Our subject today, if you're wondering why Jack is squatting up here at this little, funny looking machine, we always tape our sermons and our Bible College lessons as well. And we're going to eventually be using them, as soon as we get a copier or duplicator for our tapes, we'll be using them in a tape ministry as well. So, if you see Jack squatting around up here looking funny at the front, waiting for me to give him the nod, he's waiting for me to tell him to start the tape. So, now we're on the air you might say for the tape machine.
Our lesson today that we want to take a good look at, our message for today is based on an old, old song. It is number 287 in the Redemption Hymnal and it's in almost every Baptist song book that you could find in the world, I suppose. Let me read you the song, just the words of the verses and then, we'll begin our message today which is based on this song.
"I love to tell the story of unseen things above.
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story because I know it's true.
It satisfies my longing, as nothing else would do.
I love to tell the story, more wonderful it seems,
than all the golden fancies, of all the golden dreams.
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me.
And this is just the reason, I tell it now to thee.
I love to tell the story, ‘tis pleasant to repeat.
What seems each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard,
the message of salvation from God's own holy word.
I love to tell the story, for those who know it best,
seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
‘twill be the old, old story, that I have loved so long."
So, our message today, we have called it, "Tell Me the Old, Old Story. And that's what we need to do! It is a good thing to think about at this Easter season, to tell the old, old story.
Let's read in Romans chapter 5, to begin with. We'll get our text from there. You know, some of we preachers are like the old fellow that I heard about. He always picked a text and he'd read his text and then he'd never touch it again all the way through the rest of his message! But we won't do that today. This is really the basis of our message today, Romans chapter 5, reading verses 6 through 11. It goes like this:
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."
As we begin to think about this, notice especially verse 6 from our text, which says this: "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." Now, let us begin to think about this today. By way of introduction, the doctrine of the atonement, if you just accept it the way it is, is actually pretty simple. It is pretty simple and straightforward. The trouble is, men try to make it complicated. They try to mix it up and turn it around and twist it and do things with it that the Scripture and God never had anything to do with. But the doctrine of the atonement is simple if you just take it the way God gave it to us. It puts Christ as the substitute for the sinner. That's the key. Christ is being treated, in the doctrine of the atonement, Christ is being treated as if He were the sinner. And the transgressor is being treated as if he were the righteous one. Now, that's not too difficult to understand, is it? It's simple if you take it the way the Bible says it. In other words, He took my place, He died for me!
In still other words, it's a change of persons. Christ becomes the sinner, that is, He stands in the sinner's place and stead. You remember Isaiah 53:12 tells us He was numbered with the transgressors. The sinner, by the same token, as Christ is counted with the transgressors, the sinner is counted with the righteous or the sinner becomes righteous. That is, he stands in Christ's place instead and is numbered with the righteous.
Now, that's the doctrine of the atonement, isn't it? And it's really pretty simple if you just take it the way the Bible says it. Christ, who had no sin of His own, takes the human guilt and is punished for our folly. That is what it means. We have no righteousness at all of our own, but we take the divine righteousness of Jesus and stand accepted before God as if it were our very own righteousness. That is, we take the righteousness of Christ by the atonement and stand before God the Father as if His righteousness were our own.
That is the doctrine of the atonement and it fits in perfectly with our theme today. Remember our text today is: "In due time Christ died for the ungodly." So, today we're not trying to prove the doctrine of the atonement. There's no need to prove something that is true. You can spend a lot of time and waste a lot of time trying to prove things that are true and you never have time to really proclaim many things that are true. Our job, generally speaking, is not to prove things that are true but to proclaim what is true. And so, we won't be trying to prove the doctrine of the atonement today because there's not any need to prove that it is true.
However, we do want to commend the doctrine to you today and think a little bit about it. And then, we want to expound it by way of application --- the doctrine of the atonement!
By way of commendation of the doctrine, let's think about it from that viewpoint for a view minutes. In the first place, we find it commends itself to the understanding. Romans chapter 4, beginning with verse 5 is another good place to read in connection with this commending itself to our understanding. Romans 4:5-8 --- "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."
Some of you may recognize that the eighth verse is almost a direct quotation from the thirty-second Psalm. And we said it commends itself to the understanding. That is, it is simple and understandable. Even a fool can get hold on the doctrine without difficulty because it's not complicated. The Scripture teaches that the way of salvation is simple enough that a man, though a fool, need not err therein. And that is what we're saying today about this doctrine of the atonement. The atonement is what really saves us, puts us back into a right relationship with God, isn't it? So this is just a re-statement of the same one we just mentioned to you.
Matthew chapter 11, verse 25, Jesus in that location thanked the Father because He had hidden the things of God from the wise and the prudent and had revealed them to babes. That is, to simple people. Now, because Jesus Himself said this, it's quite clear that the way of salvation is plain and it is simple. It is straight forward and even a fool does not need to miss the way. So, if you go to hell, it won't be because you can't understand how God can be just and still justify the ungodly. Because the Bible teaches that it is simple enough for anyone to understand. Even babes, even fools can understand how God can be just and still justify the ungodly. It's all part of the old, old story, isn't it? That we need to tell more and more.
Not only do we commend the doctrine for it's simplicity, but also we commend it because it suits the conscience. It suits the conscience of man. Oh, how it satisfies the conscience, no tongue can tell. There's nothing else that can satisfy the conscience of man. Oh, there are other things that sort of paper over and cover up the conscience of man for a little bit --- Pacify it temporarily, but there's nothing else that really satisfies the conscience of man, except the doctrine of the atonement. That is, being made righteous before God, the Father. By the substitution of Jesus Christ and by His righteousness becoming our righteousness. That's the only doctrine that really satisfies the conscience! Nothing else will!
When the sinner is awakened to his danger, nothing but the blood of Christ can bring peace from his sin and guilt. Nothing else works. Nothing else will really do it. Oh, something else may postpone it a little bit. Something else may sort of cover it up a little bit, but it won't really satisfy. Nothing but the blood will truly satisfy!
There is an illustration I read about one time which fits very well at this point. There was a famous preacher who was invited to speak at Cambridge. He spoke to a large group of the students there and some of them, a large percentage of them were rather modernistic in their outlook. And they didn't appreciate very much when he preached on the finished work of Christ, in this opportunity that he had to speak to the student body. Many of the students said this doctrine that he preached was only suitable for old women tottering on the borders of the grave. But the old preacher had a good answer for them when he said, "That's exactly where we all stand." And that's the truth, isn't it? That is exactly where we all stand!
The self-righteous will never accept the gospel, any gospel with the atonement. But the one who comes to realize his own depraved condition will never rest, never find peace without the atonement. Never accept anything less than the atoning blood of Jesus. Because nothing else can satisfy and nothing else can save.
Besides suiting the understanding of the most lowly and quieting the conscience of the most troubled, we find that the old, old story softens the heart of the sinner. It works! It softens the heart of the sinner! I've seen it soften the heart of old cannibals. When you get up there and preach to them in their language, I've seen them weep, I've seen them come to know the King who saves. And it works with university students. It works with college students. It works with high school students. It works with agnostics. It works with anybody, if they truly listen to it under the influence of the Spirit! There is nothing that really works like the old, old story, which works to soften the hearts of sinners and cause them to come to Christ.
I read a story awhile back about a mother who had spent many years in prayer and effort to try to win to her son. And she used to try everything. She used to read to him from the Bible about the terrors of the Lord. She would speak to him about it. She used to tell him about hell and punishment that was coming. And yet, instead of his heart melting with these dangers that she'd pointed out to him were coming, his heart was just hardened, instead of melting with fear. Finally, after many years of unsuccessful efforts in trying to win him to the Lord by that means, she spoke to him about the love of Jesus for mankind. And it broke his heart, to think of the love of Jesus for sinners and he wept as he came to know our glorious Saviour and King.
The old, old story is the only thing that will break the sinner's heart and cause him to come weeping to the cross for salvation. Nothing else will. Because Jesus suffered for my sins and was condemned that I might be acquitted, it is this that softens the heart of sinners! Nothing else does and nothing else will!
There's a little poem that says this:
"See on the bloodied tree, the illustrious sufferer hangs.
The torments due to thee, He bore the dreadful pangs.
And canceled there the mighty sum; sins present, past and sins to come."
There is a melting power here in this thought, for the hardest heart of the hardest sinner! and like nothing else will melt the heart of the hard-hearted, this will. Isaiah 53:5 says it very well, when he said this: "But 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." That just about says it all, doesn't it? The old, old story.
The doctrine of the atonement has a power in it to affect, to change the outward life of men as nothing else can. When men really hear and understand and accept and believe the atonement, then it changes their outward life, as nothing else will. Romans chapter 12, verse 1 is always a good verse to read in connection with this. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." The atonement changes men, doesn't it?
People today have the idea that the way to change men is by education. But the only thing that really changes men where it counts, in their heart and in their attitude and in their very innermost being, is when they come to know the doctrine of the atonement. And come to accept it and receive the Lord as their Savior. That is what really changes men. It makes a change in their outward life!
What man is there who can truly believe that Christ suffered for his sins and yet, live still in that sin? It is not reasonable, is it? It is not moral. It is not ethical. What one can believe his sins were the murderers of Christ and yet, go out and hug these murderers to His bosom? It doesn't make sense, does it? The gospel, with it's atonement story, is the only thing which can win souls, draw and melt hearts and mold the conduct and the life of men into a new life, a new way of living. Nothing else will do it. This is the only thing that will --- this old, old story.
Philippians 3:7-8 go very well here, where it says: "But what things were gain to me, those counted I loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." Paul was a man who had everything, from the human viewpoint, to look forward to. No doubt, one day he would have been the chief of all the Jews. Probably would have been the head of the Sanhedrin. In fact, undoubtedly he would have been. In only a few more years, he probably would have been the chief of all the Jews. And yet, we just read to you what he said. The big change that happened to him when he met the Lord and accepted the Lord as his Saviour and King.
Now, by way of exhortation about the atonement, let's think for a few minutes about that --- Exhortation and application. To you, Christian, you believe that Christ has made a full atonement and that all your sins are forgiven. So what can I say to you? That' is the question, isn't it? What can I say to you? Well, in the first place, what a joyful Christian you ought to be. It's glorious to know that our sins are forgiven and since our sins are forgiven, what else matters? Nothing else really matters, does it? We shouldn't be too disturbed, in other words, by the common trials of this world. Because we know our sins are forgiven. We're on our way to heaven and there's no way we can miss it, if we've truly been saved!
Acts, if you read over there in 8:39, you'll find that after salvation and baptism, the eunuch, the pagan from down there in Ethiopia, who was saved on the way between Jerusalem and Gaza, after salvation and baptism, it says that he went on his way rejoicing! If you read over in Acts chapter 16, down in verse 34, where it's talking about the Philippian jailer after he was saved, it says that the Philppian jailer rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. So, knowing, Christian, that our sins are all forgiven, then we certainly ought to be joyful and happy in Him, shouldn't we?
Now, if this be true that there is an atonement made for sin, then tell it, tell it, tell it. That's the important part for a Christian, isn't it? Tell it to others. You say, "Oh, but I can't preach." No, but tell it. Tell it, tell it! You say, "I couldn't even prepare one sermon." No, but tell the wondrous story of Jesus' love. You can do that. You can say, "Well, I might not ever get a congregation to listen to me."
Well, tell it in your house. Tell it where you work. Tell it by the fireside. Tell it to your children. Tell it to your relatives. Tell it to your friends and everyone that you get an opportunity to speak with. Tell it, tell it, tell it! Tell them this blessed, old story of Him, THE ONE, who lived and died for sinners like us. Tell the old, old story and you'll see that some will come to accept this old, old story and they'll come to know the Lord as Savior and King. Tell it often because the more often you tell it, the better chance you have of turning sinners to Christ. Don't miss a single opportunity. And even plan each day to make opportunities to tell the old, old story to someone!
The Scripture tells us in Acts 5:42: "Daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." It was an everyday thing, wasn't it? From house to house and in the temple as well. But you say, "I can't speak well." Well, no matter whether you can speak well or not, do tell the old, old story. Tell it, tell it, tell it!
Remember the Lord's reply to Paul about the weakness Paul had! It's recorded in II Corinthians 12:9, where the Lord replied to him and said, "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." So, though you may feel that you're weak, though you may feel that you don't understand it all too well yourself, if you've been saved, go ahead and tell it anyway. Because His strength is made perfect in weakness. Tell your family. Tell your friends. Tell everyone, the same, old story that led you to come to know the Lord as Savior and King. His strength, remember, is perfected in our weakness. Tell it, tell it, tell it.
The dying love to hear the old, old story. In all of my years in the ministry, I've never yet found a single, dying person who didn't love to hear the old, old story. They love to hear it. Tell it, tell it, tell it.
Again, as we think about application of this old, old story, to others who claim to be Christians, since Christ has made an atonement and opened up the way of salvation, what must be the awful guilt of those who try to open up another way. That's terrible to think about, isn't it? When we recognize that Christ Himself died to make the only way of salvation. He, Himself gave Himself as our substitute on the cross. What's the awful guilt that must be on those who try to open up another way of salvation? Some say, "I'll be good and virtuous." Some say, "I'll follow the ceremonies. I'll go to Mass. I'll be baptized. I'll save myself." But there's nothing that could be more terrible, more awful than to think or even pretend or hope to do that, knowing that Christ gave Himself as the all, sufficient sacrifice. The only way. The one and only, THE WAY TO BE SAVED.
Millions think or say such foolishness as "There are many ways to heaven"! Trying to save themselves by their good works or by baptism or by following the ceremonies and so forth. But it just won't work. They are fools. People like that, they're fools. There's no other word for them because they insult God at His tenderest point. They insult His Son, when they try to set up another way of salvation. They say, "I can do it without that blood. I can do without that blood. I don't need it." And yet, if the unrepentant sinner is going to be lost, then how much greater the damnation of that one who heaps insults on the person of Jesus Christ. And tries to set up another way of salvation, by trying to establish his own righteousness in his own way.
Their damnation must be even more than just the ordinary unrepentant sinner! Isaiah 64:6 says this: "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." That is what God says about people like that!
Trying to establish their own righteousness with a self-righteous attitude. Sinner, remember we just read to you, "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." And so, to you sinner today, I say, "Leave the rags. Leave your own attempts at self-righteousness. There's no way you'll ever make a robe out of it." The rags will still be rags. The strings will still be strings. Come and listen and believe the old, old story of Jesus and His love. It is man's only hope; there is no other way. Come and take from Christ instead of trying to make a robe out of your old rags of self-righteousness. Come and take from Christ, the robes of righteousness that He offers. He freely offers today His own spotless robes of righteousness.
Lastly, if Christ made atonement for the ungodly, then let the question echo from every heart and be repeated by every lip, "Why not for me? Yes, why not for me?" Since He did make atonement for the ungodly, then every ungodly person is entitled to ask this question: "Why not for me? Why not for me?" Here is hope for sinners --- He died for the ungodly! If it had said that He died to save the righteous, the good, the perfect, the excellent, the godly, then we all had no chance. But it doesn't say that, does it?
It says in our text, verse 6, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." He died for the ungodly, therefore sinner, He died for you. See, right now, He's reaching out His nail-scarred hand to you. If you today are unsaved, trust Him now and He will save you. He will do it; He's the only one who can!
I read a story one time, in fact, we printed it long ago in one of our magazines my father and I published for many years in the USA. We called the publication "The Message" in the United States back about 15 or 20 years ago. This little story was printed in it. It is a very good illustration of what we're talking about at this time.
The story goes like this --- Back in the old days, the early days of mission work in India, when they still traveled in caravans on camels, a missionary was passing through. As he came through on the old caravan trail on a camel, he saw a man lying beside the caravan trail. The missionary got off his camel and went to check on the man, and the man was near death. In fact, He thought he was dead at first. Then, he saw that the man still had a little bit of life left in him, but he knew that he was near death. And so, the missionary asked the man, "Have you any hope? Have you any hope?" And the dying man said to him, "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son cleanseth us from all sin." That's I John 1:7. Let me read the verse to you exactly. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." That's the last gasp of the dying man to the missionary, and then the man died. But the missionary noticed as he started to turn away, that the man had a little scrap of paper in his hand. He took it from the dead man's hand, and read it. It was just a little scrap of a Bible, one little piece of one little page. But it had this verse on it. I John 1:7. "And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." That was the dying hope of the old man there on the caravan trail in ancient India.
Isaiah 45:22 says: "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." First Peter 2:24, fits in well with our theme today when he says this: "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
And then remember, of course, the key verse of our message today, Romans 5:6 which says: "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."
And then, just in case you have one more question, and you think, "Well, perhaps he didn't really die for me. Perhaps he won't really save me." Romans 10:13 says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Will you do it now? Trust Him and He will save you! He died for you. He paid for your sins, and if you trust Him as your Savior today, then you will wear the robe of righteousness of Jesus Christ --- and you will be certain for Heaven!If you reject this, there is no possible way you can get to Heaven. There is no other way but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the ONLY Saviour! He is the Way, the Truth and the Life!