THE UNPARDONABLE SIN
Sermon by Dr. J. Frank Norris
I ınvite your attention to a selection of Scripture found in the Gospel of Matthew, 12th chapter, beginning at the 31st verse: Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good: or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?” My friends, Jesus didn’t mince words when He talked about the enemies of the truth of Jesus Christ – “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But He answered and said unto them, an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, Swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”
The unpardonable sin, what is it? Jesus says there is a sin that shall not be forgiven a man in this world or in the world to come. It is a tremendously solemn statement. It is sad enough for a man to have committed sins that can be, and are forgiven, but the thought that there is a sin that God Himself cannot, and does not forgive, staggers our imagination and overwhelms us! I dread to talk on it. I would rather talk about the forgiveness of sin than to talk about an unforgiveable sin. Ten thousand times I would rather preach on Ephesians 1:7: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” The Word of God says, I John 5:16: “There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” The unpardonable sin – what is it? If I can, let me help you. There were Scribes and Pharisees around Jesus in this same chapter, who accused Jesus of being a devil and casting out devils by Beelzebub the prince of devils. Now they had attributed the work He did to devils. How perverse, and blind, and hardened in heart and steeped in hate and prejudice they were against Him that they called the Son of God a devil! He answered, “And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out?” He cut them in two. He says: “If I cast out devils by Beelzebub, then his house is divided, his kingdom is divided, and a house divided against itself cannot stand.” The one unanswerable creed in the life of Jesus, the one undeniable argument of His divine character today are the fruits produced. I don’t need somebody to give me a book and tell me to read that book to prove that Jesus Christ, my Lord, is the Son of God! I need but one argument-when I see some old staggering drunkard down in the gutter, his wife and children on starvation, not a shingle over their heads, no bread, no clothes – when I see that, and see that old staggering, filthy drunkard in the mire, and see him when Jesus Christ gets hold of him and lifts him up and changes him and makes a gentleman out of him and gives him back to his wife and children a sober husband and father, my friends, I have got the only answer I want that Christianity is Divine!
Now that’s what happened in His life – here comes the Pharisees – the ecclesiastics – Jesus never had any conflict with publicans and sinners. His troubles were with the Sanhedrin of His day – with the church crowd, if you please. The publicans and sinners drew near to Him for to hear Him – it is said the common people heard Him gladly, because they knew He was the Son of God – the Pharisees came and accused Him of casting out devils by the devil! The ecclesiastics today make the same false accusation!
The unpardonable sin! It is not any one act of sin. I had a man come to me one day and say, “I committed an awful crime way back yonder in my early life – I believe I committed the unpardonable sin, I crossed the dead line.” No, sir, it is not any one act of sin. This man had worried thirty years thinking he had committed the unpardonable sin. He was distressed and worried. But I say to you it is not any one act. Let me give it to you in this statement: It is that state of mind and hardening of the heart that a man comes to after he has gone so far in his ejection of the Gospel, until his heart is so hardened and his spiritual sight so blind that he has no feeling, no desire, no uneasiness, no fear of God before his eyes. It is a state and condition a man arrives at – not any one act of sin.
It is a sin of malice!
When Stephen spoke to that perverse crowd-they were moral people – when he said, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumsized in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers. Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. Now when they heard these things – “from the lips of Stephen” – they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.” Anger and malice added to their sin.
My friends, it is a sin of presumption – presuming too far on the mercy of God. That’s why David says, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.”
A Wilful Sin
The unpardonable sin is a wilful sin. It is not a sin of impulse. There are two kinds of sin. Sins of the flesh, sins of? impulse, and God pity the man who is a victim of his passion: and appetites and desires! Sin against the Holy Ghost is a wilful sin. There never was a more moral crowd on earth than the Pharisees. Paul says in the 10th chapter of Hebrews: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” – but what is the result?-listen at it-“But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and what else? and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, vengeance belongeth to me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, the Lord shall judge his people” – now listen what else – “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” It is a fearful thing after you have done despite unto the Spirit of grace-to fall into the hands of the living God for judgment. You know friends, one of the false teachings going around in the twentieth century is that God is only a God of love. He is also a God of Justice, and I don’t preach it any other way. God is a God of Justice as well as a God of mercy. I have no argument for any man who questions the Word of God-if he doesn’t believe God’s Word, he will find out some day it is true. I wouldn’t talk to a man five seconds and argue with him and try to prove to him that the Bible is true, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the adorable Trinity, no, sir. My business is not to prove these things, my business as an humble minister is to declare the Gospel of the Son of God, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand.” (I Cor. 15:1.)
Wilful sin! Jesus says, “And ye will not come to me that ye might have life.” Ye will not! Ye will not! Ye will not!
There are thousands of men and women living in sin, you are unsaved – every man tonight if he is not saved it is because he wills not to be saved, he just loves and holds onto some sweet morsel of sin. He desires to live a life of sin. If he does not go to heaven, it is because he wills and chooses to make his bed in hell! God pity and have mercy!
My friends, Jerusalem committed the unpardonable sin. Why? Jesus says: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings and ye would not!” “Ye would not!” He didn’t say, “Ye could not.” And there isn’t a man here tonight, if he goes away unsaved, he will go without excuse. So perverse and blind ye will not believe.
Sin Committed Against Light
The unpardonable sin is a sin committed against light. It is committed in a revival meeting. Yes, that is the place it is committed most often, not in a gambler’s den, or a bootlegger’s joint, not while engaging in Bacchanalian revelry. It is committed when the Spirit of God is pleading. That’s why Jesus said: “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.” Why? Because Chorazin and Bethsaida had heard the words that fell from the blessed lips of Jesus, they had seen His wonderful miracles, yet they rejected them, now he says, pointing to’ the pagan cites on the coast, the cities that never saw the Son of God, “It shall be more tolerable for them at the judgment than for you!” He says, “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart hence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them – “Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.” The wicked cities of the plains whose wickedness ascended up to God. they will stand a better chance in the day of judgment than the people who have heard the Gospel in sermon, and have heard the Gospel in prayer, have had the Bible in their homes, yet they would not. They deliberately rejected Jesus Christ. They have committed the unpardonable sin. How solemn the thought! Light was given and the light was rejected!
Sin of Hindering Others
Listen, it is not only for yourself, but it is the hindering of others – I want to say to you fathers and mothers here tonight, you may not intend to do it, but I warn you, by your life, and conduct, your example, you may be the very stone of stumbling for your children, and they may go down to a horrible death forever separated from God. One of the saddest experiences I ever had was, when a young minister, I was preaching at a certain place, a woman had a son-he had the same first name as mine, Frank. He and I were about the same age, I was preaching one night – a number of people were saved, and Frank came to the front, but he didn’t come across, but he made a start like a lot of people do, but did not go all the way. After the meeting adjourned I walked down the aisle, got to the door and I saw him standing there and I said, “Frank, I am glad to see you make the start, but I want you to go on now and settle this.” I stood there pleading with him, and about that time his mother came along and said: “Frank is a good boy, it is all right, he will think it over,” and she pulled him away. I got on the train and left, and in two days after I was called back to conduct Frank’s funeral. He and another boy were out hunting and he was shot through one of his main arteries and bled to death. While he was bleeding to death he said, “I am lost,” “I am lost,” “I am lost,” and with those awful words on his lips, his soul went out into eternity, and his mother was one of the most broken-hearted mothers that ever lived. Time rolled on, twenty years afterwards I went back to the little community-there was a great crowd; out to one side I noticed a woman dressed in black from head to foot. I couldn’t see her face, it was veiled. When she lifted the veil, I saw her hair was white as snow, and it was this same mother. She stood there trembling as she said, “Brother Norris, I haven’t seen one minute of peace, I can’t forget.” I tried to comfort her, but she said, “It’s no use. Didn’t I stand by his bed, and didn’t I see the agony in his face, and hear him scream and say, ‘I am lost,’ and I am to blame for it.”
Sin of Hardening the Heart
Listen friends, the unpardonable sin is a sin of hardening the heart. God grant that you may forever have a tender heart. I said to some preachers the other morning at the breakfast table that there is one thing we need as preachers, in all the battles and conflicts that come, God grant that He will keep our hearts tender, that we shall be tender-hearted, loving, kind and forgiving. There is no conflict in a courageous soul and a tender heart. They go together.
A man may receive light, and reject that light until he hardens his heart. You read where the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart – God wasn’t to blame for that. He gave the light and Pharaoh rejected the light, God gave him more light and he rejected it, and ten times judgment came on the land and Pharaoh said, “tomorrow I will repent and let the children of Israel go,” and tomorrow he would take it back, and Pharaoh said like many of you tonight, “not tonight,” and he said it one time too many – then Moses went to him the last time before judgment came on the first born and he said to him, “You will see my face no more,” and that was when Pharaoh committed the unpardonable sin, and God hardened his heart.
In the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans you find one expression three times: “Wherefore God gave them up.” Why? Because of their perversity of heart, because they bowed down to idols, because they made an unholy alliance with the things of the world, they lost their Spiritual sense, “Wherefore God gave them up.”
My friends, when God gives a man up, there is no hope for him. There is no hope for a man after he crosses the dead line, after he has sinned away the day of grace. When that line comes I do not know, but
There is a time, we know not when,
A place, we know not where,
Which marks the destiny of men
To glory or despair.
There is a line by us unseen,
Which crosses ev’ry path,
Which marks the boundary between
God’s mercy and His wrath.
To pass that limit is to die,
To die as if by stealth,
It does not dim the beaming eye,
Nor pale the glow of health.”
You may cross it in youth. You don’t have to wait until old age. You may cross it tonight. It is not one act of sin. A young girl may start out tonight on the dance floor, she is in the lustful embrace of some young man she respects – she is shocked, but it is not long until she loses all womanly modesty, the greatest possession she has – it is gone. Why, it is not by one step, but a process. A boy goes out, takes a drink-at first he is shocked and horrified, but he goes on, takes another and another, and at last he is void of conscience about it, he has no fear of God. He sits down at the gambler’s table, deals his first card, he is shocked, but soon he can sit down with the hardened crowd of gamblers, and thinks nothing of it.
It is said that Cleopatra, the undoing of Caesar and Mark Antony, his successor, was afraid she would be poisoned by her own servants in the palace, therefore, she had every known poison in the apothecaries’ shop compounded and she would take it gradually into her system, and it was not long until the deadliest poison would have no effect on her – and when her enemies were surrounding her, there was no poison she could take and she vowed she would not be tied to the chariot wheel and taken up the Appian Way, so she got the most poisonous reptile known to man, the little asp, and hid it in her palace, and sooner than be taken captive – there was no poison she could take that would put her to death, she took that little asp and buried it in her bosom, and soon she was cold in death.
Oh, friends, you can take the poison of sin until at last there is no appeal that can be made-you may be cultured, refined, educated, successful in business, stand high in the social world, you may be respected by your business associates, but if you have crossed the dead line you have been given up by God.
The Mission of the Holy Spirit
This word, what is the mission of the Holy Spirit? Here is how we grieve Him. Jesus said in the 16th chapter of John, 7th to 11th verses: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come” – now listen, what does He do – “he will reprove the world” – of three things, “reprove” there means to convince, to convict of sin – “reprove” – convict the world, first, “of sin,” second, “of righteousness,” and third, of “judgment.” “Of sin,” why? “Because they believe not on me.” Unbelief, that is the great root sin, “Of righteousness,” why? “Because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more”; “Of judgment,” why? “Because the prince of this world is judged.” The Holy Spirit is pleading with your heart tonight and deep down in the recesses of your soul you say, “That’s the truth.” Listen, friends, that’s the still small voice of the Spirit of God and God help you to hear it tonight; heed it tonight; don’t reject, don’t reject, don’t grieve the Spirit of God, until He takes flight and leaves your soul forever!
Let me illustrate – here are eight boys – suppose one of the boys goes to sleep, like some of the deacons do – and everybody gets up and leaves – the father thinks he is with the mother and the mother thinks he is with the father, and so they go on home – when they get home they find that neither one has that eight-year-old boy. What are they going to do? Where is he? They inquire around among the neighbors, and they call up the police department and give the alarm, and they search, on and on to midnight, one o’clock, two o’clock in the morning. They look everywhere and finally they go back – they don’t think he is there, but they have looked everywhere and they decide to go back there and look-they come in, it is dark, they don’t see him, somebody goes to the switch and turns on the light – this boy is just waking up, and right there at his feet is a big diamond-back rattle snake, coiled ready to spring, and there are rattle snakes hanging from the ceiling, the seats are covered with them, there are ten thousand poison reptiles, the earth is covered with them – the rattle snakes were there all the time the boy was sound asleep in the dark – but when the light was turned on they could be seen – now the light didn’t put the rattle snakes there, they were already there, but the light showed him his serious danger. Now, the Holy Spirit comes to your heart tonight, pleading with you, arguing with you, begging you to listen to the call of God to repentance. That’s the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Away down in South Texas three boys were riding through a town, people were gathering for church services, it was Sunday morning. The church bells were ringing, and as these three boys were riding along they could hear the church bells – they got out about a quarter of a mile from town and one of the three boys reigned his horse up and said, “Wait, boys” – “Wait for what?” they replied. “Listen, do you hear those church bells ringing? “What of it?” they said. “Here is what it means, it means that we are riding away from church, boys, there is just an echo now, it is dying out, we just can hear it and it is fading away. It has been falling on my soul, I have been thinking as we have been riding along here, it means I am riding away from God, from mother’s teachings, riding away from the Bible, riding away from heaven and home. Boys, I am going to turn around and go back to church today.”
My friends, stop tonight! You can just hear the voice of God in your soul, once it fell loudly on your soul, but the cares of the world have come, maybe adversity has come, maybe evil companions have come, or maybe you have some secret sin that nobody knows about, your wife doesn’t know it, maybe that is the serpent of sin that is cutting your nerves, maybe it is the sin of drink – don’t wait! don’t wait! God help you is my prayer tonight.
A group of men were in a tug boat going down the Kentucky river – they were hauling a barge behind loaded with coal. The old barge began to list-the men told the captain, “Oh,” he said, there is plenty of room to get her in,” and on they went. It began listing heavily, and the men begged the captain to cut it loose – he said, “No, we will get her to shore.” After a while it began listing so heavily until frantically the captain with a double-bladed knife, reached down and gave one whack at the rope that held the barge to the boat, and to his consternation he found that there were steel wires inside, and that barge went down and took the tug with it.
Listen, you have got some sin tonight, you think you are strong and you know what you are going to do, you think you know how far you are going. My friends, don’t take any chances on it!
A few years ago I stood in the county jail in Fort Worth looking through the bars, and I saw the fairest young fellow, a very fine looking’ young man. He had sent for me to come to see him. It was the last day before the warden would take him to Leavenworth penitentiary. That man stood high in one of the churches of Fort Worth. He was in the banking business and he got to using the depositor’s money. Soon the day of examination came and they found a long list of money he had taken, and he was sent up for a number of years. He had a most magnificent home. As he stood behind the bars and talked to me I found out what did it. Here is the sad story-way back yonder several years before he violated the sacred relation of marriage and became the victim of his own lust. He loved another woman and lived a fast life. The world didn’t know anything about it. His church didn’t know anything about it. The bank officials didn’t know about it. He built a fine home for this woman in another city – it developed he had bought her a fine Cadillac car, and the fast living had to be paid for and he began to speculate, reverses came – he played the stock market, the game went against him, and tonight he is in Leavenworth. He took a little money, put it back, then he took a little more and put that back, until finally he could not put it back.
A life-long, honored deacon came to me one day and said: “I want you to go see Archie.” Archie was one of the leading grocerymen of the place and one of the finest men, everybody thought he was all right. He liked to come to church and he always helped support the church with his money. One night as I went to leave he was standing with a group of men outside the door, and I shook hands with them, and I asked each one if he was a Christian. When I came to Archie he said, “No, there is time enough.” The next Saturday when I got off the train coming up from Waco, the dear old father met me and said, “Come quick, Archie is dying” – we got in the little one-horse buggy and drove fast out to the edge of town where they lived – when we went into the room there lay Archie, and I was surprised beyond measure. He was a big, strong athletic man, but he was suddenly attacked with appendicitis and peritonitis set in and he was dying. As I bent over him, I can never forget it – he said, “It is too late, it is too late, it is too late.” The old father fell on his knees and said, “Oh, Archie, don’t say that, please don’t say that, there is time enough.” “No,” he said, “Father, it is no use, it is too late.” The father said, “Brother Pastor, pray,” and I knelt and he says, “It’s no use,” and the cold sweat of death was on his arms up to his elbows – I could see that death was on him. He kept saying, “It’s no use, I have committed the unpardonable sin, I have crossed the dead line,” and he passed away with that on his lips, and I reached up and pulled the pillow from under his head and drew the sheet over his dead face.
Oh, may God help you tonight not to do like that fine fellow did and say, “I have got plenty of time.” Listen, friends, the most dangerous thing in the world is to say: “There is time enough.”
What does it mean to commit the unpardonable sin?
It means to be left alone of God. It means to be left alone of Jesus Christ. It means to be left alone of the Holy Spirit. It means that nobody has any concern about you. I hope I won’t ever get to the point where a great crowd of people are not praying for me. I get letters every day that are missives of love to me, from good women I have never seen, from good men everywhere who say, “I am praying for you” – they pour in, they say, “We hear you over the radio, or we read your paper, and we are praying for you.” I want to say to you that I never read a letter like that, that it just doesn’t humble me, and I say, “Oh, God, make me worthy of the prayers of the good men and women who are praying for me.” A man who has that has a great blessing. When you reach a point where God doesn’t put it on the heart of somebody, doesn’t put that burden on the heart of some man or woman to pray for you, then the hour has come when nobody will pray for you and then God have mercy upon you!
Let me illustrate – it shuts off all connection between you and God, absolutely puts the light out of the soul, finally closes the gates of mercy, you are past all feeling, you are left alone of God, you are shut off from every influence that reaches the soul of man.
A miner went out in the days of prospecting, and every day he would take his pick and hunt for gold, and he found a fortune. He would take his nuggets of gold, bring them into his cabin and hide them away – he dug a little hole in the earth under his cabin and would put the nuggets in the hole, cover it up and go down to the stream and find some more, on and on, and at night he would take out the nuggets and look at them, until he had a double hand full. He dreamed of an old age of pleasure and plenty where the wolf would never come to his door when he would return to civilization. One night he heard his dog barking. The dog was his only faithful friend. He had been his companion in all his travels, everywhere he went this faithful dog would go too. He was a friend indeed. On this night the man was tired and had already lain down on his couch and was asleep – the ferocious barking of the dog woke. him up. He arose, opened the door, peered out into the darkness of the night, but he heard nothing, he saw nothing, but that dog was there prancing and rearing and charging. He scolded his dog and said, “Come back here and be quiet,” and the dog obeyed his master, and he went back to his couch and lay down, pulled the blanket over him and he was half asleep when the dog broke loose again, more ferocious than ever. He was angry, he was tired, but he got up, lit a candle and looked out into the darkness and listened, and waited, and he heard nothing, but the dog was charging in the air as if all the wild beasts in the forest had come to his cabin. He scolded him and said, “Come back here,” and cursed him, and the dog crouched back, and the man went to bed, and no sooner than he had gotten nearly asleep when it sounded like all hades had turned loose. He arose in a rage, lit his candle, reached up over the door and got his rifle, called his dog into his presence, cursed him and abused him, and he peered into the darkness and he couldn’t see anything, and as that dog crouched, he sent a bullet crashing into his brain. He came back into his cabin, put his empty rifle back over the door, and as he looked out at the dog writhing in dying agony, he cursed him and said, “Now you will not disturb me any more,” and he went back to bed and was soon sound asleep – and he went to sleep to wake no more, for the robbers could come in now unmolested and unhindered, as they came in with the soft velvet foot of a tiger and drove the cold steel dagger through his beating heart and took his fortune.
Oh, men and women, don’t kill the still small voice tonight, don’t crown Jesus Christ with the crown of thorns, don’t grieve the Spirit of God tonight, don’t close the mercy gate. God help you that you won’t.
It was nearly midnight, after a six weeks’ meeting, and it was the last Sunday night, we were holding a meeting in the great Massie Music Hall in Toronto, Canada, a great multitude had come forward–I waited until the last minute – they had a car at the door ready to take me to the train to come back to Fort Worth – and people kept coming and coming-finally I had to go, I only had ten minutes to get to the train. As I started to make a dash out of that Music Hall, a man, his hair as white as snow, rushed up and said, “Wait a minute!” I said, “I have but ten minutes to catch my train, and I haven’t time” – he said, “I won’t take a half second,” and he went on and said, “Listen, preacher, don’t ever let another man slip out and through your meeting like they did me.” I looked at him – he said, “I have committed the unpardonable sin, I have crossed the dead line.” I said, “I hope not.” “Oh,” but he says, “I have.” I said, “What makes you think so?” He says, “I have no feeling, no desire whatever to become a Christian. I have crossed the dead line, and I am only waiting for hell.” I looked him over and saw that he was an intelligent, cultured, well dressed man, and looked like he was in earnest. He said, “I am telling you this to help somebody else – don’t ever let it happen to anybody else.” He said, “When I was eighteen years old in a revival meeting I felt the call of God, and I said, ‘No,’ and from that minute until now I have never had any concern.”
Listen, friends, when in San Antonio years ago, when the Spirit of God came on multitudes of people and they were being saved – a lot of people came through curiosity just like they do here and everywhere and God gets hold of them. I have had that criticism of my meetings, they say, “People just come out of curiosity.” Well the rest of them had better get some curiosity – if I can reach some mother’s boy or save some home from a living hell – by that means, just let them go and talk, that’s all I have to say. So this high society woman said to a group of her friends, “Let’s go over and hear Norris at the tabernacle.” I didn’t know anything about who they were-they came and they stayed throughout the services. When this woman and her husband drove up to their home she got out in the drive and he drove the car on down to the garage, and as she took out her night key to unlock the door, she said, “There was a voice said, ‘Don’t unlock that door'” She stopped, looked around, she said, “I was amazed, I didn’t know what on earth had happened,” then she said “I am crazy” and started to put the key in the lock, a voice said, “Don’t unlock that door.” She stepped back. She was amazed at herself, she wondered if she had gone crazy, and she said, “I will open the door, it is my door and my house,” and she started to put the key in again, and a voice said, “Stop, don’t unlock that door go back to the tabernacle” – she turned and screamed, “Oh, husband, husband, bring the car back quick!” He said, “What on earth is the matter?” She said, “Don’t ask me, bring the car back and take me back to the tabernacle just as quick as you can.” He backed the car out, she got in and he began to ask her what was the matter – and she said, “Oh, husband, don’t ask me, don’t say a word, but drive as fast as you can” – and they came back as fast as he could drive and they reached there just as the after-services had been dismissed, a group of us were standing there and we saw this woman as she came running in – she was beautifully dressed-and as she rushed up, she said, “Am I too late?” I spoke and said, “What is it?” “Oh, men!” she said, “Listen, pardon me if I am intruding, but something awful happened to me tonight and she told that story, how she started to go into the house and something told her three times not to go in-she said, “I am afraid, what on earth is it?” I looked at her and said, “Let us pray” – I didn’t have to say to that woman “Get down on your knees” – she just fell full length right there in the sawdust and she started to praying and confessing her sins, and it wasn’t long until she was gloriously saved, and she said, “I know now that was the voice of God.” The next day she resigned every connection with every worldly club she belonged to, and that night she stood on the platform of that big tabernacle and told that story, and she said, “This is the last thing on earth I ever thought I would do – I came out here out of curiosity,” and she said, “At first I made fun of the singing, and I criticized Mr. Norris when he started to preach, and I said there is nothing in it,” and she said, “I know what did it, my mother’s prayers followed me, and God reached down His hand and wouldn’t let me open that door, but God opened the door of salvation.”
Listen, God is knocking on your door tonight. God is saying to the husband, “Come tonight,” God is saying to the mother, “Come tonight,” God is saying to the tender-hearted boy, “Come tonight,” God is saying to the young girl, “Come tonight.”
The saddest thing in the world is to let a soul depart from God and go into eternity, when earth has come to an end and the sun refuses to shine, and the moon has turned to blood, and the heavens are folded up like a scroll, way out in eternity without God, I see that soul that was here where the Gospel was preached, and he waded through the prayers of Christian people, he has left earth behind and has come to eternity that has no end, that soul naked and unsaved, unregenerated, stands before the flaming bar of God’s eternal judgment and hears the awful words, the last verdict on humanity, “Depart from me,” and I hear that soul answer back as it falls through boundless space, never to find rest, “Oh, God, how long?” The answer comes back, “Wail on, wail on, wail on lost soul.” “How long? How long?” “Wail on, wail on,” “How long? How long?” “Wail on, wail on, wail on,” “Oh, God, how long?” “Wail on, wail on, wail on, until the ghosts of eternity meet thee over the grave of God!”
Oh, don’t say, “no” tonight!
On Samuels Avenue in Fort Worth, a nine-year-old girl lay dying, her father wouldn’t come to church, he didn’t have any use for preachers, but he worshiped this little child. Something seized her and the doctors didn’t know what it was-and she told her father one day, “Father, tomorrow morning I am going home to be with the angels.” She was an only child – he said, “No child you are going to live for Daddy.” She said, “No, I am going home.” He came running to see me that morning and said, “My child is dying come quick.” When we went into that room, he fell on his knees beside the bed and she said, “Goodbye, papa, I am going home – and papa make me one promise, promise you will meet me in heaven.” He buried his face on her pillow and said, “Baby, please don’t go.” She said, “They have come after me, papa, I am going home, goodbye.” And those were her last words. The next day when we took her out to Greenwood Cemetery, and put the flowers upon the new made grave, I looked at that hardened man, the tears coursing down his brown cheeks, he said, “I don’t want to go home – tell everybody else to go.” I did and everybody left. I said to him, “Let’s go.” “No, I don’t want to go, tell the others to go on.” He looked at the grave diggers, but didn’t say a thing – but I said to them, “Go on away, boys, for a little while,” and they walked away. The first thing I knew he fell on his knees and he said to me, “Listen! listen! all that I love is under these clods, gone! gone! Can I see her again, tell me preacher, can I see her again?” I had my Bible, I opened it and said “Bless God, you can,” and I read to him: “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” “Can you believe it?” He said, “Pray that I may.” And we knelt by that new made grave, I put my arm around him, he shook as he wept. He left that place a sad man, but a saved man! He came to the edge of the grave and God called him back and saved him! Don’t cross the dead line tonight. I have poured out my heart to you, I have done my best to try to warn you. My hands are clean of your soul.