"Where Art Thou?"
The very first thing that happened after the news reached heaven of the fall of man, was that God came straight down to seek out the lost one. As He walks through the garden in the cool of day, you can hear Him calling "Adam! Adam! Where art thou?" It was the voice of grace, of mercy, and of love. Adam ought to have taken the seeker's place, for he was the transgressor. He had fallen, and he ought to have gone up and down Eden crying, "My God! my God! where art Thou?" But God left heaven to seek through the dark world for the rebel who had fallen - not to hurl him from the face of the earth, but to plan him an escape from the misery of his sin. And he finds him - where? Hiding from his Creator among the bushes of the garden.
The moment a man is out of communion with God, even the professed child of God, he wants to hide away from Him. When God left Adam in the garden, he was in communion with his Creator, and God talked with him; but now that he has fallen, he has no desire to see his Creator, he has lost communion with his God. He cannot bear to see Him, even to think of Him, and he runs to hide from God. But to his hiding place his Maker follows him. "Where art thou, Adam? Where art thou?"
Six thousand years have passed away, and this text has come rolling down the ages. I doubt whether there has been anyone of Adam's sons who has not heard it at some period or other of his life - sometimes in the midnight hour stealing over him - "Where am I? Who am I? Where am I going? and what is going to be the end of this?" I think it is well for a man to pause and ask himself that question. I would have you ask it, little boy and little girl; and you, old man with locks turning gray, and eyes growing dim, and natural force abating, you who will soon be in another world. I do not ask you where you are in the sight of your neighbors; I do not ask you where you are in the sight of your friends; I do not ask you where you are in the sight of the community in which you live. It is of very little account where we are in the sight of one another, it is of very little account what men think of us; but it is of vast importance what God thinks of us - it is of vast importance to know where men are in the sight of God; and that is the question now. Am I in communion with my Creator, or out of communion? If I am out of communion, there is no peace, no joy, no happiness. No man on the face of the earth, who was out of communion with his Creator, ever knew what peace, and joy, and happiness, and true comfort are. He is a foreigner to it. But when we are in communion with God, there is light all around our path. So ask yourselves this question. Do not think I am preaching to your neighbors, but remember I am trying to speak to you, to everyone of you as if you were alone. It was the first question put to man after his fall, and it was a very small audience that God had - Adam and his wife. But God was the preacher; and although they tried to hide, the words came home to them. Let them come home to you now. You may think that your life is hid, that God does not know anything about you. But he knows our lives a great deal better than we do; and His eye has been bent upon us from our earliest childhood until now.
"Where art thou?" I should like to divide my audience into three classes - the professed Christians, the Backsliders, and the Ungodly.
First, I would like to ask the professors this question, or rather let God ask it - "Where art thou?"
What is my position in the church, and among my circle of acquaintances? Do my friends know me to be, out and out, on the Lord's side? You may have been a professing Christian for twenty years, perhaps thirty, perhaps forty years. Well, where are you tonight? Are you making progress towards heaven? And can you give a reason for the hope that is within you? Suppose I were to ask those who were really Christians here to rise, would you be ashamed to stand up? Supposed I should ask every professed child of God here, "If you should be cut down by the hand of death, have you good reason to believe you would be saved?" Would you be willing to stand up before God and man, and say that you have good reason to believe you are passed from death unto life? Or would you be ashamed? Run your mind back over the past years: would it be consistent for you to say, "I am a Christian;" and would your life correspond with your profession? It is not what we say so much as how we live. Actions speak louder than words. Do your shopmates know that you are a Christian? Do your family know? Do they know you to be out and out on the Lord's side? Let every professed Christian ask, Where am I in the sight of God? Is my heart loyal to the King of heaven? Is my life here as it should be in the community I live in? Am I a light in this dark world? Christ says, "Ye are My witnesses." Christ was the Light of the world, and the world would not have the true Light; the world rose up and put out the Light, and now Christ says, "I leave you down here as My witnesses." That is what the apostle meant when he said that Christians are to be living epistles, known and read of all men. Then, am I standing up for Jesus as I should in this dark world? If a man is for God, let him say so. If a man is for God, let his come out and be on God's side; and if he is for the world, let him be in the world. This serving God and the world at the same time - this being on both sides at the same time - is just the curse of Christianity at the present time. It retards the progress of Christianity more than any other thing. "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."
I have heard of a great many people who think if they are united to the church, and have made one profession, that will do for all the rest of their days. But there is a cross for everyone of us daily. Oh, child of God, where are you? If God should appear to you tonight in your bedroom and put the question, what would be your answer? Could you say, "Lord, I am serving Thee with my whole heart and strength; I am improving my talents and preparing for the kingdom to come?" When I was in England in 1867, there was a merchant who came over from Dublin, and was talking with a business man in London; and as I happened to looking, he introduced me to the man from Dublin. Alluding to me, the latter said to the former, "Is this young man all O O?" Said the London man, "What do you mean by O O?" Replied the Dublin man, "Is he Out-and-Out for Christ?" I tell you it burned down into my soul. It means a good deal to be O O for Christ; but that is what all Christians ought to be, and their influence would be felt on the world very soon, if men who are on the Lord's side would come out and take their stand, and lift up their voices in season and out of season. As I have said, there are a great many in the church who make one profession, and that is about you hear of them; and when they come to die you have to go and hunt up some musty old church records to know whether they were Christians or not. God won't do that. I have an idea that when Daniel died, all the men in Babylon knew whom he served. There was no need for them to hunt up old books. His life told his story. What we want is men with a little courage to stand up for Christ. When Christianity wakes up, and every child that belongs to the Lord is willing to speak for Him, is willing to work for Him, and, if need be, willing to die for Him, then Christianity will advance, and we shall see the work of the Lord prosper. There is one thing which I fear more than anything else, and that is the dead cold formalism of the Church of God. Talk about the false isms! There is none so dangerous as this dead, cold formalism, which has come right into the heart of the Church. There are so many of us just sleeping and slumbering while souls all around are perishing. I believe honestly that we professed Christians are all half asleep. Some of us are beginning to rub our eyes and to get them half-opened, but as a whole we are asleep.
~D. L. Moody~
(continued with # 2)