(Article for publication week of 1-7- AD 2016)
"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7).
If you have not made a resolution for the New Year, let me suggest my text as a good one. Our text this week is filled with the sovereign grace of God and bright hope for your future. Here we have a glorious promise that God will pardon and save all who are willing to repent of their sins and flee to the Saviour of Sinners.
Let us consider the text in reverse order and consider first God's call to the wicked to repent. God takes no delight in the death of the wicked. He will certainly punish all those who refuse to repent, but He would rather you repent and be saved. He is delighted when a poor sinner repents. The angels in heaven rejoice when the wicked forsake their wicked ways and return to God. The saints on earth rejoice when a fellow sinner repents and is brought home to the Father's House. Repentance is the result of the efficacious work of the Holy Spirit, so God delights in Himself as He beholds His grace effectually wrought in a sinner. God commands all men to repent (Acts 17:30) and He grants repentance to His elect (Acts 11:18). Our text calls upon you to repent of your sins and come to God through His Son. Though your sins are as scarlet they shall be white as snow when washed in the blood of the Lamb. There is no sin so small that it does not deserve eternal damnation, but there is no sin so great that it will not be forgiven to those who will truly repent. So why don't you this day resolve to forsake your wicked ways and return to your Creator?
Secondly, I urge you to resolve to seek the Lord while He may be found. Seek Him while He is near. God is not far away from you this moment. He is omnipresent (that means there is no where He is not), so He is very near everybody as Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Also, He is nearer to those who hear His word. You are reading a message from one of His little messenger boys right now, so He is near you by means of the gospel. But I want you to know He is nearest those to whom He sends His Spirit with all His quickening powers. Dear Reader is that Blessed Spirit dealing with you today? Is your heart broken by sin? Do you look back on the past year with many regrets and deep conviction of sin? Have you tried to impress God by keeping His Law and only met with failure after failure? Have you tried to improve your ways and only gotten worse? Have you tried leaving off this sin, or that sin and only found yourself falling headlong into other and worse sins? Do you really long to be free from sin? Do you desire to be free from sin and not simply escape Hell? More importantly, have you considered the Lovely Saviour and longed to rest in His Bosom? Well, I think the Holy Spirit must be dealing with you and that God is very, very near you. Seek Him while He is near and may be found.
My parting word this week is found in Matthew 7:7. If you will turn and read it you will see that the Dear Saviour has promised that all who truly seek shall surely find. Resolve today to seek the Lord until you find Him. You will find He is faithful and just to forgive and pardon your many sins and save your poor soul. I wish you would call me at 601-927-5070 and tell me when the Lord saves you!