Andrew Bringing His Brother Simon To Christ
( Originally Published 1895 )
"One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus."—John i. 40-42.
THERE were two brothers prominent in the opening of the Old Testament, and here are two brothers again at the beginning of the New. But how widely different their treatment of each other ! In the first case Cain murders his brother Abel, and becomes an outcast and a vagabond on the face of the earth, and in the second case Andrew, having found the Lord Jesus, and being convinced that he was the Lord, instead of trying to keep him to himself, and retain whatever advantage there might be from the acquaintance to his own good, immediately seeks out his brother Simon, and joyfully says, "We have found the Christ; come, brother, and share his love with me."
It is the glory of our Christianity that it is not like other wealth or blessing that is retained by being hoarded up, or where the enriching of one causes others to be impoverished. There is only so much gold in the world, and if one has a large portion of it, many others can have none, or very little. But it is not so with the treasures of love, or forgiveness, of peace and hope and joy. A man may share these with his brother, and have his own store multiplied in so doing.
t is another glory of our Christianity, that immediately on becoming acquainted with the Lord Jesus we are filled with a burning desire to bring others into the same blessed association. This is a characteristic of great joy. But there is no joy known to human hearts so. glorious, so imperative, breaking down all strongholds and through all restraints, like the joy of a heart in its first gladness in finding the Lord and knowing the forgiveness of sins. As Morley Punshon, the famous English preacher, said, there was joy in the breast of the sage of Syracuse when he shouted aloud his glad "Eureka" in the hearing of the people who deemed him mad; there was joy in the soul of Sir Isaac Newton when the first conception of the law of gravitation burst upon his thought as he sat under his orchard tree; there was joy in the heart of Columbus in that moment of triumph over doubt and mutiny, when the tiny land-birds settled upon the sails of his vessel, bearing upon their timid wings the welcomes of the new world; there is joy for the gold-finder, when he sees the precious ore shining in his gold-pan; joy for children when new marvels of the world open on their vision; joy for the poet when he sends a glad thought through the world that stirs the pulse of mankind; but none of these can compare with the joy of the ransomed sinner who can clasp his brother's hand and say, " Come, brother, we have found the Lord." Oh, if you have never known that joy, then the richest mine of human happiness is as yet unexplored by your spade, and I bid you come and find it to-night.
What a glorious source of joy it must have been to Andrew in after years, when Simon Peter had become one of the most brilliant and successful of all the ministers of Jesus in that age, to recall that it was his hand and word that had led Simon to Christ. How different his feeling from that of the man whom Mr. Spurgeon tells about, who was a Christian, but his only brother was not. He went to visit him on his death-bed, and the dying man said to him, "I am dying. I know that I am lost, but I cannot help putting some of my ruin at your door. I believe you to be a Christian, but I do not recollect that you ever solemnly ad-dressed me about my soul. You believed I was perishing, and yet you did not speak to me; therefore, as I cannot conceive you to be inhuman—for you were always a kind brother—I suspect you do not believe as you say you do." His brother said, "I was afraid of offending you. I did speak to you once or twice." The brother replied, "You ought to have taken me by the shoulders. You ought not to have let me be lost. I cannot acquit you." What a heritage of sorrow that brother had laid up for himself ! O my friends, are you going to put any such thorns into your pillow?
Every day your influence is telling, either to make men more worldly and indifferent, or to draw them away from their worldliness to the Lord Jesus. Do you remember the story of the call of Elisha? He was the son of a rich farmer in the valley of the Jordan. No doubt the prophet Elijah had spent many a night there in his home, and was well acquainted with this promising young farmer: And as he saw him maturing into a man, his keen eye detected the possibility of something better than mere earthly devotion in his rich, generous nature. And so one day Elijah came along through the field where Elisha was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen. The prophet had just been on Mount Horeb, where he had his wonderful vision. His heart was all aglow with the supremacy of the spiritual life. And as he came by where Elisha was, he merely threw his mantle around him and passed on. This was a symbolic act which Elisha well understood. t was a call to him from heaven. A prophet's mantle was the badge of the spiritual power that encompassed him. And to clothe another in it was to call him to share the same labor and glory. Elisha had to decide in a moment. Elijah was passing on out of sight. And he did decide. He ran after the prophet as he was going swiftly away. He had only one petition. He wanted to say good-by to his father and mother. Elijah gave him permission, but said to him, " Go, re-turn; for how great a thing have I done unto thee." Elisha went back, drove his oxen home, had them all killed for a farewell feast to his friends, tenderly said good-by to his father and mother, and entered upon his new career that was to be so noble and glorious. O brothers, are you calling by your fidelity and your faithfulness any Elisha who shall continue to witness for Christ when you are gone? Every day as we pass through the fields of life we are exercising an influence over those about us.
"We scatter seeds with careless hand,
Let us not betray the Lord Jesus by a guilty silence. Remember that our brethren are not only our near relatives by blood. They are the children of God for whom Christ died, wherever they may be. How are you influencing your brothers and sisters whom you meet in business and social relations? Will it be possible for any of them to say in the great day of judgment, " I worked with you in the same store. We stood at the counter or at the desk together. We talked about the news, about the weather, about politics, about social matters, about books and papers, sometimes we even talked about churches and religion, but you never told me that you loved the Lord Jesus Christ, and that he was the great Savior from sin, that he had given you peace and a hope of heaven. You never confessed to me that you were a Christian"? O my sister, shall any one come up in that day and say : " I lived in your home. I was employed by you. You paid me my wages regularly. You were kind and good to me. I knew you were a good woman. But you never once even whispered a word in my ear to let me know that you had a divine life from heaven abiding in your heart, and that it was the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in you that made. you good. And I am lost because you never told me"? Oh, that we had the spirit of Isaiah, the young, enthusiastic, glorious Isaiah, whose young heart was burning with love for God and love for his fellow-men, when he exclaimed : Here am I ; send me." Oh, you do not dream how much God can make out of you; how he could give peace to human hearts, and how many lost souls could be won if he only had your supreme and complete consecration to himself!
"Young lips may teach the wise, Christ said ;
"And make me strong ; that staff and stay,
"I ask no heaven till earth be thine,
How rapidly we would win the world to Jesus Christ if every Christian followed Andrew's example. There are millions of Christians in the world, but Dr. Schauffler shows that if there were only one hundred, and each one should win one to Christ the first year, and they and their converts should keep on winning only one each year, the whole world would be won to Christ in twenty-five years. Of course any one can easily prove this for himself. The first year there would be 100; second year, 200; third year, 400; fourth year, 800; fifth year, 1,600; sixth year, 3,200; seventh year, 6,400; eighth year, 12,800; ninth year, 25,600; tenth year, 51,200. Perhaps somebody says, " Well, that is rather slow progress in converting the world, only 51,200 in ten whole years." But suppose we go on ten years more and see how it looks. The eleventh year it will be 102,400; twelfth year, 204,800; thirteenth year, 409,600; fourteenth year, 817,200 ; fifteenth year, 1,634,400 ; sixteenth year, 3,268,800; seventeenth year, 6,537,600; eighteenth year, 13,075,200; nineteenth year, 26,150,400; twentieth year, over 52,000,000; twenty-first year, more than 104,000,000; twenty-second year, over 209,000,000; twenty-third year, over 418,000,000; twenty-fourth year, over 836,-000,000; and in the twenty-fifth year, if there were enough for each Christian to find his convert, there would be 1,600,000,000 converted to Christ, or more than the population of the whole earth. And yet is it not possible for every one of us to win one soul to Christ during the year? The reason why we do not is because we are vague and indefinite in our purpose ourselves. We sail for nowhere and we draw no one after us toward heaven. God forbid that our selfishness or inactivity should prove a stumbling-block in any one's way to the kingdom.
One of the ocean dangers that captains fear almost more than anything else is the danger of coming in contact with a " derelict," as a ship abandoned at sea is called. There are now supposed to be about thirty of such vessels floating about at the will of the currents in the Atlantic waters. They are without pilot, have neither crew nor rudder, are bound nowhere and carry no cargo to any port. There is scarcely any peril of the sea which is so terrible to the mariner. No sounding will reveal their nearness, no temperature of air or wave will make known their approach, they carry no light to show where they are in the darkness. Though it carry no guns, a " derelict" is often a more deadly enemy than a man-of-war. Alas! alas! at the number of spiritual "derelicts" there are in religious circles ! There can be no doubt that more souls are lost through these drifting lives than through the influence of wicked blasphemers. The ship that steers for no port can only have one influence, and that is to be a stumbling-block in the way to send other ships to the bottom of the ocean. God help us that not one of us may become a spiritual " derelict."
But somebody says to me, "I have gone after my brother Simon and he will not come." Or some mother says, "I have been praying over my boy since he was a little babe in my arms. I have prayed for him all his life and he seems farther away now than ever. He is never out of my mind. The first thing when I awake in the morning I breathe out a prayer to God that it may be the day of his salvation, and often the last thing that I am conscious of as I lie on my plllow, wet with tears about him, at night, I entreat God's love and mercy to seek out my boy. God knows I would gladly die if I might win him to the Lord Jesus Christ!" Do not be discouraged. God hears thy sighs, and counts thy tears, and he will answer them. Let me tell you the story of a man who was converted not long ago. He was the boss carpenter for a large manufacturing concern. He had many men under him. He had the complete confidence of his employers. He was a man of tremendous physical power. When he was only sixteen years old he could push a plane all day without weariness. And when he was full grown he boasted that he could lift one end of a long stick of timber with more men standing on it than any other carpenter in the county. He was not only a giant in strength, but a man of great energy. He was never quite satisfied with himself unless he had done the work of two days in one, and he infused a good deal of his spirit into the men who worked under him. But he was not a Christian. He rarely if ever saw the inside of a church. He used his Sundays to lay out his business plans for the week.
Finally a series of religious meetings were held in the neighborhood. He was invited to attend, but made no response. He seemed to be entirely indifferent to spiritual things. But the meetings went on. Twice each day he heard the sound of the church bell. That was all. Soon, however, he began to feel an unrest which he could neither throw off nor explain. t disturbed him greatly. He rushed about the town as though the fate of the world hung on his movements. And he was so obviously nervous, and ill at ease, that people were soon asking each other, " What is the matter with the boss?"
His mother was a Christian. She had lived her religion in the sight of her children from their childhood, and to whatever else the carpenter was indifferent, he never doubted the godly life of his consistent Christian mother. Day after day the weight on the man and his worry grew greater. His thought never once turned to the meetings, but always to his mother. She lived six miles away, and one morning, hardly knowing why, and without saying anything to anybody about it, he started for his old home. He could have reached it in an hour. But in his perplexity and distress he drove one way and another until in the afternoon, having driven twenty miles instead of six, at length the house was reached. He went softly in at the kitchen door, thinking he would surprise his mother. The room was vacant. He listened. Presently, through an open door, came the voice of prayer, and the burden of the petition was, " O God, save my boy, and save him now !"
The strong man dropped into a chair. The great tears rolled down his cheeks. In a minute more the mother was kneeling beside him, and in another moment her life of prayerful devotion was answered in the conversion of her son.
I never shall forget a scene which I once witnessed under my own ministry. I had in my congregation an old white-haired man who was one of the saints of God. Everybody loved him and believed in him. He had living in the same community a son, a bright young business man who was unconverted. The burden of his soul was constantly upon his father's heart. He did everything he could to win him. But the old man was in such perfect fellowship with Jesus Christ that he did not forget to try to win others in the meantime. And nothing roused his joy so quickly as the knowledge that some one had turned to the Lord. At the close of the sermon one Sunday night I made an appeal to the unconverted to then and there begin a Christian life, and to my great joy the first man on his feet, with tearful face, was the old man's son. After we had had two or three prayers, we had a brief meeting for testimony and thanksgiving. All this time the son had been a number of pews back of his father, who had not known who it was for whom we had been praying; but when the opportunity for testimony was given he was the first one on his feet, and his face glowed and the tears came into his eyes and his lips trembled as he joyfully thanked God for the young man that had that night started to be a Christian. Then some one near him in a loud whisper said, " Why, Father Taylor, it is Albert." And never in all my life can I forget that sight —the illumination of the old man's face, the glory that shone upon it as he clasped his hands together and exclaimed, " Is it my boy? oh ! is it my boy?"
Oh, I wonder if there is anybody here to-night who has been the object of a mother's prayers and a father's tender solicitude. Come back to your father's and mother's God here and now, and find pardon and peace at the Mercy-seat.