Candidates to Deacons

This post was written for the BBC website.

The purpose of the following paragraphs is to explain the mechanics of how men come to serve as deacons at Berean Baptist Church. (Many churches do it differently.) Once or twice a year a request is made to the congregation to nominate men to serve as deacons. Candidates must be men who have already shown they have a servant’s heart and meet the biblical qualifications of a deacon (1 Tim 3:8-13). These names are submitted on a note during the offering or turned in to one of the current deacons. The names are collected by the deacons and the pastors review the list. In those cases where a candidate has previously communicated a disqualifier to a pastor, he is not sent an invitation. All other candidates are mailed an invitation to download a deacon questionnaire from this webpage and return it by a specific date.

Once the candidate returns his questionnaire to a pastor or deacon, it is first reviewed by the pastors and then the deacon board. If the deacons and pastors are supportive of the recommendations from the congregation, the candidate’s names are presented for a vote on a secret ballot. (If there is an issue with a candidate the pastors and deacons will collectively discuss the issue and come to an agreement on the best course of action on a case by case basis.) Normally, the church will be notified who is being presented for a vote about two weeks before the member’s meeting when the vote will take place. Members may vote up or down on as many or few candidates as they choose. After the church votes, the deacons collect the ballots and tally the results. Candidates must receive an affirmative vote from the majority of the ballots that are turned in from the members at the member’s meeting (i.e. if 100 ballots are collected by the deacons a candidate must receive 51 yes votes to be approved). The chairman of the deacons will oversee the tallying of the results. The church clerk is responsible for ensuring the results of the vote are recorded in the minutes for the member’s meeting. The chairman of deacons or church clerk will notify the church of the results of the vote by percentage at the member’s meeting.

A deacon’s term of service is three years. After a year of Sabbath former deacons may be nominated again for a subsequent 3 year term of service. The BBC Constitution does not limit the number of men who can serve as deacons. Every effort is made to allow an opportunity to all who have a desire to serve and meet the qualifications to serve the body of Christ. Candidates who have not been ordained as a deacon by the church will be ordained on a subsequent Sunday night service. The board of deacons nominates and approves its own leaders annually.

Dealing with the Non-Essentials in the Body of Christ

October 31, 2010

Paul our author is writing to us. Let me stop and teach you something for just a second. It is really simple. Any time a preacher opens up the Word of God, let’s talk about what he is supposed to do so you know what right looks like everywhere you go. No matter whether you are visiting another church or whether you are here. This is what right looks like. Who is the author? Who is he writing to? When did he write it? What did he mean when he was writing to that audience? You have to figure that out every time. You need to know that every time. Once you figure out what he meant when he was writing to the original audience in the context that he wrote, then and only then can you grab that truth and move it forward into the 21st century. So listen, when you are visiting other churches, or you are a guest here, or you listen to your preacher back home, or you are on the Internet, or you are flipping through the television channels, look very closely to make sure he is doing that. Is he saying what did it mean then? What does it mean now? What is the application today? This is the truth to the audience, to the Israelites. That is what we are going to do by the grace of God.

Romans 14:1-12
Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let him that eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who are thou that judgest one another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yeah, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above antoehr: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be full persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. By why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why doest thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himslef to God.

Let me give you a warning: first of all, the twelve verses contain far too many truths for us to deal with in only one week. So we will have to, for lack of better words, re-attack this passage in the weeks to come.

Here is the background. Paul is the author. There is a group of believers there and they have an issue. We could take this congregation and divide it up. We could call one group Group A, and call this one over here Group B. At Rome there were Jewish Christians who were reluctant to give up certain ceremonial aspects of their religious heritage. They were uncertain about how faith in Christ affected the status of Old Testament regulations. Others embraced the new freedom in Christ unencumbered by an overly sensitive regard for the past. Group A has grown up in Judaism your entire life. You are raised under the law. You know about the Tabernacle, the Temple, the Sacrifices, the Passover and all those things. Group B are Gentiles who came to Christ as adults. You don’t have all the Jewish baggage that this group has. You have never been to the Temple. You don’t know about all this Torah stuff and keeping the law. You came to Christ and you are thrilled that Christ delivered you from your sin. This group, according to Paul, is struggling. They were uncertain about how faith in Christ affected the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles, Sacrifices, and all kinds of stuff like that. You are not eating any unclean meat. You are adhering to the dietary laws of the Bible. This group over here, you are pork eaters, bacon eaters, you have it in the morning with your eggs, you put bacon bits on your salad, your arteries are clogging even as you are sitting there, the amount of sausage that you consume, you are gaining weight. You got it?

What I want to do is use these two terms all morning: essential and a non-essential. An essential element to a truck is a transmission. It is a set of wheels. It is a steering wheel. It is a cargo bed. You have to have these to have a truck. No cargo bed, no truck. No wheels, it’s not much of a truck if you can’t move it around. No transmission, the wheels are not turning. No engine, no movement. These are essentials of the Christian faith. Things like “Jesus is the Son of God” are essential to the Christian faith. Things like God the Father sent the Son. That is essential. We are saved by grace. That is essential.

Let’s talk about non-essentials to the faith. Air conditioning is non-essential. Now some of you ladies are thinking, no Preacher, that is an essential, that is only because of your make up. If there was no makeup you would not worry about it sweating off. Another non-essential is leather. You don’t have to have leather seats. How many of you can remember the old pick-up trucks that had a vinyl bench in them? That is all it had. You just need a place to sit. It doesn’t need to be comfortable. You just have to have something to sit on and grab a hold of the steering wheel. A c.d. player is non-essential. Nowadays the Cadillac has a 6-disk player, drop down screens—those are all non-essentials.

Here is the non-essential issue. Back then Paul was writing to the church at Rome, the question was, what role do the Jewish food laws have in the life of a Christian in the New Covenant? You’re a Jew. You have been delivered from the Old Covenant and brought into the New Covenant. What do I do with all this all this old baggage? Not eating unclean foods and all that kind of stuff. Some of those in Group A were holding on to it. Group B said we are in the New Covenant; all that stuff is past and we can eat what we want. Paul told us in Romans 6 that they are not under the law; you don’t live under the Mosaic Law. You don’t have to go to the Tabernacle. You don’t have to go to the Temple. You don’t have to offer sacrifices. You are not under the law. In fact in Matthew 15:11, Christ doesn’t endorse dietary laws. Look at the verse with me. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Eating doesn’t defile you. Now it may make you gain weight, but that is different than defiling. Defiling is referring to sin. When He made that statement, He was giving us freedom when it comes to eating. He was releasing us from the bondage of no pork. You just eat it. If you enjoy snake, eat snake. Give thanks and enjoy it.

So then the question comes to us, what was the point of the law then? Why did God give us the law if He was just going to release us from it? Galatians 3:24-25 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Another rendering is our tutor, or our guardian. Here let me explain this to you. The law comes along side you and grabs you. The law is a schoolmaster. The law is a tutor. The law is a guardian. And I look at that tutor, I look at that schoolmaster and I say “I don’t measure up”. How do I measure up? I fail. I fail again. And the schoolmaster says you are right. You are right again. Now, let’s go get a solution, and he carries me to Jesus. That is why after the death, burial and resurrection He took them to the Old Testament and He unpacked the law showing them Hey, here I am on this page. Here I am over here. Look at this sacrifice right here. That is me. Look at this fulfillment of prophesy. That is me. The law, the Torah, is our schoolmaster. It is our tutor. It is our guardian and it takes us to Christ. We don’t read the law to put ourselves under bondage. There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. The objective of reading the law is not so that you become so miserable. It is to remind yourself of how awesome it is to have your sins forgiven and what Christ did on the cross for you.

Group A attempts to keep the dietary laws of the old covenant. Group B is not concerned. So we are going to call this group vegetarians. Just for the moment of this sermon; you are released from this at noon. Group B over here you are the libertarians, not the political party, but you have lots of liberty in Christ and you love that liberty and you embrace it. This is what Paul says to the church and he could write to us today. He could write to us right now. He could say, I want to speak to Berean Baptist Church. I want this letter read at the next assembly. This is what he would say.

Concerning Group A, who is weak in the faith, welcome them. So all of you over here, welcome Group A into the congregation. Embrace them. Sit next to them. Invite them out to lunch. Come to Sunday school class. Welcome them. But do not quarrel over opinions. Receive them. Welcome them. Embrace them. Fill your church with them. Paul knew that a divide was happening in Rome. No doubt he was writing for a specific issue. No doubt the church was beginning to split in Rome. And the group that kept the dietary laws was assembling and the group that didn’t and these groups were not welcome one to another. So he says, Hey, listen Group B when they come through your doors, you welcome them into the assembly and you embrace them into the assembly. You get to know their names. And you are not doing this to bring them over to your side. That is not what you are doing. You are not engaging them for a relationship to win them over to become libertarian. If they don’t want to eat meat, there is more for you. You don’t worry about it.

Here is Paul’s message to us in the year 2010. Listen, this is so important for everyone at Berean Baptist Church to get this. The non-essentials of the faith must not have any bearing on who is welcome into this church and who isn’t. The non-essentials. No one ever gets looked down upon because they don’t measure up to what our perceived higher standard is. No one ever gets looked down upon for whatever our perceived liberty in Christ is, that they chose not to have that liberty for whatever reason and we look over there with our self-righteous pungent nose and we say I can’t believe you are not embracing the liberty. Or from this side we say, Oh, I can’t believe you are taking advantage of the liberty you have in Christ. That is so repulsive. And we say “I can’t believe you are sticking to the Old Testament Torah like that”. Don’t you understand that Christ died to set you free? And both groups are despising each other from a different perspective. Do you understand it?

Let me use this analogy. Picture a Toyota Tacoma truck. It is a great truck. Someday I am going to have one. There is an essential to the truck—the wheels. That cargo bed is an essential to the truck. That rack is a non-essential. You don’t need a rack to have a truck. You don’t need those stickers to have a truck. You don’t even need a bumper to have a truck. I remember the first Toyota I bought didn’t even have a bumper. A bumper was an option back then. How many of you can remember when bumpers where options? Doors, two doors or four doors or a cab, those are all non-essentials. You just have to have a way into the truck. These accessories so that you can roll down the window and stay dry, the type of rims you can have spray painted silver or you can have thousand dollar rims with those little tiny wheels that kind of look a little ridiculous. Preacher, we are not concerned about trucks.

Alright. We are not. These are the non-essentials that the church is battling with today: Music, Bible Translations, Pants on Ladies, October 31st, Christmas Trees, Alcohol in moderation, Dress on Sunday mornings, with a tie or more casual. Those are the non-essential issue that we are battling. Let’s remember none of these things impact salvation by grace. None of these impact the deity of Christ. None of these impact whether we are a Baptist church or not. These have nothing to do with the essential core elements of Christianity. According to Paul, Berean Baptist Church must not have the goal of filling the church only with those who agree on the non-essentials. Let me break this down so you all understand because this is relevant. This is relevant for our church for years to come. We are not trying to create cookie cutter members who all listen to the same music, carry the same Bible, buy the same shirts, always wear that, don’t wear that, do the same thing on October 31st, no one has a Christmas tree in their house. We are not trying to do that. In the exact same way that we want to make sure that we have blacks, whites, Hispanics, Koreans, and every nationality in the congregation, we also want to make sure that we respect individual differences have on the non-essentials of the faith. So, you and I can have a difference of understanding on any of those topics and you are welcomed and embraced and received into this church as a member and as a fellow brother in Christ. That is the message. No one is made to feel like a second class citizen because they don’t measure up to whatever we have determined in our own mind as Group A or Group B. No one is made to feel like a second class citizen because they are not wearing a tie or they are wearing a tie or because they have pants on or they don’t have pants on or because they went to the concert last night or they didn’t go to the concert last night. Or they sent Johnny out to the festivities or they didn’t send him.

Please look at verses 2 and 3. Group B believes they can eat off things. Group A only eats vegetables. Let not Group B despise Group A and let not Group A judge Group B. Make sure that is not happening. For who art thou that judges another man’s servant? Who made you the pope of the church? Who made you the bishop of the Sunday school class? Who elevated you to that position? Notice what it says, He stands or falls yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. Then someone says, that means we are not going to do any judging in the body of Christ. No one ever corrects anyone. No. That is not the case at all.

Galatians 6:1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. So what we have to decide in the body of Christ every time is if this is essential or if it is non-essential. If it is an essential of the faith, then I am going to go to you. We are going to quarrel about this. We are going to have words about this. You cannot leave your wife. You are called to be a husband. That is essential. You cannot say to me that I feel the Lord leading me to abandon my family. No, that is not a non-essential of the faith. I am going to come to you and say, No, you are in a fault. You are in a transgression. You are called to remain faithful to your wife until death do you part, and I need to encourage you to remain faithful. Why? Essentials of the faith must be confronted. You cannot depart into unorthodox doctrine. If anyone in this church starts teaching that Jesus is already coming again and we are living in the millennial kingdom, you are going to be corrected because an essential of the faith is that Christ is coming again. He has not already come. But if someone says, Hey, I went to that concert last night and another one says I can’t believe you went to that concert last night. Wait a minute. Are you entering into Group A judging Group B?

Every time the issue becomes is this essential or non-essential? We are not going to allow something to come into this church and split us over something that is called an essential of the faith. Paul talked about that with wolves in sheep’s clothing. But wait a minute; if you have a preference of music that is different than my preference of music, then we are going to respect each others’ differences.

Here are the non-essentials. One person feels the liberty to read other Bible translation; another limits himself to the King James Version. Now that is a real thing that the church is battling in America and normally only in Baptist churches. If you find yourself in Group A or Group B, you are not to go around as the translation police trying to fix everyone. You’re not looking for someone who is carrying something other than what you are carrying and then beginning to create within the congregation two groups—Group A and Group B and your job is to sway all of them into your camp. You are not to do that.

What are you to do? Look at what verse one says. You welcome them. The word literally means not for scrutinizing of thoughts, not with searching out and pronouncing judgment on their opinions. If they say to you, Hey, why do you read that translation? Answer their question. That is a realistic question. If they ask why do you limit yourself? Tell them, I have some concerns with some of the ways the modern translations are removing some stuff, so this is my preference. And then let it go at that. Your job is not to convert them to your side. You let them make up their own opinion. Tell them why you believe what you believe. Tell them why you make the decisions you make. Tell them your logic. Tell them the Scriptures that you use. But in the end, you don’t judge them.

Group A doesn’t invite them to their Bible study only to ambush them at the Bible study. Hey man, I sure would like for you to come to the men’s Bible study and then the men’s Bible study is set out to have an ambush on why you shouldn’t be using that translation. That is not what we are supposed to be doing. You welcome him because he is a brother in Christ.

Instead, look at verse four. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. May I remind you that the preacher is not the master of the congregation? We have far too many Baptist preachers who are assuming popish roles in the congregation and their job is to get everyone conformed to their image using their own personal preferences. That is wrong. I make up my own standards for my family and you make up yours for your family. And we are to respect our differences.

Scenerio #2 is that Group A keeps all the Jewish laws and festivals and Group B views all days the same. One group is living back in the Feast of the Tabernacle and Passover. The other says that is all gone. We ought to respect the differences.

Let’s make it modern. Let’s bring it to the 21st century. Let’s make it relevant today. There are three groups in the church. Group A are home school. You love home schooling and you have embraced it for your life. This group over here is Group B and you chose private school. Group C over here, you guys are choosing public education for your children. Those are three relevant groups in the church. Let’s make sure that in Berean Baptist Church that there is never a time that one group is despising another group for the choice that they make for their family. Please listen to me. This is so important. If you are in the nursery, if you are in AWANA, if you are in the hallways, if you are at a Bible study, or the narthex or the coffee shop, and you are talking about and you say, I can’t believe they send their kids to and fill in the blank. I can’t believe they are sheltering their kids. I can’t believe this. Who in the world would send their child to Jack Britt? Or the reverse is why would you want to shelter your child in a private school? If you are talking that way in the church, you are ignoring what Paul tells us which is to welcome and receive each other to not quarrel.

Let me make it even more clear. If you are at dinner having a conversation about Group A, B or C because you are in one group and you don’t like what the other group is doing, you are sinning. You can talk in theory about one preference over another, but listen, when you are calling out families’ names and you are saying I can’t believe the Browns send their children there or I can’t believe the Smiths are going there. When you are calling out names, you are doing exactly what Paul says to the church at Rome which is not to do. You let every family make up their own mind for their children.

Let me give you three quick points of application. Number 1, all three groups should be welcomed into the church. We are not trying to create a church in which every single family sends their children to our little school. We are not trying to have a youth group in which if you don’t go to Berean Baptist Academy you are not welcomed because we are the in group. We wear the cool t-shirt, and you don’t. You go over there. That is not the way the youth group is supposed to be. The youth group is supposed to be filled with public school, private school and home school who are all brothers and sisters in Christ and respect each others’ differences. And if in our youth group, one group is despising another group or isolating from another group you are in fact disobeying what Paul tells us in Romans 14.

Number 2, there shouldn’t be anyone passing judgment, gossiping or quarrelling about any other group. If you are talking about Group A that went to the concert, and you can’t believe that they went to listen to that group, you are ignoring this. Now if you want to talk about why they are not in church, that is a different story. You shouldn’t go to a concert as your substitute for corporate worship. If it is out too late and you can’t get up, then don’t go to the concert. A Saturday night concert at the Crown coliseum does not constitute corporate worship in the body of Christ. It is an additional activity.

What about Number 3? Let’s look at the sentence in the verse. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. So number 1, respect our differences. Number 2, don’t quarrel. Number 3, you don’t embrace something because I said it. You embrace it because you have studied it through and you have prayed about it. You are fully convinced in your own mind. Why do you believe such and such? Well, the preacher believes it. No. Not because the preacher believes it. Not because the chaplain believes it. Not because John MacArthur believes it. No. That is not the reason to believe something. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Each group needs to fully convinced in his own mind.

According to Romans 13:5 you have a conscience. Make sure you are listening to your conscience. Group A says, Hey we give thanks, and regard the day; the other one does not and also he does it as an act of worship. Group B eats and thanks the Lord. Group A obstains. Both are doing it with a clear conscience before God.

Let’s make it relevant since it happens to be October 31. Group A abstains from trick or treating as an act of biblical separation from the world. Group B lets little Sally get dressed up and go around with her little plastic pumpkin and get some free candy because they are cheap skates and don’t want to buy Sally any candy themselves. Let every family be persuaded in their own minds. We are not to judge other families for what they did last night. We are not going around as the police going to get everyone doing the same thing on that day. Every family needs to be fully persuaded in their own mind. Now “fully persuaded” does not mean that Johnny wore you out and you succumbed to them. That is not fully persuaded. Can I go? Yes, just to shut you up. No, that is not fully persuaded. Fully persuaded is you work through it and you have make a decision for yourself.

Let me give you three quick keys. What do I do if I am not fully persuaded on an issue? Let me give you three quick keys. Number 1, consult with others. Let’s go back to home school, private school or public school. As a home school family, why do you home school? As a private school family why do you send them to private school? Ask another family, why do you send them to public school? Go around and ask. Is it a conviction or a preference? Is it a money issue? Why do you do what you do? Are there Bible verses that have led you toward that opinion? Then what are you going to do next? Study the Bible. Look at the Bible verse that they quoted. Do you see the same application for your family? Jeremiah 10 is the ridiculous text that talks about bowing before a tree and so a bunch of people have applied that to no Christmas trees. You open up Jeremiah 10 and by my own statement when I use the word ridiculous you can see I don’t believe that is what that means. But you open up the Word of God and you decide what does this mean for me and my family and then you pray about it.

Here is what I want to tell you at Berean Baptist Church. We are okay with diversity. Our goal is not to fill the church only with every single person that agrees with us. It is just the opposite. We want diversity in the body of Christ. We want some diversity. We are not looking for everyone to look like us, smell like us, walk like us. But wait a minute. This is so important. Let’s just say for the sake of discussion that people that drive trucks go to heaven and people who drive cars go to hell. What are you saying, Preacher? We are going to welcome people in that we want to see change. We want to see them change to Christ. That is the difference. You can have a difference in music, but you can’t have a difference in Christ. What I am showing you with this analogy, let’s just say for the sake of discussion, that people who drive trucks are followers of Christ and people who don’t drive trucks are various other sundries of nonbelievers. So if someone comes into our congregation driving a car, we are going to pray that the Lord would move them to become an owner of a truck. What do you mean? I mean to become a Christian. We are not going to just let Patrick sit in the congregation week after week as an unbeliever without being concerned. Wait a minute. If he wants to drive a Nissan Titan or a Toyota Tacoma or a Chevy or a Ford or a Honda or an old Dodge, that is his business as long as he is in Christ. We are going to pray for you and lead you and admonish you and encourage you to move from this side onto the side where there are followers of Christ. We don’t want you staying an unbeliever. We need you to come to Christ. Our desire is for you to repent and put your faith in Christ. Not to fix everything to get you lined up and look like us in every way. No. But we do want you to come to Christ.

We could say it like this. We want everyone to drive a truck, but we don’t want a parking lot full of black, Toyota Tacoma, 4x4 pick-up trucks with racks on it. We are not looking for someone to drive by our church and see every single person driving the exact same vehicle. We are not wanting someone to come into our congregation and notice that everyone dresses the exact same way, listens to the exact same music, and does the same things, and if you don’t conform to that, you sure are made to feel uncomfortable because we are all white in this church or we are all black in this church or we all carry this Bible in this church or we all listen to this music in this church or we all abstained on this day. No. We want some diversity in the body of Christ. Why? We want every person fully convinced in their own mind.

God Ordains the Governing Authorities in Our Life

Romans 13:1-4Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to them damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good workds but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is the ministerof God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

What I want to teach you is how you should think about the governing authorities, how you should think about the President, how you should think about the governor, local government, state government, your parents, your boss at work, your commander. I want to teach you how to have a biblical worldview about these things. You either have a biblical world view - that means you think the way the Bible would have you think, or you have your own self world view, that is where you determine what you believe and don’t believe. I want to teach you what it is to have a biblical worldview about the governing authorities. I want to remind you that when Paul wrote to the church at Rome, this fellow, Nero was in charge. I want to remind you that Nero wasn’t a democratically emperor. I want to remind you that no one got to vote for him being in charge. I want to remind you that this is the guy who blamed the entire fire in Rome on the Christians even though they were just as innocent as can be he blamed the Christians for burning the city down and when that happened, a great persecution began against the Christians in Rome. So here is Paul writing to Christians in Rome and he saying, You obey these secular, pagan authority figures. You obey them. You do what they tell you to do. These who are not Christians, these who maybe you didn’t vote for, these who you don’t agree with, these governing authorities that you really don’t care too much for, you obey them. These heathens are ordained by God. I want you to understand how involved God is in your world. So many Christians think of God in a little church box. There is God, He’s over there in a little church box, has a little cute cross on it. When we are at church we will worship God, when we are done, we leave and go home, but God stays there. That is a little, small, wimpy kind of a God. That is not the God we are going to learn about today that governs the affairs of man.

The Greek word that is translated “ordained” in our King James Bible is instituted, it is established; it’s appointed. One of those four words is used to communicate this idea. So God establishes who the President of the United States is. God appoints the governor of North Carolina. God appoints these people into your lives. They are God-ordained authorities and for whatever time they are in authority they are ordained because God. They are not there because they ran a great campaign. It may be that a Sovereign God used a great campaign to get them elected. But we don’t have a situation where God is on the edge going, I wonder who is going to win down there. That is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible ordained this governing authority. He is in charge. He is Sovereign. Where did Paul get this understanding of the affairs of man? He got them from the 39 canonical books of the Old Testament. This is the foundation for your New Testament. A foundation is what you build upon. Our New Testament is build upon 39 books originally written in the Hebrew language. And they are the foundation. Everyone knows if you are going to build a large building you are going to need a deep, solid, wide, awesome, strong, well put together foundation. They are working at ground zero right now. That is actually a ramp, in order to build this great foundation. When you read your Old Testament you are reading foundational verses to teach you more about the New Testament. So let me show you this great verse.

Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. Mohammed is not a god. Buddha is not a god. There is one, true and living God. You say we have heard this before. Yes, you have and you are going to hear it again and again. According to my Bible, Deuteronomy teaches us that we are supposed to be teaching that to our children when they rise up, when they are walking and when they are sitting, they are supposed to be hearing all day long that there is one and only one God. And if you don’t hear this in church and you watch the news all week long you are going to get real confused. There is no one else like Me, and this is what I do: I declare the end from the beginning. That is pretty awesome. I would like to be able to declare the end from the beginning. We would win all soccer games if I could declare the end from the beginning. We would always win. We would win all the basketball games if I could declare the end from the beginning. I can’t do that. Only God can declare the end from the beginning. From even before the creation of the world He said that the end is going to look like that. I know what the end is going to look like and I know how we are going to get to that end. He says, From the ancient times the things that are not yet done. In the mind of God, they are done. The things, from our perspective that are not yet done. This is what I do. I declare the end from the beginning. And this is what He says: My counsel is going to stand. I will do everything that I want to do according to My pleasure. There is no one that stays the hand of God. There is no one that gets involved.

So in America uses or controls the vote to ordain the governing authorities. Now you vote and that is right and proper and we should vote. And you should vote as a Christian. You should use Christian values. But at the end of the day when we have all cast our vote, and the vote is tallied, God says, That is who is in charge and I put him there. We don’t determine that God lost on November 4th if our political persuasion did not get elected. God always wins. God won, is winning and will always win. He is never losing. God is orchestrating the affairs of men in a unique and spectacular way beyond our wildest comprehensions. That is what I want to cast the vision for.

Some suggest that God’s Sovereignty is a bi-product of His foreknowledge, but that is not what the Bible teaches. For example, Psalm 105:17 says, He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: to set the condition for Israel’s deliverance from famine. It doesn’t say God knew Joseph was going to end up there. The Bible says God sent Joseph. He was a sent one according to God’s sovereign authority. So if God’s sovereignty is based upon foreknowledge this verse would not work. We are not dealing with a God Who is a mathematician. We are not dealing with a God Who knows all the probability, lines them up and does statistical analysis of them to determine what is the most likely outcome? That is not our God. Our God declares the end from the beginning. Our God is orchestrating in the affairs of men in most miraculous way.

Now if your life is fine and things are going well for you, this is not too much. But I promise you when you hit that valley, and you are way down and life is really struggling for you, and you are in the valley you are going to need to know that He is still on the throne. You are going to need to know that He is still governing in the affairs of men. When you hit a valley, you need to know that He wasn’t off the throne, that He wasn’t absent, He wasn’t taking a nap. Consider this verse please. Isaiah 44:28, That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Cyrus. Not a prophet. Not a convert. Not a Jew. Not a Christian. A pagan of pagans, an idolater of idolaters, a proud, arrogant, world leader, and God says that Cyrus, that is my shepherd. We are not talking about a Christian, or someone who is born again. We are not talking about someone that worships Jehovah. That is now what we are saying. Church, we are saying a pagan of pagans and God says, that is My shepherd. He is going to do what I want him to do and this the most amazing thing that you need to understand. When he is doing it, he is going to think he is doing it. When he comes up with a good idea, he is going think that was his idea and it was a good idea. And he is not going to think that he was a puppet being orchestrated. But he is in a most amazing way. Because the Bible says, he is the one that will send him back to Jerusalem, he is the one that shall build the temple and to the foundation be laid. God is going to use him to get the Jews back to their land and to get the temple built.

Now, turn to Daniel 4, and I want to show you for the rest of our time an incredible chapter. I hope that you can get as excited about this chapter as I am because I am going to come unglued. This is an amazing chapter so I just want you to know ahead of time that the preacher came unglued. Now this is a great chapter. Every Christian needs to understand this chapter inside and out. Nebuchadnezzar is a legitimate Babylonian king. This is a rendition on perhaps the currency or some type of seal. We are not dealing with a biblical character. Remember we don’t have Bible over here and Western civilization over here. They are intertwined. Stop thinking that you are going to study the Bible and put it in an isolated box and then I am going to go over here and study Western civilization and now I am learning about something different. This is my Sunday School fairy land information over here and then this is the real stuff over here. Stop thinking that way. There is one historical narrative of world history and God has been in the affairs of man from the very beginning.

So he is the one that captured Jerusalem, he is the one that ransacked the temple, he is the one that carted off guys like Daniel back to Iraq. This is who we are talking about. He is mentioned throughout your Bible. He is a real character. This is a picture of cylinder in which he offers a proclamation on a stone wheel and it would print across it. And you could take it and you could roll it and you could get the message off from it. This is in an actual museum and this is the kind of letter that we are going to read about in chapter 4. Chapter 3 says I want you all to worship this golden image and you know what happens? They refuse the image and God comes through. Now because of him saying I want this image worshipped God is going to deal with him in Daniel 4. Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I though it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. So what we are going to get is a historical record of what he learned beginning in verse 4. How great are his signs! And how mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation. I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make know unto me the interpretation thereof. But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Balteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream saying, O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the vision of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beast in the grass of the earth; Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. This matter is by the degree of the watchers and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. All this is going to happen to you, Nebuchadnezzar, so anyone that is alive will understand that the most High rules in the kingdom of men. That is why this is happening. Let’s all understand the Bible teaches that God is intimately involved in the affairs of man. We do not have a God Who is way far away looking down with big binoculars watching everything happen. We have a God that is involved in who your boss. We have a God who knows who your commander is and put you in that unit for an express purpose. We know God knows who your boss is. Who knows who your parents are, who knows who your principle is, who knows who the governor is and the mayor and every single governing authority and they are all there because He ordained them. That is our God. Anything less than that is not a biblical world view. If you decide that you do not agree with that, you are disagreeing not with the preacher, but with the word of God. This matter is by the degree of the watchers and the demand of the word of the holy ones. Pay attention to those two words and we will come back to them in just a minute. Verse 18. This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou are able, for the spirit of the holy god is in thee. Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies. This is a way of saying that he loves him, he supports him, he doesn’t want to see this happen to Nebuchadnezzar. The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: Verse 22. It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying. Now let’s stop for just a moment. If God was to open your eyes and you were able to see the degree to which God is working in an invisible way it would be mind boggling. This is what we think. I’m sorry, but let’s just say what we think. We think there is God and us. We have no earthly idea how awesome God is. It is beyond our wildest comprehension the number of angels, watchers, holy ones that He has on this earth right now orchestrating His will in a most amazing way beyond your wildest comprehension. If we were able to put on supernatural glasses and see principalities, powers, things present, things to come, and that God is doing we would be amazed to go to a battlefield in Afghanistan and see divine angels intervening on behalf of the prayers of God’s people. The Bible is going to say in a few minutes that God has an army of heaven. We think that there is a little god up there, kind of a cosmic Santa Claus, but that is not our God, Church. Our God is magnificent, Sovereign huge God Who has orchestrated affairs beyond our comprehension with layers and layers of angelic beings who are accomplishing His will all along the way in a most amazing way on every single continent, on every single moment of every single day. Now, I gave you a warning that I was going to come unglued on this. Watchers, holy ones, being sent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to go to various locations and make sure God’s will is always accomplished.

We have unfortunately allowed comic books to influence how we think. We have good and we have evil. Or Greek mythology. And these two are kind of struggling all the time. And sometimes God is down and they are winning, and sometime God is winning and they are down. That is not the Bible. Let me make sure you understand that He won, He is winning and He will win. Sometimes Christians will say something like I have read the end of the book and God wins. No, no, no. He won, is winning and will win!! That is a biblical worldview. He is never down trying to get up. Do you understand that God has been using Satan to orchestrate the affairs of man any time He wants at His beck and call? You don’t have God and Satan battling it out like two brothers that are constantly fighting. That is not a biblical worldview. A biblical worldview is the Sovereign God of the Universe has always been ruling and reigning in a most amazing way. Why? Verse 23. Hew down the tree. Destroy it; but you leave the stump right there. You are going to hack it off. Verse 25. They are going to drive you from the men and the dwelling shall be with the beast of the field and you will eat grass like oxen and they shall wet you with the dew of heaven until seven times passes over and you are going to stay in that condition until you really understand that the Most High rules in the kingdom of man and He gives it to whoever He wants. So you don’t get arrogant with God. You don’t say that I finally arrived. You don’t say I am here. You never, ever assume that arrogant posture with God. Whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. Not that the heavens will rule. Not that the heavens are going to win someday. Not that Jesus eventually gets a kingdom. He has always had a kingdom. The Bible never presents the Sovereignty of God as a fatalistic determinism, yet it never leaves any doubt concerning God’s authority. Look at 27. O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility. Stop sinning. Show mercy to the poor. You know what he is getting? He is getting an opportunity to repent. He is getting a chance to be saved. It doesn’t have to go this way. We don’t have to go down this route. Please listen, Daniel is now standing like a soul winner and he is looking right at Nebuchadnezzar and he is saying, You don’t have to go there. It is not too late. You can turn from this. You can turn from your sin. You can begin showing mercy. This is a warning to you. This is an opportunity to turn back. It doesn’t have to be this way, King. My tree trunk doesn’t have a brass ring around it. It is missing, that is why large chunks have been removed. That is why it is deteriorating.

Romans 2:4 says, Do you despise the riches of his goodness in the forbearance and the longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God should be leading you to repent. It is not too late for you this morning. You can turn. You can turn from your sin right now. Listen, it is not too late. Do you know what the band of brass represents? The band of brass is a symbol of God’s grace. You see, the trunk is right there. It is large and if there is no brass around the trunk, I can take an axe and divide the kingdom and splits and it fragments. But God says, No I am in charge. And that is not going to happen in the kingdom because I am going to give you an opportunity to repent. I am going to give you an opportunity to recognize that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men so I am going to wrap this brass of iron around here and this brass shows you that I am a God of love, I am God of grace, I am a God of mercy, and you have an opportunity to repent.

Let’s make sure that we all understand King Nebuchadnezzar, you are going to either bow the knee now or you are going to bow the knee later. But you are going to bow the knee. You are going to bow it now or you are going to bow it later, but here is the reality, you will bow the knee. And may I tell you, You are not going to bow to Buddha. You are not going to bow to Muhammad and you are not going to bow to Allah. You are not going to bow to anyone other than King Jesus. So my dear friend, you know that you have not bowed the knee to King Jesus. You know you have not submitted to His lordship in your life. You know that you are here because your wife is making you come to church and He is not the King of your life. You don’t recognize Him as King. You don’t see Him as the One Who is ruling in the affairs of men. He doesn’t rule in your world. You rule in your world. You know I am talking to you this morning. You know you are that man sitting there this morning sitting in charge and you are not going to let the spirit of God come inside your life. You are the King. Right now, my friend, there is a band of grace wrapped around you holding God’s love and mercy around you. But that is not an everlasting band of grace. Only through Jesus Christ can you find true salvation. This was a temporary band. 28 and 29. All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? Can’t you see him walking in all his clothing and all his badges, all his awards thinking he is something and he’s looking over all his lands and all that he has done? He is saying, Wow, I am the man, as far as I can see that is my kingdom. As far to the east and to the west and to the north and to the south and he is arrogant and he is filled with pride. My kingdom, my glory, my majesty, my power. Don’t miss this. When was the last time you thanked God for anything? When was the last time you thanked God for a promotion? When was the last time you thanked God for anything in your life? Standing there arrogant with his own wisdom, his own might, his own wealth, his checking account, his 401K, big and mighty. And the Bible says, While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. You say, I can’t believe you are so fired up this morning. Church, I don’t know how you can preach this and not preach it this way. Because this is that kind of a text. This requires a deliberate type of message. While he was speaking, Your kingdom is done. This is it. Hold your place please. But for those of you that are saying, That is the Old Testament, those of you that are deciding that is the God of the Old Testament and you like the God of the New Testament turn to Luke.

For those of you that are saying, That is not my God. My God is a loving God. Turn to Luke 12, for those of you that are saying, I don’t agree with your interpretation of that, Preacher. For those of you that are sitting there thinking, God is not really that big. That is not what Jesus would do. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much good laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry. May I tell you that sounds like most of the television commercials about your retirement. Remember you have to get your financial plan together. You are going to meet with your broker so that you get to live out your dreams. That is why you are working so hard and banking all you can so that someday you can say to yourself you have a huge 401K plan, so you can say to yourself, Soul, relax. Soul, golf more. Soul, fish more. Soul, enjoy life. Remember this is Jesus. Those of you that are saying Old Covenant, New Covenant. We are in the New Covenant. This is Jesus, But God said unto him, you fool harsh word, not a kind word. Fool is a harsh word. Food is a rough word in the Bible. Stupid, ignorant fool, This night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be which thou has provided? Then who is going to be in charge of your 401K plan? Then who is going to drive your Harley? Then who is going to watch your 72” flat-screen television? Then who is going to drive your boat? So many of you are working so hard, saving up as much money as you can so you can give it to your children who are going to blow through it in 12 or less months. And if you look at your will, if you look at who is going to get your inheritance, the church of Jesus Christ is nowhere in there. It is not even in that mix. You are not even concerned about the church. You are not saying, I could fund this, I could do this, I could set up a scholarship fund, the kingdom of God could go forward, we could fund more missionaries. That is not even in your mindset right now. All you are thinking about is I am going to earn all I can to give to my children who are going to burn through it as fast as they can. And this is what the word of God says so clear, don’t miss it, Then who shall these things be? Then who is going to get it? Do you understand that you will not direct your 401K plan from heaven? Do you understand that dead is dead? You are not reaching down and saying, I don’t like the way they are investing that. So, is he that saith, so is he that treasureth treasures for himself and is not rich toward God. Where is your money going? Is it invested in your stuff or the kingdom of God?

So look at 32 and 33. You have to see the end. The end is amazing. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. You say, I don’t believe that. Really? You don’t believe that. I don’t believe that. That is ridiculous. How many know someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Do they lose their mind? This is what I believe happened. I believe that in a millisecond of time, God took over his mind. And just like that he was down on his hands and knees like this. And he never got up and he didn’t shower and he didn’t brush his teeth and didn’t cut his fingernails. And you can’t govern a kingdom like this. This king has to sit on the throne. The king has to judge cases. You can’t govern on your hands and knees. Your mind is your mind because God is allowing you to have that mind. And He will allow you to have that mind as long as He allows you and only for as long as He allows you. Just like you didn’t determine who your parents were, you didn’t determine what continent you were born on, you didn’t determine your skin color, you didn’t determine your language. You don’t determine how long you have a sound mind. Any given moment, God can take your mind from you just like that. No longer eating with forks and knifes and spoons. You fingernails are getting long and your hair is all over the place. And you are nasty and you stink and you are crawling around. This is not a cute, little story to teach 4-year-olds. This is an adult story for adults who need to learn Who is in charge. You see, King Nebuchadnezzar, you can bow the knee now, or you can bow the knee later, but you are going to bow the knee. You will bow the knee. The Bible says, seven times if that were on a Hebrew calendar we would go 360 times 7 and that is the exact number of days.

Here is what I find that is amazing, please don’t miss this. He didn’t lose his kingdom. Do you understand how significant that is? If the President of the United States would start crawling around in the White House and we would see FOX News reporting that President Obama is on his knees out there we would have him out of office and the next guy would be in that quick. But in an amazing way, God preserved the king’s kingdom. So here is the king in the back, eating like this, and everyone is telling the world, he is fine. He is fine. No public appearances today, but he is fine. And who is orchestrating that? God is in a most amazing way. Verse 33. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: And at the of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever: whose dominion is everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. If you die and go to hell, don’t tell anyone that the preacher didn’t tell you about Jesus. Don’t tell anyone that you didn’t know you were going to have to bow the knee before King Jesus. Don’t walk around in hell going, I was amazed. I didn’t know I had to do that. You are getting a fair warning right now. And you don’t know if you are going to get another one. You don’t know if you are going to get another day. You don’t know if you are going to walk out of that door and step on a crack and have a massive heart attack and you are in the presence of God right then and there. You don’t decide I will repent when I want to repent. You repent now. You trust Christ now. I want to show you this last truth and I will be done right after this. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and non can stay his hand, or say until him, What doest thou? The army of heaven. Not some small little guys going, Boy, I sure hope I win in the end. No one can say, What are you doing, God?

This verse teaches us how Sovereign God is. This is a true saying or of a truth. This is truth. This is like verily, verily, this is what the Bible is teaching very clearly. God put Herod in place. God put Pontius Pilate in place. God put the Sadducees in place. God put the Pharisees in place. God orchestrated the Roman Centurion and ever other person that was involved in the death of Jesus Christ. Make sure that you understand that you don’t have a warped view that God was losing on the cross of Calvary. Make sure that you understand that God did not get an ambush on the cross of Calvary and had to come through 3 days later and win the victory. That is not what was happening. The Bible teaches that God orchestrated this entire thing from before the foundation of the world to do whatsoever thy hand and thou counsel has determined to do before to be done. Folks, that is your God. That is your God if you are born again. That is your God ruling and reigning in the affairs of man at all times. So on November 4th whether this group has the house or that group has the house or whether the tea party or the coffee party or whatever comes through it won’t make a hill of beans. He is still in charge. Now don’t misunderstand, you vote. You vote according to your convictions and after you cast your vote you say, God you are in charge. God take make my vote and use it as You see fit.

The True Marks of a Christian

This passage is like an old fashioned laundry list. Maybe you don’t know where that idea comes from. We say sometimes as husbands that we have a laundry list from my wife. That means he has a whole lot of things to do. An old fashioned laundry list: a fellow would come by and check off 3 socks, 5 handkerchiefs were a nickel a piece and 2 shirts and some socks; those things make up a laundry list. Verses 9-21 actually become a laundry list, if you will, of what a Christian is supposed to look like, what a Christian is supposed to think and act like in this world. I want to read it like that. I want to kind of modify the text just a little bit to make it a bit more personal.

Romans 12:9-21
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good..

We need to make sure our love is genuine. We need real love in the body of Christ. So we are going to consciously move away from that which is evil and make sure as much as within us we are cleaving to good things. We love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. We are not lazy in business. We are not lazy workers. Prayer is a part of a Christian’s life. This is our laundry list. This is someone who has been changed by the power of the gospel.

Before we get into 12 I want to give us some pre-12 marks of a true Christian. Let me just share my pastor’s heart with you for just a minute. I am really concerned that there has been an incredible number of people who have professed that this year is the year they got saved and you still haven’t been baptized. I don’t understand what is going on with that. Let me be real pointed, if you have been scripturally baptized, you can just kind of take a 30 second break. I want to speak to those of you who would say 2010 is the year that I have been saved. I don’t understand what you are waiting for in getting baptized. I am going to be real pointed about this. Acts 2 they received the word of God and they were baptized. I don’t understand how you are claiming Jesus is your Lord and you are not getting baptized. I don’t understand where personal pride is keeping you from making a personal profession of your faith in Christ. If you have in fact been saved after your baptism you need to be baptized again. That is very clear in Scripture. An infant baptism, a pre-salvation baptism is not believer’s baptism. Believer’s baptism is only those who profess to know Christ. So if you were a teenager at Anchorage this summer and you say you got saved, you should be asking the church you. The fact that you got baptized when you were 7, 8 or 9 is pre-salvation. You got wet. That is what you got. That is all that was. Now you are going to get baptized. Young men, may I speak to you? I don’t understand why the soldiers and the young men in our congregation are not stepping up and following the Lord in believer’s baptism. I am going to be real pointed right now. I am starting out a little bit too obnoxious real early in the sermon. Let me tone down a little bit. I cannot imagine being a soldier praying to God for protection while ignoring the Holy Spirit on believer’s baptism. I don’t understand that at all. If you are a young man, 20-25 years old, and you got saved and you are not willing to bow the knee to King Jesus in the baptismal pool and humble yourself before the body of Christ and make a profession of faith something is wrong and you need to get on your knees after the sermon and begin to figure out what is going on.

Number 2, after they were baptized they were added unto a church. Acts 2:47 says And the Lord added unto the ecclesia. The called out assembly. I am very concerned about the number of “Christians” who are not joining a church. The local New Testament church in Fayetteville is not the mall where you go to JC Penney in the morning and Belk in the afternoon and Talbots later on, and you kind of pick and chose your favorite store. That is not the churches in Fayetteville. Every Christian according to the Word of God is to be united with a church. Now, listen to me please, those of you that aren’t part of a church. Listen so closely, we are living in a society that wants the intimacy of marriage without the covenant of marriage. And that is moving into our church relationships. We want the benefits of the local church without the covenant of the local church. I am not interested in a relationship in which I am your pastor and you are part of the body of Christ. So I am amazed at the number of Christians that spend 3 years in Fayetteville and still haven’t found a church yet. That is ridiculous. So don’t name the name of Jesus and avoid the church that He died for.

Matthew 16, Jesus said I am building the church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it and there is a tremendous number of “Christians” in Fayetteville that want nothing to do with the church. That is wrong. That is clearly wrong. Some of you need to be back tonight and be baptized. You have been avoiding it and avoiding it. It is time now to yield to believer’s baptism.

Paul wrote to the church at Rome. He wrote to the church at Gentiles. The body of Christ, the local church is what God is working through. Soldiers, the navigators is not the body of Christ. It may be an assembly of Christians, but it if doesn’t have a God ordained pastor, if it’s not bound together in a covenant relationship it is not a church. It is not a substitute for the local church. Para church ministries like Campus Crusade are wonderful and every college student that is going to a secular school should be part of that. But that is not a substitute for being part of a local church in your city on Sunday mornings. You don’t decide I will go to the Tuesday Campus Crusade for Christ so that I can sleep in on Sunday morning. That is not biblical. That is the pre-sermon. Now we will get into the text.

It is really almost impossible for us to understand what Paul meant when he said bless those that are persecuting you. It really is. Let’s be honest. Let’s be frank. We have to come to grips that most of us will not see a Christian ripped apart body part by body part by lions. We use the word, persecute around here and what a joke. We have no clue what persecution is. We can’t even fathom ladies, what it would be like to sit there and watch your husband being carted off by Roman soldiers and you know you will never ever see him again on this side of eternity because he is going into a stadium and lions are going to rip his very body apart while the crowd enjoys it. We cannot fathom what it would be like to look up on a pole and to see your father or mother wrapped around with a cord and oil doused on them and they stand on that pole for hours and burn as light for the city. So let’s make sure that we understand that when Paul speaks to us in verse 14 and he says bless them that persecute you, he is not talking about someone who is reigning on your parade. He is not talking about someone who cut you off on Yadkin Road. That is not what He is talking about. He is talking about men and women losing their life for the cause of Christ and I want to say very clearly that America does not have a traveler’s umbrella over it keeping it from ever experiencing persecution. Let’s make sure that everyone understands that there is a radical Muslim, Islamic, terrorist organization that would love to see every church in America closed.

Let me just speak to this for just a small little snippet of time. I am amazed at how naïve we are getting in America when we don’t recognize that the same Muslims in America who are claiming their right to put a mosque anywhere they want are the same Muslims that prohibit us from doing the same in any of their countries. You go over to Saudi Arabia and see if you can build a Baptist church anywhere you want to. Of course you can’t do it. You go over to Iraq or Iran and see if you have some religious freedom over there. And I am going to tell you right now, God has not promised America forever and forever. There is no biblical prophecy that guarantees us a day and age in which it will be illegal to assemble in a large church like this. You let the church of America lose its tax exempt status and see what happens to the church of America.

So here we are. We are reading verse 14 and we are going to decide how this applies to us today. The harass in a manner designed to injure, to grieve, to afflict. These are people who can’t stand your Christianity. They despise everything about what you stand for. They hate the fact that you love God. They hate the fact that you believe that God created the heavens and the earth in 6 literal days. They can’t believe that you actually believe that there is something called sin or a real heaven and a real hell. They are seeking to marginalize Christianity and exalt their immoral lifestyle with a passion. That is the world we are living in. We are living in a world in which text books are being rewritten. Text books that your son or daughter will read in that government school in which it mocks Christianity. And so we need to be aware of what our expected response is.

Unless we think it can never think it could happen in North America. May I remind you the number of times it happens in South America? January 19, 1981 a group of terrorists called the M-19 broke into the summer institute for linguists residents in Bogotá, Columbia and kidnapped this Wycliffe translator, Chet Bitterman. The communiqué from the terrorists read, "Chet Bitterman will be executed unless the Summer Institute of Linguistics and all its members leave Columbia by 6:00 PM February 19." Wycliffe did not budge.

We can’t even fathom that in this room. Let’s just be honest. There is not a lady in this room that can fathom their husband being captured for the cause of Christ and being potentially executed.

Brenda Bitterman and her two little children waited 48 days. On March 7 the terrorists shot Chet Bitterman through the heart and left his body on a bus in Bogota. More than one hundred Wycliffe members in Columbia were given the choice of a new field. None left. And two hundred candidates volunteered to take Chet Bitterman's place.

God used the death of this man to send two hundred more volunteers to the fields. We can’t fathom. We absolutely cannot understand the degree of religious persecution that is happening around the world. And can I say this with as much love as I possibly can? I am amazed when a parent will say that teacher doesn’t love my child. That teacher is persecuting my child. Would you please not use that word? What a joke. Do you know what that really means? I don’t have a perfect life. Everything is always going my way. That is really what that means. I want everything to go my way. I want every teacher to go my way. I want every coach to go my way. I want my boss to go my way. I want my coworkers to go my way. God, aren’t you there for me? I mean certainly it wouldn’t be Your will that Bitterman die? Can you imagine the number of prayers that were offered for Bitterman? Can you imagine the number of people that were on their knees begging God to save Chet? So did God let him down? Absolutely not. God once again demonstrated in a most amazing way how He can take sin and turn it into a good thing. And yet parents, can I talk to you for just a moment? The littlest thing comes into Johnny’s life and you are ready to run in there and defend Johnny and make sure Johnny doesn’t experience anything. Not my Johnny. It is okay for Bitterman to be shot to death, but I don’t want my Johnny to experience anything. Can I ask you, parents, have you committed your son or daughter to the Lord?

What is this picture all about? This is about our persecution level right here. We got knocked over in the sandbox. Someone threw sand at us. That is about our level of persecution in America.
Who is dumping sand in your hair? This is happening in the body of Christ. I know about it. I am not going to call names, but I know about it. We have church members not speaking to church members over the most pitiful things. The most ridiculous things that won’t make a hill of beans in eternity that you will never remember 10 years from now, 5 years for now. But right now you are not talking. I know for a fact that I have church members that are not talking to each other and yet the Bible says, Bless them that persecute you.

The Sermon on the Mount, you have heard it said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy, but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you. Let me just say right now, you know why we aren’t making the impact to the unsaved world? It is because we act like the unsaved world. We think like the unsaved world. We talk like the unsaved world. They can’t tell any difference from us. We cop the same attitudes that they do. What does it say, what do you think when we get unsaved referees to come to our basketball games, our soccer games, our volleyball games and there is supposed to be a stand full of Christians and we are acting just like the world at the games? We don’t mind losing our testimony over a volleyball game. We don’t mind losing our testimony over our soccer games. We just completely leave the Bible. Bless them that persecute you, are you kidding me? I am going to make sure that referee hears, “Do you need glasses?” So the secular referee who needs Jesus and is just as lost as can be comes to our games on Thursday, goes to Jack Britt on Friday, and can’t tell any difference between the fans of Thursday’s game and the fans at the Friday game. And we tell him, you sure do need Jesus. He is like, Yeah, right. Sure I need Jesus. What do I need Jesus for? I can’t tell any difference between you Christians and them. That is why we are not making the impact.

What does bless them that persecute them mean? It means to praise and thank God for that person that you perceive that is persecuting you. Wait a minute, are you kidding me? You want me to praise God for the teacher that I perceive is persecuting my little Johnny? Don’t you know, my Johnny is one of the few children that if it wasn’t for salvation they would probably make it into the Kingdom of God? Parents, can I remind you that your Johnny was born with a sin nature and if they don’t repent and follow Christ is faith that they will go to hell. We are so busy as parents wanting to run around with our traveler’s umbrella making sure that no persecution comes to Johnny that they don’t have any clue how to thank God for that teacher that they perceive or that coach or that worker or that boss or that pastor or that deacon, it as though they are not allowed to have anyone come into their life that doesn’t shelter them. Parents, are you listening to me this morning? It has to come to a stop. Because what we are showing our children by our actions is that the word of God really doesn’t have application on the soccer field, or the classroom, or football arena. It really only has application when we come into this room right here and then we set the Bible down, or we put in the back of the car and we are not too worried about when it says Bless them that persecute you.

Can I ask you a question? Do you remember the last time someone cut you off on the highway and the way you responded? Just like the world. You gave them with that glaring look just like the world gives them that glaring look. You said are you an idiot just like the world looks at them like they are an idiot. Bless them that persecute you. Bless them that cut you off. What does this blessing look like? I am going to submit to you that the greatest blessing you ever received in your entire life was forgiveness from God Almighty. A second chance. Eternal life. Mercy and grace. That is the greatest blessing that I have ever received in my life is the fact that God is not going to hold me accountable for the sins because of my faith in Jesus Christ or I would spend an entire eternity separated from God in hell. I don’t claim to be some self-righteous preacher. I admit I have a sin problem. It plagues me everywhere I go. I constantly need to be held in check because of my sin. Are you anywhere like that? Can you relate to what I am talking about? So you know what I need? I need the blessing of a second chance. I need the blessing of mercy and grace. Do you? Well the person that you perceive as persecuting you needs that blessing also.

Parents, can I suggest that you spend more time praying for the teacher that you perceive as persecuting your child than talking to that teacher? Have you spent more time praying for that coach or that teacher or that Awana worker or that Sunday school teacher or whoever, how many minutes have devoted to praying for them? No, we don’t pray about that stuff. We step in and we are going to fix it.

I want to ask this question in this church right now. If God expects us to bless our enemies how do we feel justified in not talking to other Christians? If God’s word tells us to love our enemies how is it that we are okay with sitting on that side of the auditorium because we know they always sit on that side and we actually wait to see them exit through those doors so that we can exit through those doors. This never, ever should happen in the body of Christ. How in the world do we expect an unsaved person to come into our assembly and become part of this worship and if they don’t see that we are different, the gospel, yeah right, so what? Why do you think that our young people are struggling so much with following Christ? Our young people, our teenagers are looking for some people that are real. They are looking for some real Christians. They are looking for some people that really try to live out this, Bless them that persecute you. They are looking for a daddy who actually does this. And we have dads in this room that have been battling getting baptized for 2 years. It is time to step up to the plate and do what is right. How in the world do you expect to be the spiritual leader of your family and you won’t even follow the Lord in believer’s baptism? That is not me. I have been baptized. He must be talking to someone else. There is lot of application in this Scripture.

Curse not. Don’t wish evil upon anyone. Don’t speak anything that is the opposite of well with them. John MacArthur writes, Because of the general tone of religious freedom in America, we don’t experience true persecution. Instead, our temptations to curse are more likely to be in reaction to hostility that does us no life-threatening harm but causes us inconvenience or embarrassment. So what if you are embarrassed. I can’t believe the number of Christians that will say something like this, Does he know who he is talking to? What does that mean? We are all sinners saved by grace. Who do we think we are? I am not going to tolerate that. Really? You are not? Stop. Stop the nonsense. Do you understand what a poor example we are providing our children? We are not showing them that Christianity is real. What they are seeing is Dad acts this way at church and Dad acts this way at home. Then we wonder why Johnny acts this way at church and this way at home. This is cursing without words. Husband, this is where you give your wife the silent treatment. This is where she gives you the silent treatment. Remember these are homes where we are trying to raise godly children. Godly children watch Mom and Dad giving each other the silent treatment. What they are learning is that is how you reconcile differences in marriages. But it is called cursing without words. See, we have this little Baptist idea which means, I didn’t curse because I didn’t say one of those 7 off limits words. Do you understand that you can curse without saying those words? Do you understand that tone is cursing? Do you understand that belittling is cursing? It doesn’t mean, I didn’t say that off limits word. That is not what “curse not” means.

James said it like this, Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Oh, yes, on Sunday morning we are singing Jesus is Mine, Oh what a foretaste of glory divine, blessed assurance. And then on Tuesday at the soccer game, we are ripping the head off of the referee. Out of the same mouth . . . these things ought not to be. We are going to see the teacher that we have decided doesn’t like our Johnny. And so this sister in Christ in which Christ died for gets ripped to shreds. And somehow we feel justified in that because we are taking care of our child. What we are really saying is God is not capable of taking care of our child so we have to step in. Ultimately what we are saying is God is really not capable. God You probably can’t mess with this so I will take over for You.

Rejoice that rejoice and weep with them that weep. This is the complete opposite of difference toward others in the body of Christ. This is where we really care for who is in the body of Christ. Indifference is a lack of enthusiasm, concern for someone else. You don’t rejoice with those who rejoice if you don’t even know who is sitting to your left or right. It is impossible. You can’t weep with those who weep. You can’t rejoice with those who rejoice when you come into the body of Christ late and leave 5 minutes early. You have no who is sitting behind you. You have no clue who is sitting in front of you and quite frankly you really don’t care who is sitting to your left or right. You are not here for them. You are here for yourself. Listen, you can’t rejoice with those who rejoice and you can’t weep with those who weep if you don’t even know their names.

What does indifference look like in the body of Christ? Let me explain. We come in, we find our seat, we don’t say hello to anyone, we don’t learn names, we are not here to learn names, we really don’t care about the person near us, we are here to check our religious block and we are out the door in a few minutes. My goodness! How in the world can you rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those who weep if you don’t even know who is in the body of Christ? Do you know how you are able to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep? You your brothers and sisters in Christ and so they walk in and you see their countenance and you go, you know what, she doesn’t look like she normally does. There must be something going on in her heart. And you walk up to her and you say, Dear sister, are you okay this morning, because you don’t look like you normally do and she says, I am fine. No. She says let me tell you what is going on in my life and for 5 minutes you weep with those who weep. Come on, we are not trying to be the typical Baptist church. There are 475 others. We are trying to be the body of Christ. Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.

If it is not indifference it is jealousy. You know why we don’t rejoice when Keith scores a goal? It is because we wanted our daughter or our son to score the goal and so we don’t care. We are jealous of the fact that their child scored that goal. Parents, you had your chance to play sports. It is now time to let your son or daughter play sports. You are done. Stop trying to live through your son or daughter’s life. You can’t do it. That is why you aren’t rejoicing with those who rejoice, because you are not there to rejoice with those that rejoice. You are there to see your Johnny score the goal and you really don’t care if anyone else scores. It is all about you. But you can’t do what the scripture says if it is all about you. Because rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those that weep means it is not about you. It is about others.

Jesus wept. And what makes this so amazing is that Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the grave. Jesus wasn’t weeping because Lazarus was dead. Jesus was weeping because there were others weeping and Jesus hurt for others. He knew He was going to raise him from the grave. He took His time to make sure the guy was good and dead. He wanted to make sure there was no doubt. Hey, he stinks by now. Lazarus, come forth. The weeping had nothing to do with Lazarus in the grave. He was compassionate. He cared about others.

John said it like this: But whosoever hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? How can you say that the love of God dwells in you and when someone is hurting in the body of Christ, you are not hurting?

Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. I want to take Number 1 first please. Live in harmony one with another. Hey, Christians, could we please start playing well in the sandbox with one another? Do you understand about the fact that Christians are not talking to Christians over the Awana ministry and what happened to their little child at the Awana ministry I am amazed. Okay, what am I missing? Awana is a discipleship ministry designed to encourage children to learn the word of God. Whether they are in 1st place or 2nd place or the green team one or the blue team won, what difference does it make? What do you think our children are thinking when they see adults throwing sand at each other in the sandbox? Oh, we don’t throw sand literally, but we do it with words. It needs to come to a halt. If at all possible, as much as lies within you would you please live together peaceably one with another.

Please turn to 1 Peter 2:21–23 (AV)
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

Could someone please tell me why He suffered for us? It wasn’t His sin was it? There was no guile found in Him. Jesus was the perfect Man. He didn’t suffer for His own sins. He suffered for Sean Harris’s pride. He suffered for Sean Harris’s lust. He suffered for Sean Harris’s arrogance. He suffered for Sean Harris’s selfishness. He suffered for my sin. God Almighty poured out the wrath of the Father on the Son not because Jesus was a sinner. He suffered for me and my sin. Do you know what the cup was in this cup shall pass? It was the cup of God’s wrath. Read the book of Revelation. It was poured out on Jesus Christ. So how is it that we are thrilled that Jesus did that and we don’t want our Johnny to suffer one bit? Parents are doing everything that they can to make sure their Johnny doesn’t suffer one bit. They are running through life, sheltering him, protecting him from anything at all. No. Don’t you understand that you are the most precious thing that ever walked on the planet? We wouldn’t want anything to happen to you.

What was this suffering all about? Leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps. How in the world ever understand the suffering that Christ went through if we never ever suffer ourselves? How will we understand what Christ did for us in the gospel if we never suffer. God, I shared with you two weeks ago, God led me through an entire week of suffering. It was a God-ordained suffering. You are going to suffer. You will grieve that your mother is in hell. I want you to understand what happens when souls die and they don’t have Jesus. You are going deal with this. You are going to work through this. You are going to be on your knees. You are going to suffer. Someone says, That can’t be the will of God. You are so warped in your theology. It is the will of God. It was the will of God that Jesus Christ suffered. It was the will of God. Suffering draws us closer to Who Christ is. It draws us closer to what He went through. It gives us a better understanding that the God of heaven left the glories of heaven and came on this earth. That is why we do suffer. That is why you have a pistol of a boss. That is why you are going through turmoil. That is why your child got that teacher. It was a God-ordained decision and you need to submit to that and allow God to work in that situation. You say is that scriptural? You better believe it is. I am going to show you.

Who did no sin, neither was there guile in his mouth who when was reviled, reviled not again. Jesus did not answer back a thing. When they were spitting on Him, when they were hammering on Him, when they were whipping Him, He didn’t answer back. You say, He didn’t have a choice. That is not true at all. What He said when Peter whipped out that dagger and started slashing an ear off, He said, you put that thing away. Thinkest not that I can call for myself 72,000 angels? He said 12 legends. A legion is 6,000 fully equipped combat Roman troopers. 6x12 is 72. 72,000 angels could have come at a moment’s notice and delivered the Son of God. But instead He endured. Now listen to what it says, He threatened not. I will pull my child off this team. That is called a threat. He threatened not. I pull my child out of this classroom. I will pull my child out of boy scouts. Don’t you know what I will do? Those are threats. What does He do instead? Instead but committed Himself to him that judges righteously. That is the whole thing. That is all I want you to get and if you get this you have it. If you get this concept you got it this morning. What you are saying is, God, You are in charge. God, that 3rd grade class must be the class you wanted my Johnny in, You are in charge, I am going to commit my Johnny to that 3rd grade teacher. That is just the way it is. And we don’t have any problems going on in 3rd grade. I just picked a number. Please don’t go that route. Whatever it is—at the wreck league, and you say, I can’t believe my child has that coach. Would you please commit yourself unto the righteous Judge? Would you please just say that God is able? Would you just turn it over to a Sovereign God?

How about this? How about if Mommy and Daddy get with Johnny and we say, you know what we are going to do? We are going to pray about this. And you don’t talk to anyone about it. You just pray about it. Johnny, we are not going to go see the principle. We are not going to go see the coach. We are going to watch God work. You know what you are going to do at that point? You are going to build faith into that child. You are going to take God-ordained faith and you are going to pack it into that child. They are going to build a foundation of faith because they are going to see Mommy and Daddy leading them to pray that God is able and then the righteous Judge comes through and then when they are in the crisis they go see the righteous judge. But instead what you are doing, is robbing God of the opportunity of coming through and so in fact they are stealing God’s glory. I am not going to give God a chance to work. We are not praying about this. We are going right to the top. They are going to take care of this right now. I want my way. What we are saying is, God, You are not able. This is something that You can’t take care of. I need to avenge for myself. And what they are doing is they are robbing God of an opportunity to show Himself as all powerful in the life of a child and in doing so they are stealing glory from God.

Book Critique of Share Jesus Without Fear by William Fay


Fay, William and Linda Shepherd. Share Jesus Without Fear. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 1999.


The most significant thing about William Fay, author of Share Jesus Without Fear, is the fact that God saved him while he was the president and CEO of an unnamed, international multimillion-dollar corporation. He writes “I owned one of the largest houses of prostitution” and “was involved in racketeering, bookmaking and gambling…and I mocked anyone who dare share his faith in God with me” (p. 1). Fay left all that to follow Jesus into full-time ministry. Fay graduated from Denver Seminary where he credits Gordon Lewis for giving him a firm foundation in God’s sovereign work. Fay served as the senior pastor of a church for many years until he went into full-time evangelism. He speaks on the radio and all over the world encouraging believers to share their faith confidently with others.


Share Jesus Without Fear is a comprehensive attempt to motivate, teach, and fully equip Christians to effectively share the gospel by presenting God’s vision for evangelism, plan of salvation, and information on how to start conversations and overcome objections. Fay divides his work into eleven chapters and five appendixes. He opens with a gripping introduction concerning his own salvation experience and a call for Christians to begin sharing the gospel. He makes the point that success with evangelism is not defined by bringing someone to a point of conversion; instead, it is simply sharing the gospel and trusting God to do the rest. He stresses that God is sovereign. (Fay contends that the greatest sin is the sin of silence-that is-not sharing one’s faith in Christ )(p. 6). He deals with how Christians can overcome their fear of witnessing in chapter three. In chapter four, Fay is still introducing the idea of witnessing with what he calls “share Jesus questions” (p. 29).

Two chapters are devoted to teaching the reader how to explain to someone how he can be saved. Chapter five presents the scripture that should be used and memorized as a possible presentation of the gospel. Fay emphasizes the importance of having the person read the scripture out loud and provides a script for the soul winner to memorize. Chapter six focuses upon bringing the person to a point of decision. Fay presents five questions that he believes should be asked in succession to bring a person to the point of a decision (p. 61). The last question culminates in a call to ask the person to invite Jesus into his heart.

Chapters seven through eleven are independent of each other, each focusing on an important point of instruction from Fay’s perspective. In this section of the book, Fay begins with a chapter devoted to following up on the new believer. Then he devotes much attention to providing responses to a person’s objection to receiving Christ. Fay presents thirty-six objections to receiving Christ and answers each objection. The principle message of chapter nine is that Christians must have and maintain friendships with unbelievers. Next, a short chapter explains how Christians should pray for unbelievers. Finally, Fay offers a final push to motivate believers to be better witnesses for Christ with a description of the final judgment.
Five appendixes are used to complement, summarize, and provide supplementary information to what has already been presented. Those who desire to memorize Fay’s “share Jesus” questions verbatim can reference appendix one very quickly. Appendix two is very practical with detailed instructions on how Fay would mark his soul winning New Testament. Appendix three is the longest with a detailed summarization of the thirty-six objections and answers. Appendix four is a commitment to becoming a witnesses for Christ, and the last appendix is the completion of Fay’s testimony from chapter one.


Several substantial issues that Fay presents in Share Jesus Without Fear make it impossible to recommend his work to other believers without caution. Of all the issues, the most significant is the fact that Fay suggests people get saved by inviting Jesus into their heart through prayer. On numerous occasions thoughout the book, Fay indicates that people pray to receive Christ (p. 39). This is theologically upside down. (The truth is that people believe and the Spirit of Christ indwells them, not because they articulate words, because of their repentant faith in the gospel.) John writes, “But to all who receive him, who believed in his name” (John 1:12). He does not say who prayed to Him. Fay consistently presents prayer as that which one does in order to secure salvation. In example after example, Fay uses the words so and so prayed to receive Christ (p. 58). Fay says God will only enter in if He is invited (p. 59). However, in Acts 2:37 men were cut to the heart and cried out “‘what shall we do?’ And Peter said to them ‘repent…and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:28).

The reader should take note that Peter did not suggest that the men had to invite Jesus in to their heart. The only appropriate response to the call for salvation is repentant faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 17:30, Acts 20:21). Yet, Fay’s fifth question teaches the soul winner to ask the potential convert if they are ready to “invite Jesus into their life and into your heart?” (p. 63). Then two pages later, he contradicts himself when he explains that one is saved when he puts his faith in Christ, not when he prays the sinner’s prayer. Yet Fay still leads potential converts to pray the sinner’s prayer because in his words that is “dessert!” (p. 65). Moreover, he instructs the soul winner to add to the canon of scripture by writing in their Bible the model prayer sinners need to pray. He calls “asking Jesus into your heart” the first step to getting saved (p. 90). The problem with this interpretation is that it is not based upon an apostolic example. There is not a single sinner’s prayer modeled in the Bible. “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” is hardly an example of a model sinner’s prayer for all to follow (Romans 10:13).

Fay believes that Revelation 3:20 teaches that Jesus is standing at the door of every unbeliever’s heart—just standing there waiting—for the unbeliever to open the door to his heart and then Gentlemen Jesus will come in (p. 51). The problem with Fay’s interpretation of Christ on the outside of an unbeliever’s heart is that it is contextually wrong. Revelation 3:14-22 is written to the church at Laodicea, not lost people in America. Verse 22 states, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” John does not give any indication that these words are written to unbelievers.

Fay presents a substantially elementary understanding of the indwelling of God in the life of the believer. He teaches that Jesus lives in the heart of the new convert (p. 58). This could become exceptionally confusing when the believer learns that Jesus is on the right hand of the Father interceding for all who believe—when he was told Jesus lives in his heart (Mark 16:19). Fay should be much more faithful to the Word of God and introduce the new believer to the Comforter whom Jesus sent to fill the void of His absence (John 14). Although Paul does make reference to Christ living in the believer in Galatians 2:20 and Colossians 1:27, Christ does this through the presence of the Holy Spirit. This may appear to be theological nit-picking, but it is not.

The soul winner needs to lay a strong foundation in the life of the new believer. If what is initially presented as true is later refined and corrected over and over again, unnecessary questions may arise. For example, when the believer is told to pray a prayer to receive Christ into their hearts and be saved, and then later learns faith in the promise of God-not a prayer-saves him, he may be left wondering what else he now believes that will later be corrected. Surely most men and women can understand that Christ lives in them through His Spirit, not in their heart but in their life, without being confined to any specific location. He lives as much in their thoughts and actions as they submit to His leadership and guidance. Moreover, suggesting that Christ lives in the heart of the believer calls into question the (permanence) of the incarnation of Christ who will return the same way He left the earth in a glorified body (Acts 1:11).

Another significant shortcoming of Fay’s work is his failure to properly explain repentance and how it is related to a person’s conversion. There is a noticeable absence of the word “repent” in Fay’s gospel presentation. Moreover, substitutionary words like “turn” are also absent. Jesus said, “Except you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). The plain understanding of this text requires the soul winner to address repentance in the gospel presentation. Fay’s presentation does not address repentance toward God (Acts 20:21).

Some of Fay’s suggestions are a bit difficult to imagine putting into practice during soul winning. Fay suggests that when someone does not understand what is being read, just ask them to read it out loud again and again until they get it. While it may be difficult to argue with the 25,000 people Fay has witnessed to using this technique, it is also difficult to imagine telling someone to read something again when they express a question about the text. 1 Peter 3:15 directs believers to be able to give an answer to every man that asks a Christian about his faith. What is the point of studying apologetics if the Christian’s trained response is to read the verse again? In response to common objections offered by those who do not believe, Fay suggests that the soul winner needs to follow the example of a modern psychologist by just responding to the unbeliever’s questions with the single word “why?” In the chapter on building relationships with unbelievers, Fay suggests that one attend the local neighborhood watch program and shift to the gospel by pointing out that the thief comes to steal, but Jesus brings eternal life (p. 117). Perhaps this would work somewhere in the world, but it is difficult to imagine where.

Lastly, everyone in Fay’s stories receives Christ. They all receive Christ eventually. So, while the book teaches that God is sovereign and just the sharing of the gospel is all God expects, Fay sets up the reader with a false expection by only sharing stories about people who “get saved.” Moreover, Fay does not know if these people are saved. He does not know if their faith was genuine or superficial (John 2:23-25, 1 John 2:19). He presents a statistic that people are brought to Christ after an average of 7.6 gospel presentations, but this theory is based upon the false assumption that everyone who prays the sinner’s prayer receives Christ (p. 30). The apostle John writes about people who “went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us” (1 John 2:19). Jesus warned about people who will describe the wonderful works they did in His name, but He never knew them (Matt 7:22-23; Luke 13:26-27). Fay leaves no room for the possibility that people who are led to Christ with his plan may not be genuinely converted.


Fay’s book has limited value in the fundamental and evangelical church whose primary concern must be authentic conversions and the discipleship of those who are born again (Matt 28:19-20). Only those who subscribe to the theory that one must pray to be saved would find Fay’s work helpful in equipping Christians, with a plan of salvation, to share their faith. Others would find it necessary to provide clarifying instruction. Share Jesus Without Fear has its greatest value in the amazing way one is motivated to share his faith through the stories of conversion-despite the fact that the book does not contain a single story of Fay not bringing the person to a point of a favorable decision. Fear of providing a person with a false assurance of their conversion from a “pray to receive” understanding of conversion should be of great concern to the church. The warning passages in Matthew, Luke, John, Hebrews, and 1 John concerning those who believe they are converted, but are not authentic Christians require a more careful approach to “closing the deal” and providing assurance of salvation. Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by the Whole People by Will Metzer (Intervarsity Press, 2002) is a much better alternative to Share Jesus Without Fear.