“Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
O, does it not lower the pride of man, when we hear the Lord say, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth?” It is not. “Look to your priest, and be ye saved:” if you did, there would be another god, and beside him there would be some one else. It is not “Look to yourself;” if so, then there would be a being who might arrogate some of the praise of salvation. But it is “Look unto me.”
How frequently you who are coming to Christ look to yourselves.
“O!” you say, “I do not repent enough.” That is looking to yourself.
“I do not believe enough.” That is looking to yourself.
“I am too unworthy.” That is looking to yourself.
“I cannot discover,” says another, “that I have any righteousness.” It is quite right to say that you have not any righteousness; but it is quite wrong to look for any.
God will have you turn your eye off yourself and look unto him. The hardest thing in the world is to turn a man’s eye off himself; as long as he lives, he always has a predilection to turn his eyes inside, and look at himself; whereas God says, “Look unto me.” From the cross of Calvary, where the bleeding hands of Jesus drop mercy; from the Garden of Gethsemane, where the bleeding pores of the Saviour sweat pardons, the cry comes, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” From Calvary’s summit, where Jesus cries, “It is finished,” I hear a shout, “Look, and be saved.” But there comes a vile cry from our soul, “Nay, look to yourself! look to yourself!”
Ah, my hearer, look to yourself, and you will be damned. That certainly will come of it. As long as you look to yourself there is no hope for you. It is not a consideration of what you are, but a consideration of what God is, and what Christ is, that can save you. It is looking from yourself to Jesus. Oh! There are men that quite misunderstand the gospel; they think that righteousness qualifies them to come to Christ; whereas sin is the only qualification for a man to come to Jesus.
Good old Crisp says, “Righteousness keeps me from Christ: the whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. Sin makes me come to Jesus, when sin is felt; and, in coming to Christ, the more sin I have the more cause I have to hope for mercy.”
David said, and it was a strange thing, too, “Have mercy upon me, for mine iniquity is great.” But, David, why did not you say that it was little? Because, David knew that the bigger his sins were, the better reason for asking mercy. The more vile a man is, the more eagerly I invite him to believe in Jesus. A sense of sin is all we have to look for as ministers. We preach to sinners; and let us know that a man will take the title of sinner to himself, and we then say to him, “Look unto Christ, and ye shall be saved.” “Look,” this is all he demands of you, and even this he gives to you. If you look to yourself you are damned; you are a vile miscreant, filled with loathsomeness, corrupt and corrupting others.
Do you see that man hanging on the cross? Do you behold his agonized head dropping meekly down upon his breast? Do you see that thorny crown, causing drops of blood to trickle down his cheeks? Do you see his hands pierced and rent, and his blessed feet, supporting the weight of his own frame, rent well-rent almost in twain with the cruel nails? Sinner! do you hear him shriek, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabbacthani?” Do you hear him cry, “It is finished”? Do you see his head hang down in death? Do you see that side pierced with the spear, and the body taken from the cross?
Those hands were nailed for you; those feet gushed gore for you; that side was opened wide for you; and if you want to know how you can find mercy, there it is. “Look!” “Look unto me!” Look no longer to Moses. Look no longer to Sinai.
Come and look to Calvary, to Calvary’s victim, and to Joseph’s grave.
And look yonder, to the man who near the throne sits with his Father, crowned with light and immortality. “Look, sinner,” he says, this morning, to you, “Look unto me, and be ye saved.” It is in this way God teaches that there is none beside him; because he makes us look entirely to him, and utterly away from ourselves.
(adapted from a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon on January 6, 1856 – available at the Blue Letter Bible).
We are to be living sacrifices for the Lord! What are you sacrificing for God today?
Have you ever sat and thought to yourself, “Hey, God really does have a plan for my life!” No, if most people were really honest, they’d tell you it’s the opposite. “Hey, how could God use a screw-up like me to reach somebody for His Kingdom!” Read what Mr. Jenkins has to say about how God uses “broken people and makes them whole”.
God uses ordinary people in exordinary ways for His glory.
At first it may seem that that statement isn’t quite right and you may not believe it. After all aren’t only “super Christians” used by God?” You may be thinking, “I’m just a lay person what can God do with you?” Rather than thinking in terms of whether or not you have a seminary degree or extensive ministry experience I want you to go back to the Gospels. Remember the Apostles were uneducated and had no formal theological training before they met Jesus. They walked with Jesus for three years day and night, watching Him perform miracles and hearing Him teach them personally and as He taught others. Do you think that this Jesus the One who called men to follow Him is concerned about titles after one’s name? Don’t get me wrong earning degrees are great, but earning degrees is not ultimate unless they are yielded in submission to King Jesus and used for His glory. God took a shepherd boy and made Him King of Israel. God used a donkey after all to deliver a message. God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways.
This is exactly what Satan wants you to think. You may think, “I’m totally unworthy to be used by God.” If people only knew, you say how much of a miserable sinner I am they wouldn’t want to hear from me at all. Hogwash! All of us are miserable sinners. Unless you’ve acknowledged your unworthiness you are not ready to be used by God. The fact that you think that you are “totally unworthy” tells me that you are in fact ready to be used by God. I say this of course because mentioning “you are totally unworthy” tells me that you align yourself with Isaiah who humbled himself before the glory of God in Isaiah 6. Isaiah acknowledged he was a man of unclean lips. You are a sinner in need of God’s grace so the fact you acknowledge that shows me you are ready to testify of His grace at work in and through your life.
Look at the Apostle Peter. Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times (Matthew 26:34). Peter’s response was he would not deny Jesus (Matthew 26:35). Here’s the thing, Peter did deny Jesus three times and Jesus saw it (Matthew 26:69-75). Imagine that you are the Apostle Peter the leader of the Apostles and a member of the inner circle of the Son of God Jesus Christ and you deny him three times. You would feel devastated, shame and guilt ridden. You say, “I’m such a failure that God can never use you” but that isn’t true. God uses our failure, hardship and trials for His glory. He turns what was meant for bad and uses it to testify to His grace. You say that you are a failure and yet God says because of the finished work of Christ you are victorious. The Apostle Peter went on to be mightily used of God because He was broken by God. You may be broken right now but in due season God will build you up and use you for His glory. Don’t run from Him run to Jesus. God uses ordinary people for His glory.
Look at the Apostle Paul. Paul was one of the most educated men of his day and yet God brought him low in Acts 9. God opened his eyes to the beauty and glory of Jesus. Once Paul knew Jesus all of his education, gifts and talents were directed towards the Gospel. The Lord uses those humbled by a vision of His greatness and glory to testify to the proud and religious of the splendor of His glory. The Lord humbled the Apostle Paul and used him mightily to plant churches, preach the Gospel, write 13 epistles and so much more. God can use educated people for His glory but He often humbles them of their pride so they will rely on Him.
Think of your favorite biblical character or person from church history. Before they were “well-known” they were unknown. The Lord takes nobodies and makes them somebody all by His grace. At the start of my ministry I experienced a great deal of success. That success got to my head and rather than directing it towards God and giving Him glory, I let it go to my head. Several years later the Lord shows me my pride and arrogance about this and I repented. He showed me in reading His Word that He used those who were broken and humble rather than those who were haughty. He showed me from His Word that He cares about holiness and growth in His grace. You may think you are the biggest thing to hit the Christian scene but if you think that you are not interested in serving others or glorifying God. Ministry is about serving others and making much of God.
You may not have many gifts, talents or abilities but every single Christian can be mightily used of God. Charles Spurgeon was converted to Gospel under the preaching a lay preacher. Martin Luther was convicted of his sin and came to saving faith after studying the books of Psalms and Romans. Your story may be completely different than that, but whatever gift, talent, or ability God has given you—use it for His glory. Whatever influence whether great or small use it for His glory. God may not give you a great deal of influence and that is okay. Focus not on the breadth of your ministry but on the depth of your ministry from God’s Word. Remember, it is not the most able who are blessed in their ministry it is the most holy.
God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways for His glory. God used a lawyer in high school to disciple me to grow in His grace. He’s also used many “ordinary” people with no Bible college or seminary education to disciple me. God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways as a testimony for His grace and glory. So, the next time you feel you are a failure, that your sin disqualifies you from service or you are better than someone—remember the Gospel. The Gospel that saved you, is sanctifying you and will one day glorify you is the power of God. God uses all sorts of people with all sorts of gifts, talents and abilities as a testimony of His grace that His name would be made famous among the nations. God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways to advance His Gospel.
If you are hungering for more of God, and desire to be used by Him then use whatever gifts, talents and abilities you have and direct them in the right direction towards God, motivated by a desire for His glory by using your God-given gifts and talents in the local Church and beyond to edify God’s people and expand the Kingdom of God. Then you will join the multitude of ordinary saints before you who became extraordinary because they served a God who is glorified not by self-serving people but people who are humbled by His grace and holy before Him. As Robert Murray McCheyne once said, “A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.” In other words, if we are constantly making our own spiritual progress, advancing in Christ-likeness, growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), we will find to whatever degree God has determined, His blessing will follow in our wake. Entrust whatever ministry and whatever gifts you have to God, and use them in His power energized by His Spirit for His glory. Watch as God grows you in His grace and uses you in extraordinary ways in the lives of His people for His glory.