“Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, And hath had compassion on thee. Mark 5:19.
Love those who are knit to you by ties of nature.
Now, here is Christmas-day come round again, and they are going home to see their friends. When they get home they will want a Christmas Carol in the evening; I think I will suggest one to them more especially to such of them as have been lately converted I will give them a theme for their discourse on Christmas evening; it may not be-quite so amusing as “The Wreck of the Golden Mary,” but it will be quite as interesting to Christian people. It shall be this: “Go home and tell your friends what the Lord hath done for your souls, and how he hath had compassion on you.” For my part, I wish there were twenty Christmas days in the year. It is seldom that young men can meet with their friends; it is rarely they can all be united as happy families; and though I have no respect to the religious observance of the day, yet I love it as a family institution, as one of Englands brightest days, the great Sabbath of the year, when the plough rests in its furrow, when the din of business is hushed, when the mechanic and the working man go out to refresh themselves upon the green sward of the glad earth.
“Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” First, here is what they are to tell; then, secondly, why they are to tell it; and then thirdly, how they ought to tell it.
First, then, HERE IS WHAT THEY ARE TO TELL. It is to be a story of personal experience. “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” You are not to repair to your houses and forthwith begin to preach That you are not commanded to do. You are not to begin to take up doctrinal subjects and expatiate on them, and endeavor to bring persons to your peculiar views and sentiments. You are not to go home with sundry doctrines you have lately learned, and try to teach these. At least you are not commanded so to do; you may, if you please and none shall hinder you; but you are to go home and tell not what you have believed, but what you have felt what you really know to be your own; not what great things you have read, but what great things the Lord hath done for you.
Note, next, it must be a story of free grace. It is not, “Tell thy friends how great things thou hast done thyself,” but “how great things the Lord hath done for thee.” The man who always dwells upon free will and the power of the creature, and denies the doctrines of grace, invariably mixes up a great deal of what he has done himself in telling his experience.
Go home, young man, and tell the poor sinners story; go home, young woman, and open your diary, and give your friends stories of grace. Tell them of the mighty works of Gods hand which he hath wrought in you from his own free, sovereign, undeserved love. Make it a free grace story around your family fire.
Tell them it is a great story, and if they cannot see its greatness shed great tears, and tell it to them with great earnestness, and I hope they may be brought to believe that you at least are grateful, if they are not.
And lastly, upon this point: it must be a tale told by a poor sinner who feels himself not to have deserved what he has received.
Tell your story, my hearers, as lost sinners.
But now, in the second place, Why SHOULD WE TELL THIS STORY?
First, for your Masters sake.
Will you not, wherever you go, tell of the God who loved you and died for you? This poor man, we are told, “departed and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him, and all men did marvel.” So with you. If Christ has done much for you, you cannot help it you must tell it.
But, in the next place, are your friends pious? Then go home and tell them, in order to make their hearts glad.
Once more, dear friends. I hear one of you say. “Ah! Sir, would to God I could go home to pious friends! But when I go home I go into the worst of places; for my home is amongst those who never knew God themselves, and consequently never prayed for me, and never taught me anything concerning heaven.” Well, young man, go home to your friends. If they are ever so bad they are your friends. I sometimes meet with young men wishing to join the church, who say, when I ask them about their father, “Oh, sir, I am parted from my father.” Then I say, “Young man, you may just go and see your father before I have anything to do with you; if you are at ill-will with your father and mother I will not receive you into the church; if they are ever so bad they are your parents.” Go I home to them, and tell them, not to make them glad, for they will very likely be angry with you, but tell them for their souls salvation. I hope, when you are telling the story of what God did for you, that they will be led by the Spirit to desire the same mercy themselves.
But there is a third point, upon which we must be very brief. HOW IS THIS STORY TO BE TOLD?
First, tell it truthfully. Do not tell more than you know; do not tell John Bunyans experience, when you ought to tell your own.
In the next place, tell it very humbly. I have said that before. Do not intrude yourselves upon those who are older, and know more, but tell your story humbly; not as a preacher, but as a friend and as a son.
Next, tell it very earnestly. Let them see you mean it. Do not talk about religion flippantly; you will do no good if you do.
And then, tell it very devoutly. Do not try to tell your tale to man till you have told it first to God. When you are at home on Christmas-day, let no one see your face till God has seen it. Be up in the morning, wrestle with God; and if your friends are not converted, wrestle with God for them, and then you will find it easy work to wrestle with them for God.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible