Saturday, June 1, 2013

Faith Refusing Deliverance -- Part I-2

George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons

      Faith Refusing Deliverance -- Part I

 He hath sent me... to preach deliverance to the captives--Luk 4:18
 Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance--Heb 11:35
      Faith Leads to Deliverance
    Among the blessings which we connect with faith, one of the most conspicuous is deliverance. The Bible is a great record of deliverance effected through the agency of faith. Abraham was delivered from idolatry. Joseph was delivered from his brethren. David was delivered from Goliath, and Peter from the prison at Jerusalem. And most notable of all, there was the Exodus, when Israel was delivered from its bondage--drawn out of Egypt, by the might of God, into the peril and the prize of liberty. All these are instances of deliverance, wrought in the power of a living faith. Men trusted God, and in the joy of trust were freed from darkness and captivity. And so the Bible, as we read its pages, grows into a great argument for this, that God is able and willing, if we trust Him, to set the feet in a large room.
 The same issue of faith also arrests us when we come into the company of Jesus. Here, too, as in the rest of Scriptures, faith is a mighty power to deliver. We see the maniac released from legion, and sitting clothed and in his right mind. We see the withered arm restored again; the eye that had been blind regaining sight. We see a woman delivered from infirmity, and a loved brother delivered from the grave, and a great company whose eyes are glad because they have been delivered from their sin. Christ was the great enemy of bonds. He was the lover and the light of liberty. He came to preach deliverance to the captives, and to bestow the gift which was His message. And so again we learn this happy lesson, that faith is a mighty power to redeem; and that in every sphere where faith is active, one of its blessed fruits is liberty.
      There Is a Faith That Refuses Deliverance
      Yet while that is true, and gloriously true, in a way I trust we all know something of, there is a suggestion in our second text that it is fitting we should not forget. "They were tortured, not accepting deliverance," and the whole chapter is a song of faith. The chapter is a magnificent review of all that faith is powerful to achieve. So this is also a result of faith, not that it brings deliverance to a man, but that sometimes, when deliverance is offered, it gives him a fine courage to refuse it. There are seasons when faith shows itself in taking. There are seasons when it is witnessed in refusing. There is a deliverance that faith embraces. There is a deliverance that faith rejects. They were tortured, not accepting deliverance--that was the sign and seal that they were faithful. There are hours when the strongest proof of faith is the swift rejection of the larger room.
      Better to Be Faithful Than Free
      Think in the first place of the martyrs, to whom our text immediately applies. When a man was charged with being a Christian, deliverance was always at his hand. He had only to blaspheme the name of Christ--a word or two of cursing--that was all. He had only to spit upon the name of Christ, when the Roman centurion scratched it on the wall. He had only to put his hand into a box, and take a grain or two of incense from the box, and sprinkle it without a single word before the beautiful statue of Diana. On the one hand was life, and life was sweet. On the other hand was death, and death was terrible. On the one hand was liberty and home. On the other hand was torture and the grave. And they were tortured, not accepting deliverance. They might have had it by a single word. It was their faith that led them to the scaffold. It was better to be faithful than be free.
      It Takes Faith to Refuse to Be Liberated from the Troubles Entailed in the Performance of Needed Common Tasks
      The same issue of faith is seen again amid the troubles of our common life. in precisely the same manner it is witnessed in the pettier martyrdoms of every day. Each of us has got his cross to carry. There is no escaping from the law. Each of us has got his secret bitterness, and his burden, and his travail or his fear. For one the trouble may be in business matters; for another, the cross may be at home; while for a third, perhaps, it is the body that wakes the heart to trembling in the night. Now I believe that whatever be the trouble, Jesus Christ has come to preach deliverance. There is peace in Him, and quietness of soul, and conquest over death and all its terrors. But remember that there are other outlets which sometimes loom upon our gaze invitingly, and promise us the release that we are craving--if only we are untrue to our best selves. I think that all of us are tempted so, though these are temptations of which we seldom speak. Sometimes indeed we hardly understand them, they are so subtly hidden and disguised. But always there is a tampering with conscience in them, and a certain lowering of the flag of youth, and a sinking clown upon a lower level than we know to be worthy in our hearts. it is when a man or woman is so tempted that faith in God is needed to be true. To choose the drudgery and spurn the liberty is the sign-manual of faith in him. "They were tortured, not accepting deliverance." They let the laughter and the sunshine go. And sometimes in the quiet of our obscurity, you and I may be called to be their children.
      Don't Miss the Best by Choosing the Easier and More Remunerative in Disregard of Conscience
      Now I might illustrate how to beware of choosing the easier in disregard of conscience by many instances. For example, the case of a young man. His work is hard and irksome and ill-paid, and he has a father who is dependent on him. From morning till evening it is a weary grind. There is no encouragement. There are scarce any prospects. And when evening comes he is so fagged that he can hardly follow a good book. And then there comes to him the glittering chance of work that is easier, and pay that is far better, on the condition that he shuts his eyes, and does not trouble about a tender conscience. Many a man accepts that swift deliverance. He offers the grain of incense to Diana. And then he prospers, and is kind at home, and there are comforts for the aged father. But nothing on earth can alter the old fact that such an act was faithless and untrue, and that a man forever from that moment has left the company of saints and martyrs. He has been tortured and accepted deliverance, and the world and the devil are exacting creditors. Somehow, as the years unroll themselves, he will discover he has missed the best. And if my words have any weight on young men who are starting out on life, they will write upon their hearts this text of Hebrews, and avoid that tragic mistake.

      He hath sent me... to preach deliverance to the captives--Luk 4:18
      Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance--Heb 11:35
      Faithfulness Is Better Than Happiness When Happiness Is Brought On by What Is False
      Or I might take the case of a young woman who is set amid uncongenial surroundings. She is not happy. Perhaps she has to work, and probably her health is very far from good. I shall not paint the picture at its blackest, though I have seen it at its blackest for myself. I shall not touch on that most awful freedom that lurks on every street of every Babylon. But I shall say that she gets the offer of marriage from someone to whom God has never led her, and to whom in her woman's heart there is no drawing, as of those cords which have been knit in heaven. There is the chance of freedom, if you like. There is deliverance from all the drudgery. But, O my sister, at what an awful cost of all that is most womanly and delicate! A thousand times better to be tortured daily than to accept deliverance like that--and it is there, you see, that faith comes in. Faith that God can uphold you in the darkness, and give you music in the weariest mile. Faith that there are better things than happiness, when happiness is bought by being false. Faith that the best in life is ,ever lost when you are true to what is high and beautiful; and always lost when you have played the traitor to the sweet sincerities of womanhood.
      Sometimes Deliverance Can Be Failure or Treachery

      The same issue of faith is also seen in public and in Christian service. I suppose there is no one engaged in that who does not feel at times a longing for release. It may be that enthusiasm has vanished. It may be that we are disappointed. It may be that those whom we are called to labor with are irritating and interfering people. So sooner or later comes to us the day when we are tempted to have done with it; to take our armour off, and hang it up, and pass into the oblivion of peace. Now I am far from saying that that is always wrong. Sometimes it may be right and necessary. A man may be forced to it by doctor's orders, and if he be wise he will attend to these. A man may be led to it by the appeal of conscience telling him he should be more at home, and that no service can have heaven's blessing if wife and children are neglected. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. That is a matter for heart and God. All that I want to do here is this: it is to warn you that all release is not like that. There may be times when deliverance is treachery; when to seek for freedom is to fail; when a man's first duty is to continue serving, even though his service may be torture. "They were tortured, not accepting deliverance," and sometimes we are called with that vocation. If we trust God we shall refuse relief, and stick to the service we have put our hand to. God has no pleasure in these sorry workers who are always threatening to send in resignations. No man having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
      Beware of False Deliverance from Moral and Intellectual Doubt
      I am impressed again by the same truth in regard to our spiritual and intellectual difficulties. I may be speaking to some here who have great difficulties about faith and God. They would fain believe, and yet they find it hard. They would fain trust, and yet they cannot trust. They cannot feel their need of a Redeemer. They cannot grasp the power of the cross. Or it may be that, having grasped it once, they have been thrown into darkness by their reading, and cannot reconcile the facts of science with the old message of the love of heaven. My brother, I want to say to you that Christ has got deliverance for you. He has come to preach deliverance to the captive, and there is no captivity so dark as doubt. But there are times of darkness and perplexity when other methods of release will face you, and if you are a man you will reject them, and face the torture which rejection brings. You will not take shallow answers to great questions. You will ,or yield up moral questions in despair. You will not fall back upon a life of sense, as if in sensuality were rest. But you will be true to all the light you have, and you will cling to all the good you know, and you will trust that, when the night is past, the singing of the birds is sure to come. To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. It is sometimes better to be tossed and tortured, than to be sleeping on a couch of ease. This is one mark of every earnest soul that has come at last to liberty and light, it has been too faithful to the Highest to accept deliverance upon unworthy terms. "Not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection."
      Christ Refused False Deliverance
      In closing, may I just remind you how true this was of our Lord Jesus Christ? He is our Savior not because He refused deliverance. "All these kingdoms will I give thee," said the Tempter, "if thou wilt fall down and worship me." Was not that a road to power and princedom which would have escaped the torture of the cross? But He was tortured, not accepting deliverance. He chose the bitter way that led by Calvary. He scorned deliverance by that compliance, and so He has won deliverance for the captive. Then think again, when He approached the cross, how the women offered Him the opiate. And had He but drunk it, His senses had been numbed, and the agony of crucifixion had been deadened. But having tasted it, He put it from Him. He could not and He would not drink it. And He was tortured, not accepting deliverance, that He might be the Savior of mankind. Now He preaches freedom to the captive. Do you know it? Have you experienced it? Can you this minute bear witness in your heart that you are a freed man in Jesus Christ? if so, to you may come those darksome hours when voices call you to some mean escape, and just because you are a man in Christ, with all the saints and martyrs you will scorn it.

1 comment:

  1. I found this devotional so encouraging and refreshing.
    God is Good, PRAISE GOD