THE CALL OF THE MASTER.
The stone has been removed and now listen to the call of the blessed Christ, “Lazarus, come forth.” and he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot, with a napkin about his mouth. Reader, Lazarus as a resurrected man is one of the most beautiful types of the blessing of regeneration that can be found in the Bible. Lazarus proves that our holy religion is not man-made and proves it to be supernatural. Don’t you see that Lazarus was beyond turning a new leaf? Don’t you see that he was beyond a little human enthusiasm? Don’t you see that he was beyond signing a card? Don’t you see that it would have been impossible for him to have ever gotten out of the tomb? Don’t you see that he was beyond the help of man? Even man, in all of his glory, was unable to do one thing in the world for Lazarus, for he was dead, bound, entombed, and putrified, and the tomb was sealed up and he on the inside. Ho, man, it will take a God to ever get you out of that tomb. Now Lazarus stands before us a living man, which is a type of the new birth. We saw him dead and now we see him a living man, and it is no sleight of hand performance, for it is a well known fact that he was dead and now he is alive. There he stands in the presence of the Christ.
But there is another fact that I want you to see and it is this, that while Lazarus is alive and represents the new birth, he also brings out another fact in the experience of every regenerated man. While he has life he is still bound and he has the strings on him yet. We see him a living man and he stands in the presence of the Master, and there is shouting ground and rejoicing enough for us to shout over for the next thousand years. While that is true and we all see it, at the same time he has the cords on him also, and we have seen Christians all over the land as completely bound by the opinions of other folks as Lazarus was with strings. Reader, just think of the twentieth century church and take one look at it and you will see a Lazarus standing before you completely bound. Look at the present and you will see men and women bound by a man-fearing spirit, bound by the opinions of the other fellow, bound by the cords of worldliness, bound by the awful secret oaths of their lodges, and it is not an uncommon thing for men and women to dance and play cards and run after the circus, theater, and all kinds of worldliness.
Now, I want you to see that when Lazarus got out of the tomb there was something else that he needed. Then take a look at the average church member and in all kindness and honesty you are forced to say that the church member needs the strings taken off of him as bad as Lazarus did. Lazarus was alive, but he was bound. The regenerated man is alive, but he is bound. Nevertheless, while we stand and look at the Christians we wonder why they don’t walk in the light as He is in the light; but then we remember that their feet are still bound, fo rhis [sic] feet were bound. We wonder why they don’t clap their hands, and then we remember their hands are still tied. Then we wonder why they don’t shout, and behold we look and see that the napkin is still over their mouths. We know that a man can’t do much with a napkin over his mouth. When will the church get all of the strings off and get to the place where she can walk, leap, rejoice, praise God and clap her hands, and rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
We see that the resurrected Lazarus is a type of the new birth but we see that the bound Lazarus is a type of the unsanctified Christian. It is life and strings and life and strings; a living man but a bound man; a living church but a bound church; a man next to helplessness and a church next to helplessness. I know that some good people will say, Well now, Bro. Robinson, if Lazarus still had the strings on him, his conversion was not complete, and they will say that conversion is a perfect work or it is a failure one or the other. You will notice this fact, that the resurrection of Lazarus was a perfect resurrection, and also that Lazarus had perfect life, but he still had the cords on him.
You will also notice that the new birth of a Christian is a perfect birth, and that the new convert has perfect life, but Lazarus, like it, still has the strings on; so you see a perfect birth and new life in the new convert, but at times there will be cords of anger or cords of pride, or there will be cords of jealousy, or cords of the man-fearing spirit, or a craving for the things of the world, which is out of harmony with the blessed, sweet will of God. We see all of those things almost every day of our lives, as we go up and down in this country, and I have seen them by the thousands tumble into the altar and pray through and get all of the strings broken; that is the only hope of the church to-day. I am glad to see the man out of the tomb, but I am so anxious to see him get every string taken off. I would love to live in this country just a few years when every Christian in the United States had every cord broken and was as free and happy as a bird that cleaves the sky. How many Christians have been called on to pray and at once begged to be excused, and there was no excuse on earth that they could offer, only they were bound hand and foot and still had a napkin about their mouth.
I know a lot of Christian folks who never say a word of all the Lord has done for them. Their voice is never heard. They go to church on Sunday if the weather will permit, but if it rains or is too hot they sit at home all day and the Sunday papers of course afford their litertrue [sic]. Not one of them ever thinks of being a witness for the Lord.
Now, reader, I am going to show you one of the most pitiful things in the whole land. Well, you ask, What is it? It is a Christian all bound by the things of the world until they are perfectly helpless and almost lifeless and just about hopeless. To see a sinner bound by the cords of this world is sad enough, but to see a Christian all tied up until he is a slave of the devil is one of the saddest things I ever looked at and as you look at Lazarus you see so many confessing Christians. Brother, there is no mistake about it, we are not deceived, we are not preaching heresy, it is an awful fact. Lazarus is a bound man; although he has life, and is in the presence of the Lord a bound man.
Not twenty-four hours ago a young man told me that his elder did not want him to preach on holiness for fear that he would dishearten the young converts. Now reader, do you suppose that it would have disheartened Lazarus for somebody to have told him that he could get all of those strings off of his feet and hands, and that he could get that napkin off of his mouth? How an elder can make up his mind to the awful fact that his members are better off with hands, feet and mouth bound, is a mystery to both God and man; and, I might say, to angels. Oh, the deadness in the average church; how helpless they are no man can tell. Think of a church with 565 members and only 15 of that number can be counted on at the prayer meeting, and only five out of the fifteen that are willing to work in the altar, and try to get sinners converted. Man, do you tell me that they are not bound? Do you tell me that they are happy and free, and do you tell me that they don’t need another work of grace? Why man, just look at the multiplied numbers of the leading church members who are as worldly as the sinners of your town, and you can’t look at them and tell any difference in them and the sinners.