ARE ONLY 3% OF THOSE WHO MAKE DECISIONS
ACCEPT CHRIST REALLY BORN AGAIN? [07/29--2005]
Plus -- C. H.
SPURGEON ON IMMEDIATE DECISION TO ACCEPT CHRIST
have never known a pastor or an evangelist who said that all of those who made
professions of faith in church or evangelistic meetings were beyond doubt
"saved," or "born again." Professors were told that they were saved if
they believed on Jesus Christ in their hearts (John 3:18).
I have never
known a minister who claimed that if you walked down the aisle, that would mean
you were undoubtedly born again. If a preacher has ever said that, he is the
exception to all the preachers I have ever heard, and I have heard a lot of them
across my 53 years of being a Christian, and even before I became a Christian. I
have heard some of the most notable evangelistic preachers of my day -- Billy
Graham, Eddie Martin, John R. Rice, Hyman Appelman, J. Harold Smith, and others
-- and none of them ever said this in my hearing.
Yet there are some
brethren who oppose public invitations who make such allegations, and
they talk like very, very few of those who walk the aisles are truly born again.
Even if that were the case, it would still not be a legitimate argument against
inviting unsaved men and women to come out publicly, walk the aisle, and
acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord of all, and accept Him as Savior.
Salvation is not a work one has to do, or a drawn-out "process" one has
to go through, or a course in Alleine's Alarm to the Unconverted, or a
"pre-faith regeneration" one has to wait for -- no, is by a simple belief in
the heart in Jesus Christ.
Paul said --
"But what saith it?
The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that
is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy
mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto
righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." -- Romans
The only real difficulty about salvation is its simplicity
-- some just find it too difficult to accept the fact that the Lord will saved
them if they will simply believe on Him for salvation. The feel like they must
add something, maybe a period of sincere praying, or the reformation of
their lives, or seeking the right feeling, or maybe getting baptized and joining
the church. They think there must be some necessary "preparation."
so many people put such things in the way of immediately being saved before they
finally come to realize that it is really simply by faith in Christ, and by
nothing else. They have just wasted time by not coming in at the one door of
salvation without being detoured.
I often think about the account of
C. H. Spurgeon's conversion. He had tried several things, but to no
avail. His mother had even read to him from Alleine's Alarm, and it did
not bring him to the Lord. Finally, he heard a Methodist layman, who filled the
pulpit for the absentee Pastor of the church, and the layman quoted Isaiah
45:22, "Look unto me, and be ye saved," and exhorted young Spurgeon to
"Look! Look to Jesus!"
Spurgeon said that he did look, and in
that moment he was saved. Just a verse of Scripture, a few words of
exhortation, and a look -- that's all it took to convert the lad who went on to
become the greatest Baptist preacher who ever lived. And he told about this
experience many times to encourage others to simply "Look to Jesus" and be
saved, and thousands did so.
Today we have some folks who just don't
think it is that "simple." They just don't have much use for the "simple
Gospel." And some of their antagonism to public invitations, decisions,
accepting Christ, and similar things is due to their antipathy for the idea that
salvation is really as simple as Paul explained in Romans 10 and Spurgeon
experienced at a young lad in Colchester, England in January of 1856.
For example, I had an email recently in which the writer claimed that
John Wesley's, Billy Graham's, and Greg Laurie's preaching was bankrupt and
devoid of any real power of the Spirit. He alleged that over 97% of the
"decision makers" fall away. He claimed that only 3% are truly born again.
Now, where on earth did he get such ideas? Have all of
Wesley's, Graham's, and Laurie's professors been followed-up for the rest of
their lives to see if they demonstrated the fruits of conversion to Christ? If
so, who did the work? By what standard did he test these thousands of
professions of faith?
I just don't believe it. I can't accept those
statistics as valid, and in fact, I tend to even doubt they were derived by a
very legitimate method of census. I would have to see the research information
on this, and know about how it was obtained, before I would even give it the
least bit of credibility.
First of all, no one knows the hearts of
others on this matter of faith in Christ. A professor sometimes may
not look so good at the first, but he proves to be "for real" on down the road.
Experiences are not all the same. Spurgeon commented on converts, and he said
something to the effect that his best ones often turned out to be those that did
not make such a big splash at the outset.
Secondly, a temporary lapse
after a profession of faith may just be that -- a temporary lapse. Remember
Simon Peter made a strong, noble confession of Christ as the Son of God in
Matthew 16:16, and shortly thereafter he was rebuked by Jesus for his offence
(16:23), and he later even denied that he knew Jesus (Matthew 26:70). Peter was
not lost; he was simply backsliding from his original strong committal.
Who knows but what many make a strong committal during a public
invitation, and like Peter they backslide for a while? Who knows about such
Thirdly, even if a profession is not a case of conversion, it
may yet be just another experience which will yet lead to real
conversion. It may take more than one blow to crack a rock. It may take more
than one hit by the hammer to drive the nail down. So a public profession during
an invitation may be just one thing which will work for eventual
At any rate, those who oppose public invitations for sinners
to believe in and confess Christ as Savior don't have a leg to stand on, so far
as I am concerned. -- Bob L.
URGED IMMEDIATE DECISION 4/27/2004
ask that everyone here will say "Yes," or "No," to the invitation to give
himself up to Christ? If you will do so, say, "I will." If you will not do
so, say deliberately, "I will not."
I wish I could get hold of an
undecided man, and taking his hand, could say to him, "Now, you must tell me
which it will be."
I can imagine some of you would say, "Oh, give me
time to consider!" and I would reply, "You have had time to consider. Your hair
is getting gray."
In spite of all our entreaties, people say, "Oh,
but I do not like to decide so suddenly!" If I asked you whether you would
be honest, I hope that you would not take many minutes to answer that. Why,
then, should you hesitate so long in giving your adherence to Christ? I am like
Abraham's servant; some answer I must have.
But can we rightly press
men to decide if we fear that they will answer "No"? I think we may,
because, from the nature of the case, no answer means a denial. How many
of our hearers have thus for years turned their back upon Christ, by the simple
method of giving no answer at all! "We hear what you say, sir," they murmur,
"and thank you for saying it;" but, nevertheless, they go out, and go on their
way, and forget what manner of men they are.
Such a response is a
refusal; and it is nonetheless a refusal because you will probably retort, "But
I did not say 'No,' sir. Indeed, one of these days I may perhaps say 'Yes.'"
But, meanwhile, you reject the proposal, and refuse to give yourself up
to the Lord. The question is, Will you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?
The absence of an affirmative answer means, "No, I will not." I am
sure that it does in every case. No argument can be raised about
But if you will answer me, "No, I will not have Christ; I will not
believe on him; I will not become a Christian; I will not leave my old ways; I
mean to go on in them;" well, I thank you for the answer, pained as I am,
because now we can talk it over. This is better than no response, for now we
have something to work upon. An ill answer can be considered, while no answer
baffles all our efforts to help you. It is far more hopeful to encounter
opposition, than to meet with indifference. It is a great thing, when a ship is
at sea, for the captain to know whereabouts he is; and when we meet with those
who distinctly reject Christ, we at once know our bearings.
If you say,
"No, I am not a Christian, and I do not want to be;" so far you are honest, and
I want you now to think it over. Would you like to die in this frame of mind?
You may die where you are sitting. Are you wise to come to this determination?
Do you think that this is a resolution which you can justify before the
judgment-bar of God? You will certainly have to appear there. After death you
will rise again, when the trump of the archangel sounds; and, as surely as you
are here, you will have to stand before the great white throne, whereon
Christ will sit as Judge. How will the resolution which you have now made stand
the light of that tremendous day?
I pray you, think of it, and I hope
that you will alter your decision as many another man has done when he
has calmly considered the magnitude of the issues at stake, and the awful result
which must come of rejecting him who is now the Savior, but who will one day sit
as the Judge.
But we are the more determined to press you for some
decision, because an ill answer will set us free to go to others. You see
Eliezer says, "If not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the
left." Do not suppose that if you refuse Christ, he will lose the effect of his
death. "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." If you
will not come unto him, others will. If you reject him, he has a people who will
accept him, by his almighty grace.
O sirs, if you that hear the gospel
will not have my Master, we will go and bring in the publicans and harlots, and
they shall enter the kingdom of heaven before you! Sons of pious parents,
children of Sabbath-schools, if you believe not, you shall be cast into "outer
darkness," where shall be "weeping and gnashing of teeth," while the people whom
you despise, infidels and profligates, the very scum of society, shall accept
the Savior, and live.
Oh, I charge you, think not that your refusal
of the gospel invitation will leave any gaps in the ranks of the redeemed! Our
Savior, in his parable of the marriage of the king's son, foretold what will
happen. The king said to his servants, "The wedding is ready, but they which
were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as
ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the
highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good:
and the wedding was furnished with guests."
But I would urge you to
yield yourself unto the Lord, that you may be found at the
marriage-supper of the Lamb. Do not trifle with eternal matters. If you want to
play the fool, do it with counters or with pebbles, but not with your soul, that
shall live for ever in bliss or in woe.
My importunity with you is
strengthened when I think that, perhaps, if you give me the answer straight out,
"No, I am not a Christian, and I do not mean to be one," you may, in saying it,
see more clearly what a terrible decision you have arrived at. An ill
answer may startle you, and ultimately lead you to repent of your folly, and
reverse your decision. If you would write down - "I am not a Christian,
and I never mean to be one," it might startle you still more. I challenge you to
do so; and when it is written, put it over the mantelpiece, and look at it. It
will be far better to do that, horrible as it is, than to continue in this state
of wicked suspense, indifferent as to whether you are lost or saved, undecided
whether you are for Christ or against him, and yet, in your heart of hearts,
dead in trespasses and sins.
In this very place, I once urged those who
were undecided to go home, and write down, either the word "Saved," or
"Lost," and sign their name to the paper. One man, when he got into his
house, asked for pen and paper; and when his wife enquired why he wanted it, he
said he was going to do what the parson said, and write down "Lost." She refused
to fetch him the paper if he was going to do that. So he got it himself, and put
down a capital L, when his little girl climbed up in the chair behind him, and
said, "No, father, you shan't do that, I'd rather die than you should do that";
and the child's tears fell on his hand as she spoke. What my sermon had failed
to do, those tears accomplished; the strong man was bowed, and yielded
himself to Christ; and when they got up from their knees in that little
room, he took the pen, and changing the L into an S, wrote "Saved."
He was saved because he came face to face with the fact that he was
lost. His ill answer startled both himself and his child. May God work the like
change in you, both for your own sake and also for the sake of your loved ones!
I want to press you for some kind of answer, because, like
Eliezer, I have promised my Master to make search for you, and an ill answer
will clear me of my oath. If I can get "No," from you as your answer, and am
certain that you will not go with me to my Master's Son, I shall be clear. It
was so with Abraham's servant; he and his master agreed to that at the first.
When men say "No," and entreaties are of no further use, and the
preaching of the gospel has no power over them, then we must leave them, and
carry the glad tidings to others, just as Paul and Barnabas of old said to the
angry Jews at Antioch, "It was necessary that the Word of God should first have
been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy
of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."
I beseech you, do
not put Christ away from you; and I press you for a definite answer.
I say, as Eliezer said, "If ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell
me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the
Now I just want to have a little talk with you over this matter.
My dear friend, you are in peril of eternal death. While you are
hesitating, life is ebbing. During the past few months, how many of our dear
friends have been taken away by influenza, and other causes! This congregation
has suffered from sickness, in family after family, as I never knew it suffer
before. May you not be taken?
I charge you, therefore, do not act as
though you had plenty of time. Possibly you have not another week to live.
The clock, as it ticks, seems to me to say, "Now, now, now, now, now, now;"
and for some of you there is an alarm in the clock, which, when it runs
down, utters this warning, "Now or never, now or never, now or
After all, the matter that we have in hand is not one that
requires great debate. Whether I will believe the truth or not, should not be a
matter of discussion. Whether I will receive the gift of God or not, should not
be a thing to be argued about if I am in my right mind. Whether, being lost, I
am willing to be saved - whether, having the gospel of eternal life proclaimed
to me, I should accept it by faith - well, I need not ask the sages as to what I
shall answer, nor need I go to the Law Courts to consult the judges as to my
reply. This is a thing so simple that it requires no argument. Who will
choose to be damned? Who will refuse eternal life? Surely these are questions
that should be decided at once.
Waiting and trifling have done you no
good hitherto. The countryman, when he wanted to cross the river, and found it
deep, said that he would sit down and wait till the water was all gone by. He
waited, but the river was just as deep after all his waiting; and with all your
delay, the difficulties in the way of your accepting Christ do not get any
less. If you look at the matter rightly, you will see that there are no
great difficulties in the way, nor were there ever such obstacles as your
Another countryman, having to cross Cheapside, one
morning, was so confused by the traffic of omnibuses and cabs and foot
passengers, that he said he felt sure he could not get across the road, and
would wait till the people thinned out a little; but all day long they never did
thin out. Unless he had waited till the evening, he would have found little
difference in that perpetual stream of hurrying people.
O friends, you
have waited until you can get "a convenient season" to become a Christian, and
after all your delay, the way is not any clearer! Twenty years ago some of you
were as near decision for Christ as you are now. Nay, you seemed nearer.
I then thought, "Oh, some of them will soon believe in Jesus, and yield their
hearts to him!"
But you said then that it was not quite time. Is it time
now? Is the day without difficulty any nearer? Is the season any more suitable?
Nay, indeed, there is no improvement. Let me say that, I believe that your
waiting has not only done you no good, but has positively done you great harm.
There were times when it seemed easy for you to yield to the pressure of the
divine Spirit. It certainly is not easier now; indeed, it is more difficult. I
God treats men as Benjamin Franklin treated the man who
stood loafing in his bookshop,
and at last took up a book, and said, "How
much is this?" Franklin replied, "A shilling." "A shilling?" he said, "a
shilling?" and he would not give the price. After staying about ten minutes, he
said: "Come, Mr. Franklin, now what will you take for it?" Franklin answered,
"Two shillings." "No," he said, "you are joking." "I am not joking," said
Franklin: "the price is two shillings." The man waited, and sat a while,
thinking. "I want the book," he drawled out; "still, I will not give two
shillings. What will you take for it?" Franklin said, "Three shillings." "Well,"
the man said, "why do you raise your price?" To which Franklin responded, "You
see, you have wasted so much of my time that I could better have afforded to
take one shilling at first than three shillings now."
Sometimes, if men
come to Christ at the very first invitation, it is a sweet and easy coming.
See how dear young children often yield themselves to Christ, and how
peaceful is their entrance into the rest of faith! But when people wait, when
they postpone believing, when they violate conscience, when they tread down all
the uprising of holy thoughts within them, it becomes much harder for them to
trust in Christ than it would have been when he was first preached to them. I
come, therefore, to you again, and say, "If ye will deal kindly and truly with
my Master, tell me: and if not, tell me; and tell me now."
one, "I am glad you have spoken to us; I will think it over."
friend, I do not mean that. I do not want you to think it over. You have
had enough of thinking; I pray that God's Spirit may lead you to an immediate
"Well, suppose that we consider it during the week," you
say. No, that will not suit either my Master or myself. I want the answer
now. I am like a messenger carrying a letter, on which is written, "The
bearer will wait for a reply." . . .
If I say to you, "Go home,
and think it over all the week," I shall be giving you a week in which to
remain in rebellion against God; and I have no right to do that. I shall
be giving you a week in which you are to continue an unbeliever; and he that is
an unbeliever is in peril of eternal ruin, for "he that believeth not shall be
Worse than all, the week may lead to many other weeks; to
months, perhaps, and years; perchance to a whole eternity of woe. I cannot give
you five minutes. God the Holy Ghost speaks by me now to souls whom God hath
chosen from before the foundation of the world, and he says, "Today, if ye
will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." The Holy Ghost says "Today, even
"Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O
house of Israel?"
The question comes to you, Will ye be Christ's?
"If ye will deal kindly and truly with my Master, tell me: and if not, tell
The best answer you can give is in the verses that follow the text.
"Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we
cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before thee; take her."
Oh I wish some of you would thus respond to my appeal this day!
This thing is also from the Lord: it was he who gave me this message; it was
he who brought you to hear it. Surely you will not be found fighting against
God. Your heart is open to him; he sees the faintest desire that you have toward
him. Breathe out your wish now, and say, "My heart is before thee: take
"Take my poor heart, and let it be
For ever closed to all but
Seal thou my breast, and let me wear
That pledge of love for ever
He will not be slow to accept that which is offered to him. He
will take you now, and he will keep you for ever.
"How is it to be done?"
says one. The plan is very simple. Jesus Christ took upon himself the
sins of all who ever will trust him. Come and rest upon his atoning sacrifice.
Give yourself up to him wholly and unreservedly, and he will save you. Take him
to be your Savior by the simple act of faith. The pith of the matter is
that I, being lost, give myself over to Christ to save me.
that the act of faith was very well set forth in the statement of a poor
imbecile. They said that he was an idiot; but I think that he had more real
sense than many a man who boasts of his intellect. Some one said to him "John,
have you got a soul?
"No," he said, "I ain't got no soul."
John, how is that?"
He replied, "I had a soul once, but I lost it, and
Jesus Christ found it, so I have just let him keep it."
There is the
whole philosophy of salvation. You have lost your soul; Christ has found it. Let
him keep it. God bless you! Amen.
LETTER FROM MR.
DEAR READER, - This sermon is an urgent appeal to the
undecided; and if you are in that condition, I would by this letter press
the suit home in the most personal manner. I am a sick man who has narrowly
escaped the hand of death, and I feel that the things of eternity ought not to
be trifled with. To be saved at the last, our wisdom is to be saved at once.
If I had left my soul's matters for a sick bed, I could not have attended to
them there, for I was delirious, and the mind could not fix itself sensibly upon
any subject. Before the cloud lowers over your mind, give your best attention to
the Word of the Lord. I beseech you, dear reader, to do this, for you cannot
tell how soon the hour of life may end. It has been life to me to hear of souls
saved by God's grace through these sermons, and I am praying the Lord to give me
a deep and long draught of this heart-reviving joy, by causing me to hear that
this discourse is made to thousands the means of life from the dead. It is a
large request, but the Lord has said, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it."
Thus would I open my mouth in prayer for you, dear reader, and thousands like
you. Do you
not, in your heart of hearts, desire that the Lord would hear his
Yours to serve as strength returns,
C. H. SPURGEON.
NOTE: Mr. Spurgeon died on January 31, 1892.
This sermon reveals with what compassion he pleaded with, reasoned with, and
pressed upon lost souls to come to Christ for salvation -- right up to the door
of his own death. Is it any wonder that he had such a great harvest of souls in
his ministry, and extending even beyond the grave thru his published works? Even
now, there may be souls reading this excerpt, and they will be moved by
Spurgeon's plea to decide now to come to Christ for salvation!
MISSED IT -- You may be interested in reading our article, AN EXAMINATION OF
THE ALLEGED DANGERS OF "INVITATIONS" [04/23/04] in which instances of
Spurgeon's methods are cited. This can be sent via email upon
granted to copy and use this article.
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added to my Email List, or removed
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