WE HAVE BECOME LIKE THOSE WHO WERE NEVER CALLED BY YOUR NAME
Great Commission Church
Intro: Robert Robinson grew up wild on the streets of London in the 1700s. He had seen some of his friends die violently and die young, and he always assumed he was destined for an early grave. One day, when he was 17, Robinson and his rowdy friends were harassing a drunken gypsy woman. They gave her gin and demanded that she tell their fortunes. “You!” the old woman said, pointing her finger at Robinson, “You will live a long life. You will have children and grandchildren, and you will live to see them grow up.” Her words startled this young street urchin. Robert Robinson decided right then and there that if he was going to live that long, he would have to change his ways. So he sought out a preacher and a sermon. Popular at that time in London was Great Awakening key figure, George Whitefield, the Anglican/Methodist evangelist. The text of Whitefield’s sermon was Jesus’ stinging rebuke to the Pharisees: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” (Matt. 3:7) Robinson was not converted that night, though. In fact, he felt his sins were so grievous and so terrible that God would never accept him. For three years, he suffered with a deep dread of God’s punishment. It was not until sometime after his 20th birthday that Robert Robinson made peace with God and received Jesus as His Lord and Savior. With a new heart that was on fire for God, he became a Methodist minister and began preaching the gospel all around London. In 1757, two years after his conversion, he wrote a hymn that is still popular in churches today:
Come Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Calls for songs of loudest praise.
The most memorable verse of that hymn expresses a fear that every Christian has felt at one time or another:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love
Take my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above.
Prone to wander! This was the anxious cry of Robert Robinson’s heart. And for a time, years after writing those words, he did wander away from the church and from the God he loved. One day, he happened to be sharing a coach with a young woman. As they rolled along the streets of London, the woman hummed a refrain from a hymn. “Excuse me, miss,” Robinson said, “do you know the words to that song?” “Yes I do,” she said – and she sang the particular refrain: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, / Prone to leave the God I love.” Then she said, “Do you know the song?” “Know it?” Robinson said. “I wrote it! But that was so long ago. I would give a thousand worlds, if I possessed them, to have that same love for God that I had then.” History records that his coach ride with that young woman was a turning point in Robinson’s life. He later went back to the pulpit and declared his faith in Jesus Christ with a renewed passion and confidence. Many years later, in June 1790, Robert Robinson passed from this life and into the presence of the God he loved.
There are many examples in Scripture of believers who relapsed into sin and wandered from a godly way of life: King David, who sinned grievously with Bathsheba; Samson who was led astray by Delilah; Judas Iscariot, who walked with the Lord and then betrayed Him; Demas, whom Paul said, “loved this world” and deserted the ministry (2 Tim. 4:10). Some of those wanderers eventually returned to a right relationship with God – but some did not.
Questions asked by those who are drifting:
WHERE IS THE LOVE OF GOD?
Isa 63:15 Look down from heaven, and see from Your habitation, holy and glorious. Where are Your zeal and Your strength, the yearning of Your heart and Your mercies toward me? Are they restrained?
Isa 63:16 Doubtless You are our Father, though Abraham was ignorant of us, and Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O LORD, are our Father; our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.
Isa 63:17 O LORD, why have You made us stray from Your ways, and hardened our heart from Your fear? Return for Your servants’ sake, the tribes of Your inheritance.
Isa 63:18 Your holy people have possessed it but a little while; our adversaries have trodden down Your sanctuary.
Isa 63:19 We have become like those of old, over whom You never ruled, those who were never called by Your name.
Rev 2:4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Rev 3:15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
WHY DOESN’T GOD DO SOMETHING?
Isa 64:1 Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence—
Isa 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him.
Isa 64:5 You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, who remembers You in Your ways. You are indeed angry, for we have sinned—in these ways we continue; and we need to be saved.
IS IT TOO LATE?
Isa 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Isa 64:7 And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities.
Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.
Isa 64:9 Do not be furious, O LORD, nor remember iniquity forever; indeed, please look—we all are Your people!
Isa 64:12 Will You restrain Yourself because of these things, O LORD? Will You hold Your peace, and afflict us very severely?
- Confess and repent of lukewarm faith
- Commit to feeding your spirit each day while starving your sinful nature
- Make that commitment official with someone on our prayer team