During the month of May, 1997, I used two Sundays to return to former pastorates. On Sunday, May 18, I was Homecoming speaker at Pleasant View Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA and on Sunday, May 25, speaker at Kerby Knob Baptist Church, Kerby Knob, KY for the dedication service of their beautiful new auditorium. Both Sundays were special. Numerous members and former members came to me with personal messages of how the Lord had used my ministry to impact their lives. A young lady at Pleasant View introduced me to her husband and shared that I had baptized her when she was nine years old.
My pastorate at Kerby Knob began when I was twenty-nine years old and spanned a seven-year period. The pastor, Bruce Kirby, was saved as a youth on the river bank when I gave an invitation during a baptismal service. He is now forty-three years old and is leading the church to levels it has never been before. The beautiful, new auditorium, which has windows facing the mountains to the west and a deck around the building, was filled with extra chairs and four extra pews from the old auditorium brought in to handle the crowd. Never in my highest dreams would I have thought that I would see what I did. God's work does not end when one person leaves a pastorate. There is work to be done today and Pastor Bruce and his people at Kerby Knob are doing that work.
One couple came with their wedding pictures from thirty years ago, along with one of their two children, to say that I would always be their special preacher because of the counsel given to them three decades ago. As I sit before the computer typing these words, my heart overflows with thanksgiving to God for allowing me to serve His people as pastor. Although my ministry today is to the body of Christ throughout the world, the foundation for my labor was the pastoral ministry.
Subject: The Banished Brought Home
Text: 2 Samuel 14:14
One of my favorite sermons is The Banished Brought Home. I first preached the sermon at Ringgold Baptist Church, Ringgold VA on April 5, 1967. The notation regarding results was 150 present/one young lady came on profession of faith. The last time I preached it was at Swiss Colony Baptist Church, London KY on November 2, 1983. The notation regarding results was simply "1 saved." Of the twenty times I delivered this sermon, three were on radio stations, one was for an associational meeting of Baptist churches, and the other sixteen times in local churches usually during revival meetings where I was guest evangelist.
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will continue to provide unction as the sermon is read or preached by someone else (which I hope will happen). Even though I may never know it while on earth, I trust that Heaven's records will read "1" saved from time to time. If you are saved, spend time thanking God for His salvation in your life. If you are unsaved, consider all that God has done that you not be banished from Him. Through faith, receive His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as your Savior today.
"For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person; yet doth He devise means that His banished be not expelled from Him."
2 Samuel 14:14
Introduction: The Scriptural Background
One of the consequences of King David's sin with Bathsheba was the devastating effect on David's family--truly the sword never departed from his door. One son sexually assaulted his sister following an episode of deceit. Amnon's love quickly turned into hate and he forced Tamar from his apartment, thus compounding his evil deed.
Absalom, a handsome young man, loathed what his brother had done to his sister. He abided his time and waited until an opportunity came for revenge. One day it came. Word came to David that all his sons were killed, but it was only Amnon.
Not only did David lose one son to death, Absalom fled the country. Insight into David's heart is given. "But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years. And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead" (2 Samuel 13:37-39).
No one knew David more intimately than Joab, captain of his army. He "perceived that the king's heart was toward Absalom" (2 Samuel 1:1) and began to make plans to bring Absalom home. A dramatic story follows.
Joab arranged for a wise woman from Tekoah to confront David with a story which approximated Absalom's situation. She claimed that one of her two sons had killed the other. Her whole family demanded that he be killed which would mean no person would be left to carry on their family line.
David, full of sympathy, assured the woman her son would not be killed: "As the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of thy son fall to the earth" (2 Samuel 14:12). Then she asked permission to speak a word to the king. It is of great interest to note that this woman knew God, and here uttered one of the most beautiful things, and the most true, ever said about Him. Her words are among the most potent in Scripture and full of meaning: "And the woman said, Wherefore then hast thou thought such a thing against the people of God? for the king doth speak this think as one which is faulty, in that the king doth not fetch home again his banished. For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him" (2 Samuel 14:13-14).
This is the whole of redemption revealed in a sentence. Man is banished from God by his own sin. Nevertheless, the banished one is not abandoned by God. His love is unchanged toward the sinning man, even though His wrath is kindled against his sin. This is the love that will not let us go. But how can the banished one be saved from being an outcast? The answer is that " God . . . deviseth means."
Although David had not devised means to fetch home his banished one, Absalom--or whom he longed each day--to be brought back to him, God has devised means that His banished return to Him. Let us considered how the banished are brought home.
We are God's banished ones
In Genesis 3 we read how the serpent beguiled the woman and she sinned. Adam came along and sinned willfully--with his eyes open: "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression" (I Timothy 2:13).
Adam sinned willfully, maliciously and deliberately. As God had warned, the moment he ate the forbidden food death came--not physical death to the body or death to the person (soul), but death to the spirit. You will remember that man is a trichotomy--spirit, soul, and body (Genesis 2:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:23). The real person--composed of spirit and soul--lives inside the body. The body is the house in which man lives.
Disobedience is sin. When Adam sinned, his fellowship with God was broken! THERE WAS SEPARATION!
Adam handed down to his posterity a sinful nature with the affliction of sin embedded in the human blood stream.
"Whereby, as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin" Romans 5:12. From the day of Adam's sin, we were all "conceived in iniquity" (Psalm 51:5). "The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go away as soon as they are born"(Psalm 58:3). "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2). "For there is not a just man upon the earth that doeth good, and sinneth not" (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
Man has sinned and fellowship has been broken. In the newspapers awhile ago came the story from California of three young boys--six, seven, and nine killing their father and lying in wait for the mother to return from the grocery store to kill her. Her screams upon seeing her husband frightened them and they ran away and hid. When asked why they did their deed--"Dad was punishing us for breaking in a garage down the street. We decided to kill Mom and Dad and run this house to suit ourselves."
Friend, this is the best definition of sin I've ever heard. By ignoring and rejecting God, we are in effect saying we are going to kill God and run this world to suit ourselves. Man is a rebel from God and the government of Heaven. The result is banishment from the fellowship and presence of God.
But, God still loves us. We see God's heart in the matter
The amazing thing is that there is God's Marvelous Grace in the story. God did not give up on man, but immediately begin to prepare a way for man to be restored to fellowship with Him.
Even there in the Garden of Eden we see God's desire to see men saved! From the beginning God has been interested in man. He came in the early morning in the cool of the day--"Where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9). This voice ringing out in the Bible has been His cry every day since.
Man had sinned and fellowship had been broken. Man could do nothing to restore that fellowship. Through the grace of God, provisions have been made.
An innocent animal was slain--Shedding Blood to cover their nakedness. God made provision and made a promise that one day the seed of woman would come forth and defeat the serpent (Genesis 3:15). The Lord Jesus Christ, in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4), came as our Lamb and shed His blood for our redemption.
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
Proclaiming what God has done is worth preaching: "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" (Romans 4:6-8).
Often we think of what it costs to be a Christianâ€”Think rather of what it cost God to provide means to bring us unto Himself.
"But none of the ransomed ever knew--
How deep were the waters crossed,
Nor how dark was the night that the Lord went through,
Ere He found the sheep that was lost."
God made a way whereby sinful man may be reconciled to righteous God
Those still among the banished must understand the Provision God has made; those who are saved never grow tired of remembering with thanksgiving His provisions. Let us note:
1. The Lord Jesus Christ was given by God to save us. Some of you might be asking--"How can a man who is marred by sin get into right relationship with God?" He has only to come to Christ. Come to Christ and He will save you. There is no other way. "I am the way, and no man cometh unto the Father but by me."
Jesus left ivory palaces of Heaven and came to a world steeped in terrible sin, to be persecuted, to witness, to die for us. He came to RANSOM us. He took our sins upon His shoulders and bear in His own body our sins. This is the world's greatest story.
"Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3). "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8 ).
"I must needs go home by the way of the Cross
There's no other way but this,
I shall ne'er get sight of the gates of light,
If the way of the Cross I miss."
"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). God's righteousness demands that sin must be paid for--that is without question. JESUS SATISFIED GOD'S JUSTICE. SIN WAS PAID FOR ON THE CROSS.
"The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17:11)."Without the shedding of blood--there is no remission of sin" (Hebrews 9:22).
a. His Blood redeems. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold, from your vain conversations received by tradition from your fathers--but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without spots and blemish" (1 Peter 1:18-19).
b. His Blood makes forgiveness of sin possible. "In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7).
c. His Blood blots out our sins. "Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Revelation 1:5).
d. His Blood cleanses us from all sin. "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light--we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
e. His Blood justifies. "Much more then, being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Romans 5:9).
f. His Blood brings us nigh. "But now in Christ Jesus ye who were sometime afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13).
g. His Blood brings peace. "And having made peace through the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:20).
2. The Holy Spirit is God in the world today. One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sin--make conscious of sin. During the Upper Room Discourse, just hours before Jesus was crucified, He explained that He was leaving and the Holy Spirit would come to them and be their Helper. In His introduction of the Holy Spirit, Jesus shared: "And when [the Holy Spirit] is come, He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and of judgment to come" (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts to turn from the sin of unbelief and to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. Godly sorrow worketh repentance.
3. The Preaching of the Gospel. "For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21). It is God's plan to use human instrumentality to deliver the Good News of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). As the Word is proclaimed, the Holy Spirit provides unction to bring it alive to minds and hearts.
4. The Bible. The Bible doesn't tell us all we want to know, but all we need to know. We are to preach the Word which is provided in the Bible. We are not to take away or add to the message of the Bible. The message is clear and plain. God made man, but did not make him a robot. When man chose to disobey God, the fellowship was broken and man was alienated from God. But God did not give up on man; rather, He made provision for man to return to Him by choice. Someone has said the Bible is the road map from earth to Heaven. Someone said the Bible is God's love letter. The preacher preaches, but he would have nothing to preach if God had not given us the Bible.
5. The Church. A local church is to do what the Lord Jesus Christ would do if He were still in the world. The church is the body of Christ. Local churches have been established and given the mandate: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:19-20).
Salvation depends upon our meeting God's requirement.
Thank God, salvation is obtainable.
1. Because it is God's will that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
"Say unto them, As I live saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will you die?" (Ezekiel 33:11). "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
2. Because Jesus died to save everyone.
"All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him would not perish; but have eternal life" (John 3:16). "And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). "Jesus is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe" (1 Timothy 4:10). "God...commandeth now all men everywhere to repent." (Acts 17:30).
3. Because the Holy Spirit invites you.
"Ho everyone that thirstest, come unto 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). "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). "And the Spirit and the Bride say come. And let Him that heareth say, Come, and let him that is athrist come and whosoever will, let Him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wing and you would not" (Matthew 23:37). "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40). "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper but whoso confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before me him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven but whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10: 32-33). "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
"The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).
The sacrifice had to be perfect--without fault or blemish. The Lord Jesus Christ met God's requirements.
4. The Cross--where the sacrifice was given.
"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins--the just for the unjust--that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). "Christ died for our sins according to the scripture" (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Jesus' blood was not SPILT, but it was SHED on Calvary.
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32). "The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for yours souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17:11).
It was the attraction of Christ on the Cross that changed the life of the great sinner John Newton--who dealt in slave trading and wrote Amazing Grace.
"I saw one handing on a tree
In agony and blood.
He fixed His languid eyes on me
As near the cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath,
Can I forget that look--
It seemed to me with His death
Tho not a word He spoke.
My conscience felt and owned the guilt,
And plunged me in despair;
I saw my sins His blood had spilt,
And helped to nail Him there.
Alas, I know not what I did,
But now my tears are vain,
Where can my trembling soul be hid,
For I the Lord have slain.
A second look He gave, which said,
'I freely all forgive
This blood is for thy ransom paid
I died that thou mays't live.'
O can it be upon the tree
The Savior died for me?
My soul is filled, my heart is thrilled,
To think He died for me."
Satan's greatest enemy is the blood of Christ.
a. A vicarious offering for sin--suffering in the place of another.
"But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).
Several years ago a number of men were working in a huge pit near Asheville, NC. A landslide one day killed seven. One who usually worked did not that day. His brother went in his stead.
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye are not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold, from your vain conversations received by tradition from your fathers but with the precious blood of Jesus as a lamb without spot and blemish" (1 Peter 1:18-19).
b. He died as a ransom for men. All sin must be paid for!
"Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). "Unto Him that loved us and washed us in His own blood" (Revelation 1:5). "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief" (1 Timothy 1:15).
5. The preaching of the Gospel.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to all that believe"(Romans 1:16). "For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21).
"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel; not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:17,18). "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than man" (1 Corinthians 1:25).
Obtaining salvation is as simple as "A-B-C."
1. Acknowledge. No one can be saved except a sinner. The beginning point in obtaining salvation is to admit you need the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior.
2. Believe. Another word for believe is faith or trust. In order to be saved, you must believe "that God raised Jesus from the dead" (Romans 10:9). The resurrection is the authentication that Jesus was God's Son--that He was who He said He was.
3. Confess. "And confess with your mouth that He is Lord" (Romans 10:9).
Just prior to the specific directions of believing and confessing laid out in Romans 10:9, Paul point out that salvation is near a person--as close as his heart and his mouth. The heart here is not your blood pump--rather, it is the part of a person which thinks, feels, and makes decisions. In the heart, one believes and comes into an act of acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ. With the mouth, a person shares what he has done in his heart.
On this day, we have reflected on the means that God has provided that His banished not be expelled from Him. The means are activated only by a decision on the part of the sinner. Will you come just as you are, receive Him, and confess Him before men? That is the only way of salvation.