Bill Carroll – The Scriptures and the Savior – July 26, 1953 

I remember when I was about 5 years old, there was a lady that lived in one of the great mansions that are so common in County Meath. She was the mother of my father’s employer, a religious lady, and she asked my parents for their consent to her coming down to our place and give some instruction of the Scriptures to us children. She seemed to be greatly taken with me and gave me a very handsome Bible. On the fly leaf she wrote my name and a verse (John 5:39) I never forgot that kindness or that verse, but she did not understand it fully, and as many others do, she took a wrong meaning out of it. 


Although we are indebted to holy men of old who spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance, the Bible is largely a dead book unless in the hands of the Lord’s servants and people. The Lord seems to need not only the Scriptures, but also living witnesses, so that if all the Bibles were destroyed, as they were at one time, there should remain in our hearts the Holy Spirit’s power, guidance and instruction, so that there may be a witness in the world, that His Way may be known in the earth, and His saving health to all nations. 


This does not minimise the treasure that we have in the Bible these days but is rather a proof that it is the message of God for the people. John 5:39 reads thus: “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me, and ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” Undoubtedly this lady had in mind that in searching the Scriptures she might come to a knowledge of God and eternal life. If we look at the revised version, it is rather a rebuke to tradition-filled men like the Pharisees who knew every line, comma, and full stop, of the law of Moses. Yet they were those who had the bitterest hatred or the Saviour, and who committed the greatest sin that humanity can be guilty of in not coming unto Him that they might have life. This is the great sin that brings men to perdition and to a lost eternity. So we gather from this that the principal thing is not only to be acquainted with the Scriptures, but to follow the guidance of the Scriptures and to seek the end and purpose of God; that is, coming unto Him to receive life. All religion that does not end there, or really begins there, is only a deception of the Devil to keep men from life eternal.


“This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” So today our great treasure is Christ, Our riches eternal, that goes on increasing in the knowledge of the true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. This was the principal teaching of Jesus, that His own might abide in the true vine and that they might bring forth much fruit. . . his led me to think of the things in the world that we are surrounded by, that ought to bring us to Christ, ought to force upon us a thoughtfulness and a conviction that would cause us to search and be instructed, that light may come upon our darkness; thoughtfulness about our nature will force us to the conclusion that this human life is not all, and that eating, sleeping, working, worrying, carefulness and absorption in earthly things could not be the end and purpose of God in creating and bringing us into this state in which we find ourselves. So Scripture, creation, and our need, should bring us to Christ. 


We read in Galatians 3:24 “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ. We marvel as we read the Old Testament, especially the law of Moses, at all the intricate instructions given to the people of Israel for the worship of God. We marvel at their disobedience, and how clearly it is demonstrated, that as time went on, instead of keeping the law they became worse and worse. If there had been a law that could have given life, God would have given it. He gave the law so that it could be proved through all time and eternity that men after the flesh cannot see the Kingdom of God, however well provided for and however well protected by rules and ways of worship, the law itself failed utterly to do for men what men would naturally desire—security and peace, here and hereafter. 


Undoubtedly many of those holy men saw in types and shadow the true meaning and message, but Israel as a whole failed utterly and were prone to idolatry, and to every deception and wickedness that the human heart could conceive. They wandered in darkness, being led by their own thoughts and conceptions, and were found in a wilderness of doubt and fear with nothing to sustain or comfort or deliver. We see then the state they had come to, in the New Testament. 


In Scribe and Pharisee and their reverence and idolatry of the Scriptures, when standing in their midst rejected, was the Son of God, the Deliverer, the Christ promised to them; “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.” The light shown in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not, We can wonder if we will, that so much of the Bible is taken up with those minute instructions, little regard to worship and ceremony given to Israel.


When we have a proper understanding, we see the meaning of it all, these instructions for worship, and he thoroughly understood that this wasn’t the end, but the means by which to show them the hopelessness of their human nature and their natural bent towards evil, thus forcing them to come to the source of life eternal, in Him who wanted to be their Savior, nothing is of value without life–any dead thing is repugnant to us. Life in its fulness is vigour; its movement, its power is what attracts us, and above all life eternal. The Christ life in the soul, is what attracts and blesses men, as they see its evidence in the daily life. 


So this law of God is one of the things that brings us to Christ. The law which tells us what we should be and what we ought to be, but gives us no power but forces the soul to come to Christ for salvation and life. NATURE IS INTENDED BY GOD TO BRING US TO CHRIST. We look upon this world in which we live and are amazed at its various scenes, and all the life which is so much in evidence everywhere. This lesson we have in Ps. 19. “The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork.” Who can look up into the Heavens and not wonder? The wise men spent their whole time looking up to the stars and endeavoring to read the message of the Heavens. At last they discovered some significance that led them to Bethlehem and the manger. We do not know what spiritual promptings they had, but they followed the guidance of the Heavens to come to Christ.


In Heb. 1:10 we read “Thou Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth; and the Heavens are the work of thy hands.” Here the inspired writer points to the message of the earth and the Heavens to men; the wonder of the eclipsed moon which took place this week should have born its message of the Creator’s power and Godhead. Men with the endowments God has given them of skill and brains had calculated to a moment when the eclipse would take place. 


They knew to the second when it would begin and pass away, so that vast machinery of the Heavens which seems so wonderful to look at and which puzzles so many and which men look into and try to pierce, with all their God-endowed faculties runs so accurately to the part of a second, that nothing happens, and no calamity takes place, the Heavens continually say to our hearts GOD IS. God is the Director of this vast machinery, so wonderful, what will happen to them? What is their end? The writer to the Hebrews says, “They shell perish; but thou remainest.” 


Do we really see the beauty of that song that we sometimes sing that says, “Thou remainest.” Millions of years may pass, but thou remainest and thy years shall not fail, they all shall wax old as a garment, and as a vesture thou shalt fold them up, and they shall be changed but thou art the SAME and thy years shall not fail. So the Heavens declare the glory of God and are intended to be the message to bring us to Christ.


Then we have the message of the earth. In the first chapter of the Bible, we have the beginning of things for our instruction, that they might bring us to Christ. (Gen, 1:24, 28.) “And God said, let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, and cattle after their kind, end everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind; and God saw that it was good. 


I don’t know if you have wondered sometimes at the marvel of what there is in the soil; take a handful and it is teeming with bacteria and creeping things of one kind and another. Little things busy in the earth, moving, all with their work to do. We don’t know what their usefulness may be, but they are God-created. There is a vast difference between the various forms of life; cattle and creeping things are separated by a gulf impossible to cross. “Cattle” embraces four-legged animals, clean and unclean, and they are distinct in their families, after their kind, from insets and creeping things and other varieties of nature. All has come about by the miraculous word that God spoke, “Let the earth bring forth.” From that seemingly useless bit of earth containing less than a hundred elements in themselves so dead and cold, everything has spring. But if left alone, it is without life, without movement, without evidence that it would ever come to any usefulness.


God said, “Let the earth bring forth” and it was so; the wonder of the earth, the wonder of the sea, ought to bring us to Christ. (Gen. 1:20.) “And God said let the waters bring forth abundantly by the moving creature that bath life and fowl that they may fly above the earth in the open firmament of Heaven. You can take a pail of water from the sea and myriads of living creatures are found therein. Life in all its abundance and variety fills the great deep, from the whale to the most insignificant little shellfish, all distinct and separate after its kind, all fulfilling the wise purpose of the Creator which we are at a loss sometimes to understand, but which we acknowledge to be His handiwork. Well then, the supreme wonder that ought to fill our hearts with reverence and which used to occupy a great place in my mind IS FOUND IN OURSELVES (Gen. 1:26) “And God said, let us make man in our own image and after our likeness.”


This also is referred to in Heb. 2:6. This wonderful book of Hebrews that is such a vindication of the Old Testament and in which we can always find something to explain what is a puzzle to us in the Old Testament. Well, who can look upon the handiwork of God in its supreme power as we find it, in evidence in ourselves, even in the natural man, after the flesh, and say, “There is no God.” Verily only the fool. Separate and distinct from all we have spoken about, made in the image and likeness of God, with intellect, reason, power of will and with physical frame really stronger than most animals, verily in the image of God. Well may we ask, “What is man that thou art mindful of him?” Why hast thou thoughts toward him of good will, of friendship and of love? We see him at his worst sometimes, yet that creature so debased, has powers God endowed, when if directed in another direction would bring happiness and peace. They have sought after their own works, they have decried their Creator, they will not come unto Him that they might have life. 


Nevertheless there is a three-fold power in us—body, soul and spirit—a trinity that is Godlike; the body is to function that the soul may be given the opportunity to express itself, and the spirit within the inner temple of the heart, where the real man is found; he may be a wicked man, or devil possessed, but nevertheless made in the image of God, and he is endowed with body, soul and spirit. How thankful we should be that God has visited us, that He has shown His kindness in His love towards us through Jesus our Saviour.


“Thou madest Him a little lower than the angels, thou crownest Him with glory and Honor and didst sat Him ever the works of thy hands.” No wonder God would be mindful of His creatures, so that He might fulfill His plan and ensure His own destiny accordingly. Alas, from that great creation God only gets a little, just a percentage, and even though we see the whole world lie in the lap of the wicked one, and man becoming worse and worse, yet the thoughts we have about ourselves of our need, of why we are and what we are, should bring us to Christ.


The crowning thought that should fill our minds today is that our failures and sins should bring us to Christ. Our sins bring us together today, a common inheritance of a human nature prone to evil which makes us ONE in the thought that we need a Redeemer, a Saviour, someone to succour us, someone to love us who never varies and never changes and in the consciousness of that need we come unto Christ.


THE GREAT GIFT OF GOD IS CHRIST HIMSELF. (1John 1:8) “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” We have come across people in the past who seemed to be so dead to a sense of failure and to their utter worthlessness and unrighteousness, that they were self-deceived and the truth was not in them. 1 John 1:1,9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The truly repentant and believing heart will confess its sin and the knowledge of failures which is its own private knowledge, and come to the only source of help of cleansing and of deliverance that man can ever know. “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” It is a common thing for people to say, “We do the best we can.” “We do not do anyone harm, we hurt no one.” Excusing themselves like the Pharisee in the temple, they have a long list of their own righteousness, but the soul who says “God be merciful to me a sinner” is on pleading terms with God, and they that say they have not sinned make Him a liar and His word is not in them. 


“My little children these things I write unto you that ye sin not.” These chapters should not be divided, as the same thought continues. There is a power that God has endowed us within Christ that will keep us and restrain us and enable us to be victorious–“But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. We think of that immense burden that was borne on the tree of Calvary so heavy that the Saviour had to say in His anguish, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The heavy burden not only of our sins, but the sins of all the world; this to me is the crowning reason; after we have gone through all the reasons that should bring us to Christ, this is the crowning reason that occurs to my heart, my great and desperate need, my lost and ruined state by nature, the evidence of my imperfections and my aims bring me to the feet of my Redeemer, to the Mercy Seat, to the sprinkled blood, and when we break bread today, we have in that sweet memorial of our able advocate that which speaks in the presence of God for us.