Pastor L.R. Shelton, March 5, 1967, www.radiomissions.org
In the first place, let's notice some characters who reaped no benefit from the death and resurrection of Christ. Let me call your attention first to the SELF-RIGHTEOUS, Christ said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance: the whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." Are you a sinner? Do you see yourself as a sinner? Then Christ came to call you to repentance. The self-righteous know nothing of the benefits of the death and resurrection of Christ. They have their own reward, They glory in themselves. A sinner glories in Christ.
Then there are the WISE and PRUDENT who see no beauty in Christ, because they are wise in their own conceit, The Word of God says, "Woe unto them that are Wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" (Isa, 5:21). To these the mysteries of God are hid, A sinner facing reality comes to know nothing; he sees himself as nothing. He sees his need of a Substitute, and that all he will ever have or ever know is tied up in Christ, To the born-again believer everything that he knows, or ever will know, is found in Christ. To know himself is to be driven to despair unless he knows Christ, Let me tell you something, sinner - if God should open your heart right now, Wherever you are, and let you see yourself as you are without hope, without Christ, it would drive you literally to despair, and you would become a raving maniac. That's what hell is. That's what hell will be throughout eternity - awakened sinners with no hope! Then they face reality with no hope. But deep down in your heart, as God opens it and shows you the awful spiritual, bankrupt condition you are in, there is at the bottom a hope that you will get to Christ - there is a hope that Christ died for such a sinner as you. Conviction and repentance are sweetened with the cross of Christ.
Then there are THOSE WHO TRUST IN AND BOAST OF THE LIGHT OF NATURE, They are WORLDLY-WISE. They are always talking about what they can do, what they are, what they have done, where they have been, what they know, etc. They try to impress the world with their importance. Christ said, speaking of this type, "If ye were blind, ye should not have sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth" (John 9:41), The Pharisees had never faced reality - they did not want to face reality. When you try to be true to such an individual, and try to get him to face reality, he'll get mad with you. He thinks that you don't love him, that you have it in for him, Usually he is toucheous [sic] on some one point, and when you hit that sore spot, he'll run. It's because he is unwilling to face reality and be broken at the feet of Christ that he might enter into the benefits of the Gospel, Christ said, "I am sent unto the lost sheep... The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost... If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them who are lost... blinded by the god of this world." Are you lost? Are you a lost sinner?
There are those Who are alive under the Law while sin is dead in them - sin has never been revived. They can sit and listen to Gospel preaching and never be moved. Many of them love Gospel preaching - the stronger the better, but they have never been awakened to their danger. If the Holy Spirit moves their heart the least bit, they will stay away from the preaching for awhile until all is settled. Christ came to save the condemned - those under damnation, those who realize they are condemned to die. Christ pardons only guilty sinners. Are you guilty? The sinner must know that he is guilty, acknowledge that he is guilty, take his place as a guilty sinner before he can be pardoned. Such a sinner ceases to fight back. He becomes as docile as a little lamb and he rests there with one cry, "Oh, where can I find Him? I've got to find Christ." There's a thirst; there's a hunger; there's a longing; he's like a man who is out on the desert dying of thirst, he's crying, "Water! Water! Water!" That sinner's crying, "Christ! Christ! Oh, Where is He? I've got to get to Him. I'm condemned to die. I'm a sinner; I'm lost!" There's no fighting back in him; his mouth is shut; he has become guilty before God. That sinner will be saved. Yes, he will.
Now let's notice briefly THOSE WHO BENEFIT by the death and resurrection of Christ. First, those who are dead in trespasses and sine, but who hear His voice. "They that hear shall live" (John 5:25), "You hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1). Yes, those who are condemned at the bar of justice, condemned by their own conscience, those who feel the curse as a transgressor of the Law, those who feel the weight and burden of their sin, those who are damned as unbelievers of the Gospel. None but such souls as these ever hunger after Christ or thirst after the righteousness of Christ, because they alone see their own unrighteousness, and feel and know their need of a covering. What covering do you have for your sin, my friend? Has the Lord God ever passed by you and said, "Live"? Have you ever felt the arrows of God striking deep into your soul? Have you ever faced the fact that you are condemned to die, and that justly? Have your unrighteousness and uncleanness ever been so manifest, or revealed to your heart, until you have cried out for the righteousness of Christ? Then has God ever passed by you and spread His skirt over you and covered your nakedness? Just let me probe your heart. If He has not covered you With His righteousness, is there a deep desire in your heart that you can't give up, you can't let go, and you don't want to let go until God spreads His skirt of righteousness over you? Is that your condition, my sinner friend? Then you are facing reality, and you are walking down the way of grace.
Then those who are MEEK also enter into the benefits of the Gospel. Christ said, "He hath sent me to preach good tidings unto the meek" (Isa,61:1, Luke 4:18). The meek are the only ones who will hear the good tidings or the Gospel. Only the soul that is bowed down through grief and anguish and trouble and distress - only the soul that is so dismayed and dejected that he cannot bear a harsh word because his spirit is sunk so low through continual Sorrow of heart and grief of mind - will listen to the Gospel, They want deliverance. They want the comfort, the peace, the pardon, the deliverance of the Gospel. Yes, those Who are broken by the cutting convictions of God's Word - they who are broken by the cutting conscience - they who are broken by the terrors of the Law - they who are broken by the accusations of Satan - they who are broken by the reproaches of those who are at ease, will know the binding up of their broken hearts by the hand of the Lord Jesus when He pours oil and wine of the Gospel into their wounded hearts - the oil, the grace of God for healing; the wine, the joy of the Gospel.
My friend, do you know What it means for the Lord Jesus to stoop over you and bind up that broken heart, pour in the oil of the grace of God and the wine of joy, the comfort of the Gospel, and take you in His arms and bear you on His shoulders, saying, "This is My sheep which was lost, but now is found"? Oh, that everyone were broken at His feet this hour and knew the benefits of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.