Surrender to Jesus
"Let the whole house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him, this Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:36.
God has had to do with every person. There are millions, thousands of millions on earth today, and God has had to do with every one. People talk about family control. God has had to do with every living soul that's come into this world. And He holds their breath in His hand, including yours and mine. He has given abundant witness to His existence in the creation all around us, whether people admit it or not. He has given you a witness to Him in your conscience.
So here we are today, as persons that are responsible to God. He will have to say to everyone sooner or later to you and to me, and to every man. Not one is going to escape. It says "It is appointed unto man once to die, and after death the judgment". Are you ready for it? Are you ready to be ushered right now into the presence of God? How many people today have reached the end of their life span, and their opportunity for blessing is over for ever? We must face it, and every man will face it sooner or later, that all things are naked and laid bare before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. God has given Jesus a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord to God the Father's glory. Someone has said, You do it voluntarily or you are eventually compelled to do it. Don't leave it until that day. Join the myriads who rejoice in the place that God has given Jesus.
So Peter preaches this gospel to the Jews that had crucified the Lord, and He's telling them, 'I don't want there to be any doubt in your minds that God has made this Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ'. How have you treated Jesus up till now? Have you come into line at all with what God has done with Him? He wants you to come fully into line with what He has done with Jesus. As I look around this room, we hardly need to cover the ground that Jesus was, and is, a divine Person, one of the Godhead, and He came into human form, and He lived a perfect life, and He went to the cross. I don't think we need to emphasize that, but I would like to emphasize, to stress, that God has made Him Lord, and you and I had better do the same. You say, you preach Jesus as Saviour. Beautiful! And He is! But the beginning of an entrance into living Christianity is to accept Him as Lord.
So persons in the gospels that came into blessing fell at His feet, or at His knees. You remember Peter: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord". I don't think we can argue with the fact that the Christianity of many of us (and it challenges me to say it) is half-hearted, and lacks living vitality, because somewhere along the road, I have never accepted Jesus as Lord, absolutely. You can't argue with the laws of this country, traffic laws or any other laws, and pretend they don't exist, because God has put them in place. How much less can you argue with God about where He has placed Jesus! He has made Him Lord! Oh, to convey that, and I could do it better if I had faced it better myself, but to arrive at it at least in your mind, that His authority over you and me is to be absolute and without question. It will transform your life.
So Peter presents Him, the crucified One, as Lord. And God would appeal to us tonight to come to this point in our minds, that He is to be supreme in your life, because He has been given the highest place in glory already, and one day He will have it on earth. Have you ever repented? I don't mean that you admitted you were wrong when you were in trouble, or that you said "sorry" when you were found out. God is sending out His urgent message for you to surrender to Jesus. The hymn says, "Oh, surrender now, yield to love divine". You and I, by nature and by act, are wretched, lost sinners. Not only guilty because of our sins, but lost because of the race we belong to. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. And He wants you to acknowlege it with an honest heart. God would surround you with every advantage in order that you might come to the feet of Jesus. The Bible says that the goodness of God leads you to repentance. The hardened and impenitent heart is spoken of in that verse.
God isn't exactly holding you up against the wall and shaking you until you give in. He is surrounding you and me with what is flowing out of His heart. His goodness is flowing out, and it would surround you and lead you to repentance.
Well, my appeal would be, if that's happening to you, don't resist it anymore! The heart of God, of whom it says that He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, is waiting over mankind, including you and me, to say, "I surrender to Jesus". And I venture to say that the more thorough is your surrender, the more honest your acknowledgment of your sins and your state, the more effectively you're going to get on in Christianity. It's no time for what we would say is a "milk and water" gospel.
Well, that's the first thing. Our appeal would be to surrender to Jesus. I was put in a hospital once, for a little problem caused by using a hand drill, and there was a fairly gruff old surgeon, and he was poking around to find the answer. I didn't realize it, but I kept one muscle tight. I can hear him say it now: "Let that one go". Is anybody here like that? You're presenting a good appearance (this challenges me to say it), but you are still keeping a muscle tight in there, that you don't want Jesus to put His finger on. Paul says, "I beseech you, brethren, by the compassions of God, yield your bodies a living sacrifice". But who of us here can escape the challenge of that? I can't, and I don't think you can either! But the gospel that would bring you to repentance includes the wonderful message of faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Because God has made Him Christ as well. That blessed Man sets out perfection in Manhood, and God has anointed Him in the place of supremacy, and He wants you to trust Him. Do you trust Jesus? Do you appreciate what He's done for you? He gave Himself! The apostle Paul, in that key verse in Galatians (2:20), gladly adds, "who loved me and gave Himself for me". Memorize Galatians 2:20, and let its import sink into your soul.
Two dear, aged believers in Melbourne, recently taken to be with Christ, were both comforted as they neared their end, by that hymn, "Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me". If we could only realize that, in the gospel, God is presenting to you Jesus in His perfection and His attractiveness, as having paid the price! He presents Him to you in incredible grace, and He beckons you to come by way of total surrender to Him, to absolute, implicit trust in Him. There's no one down here you could trust totally, but you can trust Jesus absolutely, through thick and thin, good or bad.
So Peter presents this message. What was the effect on these people? Peter didn't first say, "You've got to repent". Peter said, "God has made him Lord and Christ". The effect on them was they were pricked in their heart. What are we going to do? "Repent, and be baptised, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for remission of sins, and ye will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit".
I don't intend to go on long, but the gospel is a wonderful thing. God, through Jesus, can present to you full and free and total forgiveness, and from His side, He has met in the cross the whole question of the wretched state within that troubles you still, even though you're a believer. And He'd actually give you His Spirit, to shed abroad His love in your heart and provide you with power down here, if only you learn to make room for and rely on Him. And of course, as we were saying, that blessed Person is constantly pointing to Jesus up there. Be honest, where are your genuine interests? Even as to simple things on earth, a Christian whose heart is with Christ in glory gets the best out of everything God provides down here. In what's in creation for us, what's provided in family relations, the Christian gets the best of it because he takes it from the hand of God, but his heart is with Christ where He is. I could ask you, and you could equally ask me, in honesty of heart, what and who is your chief interest in life? God intends that Jesus should fill your heart and become your supreme object. A well-known preacher said, "God made the human heart such that only He could fill it", and that's a fact.
I've probably said enough, but if in some little way, some appeal has gone out for you to face the realities of having to do with God, and do it honestly, and then find that the glory of another world where Jesus is is beginning to open up to your view, and you're making your resolve, I would be thankful. And you can make your resolve, and say, "I long to be with Him where He is, but if the will of God means I'm left here for a bit, I want to be like Him where He was, down here. May the Lord just help us all.
For His name's sake.
Preaching of the Glad Tidings.
Surrender to Jesus