“WHERE ART THOU?” Part 3
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Oh, prodigal, you may be wandering on the dark mountains of sin, but God wants you to come home. The devil has been telling you lies about God; you think he will not receive you back. I tell you, He will welcome you this minute if you will come. Say, “I will arise and go to my Father.” May God convince you to take this step. There is not one whom Jesus has not sought far longer than that father. There has not been a day since you left Him that he hasn't followed you. I do not care what your past has been, or how immoral your life, He will receive you back. Arise then, O backslider, and come home once more to your Father’s house.
Not long ago, a lady who was an earnest Christian worker found a young woman who had taken hold of hell, and who was pressing onwards to a harlot’s grave. The lady begged her to go back to her home, but she said no, her parents would never receive her. This Christian woman knew what a mother’s heart was; so she sat down and wrote a letter to the mother, telling her how she had met her daughter, who was sorry and wanted to return. It was not long until an answer came back, and on the envelope was written, “Immediately — immediately!” That was a mother’s heart. They opened the letter. Yes, she was forgiven. They wanted her back, and they sent money for her to come immediately.
Sinner, that is the proclamation, “Come immediately”. That is what the great and loving God is saying to every wandering sinner — immediately. Yes, backslider, come home tonight. He will give you a warm welcome, and there will be joy in heaven over your return. Come now, because everything is ready.
A friend of mine said to me some time ago, Did you ever notice what the prodigal lost by going into that country? He lost his food. That is what every poor backslider loses. They get no manna from heaven. The Bible is a closed book to them; they see no beauty in the Word of God. Then the prodigal lost his work. He was a Jew, and they made him take care of swine; that was all loss for a Jew. So every backslider loses his work. He cannot do anything for God; he cannot work for eternity. He is a stumbling block to the world. My friend, do not let the world stumble over you into hell.
The prodigal also lost his testimony. Who believed him? I can imagine some of these men came along, and they saw this poor prodigal in his rags, barefooted and bareheaded. There he stands among the swine and someone says to another, “Look at that poor wretch.” “What,” he says, “Why do you call me a poor wretch? My father is a wealthy man; he has got more clothes in his wardrobe than you ever saw in your life. My father is a man of great wealth and position.” Do you suppose these men would believe him? “That poor wretch the son of a wealthy man!” Not one of them would believe him. “If he had such a wealthy father he would go to him.” So, that's the way it is with the backsliders; the world does not believe that they are the sons of a King. They say, “Why don’t they go to Him if there is bread enough and to spare? Why don’t they go home?”
Then, another thing the prodigal lost was his home. He had no home in that foreign country. As long as his money lasted, he was quite popular in the taverns and among his acquaintances; he had professed friends, but as soon as his money was gone, where were his friends? That is the condition of every poor backslider in LSouth Carolina. But now I can imagine someone saying, “There would be little use of me attempting to come back. In a few days, I should just be where I was again. I should like very much to go to my Father’s home again, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t stay there.” Well, just picture this scene. The poor prodigal has come home, and the father has killed the fatted calf; and there they are, sitting at the table eating. I can imagine that was about the sweetest food he had ever eaten — perhaps the nicest dinner he ever had in his life. His father sits opposite him; he is full of joy, and his heart is leaping within him. All at once he sees his boy crying. “My son, what are you crying for? Aren't you glad to be home?” “Oh, yes, father; I never was as glad as I am today: but I am so afraid I will go back into that foreign country!” Why you cannot imagine such a thing! When you have had one meal in your Father’s house, you will never be inclined to wander away again.
Now let me speak to the Third class. “If the righteous can be barely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Sinner, what is to become of you? How will you escape? “Where art thou?” Is it true that you are living without God and without hope in the world? Did you ever stop to think what would become of your soul if you should be taken away by a sudden stroke of illness — where would you stand in eternity? I read that the sinner is without God, without hope, and without excuse. If you are not saved, what excuse will you have to give? You cannot say that it is God’s fault. He is only too anxious to save you. I want to tell you tonight that you can be saved if you want to be. If you really want to pass from death to life, if you want to become an heir of eternal life, if you want to become a child of God, make up your mind this night that you will seek the kingdom of God. I tell you, upon the authority of this Word, that if you seek the kingdom of God you will find it.
No man ever sought Christ who did not find Him. I never knew a man that made up his mind to have the question settled, that it wasn't settled soon. This last year there as been a solemn feeling settling over me. I am what they call in the middle of life, in the prime of life. I look upon life as a man who has reached the top of a hill and just begins to go down the other side. I have got to the top of the hill if I should live the full term of life — threescore years and ten — and am just on the other side. I am speaking to many now who are also on the top of the hill, and I ask you, if you are not Christians, just to pause a few minutes, and ask yourselves where you are. Let us look back on the hill that we have been climbing. What do you see? Yonder is the cradle. It is not far away. How short life is! It all seems like it was just yesterday. Look up the hill, and yonder is a tombstone; it marks the resting place of a loved mother. When that mother died, didn't you promise God that you would serve Him? Didn't you say that your mother’s God should become your God? And didn't you take her hand in the stillness of the dying hour, and say, “Yes, mother, I will meet you in heaven!” And have you kept that promise? Are you trying to keep it? Ten years have rolled away: fifteen years — but are you any nearer God? Did the promise make any improvement in you? No, your heart is getting harder: the night is getting darker; by and by death will be throwing its shadows around you. My friend, Where art thou?