The Revival Needed Among Baptists
By H. B. Taylor, Sr.
“For by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).
“Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” ( Acts 5:31).
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).
“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:8-11)
Why do conversions not last? The Bible says: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Conversions that are made by death bed stories, or experience, or preaching love, or preaching law, or any one of many other appeals in evangelistic meetings do not last because the only true and abiding foundation for lasting conversions is the Word of God. If you want your converts to last, cut out everything but the Book and preach it. Funny stories and tearful appeals and worldly motives and jazz, or raggy, or sensual music do not produce lasting conversions. I do not know a single preacher, who is hail-fellow, well-met with all kinds of worldly organizations, whose converts last. The Bible says, “Friendship of the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4). How can a preacher be the friend of a worldly, godless crowd and then be God’s friend come Sunday? He can’t. He is no friend of God’s. He is a friend of the world. His converts do not last because they are not genuine. He may be a blind leader of the blind and all of them land in the ditch. If he himself is saved however, his converts in the day when his works are tested by fire, will be wood, hay or stubble and he himself will be saved, yet so as by fire. Poor fellow! What will all his popularity and money be worth to him then? Bushels of tears will be shed then over his shoddy methods and his spurious converts. What is the matter with his work?
1. His preaching was not the kind to save anybody.
If he preached love, that will not save. If he preached law, that will not save. If he preached morality that will not save. If he preached baptism and church-membership, that will not save. The great book in the Bible on how sinners are saved is the Gospel of John. The great Book in the Bible, that shows how the men taught by Jesus during His earthly ministry, put in practice the Gospel of John after His resurrection and ascension is the Book of Acts. These are two words for love in the New Testament, namely, phileo and agapao. Neither of them is found in the Book of Acts. There are many sermons in Acts. It covers a period of 33 years. If that spells anything at all, that means that the Holy Spirit did not direct them to preach on love and they did not do it. These preachers did speak of the law, but always with a warning, that by works of law will no flesh be justified before God. Men are not saved by preaching law nor by preaching love. That is not the kind of preaching that saves. Neither does political preaching save, nor social preaching, nor educational preaching, nor preaching morality. Paul says: “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2). That is the preaching that saves. No other kind does. Law has to be preached to awaken the lost and self-righteous: but law does not save anybody. The first thing necessary if we have genuine conversions is the right kind of preaching. Preaching law or love will not save anybody. More about that later. We have to have the right kind of preaching, if conversions are to be genuine.
2. Defective conviction will not save anybody.
There are three kinds of conviction spoken of in the New Testament. First, conviction wrought by conscience (Romans 2:15). All men have that, even the heathen. That is the ground of the damnation of the heathen. Their consciences convict them and will be witnesses against them in the judgment. Second, legal conviction. “By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). That is the kind that makes sinners tremble. But the law and legal conviction, it matters not how deep and pungent they may be, do not save anybody. They may lead to remorse at getting caught up with. They may lead to reformation and tears and profession as in the stony ground hearer and even some joy (Matthew 13:20-21); but he was not saved. Legal repentance does not lead to salvation, if that is all. If the preaching is emotional or hortatory, without any teaching, the profession will be spurious and will not last. “The law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ” (Romans 3:20). If the ministry is a teaching ministry and the law has a chance as a tutor to lead the sinner to Christ, then conversion will be genuine and only then. Then, there is the third kind of conviction, namely, evangelical conviction. That is the only kind that leads to salvation. Evangelical conviction is produced by the preaching of Christ. The only sin the Holy Spirit convicts of (John 16:8-11) is the sin of rejecting Jesus as Saviour and Lord. J. W. Gillon said in the Murray meeting that 75 per cent of the church members of this country are not saved. He is probably right about it. They have legal conviction: but nobody presents the Lord Jesus to them: the Holy Spirit has nothing to work on because Christ has not been upheld. Many such profess and join the church, but they are not saved, because Christ and His finished work were not presented to them. The noisy convictions are nearly always legal. The Holy Spirit is very quiet in His work. His convictions are deep: His voice is a still small voice. He reveals Christ as Saviour; as our righteousness; and as the One, Who took our sins upon Himself, when we acknowledged the justice of God’s judgment against sin and that it is worthy of death. Evangelical conviction has to do wholly with our need of Christ and His finished work. Preaching law doesn’t save because it gives the Holy Spirit no chance to reveal Christ. Preaching love doesn’t save for the love that is preached is sensual and earthly and doesn’t make anybody love Christ. It is self-pitying and carnal. Preaching Christ saves: no other kind does. That kind of conversion lasts.
3. Defective repentance does not save anybody.
Paul tells us in II Corinthians 7:10 that godly sorrow worketh repentance but the sorrow of the world works death. The sorrow of the world is the sorrow that is wrought by death-bed stories or fear of Hell or getting caught up with it is towards self: it is self-pitying; it is man-wrought. Godly sorrow is God-wrought: God-ward: leads to the confession and forsaking of sin: and fruits in a radical change of mind that is never repented of. There are generally more tears in the sorrow of the world than a godly sorrow: because that crowd bores to tears. Those, who preach Christ do not. But note again. Peter said that Jesus was exalted to give repentance. Death-bed stories do not give repentance: preaching law does not work repentance: sob-stuff does not produce repentance. Preaching love works sob-stuff and both the sob-stuff and the love that produces it, are of the earth, earthy. Preaching law does not work repentance. There is just one thing, only one thing, that works repentance. That is the uplifting and exalting of Jesus Christ. When men preach Jesus, that produces evangelical conviction, which is conviction as to the need of Christ and the worth of His finished work as the only ground of a sinner’s acceptance with God. Let me say it once more. Evangelical conviction is produced by the preaching of Christ; the exalting of Christ gives repentance and repentance always fruits in a personal trust in Christ the Lord as the only Saviour, Who has never yet lost a single soul, who received Him.
That kind of conversion always lasts forever.
[From H. B. Taylor, Sr., editor, News and Truths newsletter, Dec. 12, 1928. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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