Not as though the word of God has taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:…
God is the first cause of all things — sin excepted. All things were created by Him and for Him; but that which is effect to God, is often cause in other relations and connections. You Christians are God's workmanship, but at the same time you are causes. Oh, do not underrate your influence as Christians. You can scarcely rise to a correct estimate of it, so immense is it. Well, we say that the gospel, so far as its authorship is concerned, is an effect; but so far as its power in the world is concerned, it is a cause, and a glorious cause.
1. We may expect it to be a mighty cause if we look at its nature. "The Word of the truth of the gospel" is a direct revelation from God of a wonderful provision which He has made by His Son, and through the Holy Ghost for the salvation of men. It is like the planting of a new sun of twofold power in our firmament.
2. We may expect the gospel to be a mighty cause if we look at the commission issued respecting the preaching of it: "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." The preachers are mocked, cruelly mocked, by this commission, and the world is cruelly mocked by the preaching, if it be intended that the word of God's grace should take none effect.
3. We may expect the gospel to be a mighty cause if we connect with the promise of our Saviour's presence with the preachers, the extraordinary ministry of the Holy Ghost. Why is the Holy Ghost sent to reprove the word of sin? And why did the Son of God promise to be with the first preachers always, if this word is to be of none effect?
4. We may expect the gospel to be a powerful cause if we consider the representations which are given concerning it. It is said to be glorious and everlasting, and the power of God unto salvation. It is called incorruptible seed, and the sword of the Spirit.
5. And we may expect the gospel to continue to be a powerful cause if we notice its first effects as recorded in our New Testament, and its subsequent effects as chronicled in uninspired writings; or if we look at all which the gospel is doing now, and remember that the nature of the gospel is such that the application of it does not exhaust it, and that time does not impair it. We would direct every Christian to his own condition as a saved man, and upon this ground would plead with you never to think, or feel, or speak, or act as though the Word of God had taken none effect. One soul saved is a marvellous effect — an effect in some respects more wonderful than even creation itself. Now trace the effect of the word of the truth of the gospel upon a man's mind. What is it like? It is like opening eyes which had always been blind. The effect of the word of the truth of the gospel is like unstopping deaf ears. The man hears that which he had never heard before. He hears God speaking to him. The effect of the Word of God upon him who believes it is to loose the dumb tongue. The man has spoken before, but never to God, or, if before to God, then as Cain spake to Him, and not as a child speaks to a father, that is, to a good father. The man now confesses his sin to God, as he feels the burden of his sin to be unbearable. The effect of the word of the truth of the gospel upon a man — still keeping to this illustration — is to strengthen the arms, so that work and conflict which appeared impossible are now undertaken as an easy task. The word of the truth of the gospel cleanses the hands — yes, the hands of the murderer from blood, and the hands of the thief from dishonesty, and the hands of the slothful from indolence, and the hands of the covetous from the rust and the canker of hoarded gold and silver. The Word of God effects that which is like restoring sensation and motion to withered and exhausted nerves. It quickens and arouses all the sensibilities and powers of soul and spirit — calling into life and activity godly love and godly hope, and godly joy, and all the moral and religious sensibilities and powers of soul and spirit — so that he who was as dead is now alive again, and God speaks to him as alive again. The Word of God — and perhaps we should have remarked this first — also changes the heart. Oh, brethren, do not think of the Word of God as though it had none effect; or if you be discouraged, just open your eyes, and see whether the ground of discouragement is not often to be found in the simple fact, that when Christians present the gospel to their fellow men they do not present it as God presents it.
Parallel VersesKJV: Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: