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Online Text Sermon - Blind to the Gospel, 2 Corinthians ch.4 vv.3-4

Date30/09/2001
Time18:30
PreacherRev. Maurice Roberts, Inverness
Sermon TitleBlind to the Gospel
Text2 Corinthians ch.4 vv.3-4
Sermon ID333

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Now let us turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 4 and you'll find the text in verses 3 and 4. 2 Corinthians chapter 4 at verse 3: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Corinthians 4,3).

If I were to ask you which of the epistles of Paul do you read least? And which of the epistles of Paul to you know least? I think you would probably, many of you confess, that it is this second epistle to the Corinthians. I have to admit that I believe that this is an epistle which really is not so well studied as it ought to be. People read Romans and of course necessarily so, people delight in the epistle to the Ephesians and no wonder, what sublimities! What loftiness! What elevated doctrines are there! People delight in Philippians for the joy and the gladness and Christian mind which is manifested in that epistle. But not so very many make it their study to be in this epistle the second to the Corinthians. Now there must be a reason for that. I want to offer you two reasons why I think that this neglect of this epistle has been quite widespread.

First of all because here the apostle Paul talks a great deal about the difficulties of the Christian life. Now there is something in us, strangely enough, that we would rather hear about the nice side of the Christian life, than the difficult one. So here we have the apostle for instance at verse 8 telling us this: "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus" (2 Corinthians 4,8-10). Now that undoubtedly refers in the very first instance to the apostles and in the second place to all gospel ministers. But of course it must needs have its application to all who follow Christ and I suppose it's a rather unpopular thing for people to hear about the sad and the difficult and the problematic aspects of being a Christian. People would far rather stick in the shallow waters and paddle about rather than plunge into the deep end as the apostle does.

Now there's another reason I think why this letter is rather neglected and it is because here the apostle has to do a very difficult and delicate thing. You see, he was being criticised by some Corinthians in the church to which he writes. They had been got at by false apostles. When his back was turned and after they had been converted through Paul these other preachers came in and instead of commending Paul, they did that nasty thing that some people always seem able to do, they tore him to shreds behind his back and they weakened the attachment of these Corinthians to Paul and to his ministry. And here we see Paul in this letter defending his own reputation. Well now that's a very difficult thing for a man to do, I think many of us if we were attacked in our reputation, you and I, we would rather just walk away and not know. And especially at the end of this letter the apostle spends a great deal of time rehabilitating his own reputation with the people at Corinth; reasserting his authority with these people at Corinth; assuring them of his love, but at the same time insisting that his critics really were ministers of Satan and false apostles and angels of light but falsely so.

So it raises the question why should a teacher defend his reputation? And the answer he gives is: it is for the sake of the truth which he preaches. So it's no surprise to us if today or any day good and faithful ministers of Christ are often pillared as liars, deceivers and old fashioned and by many other unpleasant epithets are pillared and caricatured. But the apostle Paul shows us sometimes for the truth's sake such a man who is attacked must defend his reputation. Now somehow we don't like that, but the apostle Paul did it, making himself a fool in glorying as he puts it and gives a great list of his own sufferings for Christ and his own privations and all the trials he had to go through for Christ's sake and he holds it up to them and says now take your false apostles and see if they have been through any thing comparable to my sufferings? And the answer of course was self evident they had not, but he had.

Now I think that brings us into our text at verse 3. Notice he doesn't say but if the gospel be hid, he says "if our gospel be hid" (text), he means my gospel, the gospel which I preach, not the gospel which these others preach: but the gospel which I and my fellow apostles preach "our gospel" (text), the gospel which is authentic, the gospel which comes from Jesus Christ, Himself. My dear beloved friends then and now there are many false gospels in the world, there were in Paul's day, some were denying that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh. You receive references to these people in the first letter for instance of John, he calls them "antichrists" (1 John 2,18-19) because they denied the true manhood of Christ. They admitted that He was God seemingly but denied that He had a true human nature. And there was another false gospel as we see in the first letter to the Corinthians. Some denied the resurrection. They argued that there is no resurrection and the apostle had to spend a great deal of ink writing to that church in the fifteenth chapter of the first letter asserting that there is and must needs be a resurrection of the dead and he argues the matter with great force and clarity and point and shows the consequences of not believing in the resurrection of the dead. "...if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen" (1 Corinthians 15,13) "And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished" (1 Corinthians 15,17-18). And you see therefore he shows that all such false gospels are dangerous.

Now in our own generation we have to confess with sorrow there are also false gospels. And you don't have to go any further than the radio stations on your radio set to hear false gospels being preached; liberal gospels and ecumenical gospels and sacramental gospels all of which are a contradiction of the Word of God. So the apostle says 'my gospel is the true gospel'.

My dear friends we must in this life make sure that the gospel we have is Paul's gospel and Peter's gospel and John's gospel and therefore Christ's gospel, not any other. No, no! Other gospels are worthless. I might illustrate it like this, a man might have a key ring and he might have on his key ring many keys, some of them beautifully made in silver let us suppose or covered with gold, handsomely enamelled and studded with beautiful jewellery. But amongst the keys on his ring is an old iron key, but that old iron key is the only one that fits the lock. The rest look handsome, the rest look beautiful, the rest look precious, but it's the old iron key which alone fits the lock and opens the door into the kingdom of grace and glory. That's the old gospel, the gospel of Paul and of Peter, "our gospel" (text) he says, the despised old gospel.

Now what are the leading features of Paul's gospel? What are some of the main threads and elements which constitute that gospel of Paul? Let me just give you three as we move on with our subject. First of all you will notice that when the apostle announces and preaches this gospel he always insists that the origin of his gospel is the love of God the Father. God the Father is the source and the original of all the gospel grace that comes into this world it is the Father who planned the eternal redemption of lost sinners. It is God the Father who sent His Son into the world that we might live through Him. It is God who loved us in Christ before the world began. And we must remember that, God does not love His people because Christ died for them, no, no, Christ died for them because God loved them. The love is first and the death of Christ is consequent upon the love. The death of Christ is the method whereby the love of God can have free expression in our souls and in our salvation.

And then the second characteristic I draw attention to of Paul's gospel is this: that it is in its very nature glorious. Now you know we live in a world where not very many things are glorious. We live in a world where almost everything is tarnished and everything soon looks tired. But the gospel is glorious! And this is an emphasis which receives continual repetition in Paul's presentation of it and in the gospels generally. Let me just remind you of this in Isaiah, when Isaiah prophesied of the coming of the Lord Jesus into the flesh in chapter 40 of the prophecy of Isaiah he put it like this: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned" (Isaiah 40,1-2). And he goes on and says this: "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall it together" (Isaiah 40,5). Now that "glory of the Lord" (Isaiah 40,5) is the gospel, the incarnation and coming into the flesh of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is a scene of the glory.

What about the shepherds, what did they hear the angels singing? Well they saw the glory of the Lord, it shone round about them - did you think of that? As the shepherds were keeping their flocks by night and our Lord had just been born, very recently, still a little child, we're told that this glory of the Lord shone round about the shepherds. They were believers no doubt and the angel spoke "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2,14).

And the glory is seen in the transfiguration of Christ. When He was on the mountain suddenly He was made glorious and Peter and James and John, they saw His glory and that's the way they testified it: "(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1,14). And Peter says on the mount of transfiguration "For he received from God the Father honour and glory" (2 Peter 1,17). Now that's something which the apostle refers to here and you see it for instance in verse 4, look at this: "lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ ... should shine unto them" (text). Well you see he's referring to the gospel as having glory in it, again at verse 6 the same emphasis, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4,6). What about verse 17? "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4,17). And we must never lose sight of this, the glory of the gospel, the gospel is full of glory, that is to say it's full of God, full of divine wisdom and grace and power and love and kindness and good intention for us all.

So in the gospel God has manifested His own glory. Nowhere does God glorify Himself more than in the gospel. It is true "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19,1), that is correct and I was reading about an astronomer, a very famous man peering through telescopes as astronomers do and he discovered one of the planets years ago which nobody knew about in the solar system - I think it was Uranus - and this is what the astronomer said, he said 'that man must be mad who thinks this universe has no Creator'. He was so impressed by the beauty and the glory of the heavens in a way that you and I as non specialists could not appreciate. But of all the ways that God glorifies Himself nothing can compare to the glory of the gospel.

And a third characteristic of this gospel of Paul is this: notice how he is forever drawing attention to the fact that the centre of the gospel is Christ Himself. False gospels always come to you and they say this: you must do something, the cry of the false gospel preacher is 'Do, do, do', 'you must pray, and you must fast, and you must give to the church and you must go to the priest and you must take this and you must have that - baptism is essential, the Lord's supper is essential, everyday you must do something, you must do it, working for it.

And that's a sure sign that they're not preaching the gospel. Because the real gospel preacher doesn't come to us with this message 'do, do, do', what does the real preacher say? He says, 'done, it is done, it's all done by Christ, He has finished the work, there is no contribution that you and I can make, Christ has done it all'. He is salvation, He is the Lord our righteousness, He is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, everything in salvation is in Christ. You cannot contribute a hair's breadth. You can't give a millionth of a millionth of a degree of anything to make the gospel better - you don't have to add anything. It's what somebody has called the 'damnable plus', people always trying to add something to Christ, that was the heresy of the Galatian church, they were being sucked into a false gospel in which they were having to be taught or being instructed at any rate by false teachers that they had to do something: you have to keep the law, you have to be circumcised, you have to this, you have to that. Not at all, Paul's gospel is absolutely free, salvation is the free gift of God. You can have it for nothing. Just put out your hand and take it. It is from faith to faith you can have everything including heaven and God and Christ and glory and everything else, you can have it, it's a gift, free, gratis, for nothing. All you have to do is to ask for it and to want it and God will give it to you, as soon as you want it you will get it. Isn't that a good bargain? You won't get that in the market place in this world, but you will with God. That's Paul's gospel, free as the wind, don't try to buy it, don't try to work for it, don't try to work at it, simply ask for it; the free gracious gift of God.

Now how can that be? The answer is because there's nothing for us to do. He has done it all, He has shed the blood, He has raised Himself from the dead. Salvation is totally and completely finished, no wonder He cried when He finished His work on the cross, "It is finished" (John 19,30) it is over and done. The work is complete, finished and perfect. And all you and I are left to do as empty sinners who are bankrupt, all we can do is simply say 'Lord, give me this most precious gift'. Now that is Paul's gospel, by faith and faith alone we come to know God and we come to know eternal life.

Well it asks the question then, doesn't it, where are you tonight in relation to this free gift? My very dear young friends, have you ever asked God to give you Christ as your eternal salvation? Have you ever asked Him to give this blessing of grace in your soul and in your heart? Well you can do and the good news is, if you do God will say "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29,13) What could be easier? What could be better? Don't make the gospel complicated. Paul's gospel was simple.

Now I move on, secondly to say that this gospel which the apostle preached is hidden from some people. Isn't that what he tells us in verse 3 which is our text "if our gospel be hid" (text) or hidden, hid is the old fashioned, hidden is the modern it's the same thing, "if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believed not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (text). Now the god of this world is of course Satan, he's called the god of this world not because in any sense he is equivalent to God, but because in this world he has a tremendous power. God permits the Devil to have great power in this world and the world is very much under the control of Satan. That's the reason why people are as they are. The Devil affects them and influences them. Satan is permitted to do many evil things and one of the evil things the Devil does is to blind people to the truths of the gospel of Christ. Now when you think of it for a minute it's rather surprising because of the all of the preachers of the gospel who ever lived, laying aside now for a moment our blessed Saviour Himself, but of all mere men who ever preached the gospel there never was one better than Paul. If anyone was a preacher it was this man and we talk about Calvin and Spurgeon and Dr Lloyd Jones and Whitefield and great men they were, but the apostle Paul was ahead of them all and yet you see many people had heard that man's preaching, apostle that he was and they were blind. Look "if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost" (text), isn't that amazing? This wonderful preacher, this great theologian, this outstanding orator, this genius of geniuses, this man whom God raised up, the apostle Paul, to establish churches all over the European world whose name has been synonymous with orthodoxy and greatness in the Christian life ever since then, from that day till now. But even Paul, when he preached, he experienced what preachers do today, many people don't understand, they don't see, they don't believe. They never get any real benefit - what's gone wrong? The gospel is hidden from some and the explanation for that is: Satan, the god of this world has blinded the eyes of men.

Now to illustrate this I could easily take us to the Acts of the Apostles and show you in the early chapters that when the great apostle Peter was preaching, shortly after the day of Pentecost in the early church it wasn't long before the Jewish authorities came along and stopped them and commanded them not to speak any more in this name under the threat of penalty and punishment and imprisonment and maybe worse. And continually this was their attitude: they wanted to stop the apostles from preaching in the name of Christ. And when you come to the early ministry of the apostle Paul on the mission field in Acts 13 when he went to Turkey, or Antioch of Pisidia as we call it in Biblical times, when he went into the synagogue and preached the Word of God they didn't believe, they contradicted him and wherever he went there were Jewish people who opposed him as well as Gentiles who opposed him. What went wrong? Well was it because he was not on form on those days? Was it because his inspiration was a little lacking? Not at all, it was because the "god of this world" (text) blinds some people to the truths of the gospel. They don't see the truth and they don't understand. And the great method of Satan whereby he blinds people, I'll tell you, is pride and prejudice. These are the wonderful methods of the Devil and they're so successful.

I could put it in an illustration for people who are younger here, like this: supposing here we have a large bookcase, you know many many shelves of books, some at the top and some at the bottom. Now you would think, wouldn't you, that the blessing of the gospel would all be on the top shelf because that's at the very height of excellence and you would think that to get to these blessings of the gospel you need to climb and climb and climb to reach them - it's not true, the blessings of the gospel are all on the bottom shelf - you have to go on your knees to get them. That's where some people go wrong. The Athenians laughed at Paul when he spoke about Christ being raised from the dead. 'What?' they said, 'raised from the dead? Ha, we'll here you some other day about this nonsense; resurrection from the dead indeed, stuff and nonsense.' You see they were too proud to receive it they were looking for salvation on the top shelf.

But there were some, weren't there, and they believed - Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and some others with them. They went on their knees to the bottom shelf. Now beloved friend, if you're not a personal Christian tonight, if you've never come to a personal knowledge of Christ, allow me, with all the affection of my heart, I'm not here to blacken you or to give a bad name, or bad reputation, but I have to be honest with you at the same time and say to you, if you're not a Christian tonight, here's your problem: you have not stooped low enough on your knees to take the free gift of grace. No wonder Jesus Christ said to His Father, "I thank thee O God the Lord of heaven and earth that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and the prudent and revealed them unto babes, even so Father, for so it is pleasing in thy sight" (Matthew 11,25). It's the babes of this world who get it, not many rich, not many mighty, not many brilliant people, not many who live in king's palaces, are saved. Some are, but not many. It's mainly the poor as many of us are, mainly the dull, as most of us are, mainly the ordinary as so many of us are, just ordinary nothings - they're the ones who get this blessing. Because God will not have any one to glory or to boast - the secret of the gospel is no boasting, he that glories, let him glory in the Lord.

So the truths that Satan blinds men to are these: first of all, Satan does not like it for people to understand that the gospel is full of the love of God - you see the Devil himself has no love and he doesn't understand love, that's the one thing he cannot simulate or imitate, he has no love but only perfect hatred. And he doesn't understand love and he can't understand how God can be full of this love to undeserving sinners, so the Devil always tries to make people suspicious of God's love and of God's grace and gospel. So friends, learn from that, if you are still blind to the gospel let me tell you afresh what you must have heard many times: that God is a God of life, He delights to save sinners, He delights to give grace to men. You don't need to think that you're stealing from God. It's not a presumption to receive the gift of eternal life. You'll never be rebuked by God for asking for what He promises to give. He loves to give, He loves to give and go on giving, His love is eternal and wonderful and yet the Devil fills people with suspicion of God's love. He makes them feel that God is some sort of terrible thing that you have to be afraid of.

Now if you read the life of Martin Luther any time you come across precisely that attitude to Jesus Christ and to God when you read about the medieval church. The love of God was almost lost and the love of Christ was almost lost. Christ was portrayed as a most terrible figure with a sword coming out of His mouth ready to damn everybody and so the message of the medieval church was: Don't go near Christ, He's too dreadful, you must go to Mary, she's a nice, motherly person. Now you see the Devil's cunning, don't listen to it. God is love and He is ready to give you everything the gospel promises. Oh, that you would ask for it and prove Him and see how rich in grace He is to all who call upon Him.

What else does to the Devil blind people to? He blinds people to the freedom with which the gospel is to be offered. There are no conditions to the gospel, there are no strings attached. I suppose like me you get a lot of free junk mail through your letterbox and it says 'Dear Mr So and So', and they manage to get your name from some national register, 'We are glad to tell you, you've almost won ?10 million' almost, if you just sign this and send it off and some other thing, then you're likely to get it. But you never do of course, because the odds are 1 in so many million and in any case you and I don't believe in gambling, so we don't even send it off in the first place. But that's what they tell you: it's a free gift, but there are strings attached, it's not as free as it sounds, there are strings attached and one of them is you loose a good conscience, because it is stealing. Gambling is stealing and they don't tell you that of course. Gambling is a form of robbery because you're trying to get something for nothing which is wrong in principle. But you can't steal from God. God says here is the gospel, here is eternal life, take it, and you're not stealing when you receive it. It is freely offered, "whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22,17).

You don't have to be over 21 as you used to have to be before you could get a driving license. It's been reduced a bit since then of course, you don't have to be over 50 before you can get a special concession card as you do with the British Rail, no, no, you can have this gift when you're 10 or 11 or 12 or 15 or anything, or 80 or 85, in the whole span of life, it's free, free, free; so "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3,16). And the Devil doesn't like that 'whosoever', so he tries to spoil people's understanding. He wants people to doubt the 'whosoever', he says, 'Oh well, it's not me, because I'm not one of the elect', 'it's not me, because this and because that and because I can't fulfil the conditions and so on.' My friends throw away all this baggage out of your mind, if God says it's free, then free it is, on His own authority. And who are you or I to add any conditions where He adds none? Take it as His loving gift and go in peace.

Another thing the Devil tries to blind us to, is this: the blessing is so precious that it is well worth losing everything you've got to get it.

When our Lord was telling parables in Matthew's gospel the thirteenth chapter, He uses two similar illustrations, we call them parables you remember. One was called the parable of the treasure hid in the field and the other was the parable of the pearl of great price. They are similar and why so? For the Lord says the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hid in a field when a man finds it, he sells all that he has to buy that field. Or again he says the kingdom of heaven is like a pearl of great price which when an expert sea merchant sees it he sells all that he has to get that pearl. So, we are to regard the kingdom of God which is salvation or Christ, or heaven, or glory, call it what you will, it's the same thing in essence, we are to count it as so precious it would be well worth losing everything to get it. And so when the apostle was describing his own experience over and over again, he says "I have suffered the loss of all things" (Philippians 3,8). Do I sit down and start to bemoan my loss? Not I, he says, I count all that I have lost a lot of dung, dross, filth, rubbish - to have gained Christ and Him crucified and have hope of the resurrection of the dead.

Oh friends, what does anything matter provided in the end of our brief life here below we get to heaven. Am I speaking to your conscience now, dear friend? Would God I could do so, more powerfully than I do. Nothing you've got matters like the getting of Christ. Oh, don't allow the Devil to blind you to the extreme value of your own soul and the extreme preciousness of the gospel of Christ, free in its offer, free in its enjoyment. "Whosoever will, let him drink of the water of life freely" (Revelation 22,17), "Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money: come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55,1).

You will be hearing and have heard about these poor refugees fleeing from Afghanistan and the regime there. Seven and a half million I'm told are trying to get out and get food and get homes and get freedom and get decent human resources for living. How do you think these people would feel if in their desert situation suddenly from heaven came down loads of food and fruit and drinks, milk and wine in abundance? How would they feel? Well that's the gospel, that's what God has done: spreading a feast for sinners like ourselves so that if we believe we shall enjoy. Don't let the Devil blind your mind to these things.

Boys and girls I remember a sad thing, years ago: I was in the Island of Lewis on holiday, many years ago, in the little country cottage I would call it, like a shed, rather a shed than a cottage, but I'll call it a cottage. And I was watching in the window and this is what I saw inside the cottage on the window pane - a fly trying to get through the glass - you've seen it many times and I watched the fly hopelessly going up and down and down and round and round and round and getting no where at all. He could fly for a thousand years couldn't he and still not get through the glass? Poor fellow, he didn't know that you can't fly through glass. And then I saw something else which made me shiver: a spider. And then I watched with horror: the fly went round the window and after him went the spider they travelled in tandem for quite some time and the spider was not in any great hurry, he was taking his time. And then I was distracted and I had to go somewhere else and I came back fascinated by what I'd seen. Oh, but the situation had changed; the spider had caught this fly and he'd cut off his wings so that was the end of safety for the fly and he was busy tying the fly onto the window for a fresh meal by and by. I thought how perfectly the fly represents the poor sinner and how perfectly the spider represented the very Devil. No doubt meant by God to be that - it was a living parable. "In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (text). Don't you feel angry at the way society is so tilted and organised to drive everybody away from God and from Christ and from heaven? That's what the world is like and the Devil is behind it, blinding men's minds.

Conversion occurs when the light of the glory of God shines into a man's heart or a woman's heart. And they see seven things, very quickly, before I work to my conclusion. This is a life changing experience, when the light shines in the sinner's heart he sees first of all: that his life must not be centred around himself, but around Jesus Christ. There's a shift in the centre of gravity - it's no longer 'I' in the middle, but Christ. Sin is a little word with 'I' in the middle and that's what the sinner is like. 'I' is in the middle of the sinner's life, but when the light shines in Christ becomes the centre.

The second change is this: when we come to the Lord Jesus Christ we see we do not live to please ourselves, but to glorify God - what a change! Thirdly, when the light shines into our hearts we see that all our joys are not here in this life, but our truest joys are there in the kingdom of glory. A Christian's the person who's waiting for his good things. He doesn't expect them now. This world is not our rest. Fourthly, the Christian sees that his home is not on earthly soil, he is looking for a city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God.

Fifthly, he sees that however good his earthly friends are, it's far better to have heavenly friends. Yes, you may lose your friends when you come to Christ, but I will tell you the friends you will gain - you will gain the friendship of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, angels, archangels, Christians - which is the better choice? Sixthly when you come to Christ and the light shines in your heart you will see that all the scraps of knowledge which people scrape together in this world are nothing compared with the knowledge of this one book: the Bible. This Bible has the way to glory in it. All sorts of clever people despise the Bible but really the Bible calls them fools. When the light shines in your heart you will know this book is the book of books. And when the light shines in your heart you will see that all the glory of this world pales into a vain shadow compared with the excellency of the glory and the cross and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. And that's why the apostle says that conversion is a "new creation" (2 Corinthians 5,17). "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness" he says, "hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4,6). I wish I could stand here and weep till my eyes were blind to persuade you my dear friends of the great importance of having Christ in your life. Whether you be boys or girls, or teenagers, in the middle years of life or towards the end of life I would to God everyone of you had this light shining in your heart tonight.


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