“In the church where I ministered in South Wales I used to stand at the main door of the church at the close of the service on Sunday night, and shake hands with people as they went out. The incident to which I am referring concerns a man who used to come to our service every Sunday night. He was a tradesman but also a heavy drinker. He got drunk regularly every Saturday night, but he was also regularly seated in the gallery of our church every Sunday night. On the particular night to which I am referring I happened to notice while preaching that this man was obviously being affected. I could see that he was weeping copiously, and I was anxious to know what was happening to him. At the end of the service I went and stood at the door. After a while I saw this man coming, and immediately I was in a real mental conflict. Should I, in view of what I had seen, say a word to him and ask him to make his decision that night, or should I not? Would I be interfering with the work of the Spirit if I did so? Hurriedly I decided that I would not ask him to stay behind, so I just greeted him as usual and he went out. His face revealed that he had been crying copiously, and he could scarcely look at me. The following evening I was walking to the prayer-meeting in the church, and, going over a railway bridge, I saw this same man coming to meet me. He came across the road to me and said, ‘You know, doctor, if you had asked me to stay behind last night I would have done so.’ ‘Well,’ I said, ‘I am asking you now, come with me now.’ ‘Oh no,’ he replied, ‘but if you had asked me last night I would have done so.’ ‘My dear friend,’ I said, ‘if what happened to you last night does not last for twenty-four hours I am not interested in it. If you are not as ready to come with me now as you were last night you have not got the right, the true thing. Whatever affected you last night was only temporary and passing, you still do not see your real need of Christ.’ That is the kind of thing that may happen even when an appeal is not made. But when an appeal is made it is greatly exaggerated and so you get spurious conversions”. – Martyn Lloyd Jones
I have read quote that somewhere in one of his books. I love D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones! My heart has been burdened for a long time about so many people in our churches that are not Christian, but may think they are. How many times do we judge success by “salvations” and yet forget that 95% of those never come back to church, or never show real life change. This quote really hits me hard. We should all think about this. What is a real conversion? Jonathan Edward’s Religious Affections is also a great book to read on this very issue. Hard, but well worth it!!
Yes, my heart is burdened as well. We must preach the true gospel to them. We mustn’t try to broaden the narrow gate. Doing so makes it into a wide gate – and we all know where that leads! Our intentions are good in trying to do so but again we know the road of good intentions leads to to the same place as the wide gate!
I have Religious Affections in my Works of Jonathan Edwards volumes. I haven’t read it yet, but plan on it sometime next year!