William Gadsby Sermons (Complete)

70 A Brand Plucked Out Of The Fire

“Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”—Zechariah 3:2

1. What is meant by a brand;
2. The fire and being plucked out;
3. For what purpose are they plucked out of the fire?

1. A brand is a dry stick, destitute of sap, so that it may easily be lighted. All sinners are as a brand, dry and sapless, without any spirituality of mind or soul. They are full of sinful self until God takes them in hand and strips them, and bestows upon them his Holy Spirit, and thus plucks them as a brand from the fire. To be preserved in morality, strictly enjoined, is very good; but it must not be considered as a ground-work for salvation. I would warn youth to refrain from all common vices and evil company, which will be much to their credit as creatures of God; and may they be led to pray to God to pluck them as brands from the fire, or keep them from such evils.

2. The fire. What fire can there be in this world worse than the burning flame, or cursed propensities of the heart,—the lust of the world, the riches of the world, the pleasures of the world, “the lust of the eye, the pride of life,” with other sinful propensities? The fire, too, is the torturing flame of a guilty conscience; the flame of Satan, standing by and rebuking the conscious sinner,—the consciousness of a broken law. And is it not a wonder God did not condemn you? For where did he find you in the days of your youth? But now he finds you saying, “What will become of the sins I have formerly committed?” And in your soul you have felt the fiery darts of the law, and viewed the terrors of God’s just vengeance; the condemnation of the law, and the wrath to come. These things are kindling in your hearts a burning flame, which seems ready to utterly consume you. But the Lord appears, and brings repentance into your souls, makes you cry to him in prayer; he hears, and gives you faith to believe in him, and thus sends a cordial to your soul, and brings you to know that you stand guilty before God. Thus he plucks you as a brand from the fire.

3. For what purpose are they plucked out of the fire? Some say the gospel is an offer of mercy; but if men make an effort to save themselves it only tends to increase the flame, misery, &c. The death of Christ alone can save us. The moment the fountain of his blood is opened manifestively to sinners, it puts out the flame, quenches lusts, their pride, &c., and brings salvation to the soul, and all to show the power of his grace, which shall reign and conquer. The sovereignty of God shall pluck sinners out of the fire for the saving of his elect and the glory of God.—Manchester, March, 1889.