A Gospel Message of Hope
Elder G. T. Haywood at the Apostolic Faith
Assembly, Indianapolis, Ind., delivered this sermon during a Sunday morning
service in April, 1922.
We wish to call your attention to the third
chapter of Romans, beginning at verse I, "What advantage then hath the Jew?
or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because
that unto them were committed the oracles of God." That is, the first
opportunity to know God. The law of the Ten Commandments was given to them.
God had committed unto their trust the oracles of God, and gave them that
they might bring the light of God to the world. And although they failed
their God, yet His purpose went forward. Even though some did not believe,
"shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" Man's unbelief
does not change God's word, nor stop Him from working out His purpose.
The word of God is true whether the people believe
it or not. God will bring Salvation near. It makes no difference what you
say, or what I may say, "God hath said." Our God can work while we are
sleeping. And when we are folded away like a garment in our graves, God will
still be working. If one man or one people fails God, He will take up
another and move on. God brought Israel out and made them a great people,
through a man who was only a shepherd of the plains of Midian and not a
warrior, but could speak words of wisdom by the spirit of God words, which
even to this day have astonished the world. God sent His Word from heaven
unto this people, arid walked in the midst of them with mighty signs and
wonders showing His mighty arm. And yet they failed God through their
What if man does not believe the Gospel as it is
laid, down in the Book ? The Gospel is true regardless of his unbelief. I
believe in the Blood of JESUS CHRIST, and that without shedding of blood
there is no remission of sins. But the question is: how shall I get the
remission ? One may say, "I will just believe." But to "believe" means more
than to just say "I believe," Matt. 26 :28 says.
What is the Holy Ghost ? He is a witness to your having received remission
of sins. That is what the Apostle said: "There are three that bear witness
in the earth, the Spirit, the water and the blood." He did not say one was
any greater than the other. All three of them are required to make one
witness. Many people look at water alone, but the proper thing to do is to
see the name in which it is administered. Take away the blood, and you have
nothing but faith. Take away the water and you make Jesus a liar. The Bible,
in the first epistle of John, tells us plainly, "This is He which came by
water and blood; not by water only, but by water and blood." And that, "it
is the Spirit that bearth witness." I do take notice of this much: there was
so much authority in the command of JESUS to baptize, that neatly all the
churches (with a few exceptions) try in some way to administer it, if it
only be the dipping the finger in the water. But if it is worth doing at
all, it is worth doing rightly. However, a man's failure to believe does not
change the Word of God. You can scarcely join a church in the city without
some mode of baptism. There are about as many ways as there are human minds,
and all for the lack of following the mind of the Spirit.
Who is it that never did sin? Paul shows the whole
human family had sinned, and if all sinned, all were condemned. But God had
mercy. We could not help but sin. We were born that way. But God said, "You
must be born again." And no newborn child walks perfectly at once. First
they crawl, then they totter and fall. But they do not keep falling. By this
I mean that a man or woman who is filled with the Holy Ghost and starts out
to walk with Jesus Christ, may stumble and fall at first, but don't. get
discouraged if the devil tries to trip you up. God will help you. He is able
to keep you from falling, says Jude. I am talking about those who have it in
their hearts to live for Christ. Do not let any failure daunt your courage.
You know God is able to carry you through. Many have found it to be so.
It is the grace of God that is able to sustain and up- hold any man or woman
who desires to be kept by the Power of God. There are people who desire to
boast of themselves and never have had a change of heart. And some even go
so far as to say, "1 am all right. I am good enough. 1 don't need that Holy
Ghost." I don't care if you did not steal, drink, or commit adultery--it is
in your heart anyhow! Everybody needs the power of God. Good works
never did save anybody. It takes the "power of God unto salvation." I am not
telling a moral man to get worse in order to get saved. No! I am telling him
there is no condition so bad but that God has grace to save us from it.
You cannot make men righteous by legislation. "Yes
must be born again." God says to the church "preach the word" and make a
fertile spot in the terrible desert of sin, that men may see the water of
life along the side of the road. No law can make you live right. God
Almighty tried it Himself with the children of Israel, and the Word says,
"What the law could not do, Christ did." (Rom. 8:3.) But do you know when a
man be- comes saved he will keep the spirit of the law? There is no law
against attending to your own business, paying all your debts, and no law
against praying. Do right, and bless God, and pray without ceasing. No law
is against doing that which is just and good. (Gal. 5:22,23.)
Many homes have been torn asunder. Sorrow and
mourning drapes the human heart because of sin. I dislike to hear some
people talk because of their disgraceful utterances. But let God get into
their hearts and then note the change. Everybody without Christ is guilty.
Had God Almighty demanded justice, every living person would have been dead,
and brought before the judgment bar to give an account of their misspent
lives. The only thing that is going to save a man in the power of God. I am
talking about genuine salvation, too! You can go any place and hear
everything else but the Gospel of salvation. But men shall be saved. That is
our whole service-to "save men." The church is ordained for that purpose.
God sums up the whole human family and declares that it is "full of wounds,
bruises and putrefying sores." To tell a man he should not steal, or covet,
or commit adultery is not enough. Tell him how to get saved so he will not
do those things. The power of God can save anybody that will believe, The
god of carnality has certainly got some folks fast. But 0, I am so glad I am
saved! Saved by the power of God! It is wonderful to be God's free man,
delivered from the power of the pride of life, the lusts of the eye, and the
lusts of the flesh, It does not make any difference whether a man is old or
young, rich or poor, black or white or bro\,n, just so he believes.
If you have never been to school] to learn a letter, you can "believe." I am
satisfied that you do not have to have eyes to believe. You do not have to
be able to speak to "believe." You may have both hands cut off, but still
you can "believe." If you cannot hear, somebody will write, or make signs
and you can "believe." You do not have to weigh so many hundred pounds or
write letters, or understand the Bible to get saved. All God said was to
"believe." Why, Jesus paid it all! The people that are saved to- day are
people that "believed" the Gospel. And you do not believe God if you do not
obey Him! I will prove it to you, too. "Show me your faith without your
works, and I will show you my faith (without saying a word) by my works!" It
is not merely saying, "I believe" it is proving your belief.
If you actually believe then you know what Jesus was talking about when He
said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," and prove it by
your actions. Jesus declared, "except a man be born of water and the Spirit
he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." (John 3:5-7.) If you do not obey,
then you do not believe.
God has fixed the matter so you need make no
mistake about it, either. Too many jump over the fifth verse of the third
chapter of John's Gospel. Moreover, Jesus stated emphatically that He
"testified of that which He had seen; and spake that which He did know"
(John 3:11), and this is what He spoke: "I know that if a man be not born of
water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." If you have
never been baptized in the name of JESUS CHRIST, you have never been
immersed properly. This is the only name under heaven given among men
whereby they must be saved. If you repent deeply enough in your heart, and
be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, I will guarantee that you shall
receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost as you "come up out of the water."* If
people do not believe God's Word they never get His best. Even if you do not
understand, you must believe, before you can "see" the Glory of God.