“WHERE ART THOU?” Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
“WHERE ART THOU?” (adapted from a sermon by D. L. Moody)
(GENESIS 3:9) And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
THE very first thing that happened after the news of the fall of man reached heaven, was that God came straight down to look for THE MAN He created. As He walks through the garden in the cool of the day, you can hear Him calling “Adam! Adam! Where art thou?” Adam ought to have taken God’s place since he was the transgressor. He had fallen, and he ought to have gone up and down Eden crying, “My God! My God! Where art Thou?” But God left heaven to find the rebel who had fallen — not to hurl him from the face of the earth, but to plan an escape for him from the misery of his sin. And he finds him — where? Hiding from his Creator among the bushes of the garden. The moment a man is out of fellowship with God, even the professed child of God, he wants to hide from Him.
When God left Adam in the garden, he was in communion with his Creator, and God talked with him; but now that he has fallen, he has no desire to see his Creator, he has lost communion with his God. He cannot bear to see Him or even to think of Him, and so he runs to hide from God. But his Maker follows him to his hiding place, where He asks, “Where art thou, Adam? Where art thou?” Six thousand years have passed away, and this text has come rolling down the ages.
I doubt whether there has been any one of Adam’s sons who have not heard it at some period of his life—a small voice from within asks, “Where am I? Who am I? Where am I going? And how is it going to end?” I think it is good for any man to pause and question himself. A good question to ask is, “What does God think of me?” We wonder what the neighbors think of us, but it is much more important to be concerned about what God thinks of us. Am I in a spiritual union with my Creator, or am I out of communion? If I am out of communion, there is no peace, no joy, no happiness. No man on the face of the earth, who was out of communion with his Creator, ever knew what peace, and joy, and happiness, and true comfort are. But when we are in communion with God, there is light all around our path. You may think that your life is hidden, that God does not know anything about you. But he knows our lives a great deal better than we do, and His eye has been on us from our earliest childhood until now.
At this point, I would like to divide my audience into three classes the professed Christians, the Backsliders, and the Ungodly.
First, I would like to ask the Bible scholars this question, or rather let God ask it — Where art thou?
What is your position in the church, and among your circle of acquaintances? Do your friends know you are a Christian? Suppose I were to ask those who were really Christians here to stand-up, would you be ashamed to stand up? Suppose I would ask every professed child of God here, “If you were cut down by the hand of death, do you have any good reasons to believe you would be saved?”
Think of your past: could you honestly say, “I am a Christian;” and would your life correspond with your profession? It is not what we say as much as how we live. Actions speak louder than words. Do your shop mates know that you are a Christian? Does your family know? Do they know you to be out and out on the Lord’s side?
Let every professed Christian ask, Where am I in the sight of God? Is my heart loyal to the King of heaven? Is my life here as it should be in the community I live in? Am I a light in this dark world? Christ says, “Ye are My witnesses.” Christ was the Light of the world, and the world would not have the true Light; the world rose up and put out the Light, and now Christ says, “I leave you down here to testify of Me; I leave you down here as My witnesses.” That is what the apostle meant when he said that Christians are to be living epistles, known and read of all men.
Then, am I standing up for Jesus as I should in this dark world? If a man is for God, let him say so. If a man is for God, let him come out and be on God’s side; and if he is for the world, let him be in the world. This serving God and the world at the same time — this being on both sides at the same time — is the curse of Christianity at the present time. It retards the progress of Christianity more than any other thing. “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” I have heard of a great many people who think if they are united to the church, and have made one profession, that will do for all the rest of their days. But there is a cross for every one of us to carry, every day.
Oh, child of God, where are you? If God should appear to you tonight in your bedroom and put this question to you, what would be your answer? Could you say, “Lord, I am serving Thee with my whole heart and strength; I am improving my talents and preparing for the kingdom to come?” As I have said, there are a great many in the church who make one profession, and that is about all you hear about them; and when they die you have to go and hunt up some musty old church records to know whether they were Christians or not. God won’t do that. I have an idea that when Daniel died, all the men in Babylon knew whom he served. There was no need for them to hunt up old books. His life told his story. What we want is men with a little courage to stand up for Christ. When Christianity wakes up, and every child that belongs to the Lord is willing to speak for Him, is willing to work for Him, and, if need be, willing to die for Him, then Christianity will advance, and we shall see the work of the Lord prosper.
There is one thing that I fear more than anything else, and that is the dead cold formalism of the Church. Talk about the isms! Put them all together, and I do not fear them as much as dead, cold formalism. Talk about the false isms! There is none so dangerous as this dead, cold formalism, which has come right into the heart of the Church. There are so many of us just sleeping and slumbering while souls all around are perishing. I believe honestly that we professed Christians are all half asleep. Some of us are beginning to rub our eyes and to get them half-opened, but as a whole we are asleep.
There was a little story that is making the rounds of the American press that made a great impression on me as a father. A father took his little child out into the field one Sunday morning, and, since it was a hot day, he laid down under a beautiful shade tree. The little child ran about gathering wild flowers and little blades of grass, and coming to its father and saying “Pretty! pretty!” At last, the father fell asleep, and while he was sleeping the little child wandered away. When he awoke, his first thought was, “Where is my child?” He looked all around, but he could not see him anywhere. He shouted at the top of his voice, but all he heard was the echo of his own voice. Running to a little hill, he looked around and shouted again. No response! Then going to a precipice at some distance, he looked down, and there upon the rocks and briars, he saw the mangled form of his loved child. He rushed to the spot, took up the lifeless corpse and hugged it to his bosom, and accused himself of being the murderer of his child. While he was sleeping his child had wandered over the precipice. I thought as I heard that, what a picture of the church of God!
How many fathers and mothers, how many Christian men, are sleeping while their children wander over the terrible precipice right into the bottomless pit of hell. Father, where is your boy tonight? It may be that he is out there in some house of prostitution; he may be reeling through the streets, pressing onwards to a drunkard’s grave. Mother, where is your son? Is he in some bar drinking away his soul; everything that is dear and sacred to him? Do you know where your boy is? Father, you have been a professed Christian for forty years; where are your children tonight? Have you lived so godly, and so Christ-like, that you can say, Follow me as I followed Christ? Are those children walking in wisdom; are they on their way to glory; have they been gathered into the fold of Christ; are their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? How many fathers and mothers today would be able to answer positively?