Do you owe any debt?”
“Have you brought the necessary papers?” (The placard had told them what to do.)
The preacher drew a check and paid the other’s debt. He then kept him and talked with him till twelve o’clock. Before twelve o’clock two other men came and got their debts paid.
At twelve o’clock the evangelist let them go, and the people outside said to them, “He paid your debts, did he not?”
“Yes, he did,” they answered. But the people laughed and made fun of them and would not believe it till they pulled out the checks, saying, “There it is; he has paid all the debts.”
Then the people exclaimed, “What fools we were not to go in and get our debts paid!”
But they could not; it was too late. The door was closed; the time was up.
Then the man, as before, preached the Gospel, and great crowds went to hear him. He said, “Now, my friends, that is what God wants to do, but you will not let Him do it. Christ came to pay our debts, and that is the Gospel.”
I could not have a better illustration of the Gospel than that. Every man owes God a debt he cannot pay. Would you insult the Almighty by offering the fruits of this frail body to atone for sin? Isaiah says,
“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”—Isa. 53:5.
Christ’s Commission to Peter
I can imagine, when Christ said to the little band around Him, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel,” Peter said, “Lord, do You really mean that we are to go back to Jerusalem and preach the Gospel to those men who murdered You?”
“Yes,” said Christ to Peter, “go hunt up that man who spit in My face and tell him he shall have a seat in My kingdom if he will accept salvation as a gift.
“Yes, Peter, go hunt up that man who made that cruel crown of thorns and placed it on My brow and tell him I will have a crown ready for him when he comes into My kingdom, and no thorns in it. I will give him a crown of life.
“Peter, go hunt up the man who took a reed and brought it down over the cruel thorns, driving them into My brow, and tell him I will put a scepter in his hand, and he shall rule over the nations of the earth if he will accept salvation.
“Peter, go hunt up the man who drove the spear into My side and tell him there is a nearer way to My heart than that. Tell him I forgive him freely and that he can be saved if he will accept salvation as a gift.
“Peter, go hunt up the men who drove the nails into My hands and feet and tell them I forgive them freely. Tell them they shall have a seat in My kingdom if they will accept it. Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Oh, may God help you to hear the Gospel tonight and to be saved!