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Home School Of Preaching The Cart Before the Horse

The Cart Before the Horse

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The Cart Before the Horse

THERE were not many at the Gospel meeting that night, and one might have felt disappointed, yet the message had gone forth in simplicity and power: Six reasons why we should glory in the Cross, from the Epistle to the Galatians.

Chapter 1:4, where at the Cross we see the end of our sins, because Christ gave Himself for our sins.

Chapter 2:20, where we see the end of ourselves: I am crucified with Christ.

Chapter 3:13, where we see the end of the curse: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law.

Chapter 4:4-6, where we have the end of the distance, for we are now sons.

Chapter 5:1, the end of the bondage and we now are in liberty.

Chapter 6:14, where we leain that the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the wolld.

The speaker had emphasised these points, showing that salvation was not of works, but by grace, for the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto All men. It was Christ who gave Himself for our sins; there was no other way, "not of works lest any man should boast."

Not all who heard that message were inside the meeting. There was a corporal listening outside, who was only noticed when the meeting broke up. He seemed in no hurry to leave, but went for his usual tea and cakes, and later was introduced to the speaker by a lady worker who had contacted him. He violently disagreed with the speaker, and said that no one could know they were saved until the judgment day. It all depended on how we lived and what we did. He believed that working for salvation was the right thing, he had always thought so.

It was pointed out to him that putting good works before salva tion was like putting the cart before the horse. The illustration amused him; it went home. A long conversation followed in which the speaker tried to show him the folly of trusting to what he could do, and the benefit of relying on on the finished work of Christ on the Cross, when He gave Himself for our sins. Why should Christ come into the world to save sinners, if sinners can save themselves by their good works?

In spite of all this clear explanation the corporal still stuck to his idea that works were necessary, and so after staying quite late, the two parted, the speaker leaving with him those words in Eph. ''2:8-9. "For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast."

The following Sunday evening the corporal came again. He listened to the hymn singing and to the short testimonies, but when the same speaker got up to give his message, the corporal, after listening for about ten minutes, got up and walked out. He was evidently in no hurry to leave the place for he was there when the meeting broke up, and came over to the speaker to apologise for his rudeness in leaving the meeting, and this is what he said: "I'm sorry, sir, that I was so rude; but I simply couldn't help it. I felt you were looking at me and speaking to me, and that you had chosen that subject specially for my benefit. I don't agree with you at all. I believe that a man must do the best he can, and no one can know that he is saved until he stands before God; if, then, he is found to have done his best he will go to heaven, if not, then he is unlucky."

The speaker asked the corporal: "Are you a sinner?"

"Yes, sir, I am."

"Very well, then, how are you going to get rid of your sins? Can you wash them away with water like Pilate tried to do?"

"No, sir."

"Can you weep them away?"

"No, sir. The only thing I can see, sir, is that if I do my best I shall be all right in the end."

"Are you happy?" continued the speaker?

"Well, not exactly."

"I don't see how you can be," continued the speaker, "believing such a theory; wondering if you have done enough good works to cover or outweigh the wrongs you have done, and even if you could remember all the good deeds, you could never remember all your sins, and so in the end there must be a great deficit."

This made the corporal deeply anxious, and just at that moment came Mr. C—.

After the speaker had gone, Mr' C—, noticing that the corporal was under deep conviction of sin, said to him: "Are you in a hurry, corporal?" "No." "Then can you stay and have this matter settled to-night?" "Yes, Mr. C—, I would like to"; and so the two of them went into a little room at 11 p.m. and Mr. C— carefully took him away back to the origin of sin, establishing the fact, that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, then showed him the love of God that resulted in the Cross, and the suffering of the Saviour, when He was "wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities." Then the claims of Christ were presented to the corporal, showing him that it was nothing he could do that could save his guilty soul, it was not of works lest any man should boast, for Jesus said, "It is finished," as He bowed His head and died.

Both of them were oblivious to time.

The light dawned into the corporal's soul at about 1.15 a.m., and he saw, now, that it was not what he could do that could save him but what Christ had done on the Cross, and so he hesitated not another minute but came to the Saviour, confessing his need and his guilt, and trusting in His precious blood. No longer was the cart before the horse, but the horse was in the cart, old things had passed away, and all things had become new.

Now, what do you think about this subject? Remember, "Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His MERCY He saved us" (Titus 3:5 ).

"But to him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5 ). G.K.


THERE is scarcely a sight more stately than a sailing ship under full sail, and even a sailing barge tacking its way up the Thames or out of its tributaries has a beauty and a stateliness all its own. It has a purpose, too, for much of the river transport work is undertaken by these flat-bottomed craft. The wonder of the sailing ship is that the set of the sails can determine the course of the vessel, and the same wind can be utilized for opposite courses. Along the river of life—it's the "set of the sails and not the gales that determines the way we go." Are your sails, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, set to direct you heavenwards, or are they set to take you to a Christless grave. Man's way takes him in the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12 ) but God's way takes him into the ways of life (John 14:6 ).


IF you are a Christian you will be interested to read on. But if not a Christian, the question, "Why not?" is well worth considering.

You may not be able to answer it straight away. On the other hand, you may have a reply ready and clear-cut, like a sword you can use at any time to defend your rejection of the Gospel—and so defeat your own best interests!

Of course, there are excuses.
Here is one: "There are so many religious hypocrites."
Here is another: "I have no time."
And a third used by those who do not read the Book: "The Bible is full of contradictions."

A man always used to attack Christianity the morning after a night spent in dissipation. But of course a bad life is not your reason for refusing the Good News.

The honest doubter does not find it convenient to doubt. He studies the evidence and is willing to follow the light. There is plenty of evidence that the Bible is true, that Christianity comes from God, and that the Christ of the Bible can become the Christ of personal experience today. The Gospel message appeals to a man's conscience and heart as well as to his mind, superior or otherwise You are up against hard facts, and you believe in facing them.
There are, times in your life when alone in the silence of the sick room; in bereavement; by the graveside when you have had a sense of inner disorder and defeat and defilement; when you knew you have refused the highest and the best; when you have had a glimpse of a disease uncured and a debt undischarged; when you have felt a foreboding of future retribution. In your heart you knem. what it all meant. Have you faced out this hard fact?

Perhaps you say, "Religion is all right for those who can't live straight without it. I don't go to church, chapel or mission hall, but I'm just as good as those who do."

But how can anyone be really good, in the sense that God approves, while he neglects his first duty, his duty to God? Are you hiding from God in your respectability?

Are you evading personal surrender to Christ by trusting in religious services or a correct creed?

Maybe you have some sense of your need and often desire the good things of the Gospel. Then you are not a Christian because you do not desire these good things strongly enough to be willing to accept God's terms.

Is there .some sin, some evil habit or secret indulgence, or some resentment you will not give up? Do you dislike the thought of leaving a manner of living in which you try to find satisfaction for * a life that seems to you thin and dry because you have never tried it?

Is not the root reason why you are not a Christian simply this:

you are unwilling to change your way of looking at life; you are unwilling to submit to God; you are unwilling to commit yourself to Christ in unconditional surrender, and live so as to please Him?

Here is a three-fold reason why you should become a Christian ' by obeying the Gospel Message: The Message is true; God commands you to receive it; and it meets the deepest needs of your truest life.

0, then, yield now to the Lord Jesus Christ. You will never regret it; and life will never be the same again. ED. ADAMS

T'HERE must be a decision arrived at before you can become a Christian, and that can be done while you read this. You have got a question to decide for yourself which no one can decide for you. "Are you saved for eternity?" I may wish very much to go to Liverpool to-night to see friends who sail to-morrow, but no amount of wishing can take me to Liverpool. I must go to the station, buy a ticket, and get into the train, if I am to reach that city and see my friends. And so it is with you about your soul. Wishing-will not save you; you must believe in Christ as your Saviour, and decide for Him.

When Abraham's servant went to fetch a bride for his master's son from the far country, and they wished to detain him for a time, even after he had found her, he said, "Hinder me not." But they thought it was too bad to send away Rebekah, never more, perhaps, to see her father and mother, and to go away with a stranger across the desert; and so they called the damsel, and put on her the responsibility: "Wilt thou go with this man?" And she said, "I will go" (Gen. 24). Prompt decision. "Wilt thou go with this Man?" Wilt thou yield to the pleadings of the Holy Ghost and decide for Christ? Why not decide? You have got to do it if you would be saved (Acts 16:31 ). Be like Ruth, who said, "Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, will I die: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me" (Ruth 1 . 16, 17). DECIDE- NOW WHILE YOU READ THIS. With all your heart say, "I take Thee, Lord Jesus, to be my Saviour. Thou didst take my place at Calvary, didst die in my stead as my Substitute; and now as a guilty, undone sinner, I receive Thee as my own and only Saviour for Time and for Eternity." D. L. .MOODY.


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Last Updated on Thursday, 25 November 2010 14:32  

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