D.L. Moody Weekly: Christ the Deliverer
Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the Lord: Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” Isaiah 49:24-25.
You find in these verses what Christ came to do. He did not come to preach elegant sermons: He came to the world to proclaim liberty to the captive. Every soul in this building is either under the power of the prince of this world and doing his bidding, or he is brought out of this old kingdom and is brought into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are only two classes in this world. You must be either for the Lord or against him. There may be some persons here who are not Christians, who are saying to themselves, “I am not under the power of Satan. I will do as I please. Satan has no power over me; I do as I please.” If there is an unconverted person here who has that idea, I can tell him it is a false one. You cannot hold a more false impression than that. I can prove to you that it is false. Have you not some sins that trouble you? and have you not said, “I will try and break off that sin?” and have you not tried and tried, and failed every time? And could not you, if you were honest tonight, write ‘failure” over every attempt you nave made to reform yourself? Satan binds us – every one of us. If we have not been liberated by Christ, we are still under his power. Every one of us has some besetting sin; and Satan knows our weak point and holds us: and we have not the power to liberate ourselves. We cannot give ourselves liberty. A great many do not want to become Christians, because they do not want to give up their liberty, but the greatest slaves in the world are the slaves of the devil. They are under his power; they cannot do as they please; they have not the power to do as they please.
How many young men in this assembly have tried to break off some of their habits that are taking them down to ruin, and sinking them lower and lower? They have tried to get the victory over them; but they have failed. How many have been in the inquiry-room during these past weeks, and told us how they have tried to break off old habits and failed every time? They have said: “It is an awful hard thing to be a Christian. I have tried to serve God and failed.” It is utterly impossible for you to serve God until you get liberty in Christ. I do not know what your besetting sin is; but every man and woman in this assembly, out of Christ, has some besetting sin, and Satan holds you with that sin. He holds some by the power of strong drink; others by their tempers; and others by profanity. Satan does not care which way he takes you to hell, if he only gets you there at last. He has all men in his power who have not been liberated by Jesus Christ. Christ says, He came to proclaim liberty. That is his proclamation; and there is not a slave of the devil to-night but what may be set free. No one but Christ has the power to set the sinner free. That is why the Gospel is good news: it is good news because it proclaims liberty to the captive.
In the days of Wilberforce, there was an effort made to get a bill through the British parliament to give liberty to the slaves held by their masters in those West India islands belonging to Great Britain. Those poor fugitives were anxious to hear the decision of parliament upon that question. They could not telegraph over the water, as we can now; but they were watching for a vessel to come in. At last a vessel came in to one of those islands. The captain could not wait until he got on shore to proclaim the news of freedom; but he shouted at the top of his voice, as loud as he could cry: ‘Free! free! free!” The people took up the cry, and it rung all through the island: “‘Free! Free! Free!” They were no longer slaves – that was the proclamation. Jesus Christ comes from the throne of God, and he proclaims liberty to every slave of the devil. If there is one here in this assembly whom the devil holds in slavery, he can be free if he will only come to Christ.
~ From “Christ the Deliverer” in The Gospel Awakening