Notes of a sermon preached by E. G. Rowell on March 1, 1948, at Ebenezer Chapel, Old Hill.
“But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.” Hebrews 6, 9.
Having had a special time in speaking at both services from Hebrews 6, 9, I felt for the first time a desire to make notes of the subject. I spoke first of Paul having a great love to the Hebrew church. Some had joined with them and after they had made their profession of Christ, as in verses 4-6, had been overcome by sin. But Paul writes to those who are faithful and calls them “Beloved”, and tells them that he is persuaded better things of them, and “things that accompany salvation.”
I have known several like those described in vs. 4Â—6, and especially one whose experience was all that is expressed in these verses. He always knew more than anyone else and had a marvellous experience but at last brought disgrace upon his profession, was set aside by his church, and went back into the world and into gross sins. There is such an experience. A person may be a hypocrite and know all the time he is deceiving others. He could be deceived by satan and his own heart and believe in many things through natural excitement, thinking they are of the Holy Spirit. Even our Lord said there are those who receive the word with joy but do not continue in it.
Despite this there are those who receive the word as in our text and possess the things which accompany salvation by our dear Lord. This salvation is seen first in the eternal covenant, and then as fulfilled by our Saviour in all that His Father gave Him to do, so that after a perfect, holy life, after His sufferings, death and resurrection, He sat down on the right hand of His Father with all power in heaven and in earth.
Now it is not enough just to say we believe this. There must be things which by God’s appointment accompany this belief. We must look to see if we have these things and if so, we shall know that we are saved with that everlasting salvation. I am fully persuaded that not one of those that God the Father so loved and our dear Redeemer saved, who are quickened by the Spirit, can ever fall away. When our dear Lord gives life it can never fail.
The things that accompany salvation.
1. A knowledge of sin. Some will have more and some less. The Lord allows things to happen in each of our lives which will be a trouble to us, as His children, and through that experience will lead us to value a precious Christ. Have you been so changed as to know and hate sin?
2. With this life is given the fear of the Lord which can never be destroyed. You may sometimes wonder if that fear is gone because of indwelling sin and temptation; but you will find it maintained and the Holy Spirit will bring you again and again to godly repentance, and this will continue to the end.
3. The Lord gives love. Though at the root of your nature there is a love for sin, now the Lord is giving you a love to that which is holy and clean, and this can never be destroyed. It is not enough to confess sin, but the Lord brings us to leave it and to love that which He loves.
4. A love to His Word. Turn to Psalm 119 at your leisure and see how the Psalmist speaks again and again of his love to “thy word”, and to “thy statutes”, and “thy commandments”.
Satan has tried his hardest to tempt me that all is wrong but he cannot shake me on this point, “O how love I thy law!”. I am often troubled about my love to the Lord; but this word before us is that which I am resting on for time and eternity. I have loved that word which has condemned me and shown me what is wrong. I love that word which has revealed to me the only way of salvation. There are some parts of the Word that the Lord has made special to me, and they are laid in my heart. The Psalmist says, “Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope”, and can we not say there is a verse or chapter which is very dear to us? All God’s dear people have their favourite parts. The Psalms are worn very much in my Bible, and John chapter 17, and the Epistles. I could quote many because the Holy Spirit has made them sweet to me.
5. Another thing that accompanies salvation is walking in communion with God and in prayer. O! how the life of a child of God becomes a life of prayer. We may have our set times, which every child of God should have and make it their habit in the same way as we go to our meals, but it does not end there. There are so many things the Lord brings into their lives in which they will need His help, so they cry to Him when they are walking or working or on their beds. They are taught to run to the Lord in prayer with the troubles of their souls, and in providential things they know what it is to get comfort and help at the throne of grace. Then there is just a little sweet communion, and how the child of God loves that!
“More frequent let thy visits be.
Or longer let them last.”
It is sweet when we feel the Lord is near, and He speaks to us.
6. Another thing that accompanies salvation is faith. Yes, even a
little faith, and what a lot of work that has to do with all our sins.
Faith sees a Saviour and unbelief says “No”; faith says “Yes”. This is
God’s gift, and without it we cannot please Him.
7. Arising out of faith comes hope. Look back and see when
there was no hope as to your feelings. Then all at once, like a flash, hope came and what a difference! What is our hope? The poet answers for us,
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
Then Paul tells us in this chapter that hope is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.”
8. Separation from the world, both outwardly and inwardly, so that our Lord’s prayer is answered when He prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth”. How often there is an unhappiness when we have been obliged to mix with the world. He that is a friend of the world is an enemy to God. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world”.
9. Another mark is love to the Lord’s people. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” We can truly say
“I love to meet among them now,
Before thy gracious feet to bow,
Though vilest of them all.”
Things may arise to cause friction, but this love cannot be broken; it is a thing which accompanies salvation and God’s grace is the reason for its endurance.
10. The next mark is love to the Lord. We have considered His word and our love to it. You cannot love His word and not the Lord Himself. But can we not say there have been a few times when our souls have been drawn out in a little love to Him? I can. Have we not felt these touches of his love so that our love has been drawn to Him? Yes we have. And if tested, although we may be almost afraid to say it, the answer would be, “Yes”. Has not this love for Him caused us to take up our cross and follow Him? I know there is the cross in life that all have, but what about enduring grace to follow the Lord in spite of all that has to be left behind?
11. Another thing which accompanies salvation is fellowship with our Saviour in His sufferings. In love to His Father and to us He lived a life of suffering. We have also had to suffer because we had a love for His name. He suffered for sin, not His own. We also have His holy life in us and love to Him has caused us to suffer on account of sin when we see how He bore the punishment in our place.
12. There is fellowship with Him in temptation. The Lord Jesus Christ was tempted but never fell. We have also been tempted and suffered much, but we have often fallen and need His precious blood to wash us from our sins. We need grace to pardon us every day.
Let us go to the garden and see the Lord Jesus in His love to us and to His dear Father. The cup that was handed to Him was not so
much the suffering of His body and His death but the wrath of His dear Father that would have sunk a thousand worlds to hell. It was in the garden that He drank of that cup, and so His poor body was bathed in blood. We must know a little and drink a little with Him. When was it that we were made to feel a little of our sin, perhaps only a little? others, more? I shall never forget the wormwood and
the gall; it very near turned my poor brain, but the Lord has again and again brought peace to my soul through His suffering and blood-shedding. If any should be walking now with Christ in these
sufferings, may you sweetly feel He has drunk the cup for you. Then our dear Lord went to the cross and we hear Him cry out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This was in love to us and to His Father. Let us look back and see how we have had fellowship with Him. How often we have felt great darkness! Have we not said, ‘Is his mercy clean gone for ever?” “Will he be favourable no
13. Then there is fellowship with the Lord in His love for the
church, for Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Can we say, “I love the church”? Why do we come and gather together? why do we support the church with our money? It is love to the church;
we pray for it and seek its welfare.
14. Again, Christ, in love, was ever seeking to do His Fathers will. Has not the Lord led us in fellowship with Him in this? John said, when Jesus came to be baptized of him, “I have need to be baptized of thee.” Our Lord answered, “It becometh us to fulfill all righteousness”. This was His Father’s will; so He has given the command to preach the gospel and to baptize. “If ye love me keep my commandments.” Those who have not obeyed this command have not yet walked in this fellowship with Him. It is one of the things that accompany salvation. It was love to His dear Father that led the Lord Jesus to do it; and shall not we, knowing His will, walk with Him in the same path. If you love Him do it; if not, don’t.
15. Next there is the coming to the Lord’s table. May our dear Lord lead us to it. “Show forth my death until I come.” It was love that led Him to drink the cup, and shall we not do the same?
These are some of the “things that accompany salvation,” and are evidences that we are the children of God. To His children our dear Lord has said “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” In His prayer he says “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” And so, “we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation.”
I have written a little of the two sermons that I felt such sweetness in preaching last Lord’s day. I cannot remember all and I may have added some few things that were not said, but it is the substance of what I preached under the power of the Spirit.