What Can a Sinner Do to be Saved?
by Rolfe Barnard
To hear Rolfe Barnard preach this sermon.
ne may ask,
"What can a sinner do in order to be saved?"
I am going to ask you to just follow me as if YOU were the
person I address; as if YOU were a poor, ruined, lost, rebellious,
hell deserving sinner, and you wanted to find out -- since you are a
human being, not a tin can, not just a machine, you have a mind to
think with, a heart to feel with, a will to will with -- if there is
anything for you to do.
My text is from the twentieth chapter of the Gospel of
Matthew, the sixteenth verse, the last phrase (Matthew 20:16b.)
Our LORD Jesus says, "many be called, but few chosen." It's
always interesting to tell people who are kind enough to listen that
they are Eternity bound people, and they have an eternal soul, and
they are going to be somewhere as long as God lives. They are
down here on this Earth for just a little while, and what happens,
or takes place, on this Earth determines where they will be for
ever: the state of their conscience being forever. It is terribly
important that the preacher, if he assumes to use any verse of
scripture in the Word of God, that he not make it mean what it
doesn't mean; that he try his dead−level−best to tell people the
truth. A dear lady came to me one time, not to be ugly, but to
express a fact: she said, "Preacher, I didn't believe what you
preached tonight." I said, "I didn't ask you to.
We are not selling something."
Any man who engages to preach to other people must
remember he is only, or hopes he is, a sinner saved by Grace. He
doesn't know enough to talk down to anybody. He is, if his heart
is true, willing and anxious to be of help to any inquiring soul, but
he doesn't want anyone to think we have a bill of goods. We are
trying to sell it, and, if the price is a little too high, we are willing
to mark it down for your acceptance. That is not what we are
trying to do. We are trying to be true to the souls of men.
Now, I have seen so many preachers, and so many
deacons, and so many "good" people, and honest people, and
zealous people, and earnest people torn−up by the Holy Ghost, and
experience the depravity of their own sinful soul; in their
experience as well as their theology. I have seen all the "props"
knocked out from under them. I have seen them in the valley of
repentance, and I have seen them brought to the joy of the LORD.
I like to ask God every time I speak not to let me be guilty of
assuming the people I preach to know the LORD. There is one
thing we must not miss, and that is to know the LORD in the
experience of having Him as LORD of our lives and Savior of
This text is interesting because of its context: by
"context," I mean the scriptures out of which I picked it. I just
read one phrase. The "context" is: God is teaching that He is
absolute God, and He is advancing His claim, or His right, to do
with people as He sees best. He says, "I have a right to do with
mine own as I see fit."
We have a parable in the first part of this chapter
(Matthew 20:1−14.) It says there was a man that had a vineyard.
He hired some men to work in it, and tells them how much he will pay
them. Along about and hour before quitting time, some other
fellows come along and he gives them a job. Some of them work
twelve hours, but a few of them just work one hour. When the
day is over, the twelfth hour has struck and it is time to lay off.
The owner of this field paid the folks who worked just one hour
exactly the same as he paid the folks that worked twelve hours.
Some of the folks that worked all day long -- twelve hours --
came and remonstrated with the owner, and said they didn't think
he was doing right to pay the people who came in at the last hour
exactly the same as the folks who worked all day long. The owner
of the field answered after this wise, "Now, you folks that worked
twelve hours, how much did I agree to pay you?" And they said,
"So much." He said, "Did I pay you that much?" They said,
"Yes." He said, "Then have I done you any harm? Did I keep my
agreement with you?" And they had to admit that he did. Then
the owner said, "Now, if I pay these other folks anything I please,
have I done anything to you?" They had to admit that he did them
no harm; that he had a right to pay the folks that worked one hour
the same as he paid the folks that worked twelve hours. If he
chose to do this, he had a perfect right to do it, and, in so doing,
he did not do any disservice, or any harm: he carried out his
bargain with the people who worked twelve hours.
From this story, the LORD Jesus said, "The last shall be
first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."
(Matthew 20:15) He bases it all on the proposition that He has
bound Himself to fulfill His obligation. Any obligation that God
makes to anybody, saint or sinner, He says, "I'll take care of it. I'm
dead−sure going to see it's taken care of." And He's going to do
right by everybody who is His servant or a saint. And if He wants
to do more for somebody else He claims the right to do that. He
claims the right to do that. Now if we will not let God do that,
we'll just have to say "Well, God, you'll just have to go your way,
and we'll go ours;" because we have to say that. We have to bow
to the sovereignty of God, or we'll just have to throw away
This doctrine is grounded on God's plain teaching: that He
does as He pleases; that He claims the right to deal with men as
He does. In that atmosphere, He tells the people that many be
called, but few chosen. The Bible is very plain that, although you
can't hem God up and claim any rights yourself, God has revealed
in His Word this about Himself: whatever He obligates himself to
do, He is going to do. God has told us in His Word that He has
obligated Himself to call many: "many be called." We can make
that word "many" stretch out -- I don't know how far, but it
stretches at least this far -- to two different kinds of people.
First, God calls everybody who hears the Gospel at least
one time. He has bound Himself to do that. He has revealed in
His Bible that He will do that. Every sinner can expect, if he hears
the Gospel, that in it God carries out a covenant He made with
Himself for the sinner: He will call men by the Gospel.
Second, everyone who ever had an opportunity to hear the
Gospel is bound by it. A man is responsible to God, not only for
what he hears, but for what he could hear if he would advantage
himself. Somebody says, "Well, I just won't go where I can hear
the Gospel preached, and I won't be responsible." If they have an
opportunity to hear, they are responsible for what they do with the
truth that they would have heard if they hadn't failed to take
advantage of it. Now, that's a solemn thought!
I do not know if it is true that God calls everybody. It says
"many be called, but few chosen." The heathen who lives and
dies, never having been anywhere near anything like the Gospel of
the LORD Jesus Christ, never hears it, nor hears about it, no
missionary is ever there. His father and grandfather never heard a
missionary: he was born in heathenism. He lives all the days of
his life and never so much as one time hears a note of the Gospel.
Someone might say, "God cannot save someone like that." Well, I
don't know what God can't do, but I don't see how God calls
anybody except through His Word and His Gospel. At least the
scriptures do not tell us how He would do it, or reveal it.
A sinner needs more than to hear the Gospel. A sinner
needs to know more than a little truth. A sinner needs to be
operated on, and overcome so that his will is energized and his
disposition is changed in order that he can do what God requires
of him. If it were true that just hearing the Gospel will get you
saved, then everybody in this country would have been saved.
I remember talking to a Preacher down in North Carolina
who was taking me to the cleaners about my preaching. He said,
"You are all wrong. Everybody wants to be saved. The only
thing on Earth you got to do to get a man to the LORD Jesus Christ
is to just sit down, and talk to him, and help him solve his
difficulties. Just remove the difficulties, and he's just anxious to be
saved." I said, "There are 60,000 Marines out there, and you can
nearly spit on them. If what you are saying were true, they would
all be saved by now. You could spend one day a week out there,
and then just sit down. They would all be dying to be saved. The
only reason they would not be saved is that they have a few little
difficulties they don't know how to work out." No, sir, there has to
be more than just hearing the Gospel. It has to be heard with the
power of God: the Holy Spirit.
Many be called, but few chosen.
So, I do not know whether God calls everyone or not. We
do know he calls through His Gospel ALL who have a chance to
hear, and everybody who does hear His Gospel. "ALL" includes
you and we will leave the heathen, for the time being, alone and
try to find from the text what does God mean by "many be called,
but few chosen."
An old time preacher said that "many be called" meant, as
the Gospel is preached, -- publicly or privately, as sinners are slain
by the law, and the Gospel is offered to them -- in that ministry
God does strive with and call all who hear. If God sees fit to keep
on calling and striving until He overcomes the resistance of the
sinner, then that sinner will find out by that very work that he is
one of God's chosen people. You see there is no way on Earth for
a sinner to find out if he is one of God's elect. He cannot go to
any book and find his name written there. He cannot go to any
doctrine. In order for anyone to find out if he is one of God's
children now, and has been brought into the fold, and that God did
this on purpose, and God always meant to do it, is that God has
effectually called in such a way as to overcome the sinner's
disposition to sin, and give him a disposition to holiness that he
may lay hold on Christ.
The sinner is responsible for what he does about every
advance God makes toward him. If God EVER gives you the
opportunity to hear the Gospel one time, you are responsible for
that one time you heard. If the Spirit of God ever uses
providence, or trouble, or good times, or the Word of God, or the
Law, or the Gospel, or the angels, or some godly person, or
anything on Earth then you are responsible. There ARE some
things you CAN do as God works toward your salvation.
I believe the scriptures are very plain that, ordinarily, as the
sinner rightly uses things which God gives him to do, it will work
out to an effectual call, and the man finding out he is a child of
God. This is important, dear ones, that there are so many ways of
saying a half−truth. Someone may say, "I believe God has done
His part, and a sinner must now do his part." That, in itself, is not
wrong, unless you mean God does part of saving, and the sinner
does the rest of saving; THAT'S WRONG! But, if you understand
it to mean there is nothing for the sinner to do in order to be saved
then you are STILL WRONG! When we say that God does all of
the saving, we are telling the truth. When we say the sinner does
all of the receiving, we are, also, telling the truth. When someone
comes along to say a sinner receives from God this salvation apart
from doing anything himself, he is DEAD WRONG! Sometimes
when we try to state truth, we say too much, and sometimes we
don't say enough.
If you have ever heard the Gospel, or had an opportunity
to hear the Gospel one time, God did call you in that Gospel. You
are responsible for that. You cannot be saved unless God calls
you sufficiently loud enough, and with such power as to overcome
your inward disposition against Him. The sinner is responsible for
how he uses what ever call he gets from God.
I will now answer this question, "What must a sinner do in
order to be saved?" He MUST attain to a state of repentance
toward God, and faith in the LORD Jesus Christ. Those acts must
be his own acts. You, yourself, must repent. You, yourself, must
savingly act, and lay hold on Jesus Christ, and His works, and His
person as your LORD and your Savior.
Salvation will not leave us in a state lower than we were
before we fell in Adam. Adam loved God supremely, you have
not been brought to repentance unless you love Him supremely.
Adam loved God and sought God as the chief end and the only
good end. His disposition was in the direction of the will and
good pleasure of God. When you were in Adam, as was I -- and
that is how this whole thing started -- you LOST. What did you
lose? Why do you need to be saved, -- not given a push -- and
restored, and made healthy again? It is because Adam, and you in
Adam, loved God supremely, and when we sinned, we came to
love ourselves instead of God. Any plan of salvation that does not
do at least enough to get a man back to where he was before he
fell is not any salvation at all.
Repentance is a change of mind. Every sinner loves
HIMSELF supremely. You haven't been brought to repentance --
you may have quit chewing tobacco, and quit going to the picture
show, but you haven't been brought to repentance -- until your
whole attitude has been changed from a love of self to a supreme
love of God -- that is what repentance is -- and faith in
the LORD Jesus Christ.
Every sinner has got to repent, and savingly lay hold on
Jesus Christ. Why? Because, when we fell in Adam, we suffered
First, we lost our holy disposition, our righteous standing
before God. Second, we incurred the righteous penalty of God's
holy Law. So, we have no righteousness, and we deserve eternal
DEATH! The only thing God has ever done about that was to
send His Son to righteously keep the Law, and thus give His
righteousness to us, and give His Son to righteously die under the
penalty of God's Law in our stead.
The only hope of salvation for a sinner is to be so radically
changed that he quits loving himself supremely, and moves to
loving God supremely, until he quits depending on any
righteousness in himself, and depends utterly on the perfect
righteousness of Christ, and until he PLEADS GUILTY of being a
guilty sinner. He must plead the only hope of his salvation as
being the righteous death of the LORD Jesus in his stead. The
sinner must be brought to repentance. The sinner must, as an act
in himself, turn from loving himself to loving God. The sinner
must be brought, as an act of his own will, from depending on
himself, or any righteousness of his own, to depending altogether
on the LORD Jesus Christ.
Now we can get to our subject. We've been talking about
what a sinner MUST do: he MUST repent. Now, I say, "What
CAN a sinner do?" I turn right around and say that you CANNOT
repent, and you CANNOT believe. You MUST, or you are going
to hell, but you CANNOT. You can't until you are regenerated by
the Holy Spirit of God. If a sinner could love God with all of his
heart without the work of the Spirit, he would not need to be
saved. He would already be saved. That is the reason you are in
the mess you are in. That is the reason you are a lost, ruined, hell
bound, hell deserving sinner. It is because you are so deep down
in the pit that you can't pull yourself up.
Someone wrote Dr. Barnhouse a question about theology
and salvation. He wrote back, "The answer to your question can
be found in the answer to this question: When man fell, how far
did he fall?" Did he fall so far that he lost all of his holy
disposition? Did he fall so far that he is inclined always for the
wrong, and never the right? Did he fall so far that he cannot
change himself? A man has to, as an act of his will, part with
loving himself to love God. He has to, as an act of his will, part
with trusting himself to trust God.
Everyone is either trusting himself, or he is looking to
another. He cannot, except as he is born from above, trust God.
The LORD Jesus said two things to Nicodemus. The first thing
was, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see ..." (John 3:3)
The apostle Paul said, "But the natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him:"
(I Corinthians 2:14)
A natural man is dead in his sins. Ephesians 2:1 says, "you
hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins". Now
what does that mean? It simply means this: that every unsaved
man, woman, boy and girl are totally lacking in all holiness toward
God. It doesn't mean that he is as bad as he could be, it just means
that he has no holiness in the sight of God. That because he has
no holiness, he has no power in himself to do any good thing that
would please God. It simply means that until a leper can change
his spots, a man cannot change himself.
When we fell in our own sins, two terrible things took
place. We lost our holy disposition and gained an unholy
disposition. Now God created Adam and gave him the ability to
continue sinless or the opportunity to sin. That's where our
trouble began. That's the reason we are born with sinful natures.
A poor, old, lost, hell−bound sinner has a will, and it's free, but it is
free to do only what it can do. And a man's will is first of all his
disposition. Someone may say, "Do you mean to tell me a sinner
can't do anything?" Sure, he can do lots of things which I'll tell
you about shortly, but he can't love something unless he loves it.
He can't force himself to love something; he just can't do it. And
he can't force himself to love God. Did you know that? Anyone
that loves God with all his heart is a child of God. And you can't
force yourself to do that.
Boy or girl - man or woman: you're just as helpless as you
can be. In the first place, you can't force God to change you. In
the second place, you can't force God to give you life. And a dead
sinner can't love God with all of his heart. He can't love God with
all of his heart because he loves himself with all of his heart. The
reason he can't love God is because he loves himself. The reason I
say he can't repent -- and repentance is turning to God as supreme
good and loving Him -- is because he doesn't want to. And the
reason he doesn't want to is because he wants to do something
else. And he can't change himself to save his life.
The scriptures say a sinner can't come to the LORD unless
he is drawn of the Spirit. The scriptures say that he just can't
come to the LORD. So we say to you that you have to repent. God
has a right to demand that. It would not be salvation apart from
that. But you can't do it, sinner. And until you find out that you
can't repent, you will never be given repentence. Until you find
out that you can't believe, you will never be given faith. Until you
are brought so low that you lose all confidence that you can strike
a bargain with God, you will not be saved. An operation from
God Almighty through the Holy Spirit has to happen you.
Now, for the second thing the LORD said to Nicodemus.
The first was "you can't see." Something has to happen to
illuminate your mind, and do something to your will and your
heart before you can understand what I'm talking about. The
second thing is "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5) Something
has got to happen before he knows what He is talking about. A
man has to be born of the Spirit, and then something has to happen
before he can go in somewhere. And going into the kingdom of
God is through the door of repentence and faith. So what the
LORD is saying is that you have to be born from above, so you can
do what God requires.
There is nothing on Earth that you can do to force God to
work this miracle in you. There is nothing on earth that you can
do to make you deserving of it. And here is the ground of our
subject: God exercises His right to do as He will. And while God
pledges to do right to everyone, He says, He will show mercy to
whom He will. (Romans 9:15)
I am going to give you six things that the sinner CAN do,
none of which are guaranteed to turn out for your salvation; six
things a sinner CAN do that he OUGHT to do. I tell you that if
the sinner will wisely do what he can, -- he'll NOT DESERVE
God working a miracle in him, but -- the probabilities are that
God Almighty, in grace, will effectually work a work of grace in
him. These are six things we ought never be afraid to press on
every sinner when we have the opportunity. One thing I will
caution you about: for God's sake, dear ones, as you witness,
don't proposition the sinner. Don't say, "Sinner, I guarantee if you
will do so and so, God will do so and so." Don't do that! Don't
evade the fact that mercy is optional with God. If you do, you will
not be telling that sinner the truth. He is liable to get the
impression that if he makes a bargain, he can swap something for
salvation. He is liable to get the impression that he has a right to
demand salvation from God, and we all know that salvation is an
act of mercy: God showing mercy to the sinner.
Here are SIX THINGS that -- if you are without God, I
don't guarantee, if you will do them, you will be saved, but -- I
guarantee you CAN do them. The probabilities are that God, as
you faithfully use the means and common grace he gives to
sinners, will overcome your disposition against Him and God will
show you that, by His calling you, you are one of his own.
First, every sinner CAN and OUGHT to read God's Word,
and hear it taught and preached. Oh, we need to talk a lot like
that today! I tell you a sinner needs to buy himself a Bible and
start searching the scriptures! We have a generation of church
members that don't search the scriptures. Everybody ought to get
themselves a Bible and start reading it. A sinner can do that, can't
he? Some preach that a sinner can't do anything. He can
dead−sure do this, can't he? He can't save himself; he can't change
himself, but he can read the Bible, can't he? You know the Bible
says, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."
I don't guarantee, if you buy yourself a Bible, start reading
prayerfully, and seeking God to open up the truth to you, I don't
guarantee you will be saved. You can't guarantee this business!
Mercy is optional. God must do right; He may show mercy. Do
you believe that? That is so, believe it or not. You may never be
saved, sinner. You may be able to spell the word, sovereignty, but
you will never be saved until you experience it in your heart. You
must come down off your high horse and say, "LORD, if you do
anything about me -- you dead-sure can, if you will -- it is up to
you. I cannot force you to do it, and I have no claim on you."
This is why its like putting a knife in my heart when I hear
some preaching, and they say, "Sinner, if you will do so and so, I
GUARANTEE what God will do!" I can't because mercy is
optional. He says, "I will have mercy on whom I will have
mercy." (Romans 9:15a) I don't know if he will show mercy to
you or not. I'm not going to tell you he will. I WILL say, this is
the day of mercy. I WILL tell you about so and so; He showed
mercy to them! I WILL testify that He showed mercy to me! I
WILL say, that's encouraging, isn't it? If I hear of a judge that is
showing mercy to guilty criminals, and I got caught in a crime and
was brought before him, I'd say, "Maybe he will show mercy to
me." I think that's honest. It's about time for the sinner to quit
demanding so much from God and our LORD, and say, "if thou
wilt, thou canst make me clean." (Luke 5:12) A sinner can
read his Bible.
The LORD Jesus said to the Jews of His day, "Search the
scriptures," (John 5:39) because you have been reading them
wrong. You have an outward belief, a carnal belief in the
scriptures and think you have a place to stand before God. "In
them you think you have eternal life." But, you break the Law.
The scriptures "testify of me." All of your scripture study has
been wrong. You have missed the One it is talking about. Here is
the One the scriptures have talked about. This has left you with a
disposition that "you will not come to me that you might have life."
Second, every unsaved sinner CAN and MUST seriously
think about the facts of spiritual existence -- we may have to hold
his feet to the fire, though. There is activity, isn't it? Man can
stand still and look and there's nothing to keep him from looking.
Man can stand still and understand, if he can understand anything.
God has done something for you as a human being. He has given
you a conscience. He has given you a conscienceness of God. He
has given you a knowledge of right and wrong. He has given you a
knowledge that you are not here for ever. He has given you a fear
of dying in your sin. A man could think about that. This jolly
generation is on the run, because it CAN'T STAND STILL A
MINUTE and face facts. It is running right into hell. Now, every
sinner could face facts, couldn't he? Every sinner could think
about what he knows; Bible or no Bible! He could do that,
couldn't he? I don't guarantee that, if you do that, God will save
you. You just can't fix it so and say, "I got it all fixed up now,
God. You do your part." Mercy is optional with God. But,
you can do this.
I can tell you right now, if I give you five dollars, and you
tear it up and throw it away, chances are that I won't come around
tomorrow and give you ten dollars. Chances are, God is not going
to give you the EFFECTUAL CALL and bring you to SALVATION when He observes,
every day, that every time He does anything in your direction,
you vilely sin against it.
Third, every sinner can read the Bible, face facts, and has the
ability -- he has a head; he has a brain; he has enough -- to accept
the testimony of God in the Bible about himself. It doesn't make
any sense in the world: people going around swearing on a stack
of Bibles they are not lost, and undone, and guilty of hell, with an
open Bible. It says, "for all have sinned," and "all the world is
guilty." In the generation of our Lord's day, they rejected the
council of God against themselves (Luke 7:30.) The Pharisees
rejected the council of God against themselves. They were not
baptized by John. Men and women today are flying in the face of
what the Word of God says about them; rejecting the council of
God. You know a fellow is almost in the way of salvation when
he comes down off his high horse and PLEADS GUILTY as God
charges him in the Word. A sinner can do that.
There isn't a sinner in this town that doesn't have enough
capacity and ability to read the Bible and say, "That's talking about
me!" Missionaries go to the tribes in the darkest jungles of Africa
and begin to preach the Word. The people will say, "How do you
know about us?" It is written, ladies and gentlemen, boys and
girls, the Holy Law of God is written in the hearts of every human
being. They don't have to have a Bible to know they are sinners;
to know what God thinks about sin.
Fourth, something that every sinner CAN do, and every
sinner OUGHT to do is to try to repent. If you think I'm wrong,
and think you can repent of your sins before God, you just try.
The Bible commands all men everywhere to repent. If you don't,
you are going to hell. But, you just try.
I'll tell you what you can do. If you have a bad habit, you
can quit it if the doctor scares you. I know drinkers that have
quit; the doctor finally scared them. He said, "If you don't, you
will be dead in six months." So, they quit. You can do that if you
want to, can't you? You can change a lot of your ways, can't you?
Sure you can. But you can't change yourself. You just try. You
just try to be somebody different than yourself. You just try. You
can't do it. It is just beyond us. You just can't do it. That is
what REPENTANCE is.
Sin, in its essence, is selfishness: self love. To repent of
sin is to be changed from loving self to loving God. Now, you can
do some things God tells you to do, because you are scared of
Him, and, you can refuse to do some things God tells you not to
do out of fear. But, you can't fix it so you love to do what God
tells you, and hate to do what God tells you not to do. You are
liable to learn something about yourself if you will try.
You will hear some of these preachers we have today say,
"You go do this. It is all up to you now. The other preachers
don't know anything. They are not telling you the truth: that you
can't repent. You are not in nearly as bad shape as they say you
are." You just try it. You get up at five o'clock in the morning
and you work all day, and see if your heart has been changed one
bit by sundown. See if you can change who you love and what
you love. You can't do it.
Fifth, the sinner CAN and OUGHT to try to believe. You
ought to say, "Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief." (Mark 9:24)
You just try to get out of yourself, and lay hold -- actually
lay hold -- on the LORD Jesus Christ as your very own. You just
try. You can make a profession, you can cry, shout, weep; you
can do lots of things, but this matter of laying hold on Christ is not
a physical act. It is a spiritual act. You can't do it. The sooner
you start out trying to save yourself -- be honest about it -- the
sooner you are going to run smack into this proposition: YOU
CAN'T DO IT. As soon as that takes place, you will quit fighting
the fight. God shows mercy as he pleases. You will say, "Oh, I
DO understand: I heard that God showed mercy to so and so;
maybe he will show mercy to me."
Sixth, and last, the sinner can ask and seek. I do not know
of anything on Earth that can keep you from it -- I know God
won't. I know that no one else can keep a sinner from accepting
God's testimony about Himself and begin seeking Him; asking
Him to have mercy. I don't know if He will have mercy on you or
not. I can not guarantee it. I'm just saying that this is the day of
mercy. The scriptures say that God "delighteth in mercy." (Micah 7:18)
It might be He will show mercy to you. Paul said, "but I
obtained mercy." (I Timothy 1:13)
The very moment you are able to turn from self love and
self service to God as the supreme object of your love and service,
and the moment you are able to say, "Christ loved me and gave
Himself for me," (Galatians 2:20) -- have the assurance that He is
mine -- you may be sure God has worked a miracle in your life:
enabling you to do what you MUST do in order to be saved.
All I have said is no good at all to you if you have no sense
of your sinfulness and your need of God literally changing you.
You think you can make it alright. You're not interested in mercy,
are you? Nothing on Earth is on my heart, beloved, as heavy as
what I'm doing right now. I'm the biggest fool God ever let live,
or this evil, religious world is being lead to hell by blind leaders. It
seems that nearly all the attention is directed toward men instead
of toward Him; directed to telling sinners what they are to do for
themselves instead of trying to shut them up to their need of God
doing it for them. I wish I knew how to get a hold of God's own;
awaken people... and call people. I long to turn men away from all
hope in themselves, all trying to bargain with God, and see sinners
admit their guilt. I'm not trying to prove doctrine, or argue with
men, but trying to shut men up to their need of God working in
them a supernatural work of grace.
Rolfe Barnard was born in 1904.
After setting the course of his life, he was stopped by God, and
turned to Christ. He made a career change, and became a preacher
of the Gospel.
As he began to preach, God fixed his course, and put him in direct
opposition to many of the widely accepted views of his day. As a
result, he saw many of his preaching opportunities cancelled. He
persevered, and gave us some of the most heart−searching
messages of the twentieth century.
Once, he was asked by a group of churches to preach for a few weeks on the
radio at their expense. His only subject was to be how sinners are
to be condemned, and sent to hell for their sin. There was to be no
pleading for them to do anything. As a result, many were convicted
of their sinful condition. One man (a banker,) having heard the radio broadcast,
ended up in prison when he confessed to embezzlement. He couldn't live with
himself knowing he had only hell to look forward to if he didn't
change. This man came into the meeting, and fell on the floor
before the preacher, and begged for help in finding forgiveness
for his sin.
Rolfe Barnard was unique in many ways. Few have displayed a
compassion for sinners the way he has. This shows specifically in
his refusing to compromise biblical principles for popularity.
Some may take this to be hardness against sinners.
However, an "anxious inquirer" into things of God does not need
a watered−down Gospel. He wants, and needs,
the truth of God so he may find what he MUST place
his faith upon (what faith God has entrusted him with in his
seeking God's mercy.) Christ came, after all, to save sinners who
are LOST and need a savior! Those who need God are not
satisfied or helped by a counterfeit. The empty promises made to
sinners by religion today are no balm for a sick soul.
Brother Rolfe Barnard went to be with our LORD in 1969.
This sermon was transcribed in 1997... (the Editor)