7 Offers and Invitations
We preach to sinners; we have no one else to preach to. We are to describe the condition of all men by nature, responsible under God’s holy law; we are to show its claims, and that “by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight;” we are solemnly to warn of the certain consequences of living and dying in sins. We are to preach the gospel with such ability as God gives us, telling of the riches of grace and mercy in Christ, and then we are to leave all with Him who has said of His Word, “It shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Is 55:11).
A true ministry must be searching and discriminating. Natural conviction is not conversion; natural faith is not that faith which is “the gift of God.” Nowhere in Scripture does God speak of His work as an offer He makes, nor have we any warrant for any man offering to his fellow that which God alone has the right and the power to bestow. How many virtually tell sinners they can do the work of the Holy Ghost. This is the plain English of much modern divinity. All the feelings and gracious influences which, in the Word of God, are attributed to or emanate from the Holy Ghost, man is addressed as capable of producing; and after all the infinitely costly expenditure of the doing and dying of Christ, it rests with the dead sinner to accept, receive, believe, and so be saved. The invitations of the gospel are to character; its blessings are purely spiritual, and therefore need spiritual eyes to see them, spiritual ears to hear them, spiritual hands to embrace them, and spiritual hearts to feel and enjoy them. To throw down a number of spiritual invitations for anybody and everybody to pick up is quite foreign to the spirit of the gospel, which is for the poor in spirit, the needy, and those described in Isaiah 61:1-3. Is there one of God’s sent servants who preaches without feeling an earnest yearning for the salvation of poor sinners? Having experienced personally that the whole work is of the Lord, their wrestling is with Him that He would produce that wondrous life that is alone His gift.
In conclusion on this point, let us ask, is there one living child of God that would affirm, “Yes, I heard the minister say, ‘Come to Christ—come now, and you will be saved;’ and so I came and was saved. It was my accepting the invitation that was the cause of my salvation”? Would not a child of God turn away from this, and sing with gratitude of heart:
“Grace first inscribed my name
In God’s eternal book;
‘Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.
Grace all the work shall crown
Through everlasting days;
It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise.”
John E. Hazelton (1924) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He was the son of John Hazelton (1822-1888). He was appointed the Pastor of Streatley Hall, London. In the December 1924 Issue, the Gospel Magazine wrote of him:
“For a period of fifteen years he faithfully ministered the Word of life to the Lord's people who met in Streatley Hall, London, and these are a selection of the sermons he preached there, lovingly collected together, and printed in book form. By way of introduction there is also printed A Declaration of Faith by Mr. Hazelton. This was found amongst his papers. It has never before been published. It is full of valuable teaching of such subjects as "The Peril and Needs of Our Churches," "The Holy Scriptures," "The Everlasting Covenant," "The Church," and "The Doctrine of Grace.” Mr. Hazelton was an able preacher of the everlasting Gospel, and he loved to exalt Christ and to abase the sinner. These sermons are full of rich Gospel teaching. They tell of a full and an eternal salvation, arranged and planned in the great Covenant of grace before the foundations of the world were laid. They tell of the electing love of God the Father, the redeeming work of God the Son on behalf of His Church and people, and of the regenerating and sanctifying work of God the Holy Ghost. They tell of the blood and righteousness of the Divine Surety of the everlasting Covenant. They are marked by fulness of Gospel truth and by tender and loving words to seeking and penitent sinners. They display a considerable knowledge and much care in preparation. They are the words of a true man of God who in dependence on the aid of the Divine Spirit earnestly proclaimed the Gospel of Divine grace in the prayerful hope that God the Holy Ghost would use the message as the means of regenerating the sinful objects of His eternal mercy. Space will not allow us to quote from these pages, but we strongly advise our readers at once to get the book and make it point of reading one of the sermons every week. Mr. Hazelton was called home on May 8th last. His last sermons were preached on April 6th and 13th, and they form the concluding sermons of this volume. A beautiful portrait of the beloved author forms the frontispiece. By these sermons, and by his valuable Declaration of Faith, he being dead, yet speaketh.”