THE FIRST COMMAND.
Now, reader, we have come to a very interesting fact in the history of this remarkable man. We now have the first command from the blessed Savior. It was given to the church. You will remember that the woman in the old Book most always represents the church, and we now listen to the first command. What was it? Well, just stop a minute and listen, and you will hear just what it was: “Take away the stone.” If every church in the land would obey and take away the stone there would be such a revival break out, as has never been heard of since the day of pentecost.
We can look at anything that hinders a revival and it will take the place of the stone at the grave of Lazarus; one card playing Christian can prevent and keep a revival out of a church for a whole year. A few of these kind altogether may keep a revival out for several years. But here is the Master at the grave and the tears are still on His cheeks. His voice rings out loud and clear, Take ye away the stone; but oh my, the church has got to the place where she doesn’t believe in revivals and she begins to make some sort of an excuse and proceeds to tell the Master the condition of the community. Listen at the awful description of the man. Lord, by this time he stinketh.
Now reader, you have the condition of every sinner in the land until he is regenerated; but thank the Lord the Master has given His command and right in the face of the unbelievers He stands by the tomb and says, Take away the stone. Listen to His words to Martha when she was just about without a particle of faith. He said to her, Did I not say unto thee if thou wouldest believe thou shouldest see the glory of God? She believed and obeyed the Master and the stone of difficulty was removed and behold there was great joy in that city, for the revival broke out, and it always will when the church obeys the command of the Master. When we see what took place there just by obedience it looks like every church in the land would go to work at once to get all of the hindrances out of the way, for it will be impossible for the revival to break out while these things are in the way.
Every card playing and every dancing, theater going church member is a great stone that the devil has rolled in the way of an old time revival, and until we rise up and obey the Master’s command we will never see a revival in the church that is bound by worldliness. It is impossible. If you will look for just a minute you will see that it would have been impossible for Lazarus to have ever been raised from the dead. So it is with your own son. He is dead and bound and entombed and putrified; the tomb is sealed up and a great stone is rolled against the mouth of the grave. The Master stands without and says to us, Take away the stone; remove all of the difficulties; get ready, look up, and expect a revival; throw every doubt away, pull up unbelief by the roots and throw it over the fence; put all the faith that you have on the throne; muster all of the courage possible, and look the world in the face and tell them to come to the old-fashioned revival, for it is on. Expect the altars to be full from the first service, for the Mester [sic] is in town and He is at the grave of Lazarus and has given the command, Take away the stone, for the revival is on just now and somebody will be converted in the first service. That always takes place when the church obeys the Master and removes all the stones.
Now we want to move to the next step in this man’s life, or history and see what took place when the stone was removed. It will be worth while to look at the next stage of Lazarus.