Lord's Day Evening Meditations September 14, 2003

Gospel Meeting

This verse goes well with this time of year. In a little over a week summer will have ended and we will be into autumn. In this part of the country most harvesting is almost, or should be, all finished. Everyone you speak to exclaims how quickly time is going by. Young people think back on yesterday, last week, or last year, but as you get older you realize that things you remember happened ten, twenty, or fifty years ago! All that time has gone by, and as time goes by, it carries things with it. There are three things in this verse: harvest, summer, and salvation. All are affected by time.

Besides the farmers' harvest, there is another harvest going on, and that is the harvest of the gospel. We are in the time of harvest now; the Holy Spirit is here, and the gospel is going out to the unsaved. "Whosoever will," can come and have their sins forgiven, receive eternal life, and be made fit for heaven. There is a time when this "harvest" will be over, and then it will be too late to be saved. Those in our verse said, "And we are not saved." It is not too late tonight, and so let me ask you, "Are you saved?" Many people answer that question with, "I hope so." That's not good enough. Hope will not save anyone. To be "not saved" means that you are lost in your sins, you do not have eternal life, and you are dead. That is a very serious thing. We'll look at a New Testament story that may help us to understand.

Read Luke 8:41 - 56. This is a simple story giving an incident in the life of the Lord Jesus when He was down here. Jairus, a ruler, and a father, came to Him with a big problem - his twelve-year-old daughter was dying. As parents, can you imagine what it would be like, the fear, the anxiety, the tears, as you watched your child die, helpless to do anything about it? Any sickness is a bad thing, a terminal sickness is worse, but what is still worse than any bodily sickness is the sickness of the soul. The body eventually will die, if not now, later, but the soul will never die. A preacher looked at a little child in its father's arms and said, "A little soul that never dies." The soul will leave the body (that's what death is), but it does not cease to exist; it goes to another dwelling. Some people believe in annihilation, which means to cease to exist, but that is not true. The soul lives on forever, and that is why the sickness of the soul is so much more serious than that of the body.

Jairus had heard of the Lord and so he went to Him to ask Him to heal his daughter. "But as He went the people thronged Him." v. 42. We have no idea of the social conditions of those days. We enjoy a high standard of living with advanced medical knowledge and a highly efficient medical system (greatly abused and criticized) to which we have recourse in time of need. When it was known that the Lord could heal, immediately crowds of sick and afflicted people flocked to Him for help, for they had little else that they could turn to. Those people were in need, and they knew it. If only people would recognize their need - the need of their soul. Think of all the people that you know. How many of them do you know to be truly saved? Not many? All the others are unsaved, and how many of those who are unsaved are concerned about their soul, about their sins, and about eternity? Do you know one who is?

If they die unsaved they will go to the lake of fire and spend an eternity "where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched." They have this terrible doom before them, and they either don't know and don't want to be told, or they don't care! Why is it that people are so concerned about physical illness, but they seem to have no concern about the sickness of their soul? The answer is in 2 Cor. 4:3 - 4. "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not." A person who is blind can stand outside in the bright sunlight, and not see the sun. "The light of the glorious gospel of Christ" is shining in the world today but most people can't see it. Why? Because "the god of this world" has blinded them to their true condition before God and to the need of their soul.

Well, there was one woman in the crowd who knew her need. She had been sick for twelve years; she had tried every doctor she knew, and she had spent all her money, only to grow worse. Have you ever heard of "quacks" - people who pose as doctors and who claim to have a miracle cure for every illness? They cure nothing, but they get people's money. In spiritual matters there are also many "quacks", many soul doctors who claim to be able to help you with your spiritual need. They prescribe many things, and charge for it, but leave the individual still unsaved. When it comes to the need of the soul, the need of salvation, there is only One Who can meet that need - only One Who can cure the sin-sick soul - the Lord Jesus Christ.

This woman came to Him in her need. Have you come to Christ? Those in Jeremiah said, "We are not saved." Are you saved? She had faith in Him; she believed that simply touching "the border of His garment" would heal her. She knew His power, but she didn't know His heart, and so in fear she came behind Him, hoping to get the blessing and then to steal away unnoticed. She got the blessing alright; a touch of faith and she was healed in a moment. When it comes to the salvation of our souls, it doesn't require a university degree, nor take months of waiting and praying. You can be saved in a moment, anytime, anywhere. If you are still unsaved, right now is the best time. Faith recognizes that He can save, and faith turns to Him Who has said, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out."

But the Lord was not content that the woman should only draw on His power. He was pleased with that touch of faith (she was afraid that He might not be); He also wanted her to know His heart of love. That is why He asked, "Who touched Me?" When she saw that she couldn't hide "she came trembling" and confessed before all what she had done. How good that open confession is! "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Not only her body was healed that day; her soul was healed as well. The Lord called her "Daughter," thus bringing her into relationship with Himself and let her go, not only with a healthy body, but with comfort and peace in her soul. What blessing resulted from that touch of faith!

Oh, touch the hem of His garment,

And thou too shalt be free!

His saving power this very hour

Shall give new life to thee!

While all this was going on, Jairus' daughter died. Was it too late? No, it wasn't, for if we have seen sickness as a picture of someone who is unsaved, so death is also a picture of someone unsaved. Someone who does not have new life from God is dead. A Christian mother who objected to her son, also a believer, going out with an unsaved girl, said to him, " - , she's dead!" Dear parents, if you have any unsaved children, then they are like this girl; they are dead before God. But Christ can give them life, and this father trusted though all hope seemed to be gone. It still wasn't too late then, but some day soon it will be too late, for when "the harvest is past," then those who will say "and we are not saved," will be lost for ever.

Though "they laughed Him to scorn He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise." What astonishment, and what joy there was in that home that day! What a picture this is of someone who receives new life in Christ through His saving power! What a heart of love it is that meets us in the needs of our souls with His wonderful power to save! This is still going on today. There is one more detail; the Lord commanded to give her food. Parents, don't forget that the salvation of your children is not all; after they are saved they need food, spiritual food for the health and growth of their souls. S.L.