Read The Leadership Collection text version

Maximum Living

By Adrian Rogers

Main Scripture Text: Joshua 17:12­18

Outline

Maximum Living................................................................................................................1 Outline ............................................................................................................................1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................1 I.The Problem of Partial Possession...........................................................................3 A.Canaanites They Failed to Drive Out .................................................................4 1.The Canaanites They Favored........................................................................4 2.The Canaanites They Feared .........................................................................5 II.The Problem of Paralyzing Pride .............................................................................6 III.The Problem of Perverted Priorities........................................................................8 A.The Two-Fold Priority .......................................................................................10 1.Remove the Things that Clutter Our Lives ....................................................10 2.Remove the Things that Corrupt Our Lives...................................................11 Conclusion....................................................................................................................11

Introduction

Now, take your Bibles and turn to Joshua. How did you know that? All right, chapter 17--Joshua chapter 17. We're on a journey with Joshua, conquering Canaan, and Canaan pictures to us the fullness of the believer's life, the victory that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Old Testament is God's book of illustrations of New Testament truths and New Testament victory. The Bible says, "Now all these things happened unto them for examples" (1 Corinthians 10:11). And, we begin reading now in Joshua 17, verse 12: "Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, but did not utterly drive them out. And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto? And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee. And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel. And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only: but the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong" (Joshua 17:12­18). Now, there are three persons who are sitting in your seat this morning. You say, "I wondered why it was so crowded." There are three persons sitting in your seat this morning. First of all, there is the person you are at this moment, and then there is the person that you could be for evil. Now, no one, perhaps, realizes just how wicked he could be if he took his eyes off the Lord Jesus. Did you know that there is no sin of the flesh that you're not capable of committing if you take your eyes off Jesus, even though you're a Christian? Did you know that? You'd better learn that about you. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9); and, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:6), even though you've been born again. And, even though you have God's Holy Spirit dwelling in you, if you cease to abide in Him, and you take your eyes off the Lord Jesus Christ, you would be amazed at the potentiality for evil that there is lurking within your heart. I remember reading in the Bible, in the Old Testament, about a man it was prophesied of him that he would commit all kinds of atrocities--horrible things. And, that man said, "Am I a dog that I would do such a thing?" (2 Kings 8:13). And then, he did it--and then, he did it. There is that person who is capable of much evil who is sitting right in your seat. And then also, many of us have not begun to imagine how that person who is sitting in our seats could be used for good. Oh, dear friend, the person you could be for God, the person you could be for righteousness, the love that you could show, the faith that you could manifest, the work that you could do, the things that you could achieve for Jesus Christ, you have little dreamt what you could be for God. There are three persons sitting in your seat this morning. I want to talk about that third person, the person you could be. I want us to think today about "Maximum Living"--"Maximum Living." And, that's what we'll call our message, reaching your potential, living to the capacity, as God wants us to live. So many of us are not maximum Christians, so many of us are not all we could be, all we ought to be, oh, bless God, all we will be, God grant it. All right, these people of Manasseh are an illustration for us today of some who failed to reach their potential. There are some who fail to maximize their lives, and I want us to see why they failed, and learn a lesson.

I. The Problem of Partial Possession

There were three problems that these children of Manasseh had when they failed to

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

reach their potential. In the first place, their first failure was this: They failed to completely possess their possessions. It was the problem of partial possession. Have you got that? The problem of partial possession. Look in verse 12: "Yet..."--just underscore the word yet--"Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land" (Joshua 17:12). They were keeping company with Canaanites, and God said, "Drive out the Canaanites." Now, who are the Canaanites? To us, the Canaanites represent the power of Satan. Remember that the Canaanites were demon-worshipers and God said they were to be utterly driven out. They were to be dispossessed, so that God's children could inherit the land. Now, remember the land speaks of the fullness that we have in Christ, the Canaanites speak of the power of Satan that keeps us sometimes from living to the maximum and fulfilling our potentiality. You know, you're always going to be in trouble if you keep company with Canaanites. I heard one time about a pastor who found an old drunk on the street and took him home, afraid he was going to get hurt. And, he took the drunk to the door of the apartment and said, "Now, I think you can make it from there." And, the old drunk said, "Well, sir, if you don't mind, I'd like for you to come in." And, the pastor said, "Why?" He said, "I want my wife to see who I've been keeping company with." Well, some of us have been keeping company with Canaanites, and we have no business keeping company with Canaanites. And, what do I mean by Canaanites? I mean, sins that are in our lives that we ought to be victorious over, but we're not victorious. Do you know what God's plan for Manasseh was? It was complete victory. Did you know what God wants you to have? Complete victory. "Oh," you say, "Adrian Rogers, victory is impossible." Well, as long as you feel it is, it will be. But the Bible says, in 1 Corinthians 15, verse 57: "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57). God's plan for you is complete victory. You are to be living victoriously. Do you know what General Douglas MacArthur said, when he came back from Korea? And, by the way, I like Douglas MacArthur; I mean, he was one of my heroes, he really was. Douglas MacArthur said, "In war, there is no substitute for victory." That's from a general's viewpoint. Now, you think about that: "In war, there is no substitute for victory." Ladies and gentlemen, we are in a war, and there must be no compromise, no substitute for victory. Oh, there is an alternative--that's defeat; but there's no substitute--there's to be no backing up, no letting up--no substitute for victory over the world. We're not here to make peace with the world, to get along with the world; we're to overcome the world. And, a worldly Christian is a traitor to his Lord. Are you a worldly Christian? I want to say there's no substitute for victory over the flesh. We're not here to

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

condone the flesh; we're here to crucify the flesh, and our flesh is not to be dictating to us. We're to be living victoriously not over the world, but over the flesh; and not over the world and the flesh, but over the devil. The devil is like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). You don't sit down to a peace conference with a roaring lion. Either you get the lion or he gets you. We are not to sit down and peacefully coexist with Satan; we are to have complete victory. You are to be living in victory. In war, there is no substitute for victory--over the world, over the flesh, over the devil. A. Canaanites They Failed to Drive Out God's plan for His people in the Book of Joshua was that they were to utterly drive out the Canaanites--completely. They were to be victorious, but they were not--they were not. They settled down and started to keep company with Canaanites. And, I want you to notice the two kinds of Canaanites they kept company with. 1. The Canaanites They Favored First of all, there were the Canaanites that they favored. I want you to look, if you will, in verse 13. Are you watching? Joshua 17, verse 13: "Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, but did not utterly drive them out" (Joshua 17:13). Now, when the Israelites got fairly strong, they said, "Well, there's no reason to get rid of these particular Canaanites. Rather than driving them out, we'll make slaves out of them. And, rather than getting rid of them, we'll make them pay taxes. That is, we'll use these Canaanites; we will be better off with them in the land." And, there were the Canaanites they favored. Do you have a Canaanite that you're showing favor to? Is there some sin in your life that you think you're better off with? Perhaps some companion that God has told you to get rid of? You know, the Bible says, "A companion of fools shall be destroyed" (Proverbs 13:20). Is there some questionable business practice? You say, "Well, I think I'm strong enough; I can handle it." Is there some habit that you think somehow enhances your life? Do you have some Canaanite that you're favoring, that's paying tribute to you, that you've made a slave of that sin? You say, "Well, ha, it hasn't enslaved me. I'm pretty strong; I can take it or leave it." Come to think of it, that's all anybody can do, amen? You take it or leave it. I mean, what big deal! I noticed, though, that most of them who can take it or leave it, they always take it. You know, they say, "Well, I've got victory over this thing." But, I wonder who really has victory over you. But, you think that you're strong enough, that you can control certain Canaanites. In Texas, I heard of a family who had a little lion cub that somehow they'd gotten, and they thought they would raise it as a pet, and they kept it in the apartment. But, one

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

night they stepped across the hall to visit in the adjoining apartment, and when they stepped back in, they heard a strange noise in the nursery, and went in there and saw that that lion cub had eaten several fingers from the hand of their own little baby. Can you imagine such a thing? Can you imagine how they felt about that lion cub, having kept it there in the house as a pet, thinking it was something they could control? I wonder, do you have some pet sin that's going to rise up and devour something precious in your life? There were certain Canaanites that they favored, certain Canaanites they thought they could control. They said, "We're strong; we're waxen strong, and we'll make these Canaanites pay tribute." 2. The Canaanites They Feared All right, there were the Canaanites they favored, and then there was another class of Canaanites--look in verse 16. These are the Canaanites they feared. "And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron" (Joshua 17:16). Now, these are the ones they didn't think they could drive out. They were in a mess, weren't they? Here was a partial possession. They had not taken the land that God had given them to take; they had not possessed it because there some Canaanites they favored, and some Canaanites they feared, some sins they made peace with, and other sins they thought that they could not overcome at all. Is that the way you are? Are there certain things in your life you say, "I can handle that," and so you don't get rid of them; other things in your life you say, "I can't handle that," and so you don't get rid of that either? There are just certain problems in your life, certain sins that "have chariots of iron." I want to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, if you're a Christian, if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, if you are obeying the Word of God, there is no sin that should have dominion over you--not one, not one. There is no sin so strong, there is no temptation so terrible, there is no problem so powerful that the child of God cannot overcome in the power of the Holy Spirit. And, if there is, I might as well close my Bible and never preach again. You cannot say, "The devil made me do it." He can't make you do it--he can't. The Bible says, "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory..." (1 Corinthians 15:57). "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). And, the reason that many people are not living maximum lives, the reason that many people are not reaching their potential, there is the tragedy, the tragedy of partial possession. There are Canaanites that we fail to drive out: Canaanites that we favor, and Canaanites that we fear. God is wanting to give you victory over every sin.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Did you know that as you're sitting here this morning you ought to be able to say, "I thank God there is no unconfessed, unrepented of sin in my life? Thank God there is absolutely no sin that is holding me in its grip. I thank God that Jesus Christ has set me free." "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). And, Jesus Christ did not come to save you in your sins; He came to save you from your sin. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:1­2). I'm not talking about sinless perfection, but I am talking about a life of victory where God's people are no longer slaves to sin-- sins that they favor, and sins that they fear. Oh, the tragedy that some who are listening to me today, who name the name of Jesus, who have entered into Canaan, are still keeping company with Canaanites that should have been moved out a long time ago!

II. The Problem of Paralyzing Pride

Now, not only is there the tragedy of partial possession, but there's also the tragedy of paralyzing pride. I want you to notice another thing that keeps people from reaching their potential. Look in verse 14: "And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people..."--"I am a great people, forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto" (Joshua 17:14). These same people who are unable to drive out the Canaanites, these same people who were unable to possess the lot that God had already given them, were now asking for more. They hadn't even possessed what they had, but they were saying, "I am so great that I need a bigger place. I need a bigger lot. I need a bigger possession. Give me more. `I am a great people.'" Now, folks, there's one other thing that will keep us from living maximum lives, and it is paralyzing pride, pride where we think that we have arrived. You see, if you think that you're what you ought to be, you never will be what you ought to be. The reason that the Apostle Paul was such a great Christian, he said, "not that I've already attained or were already perfect," but Paul said, "I'm pressing on" (Philippians 3:12). I'm pressing on. There's more, and I want it. Are you satisfied with your life right now? Do you feel in a very real sense that you are all that you ought to be, and you're wondering why God is not giving you more possessions? You're wondering why God is not giving you bigger opportunities. You're wondering why God is not pouring more blessings on you, because, after all, you're pretty great, aren't you? No wonder, no wonder we fail to live maximum lives. We're paralyzed by pride. What a blighting, damning sin is pride, and what a deceptive sin is pride.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

You know, there's a benefit and a bliss to some other sins--at least the person who commits them knows that he's committing them; at least the drunkard knows he's a drunkard, the thief knows he's a thief--but have you ever heard of a proud person who ever realized that he was a proud person? Do you know how a proud person talks? He says, "Well, I'm pretty humble." That's right, he's proud of his humility; he's got high-class humility. Like that preacher who prepared a sermon on humility, but he hadn't found a crowd big enough to preach it to. We're pretty proud of our humility. I heard about a man, they gave him a medal for humility and then took it away from him when he wore it. Humility is deceptive--it really is. We're always thinking that we're not proud. You know, like that Sunday School teacher who taught the Sunday School lesson about the publican and the Pharisee. And, you remember the publican and the Pharisee went to the temple to pray and the Pharisee stood and prayed with himself, the Bible says. Of course it was with himself--God wasn't there. He prayed with himself, and said, "God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are" (Luke 18:11); I tithe, I fast, I do this, and I do that." And, he said, "I especially thank you that I'm not like this ole' publican." Now, the publican was a tax gatherer, a tax collector, but the publican was over there in the corner, and Jesus said that he bowed his head, "but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13). Actually, the Greek says, "Be merciful to me, the sinner." He thought he was the chief of all sinners: "God be merciful to me a sinner." And, Jesus said, "This man went down to his house justified rather than the other..." (Luke 18:14). Two men went to church; one went home dignified, and one went home justified. Oh, there'll be a lot of folks who go home dignified today because they're too rotten proud to confess their need to the Lord and let the Lord justify them. And, the Sunday School teacher taught this lesson, and she did a pretty good job until she got to the end. And, after she finished telling her boys and girls about the publican and the Pharisee, then she said, "And, boys and girls, aren't we thankful we're not like that ole' Pharisee?" You know, this thing of pride is a devilish thing, but I want to tell you something, friend. The Bible says, in the Book of 1 Peter chapter 5, verse 5, that "God resisteth the proud" (1 Peter 5:5). You know, I've been to some of our state conventions, and I hear some of our people get up, and they say, "Our great convention, our great program, our great..." I believe it makes God want to vomit. If there were ever a people that ought to be on their face, it's us before Almighty God. "Oh, give me more--I'm a great people." I want to tell you, we're boasting and bragging about our greatness, and the world is caving in on our heads. God has said, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14). Do you know where America needs to be right now? On her face before God. We need to be crying and squalling before God, and saying, "O God, have mercy upon us!" We don't reach our maximum and we don't live maximum lives, number one, because of partial possession--we're keeping company with Canaanites; and, number two, because of paralyzing pride. And, I don't think pride is ever more unseemly than when it raises it's head out of the muck and mire of failure. Here they were, failing to possess their possessions on the one hand, and on the next hand saying, "What a great people I am!"

III. The Problem of Perverted Priorities

Now, the third reason that we fail to live maximum lives, the third reason that we fail to reach our potential, is not only because of partial possession, and not only because of paralyzing pride, but because of perverted priorities--perverted priorities. We get our priorities wrong. You see, I want you to read now, beginning in verse 17: "And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people..."--I think there's a very strong note of irony here, and almost sarcasm--"Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only:"--that is, there's room for you to grow--"but the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down:"--now, what he means is, "I've already given you the mountain, and it's a forest; and, you're to clear the forest"--"and the outgoings of it shall be thine:"-- that is, "The valley all around it shall be thine"--"for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong" (Joshua 17:17­18). Now, God's solution for these people who said, "This land is not big enough for me; I need bigger land; I need a greater opportunity because I'm a great people," God said to them, "Before you ask for more, and before you get more territory, you get your priorities straight, and you take care of that which I have already given you." God's answer was very simple. They said, "I want more land. I want a bigger opportunity. I want more blessings. I want more, more, more." And, God says, "You take care of what I've already given you, and, when you take care of what I've already given you-- when you clear the forest, and when you drive out the giants and the Canaanites--then you'll have more." You say, "Does that apply to us today?" Boy, how does it! You'd be surprised how many people are sitting here saying, "Oh, I want to know more of the Bible--I want to know more of the Bible. Teach me more of the Bible." Do you know the reason I can't teach some of you more of the Bible is because you're not obeying a part of the Bible

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

you already know. You want to understand God's Word, you want God to open up your mind, and pour our of His treasure house of knowledge more of His Word to you, then you start obeying the part that you do know. "For to him that hath shall be given" (Matthew 25:29). Somebody says, "Oh, I wish I had more money." Do you know why you don't have more money? Well, I'm not sure why all people don't have more money, but I'll tell you why some Christians don't have more than they have: because they've got all God can trust them with right now. "Oh," you say, "I wish I had a million dollars." What would you do with a million dollars? Oh, you say, "I'd do this; I'd do that." I tell you, if you had a million dollars, you'd do with that million what you're doing with that hundred dollars. Friend, if you're not interested in missions, and if you are not faithful in tithing with a hundred dollars, you wouldn't be, if you had a million dollars. The Bible says, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much" (Luke 16:10). And, the reason that we don't have much is, many times, we've not been faithful with little. And, why should God give us more? Why should God give us more land? Why should God give us more territory? We say, "O God, I want a bigger opportunity." Some of you preacher boys who are here, you say, "I want a big church." You be faithful where you are, and, when you've done what God's called you to do in that church, maybe you'll have a big church. But, I want to tell you, it'll take another world to show where the big churches are anyway, and some of the biggest churches may be out there in the country. I want you to know that. I want to say, ladies and gentlemen, that, if you want bigger opportunities and better opportunities, you'd better start clearing the forest where you are. You know, it's amazing what people ask for. They want God to give them this. They wouldn't know what to do with it, if God gave it to them. What would these people have done with more land, when they couldn't take care of the land that God already given them? They're like a dog chasing a truck--they wouldn't know what to do with it, if they caught it. "O God, I want a bigger opportunity. God, give me more land." We need to maximize what we have, to understand that right where we are there are opportunities--glorious opportunities, wonderful opportunities. Some of you are wanting a better job. O God, I just hate my job. I want a bigger job, a better job. Well, let me tell you one clue to getting one: You go back to your job Monday morning and you do that job like it's never been done before. You put everything you have into it. You say, "Oh, that ole' two-legged rascal I work for." Let me tell you something, friend: You're not working for him; you're working for Jesus Christ. And, the Bible says, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Colossians 3:23); "not with eyeservice, as menpleasers" (Colossians 3:22). You cut down the trees where you are, you drive out the giants where you are, you

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

live to a maximum capacity with what God has already given you, and then God can be free to give you more. Are you maximizing the potential that God has given you? Are you living to capacity? If not, why not? The reason that some are not doing it is that we're just plain lazy--sitting and wishing won't change your fate. The Lord provides the fishing, but you must dig the bait. Now, God will give you a bigger opportunity, and God will increase your capacity, when you live up to the capacity that He's already given you. A. The Two-Fold Priority As I close, I want us to notice two things that the Lord told them to do. Now, watch-- we're talking about getting our priorities right. Notice the two-fold priority. 1. Remove the Things that Clutter Our Lives First of all, look in verse 18: "But the mountain shall be thine;"--now, he'd already given them this mountain--"for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down" (Joshua 17:18). The first thing He told them to do was to clear the forest, that's the first thing; that is, chop down the trees. Now, there's nothing wrong with trees--that is, unless you want to build a house where they are standing; that is, unless you want to grow corn where they're standing, or grow wheat where they're standing, or put in a vineyard where they're standing, or build a road where they're standing, and then the trees have to come down. Trees are beautiful things; trees are harmless things; and, there is shade in the trees. But, you see, if the trees are cluttering the land, then you have no right to say, "There's not enough room." There's plenty of room, if you cut down the trees. And, you see, the first thing Joshua is saying to these people who wanted more was to, "Get the things that clutter your life out of your life. Get the things that clutter your life out of your life." They needed to clear out the harmless things that cluttered their life. Have you done that? I'm not talking about the hurtful things, now. I'm talking about the harmless things. I'm talking about the trees. They just clutter your life. You know, folks say, "Well, I just don't have enough time." That's a lie. We have plenty of time. There's enough time in every day to do gracefully everything God wants us to do. And, did you know that it's an insult and a libel to God, when you say, "I don't have time"? Some of us say, "I don't have time to read my Bible. Oh, I wish I were a preacher like Dr. Rogers. Then I could just study my Bible. Oh, I don't have time to pray. I don't have time to witness." Friend, God gives everybody 24 hours a day, and you have enough time in every day to do gracefully everything God wants you to do. But, do you know the reason that some of us are not doing the things that God wants us to do? We have failed to clear out the things that clutter our lives. You see, it's not that we need more time; we need to chop down some trees, and some of those trees may be football

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

games, amen? Watch it--late night television, sitting around a table eating, maybe business, maybe church work. Did you know that doing church work is not a substitute for your quiet time with God? And, some of us are so busy being good we don't have time to be holy--did you know that?--being alone with Almighty God. There are things that clutter our lives, and the axe needs to be laid to the root of the tree, and we need to clear the woods. Don't say you can't do it; don't say that you need a bigger opportunity; don't say that you need more room and more time. God has given you plenty of all that you need. 2. Remove the Things that Corrupt Our Lives Number one, we need to remove the things that clutter our lives; then, number two, we need to remove the things that corrupt our lives. Now, go on and look in verse 18: "But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites" (Joshua 17:18). And, there you have the two types of things that keep us from being all we ought to be: the things that clutter our lives, and the things that corrupt our lives. The Canaanites--the Canaanites that we favor, and the Canaanites that we fear-- are to be driven out of our lives. And, you say, "But, hasn't God gotten it backwards? Don't you think that first of all, Brother Rogers, that we ought to drive out the Canaanites, and then clean up the woods?" That's not the way Joshua told it. As a matter of fact, folks, before you get ready to do a battle, you'd better clear off a spot to fight from. There might be a Canaanite in those trees. You know, it'll be a great day in our lives when we learn that worship comes before warfare. You know, it's far more important for you to get the things out of your life that clutter your life so that you can just spend some time with God, learning what God wants you to know, storing up, getting yourself strong, getting yourself fortified, establishing a beachhead, and then, and only then, can you go out and drive out the Canaanites, the Canaanites that corrupt our lives.

Conclusion

Don't you want to be a maximum Christian? Don't you want to live to your full potential? Wouldn't you like to be all that you could be? Well, friend, don't be like the children of Manasseh, children who fail to possess their possessions. And, they had the tragedy of a partial possession, the tragedy, on top of that, of a paralyzing pride, and, on top of that, perverted priorities, wanting more before they'd taken care of what they already had. Let's bow in prayer.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

How to Pass the Tests of Life

By Adrian Rogers

Date Preached: June 4, 1978 Main Scripture Text: James 1:1­4

Outline

How to Pass the Tests of Life...........................................................................................1 Outline ............................................................................................................................1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................1 I.The Fact of Temptation.............................................................................................2 A.Difficulties ...........................................................................................................3 II.The Forms of Temptation ........................................................................................3 A.Testing Our Faith................................................................................................3 B.Temptation by the Devil......................................................................................3 III.The Force of Temptation ........................................................................................4 IV.Facing of Temptation..............................................................................................5 A.Temptation is not Sin..........................................................................................5 B.Testing is not Because of Your Sin ....................................................................6 C.How to Face Temptation ....................................................................................6 1.My Temptation is Unique ................................................................................7 2.My Temptation is Strong .................................................................................7 3.Temptation is not Impossible ..........................................................................8 D.The Fruits of Temptation ....................................................................................8 1.Enjoyment .......................................................................................................8 2.Endurance.......................................................................................................8 3.Enlargement....................................................................................................9 4.Enrichment ....................................................................................................10 Conclusion....................................................................................................................12

Introduction

Turn to James chapter 1. And, we're beginning a new study now through the Book of James: "Practical Christianity--Religion in Shoe Leather." And, we're going to preach right on through the Book of James, God willing, Sunday mornings and Sunday nights. So, if you don't come Sunday nights, you're just going to get half of it. How's that? You say, "Fine." No, don't say that. You just come on Sunday nights. And, I know there are some of you who cannot come, but we have the radio program for those of you who cannot come on Sunday nights. Today we're talking on this subject: "How To Pass the Tests of Life." And, I'm reading the first four verses of the Book of James: "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My

\

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;"--now, this word temptations means, "tests," or "trials"--"knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:1­ 4). "How to Pass the Tests of Life." I heard of a young man who had taken his test at college and he'd made a zero. He went in to see the professor, and he argued with the professor. He said, "Professor, I don't think I deserved this zero." And the professor said, "Neither do I, son, but it was the lowest grade I had." Now, maybe you are failing just that miserably in the test of life. But, God does have some tests, some examinations, and we're going to have to learn how to make a passing grade. And, I hope some of us today will learn how to make an A plus plus.

I. The Fact of Temptation

Several things I want you to learn about the tests of life. Now, remember here, when we're talking about testing, that the word testing and the word temptation are used interchangeably. And, we'll see that even more, as we go on. But, first of all, I want you to notice the fact of temptation. Notice in verse 1: "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting" (James 1:1). Just note that word scattered. And, here God is talking to people who have endured persecution. They were being hounded and hunted, and they were wandering about as vagabonds on the earth. Now, when James says, "to the twelve tribes," he's not talking literally; he's talking figuratively. He is comparing the New Testament saints to the Old Testament saints. He is comparing the Church to Israel and Judah. And, just as Israel and Judah had been dispersed, they'd been torn away from their friends and from their country. And, just as Israel and Judah had suffered indignities of a conquered people, starving and friendless under the heel of a cruel oppressor, he is using that as an example and as a figure of speech to describe and delineate the Church. So, the Book of James is really a book that is written to Christians everywhere. When he says, "to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad," he's just speaking to Christians everywhere. Folks, he's speaking to you. This is a letter to you. I hope you'll read your mail today. This is to the Christians wherever they may be who suffered trials and temptations and tribulation. This is God's Word to you. And, you say, "Well, I'm not scattered abroad." Well, you ought to be. This world is not our home; we're just passing through. And, if you're building a nest, I believe God will probably put a thorn in it. He doesn't want you to settle down here. All of God's children are going to feel what some of God's children feel.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

A. Difficulties And, then I want you to notice, he says in verse 2: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations" (James 1:2). Notice he doesn't say, "If you fall into divers temptations." It's not an if; it's a when. And, if you're a Christian, or if you're not a Christian; If you're saved, if you're lost; I can tell you one thing you can expect in life: difficulty. How'd you like that? Just difficulty. I don't care who you are, there are going to be trials; there will be oppression. There will be misunderstanding. There will be rejection. And, it makes no difference if you're a Christian. Christianity will not make you immune. All people fall into diverse trials and temptations, Christians included. And, he does not say if, in verse 2. And, if I were to stand up here and tell you that all of your life when you become a Christian is going to be rose petals and sunlight, and that you're not going to have any troubles or any difficulties, I would be speaking from a closed Bible, and from an empty head.

II. The Forms of Temptation

But, I want to tell you that persecution, and trial, and testing is a part of life. It is unavoidable. It is universal. It is inevitable. And so, point number one, verses 1 and 2: the fact of temptation. Point number two: the forms of temptation. Notice verse 2: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations" (James 1:2). Now, the word divers means, "various kinds; sundry; miscellaneous" temptations. My trials and my testings may not be like yours, and yours may not be like mine, because they're many, and they're varied; but they come in two categories--two categories. A. Testing Our Faith This word testing and trials may mean just simply a test like you test an automobile, or you test an airplane, or you test a new medicine. It's used in the Book of Peter where the Bible says, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" (1 Peter 4:12). It's used as fire will test metal to prove whether it's pure or whether it's an alloy. And so, that's one kind of testing. This kind of testing is sent by God to cause you to stand. B. Temptation by the Devil But, there's another kind of temptation--another kind of testing--and, that's sent by the devil. And, the word temptation not only is used in the sense of a trial or a test. It's also used as a solicitation to evil, as a tempting to sin. Now, this is not sent by God. "God tempteth no man with evil. Neither can he be tempted with evil" (James 1:13). This is sent by the devil. And, the difference between the two is this: Trials are sent by God to cause us to stand. Temptation to sin is sent by

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

the devil to cause us to stumble. One is meant for our maturity. The other is meant for our misery. But, you're going to learn something now. James uses this word interchangeably. And, when he says "temptations," it can mean either, as we're going to see; it can mean either. Because, you see, that while God does not cause both kinds, God allows both kinds, and God will use both kinds; whether or not it is a testing of our faith or a tempting to sin, God uses both. These are the forms of temptation. And, you're going to face them, and I face them. We all face them.

III. The Force of Temptation

Now, the third thing I want you to notice is the force of these temptations--the force of these temptations. Notice again, in verse 2: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations" (James 1:2). Now, just look at the word fall into. That's the way they come. This word fall into is a Greek word that is used as translated in the Gospels. Do you remember the story of the man who was going from Jerusalem to Jericho and he fell among thieves? Same word. He fell among thieves. It's the same word, peripipto, which means, "to fall into suddenly." Here's a man, just going along; he feels fine--high, wide, and handsome--and suddenly, just like that, he's in trouble. You see, some of you are not paying a lot of attention right now, because you're saying, "Well, preacher, you're preaching to all of those folks who've got troubles; I ain't got none." Living fine today, everything's fine, blood pressure down, bank accounts up, everything is fine. Well, for the next 15 minutes, maybe. See, you don't know what the next phone call's going to bring, do you? You see, you don't know what you're going to meet, when you turn the next corner. You just don't know. And, it may seem fine right now, but what the Lord is saying, when he talks about falling into diverse temptations, he says that, "When they come, they may come savage; they may be serious; they may be sudden." And, you don't know, and I don't know when they're coming. That's the sense of the word, "fall into divers temptations," just like the man who fell among thieves. Who knows what you're going to fall among this afternoon? See, you don't know; I don't know. We're just talking now, about the force, the force of temptation. Winston Churchill was speaking to the House of Commons and he gave this advice--he said, "We must always be ready to meet at our average moment anything that any possible enemy could hurl against us at his selected moment." Are you ready at your average moment to meet what the devil will throw at you at his selected moment? Are you? Huh? I mean, right now, are you ready? Are you ready, if the devil, this afternoon, were to hurl against you some great force, some trial, some testing, some temptation? The force of temptation, it comes suddenly, swiftly, surely, savagely.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

All right, that's the third thing that we need to learn, and learn it well. And, I want to say again that temptation is not going to be removed by conversion or it's not going to be lessened by consecration. Sometimes we have the idea, "Well, if I get saved, I won't face those old temptations anymore." Who are you kidding? You think, "Well, if I get saved, I won't have any more problems." My, my, where'd you learn that? Not from the Bible. They're going to come. And you say, "Well, then, I don't think I'll get saved then." They're still going to come. "Man that is born of woman" (Job 14:1)--it doesn't matter whether you're saved or whether you're not. There's just a difference in what the Christian has to do with his problems that the unsaved person doesn't have to do with his.

IV. Facing of Temptation

So, let's go on with the next point. Not only the force of temptation, but the facing of temptation-- the facing of temptation. Notice in verse 3: "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience" (James 1:3). And so, when temptation comes, it's just like taking a test. It is the testing of your faith. Now then, boys and girls who just got out of school this spring, they had to face their final examinations, and I hope they were prepared. I hope you were prepared. I hope that you're doing your homework now, so when the examination comes, you'll know how to face it and not flunk the facing of temptation. You see, it is not God's will that you have the vacancy of temptation, but that you have victory in temptation. Now, having said that, let me say this--and, I want you to pay close attention: As you face your temptations--whether they be the trials and the vicissitudes of life or whether they be the solicitation to do sin and to do evil--when you face the temptation, remember this lesson: It is not a sin to be tempted. Now, get that in your heart, and get it down good. It is not a sin to be tempted. You say, "I had a temptation to steal something. I must have been a sinner." No, you weren't. You say, "I had a temptation to tell somebody off. I must be awful." Not necessarily. You say, "I had a temptation to commit adultery. Wasn't that a sin?" It was not a sin. A. Temptation is not Sin Temptation to sin is not a sin. If it is a sin, then Jesus is a sinner. For the Bible says Jesus was tempted "in all points like as we are, yet without sin." Do you want the scripture for that? Hebrews 4, verse 15: "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus felt what you feel; Jesus was human. He was just as much a man as though He were not God at all. He had humanness about Him.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

I'm not saying Jesus wasn't God. For He was as much God as though he were not man at all. He wasn't some sort of a phantom, however, half God and half man, some sort of a freak--no, no. He was the God man. As much God as though not man at all; as much man as though not God at all. But, He faced in His manhood and in His humanity the temptations that you face. And, He is touched. He can sympathize with you. For He knows what you feel. He knows what you face. He knows. And, if being tempted is a sin, and Jesus was tempted, that means Jesus was a sinner. But, I want to tell you, bless God, He never sinned, though He knew those temptations. B. Testing is not Because of Your Sin And, secondly, I want to say to you, friend, that testings, and trials, and tribulations are not necessarily because of your sin. Sometimes something bad will happen to you and you say, "Oh me, what did I do--what did I do? I must have done something terrible. I wouldn't have lost my job; I wouldn't have had to go to the hospital. Or, what did I do? Why these trials?" And then, we go through what we call morbid introspection. We take ourselves apart by little pieces, and we examine ourselves, and we put ourselves back together, trying to figure out what we did. It may be that you have done absolutely nothing wrong, but God is just simply testing your faith. And, you see, if we don't understand this, we may get discouraged, because the seeds of doubt and discouragements sprout in the soil of ignorance. Jesus was tested, and tempted, and tried in all points like as we are and yet without sin. So, as you face your temptation, I want you to face it with a wholesome attitude. It doesn't mean that you have done something wrong, or that you are doing something wrong, if you're tempted. C. How to Face Temptation Now, how are you going to face your temptation? Well, I want you just to put your bookmark there in James chapter 1, and turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 10, please--1 Corinthians chapter 10. Now, here is another key verse that deals with temptation or testing or trials, as the case may be. 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13--look at it. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). Now, we're still talking about the facing of your temptation. Now, I want you to notice, you take your pen, if you'd like, and circle the word but. But--it's used three times in that verse; three times God uses the word but. And, it's almost as though we're arguing with the teacher. We come to the teacher, and the teacher has given us a hard test. And, we begin to argue with the teacher. And, we begin to tell the teacher, "It wasn't my fault that I didn't pass the test." And, we tend to blame the teacher as though,

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

if you had given better questions, or if you had taught me a little more, or if you had only told what was expected on this test, maybe I would have passed this test rather than failing it. And, if you notice that, generally in school, when we argue with the teacher that way, we don't win. You know, it's just they don't change the grades anymore. The referees seem to change the calls. Well, I want to tell you, when you argue with the Lord, and say, "Now, Lord, it's your fault I didn't pass this test," the Lord's going to give you three buts--three arguments, three rebuttals. 1. My Temptation is Unique And, these three rebuttals are going to come because of your three arguments. The first argument you're going to bring to the Lord is you're going to say, "Well, my temptation was unique. Nobody else ever went through what I'm going through; nobody else has ever felt what I feel. But, I want you to notice what God says in 2 Corinthians chapter 10 and verse 13: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man" (2 Corinthians 10:13)--"but such as is common to man." And, there's the first but: "No temptation, but such as is common to man." You are not unique, and your temptation is no different from what other people feel. 2. My Temptation is Strong All right, first argument goes down the drain. You say, "Yes, teacher, but there's another reason I flunk the test. The temptation, though it was common, was too strong. Other people may have felt the same thing, but not with the same intensity. Oh, I couldn't fight it; it was bigger than both of us. And, it just came in and it just overwhelmed me. And, I just was not able to do anything about it." And, the teacher says, "Well, you should have passed the test. And, he uses the second but: "But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able." You see, it is God who controls the temptation. And, God is not going to allow more to come to you than you're able to bear. Now, listen to me. Nothing comes to you, but what it comes through God. God allows it, even if the devil sends it. God allows it, and the Bible says, "For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14). A manufacturer manufactures a truck. And, he knows the frame of that truck, the chassis of that truck, and so he says, "This is a one-ton truck, or a ton-and-a-half truck, or a two-ton truck." That means, "I manufacture the truck. I know the frame of the truck. I know the load the truck can carry." God knows your frame, and He knows the load that you can carry. And, "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you're able." And, even what Satan does, he can only do as God allows it. And so, don't you say that you're temptation was so strong that you could not overcome it.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

3. Temptation is not Impossible You come up with a third argument. You say, "Yes, teacher, but the reason I flunked my test is there was no way to pass it. It was just an impossible test." And, the Lord gives the third but: "but will with the temptation make a way to escape." There is a way. There is a way. You'd better find it. It will be God's way. It will not be in your strength. It is God who makes a way. No wonder you fail, if you try to do it by yourself. But, I want to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that God's plan for you is to face the trials of life. God's plan for me is to face the temptations of life--not to make excuses, for God is faithful, and God is there. And so, we are to face the temptation. D. The Fruits of Temptation Now, the last thing I want you to notice, the fruits of temptation. Why does God allow it? You see, if God could stop it, why doesn't He? Well, I'll tell you, God is trying to do something. God is working something in our lives. Look in verse 3: "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:3­4). You see, everything that God does, and everything that God allows, is for a reason. It is for your good and for His glory. And, here the Lord mentions the four fruits of your temptations. 1. Enjoyment You want to say, "Why am I going through this? And, why do I face this? And, why has this calamity come to me? Four reasons. The first one is a wonderful one: for your enjoyment. You say, "You mean I'm supposed to enjoy this?" Well, let's go back into the Word. Look in verse 2: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations" (James 1:2). Now, I didn't say that. James said it through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." Now, we sometimes get very stoical, and we say, "Well, what can't be cured must be endured." But, God says, "What can't be cured can be enjoyed." You begin to praise the Lord because you know God is getting ready to send you a blessing. 2. Endurance I want to tell you what temptations rightly used are, and what testings and trials rightly used are: They are but the prelude to a great big blessing. Now, understand that. They're just a harbinger of a blessing. God is getting ready to bless you in a wonderful, wonderful way. And, so you're going through trouble today. Say, "Hot diggity dog; wonderful." "Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." "Well," you say, "it doesn't make sense to me." Well, let's go and see why God says, "Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." But remember, the first fruit is enjoyment. The second fruit of this temptation is endurance--endurance.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

You see, the Lord wants to teach you how to endure, and so, we read here in verse 3: "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience" (James 1:3). Now, this word patience is hupomone, and it means, "to bear up under," or "to endure," or "to be steadfast." It doesn't mean the kind of patience we sometimes mean, when we say, "Lord, help me to have patience with my children, or with my husband. I want to wipe his feet off, when he comes in out of the garden. Give me the patience to thread this needle." That's not what He's talking about. It's a much stronger word than that. And, it does not just mean being calm in a jittery situation. But, it means the ability to bear up under the testing. And, the trying of your faith worketh steadfastness; it worketh endurance. Say, have you ever-- look at me--have you ever said, "Ha, boy, I just don't pray like I ought to pray--on again and off again"? Have you ever said, "You know, I just don't witness like I ought to; I make a good start, and then I fail"? Have you ever said, "Boy, I wish I were more consistent; I wish I were more steadfast"? Okay, God's going to send you to school--and, do you know what He's going to do? He's going to give you some tests, some trials, some temptations. And, the reason that those things will come will be to make you endure, to keep you from being on again, off again--on again, off again. Endurance--endurance. The first fruit, enjoyment; the second fruit, endurance. You see, it's that constant pressure that keeps us close to God. A man had a grandfather clock, and he felt sorry for the grandfather clock because it had a weight on it. And, that weight there in the box was always pulling. The man said, "Oh, Clock, you've held this weight so long, I'm going to remove it and let you rest." And, he took it off, and the grandfather clock said, "Don't take that weight from me. That's what keeps me going." Now, I want to tell you, dear friend, the trials and the tests of life are there for your endurance--to keep you going, to keep you trusting, to keep you praying, to keep you reading upon God. You know, one of the big problems with the astronauts in outer space is weightlessness-- weightlessness. God doesn't want you to be raised in a vacuum of weightlessness. 3. Enlargement And so, the first fruit is enjoyment. The second fruit is endurance. The third fruit is enlargement. I want you to notice as He goes on to say, "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect" (James 1:3­4). Now, the Greek word here is teleios. And it doesn't mean "sinless." There's a difference between perfection and sinless. Now, we look at one of these roses over

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

here and they're beautiful. We don't say, "That's a sinless rose." We say, "That's a perfect rose--a perfect rose." And, you see, the word perfect doesn't mean "sinless." God is not working to make you sinless. You won't be sinless until you get to Heaven. But, God is sending testings and trials into your life to make you mature, to make you perfect. Let me give you another illustration of perfection. Have you ever said, "That's a perfect baby"? You don't mean that's a sinless baby, or like this. Jesus, the captain of our salvation, was made perfect through suffering (Hebrews 2:10). That's what the Scripture says. Do you think it means that Jesus was made sinless through suffering? Friend, He has always been sinless. There was never a time when He wasn't sinless. No, you see, He's not talking here about sinlessness, but he's talking about enlargement; he's talking about growth; he's talking about maturity. That's what the word teleios means. For example, an oak tree is the teleios of an acorn. It is the perfection of an acorn. You see, a mighty oak and a little acorn. So, when you're feeling discouraged and feeling a little blue, take a look at a mighty oak and see what a nut can do. See, that's what we're talking about. Just coming to the maturity that God wants you to come to. And so, you see God's plan. God says to, "Enjoy it, because I have a plan." Listen to it. Trials and tribulations lead to endurance, and endurance leads to maturity. You see, that's what makes you strong. You grow, when you work against pressure. A man watched a butterfly one time trying to emerge from a cocoon. And, he saw this beautiful butterfly trying to emerge, and he saw the cocoon as the transformation was taking place and the emergence. And, this man, thinking that he would help, took his razor-sharp penknife and he slit the side of that silk cocoon, and the butterfly just sort of flopped out. And, when it did, it lay there for a while, and feebly beat its wings a couple of times, and then fell to the ground, collapsed, and died. Because, you see, God had a plan for that butterfly in that cocoon. And, it was meant to swell against that cocoon, and to swell against it, and to push, and to push, and to push, until those muscles were developed so it could fly. So many times, we're saying, "O God, let me out of this thing," when God wants to keep you right in that thing until you grow, until you mature, until you're strong. God doesn't want you to live weakly and to die feebly, but He wants you to grow and He wants you to be mature. He wants you to be teleios, perfect. 4. Enrichment And so, what are the fruits of temptation? First of all, enjoyment. Why enjoyment? Because of endurance. Why endurance? Because of enlargement. And, why enlargement? Because of enrichment. Look at it. Look: "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

perfect"--now watch--"and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:3­4). How would you like to be there--"wanting nothing"? Enriched in everything. You see, God has a plan. God's not working against you. If someone wants to make you rich, then you ought to say, "Wonderful!" That's the reason you count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations. Now, if you flunk the test, it's terrible. But, if you pass the test summa cum laude, I hope then you're going to just be enriched. God has a wonderful plan for you. Trials will not rob you; they will enrich you. And, the idea is that you are to live a life with no inadequacies. The songwriter put it this way: When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply: The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine. (John Rippon) You see, the Lord wants to make you rich. He wants to bless you. You say, "There's a dark cloud over my head right now." Well, maybe that's better for you than the sunshine. William Cowper was another hymn writer, and William Cowper was so discouraged. He wasn't a Christian. He got so discouraged he believed that he would commit suicide. And so, he tried many ways to commit suicide. It's almost humorous, though there really, there's nothing to funny about it. William Cowper decided he would kill himself with a gun. And, he got the gun and pointed it to his temple, and when he pulled the trigger, the gun wouldn't fire. And so, Cowper decided that wasn't the way, and he got a rope, and tied himself to the chandelier, and tried to hang himself. And, the rope broke. Then, William Cowper decided that he would take poison, and he took poison and got well. He was getting more discouraged. He couldn't even kill himself. He went down to the Thames River and he hired a carriage, at least to take him to the Thames. And, he said, "Ride me to the Thames." It was not a taxi in that day, but a horse and buggy. And, in the thick London fog--well, you know, anybody could find the Thames River--but this cabby couldn't. He drove around for an hour-and-a-half and finally brought William Cowper to his apartment, said, "I can't find it." Cowper went upstairs so discouraged till he found a Bible, and he began to read the Bible. And, God spoke to him out of the Bible, and he was born again. And then, he wrote that great hymn that we love to sing: God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds ye so much dread; Are big with mercy and shall break In blessings on your head. (William Cowper) Oh, the clouds that you so much dread are big with mercy. It looks like a dark cloud, doesn't it? But, God wants to bless you. Some way, somehow, standing in the shadows you will find Jesus, I promise. But, what really counts is, He promises. Sometimes, we tend not to take God at His word and count it all joy. Sometimes, we complain, don't we? Sometimes, rather than being humbly grateful, we get grumbly hateful, and we just complain against the Lord. Another hymn writer, little Fanny Crosby, when just a child--only eight years of age--was blinded. You know Fanny Crosby spent all of her life in blindness, at least most of her life. And, as a child without sight, at the age of eight, little Fanny Crosby wrote this: Oh, what a happy soul am I! Although I cannot see, I am resolved that in this world contented I shall be. How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't. To weep and sigh because I'm blind, I cannot--and I won't! (Frances J. Crosby) And, she didn't. She just took her blessings, and let God enrich her life, and enliven her life. And, in the test of life I give Fanny Crosby an A plus, wouldn't you? Oh, how many blessings! Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! (Frances J. Crosby)

Conclusion

And so, dear friend, the fact of temptations: They're universal--they're universal. The force of temptations: They come suddenly. The forms of temptation: It may be sent by God to cause you to stand; it may be sent by Satan to cause you to stumble; but God is over it all. The facing of temptations: God will make a way to escape. The fruits of temptations: Your enjoyment, your endurance, your enlargement, your enrichment. God has a great plan for you today. Don't miss it. Let's bow in prayer.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

How to Turn Your Problems into Possibilities

By Adrian Rogers

Date Preached: September 10, 1978 Main Scripture Text: Nehemiah 1­2:7

Outline

How to Turn Your Problems into Possibilities...................................................................1 Outline ............................................................................................................................1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................1 I.Visualize ...................................................................................................................2 A.Walls Have Fallen ..............................................................................................3 1.Walls of National Security ...............................................................................3 2.Domestic Walls ...............................................................................................5 3.Decency Walls ................................................................................................5 4.Doctrine Walls .................................................................................................7 II.Agonize....................................................................................................................7 A.A Prayer of Contrition .........................................................................................8 B.A Prayer of Confession ......................................................................................8 C.A Prayer of Confidence ......................................................................................8 D.A Prayer of Commitment....................................................................................9 III.Organize ...............................................................................................................10 A.Ask His Permission ..........................................................................................11 B.Ask for His Protection.......................................................................................12 C.Ask for His Provision ........................................................................................12 Conclusion....................................................................................................................13

Introduction

e finding, please, the Book of Nehemiah. And, we're beginning, now, a series through this book. I want us to notice what I consider to be the verse that sets the tone for the book, in Nehemiah chapter 2 and verse 20. We'll look at that verse; and then, we'll go back to chapter 1, verse 1, and begin there. But, I love this verse. I believe it is so applicable to us today. In Nehemiah chapter 2 and verse 20: "Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build" (Nehemiah 2:20). Don't you like that verse? "The God of Heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build." We begin a new series, this morning, entitled, "Together We Build." And, I want you to look now in Nehemiah chapter 1. Our message today is entitled this: "How to Turn Your Problems into Possibilities"--"How to Turn Your Problems into Possibilities."

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Anybody here ever have any problems? Oh, you do? Well, wonderful. Congratulations. Because, you see, a problem really is an opportunity in disguise. And, you need to learn this: that God wants you to see your problems as potentialities, and your adversaries, really, as opportunities. A Christian is not someone who sees a difficulty in every opportunity, but to the contrary, he's one who sees an opportunity in every difficulty. And, that's what we're going to learn as we study together the Book of Nehemiah, under the general heading of "Together We Build," and, today, particularly, "How to Turn Your Problems into Possibilities." Now, let me give you a clue, as we study the Book of Nehemiah, or study any book of the Bible. If you want to understand it, and if you want to make the Bible come alive to you, ask these three questions. Number one: What did it mean then? You study it in its historical setting. What did it mean then? Number two: What does it mean now? Because, you see, you have to take it from yesterday and put it into today. What does it mean now? But, you're not finished yet. After you've asked what it meant then, and what it means now, ask the third question: What does it mean to me personally? Now, if you'll look at the Scripture that way--what it meant then, what it means now, and what it means to me personally--then the Bible will burst aflame in your hand, and it will become a very living and a very vital book to you. We're going to look at the Book of Nehemiah that way: what it meant then, what it means now, and what it means to us personally. Whether we, as a church, are going to try to turn a problem into a potentiality, or whether you, as an individual, are transforming your problems into potentiality, we're going to see that God has a wonderful plan for us.

I. Visualize

Now, there are three steps in getting ready to do anything great and glorious in the name of Jesus, three steps in achieving our maximum potential. Number one: We call this to visualize, to visualize. I want you to notice here, in chapter 1, the first three verses: "The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, that Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire" (Nehemiah 1:1­3). Now, Nehemiah is in Persia, and he has seen certain brethren who have recently been in Jerusalem. And, they had no television; they had no radio; they had no newspapers, as we know them. They had no telephones; and so, he's wanting some

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

news. He said, "What is the city of God like? The people of God--what is their condition? I want to know. Tell it to me, so I can visualize it, so I can see it." And, they brought this report. They wept, I'm certain, as they said, "Oh, Nehemiah, you cannot believe the degradation. You cannot believe the desolation. You cannot believe the danger. You cannot believe the poverty. The city is in disarray. The gates have been burned with fire. The walls have crumbled. The streets are filled with weeds, and trash, and debris. The people are discouraged; the people are in poverty; the people are in hunger." And, Nehemiah saw this: a city with walls that had crumbled. And, you're going to find out that the Book of Nehemiah, a large part of the Book of Nehemiah, is the story of the rebuilding of these walls. And, that's the reason I've chosen it, as we can preach together on this theme: "Together We Build." A. Walls Have Fallen Now, these walls were literal walls in that day, but we're asking a question: not only, "What did it mean then?" but, "What does it mean today?" Because, you see, walls are also symbolical. Walls stand for protection. Walls are symbolic of separation. Walls speak to us of conservation. Walls spoke of the glory of God. Walls, in the Bible, and especially around the city of Jerusalem, had a symbolic meaning. They spoke of the glory of God; they spoke of the salvation of God; they spoke of the protection of God over His people. And, the walls had fallen. Now, what does this mean to us today? Ladies and gentlemen, we too are called to rebuild some walls that are in decay. And, I want you to think with me, for a moment, about some walls today that have fallen to the ground, some walls that are in disarray. 1. Walls of National Security I think, for example, about the walls of national security. Are you listening? The walls of national security. We must face the grim fact that America is in danger. Now, whether you like it or not, that is true. And, you may think, this morning, that I am an alarmist before I'm finished, but I am grieved for America. I believe that America has a general trend, which is toward Sodom and Gomorrah. And, I believe that the wrath of God is in the imminent foreground for America, unless we repent and get right with God. We are losing our freedom in America by degrees every day that we live, and freedom is like help: You must lose it, sometimes, in order for it to be appreciated. John Philpot Curran said, in 1808, that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." But, we have forgotten to be vigilant, for we have forgotten God. And, what has been the result? You look around us. We have seen the collapse of morals; we have seen the disintegration of the home; we have seen the highest crime rate of all time, and the bloodiest century in human history. This is the harvest that we've reaped, because we have forgotten God.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

The communists are lurking in the shadows. It is their doctrine that they will take America without firing a shot. They believe that we will fall off into their hands like an over-ripe piece of fruit. And, I want you to learn this about communism: Many of our young people are not learning in school and college the danger of communism. I want you to learn that communism, contrary to popular opinion, is not primarily a political party. It is not even an economic theory. It is a form of perverted religion. Karl Marx is the messiah. The Bible is Das Kapital. And, it is a religion with a missionary emphasis. And, the missionaries of communism are encircling the globe, preaching that there is no God. And, they have to say this, because if they did not say this and did not preach this, every other plank in their platform would fall. Communism is godless. You see, once you've done away with God, then man doesn't really matter anymore. Man is simply matter in motion. A human being is not someone made in the image of God; he is more of a glorified machine. And, if he must be liquidated, he can be liquidated. And, as I stand here this morning, thousands upon thousands of people are being slaughtered in Cambodia, right now, by the communists. I wonder where Jane Fonda is now. Communism is unspeakably immoral and murderous in all of her ways. And, the communists feel that, one day soon, they're going to take over America. And, if man is but an animal, why not treat him as so? And, the communist strategy has been to ridicule our national leaders, corrupt our youth, and drain our natural resources. Wilbur Schwartz says that the communist recipe for taking over America can be found in these words: "External encirclement plus internal demoralization plus thermonuclear blackmail equals progressive surrender." And, that's exactly what we're doing: surrendering a day at a time, a step at a time, stepping backward, backward, backward, backward to communism. But, what a lot of people don't understand is that communism is an idea. And, you cannot kill an idea with a bullet. The only thing that will shoot down an idea is a better idea--and that better idea is not capitalism, but it is Christianity. And, we need to be preaching and teaching the Lord Jesus Christ. And, the only answer to militant godlessness is militant godliness. And, what we need in America is a sweeping revival of the Christian religion. I'm talking about the old-time religion that made America the great nation that she is. But, those walls are crumbling before our very eyes. And, you've heard this before, but they tell us that the average age of the average nation in civilization is 200 years. We've just passed our 200th birthday. And, they tell us that nations decay, and the walls of national defense fall, in nine cycles. And, here they are: number one, people go from bondage to spiritual faith; number two, from spiritual faith to courage; number three, from courage to liberty; number four, from liberty to abundance; number five, from abundance to selfishness; number six, from selfishness to complacency; number seven, from complacency to apathy; number eight, from

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

apathy to dependence; and, number nine, from dependence back again to bondage. And, I believe we're somewhere, right now, between number seven and number nine. That's where we are. And, the walls have crumbled. And, I'm telling you, ladies and gentlemen, that it is time that some of us took our place along the walls and rebuilt the walls of defense that God wants us to have for our nation. And, I'm not just simply talking about more armament. I'm talking about moral armament and spiritual defense. 2. Domestic Walls Now, secondly, not only have national walls fallen, but domestic walls have fallen. We talk about being a disaster area. Parts of Whitehaven, because of the tornado being a disaster area... May I tell you, ladies and gentlemen, the American home today is a disaster area. In 1870, little more than 100 years ago, only 3% of our homes ended up in the divorce court. Today, in 1978, over 40% of our homes end in the divorce court: 40%--from 3% to 40%. There is a militant war being waged against the home. The feminists today are anti-home, many of them. Let me read what one of them has written. And, here is a leader of the feminist movement who has written in a declaration of feminism, "With the destruction of the nuclear family"--but, she means by the nuclear family, a family where there's a father and a mother and children living under one roof--"With the destruction of the nuclear family must come a new way of looking at children. They must be seen as the responsibility of the entire society rather than individual parents." They are saying, "We need to take your children, and teach your children, brainwash your children, indoctrinate your children to the new society, the new way of doing things." Dr. Mary Jo Bane, another leader in the feminist movement, has written, "The fact that children are raised in families means there is no equality. It's a dilemma. In order to rear children with equality, we must take them away from families, and communally rear them. Divorce makes for a better family life." Now, that's right. It would be laughable; but it's sad--it's sad. And, the truth of the matter is these are not just a few people out here on the periphery. Here is a mighty, militant, dynamic movement in America. 3. Decency Walls But, we need to visualize. We can't be like an ostrich with our heads in the sand. Walls of decency are decaying. Look what's happening to us. Pass the newsstand in the average corner drugstore, and pornography will stare you in the face as if a broken sewer line were overflowing in the newsstands. We have ceased to be shocked. And, what used to amaze us, now, just simply amuses us. And, what was horrible yesterday is acceptable today, and has become a steppingstone for something worse tomorrow-- if it can get worse. And, some of us believe that we've almost reached the bottom of the garbage pale,

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

as we laugh and make jokes about the flaunting of God's holy commandment that says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). We have accepted pornography in America like we have accepted taxes and hot dogs--pornography! Oh, people tell us, "Well, it doesn't make any difference. Pornography doesn't affect our children. Pornography doesn't affect our marriages." How foolish can you get? How stupid to say that pornography does not affect the mind! Can a man go upon hot coals and his feet be not burned? Can a man take a fire in his bosom and be not burned? (Proverbs 6:27­28). Can a person feed on garbage and it not affect his health? They say that what the kids watch in the movies does not affect them. They say what the kids watch on television has no affect. If it has no affect, then, would you tell me please, sir, why industry and commerce spends millions and billions of dollars in advertising, if what people see has no affect on them? Would you tell me why that people will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for one minute of television time to tell about their product, if what they see has no affect on them? And, you cannot tell me that someone sitting there and watching some sex-saturated show for one hour is not going to be affected, if someone will pay $100,000 for one minute. Of course, they are affected by what they see. As a matter of fact, what we see makes us what we are. It's the stimuli that come into our minds and into our beings. But, I'm telling you that moral decency has decayed, and that wall has fallen. Look, if you will, at the decency in our educational system. What's happened to our educational system? Why are students running wild? I'll tell you why. We have put prayer out of our schools. We put God out of our schools. And, with the Bible out, and with God out, evolution is in, homosexuality is in, illicit sex is in, murderous abortion is in, venereal disease is in, and God is out. Now, I feel sorry for a school teacher who stands up and tells kids "You must do right," and, they say, "Teacher, what is right? And, where do you get right from? Who says what is right? And, who says what is wrong, unless there's a God in Heaven who does?" We've got to get back to God. How can we morally govern anybody, unless we come back to the moral foundations? The Bible says, "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3). In 1960, 150,000 high school girls went from the school desk to the maternity ward-- 150,000. By 1965 now, that 150,000 has changed to 1/4 of a million. And then, we continue until today over a million high school girls are becoming illegitimate mothers. One million. In just such a short time. And, God only knows how many abortions are taking place. What's happening in America? We have forgotten God. The liquor dealers are having their way. Beer is an acceptable thing. We can have gospel singing and a beer bust on our mall in our city at the same time and nobody

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

seems to know the difference. Everybody thinks that's wonderful. They forget to tell us, dear friend, that we have more alcoholics in America than we have dope addicts. Every twenty minutes someone is killed on the highways of America because of a drunken driver. We have more bar maids in the United States of America than we have college girls, and we have eleven saloons for every church. And, we sing "God Bless America," why should He? Why should He unless we repent? 4. Doctrine Walls I'm saying that the walls of decency have crumbled. Walls of doctrine have fallen. I believe with all of my heart there's not a lot wrong in America that could not be changed, if we had a generation of preachers who would stand in the pulpit and preach, "Thus saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 29:4). I believe that with all of my heart. But, we have many ministers who are preaching the gospel--and I thank God for them; but we have many who no longer believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. And, many times, the congregation doesn't know that, because they don't have enough courage to stand in front of people and say, "I no longer believe this book." And, they're taking their salary under false pretenses. They ought to get out. They're cumbering the ground. Liberalism is a parasite. It has no power to build. It doesn't build orphanages, and colleges, and churches. It is a parasite that crawls into institutions that have been built by Bible-believers. And, I'm telling you that walls of doctrine and walls of theology have crumbled, and it is time that God's people started to rebuild them. And, I know what you're thinking now: "Brother Rogers, we must be tolerant. Certain things we must tolerate." Well, friend, if you keep on tolerating, before long, you will evaporate. That's right. Now, I'm not saying we ought not to love people as individuals--whoever they are, wherever they are, whatever their philosophy, whatever their creed, whatever their race, whatever their color--they are to be loved, for Jesus Christ loves them. I don't care who they are. But, we are not to tolerate godless philosophies that are taking our country apart a stone at a time. The walls have fallen; and it is time that we open our eyes, and that we saw. And, the thing that motivated and moved Nehemiah so long ago was that he was able to visualize. He saw the situation as it was.

II. Agonize

Now, the second step: If you would change problems into possibilities, not only must you visualize; but, secondly, you must agonize. Continue to look here, in the Scripture. We left with verse 3, so let's begin in verse 4: "And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

before the God of Heaven" (Nehemiah 1:4). A. A Prayer of Contrition What kind of a prayer was this? It was a prayer of contrition. It was a prayer where Nehemiah wept salty tears over the condition, as it was. Do you know what's wrong with our society? Society has forgotten how to blush, and the church has forgotten how to weep. No longer do we weep. When was the last time you spent a night in prayer? When was the last time you fasted and prayed? When was the last time you shed a tear over some soul that was mortgaged to the devil? Oh, my dear friend, we pray without crying; we give without sacrifice; we live without fasting. Is it any wonder that we sow without reaping? Weeping, fasting, praying, seeking the face of God, has become a lost art. But, there is no way that America will come back to God, until God's people begin to pray a prayer of contrition--a prayer of brokenness. One preacher preached a sermon entitled, "A Dry-Eyed Church in a Hell-Bent World." B. A Prayer of Confession But, not only was Nehemiah's prayer a prayer of contrition; it was a prayer of confession. I want you to look, as he prays. He says here in verse 6: "Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned" (Nehemiah 1:6). Now, I want you to notice the confession in this prayer. It was national and personal. He said, "Israel has sinned, and I have sinned." And, I tell you, ladies and gentlemen, we must pray for our city. We must pray for our state, for our nation. And, we must nationally repent. But, that is no good unless we individually repent. Have you repented? Don't you sit here and weep, and mourn, and bow your head, and mourn over the condition, unless you're willing to repent, because, if you don't repent, you'll never be a part of the solution--you're a part of the problem. And, it's not enough just to weep salty crocodile tears. C. A Prayer of Confidence Nehemiah prayed a prayer of contrition, and he prayed a prayer of confession, but I want you to go on and notice that he prayed a prayer, ladies and gentlemen, of confidence. Notice in verse 8: "Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: but if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand" (Nehemiah 1:8­10). Do you notice what he's doing? Do you know what he's doing? He's saying, "God, You remember what You said in Your Word? Do you remember those promises You made in Your Word? God, I'm holding You to Your Word." Isn't that great? You see, that's what real prayer is. Real prayer is not just letting your mind wander and thinking up some things that you want and going to Heaven with a little shopping list. Real prayer is rooted in the rock-ribbed promises of the Word of God. It is finding a promise in the Word of God and standing on it. God says, "Concerning the work of my hands command ye me" (Isaiah 45:11). Nehemiah audaciously came to the Father, and, he said, "Father, I am praying a prayer of confidence. I am believing You, God, because You promised. And, because You promised, Lord, I am holding You to Your Word." Oh, listen--we serve a great God. And, someone has well said that, "Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance; it is laying hold of His willingness." Find a promise in the Word of God that means it's something God wants to do, and then, stand upon it. And, pray big prayers. " Thou art coming to a King, Large petitions with thee bring; For His grace and pow'r are such None can ever ask too much. (John Newton) And, so he prays a prayer of confidence. D. A Prayer of Commitment But, I want you to notice also, and pay attention--He also prays a prayer of commitment. Look in verse 11: "O LORD, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer" (Nehemiah 1:11). Nehemiah had a very important job; he was the king's cupbearer. Here was a fantastically, lavishly wealthy king, so wealthy that he had a cupbearer who would come in with his wine and with his goodies everyday, and offer them to the king. This was a job that paid well. This was a job, a very high-elevated job, because you were right there with the king in his most intimate moments. And, here was Nehemiah, the king's cupbearer, and he had a job of luxury. He was so far removed from the poverty, and the degradation, and the fallen walls. Here he was in his little place of security. Here he was in his own little warm nest. But, he couldn't

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

stay there. God had burdened him. And, when he saw the condition of the fallen walls, he said, "By the grace of God I'm going to get involved." And, he says, "Lord, I'm starting to do something. Lord, I feel a fire burning in me. Lord, I feel something welling up in me. God, You're calling me now, and You prosper me, Lord, in what I'm about to do. Because I'm about to get out of my warm nest; I'm about to get committed." Now, let me tell you something, friend: It's not enough for you to pray the prayer of contrition, the prayer of confession, and the prayer of confidence, unless you're also willing to pray the prayer of commitment. Prayer is no substitute for commitment. Prayer is not a smokescreen in which you can hide your lack of commitment. Do you think we are going to be able to do what we've called ourselves to do, and what we feel God is leading us to do? We can, if you'll do more than pray. You can't do more than pray, until you've prayed. But, you should do more than pray after you've prayed; you should be committed. It will take all of us. Not equal gifts, but equal sacrifice, a commitment. So, many of us don't want to get out of our little warm nests. But, I tell you, your nest may disappear before you know it, sir. And, you won't have a nest to go back to, anyway. It's time that we got committed. Flip Wilson, the comedian, in one of his little monologues, said, "Somebody asked me what my religion was. I told him I was a Jehovah's Bystander. He said, `What?' He said, `Yeah, they wanted me to be a Jehovah's Witness, but I didn't want to get involved.'" Remind you of anybody you know? I know a lot of folks who are just Jehovah's Bystanders. They don't want to get involved; they don't want to get committed. But, here was a prayer of commitment.

III. Organize

Now, look--the first step in turning your problems to opportunities is to visualize. The second step is to agonize. That's what Nehemiah did. The third step--are you listening?-- is to organize. You know, sometimes people get so spiritual that they fail to do anything practical. And, the thing I like about Nehemiah that he was deeply spiritual and intensely practical. And so, when God began to move in his heart, and he saw that the walls were in disarray, and he saw that there was a need, his mind began to work, and he started to plan. And, he was thinking the thoughts of God after Him. And, he made some plans. We, as a church, have made some plans. And, these plans have been soaked and saturated in prayer. And, we believe that our plans are God's plans, for we have the mind of Christ. And, we're thinking His thoughts after Him. There are some people who don't want to plan. There are some people who think that, if you organize, you're unspiritual. You're unspiritual, if you don't organize. You're unspiritual, if you do not plan. God is a very practical God, and God said, "Let all things be done decently and in order" (1 Corinthians 14:40). And, you're going to see, in just a

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

moment, the plans of this man, Nehemiah. Look here, in chapter 2, beginning in verse 1: "And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid" (Nehemiah 2:1­2). Why would he be so afraid just to look sad? I'll tell you why: No cupbearer, or no servant at all, for that matter, would dare to come into the presence of an oriental king with a sad face. That would be to make the king sad--to rain on the king's parade. And, it was an unforgivable sin, punishable by death. No wonder Nehemiah was afraid. The king says, "You're not sick. Why are you looking so sad?" Nehemiah had a burden on his heart so big he couldn't hide it. And, what was on his heart came out on his face. But, Nehemiah had prayed, and he'd sought the face of God, and so, I want you to continue to read: "And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven" (Nehemiah 2:3­4). The king says, "What is it you want, Nehemiah?" And, ol' Nehemiah, can't you see him? He's praying and talking at the same time. Have you ever done that? I do that when I preach. I'm up here praying and preaching at the same time, saying, "O God, help me to say it right." And, here's ol' Nehemiah saying, "Oh God, here's my chance. Lord, the king wants to know what it is I want." Now, do you think he just suddenly blurted it out? For four months he'd been planning it. He knew exactly what he wanted. And, he asked for three things of the king that every one of us need to ask. Are you ready? Are you listening? A. Ask His Permission The first thing that he asked for was the king's permission. Look in verse 4: "So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it" (Nehemiah 2:4­5)--"I want your permission to go." Now friend, before you do anything in the name of Jesus, you'd better get His permission. It's as dangerous to run ahead of God, as it is to run behind Him. And, so he asks for the king's permission. "Oh," you say, "well, he didn't need an earthly king's permission." Friend, it wasn't the earthly king who was giving him permission. Don't you know that an earthly king is controlled by the Heavenly King, the King of kings? The Bible says, "The king's heart is

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will" (Proverbs 21:1). That's the reason Nehemiah had just prayed to the God of Heaven. And, he was asking, number one, for the king's permission. B. Ask for His Protection Number two: He was asking for the king's protection. I want you to look in verse 7. He also says, "Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah" (Nehemiah 2:7). He's saying, "As I go, these people are going to say, `Who are you? and, What is your authority? What right do you have to travel here?' And," he said, "I want a letter that I can pull out. I want something that I can show to say that King Artaxerxes sent me. I want your protection." My dear friend, aren't you glad that, as His children, we have that protection? Aren't you glad that He's given us His letter, God's Holy Word? Aren't you glad that He has given us His authority? Jesus said, "Behold, I give unto you power...over all the power of the enemy" (Luke 10:19). "And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). C. Ask for His Provision He wanted the king's permission; he wanted the king's protection; and, he also wanted the king's provision. Look in verse 8, and he says, "And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into." He said, "I need some building materials, king, and I want you to give them to me." And then, just put a star by the last part of verse 8: "And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me" (Nehemiah 2:8). You see, it wasn't this earthly king. This earthly king was only a tool in the hand of the King of kings. "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever He will" (Proverbs 21:1) Ladies and gentlemen, if you will visualize until God gives you a burden, and then, if you will take that burden, and agonize until you know that you've confessed your sins and made a commitment, then you have every right to come, and organize, and go to work. You have every right to look into the face of your God, and say, "God, I want Your permission; I want Your protection; and, Oh God, I want Your provision, because I am getting ready to rise up and build." Now, I'm not just talking about building a building, I'm talking about building a life. I'm talking about building a family. I'm talking about building relationships. I'm saying, ladies and gentlemen, it is time that God's people begin to act like it. Well, the Bible says, "The people who know their God shall do exploits" (Daniel 11:32). May God help us; may

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

God help me; may God help you, to ask: What did it mean then? What does it mean now? What does it mean to me today in this place?

Conclusion

Bow your heads in prayer. Father in Heaven, we just pray that You will lay upon our hearts a burden. O God, that we'll not be content to be in our warm nest of security, but Lord, that we might do something to help heal humanity's hurt. Oh Lord, that we might find our place along the wall-- that we might say, "The hand of our God is upon us...Therefore, we, His servants, will arise, and build" (Nehemiah 2:18). And, Lord, help us to see that problems are also opportunities. And, help us to see, Lord, that our problem is a possibility and a potentiality, if we'll only see it that way. In the name of Jesus, amen.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Let Us Arise and Build

By Adrian Rogers

Date Preached: September 17, 1978 Main Scripture Text: Nehemiah 2:10­11

Outline

Let Us Arise and Build ......................................................................................................1 Outline ............................................................................................................................1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................1 I.Nehemiah Fixed his Focus .......................................................................................2 II.Nehemiah Found the Facts .....................................................................................3 III.Nehemiah Formed a Fellowship .............................................................................4 IV.Nehemiah Fortified his Faith ..................................................................................5 V.Nehemiah Faced the Foe........................................................................................8 VI.Nehemiah Fulfilled his Function .............................................................................9 A.The Pattern.......................................................................................................10 B.The People .......................................................................................................10 C.The Places .......................................................................................................11 Conclusion....................................................................................................................13

Introduction

ake your Bibles, please, and be finding the Book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah, chapter 2, and verse 11--page 783, if you have one like I have. Well, all right, the Book of Nehemiah. We're thinking, this morning, on this particular subject: "Let Us Arise and Build"--"Let Us Arise and Build." This is the story of the rebuilding of the walls 'round about Jerusalem under the leadership of God's man, Nehemiah. And, I begin reading, now, where we commenced our study last Sunday--chapter 2, and verse 11: Nehemiah says, "So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon." Now, boys and girls, that means his horse. He called his horse a beast. He wasn't talking about his wife or anything like that: "...neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon. And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire. Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king's pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass" (Nehemiah 2:10­14). That is, there was so much rubbish, and so much debris, and so much rubble, that

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

he could not even get past. Oh, these principles will be true in the building of your lives. You have a family to build, and these principles will be true in the building of your family. You have a business to build, and these principles will be true in the building of your business. We have a church family and a church fellowship to build, and these principles will be true here. These are great eternal, vital principles, and you will remember that, last week, we told you three things to look for when you study any passage of Scripture: number one, what it meant then; number two, what it means now; and, number three, what it means to me personally. Now, keep those three in mind, because if you will take any verse of Scripture and ask, first of all, when you read it, "What did it mean then?" and, study it in its context, and then, ask, "What does it mean now?" and see what it means in our modern day and age, and then, go one step further and apply it to your own life, the Bible will just burst aflame right in your hands. And, the truth of it will leap up off the page down into your heart and will fuel you. Now, Nehemiah has received a commission from the Lord to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem that were decayed and broken down and fallen, leaving the people of God without defense, and leaving the people of God in despair. I want you to notice six principles that Nehemiah practiced in building the walls.

I. Nehemiah Fixed his Focus

The very first thing he did was to fix his focus. Look, if you will, in verse 12 of chapter 2--verse 12. Nehemiah says here, "And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon" (Nehemiah 2:12). Nehemiah had a mandate from God. Nehemiah was a man who knew how to get alone with God. And, remember--he fasted, he prayed, he wept, and God had told him what to do. Have you done that? Have you gotten a leadership from the Lord? Are you just wandering aimlessly like a ship without a rudder, like a ship without a compass, and a ship without a sail? Are you just putting yourself in neutral and letting life push you around? Or, do you have a focus? Do you have a goal? Do you have an aim? I want to tell you: God has a plan for your life. God has something that He wants you to do. You are special to God. God made you special just like He wanted you. And, God has a job for you to do. And, the same God who has called you is the God who's equipped you. You can't do what I do. I can't do what you do. You can't do what they do. They can't do what you do. But, I want to tell you, God has a job for everyone. God has a plan for every life. And, oh, would to God that you would get alone and fix your focus on that plan to find the will of God for your life! Too many people are simply drawing their breath and drawing their salary. They

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

don't have a plan, a goal. They get up in the morning, gulp down a cup of coffee, read the funny papers, fight the traffic to work, go to work all day, come home, take an aspirin, watch the news, eat their dinner, watch a little television, and go to bed. The next day, it starts all over again. That's their life. O my dear friend, God has something greater for you. God has something more wonderful for you. What are you doing? Have you fixed your focus on the purpose of God? Nehemiah said, "God had laid something on my heart." And, if you'll listen, God will lay something on your heart and I want you to focus on it. I want you to say like the Apostle Paul, "This one thing I do" (Philippians 3:13). Do you really have a goal in life? If not, why not? God has a purpose for your life, and your goal ought to be that purpose.

II. Nehemiah Found the Facts

Now, the second thing he did. Not only did he fix his focus, but he found the facts. I want you to notice, as he goes out on a tour of inspection--notice here in verse 13: "And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire. Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king's pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass. Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned" (Nehemiah 2:13­15). What is he doing? He's out there reconnoitering. He's out there getting the facts. He wants to see what the condition really is. He's not like an ostrich that sticks his head in the sand. He's saying, "Really, what are the facts?" And, once he sees these facts, then he's ready to go do God's work. And, what were the facts that he saw? He saw that God's work was in ruins. He saw that the walls around the city of Jerusalem, that had been a thing of strength, a thing of beauty, a thing that brought glory to God--remember we said that the walls around Jerusalem are symbolic of God's salvation and symbolic of God's glory in the Bible-- and, these walls were fallen down. And oh, today, ladies and gentlemen, let's ask, "What does that mean to us today?" I want to tell you, today, that walls of orthodoxy have crumbled, and Satan, today, has developed a juiceless, polished type of preacher, who has substituted culture for Calvary, and reformation for regeneration. And, we have satanic cults today--deadly cults--that have been vomited up out of the pit. These people are going from house to house, and door to door, using the Master's method and the devil's message. They are set on fire of Hell; they are filled with deadly poison; and, right now, they are systematically working this city. And, in every American city, you'll see them in the airports and other places. And, God's people are asleep at the switch.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

I'm telling you that walls of orthodoxy have crumbled, and walls of decency have crumbled. And, with this money-motivated, sex-soaked, distorted age, things that used to break our hearts, we just simply overlook today. And, not only have walls of orthodoxy and decency crumbled, but, as we said last week, walls of freedom are falling all around us, and communism is spreading like a cancer. I don't have time to even talk about those things, but I want you to find the facts. I want you to be a spiritual Nehemiah. I want you to do what Nehemiah did, and go out and make a survey, and look and see for yourself what the situation is.

III. Nehemiah Formed a Fellowship

Now, I want you to notice the third thing that he did. Not only did he fix his focus on what God had told him, not only did he find the facts; but then, he formed a fellowship. He got some people to help him. I want you to notice, in verse 17 of this same chapter--look at it: "Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach" (Nehemiah 2:17). Nehemiah did not believe in a one-man ministry. Nehemiah knew that there is strength in numbers, and strength in unity, and he knew that he could not possibly do it by himself. And, though God had called him to lead, he said, "Come, let us do it together." Oh, what strength there is unity! You know, the Bible says, in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 and verse 9: "For we are labourers together with God" (1 Corinthians 3:9). Oh, how powerful it is when we work together in unity! You know, I was reading the other day about Canadian Geese, how they always fly in a Vformation. Have you ever noticed them up in the sky, flying like this, in a V-formation? Of course, one leg of that "V" is always longer than the other. Do you know why that is? There're more geese in that one leg than there are in the other. And, that's the way they fly--like that. They fly through the air in a formation. But, seriously, why do they fly in a V-formation like that? Well, the lead goose is making it easier for all of the rest of them. He is just splitting a way through that air, and he is moving the wind resistance for the rest of them. And so, while he's flapping real hard, the rest of them are cruising. And, that's the way they do; that's the way they go through the air. But, after a while, the lead goose gets tired. And so, he falls back to one end of that thing, and the next goose moves up. And, he, for a while, takes care of the resistance. And, that's the way they travel. And, do you know what they studied--the engineers--in the wind tunnel experiments? They have found out that geese, flying in a formation like that-- listen, geese flying in a formation like that--can fly 72% further than one goose could fly by himself. Isn't that interesting? Seventy-two percent. Now, who taught them to do that? God did.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

What is God teaching us today? The same thing that He has put into nature, folks: that we can do more together than any one of us can do by himself. Oh, how we need to work together! There's a biblical principal. The Bible says, "While one shall chase a thousand, two shall chase ten thousand" (Deuteronomy 32:30). You know, folks, if you could stand here where I stand on Sunday morning, and see this magnificent place filled with people--not once, but three times--as we have the joy of doing it Sunday after Sunday, I tell you my heart gets enlarged, and almost jumps out of my throat, when I think what could happen, if all of us ever decided to focus our energies together to do something, really together. You think of the power, the spiritual dynamite that's locked up in this place. Folks, I believe that it is time that we got focused, and, we said, "Together we build." Hey, I like that. Let's just try it. Say it with me together, all right? "Together We Build." That sounds goods-- doesn't that sound good? Let's try it again, all right. Say it with me: "Together We Build." Now look, folks--just as your voices took on strength and power, if you could hear it from up here, you'd understand what I'm talking about. Now, if we just had one little ol' fellow out there saying, "Together we build," it wouldn't sound so good. But, all of us together sang it one time. But, won't it be wonderful, rather than just simply saying it, that together we're doing it? Do you know what Henry Ford, who was a mastermind at organization and cooperation--do you know what he said? Henry Ford said, "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Thinking together is unity. Working together is success." Isn't that good? You want to hear it again? Thank you. All right. "Coming together is a beginning." Now, that's what we've done this morning. We've just come together. "Keeping together is progress." Let's stay together, folks. "Thinking together is unity." That's what we're doing right now. "Working together is success." See, there is something about forming a fellowship. No matter what you're doing-- look folks--if you're even building your own personal life, you can't do it by yourself. The Bible says that "no man liveth unto himself" (Romans 14:7). Your family--husband, wife, boys, and girls--you've got to do it together to build your family. If you have a business, you need to involve those people who are working for you--do it together. Do it together--form a fellowship.

IV. Nehemiah Fortified his Faith

Now, notice what he did. He fixed his focus; and then, after he fixed his focus, he found his facts. He went out and he looked at the situation. He didn't just go off half-cocked. And, after he did that, he formed a fellowship. He got some people with him, and he said, "Folks, we're going to do it together, and it's going to be wonderful, and it's going to be glorious." The next thing he did was he fortified his faith--he fortified his faith. He

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

fortified their faith also. Look in verse 18, if you will: "Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me" (Nehemiah 2:18). I love that verse. I want God's hand to be good upon me. Don't you want His hand to be good upon you? Oh, that's a beautiful verse to me! "Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me." Well, what had the king spoken unto him? Remember the last message. What did he have? First of all, he had the king's permission; secondly, he had the king's protection; thirdly, he had the king's provision. We do too. From the King of kings, we have His permission. We have His protection. We have His provision. And so, Nehemiah just simply rehearsed what the king had said unto him. And, how the hand of God was good upon him! Now, what was he doing? He knew that they needed to be fortified in their faith. He knew human nature fears the new. And, whenever anybody says, "Let us rise and do anything great and noble," there's always a sick feeling in the pit of our stomach that maybe it cannot be done. Well, friend, if God is leading, if God's good hand is upon us, then it can be done. And, what he did: He just simply turned around for a little bit and reviewed the past, so that he could face the future. And, he's saying, the God of yesterday is the God of tomorrow. You know, God has done some great things for us at Bellevue, hasn't He? You know, we just take that verse of Scripture that says, "The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad" (Psalm 126:3). God has done great things! And, during these 75 days, we're tracing our history of what God has done. And, friend, He's the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He's the same great God, and Nehemiah just reviewed the hand of God that had been upon them. I think of the hand of God upon us together as pastor and people. You know, last Sunday, I started my seventh year with you people; but, I was just thinking about the blessings of God, and--without going into great detail--you just think how God has been so good to us, how we've more than doubled our Bible study attendance together--more than doubled. And, how we've more than tripled our budget. And, how baptism is at an all-time high. And, God is just blessing in such a wonderful way. And, what is it? What is it? It's just simply the fact that the good hand of God is upon us. That's all--not that we have done it, not that we deserve it. But, isn't God good? Well, you say now, "Why, then, is God blessing? Does God just bless arbitrarily? Does God just bless sometimes because it's a whim or a fancy?" No, the God who formed this universe works according to principles, and, if you want to know why the hand of God was upon Nehemiah, or why the hand of God is upon any church, you can

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

find it from the Bible. You know, I'd like for us just to go to Revelation the third chapter for a moment. I want to show you verses 7 and 8 of Revelation 3. That's the story of the church at Philadelphia. And, I just wonder, sometimes, why some churches do grow and why they're blessed, and, why God sets before them an open door and others seem to have a closed door. Is it because God has favorites? I think not. I do believe He has intimates, however. I want you to notice, here, Revelation chapter 3, beginning in verse 7. God, here, is speaking to this church, and it's the church at Philadelphia. Now, not the Philadelphia we know about in the United States, but that Philadelphia gets it's name from this Philadelphia: "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth" (Revelation 3:7). I love that verse. Our God is the keeper of the keys. And, friend, when He opens a door, there are not enough demons in Hell to shut it. And, when He shuts the door, there are not enough angels in Heaven to kick it open. You see, He's the One who opens doors and He's the One who closes doors in your personal life, in your business, in your family, in this church. He's the One that opens, and no one can shut. He's the One that shuts, and no one can open. Now, does He do this by whim? No, does He do this capriciously, arbitrarily? Certainly not. Why? Well, look at the next verse, and you'll see. Here's why God set before that church an open door: Number one: He says, "I know thy works" (Revelation 3:7). Here was a church that was activated by the Spirit of God. "I know thy works." It was a working church. You see, God is not going to bless our indolence. God is not going to bless our laziness. God only opens doors for people who want to go through them. And so, here was a church that was activated by the Spirit of God. But, I want you to go down to the last part of verse 8. And, it says, "Thou...hast kept my word..." (Revelation 3:8). Not only were they activated by the Spirit of God; they were saturated with the Word of God. It was a church that loved the Bible. It was a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church. But, wait a minute--one more thing: "...and hast not denied my name" (Revelation 3:8). They were dedicated to the Son of God. Oh, they loved the Lord Jesus! You take a church that is activated by the Spirit of God, saturated by the Word of God, and dedicated to the Son of God, and God says, "I will give to that church, that person, that family, that business--whatever it is--God says, "I will give to them an open door. And, when I open that door, no one can shut it. And, when I shut it, no one can open it." And, I believe that that's the reason that Nehemiah, even in the Old Testament, had the good hand of God upon him. God doesn't just act capriciously. God

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

acts according to certain principles. Don't you want God to open a door for your personal life, in your business, in your home, in your soul winning? God works and God acts according to principles.

V. Nehemiah Faced the Foe

All right, now, the next thing he did--not only did he feed their faith and remind them of the good hand of God that had been upon them; but, the next thing he did, he faced the foe; he faced the foe. I want you to notice, in verses 19 and 20 of Nehemiah chapter 2: "But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king? Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem" (Nehemiah 2:19­ 20). He told them, didn't he? I'll tell you what--you see; listen, folks--anytime God's people say, in their personal life, or in their corporate life, "Let us rise up and build," all the hosts of Hell will say, "Let us rise up and stop them." And, the door to the room of opportunity swings on the hinges of opposition. Never forget it. And, if you think there is an easy way, a cheap way, a lazy way, to do the work of God, forget it. The Apostle Paul said, "For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries"--many adversaries (1 Corinthians 16:9). You see, when we have an open door, that doesn't mean there are not any adversaries. When God calls us to do this thing, do you think it's going to be easy? Do you think it's going to be a piece of cake? Well, it's not. This is not a Sunday school picnic I'm calling you to, but a grim conflict. Now, these three wicked men were demon-inspired, and they represent the devil himself, in this story. You see, we are coming against the demonized, mobilized forces of Hell in this city. Whenever we decide to do anything great and noble and good, there will be plenty of people right here in this city who will say, "Let's stop them. Let's stop them." They don't like anything that's built for the name of Jesus and the cause of Christ. Think of the names the Bible gives to the devil: deceiver, liar, murderer, accuser, tempter, destroyer, the evil one. These things are enough to tell you something about the character of the one who will oppose us. But, you know, opposition ought not to discourage us; it ought to encourage us. You know, I've learned a little secret now. Whenever I come on Sunday morning and things happen--you don't know what I mean by "things happen"; but folks, things happen every Sunday-- they're just things. And boy, I pray over that one, and I bind the devil in this person; and, I do that, and that. We've got some war--listen--and so, I just simply say, "That used to bother me, but that doesn't bother me; that encourages me

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

now," because I know the devil is upset. You know, I'd hate to be a person or a church the devil wasn't after, wouldn't you? I really would. You see, I used to go out soul winning, and sometimes the paper man called to collect, or the kids would cry, or the beans would burn, or something like that. And, you're trying to lead someone to Jesus, and the phone would ring. That used to discourage me. Now, it starts to encourage me. I say, "Oh, goodie, the devil's worried!" Boy, that encourages me! You know, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4). Have you fixed your focus on that thing which God has called you to do? Have you found the facts, dear friend? Have you formed a fellowship? Have you fortified your faith? Have you faced your foe? Don't worry about your foe; let him be an encouragement to you. And, if there are people who say something bad about you, don't worry about it. Criticism can't hurt you. Let me tell you how to escape criticism. They'll criticize you for saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. And, there's not a way you're going to escape criticism: forget it. There will always be Sanballat; there will always be Geshem; there will always be the Arabian there to say, "What do you think you're up to? What do you think you're doing?" Well, face you foe with faith.

VI. Nehemiah Fulfilled his Function

Now, the next and final thing I want you to notice that they did: not only did they face their foe, but they fulfilled their function. You see, begin here in chapter 3--and don't get worried. I'm not going to preach another whole chapter, but I'm just going to give you a taste of chapter 3. And, I want you to read chapter 3 by yourself, because I don't want to preach from chapter 3. So, I want you just to go home and read chapter 3. But, I want you to get some ideas about chapter 3, because I want you to see, in chapter 3, after these people have done everything else, this is the story of how they really begin to build. And, the Bible says, "Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel. And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri. But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof" (Nehemiah 3:1­3). And, on and on, it reads like this: So-and-so built here; so-and-so built here; soand-so did this; and, so-and-so did that. And, what a wonderful thing it was, as each one of them filled his function, as each one of them found his place along the wall! Now, notice under this last point three sub-points; and then, I'm finished.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

A. The Pattern First of all, I want you to notice the pattern. I want you to notice how they did it. Each one of them found an organized spot--at least there was a leader. They didn't just all go off and say, "Well, I'm going to do my thing." You see, God had a plan. And, God gave this plan through His spiritual leadership to the people. And, the people were willing to follow. The people recognized God's chain of authority; and, they were willing to follow God's man, and they were willing to do what He directed them to do. Each person had a part in the work. Each person had a job to do. You see, no man can do everything. Everybody can do something. I'm only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. And, what I can do, I ought to do, and what I can do and ought to do, that by the grace of God, I will do. Have you ever said that? Have you just said, "I'll do what I can do, be it little or be it much"? You see, here was the principle: not equal gifts, but equal sacrifice. That was it: not equal gifts--I can't do what you can do; you can't do what I can do. But, as you will notice here, that every man had a job. There was a principle, that everybody was involved. B. The People All right now, not only the principle, but the people. Look--there was a job for everyone. As you study this chapter, just go home this afternoon, and read it over, and you'll find that there were apothecaries there. There were goldsmiths there. There were priests there who were working. Some of them were young, and some of them were old. Some of them were rulers. Some of them were laborers. Some of them were craftsmen. The rich were there, the poor were there, women and men--they were all doing their part. Oh, these are the people that God has working together. Why, some of them were from out of town. Look, in chapter 3, verse 2: "And next unto him builded the men of Jericho" (Nehemiah 3:2). Let me say a word to our television audience. Give me this camera here just a moment, right here--I want to say something to you, some of you who are out of town, some of you "men of Jericho." If you want to help, it's all right. Okay? If you want to help, that's fine; that's good. You know, I think it's wonderful when there were just people all along the wall, people from out of town, and people from all walks of life. They had a job to do. And, they were willing to do it. Now, I must say this. We'll never get 100%. Brother Whitmire, do you think we'll get all these folks to working on the wall? No, especially that guy over there, we won't get him, will we? Don't look at anybody. All right now, look--I want you to look at verse 5: "And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their LORD" (Nehemiah 3:5). Oh my! "Their nobles put not their necks to the work of their LORD." There are always some like that, aren't there? There are always

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

some of you nobles. You just sit back, and you say, "Well, if they want to do it, just let them do it." But, you're not going to have a part in it, are you? Well, do you know what? It is forever written in this book that there were certain people, when there was a job to do, they didn't do it. I pray to God that'll not be written about you. Almost 3,000 years and it's still there--it's still there: "Their nobles put not their necks to the work of their LORD." Friend, these are days of opportunity--golden days, glorious days. Don't you miss it! Don't let the final record be written, and it be written of you, that, when these treat days, so rich with opportunity, were here upon us, that you didn't have a part in it! God forbid that that should be forever written about you! Some little boys were sitting around being real quiet--and that's unusual for some little boys-- and a man asked them, "What are you boys doing?" One of them said, "We're playing war." He said, "You are? You're awfully quiet for playing war." He said, "Well, we're all generals." Well, listen, generals--we need some soldiers; and, you noble generals, I want you to get into the fray--I want you to get into the battle. C. The Places Now, the next thing I want you to notice is not only the pattern, and not only the people, but the places. As you'll find them, you'll find them, actually, each one, building right near his own house, and then starting out. Each one started right near his own house. You know, you've got to start with your family first. And, I want you to get your family. I want you to pray together. I want you to ask your mother, and ask your father, and ask your husband, ask your wife, ask your children: What part does God want us to have in this thing? What are we going to do? What is the Rogers family going to do? What is your family going to do? One woman was getting all mixed up into politics, and she was trying to get a certain man elected to an office. And, she hadn't been doing much housework in the meantime. But, when she told her husband, "I believe we're going to sweep the state," he said, "I'd suggest you start at the back door." Oh listen, folks, start right next to your own house, in your own heart, in your own life. Get your life straight with God; get alone with God; get on your knees and say, "Oh God, make my heart right! And, if nobody else does anything, Oh God, I want to be Your man. I want to be found faithful." Would you do that? Find your place along the wall. What is your place? Not, what has God called me to do? Not, what is our choir going to do? What are you going to do? I read something that almost broke my heart. Did you know in 1915, Leon Trotsky, who was one of the leaders in the Bolshevik Revolution, and the spread of communism, Trotsky was invited to a Sunday School class in Chicago, and he went, because this man was searching, looking for some ideas. And, when Trotsky came to that Sunday

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

school class in Chicago, the Sunday school teacher was not even there--he didn't even show up. And, furthermore, he had not appointed anyone to take his place. So far as history tells us, that was the last time Trotsky ever attended any kind of a Bible study. And, in 1917, he was in the middle of that revolution, leading the revolution that is changing the world, and damning the souls of men. One cannot help but wonder what would have happened in 1915 if he had come into a Sunday School class and there was a Spirit-filled, Bible-drilled, victorythrilled, man of God, standing up there teaching that class--if a man with the anointing of God upon him. What may have happened on that day? God knows. But, we'll never know, because there was a Sunday school teacher who had missed his place along the wall--and because of that, there was a gap. In Dallas, Texas, there were two teenage boys--troublemakers, ruffians, juvenile delinquents-- both of them had a Sunday school teacher. The Sunday school teacher of one of these boys visited him again and again and again and again. And, he wouldn't let up on him. You know, I always get kind of amused when people want to get out of a Sunday school class because they have a group of bad boys. They say, "Those ol' bad boys, I don't want that class." Well, friend, if bad boys don't need a Sunday school class, tell me, who on earth does? I mean, that's the reason why God put you there. But, you see, this Sunday school teacher visited this one boy again and again and again, and finally, brought him to Jesus. Do you know who that boy was? Jim Ponder, the Director of Evangelism in the Florida Baptist Convention. You know Brother Jim, Tom? Jim Ponder: a fine man, a great man, mightily used of the Lord. The other boy--his teacher didn't care about him. His teacher said, "I don't want that kind of a boy in my class," and, forsook him, and let him go. That other boy assassinated John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Two boys; two Sunday school teachers; one teacher with his place on the wall doing the job that God had called him to do. I wonder, if choir members were really in their place, ushers were really in their place, if God's people were tithing, if God's people were giving, if God's people were witnessing, I say, if all of us together were in that particular place where God wants us to be, what do you think would happen? It's thrilling to think about, isn't it? Oh, each one fulfilled his function. Isn't it strange That princes and kings, And clowns that caper In sawdust rings, And common people Like you and me Are builders for eternity?

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Each one is given a bag of tools, A shapeless mass, A book of rules; And each one must make-- Ere life is flown-- A stumbling block Or a steppingstone. (R. L. Sharpe) You're building either a stumbling block or you're building a steppingstone. Now, we must close the message this morning, but I want you to go back and look at chapter 2 and verse 20. Look at it--Nehemiah chapter 2, verse 20. Here were these people who were not interested in the building of the walls. And, I want you to notice what Nehemiah said to them: "Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us..."--and, friend, He's going to. He is--praise His Holy name--"the God of Heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem" (Nehemiah 2:20). Isn't that sad?

Conclusion

Friend, I wonder if the last part of this verse could be spoken of you. Do you have a portion in the work of God? Do you have a right in the work of God? Will your life be remembered when all of the dust is settled for a memorial that you served the Lord? Not if you don't know the Lord Jesus. You see, there are only two classes of people in the world: There are the builders, and there are the destroyers. Either you're for God, or you're not; you can't be neutral. Jesus Christ said, "He that is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30). And, I'm telling you, today, that the God of Heaven wants to save you. And, the God of Heaven who saves you wants to call you and give you a job-- something worth doing. But, you cannot build without a foundation, and that foundation is the Lord Jesus Christ.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

God's Grace in the Workplace

By Adrian Rogers

Date Preached: June, 1984 Main Scripture Text: Proverbs 14:23; 1 Corinthians 1:26; Colossians 4:5­6

Outline

God's Grace in the Workplace..........................................................................................Outline ................................ ................................ ............................................................................................Introduction .....................................................................................................................................................I The Sacredness of Everyday Work The Sacredness of Everyday Work ..........................................................................II The Sphere of Everyday WorkThe Sphere of Everyday Work.................................................................................A Four Rules for Witnessing at Four Rules for Witnessing at Work.....................................................................1 Don't' Brag! Don't' Brag! .....................................................................................................2 Don't Nag! Don't Nag! .......................................................................................................3 Don't Lag!Don't Lag!........................................................................................................4 Don't Sag! Don't Sag! .....................................................................................................1 IIIThe Service of Everyday Work .............................................................................1 Conclusion....................................................................................................................1

Introduction

We're preaching through the Book of Proverbs. A human proverb is a short sentence based on long experience, but these are short sentences based on something better than long experience. They're based on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as given to Solomon. Now, today I have a message that I just pray God the Holy Spirit will burn into your heart because, if you understand the message today, I can promise you that it will literally transform your life. I've never preached on this subject--that is, a whole message on this subject. I have alluded to it. But, I believe it is a foundational truth, and I'm really amazed that I've not brought a whole message on this particular subject before. Proverbs chapter 14 and verse 23, and just the first part of that verse: "In all labour there is profit" (Proverbs 14:23)--"In all labour there is profit." I want to talk to you today about "God's Grace in the Workplace"--"God's Grace in the Workplace." And again, I want to tell you, if you understand what I have to say today, it's going to transform your work. It's going to change it from boredom to blessing. It's going to change it from monotony to meaning. It's going to change it from drudgery to dignity. It's going to change it from the same old grind, to glory, if you understand what I have to say. You see, so many people are sick and tired of what they do. I mean, they endure their work;

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

they don't enjoy their work. They think their job is meaningless. They think that some people have happy jobs, some people have exciting work, some people have thrilling things to do, but not them. They draw their breath and draw their salary. They wake up in the morning and take a bath, shave, go down, drink a cup of coffee, eat a piece of toast, scald their throat because they're running a little late, drink their coffee too fast, then they run out and fight the traffic and get to work. It's the same old thing, day after day. Then they come home at night, take a couple of aspirin, sit down and watch the evening news, discuss things with the wife, maybe putter around in the yard a little bit, then go to bed. The next day, the same old thing--nothing exciting, nothing meaningful, nothing thrilling; it just seems to be so humdrum, so meaningless. Now, they love God, and they serve God, but they have the idea that the only time they can serve God is when they're not working. They want to get off work so they can serve God, so they give their prime time to the employer and then they give the leftovers to God. They give the weekends to God. They're serving God sort of halftime. It's not even really halftime, because they give most of their prime hours, and the best hours, to the boss. They're trying to serve two masters and, of course, Jesus said, "No man can serve two masters" (Matthew 6:24). And, I believe there are some of you who are sitting here listening to me today, perhaps most of you, who are guilty of doing what I call split-level living. Now, I want you to get something in your heart today, and oh, I pray God that He'll help me to get it into your heart today--and it is this: You may be a very ordinary person. You may think there's nothing exciting about you. But, you see, God loves ordinary people. He made most of that kind. Isn't that right? I mean, He must like them, since He made so many of them, right? God makes ordinary people. They're the handiwork of God. Look in 1 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 26, "For ye see your calling, brethren... not many mighty, not many noble, are called" (1 Corinthians 1:26). You see? God uses ordinary people. But, here's the secret: God takes ordinary people and He gives them extraordinary power. God infuses us with His Holy Spirit, so we're no longer ordinary, because, when we get saved, we become extraordinary. But now, wait a minute. God takes ordinary people, God gives ordinary people extraordinary power, and then God puts those ordinary people--are you watching this?--in ordinary places. Now, you'd better learn this: When God takes an ordinary person and gives him extraordinary power, then puts that ordinary person in an ordinary place with extraordinary power, He does extraordinary things through an ordinary person. Now, if you'll learn this and get this into your heart, it's going to transform your life. You see, we neatly divide life up into the secular and the sacred. There are so many people who say to me something like this: "You know, Pastor, what I would really like to do, I mean, if I could do what I would really like to do? Well, I'd just like to get out of this

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

job and serve God. Boy, I'd just like to serve God full-time." Have you ever thought that? Boy, if I could just quit what I'm doing. Boy, it'd be so wonderful to be like you. It'd be so wonderful to be like Brother Phil. It'd be so wonderful, if I could just get out of what I'm doing and serve God full-time. Now, O God, help me to teach you today that, if you are a Christian living in the Spirit, you are serving God full-time. I don't care where you work--it is an honorable occupation. You are serving God full-time. Your work is to be the temple of your devotion, and it is to be the platform of your witness. You see, we divide life up into the secular and the sacred, but not the Bible, not the New Testament. In the Old Testament, they did, but not in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, they had priests and then the rest of the people. But, in the New Testament, we're all priests. In the Old Testament, there was a temple that people went to; but Jesus said, "It's neither in this place, nor in that place, but everywhere... we worship God in Spirit and in truth" (John 4:21­24). In the Old Testament, they divided foods up into the clean and the unclean. But, in the New Testament, "Thus he spake, making all meats clean" (Mark 7:19). In the Old Testament, certain days were set aside. But, in the New Testament, every day is a holy day, and every day is a sacred place, and every job has dignity, if it is an honorable work. Every Christian is a priest, and every Christian is a minister, and every Christian is doing full-time Christian service. Now, you may not believe that right now, but l believe you will when I get finished with the message, not because I think I'm so sharp, but because of what God's Word has to say. "In all labour there is profit." You may not be in an exciting job. I mean, your job may be in a factory screwing lids on tubes of toothpaste all day long. Maybe that's what you do all day long. Or, you may be working in an office as a clerk. Or, you may be pumping gasoline; you may be digging ditches; you may be building houses; you may be doing one of a myriad of a number of things. But, I want to tell you, dear friend, if you learn what I have to tell you today from the Word of God, it is going to turn that drudgery into delight; it's going to turn that monotony into magnificence. And, you're going to find out that you are where God has placed you, and you're there for a specific purpose. Three things I want you to see. Number one: I want you to see the sacredness of everyday work. Secondly, I want you to see the sphere of everyday work. And, thirdly, I want you see the service of everyday work.

I. The Sacredness of Everyday Work

What is the sacredness of everyday work? Don't get the idea that to serve God you have to be a minister, or a missionary, or on the staff of some Christian organization. Every job, if it is done in the power of the Holy Spirit, is a sacred job. Every one! Now, listen. Let me give you a verse of Scripture--Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 5. Just jot these down, and we won't go back and forth through the Scripture, unless I ask you to

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

turn to it--but just jot them down. Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 5. I'm talking now about the sacredness of everyday work: "In all labour," Proverbs tells us, "there is profit." Listen to it: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh"--employees, be obedient to your boss: that's what he's saying, even though he is not a Christian. He is your master according to the flesh, not according to the Spirit--"with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ" (Ephesians 6:5). You mean, I'm to work for my boss as though he were Jesus? That's right. That two-legged devil? That's right. You are to work for him as though he were Jesus Christ. Because God owns the company that he thinks he owns. This is my Father's world, and you are to serve the Lord Jesus. Now, what I want to show you--I want to use an example for the message today--a man named Daniel. Be finding the Book of Daniel, and just keep one bookmark in the Book of Proverbs. Daniel is going to be the chief illustration of this passage of Scripture in the Book of Proverbs chapter 14 and verse 23: "In all labour there is profit." You will remember that Daniel was taken as a captive from Israel and he was carried to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. And, there in Babylon he had a secular job. Daniel's job was that he was a governmental bureaucrat. They trained him and they pressed him into the service of the government. As a governmental bureaucrat, he really served the Lord Jesus. Don't get the idea that Daniel was a pastor or that Daniel was a priest. He was not. Daniel was what we would call today a businessman, in ordinary work. But, I want you to notice what the king said when Daniel was in the lions' den. You remember Daniel refused to do certain things when he was in Babylon, and they threw him in the lions' den as a sort of a punishment, and the lions got lockjaw. Daniel just relaxed and pulled up an old fluffy lion for a pillow, and got out his Old Testament, and began to read between the lions. He was just having a wonderful time there, doing his devotions. And, the king looked in--Daniel chapter 6 and verse 20: "And when he came to the den,"--that is, the king--"he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel,"--now, listen. Here's what the King said to Daniel. Remember that Daniel was not a preacher, not a priest, in the classic sense of the word--"O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?" (Daniel 6:20). Now, notice what the king said. He said, "Daniel, you're a servant of the living God. Has that God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" And, of course, God had been able to deliver him. Now, what am I trying to say? Here was a man who had a secular job, and yet even his enemies, and the unsaved people of this world, had to admit that his secular job was really a sacred job, that he was really serving God. You may be a housewife. Well, not a housewife--I don't like that word housewife. You're not married to a house. You may be

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

a homemaker, and you might think, "Oh well, what's this got to do with serving the Lord?" Friend, there's no higher occupation than serving the Lord by being a homemaker. One woman has over her kitchen sink these words: "Divine services held here three times a day," as she does those dishes. The sacredness of what we call secular work, the sacredness of everyday work: If you do it in the name of Jesus, as to Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, you will receive the same reward for doing that job that I receive for doing this job. You may not believe it. You may not think it is so. You may think that your job is not an important job at all--"Nobody cares about me; nobody knows about me." Friend, God knows about you, even if you don't get to lead in silent prayer in the children's department. God knows about you, and God has His eye upon you. And, the Bible says those of you who are in secular work are serving the Lord Christ. Every Christian, therefore, is in full-time Christian work--Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 5. Never forget it.

II. The Sphere of Everyday Work

Now, the second thing I want you to learn: not only the sacredness of everyday work, but the sphere of everyday work. Where are you called to do this everyday work? You say, "Well, if I'm going to do it, I sure would like to be in a Christian company. I sure would like to be surrounded by Christians. Boy, you just don't know; you just don't know the people that I work with, Brother Rogers. I just don't believe God wants me in this place. Boy, I mean, it must be nice for you to be around all those people in the church, you know? They're always smiling, always preaching, and always praising God. The only time I hear God's name mentioned where I work is when people are cursing. And, Preacher, you just cannot believe the obscene stories. And, you just cannot know the awful cartoons and things that are passed around. You just can't believe the flirtation, and the way people dress, and the way they talk, and the greed, and the dog-eat-dog, and the ambition, and the throat cutting, and all of the materialism and the gossip that goes on. Oh, Preacher, if God would only get me out of this place so I could serve Him!" Friend, God put you in that place so you could serve Him. You may not believe that, but I want to tell you, God put Daniel in Babylon. "Preacher, you're talking about being called to your work. God called you to the ministry. God called Brother Bob Sorrell out of the business world into the ministry. God called Brother Phil Weatherwax into the ministry. Oh, if God would just call me! But, God didn't call me. I'm just where I am as a victim of circumstances. To be very honest with you, Preacher, I took this job just because it was the only one I could get. I just had to have it, and I don't know what I would do right now, if I quit this job. I don't know where I'd go, so I have to stay here. But, I don't have a sense of calling. I don't have a sense of meaning. It's just something I have to do because I've got to live; I've got to eat. But, I wish to God that I had a sense

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

that God placed me where I am." Well, friend, God may have placed you where you are, and you'd not know anything about it, and you didn't have any sense of call at all. Let me ask you a question: Was Daniel a servant of God? Indeed, he was. Did he serve God? Indeed, he did. Was he where God wanted him? Indeed, He was. How did he get there? By circumstances beyond his control, at least what he thought were beyond his control. He was picked up by King Nebuchadnezzar, and he was brought as an exile to the land of Babylon, that place of wickedness. But, let me tell you something: How did he really get there? How did he really get there? I want you to put this verse down so you can read it when you get home: Jeremiah 29 and verse 4 (Jeremiah 29:4). Dear friend, we are called as Christians to confront this world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We do something around this church that's a little artificial. I'm in favor of it because it's necessary. You know what it is? We get everybody down here on a certain night, and give them cards, and tell them to go out and witness. I tell you, dear friend, there's a better way. There's a better way, and that is every day you're to witness for the Lord Jesus Christ on your job. We call this lifestyle evangelism, and you're going to be hearing a whole lot more about this thing of lifestyle evangelism. It's not that you go take some names and go out and see somebody you don't know, but that you work side by side, day by day, with those that you do know. You let your light shine there in that dark place where God has placed you. Listen to this scripture--Matthew chapter 5, verse 14: "Ye are the light of the world..."--"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house" (Matthew 5:14). For a light to be valuable, it must be visible. Therefore, God doesn't want you under a basket called a church house. God wants that light where it can be seen. I want to tell you that your job-- are you listening to me?--your job is the lampstand that God has ordained where you let your light shine. And, if God has placed you there, that is the place where God wants you. That is the sphere of your ministry, and it is a fulltime ministry. So many times we just say, "O God, I want to get out of Babylon. God, I want to get out of Babylon. Lord, I just want to do something for you. I want to get away from this worldly influence." Well, friend, God's plan for you is not to flee from the world. God's plan for you is to confront the world, and to overcome the world, and to witness to the world. Listen to these scriptures--John 17, verse 15--Jesus said, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil" (John 17:15). God's plan is not that you be taken out of that worldly environment, but that you would live a good Christian life in it. 1 Corinthians chapter 5 verses 9 and 10--listen to these verses--Paul said, "I wrote

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually Immoral people, yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters; since then you would need to go out of the world." (1 Corinthians 5:9­10). Paul said, "If you try to live a life where you're not going to come in contact with anybody who's dishonest, or anybody who's a pervert, or anybody who's full of sexual innuendoes, or full of dishonesty; if you're trying to live without touching the lives of those people," Paul says, "the only way for you to live is to be somewhere with Prince Mongo in Zambodia," or wherever it is he lives. You couldn't live here. You couldn't live here. You'd have to get out of this world. Now, what I'm trying to say is this--folks, listen: This world--this world--is where we live, and this world is where God has placed you. Romans chapter 12, verse 21 says, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21). We're not to flee from the world; we're to confront the world. 1 John chapter 5, verses 4 and 5: "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4). God has placed you in Babylon. God put Daniel in Babylon; God put you in Babylon. God has placed you there, and the work that you do there--as Daniel served the Lord God, you're to serve the Lord God. "In all labour there is profit." Now, that doesn't mean that you can do everything in Babylon. That doesn't mean, when you're in Babylon, do as the Babylonians do. Jesus said, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil" (John 17:15). There were certain things in Babylon that Daniel refused to do, and he got thrown in the lions' den; he got some persecution. There are some things that you cannot do. That's what's going to make you distinctively different, and that's what's going to make you so effective when you are in Babylon. You have been saved out of the world, and then sent back into the world, to witness to the world. And, that's the only business in the world you have in the world, till you're taken out of the world. I want to give you some verses--Philippians 2, verse 15--listen to it: "That ye may be blameless and harmless,"--that's what Daniel was--"the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15). Where is the light to shine? Where? In the middle of a crooked and perverse generation. It is not God's will to get you out of that ungodly place where you work. You shine as lights in the world, in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation. If you were going to put a lighthouse, where would you put a lighthouse? In downtown Manhattan? No. You'd put a lighthouse out on some rocky, craggy, barren coast, so that lighthouse can help some ship that's about to go under. And, that's why

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

God has put you where He's put you. Listen to it again--Philippians 2 and verse 15: "That ye may become blameless and harmless, children of God; without fault, in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world." When Daniel was in that fiery furnace, it was at that time that he went through the fiery furnace, and refused to do what they did in Babylon, in the middle of that crooked and perverse generation, that Nebuchadnezzar realized that God was God. And, listen to what he said, in Daniel chapter 3, verses 28 and 29: "Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God." Now, listen to what this pagan king said: "Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort" (Daniel 3:28­29). That's a pagan king speaking. How would that king have ever known the power of God had it not been for a Daniel, who took his secular job and used his secular job as a lampstand, to let his light shine in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation? Ladies and gentlemen, Jesus has called us to go into all the world (Mark 16:15). And, there's the world of finance, and there's the world of business, and there's the world of sports. In all of these worlds, we are to go in and let our lights shine for the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me give you another verse--1 Peter chapter 2, verses 11 and 12: "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;"--that is, we're to live clean, right, pure. But notice in verse 12, "having your conversation honest among the Gentiles..."--now, who are the Gentiles? That means the unsaved. That means the humanists, the sophisticates-- "having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation" (1 Peter 2:11­12). When they see you, you are to let your light shine. If people would begin to take what I'm preaching today, if they would see that what they do is service to the Lord Jesus, I don't care what it is, and if they would see that God has placed them there in Babylon--that is, the sphere of their witness--and if they would begin to let their light shine, people would believe what I preach on Sunday, when people start living like that on Monday.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

A. Four Rules for Witnessing at Work Let me give you four rules for witnessing to those with whom you work. You say, "Okay, Preacher--Monday morning, look out, here I come!" All right now, let me give you four rules. 1. Don't' Brag! Number one: don't brag! Don't brag! The Bible says, let your light shine (Matthew 5:16). Don't make it shine. It's to glow, not glare. They're to see the light, not the candle. What I mean is, if you go in there with a super load of self-righteousness, bragging about yourself, and bragging about your church, and bragging about your righteousness, and bragging about your doctrines, you're going to make them want to vomit. They're going to be sick of it. There's nothing worse than selfrighteousness. Don't brag. 2. Don't Nag! Second thing: don't nag! If you're always thumping a Bible, handing out a tract, always getting on to somebody when he gambles, or somebody when he smokes, or somebody when he curses, or somebody when he passes out a raw cartoon; if you're nagging those people, you may think that you're doing a good job. But, I want to tell you, mister, you're not going to win them to Jesus Christ. You're not going to win an unsaved man that way. That is not his problem. You'd be just like that man, if you didn't know the Lord Jesus Christ. His sin is not his problem. He needs Jesus Christ, and those are the only things he gets his kicks out of, he gets his bangs out of. He doesn't have the joy that you have. And, you're not going to nag him to the Lord Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, listen to Colossians 4, verses 5 and 6: "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without..."--oh, if we could only teach our people this!--"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Colossians 4:5­6). Oh, if you could only say, "God, salt my speech! Lord, season my speech with grace! I don't want to nag these people!" 3. Don't Lag! Don't brag! Don't nag! And, thirdly, don't lag! Do your part of the job. If you're a lazy Christian, if you're not getting there on time, if you're not doing your work that you ought to do, you're a disgrace to grace. It's a sin for a Christian to do less than his best. Listen again to Ephesians chapter 6, verses 5 and 6: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers;"--that is, don't see if the boss is looking before you work hard--"but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians 6:5­6). You are to work at that job, I don't care how dull, how

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

boring, it may seem. It's not dull; it's not boring, if you're doing it for Jesus. And, don't you lag. Don't be a laggard. The Bible says, in Colossians chapter 3, verse 23: "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Colossians 3:23). Boy, that'll put a dignity in it! Whatever it is--you're running a machine; you're greasing automobiles; you're typing letters; you're carrying mail; you're painting houses; you're digging ditches; you're cutting yards--"Jesus, I'm doing it for you. And, I'll do it with my might." Boy, I'll tell you, that'll put a spring in your step. That'll put a zest in it. And, you'll say, "I'm as much serving God this morning, as Adrian Rogers was when he was standing in that pulpit. I'm serving God as much as Jim Whitmire was when he was leading that choir. I am serving God as much as any missionary on the face of this earth. And, whatever my hand finds to do, I will do it with my might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). 4. Don't Sag! Don't brag! Don't nag! Don't lag! And, don't sag! Don't let down! Don't let down! Don't lapse back into the ways of this world. Don't begin to complain. Don't get unhappy. Stay happy! Stay full of joy! The only way to stay full of joy is to stay full of Jesus. And, that means you're going to have to have a quiet time before you ever go to work, and get loaded up with the grace of God, and bathe yourself in the presence of Jesus. When everybody else is griping, and complaining, and bellyaching, and morose, you can be there with the light of the Lord God upon your face. I want to tell you something about those people that you work with. Most of them are not all that interested in going to Heaven or Hell, they want to know how to hack it on Monday. And, when they see you come in the office without a hangover, and with the joy of the Lord Jesus on your face, they're going to say, after a while, "Hey, buddy, what makes you function?" You know what the Bible says, in 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 15? "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15) You're not going to have to take him by the buttonholes, and say, "Buddy, are you ready to meet God?" He's going to come to you, and he's going to say, "Hey, what makes you tick? What is the secret of the life that you live? Where are you getting that joy?" Because, the joy of Jesus is real, you've sanctified the Lord God in your heart, you're going to be able to share the Lord Jesus with him. Friend, that's the sphere of everyday work. Right there in Babylon--God put Daniel in Babylon. He didn't have any special call from God. It was circumstances that put him there, but God was overruling. And, that became his temple of devotion. And, that became his platform for witness. Daniel touched a whole nation for God, just by being God's man where God placed him.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

III. The Service of Everyday Work

Now, the third thing I want to say, and I'll be finished. I've talked to you about the sacredness of everyday work. I've talked to you about the sphere of everyday work in Babylon. Now, let me talk to you about the service of everyday work. You say, "Well, brother Rogers, I can see that the job that I do is a platform. I can witness for the Lord Jesus. Somehow it gets meaning." But, you might feel, "I'm not even around anybody where I witness. I spend all day plowing. I spend all day painting houses. I spend all day scraping something down. I work in a kitchen. There's no way, really, that I can witness where I am. Is it meaningful still?" Absolutely. Absolutely. Let me give you some Scripture here. Again, Proverbs chapter 14, verse 23: "In all labour there is profit." Does it have eternal significance? You know what Daniel's job was? A secular job, an ordinary job--he was a government bureaucrat, according to Daniel chapter 8, verse 27. I'm sure that Daniel, as he was handling taxation, as he was handling administration, as he was handling public relations, as he was handling law enforcement, as he was handling building projects and meetings and diplomacy, he said, "What does this have to do with serving God?" But yet, he served God continually. Let me ask you a question: Who was the first farmer? Think about it. Many of you will say, "Adam was the first farmer." But you're wrong. Let me tell you who the first farmer was. You can find it out, if you want to turn to Genesis chapter 2, verse 8. "The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden"--"the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden"--the first farmer was God. Now, that tells me that farming is an honorable occupation, if God was a farmer. God planted the first garden, and then He turned it over to Adam. In Genesis chapter 2, verse 15, "And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed" (Genesis 2:15). Don't get the idea that work is the punishment for sin. Listen. God gave Adam work to do before he ever sinned--He made him caretaker of this world. Why a garden? Because people have to eat. The home of Jesus was the cottage of a working man, and Jesus, whether He was mending plows or mending souls, was doing the work of God-- because people also have to have houses to live in, and furniture to sit on, and food to eat, and clothes to wear, and the ability to communicate. And, when we're doing those things, friend, we are participating with God, and cooperating with God, as much as Adam was when He was taking care of the Garden of Eden, a garden that God has planted. This is my Father's world. Don't get the idea that the material world is wrong, or out of whack with God. God made these things, friend, and God knows they have to operate--we could not have humanity; we could not have life. Listen. All of these things are as to the Lord. Listen again to Ephesians chapter 6, verses 7 and 8: "With good will

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:"--he was talking to people in secular jobs, and he was saying that, when you're doing that secular job, it's service to the Lord--"knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free" (Ephesians 6:7­8). Now, that means, if you are a slave, you have absolutely no choice. Somebody is making you do it. Still, do it with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. And, Jesus will reward you. Isn't that beautiful? Boy, I tell you that puts dignity in your job. I don't care what it is. When you go to work tomorrow, I want you to go to work tomorrow with a song in your heart, and a smile on your face, and a spring in your step. And, if you're putting those caps on tubes of toothpaste, say, "This one is for you, Jesus. Hallelujah! Praise God! Another one for God! There they go!" Nobody else knows about it; God knows about it. You know about it. Isn't that wonderful? You see, dear friend, everyday is a holy day, and every place is a sacred place. Again, Colossians 3, verse 23: "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:23). And, don't you get so heavenly minded you're no earthly good. God has you right here to do a job. One last verse and I'll be finished. You know, there were some people who, when they were taken out of Israel and when they were put in Babylon, just sat down. They said, "This is a decadent society. It's an ungodly world. I'm not going to work in it. I'm not going to do anything. I'm not going to participate in that old world." Now, I want you to see what Jeremiah told them in Jeremiah 29 verses 4 and following: "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;"--that is, God said, "I put you there"--"Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there,"--that is, in Babylon--"and not diminished." That is, God wants His people to prosper. God wants His people to be good businesspeople. Listen--verse 7: "And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives" (Jeremiah 29:4­7). Now, listen. We look for "a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10), but while we're here, we're to seek the good of Memphis. Did you know that? Seek the good of the city. I've caused you to be carried away captive, "and pray the Lord for it, and in its peace, you will have peace" (Jeremiah 29:7). We're to do good to Memphis while we're here. It is to be a better place because the people of Bellevue Baptist Church are here working in the streets, and lanes, and farms, and offices. We are to live here. This is where God has put us. Every day is a sacred day.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Every day is a holy day. You are a priest of God, a minister of God, and in full-time Christian service. And, brother, if that didn't ring your bell, your clapper's broken. That'll excite you. Man, that'll make a difference, when you go out tomorrow. "In all labour there is profit."

Conclusion

Let's bow in prayer. Father, I thank you for your Word, Lord, for the truth of it. Lord, I just pray that You'll help people who've been discouraged and bored with their jobs, frustrated, who've felt forgotten and insignificant, Lord God, that no matter what they do tomorrow, whether it be surgery or ditch-digging, whether it be preaching or fixing an automobile, God, that they'll do it as unto You, in the power that You give. And Lord, that that job will be the temple of their devotion, and the lampstand of their witness. God, just make it true, and give our people, Lord, that kind of a lifestyle. In Jesus' name. Amen.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Wherever He Leads, I'll Go

By Adrian Rogers

Date Preached: March 8, 1987 Main Scripture Text: Acts 8

Introduction

Take your Bibles, please, and turn, this morning, to the Book of Acts, the eighth chapter. We're making our way through this book under the title, "That Old-Time Religion." Now, in order to face the future, we need to understand the past. If we want to understand what the Church ought to do in the th 20 century, then let's find out what it was in the first century. When I was a young man in high school, I felt God moving in my heart. I thought, perhaps, that the Lord wanted me to preach the gospel. I cannot tell you how that germ thought got, first of all, into my heart and into my mind. As a matter of fact, if there would be anything that I did not consider myself to be, it would be a preacher or any kind of a public speaker. As a matter of fact, the thought terrified me of standing up in front of people and speaking. Well, yet, the Lord put that germ thought into my heart and into my mind. And, at first, it was there as a question. I thought, "Lord, do you want me to preach?" And then, after a few months, it was more than a question--it was a thought: "Lord, I think that you want me to preach." And then, after it became more of a thought, it became a conviction, and I began to pray: "Lord, if you don't want me to preach, then you'd better let me know." And then, it finally became a decision. I was at Ridgecrest, North Carolina; we were having our Baptist assembly there, and I was there in the summertime, and they were singing a song during the invitation: "Wherever He leads, I'll go." And, God touched my heart, and said, "Adrian, I want you to preach My gospel; it's settled." And, I stepped out to that invitation, and said, openly and publicly, what I knew was true in my heart and in my life that God had laid His hand upon me, and He wanted me to preach His gospel. And, as a high school boy, I said to my Lord--I said it then, and I meant it; I meant it then, and I mean it now--"Wherever He leads, I will go." Now, I want to speak to you on the same subject today, and that's the title of our message today: "Wherever He Leads." But, I don't want just Adrian to have said it. I want everybody here to say it and mean it: "Wherever He leads, I'll go." Now, He may not lead you across the ocean. He may not lead you to the pulpit. But, He will lead you. And, He has a plan for you. Now, I could ask, today, how many missionaries are here, and I don't want you to lift hands, because it might embarrass you, after I tell you what I'm going to say next. Because, I want to say that every one of us who is saved is a missionary. To say missionary and to say Christian is to say the same thing. Now, a missionary is somebody who has been saved from sin. Now, some of us are

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

sent across the ocean, and some of us are sent next door, but if we are saved, then we are sent, and we need to say, "Wherever He leads, I'll go." Now, I want to give you this morning, as we study God's Word, something to encourage your heart--something to say and to mean it--not to be afraid to say it. And, by the way, if there was ever a time when you ought to say it, ladies and gentlemen, it is now. I spoke recently with the sheriff of our county. He told me of the drug epidemic here in Shelby County. I did some more research. I found out that, this year, 80 billion dollars will be spent on illegal drugs. Do you know how much a billion dollars is? Can you imagine what will happen with 80 billion dollars in illegal drugs? I found out, also, that one out of every four teenage girls will become pregnant, if statistics hold. That's a frightening thing--a statistic that we've heard, and perhaps we have become almost calloused to it. One-and-a-half million little babies will be slaughtered, murdered in their mother's womb. And, how it ought to break our hearts! Everett Koop, who is the Surgeon General of the United States, said, "Unless something is done by the turn of the century, 100 million people will die of AIDS"--100 million by the turn of the century, which is not far away. These are desperate days. These are desperate days. The problem is that the times are desperate, but God's saints are not. We sit back, and we feel like, if we come to church on Sunday morning, then we've done God a favor: "O God, what a good boy am I! I went to church on Sunday morning. I even put something in the offering plate." Now, I want, by the time we finish this message, for you to have said it and meant it: "Wherever He leads, I'll go. Whatever He commands me, I will say." Now, I want you to begin to read here with me, please, in Acts chapter 8 and verse 26: "And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip..."--now, if you will remember, Philip was a deacon, one of those first seven deacons chosen back there in Acts chapter 6, a man full of wisdom and the Holy Ghost. And, he wasn't an ordained minister, in any sense of the word. He was what we would call a missionary, in the strictest sense of the word--"The angel of Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet" (Acts 8:26­28). Now, Esaias is just the way of saying "Isaiah, the prophet."

I. You Must Perceive the Call of God

Now, the very first thing that I want to say is this: If you would be used of God, if you would say, "Wherever He leads, I'll go," number one, you must perceive the call of God--you must perceive the call of God. Now, here in verse 26, the angel of the Lord came and spoke to Philip, and said, "Philip, this is what I want you to do. I want to be very frank with you." God's never spoken to me by an angel, that I know of. Now, sometimes, maybe we've met angels, and we didn't know that they were angels, because the Bible speaks of "angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2). I mean, there are people who may be God's angels, and we didn't know that they

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

were angels; but, God has spoken to my heart, and God will speak to your heart. God has many ways to speak, but God has a plan for you, and God will use you, if you'll get useable. Some people say, "Why doesn't God use me?" Well, let me tell you something, folks: It may be that you're not useable. God never leaves a surrendered vessel unfilled. And, God never leaves a filled vessel unused. You surrender yourself, and He'll fill you with the Holy Spirit. I mean, He will-- He will. Now, even God can't fill that which is already filled. I mean, you've got to empty out that self, that ambition, that pride, and that sin, and say, "Lord, fill me," and God will fill you. And, what God fills, He uses. Now, God will use you. God has a plan for you, just as He had a plan for Philip, so long ago. And, Philip was an ordinary person that God used in an extraordinary way. And, let me say something about the working of God, and how God does that. A. God's Ways are Often Unknown First of all, God's ways are often unknown. Philip had no way of knowing that he was going to be used of God to win, as we're going to see in a moment, a very important and strategic man. Philip was getting ready to witness to one of the most influential men in all of North Africa, and, as you're going to see, a man that was used of God to open up all of North Africa to the gospel. Philip had no way of knowing that. All he knew was that God had spoken, and He said, "Go south to Gaza." He said, "Yes, sir; I'll go." Now, you have no way of knowing how God is going to use you if you will obey God. As a matter of fact, it would probably sometimes blow our gaskets if we knew what God had planed for us in the future. I told you, several weeks ago, about a man named Kimball that led Dwight L. Moody to Jesus Christ. About a century ago, Kimball was a Sunday School teacher, and he led Moody to Christ. Now, who was Moody? You young people may not know who Moody was, but he was the Billy Graham of his day. But, he was different from Billy Graham. Billy Graham is very suave and very cultured--very educated and intelligent. Moody was an orphan at the age of four. He didn't have an opportunity to get a formal education. As a matter of fact, this may encourage some of you: In the last letter that Moody wrote before his death, there were almost 40 grammatical errors in that letter. He murdered the King's English, but he didn't disappoint the King. Brother, he loved the Lord of lords and the King of kings. And, Moody was a mighty man, proficient in the gospel, but he was basically an uncultured, unlettered man. He was used of God to move two continents--both America and Europe--for Christ. Moody went to England, and there, can you imagine this shoe clerk--that's all that he was--who preached in Cambridge? And there, in Cambridge, was a young athlete. His name was C. T. Studd. Now, he was one of the greatest athletes of all time. Now, over there, cricket was to them--and is to them--what football is to us. He was a cricketer. He was a star. He was in the Cambridge Eleven. He was a man of great ability, great charm, and great wealth. C. T. Studd's father was a personal This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

friend to the Queen of England and was a multi-millionaire. And, Studd had it all. I mean he had the looks; he had the mind; and, he had the money. He had it all. He had the athletic ability. But, when he heard Moody preach, God touched his life. C. T. Studd resigned from athletics, and no longer was he a member of the Cambridge Eleven, playing cricket. He was called to another seven--the Cambridge Seven--who went to China and began one of the mightiest movements modern missions has ever known. Do you know what Studd said--this man so greatly used of God? Under the influence of Moody, here's what he said--they asked him, "What motivated you to do what you did--to leave that wealth, to leave that prestige, to leave it all?" He said this: "If Christ be God and died for me, then there is no sacrifice I can make too great for Him." "If Christ be God and died for me, then there is no sacrifice too great for me to make for Him." God's ways are often unknown. The man who led Moody to Christ had no idea that Moody would be used as he was. You may not know, but Philip had no idea that he was going to be used of God to win this strategic man. But, he obeyed. That's so thrilling; that's so exciting. B. God's Ways are Often Unexplained But, let me say that, not only are God's ways unknown; I also want to say that God's ways are unexplained. God did not have to give to Philip any reason for going. He just simply said, "Go," and Philip traveled under sealed orders. And, perfect obedience does not need to know why. Now, God may not speak to you through an angel, but He is going to speak to you. Now, let me tell you how the Holy Spirit works. It's so interesting. First of all, the Holy Spirit begins to work on an individual--an unsaved sinner. He begins to soften that sinner's heart for the gospel. Maybe He brings influences, or whatever, to that person, and then God finds a man over here, or a woman over here, who is filled with the Holy Spirit, that He can use, and God gets the two together. Now, here's Philip, way up in Samaria, and here's the eunuch, way down here in Gaza, and God brings the two together. And you know, as you study the Bible, and great salvation experiences in the Bible, that happens so often. For example, Jesus said, in John chapter 4 and verse 4: "And he must needs go through Samaria" (John 4:4). I mean, He felt a divine compulsion to go through Samaria. It didn't say, "Let's just go through"--"He must needs." And, He went through Samaria. And, there was that Samaritan woman there--she had such a thirst for the Lord Jesus--and she was saved. That was a divine appointment. You can read, in Acts chapter 10, where there was this man named Cornelius, who was a Gentile of the Italian band. He had a thirst--a hunger--to know God. And, you can read how God took Simon Peter, and God brought the two together. I've seen it happen in my own life so many times, where God just supernaturally leads me to a person who needed the gospel of Jesus Christ, when my heart was right and their heart was hungry. I was sitting on a plane in Tulsa, and I'd been praying and seeking the face of God, and there was a vacant seat near me. And, I just prayed, "Lord God, I make myself available. If I can help the person

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

who's going to sit in that seat, just, Lord, help me to help the person who is going to sit in that seat. I'm available Lord." And, I pray for the person before they ever get on the plane. Well, I waited, and after the plane filled up, that seat was still vacant. The last person, to my knowledge, to get on that plane was the lady who came and sat down beside me. And, she just plopped down. She had a big bundle of things in her hands. And, she got out a Bible. I thought, "Well, that's unusual for a person to be carrying a Bible." I often carry one on the plane--as a matter of fact--just almost all the time. I had just put my Bible in my briefcase. I'd been reading there, from Revelation 12:11, where it says: "And they overcame him"--that is, the devil--"by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death" (Revelation 12:11). I'd been studying that scripture--pondering on it, looking--my heart was full of that particular scripture. Now, this lady gets on, and she brings out a brown Bible just like the one I put in the briefcase. I said, "Well, I have a Bible like that." She said, "You do?" She said, "Mister, could you possibly please help me?" I said, "What kind of help do you need?" She said, "Oh, is there some verse on overcoming the devil?" I reached into my briefcase, got out my Bible, and showed her that verse. Do you know what she said? She said, "This is the most amazing thing." She said, "Before I got onto this airplane, I prayed that God would cause me to sit by somebody who could help me." And, I thought, "Isn't that wonderful?" Here I'm praying, "O God, let me be a blessing to this person." Here she's saying, "O God, send me somebody to help me." You may think that's a coincidence. Folks, I don't think it's a coincidence. I just think that's the way we ought to be living a whole lot more of the time. How God works on both ends of the spectrum! Somebody said, "You get right with God, and you almost have to backslide to keep from winning souls." You have to perceive the call of God. Listen to what God is saying. And here, when Philip saw this man, he ran to this man. I want you to see how he obeyed God, how sensitive he was to the Holy Spirit of God. Look, if you will, in verses 27 to 30, here, in this chapter: "And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, and eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him" (Acts 8:27­30). Now, notice: Philip doesn't wait. He doesn't argue with the Lord. So many times, we miss opportunities because they are passing us by. How graphically that's illustrated. Here's a man in the chariot. Philip had to run and catch him. A few moments later and it would have been too late. Now, Philip would have reasoned within himself and said, "Now, wait a minute. He's Ethiopian, and I'm Jewish. We've got a race problem here." Or, he could have said, "Look, he's rich, and I'm poor. There's a socioeconomic problem here." Or, he could have said, "He's reading, and he may not want to be bothered," and there could have been just sort of a...what's the word I'm thinking of? Maybe, a manners problem. But, you see, what Philip did was just simply to answer the Lord when

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

the Lord spoke. And, he didn't let race, riches, reading, or anything else come between him. Oh, be swift, my soul to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!

Our God is marching on. (Julia Ward Howe) Now, listen. You need to get yourself that sensitive to the Lord. You need to be walking in the stream of the Spirit, because here was a man who'd been to Jerusalem to worship. Now, he's coming back. He'd been to the most religious city on the face of the earth, and the wells of religion were dry. His soul was still thirsty. He's reading the prophet Isaiah. As we're going to show you, in just a moment, he was right to the heart of the gospel. He was reading the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. The timing is exquisite. The chariot is passing by; the man is right there in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. He's right in that part that speaks about Christ dying for our sins. There is just a split second--just a split second. The timing is perfect, and Philip obeyed. Have you ever wondered how many opportunities that you've missed? Hmm? Because you were not that sensitive to the Holy Spirit of God? O friend, listen. We need to say, "God help me to be sensitive. Help me to be courageous. Help me, O God, to perceive the call of God." It's so important that you do this, my dear friend, if you would be a missionary.

II. You Must Preach the Christ of God

Now, the second thing--the second thing: Not only must you perceive the call of God, but, dear friend, you must preach the Christ of God. You know, there are a lot of folks who call themselves missionaries today, and they're building buildings, digging wells, planting crops, and they're educating people, and all of that. Folks, that's good--if that gives you an opportunity to preach the gospel. If it doesn't, then it's just a colossal failure. We have some people--we have some people today--who are preaching what they call liberation theology. And, all it is, is socialism with a little religion sprinkled on top of it. And, they're not preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, I want you to understand, dear friend, what a real missionary does. I want you to see what Philip did here. And, it's so exciting. All right now, look, beginning in verse 30: "And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?" Now, just underscore that phrase, because it's our job to make the Word of God plain--that's our job. Now, listen. We are not really, in the truest sense, the soul winners-- the Holy Spirit is the soul winner. Now, He is a soul winner through us, and to that degree, we are the soul winners. But, you understand what I'm saying now. Our job is not to be successful; our job is to be faithful. Our job is to make the message clear and to help people to understand. And, they can't understand, unless we show them how. "Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me?" (Acts 8:30­31). Now, incidentally, let me just say right here, ladies and gentlemen, that an angel said

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

to Philip to go down there. Well, why didn't God send an angel down there to tell this man how to be saved? Because, angels can never testify of salvation, because they've never had it. Angels never knew the joy that my salvation brings. Listen. We are privileged to do something that angels cannot do. And, I'll tell you something else: We're privileged to do something now that we won't be able to do when we get to Heaven-- and that's to win souls. This man says: "How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: in his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?" Now, notice verse 35: "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus" (Acts 8:31­35). We must perceive the call of God. We must preach the Christ of God. "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." He didn't preach to him about race. He didn't preach to him about economics. He didn't preach to him about the social and political situation in Ethiopia. He preached unto him Jesus. A. Three Points to the Gospel And, there were three things he helped him to understand. And, these are the three things that I want you to understand today, if you are not saved. And, if you are saved and you want to help somebody else be saved, then it's so simple. There are just three things--listen. Folks, when you hear somebody preach the gospel, and they make it complicated, then you know that, probably, God's not in it. The gospel is not complicated. I mean, the gospel is simply glorious and gloriously simple. When you get somebody, and he's preaching the gospel, and you say, "Man, he must be intelligent. I didn't understand him." Wait a minute--just because the river's muddy, doesn't mean that it's deep. Listen. Regarding Jesus, the Bible says, "The common people heard him gladly" (Mark 12:37). Gladly, they heard Him. Here was Philip, and Philip is making known, to this Ethiopian, the gospel. And, there are just three simple facts in Philip's message--to be in your message, or anybody's message. 1. He Showed This Man that He was a Sinner Number one: Philip showed this man that he was a sinner. He showed this man that he was a sinner. He showed this man that Christ had died for his sins. This same 53rd chapter of Isaiah says: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). There is no doubt in my mind at all that Philip took him to the remedy--why the Lord Jesus died like a lamb to the slaughter. He was dying for our sins. Nobody, nobody, nobody has ever been saved who has not, first of all, admitted that he or she is a sinner. Now, in the average congregation, you have two categories; you have two classes of people who don't get saved. There are those who think they are too good to be saved; they think that the gospel is for the thief, the prostitute, the murderer, the harlot, or the dope addict. They don't think the gospel is for them, because they are nice, cultured people. They don't think that they need to be saved. Then, on the other hand, there are people who think that they are such horrible, terrible sinners that God won't have anything to do with them. And, they think, "Oh, I wish I could be like those nice church people, but I'm just out of it. God won't have anything to do with me." My dear friend, listen to me today. Listen to me today. There is nobody so good that he need not be saved, and nobody so bad that he can't be saved. Amen? But, we have to understand what the Bible says, that, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23)--that Christ died for our sins. I was reading, recently, that over in England they had a beauty contest, and they were using-- in England--they were using it to promote a product. And, it was an unusual beauty contest, because it was for women who were over 40. Now, they had a wonderful prize, but no one won the prize. Do you know why? Nobody entered the contest. Not a woman who considered herself a beauty would admit that she was 40-- not a one. They couldn't get anybody in the contest, because none of these women would admit--if they were beautiful enough to win the prize--that they were 40. There are some people who will never possess salvation because they will not admit that they are sinners. And, I don't mean just admit it--but acknowledge it before God: "O God, have mercy upon me, a sinner." My dear friend, you're a sinner by birth, a sinner by nature, a sinner by choice, and a sinner by practice, and, "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). And, Philip made known to this Ethiopian that Christ had died for his sins. You see, dear friend, you won't get saved until you admit that. There is an old story of a king who was visiting a slave galley ship, where they chained the slaves to the oars and made them pull the oars. And, people were put in those ships; they were prison ships. For prisoners of the state and for people who had done horrible things like crimes, this was their sentence--to pull at the oars beneath the decks, and to be the engines of those ancient ships. This king visited one of those ships, and he asked a man, "Why are you here?" He said, "Sire, I'm here not really by my fault. The reason I am here is because I was framed, and I wasn't guilty, but I was lied on in a law court." And the king said, "Oh, that's tragic. That's such a shame." And, he went to the next man, and he said, "Why are you here?" "Oh," he said, "Your Honor, I

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

am like the other man." He said, "I am innocent." He said, "I was simply in a crowd when a crime was committed, and I was arrested with the others. Have mercy on me." And the king said, "Oh, that's tragic, my man, that you should be in such a situation." And, he went to one man after another, and they all had some tale like that, except for one man. He said, "And why are you here?" He said, "Sire, I'm here because I'm a criminal. I have sinned against my God. I have sinned against my king. I've sinned against my fellowman. And now, I'm suffering the just reward for my deed." When the king heard that, he said, "You nave--you rascal-- what are you doing here among so many honest men? Guards, release him and get him out of here." Oh, dear friend, when we protect our innocence, we condemn ourselves; but, when we say, "Have mercy upon me--a sinner," we'll know the king's forgiveness. 2. He Showed This Man that Christ Died for His Sins Now, I'll tell you something else that you'll have to understand: Not only do you have to understand, and not only did Philip help this man to understand that he was a sinner, but Philip helped him to understand that Christ died for his sins: "As a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth... Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus" (Acts 8:32, 35). No matter what else you preach, dear friend, if you don't tell people that Christ died for their sins, then you're not a missionary; you haven't preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, he preached how that Christ died for our sins. Have you understood that He took your place? "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him"--on Jesus-- "the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus took my sin and went to Calvary. I take His righteousness, and I go to Heaven--that's what the gospel is. You say, "Oh, that's so simple." That's exactly right, dear friend. It's so simple that sometimes a little child will see it and a college professor will stumble over it. I heard of a woman who was a washerwoman. She got saved, and she didn't have a great education. There was a skeptic, a sinner who knew her, and he said, "Well, Betty, I hear you got religion last week. Tell me what it's like to be a saint." She said, "Well, I'm not sure that I know what a saint is." He said, "Well, tell me what happened to you." "Oh," she said, "I learned of something called the grace of God and that Jesus died for me, and I accepted Him as my personal Savior and Lord. And, He's forgiven my sins and saved me." "Oh," he said, "you're saved." He said, "Tell me what does it feel like to be saved?" And, she said, "Well I don't think I could explain it to you where you could understand it. But," she said, "to me, it's as though I'm standing in Jesus' shoes and He's standing in mine." I don't believe a theologian with an earned degree could explain it better than that. Dear friend, I'm standing in Jesus' shoes, and He's standing in mine. Christ died for our

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

sins. And, my dear friend, if you're here today without Jesus, or listening by television without Jesus, He died for your sins. He died for you, and your sins are paid for in the blood of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! 3. He Taught This Man that Salvation is by Grace Through Faith Now, listen--listen. The third thing that Philip taught this man is so simple. It's so simple--that salvation is by grace through faith. Look--look at it right here. They come to a place, and the Ethiopian is wondering about being baptized. Verses 36 and 37: "And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said,"--now, just underscore this--"If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ the Son of God" (Acts 8:36­37). Do you know what Philip had taught him? That salvation is by grace through faith. Now, it's so simple. Philip taught him that he was a sinner. Philip taught him that Christ died for his sins. And, Philip taught him that he was saved by grace through faith. Couldn't you teach people that? I mean, folks, you don't have to be a PhD to teach that. That is so simple, and it is so glorious that we are saved by faith. Well, actually, we are saved by grace, through faith, as we trust the Lord Jesus. That's the reason why the Apostle Paul said, in Romans chapter 1, and verse 16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:16). That's the reason that Paul and Silas were able to tell that man in that Philippian jail, in Acts chapter 16 and verse 31: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and they house" (Acts 16:31). Let me ask you a question: Can a person know that they are saved? Absolutely. You're looking at a man who knows that he is saved. "Well," you say, "you sure are cocky. You sure to do have a lot of confidence in yourself." No, I don't. But I know that I'm saved. And, the way that I know I'm saved is because salvation is by grace through faith. If you have your Bibles, and you want to see something that will bless you, then just open them up to Romans chapter 4 here for just a moment. Let me show you what I'm talking about--how you can know that you are saved. In Romans chapter 4, now look at it--Romans chapter 4 and verse 16--just the first part of that verse: "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure" (Romans 4:16). I'm just going to stop right there: "It is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure." Now, what does that mean? Well, you see, dear friend, if there were any other plan of salvation, then you couldn't be sure. Suppose God said, "Everybody who wants to be saved--read a chapter in the Bible." Some people can't. Suppose God said, "Everybody who wants to be saved--live a good life." None of us has ever lived a perfect life. These

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

people who are depending upon their good works to get them to Heaven, they have the idea: "Well, if you're living good enough, when you die, then you are going to go to Heaven." Oh, my dear friend, listen. Is there anybody who would stand up here and say that today, yesterday, or tomorrow, they are going to be perfect or have been perfect? No--not a one of us. "Well," you say, "I've been pretty good." Pretty good? God demands perfection. Suppose you're hanging over a chasm 2,000 feet deep, and you are suspended by a chain of 100 links, and 99 links in that chain are forged steel, and one link is made of crepe paper. How safe are you? We have a proverb: "A chain is no stronger than it's weakest link." Dear friend, if one link in that chain depends upon you, then you'll never be sure. Just one link--I mean, it's not you and God. It's God all the way. Let me give you a verse of Scripture. Some people, they have a hard time understanding it when they hear it. It's Romans 11:6: "And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." Did that make sense to you? Sounds confusing, doesn't it? All right, slow down. "And if by grace,"--Romans 11:6--"then It is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace." What is grace? God's riches at Christ's expense--G-R-A-C-E. Grace is God doing it all, and us doing none of it. Now, if it is by grace, then it is no more of works. I cannot work my soul to save, For that my Lord hath done; But I will work like any slave, For the love of God's dear Son. (Author Unknown) But, I don't work in order to be saved. I work because I've been saved. "And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise..."--now, listen--"otherwise grace is no more grace." The minute that I add works to it, then grace is no more grace. Now, suppose that brother Bob over here, he gets very wealthy, and he says to me, "Adrian, I'm going to buy you a Mercedes automobile." "I want one with all of the trimming--everything." I mean, he's going to buy me a Mercedes. I say, "Well, Bob, that's fine. I don't want any ordinary Mercedes." "No sir, I'm going to get you a fine one." So, he buys for me...what's a new Mercedes? Forty thousand dollars? Let's say that he buys me a 40,000 dollar Mercedes. I don't want a cheap one. And so, he says, "Now, Adrian, this is for you, because I love you." And, I say, "Now, Bob, you're just giving me this?" "Just giving it to you." I say, "Now, Bob, wait a minute. I just can't let you do that. Bob, here's a quarter. Let me help you." And, I give Bob a quarter. So, he pays 39,999 dollars and 75 cents, and I pay two bits. And, I'm driving that car, and somebody says, "Nice car you got, Adrian." I say, "Yeah, Bob and I bought this car." Huh? And, I add my two bits worth of effort to what he did.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Friend, you try to add your two bits worth of effort to what Jesus did on the cross of Calvary, and you'll insult the Giver. The minute that you add your works to it, you destroy the idea of grace. "But if it be of works, then it is no more grace" (Romans 11:6). If it's by grace, then it can't be of works; and, if it's by works, then it can't be of grace. Now, those of you who are trying to be saved by your good works, no wonder you don't have the assurance of your salvation. The Bible says, "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure" (Romans 4:16). I know that I'm going to Heaven, but mister, I wouldn't trust the best 15 minutes I ever lived to get me to Heaven. Did you know that? Not the best I ever lived--much less the worst 15. But, I am going to Heaven by the grace of God. These people get all confused about this thing. They say, "Oh no, no, let me tell you; let me tell you that it's grace and works--just like a rowboat. You get in the rowboat and you want to cross the stream, and so, you pull on one oar--it's called works--you just go round in a circle. And, you pull on the other oar--it's called faith--and you'll just go around the circle the other way. "Ah, but," they say, "faith and works just get you right across." That sounds good, but there's a fatal flaw in that, dear friend: I'm not going to Heaven in a rowboat. Friend, I am going to Heaven by the grace of God--"And if by grace, then it is no more of works" (Romans 11:6). Listen--listen. What Philip preached to this man was this: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). Now, folks, that's what people have to understand. When he got up there, and he said, "You understand what you're reading?" he helped him to see that he was a sinner. He helped him to understand that Christ died for his sins. And, he helped him, dear friend, to understand that salvation is by grace through faith.

III. You Must Practice the Commands of God

One last thing, and I don't have time to develop this--I'll develop it tonight--but listen. Not only must the missionary perceive the call of God, not only must he preach the Christ of God, but he must also practice the commands of God. If you read the story on through, then you'll find out that Philip got this man baptized as a believer in Jesus Christ. This man had a believer's baptism. For, you see, the Great Commission tells us not only to preach Christ, but to obey Christ. The Great Commission says, "Go ye therefore unto all the world, making disciples of all nations, and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). I wish I had more time to talk about that. Dear friend, when you are baptized, it's your way of showing openly and publicly that you have been saved. But you must be saved, in order to be baptized. And, if you haven't believed first with all of your heart, you're not ready to be baptized. "The eunuch said, `See, here's water; what doth hinder

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

me to be baptized?' And Philip said, `If you believe with all your heart, you may'" (Acts 8:36­37). If you were baptized before you were saved, dear friend, that's like having your funeral before you die. You're not baptized in order to be saved; you're baptized because you're saved. A true baptism follows a true salvation. When this man was baptized, the Bible says he went on his way rejoicing. Baptism and joy are linked in the Bible. And the reason that some of you who claim to be saved don't have any joy is you've not been obedient about the matter of baptism.

Conclusion

Now, if we're real missionaries, then we're going to receive the call of God; we're going to preach the Christ of God; and, we're going to practice the commands of God. I want every head bowed.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

What is the Good Life?

By Adrian Rogers

Date Preached: September 24, 1989 Main Scripture Text: Galatians 5:22

Outline

What is the Good Life? .....................................................................................................1 Outline ............................................................................................................................1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................1 I.The Reasons for Goodness......................................................................................2 A.The Inward Reason ............................................................................................3 B.The Outward Reason ........................................................................................5 C.The Upward Reason ..........................................................................................5 II.The Problems with Goodness: We are Not Good....................................................6 A.The Bible Teaches It ..........................................................................................6 B.History Proves It .................................................................................................7 C.Personal Experience Teaches It ........................................................................7 III.The Pathway to Goodness .....................................................................................7 A.Paul's Desire ......................................................................................................8 B.Paul's Determination ..........................................................................................9 C.Paul's Despair ..................................................................................................10 D.Paul's Deliverance ...........................................................................................12 Conclusion....................................................................................................................13

Introduction

Take God's Word, and find Galatians chapter 5 and verse 22. We're in a series, speaking about the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians chapter 5, verse 22, says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness" (Galatians 5:22). And then, we come to that quality of the Christ life that the Bible calls goodness. And, I want to speak to you on this subject: "What is the Good Life?" Now, the word good is an overworked word today. Something feels good, tastes good, and looks good. You've done a good job, or whatever. We just throw the word good all around. And, people, today, are interested in living the good life. And, for some people, what is the good life? Well, for some people, the good life is feeling good. That means, it's having a hot tub and a back rub. That's the good life. For other people, the good life is not feeling good, but it's looking good. I mean, everybody today wants to look good. And, the cosmetics industry is a very big industry today. Billions of dollars are spent on looking good. There are many here today that look as good as you ever did. It just takes you longer to get that way. And, some don't look as good as you used to. For other people, the good life

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

is not just feeling good, and looking good, but it's having the goods. I mean, you know, just accumulating. They call that the good life. If you have enough money to have enough power to do what you want to do. I saw a red Ferrari the other day. It had a bumper sticker on it. And, it said, "The one who wins has the most toys at the end of life." And, you know, they say, "The only difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys." And so, that guy had a big red one. And, to him, that was the good life. Well, there's the good life. What is the good life? Well, in all of these things that I've mentioned, none of these things has a moral quality to it. But, the good that the Bible is talking about has a moral characteristic. You see, the fruit of the Spirit is goodness. Now, what is goodness? Well, number one, it is being good. And, therefore, because you are good, it is doing good. Now, I want to give you a verse of Scripture to put in your margin. And, it is Micah 6 and verse 8. If you want, in one verse, a definition of goodness, here it is, my dear friend. Here is what goodness is. Just put it in the margin, and listen to me. Don't try to look it up now, because the sermon will be over, and some of you will not have found Micah yet. Some don't even know Micah's in the Bible. You will get to Heaven, and you meet Micah, and he'll say, "Did you read my book?" And, you'll say, "Oh, you wrote a book?" Micah chapter 6, verse 8--now, listen to it: "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8). Isn't that good? Isn't that beautiful? "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" Now, having said that, real goodness--the good life--has a moral quality to it. It is to be good, and, therefore, to do good. And, because it is the fruit of the Spirit, our message is organized around three simple thoughts.

I. The Reasons for Goodness

First of all, I want us to think about the reasons for goodness. Why should we be good? I mean, if you look around you, it doesn't seem, sometimes, like we should. The young ladies, sometimes, say to me, "Pastor, you know, it just seems like we can't get a date, unless we are less than pure. It seems like the other girls--the girls that don't have the highest standards--they're the ones who are getting the phone calls. They are the ones who are being carried out." Businessmen say, "You know, Pastor, I'd like to run my business according to certain principles. But, it seems like that where I am, if you don't hedge a little, bend a little, trim a little, politic a little, then you're not going to make the big bucks. The big bucks are made by the guys who don't necessarily do it the right way--that is, according to the Word of God." And, the kids at school say, "If you

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

want to be popular, the most popular kids at school are not always the best kids." Does it pay to be good? You better believe it pays to be good, my dear friend. And, I want to tell you why you ought to be good. And, I want to give you three major reasons for being good. A. The Inward Reason And, reason number one is what I want to call the inward reason. You see, dear friend, you will never have inward peace and tranquility until you have inward-- intrinsic--goodness. You know yourself. You may deceive others. You may deceive me, and I may deceive you. But, we can't really deceive ourselves. We know what we are. We can't run away from ourselves. If you run away--if you leave town--you have to go with you. You just take you everywhere you go. When I was a teenager, I learned these words: I have to live with myself and so I want to be fit for myself to know. I want to be able as days go by, always to look myself straight in the eye; I don't want to stand with the setting sun and hate myself for the things I have done. (Edgar A. Guest) Now, this being able to look yourself in the eye is what the Bible calls a good conscience. Take your Bibles, and turn with me to Acts chapter 23, for a moment. I want you to see what happened in the life of the Apostle Paul. Now, Paul is held, and taken into court. Now, he's not guilty of doing anything, except preaching the gospel of Jesus. But, it's a very serious matter, and they are accusing him of all kinds of things. And, there's a possibility, of course, that he may not only be put in prison, but his life may be taken from him. And, I want you to see what the Apostle Paul does here. Let's look in Acts 23, and notice this, in verse 1. Now, here he is before the tribunal; here he is before the court. Now, look at it--Acts 23 verse 1: "And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day" (Acts 23:1). Now, the Apostle Paul says, "I have a good conscience." That is, "When I look into my heart, I have a good conscience." Well, what is a good conscience? Well, just go on, now, to Acts 24, and look at verse 16. Here's what his good conscience was. He said this: "And herein do I exercise myself..."--now, underscore the word exercise. That is, "this is something that I diligently do"--"I exercise myself, to have always"-- underscore the word always--"a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men" (Acts 24:16). Now, that, my friend, is a good conscience. A conscience that is void of offence toward God and toward men. Bill Gothard said

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

this: "A good conscience is that inner freedom of spirit and assurance, knowing that you have a transparency toward everyone, that no one is able to point a finger at you, and accuse you of wrongs toward him that you've not made right." Isn't that wonderful? Do you know what a good conscience is? A good conscience is this: knowing that, if you knew me as I know me, you would still respect me. You know, I have to ask myself this question: If people knew me as God knows me, would they come hear me preach? I mean, do you have that transparency? The transparency to be able to meet anyone, and have no one be able to point a finger of accusation against you, because you have a conscience devoid of offence toward God and toward man. Friend, what a liberty there is there! You see, the Apostle Paul is in trouble. I mean, he's in real trouble. But, the thing that has enabled him to stand there without flinching is that he doesn't have to run through his life, and say, "I wonder if what I did wrong has me right here today." You see, there's something about a clear conscience that just liberates you in time of trouble. It just removes fear. You have a bad conscience that causes that fear that we have toward God--a bad conscience. And, when God came walking in the garden, after Adam and Eve sinned, what did they do? They ran, and hid themselves from the Lord, in the midst of the garden. Now, why did Adam hide himself? He hid himself, because he had a defiled conscience. He didn't have a clear conscience. He wasn't right with God. And so, Adam and Eve hid themselves. And, rather than having fellowship with God, rather than saying, "What a friend we have in Jesus," they're hiding from the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know why some people don't want to come to church? Oh, there are people who just feel uncomfortable about coming to church. Do you know why some people don't read the Bible? Do you know why some people don't pray? They have a conscience that has an offence toward God. And, their conscience, you see, the conscience is that inner judge that God has put in you that tells you, that accuses you, or excuses you. It cannot make you do right, but it shows you what is right, or what is wrong. And, when your conscience is right, you have that tremendous freedom. After David had sinned, and done the terrible thing that he had done by committing adultery, he said there, in Psalm 53, "My sin is ever before me" (Psalm 51:3). Can you imagine what it would be like for David to live that way? Can you imagine what it would be like, knowing that he'd sinned, and now, the thing that he's done--the deed that he's done--reverberates through his consciousness? Everybody that he sees, he wonders, "Do they know? Do they know?" Two men are whispering. He wonders, "Are they talking about me?" A letter comes. He says, "I wonder is this the affidavit that proves that I'm guilty?" If they had telephones in that day, every time the telephone rang, he'd

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

jump. You see? But, a good conscience will do something for you, friend, that a sleeping pill will not do. And, when you get into trouble and difficulty, as the Apostle Paul did, you can say, "Look, I have lived with a good conscience." B. The Outward Reason There's the inward reason. That's one reason. But, let me give you another reason that you ought to be good. Not only the inward reason, but oh, there is the outward reason. Not only are you looking in, but others are looking on. Our lives influence others. The Apostle Paul said, in 1 Corinthians chapter 8, verse 13--he says, "Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend" (1 Corinthians 8:13). Now, what Paul meant by that is this: He said, "I don't want to do anything that will cause anybody else to stumble, or anybody else to fail." I've been hearing and reading, today, about all these terrible things that are happening--some who are prominent evangelists, some who are on television, and all of these things--and it breaks my heart. It literally breaks my heart. It just causes me to weep. It causes me anguish on the inside. I'd rather die five minutes before I would disgrace the cause of Jesus. And, I think how many people are caused to fall and stumble. When a giant oak falls in the in the woods, not only does that oak fall, but it just pulls down all kinds of saplings, and other trees with it, when it falls. And, what a tragedy this is! How terrible it is for these to do this! When I was a teenager I learned these words also: I would be true, for there are those who trust me; I would be pure, for there are those who care; I would be strong, for there is much to suffer; I would be brave, for there is much to dare. (Howard Arnold Walter) Others are looking on. Why be good? None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. You're the best Christian, and you're the worst Christian, that somebody knows. You're the only Bible that somebody is reading. Oh, I'll tell you the Hell of Hell to me would be to know, not only did I go to Hell, but that I took others with me--I took my wife, my loved ones, and my children. C. The Upward Reason Why be good? Because, dear friend, there's the inward reason, there's the outward reason, and there is the upward reason. There is a God in glory. And, that God is looking down. What a joy to know that you have a conscience that's void of offence toward God!

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

There are times when I get backslidden. There are times when I get cold. There are times when the things that I do for the Lord Jesus Christ seem to take the place of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I find myself studying more than praying. And, I find myself counseling with others more than talking with God. And, I find myself caring about the buildings, and the budgets, and all of these things, more than the blessed Savior. And, I know that my heart has gotten cold. And, I just have to get alone, and get with myself, and get down on my face before God, and give to God every blessed thing--give to God my health, give to God my family, give to God my reputation, give to God anything--and say, "Dear God, if there's something that I haven't surrendered, I want you to show it to me," and sign a blank piece of paper, and say, "It's yours, Lord; fill it in. Whatever it is, O God, I give it all to You." And, I can tell you, there comes a time, my dear friend, when God's light floods my body. And, the Bible says, "When thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light" (Luke 11:34). And, what a time that is to know, to be able to say, "There is nothing between my soul and the Savior"! And, that, my friend, is a good reason for being good. There is that inward reason, and there is that outward reason. And, there is that upward reason, as we are what God wants us to be. I was thinking last night, when I was with some friends, just talking, and it came to my mind about a man in the New Testament whose name was Barnabas. And, this is what it said about Barnabas--oh, I think it is a tremendous thing--it said: "For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 11:24). Now, hey folks, when I die, I'd like to be worthy to have that put on my tombstone. That would be enough for me: "He was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost." Friend, it's more important to be good than it is to be great. As a matter of fact, if you're not good, then you're not great. I don't care what you've done, or how much money you have. You see, he was a good man. "He was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost." Why be good? Inward look, outward look, and upward look: all of them tell us that we need to be good.

II. The Problems with Goodness: We are Not Good

But, oh, there's a problem about this matter of goodness. Let's move to the second point that deals, not only with the purpose of goodness, but the problems with goodness. Now, the problem is this: very frankly, folks, we're not good. I mean, that's right. Amen? We are not good. A. The Bible Teaches It Let me give you a verse of Scripture. All of the self-righteous people, just tune in, now, and listen. Romans chapter 3, verse 12, says, "There is none that doeth good, no,

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

not one" (Romans 3:12). Hmm? Not one. Well, you say, "I gave to the Red Cross. I did this, and did that." God says, "Your righteousness is as filthy rags in my sight" (Isaiah 64:6). "In my flesh," the Apostle Paul said, "is no good thing" (Romans 7:18). How do we know this is true? Well, number one: the Bible teaches it--Romans chapter 3, verse 12. B. History Proves It Number two: history proves it. Just read the newspapers. Look around you. C. Personal Experience Teaches It Any of you have any children? All right, that ought to be enough to teach you there's none good, no not one. Any of you have to teach your children to lie? No. They just lie by nature. A little child can lie before it can talk. It'll make you think it needs changing, you come in there, and the little rascal's lying. He just wants to be held. Before he can verbalize, and before he can talk, he can lie. The Bible says that. The Bible says, "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born" (Psalm 58:3). That's what the Bible says. Experience proves to us--human nature. You don't have to teach little children to be selfish; you have to teach them not to be selfish. You don't have to teach them to be hurtful; you have to say, "Don't hurt, don't bite, don't do this, don't do that." It's just bound up. The Bible says, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child" (Proverbs 22:15). You see, the Bible teaches it, history teaches it, and personal experience teaches it. Let me show you a verse of Scripture. This one, I want you to turn to--Jeremiah chapter 13, look in verse 23. Many of us have decided we're going to be good, haven't we? All right now, look what the Bible says here, in Jeremiah chapter 13 and verse 23: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then..."--that means, if an Ethiopian can change his skin, and a leopard can change his spots--"then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jeremiah 13:23). Friend, you could no more will to be good, and be good, than you could will to change the color of your skin, or a leopard could will to change the spots on his back. It takes something, there's a principle within us. "There is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Romans 3:12). And, we know that we know that there's a problem of wickedness and sin in our lives.

III. The Pathway to Goodness

Now, let's move to the most important part of this message. I've talked to you about the purpose of goodness, and I've talked to you about problems with goodness. Let me talk to you about the pathway to goodness--the fruit of the Spirit--and how to be good. Turn

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

with me, please, this time, to Romans chapter 7. This time, just keep your Bible's open, as we get into Romans chapter 7. Now, look here, in Romans chapter 7. The Apostle Paul says this, in verse 18: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18). Have you ever come to that place where you say, "In me, inherently in me, in my flesh?" Now, when he says, your flesh, he doesn't mean, your skin, bones, hide, and hair. He's not talking about that. Your flesh is that old nature that you have, that Adamic nature that the Bible calls the flesh. He, the Apostle Paul, says, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:"--and continue to read in verse 18--"for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not" (Romans 7:18). The Apostle Paul says, "Hey, I want to do good; but how to do it, I don't know." Verse 19 says, "For the good that I would I do not" (Romans 7:19). Have you ever been that way? Said, "I'm going to do this, and really make a New Year's resolution"? How many of you have kept all your New Year's resolutions? Never mind, don't even raise your hands. All right, "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do" (Romans 7:19). Now, continue to read: "Now if Ido that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I delight in the law" (Romans 7:19). Now, the word law here means, "a principle": "that, when I would do good, evil is present with me" (Romans 7:21). Now, look up here, and let me ask you a question. Do you identify with that? Oh, you hypocrite, nod your head. Do you identify with that? I want to do good, and I desire to do good. I'm going to say I'll never do that. Do what you want to do. You don't know how. You just find a principle--a law--"that when I would do good, evil is present with me." Well, friend, I want to say to you that this 7th chapter of the Book of Romans is a tremendous chapter. This chapter shows you how the fruit of the Spirit will work in your life, and become that goodness that gives you that transparency, that conscience that is void of offence toward God, and toward man. A. Paul's Desire So, I want you to look at it with me very carefully, now. Let's look in verse 17. And, the very first thing I want you to see, in verse 17, is Paul's desire for goodness. Notice, in verse 17--he says here, "Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me" (Romans 7:17). The Apostle says, "The real me, true nature that I have, the one that's been born from above, I don't want to do these bad things. But, there's something that's in me that's ugly and awful. It's sin. And, that sin just dwells in me." Skip on down to verse 22: "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Romans 7:22). You see, Paul--in his innermost nature--had been born again. Oh, he loved God. He

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

wanted to serve God. This was his great desire. He said, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man." Now, I believe that this is the testimony of a saved man. I believe the Apostle Paul was saved, when he wrote Romans chapter 7, or wrote what he is describing in Romans chapter 7. He is describing himself as a saved man, but he had not discovered the way of victory. B. Paul's Determination So, you notice, not only did he have the desire--verse 22--but he also had the determination. Look in the last part of verse 18. He says, "For to will is present with me..." (Romans 7:22), "...but how to perform that which is good I find not" (Romans 7:18). Paul had not given up. I mean, he is determined. He said, "I have a will. Not only do I have a desire--I have determination to do good." Let me show you something now. If you take these verses, Romans chapter 7, verses 7 through 24. I want you to do something, when you go home. I want you to take a pen or a pencil--if you don't mind marking in your Bible--and you put a circle around every time the Apostle Paul uses the personal pronoun to refer to himself--I, me, or my. And, just put a circle around it. You'll be amazed. In these brief verses, you will find that Paul refers to himself with a personal pronoun over 40 times. He uses I, me, my, and mine over 40 times. I wish we had time, in this brief message this morning, to do that. Then, I want you to do something else. Take another word, and this time, don't put a circle around it, but put a box around it. And, that's the word law. And, you'll find, in that brief passage--chapter 7, verses 7 through 24--you'll find the word law will be used over 20 times. And then, when you go home, continue to read and reread that passage, and you'll find out that he doesn't mention Jesus or the Holy Spirit one time. Not once. Now, what is happening here is this: that here is Paul, who knew the law of God, then he got saved, and he's like so many Christians. He says, "Well, now that I'm saved, I'm going to keep God's commandments, and I'm going to live for God. I'm going to be a good man." Do you remember how you felt, when you first got saved? You said, "Wonderful, I'm saved. I'll never sin again, never. Praise God, I'm saved." And then, you sin. You say, "Oh, hmm. That was a mistake. I won't do it again, God." And, you promise God. And, you fail again. You say, "Well, Lord, I've got to learn." And, you get clean again, and then you fail again. And then, the devil says, "Hey, you probably weren't saved at all"; or, "There is no God"; or, "All of that they're preaching in the Bible is not true"; and, "There is no victory for people, especially there's no victory for you"; and, "Why are you going to go back down there to that church? You'll be a hypocrite, if you go down there. Why don't you just stay out of church, and think it over for a while?" And, boy, he's already got you backsliding, already away from God.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

C. Paul's Despair And, you had a desire, but that wasn't enough. Then, you had a determination, and that wasn't enough. I hope you came to the third place that Paul came to, which was despair. Look, if you will, now, in verse 24 of this same chapter, and look at it. He says, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24). Now, you know what happens to a lot of folks? A lot of people read Romans 7, and they use that as, somehow, as sort of a pillow to rest their sinful head on. And, they say this: "Well, if the Apostle Paul couldn't be victorious, neither can I. And, if the Apostle Paul couldn't do good, neither can I. So I'll just settle back in my sin." Well, I want to tell you, the Apostle Paul didn't settle back in his sin. Friend, Romans 7 doesn't stop in Romans 7. Bless God, it goes on to Romans 8, and it goes on to victory. And, this is not the place you're supposed to stop. And, this is not a place you just sit down and make a pillow for your head. The Apostle Paul not only had a desire, and a determination, but that desire, and that determination, when it failed, led to despair. And, would to God, that there are many today who would at least come to the place of despair, where you realize that you can't do it, and you throw up your hands in one final cry of desperation, and say, "O wretched man that I am!" (Romans 7:24)--"O wretched man that I am!" Now, I'm going to tell you something very inelegant. But, Bible scholars tell us that, what Paul is referring to, is one of the most ironical forms of punishment that the ancient people ever had upon a murderer. When one man would kill another man, sometimes, they would take the corpse of the man who had been murdered, and strap the corpse to the living body of the murderer--foot-to-foot, hand-to-hand, and face-to-face. And, that living man would carry about the rotting, decaying, putrefying corpse of the man he had killed, until the putrefication of that corpse, and that dead body, would eat into his own body, and bring his own death. Face to face with the man he had killed, strapped handin-foot. That's what they say is the figure of speech that the Apostle Paul is using, when he says, "O wretched man that I am!": "Who'll get this corpse off of me? Who will deliver me from this dead body? This old flesh that I'm carrying around with me--who will set me free?" (Romans 7:24). Friend, that doesn't sound to me like a man who's made Romans 7 a pillow for his sin. You see, here was a man who had a desire; here was a man who had a determination; and finally, here was a man who came to despair. God wants to bring you to that place. You know the problem with many of us? Do you know what most of us think? Most of us think that we are too weak. But, that's not our problem. Do you know what our problem is? We're too strong. We're too strong. We still think we can do it. It's still us, and the law. So we just resolve, one more time: "Lord, I'm going to do it." And,

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

we fall, one more time. Watchman Nee tells of a Chinese man who was drowning. Some men were standing there on the banks. This man was floundering. He was going under. None of the other Chinese knew how to swim. Finally, there was one man. They said, "Can you swim?" They said, "Rescue him." He said, "No, wait." And, the man went under, and he came up again, and said, "Help me." And, the man who could swim just stood there. They said, "Help him." The man said, "No." Again, he went under, and he came up, and he said, "Help me." But, this man simply stood there. This is a true story. It really happened. Finally, when it looked like the drowning man was going under for the last time, this man went into the water, and pulled him out to the shore to safety. The friends around did not brag on the man who rescued the drowning man. But, one man said, "I don't believe I've ever seen a man so much in love with his own life as you. I don't believe I've ever seen a man as cruel as you are. You let that man almost drown. And, then, reluctantly, you saved his life. Why did you do that?" Well, he said, "You don't understand. You don't understand at all. It wasn't that I didn't want to save his life. But, I'm not a strong swimmer myself." He said, "If I had gone out there, that man would have drowned us both." He said, "I had to wait till all his strength was gone, before I could rescue him." You know, the problem with many of us, dear friend, is this: It's not that we're too weak--we're just too strong. We're still struggling. We're still trying, rather than trusting. But, the Apostle Paul came to the place where he says, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24). Notice, he didn't say, "What?" He'd been trying what for long enough. And now, he decides he's going to try this word: "Who shall deliver me?" And then, God gives him the answer, and he says, in verse 25, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:25). Goodness--he learned--was not the work of the flesh. "In my flesh dwells no good thing" (Romans 7:18). Goodness is the fruit of the Spirit. Then, dear friend, when you leave Romans 7, and you get into Romans 8, it changes like darkness to light. In Romans 8, you pick up a word, two words that are used over and over again. The Spirit, and Christ Jesus; the Spirit, and Christ Jesus; the Spirit, the Spirit, the Spirit. And, he says, in Romans chapter 8 and verse 2--look at it: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). Yesterday, I was in Florida. I landed here at the airport. I thought I'd come to Siberia--all that snow. It was wonderful. But then, when they I got on that airplane down there, that big airplane, these incredible big airplanes which seat maybe 25% of this congregation this morning, just one of these big airplanes. And, you know, those things

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

are so heavy. And then, they put all that luggage on there. Then, all those people get on there. And, that airplane is sitting there on that runway, on that tarmac, and the law of gravity just is holding it there. But, that pilot gets behind there, and he moves that throttle, and those great engines begin to roar loud, and that airplane starts to move slowly. And then, faster and faster and faster, and it begins to bump like that. And, the first thing you know, up it goes. I mean, all that weight, all that luggage, all those people, all that steel. It's just flying. Question: Has the law of gravity been cancelled? No. But, there's another law. We'll call it the law of aerodynamics, which is a greater law than the law of gravity. And, friend even though the law of gravity was still working, there was the law of aerodynamics that made me free from the law of gravity. That's what the Apostle Paul is talking about. When you get saved, and right with God, that old flesh is still there. And, the law of sin and death has never been cancelled. It's still there. But, there's a new law. It's the law of life in Christ Jesus that makes you free from the law of sin and death. It doesn't cancel the law. It's not sinless perfection. Now, suppose, when I was on that airplane the other day, and I decided this is getting boring, so I stepped off for some fresh air. The law of gravity is still there. But, you see, as long as you abide in the Lord Jesus Christ, then, as you abide in Christ, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes you free from the law of sin and death. Now, there are a lot of people today who would like to have an experience that would free them from sin, and eradicate the old nature. God will never allow it. Do you know why? He wants--it's imperative--that you abide in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, He'll never give you an experience that you could rest in, but He gives you a relationship that you abide in. That relationship is to abide in the Lord Jesus, just as you abide in that airplane. And, the Apostle Paul said, "I have tried and I can't; `For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death'" (Romans 8:2). D. Paul's Deliverance And, you have Paul's desire, Paul's determination, and Paul's despair; and then, you have Paul's deliverance. Now, what he's said is this: "In my flesh is no good thing" (Romans 7:18). In Galatians chapter 5, Paul mentions the works of the flesh. But then, he says, "But the fruit of the Spirit..." (Galatians 5:22). Do you know how to be good? The Bible says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). God gives the desire and the dynamic, but you must abide in the Lord Jesus Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is goodness. May I say one more time--listen to me--the best

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

thing that could be said about you, when they put it on your tombstone, is this: "He was a good man--she was a good lady--full of the Holy Spirit." And, if you're not full of the Holy Spirit, you won't be full of goodness. Now, you've tried and tried and tried to be good. Haven't you? All right now, let me tell you what to do this morning. Are you listening? Quit trying and start trusting. The fruit of the Spirit is goodness. You don't produce this fruit. You bear it. He produces it, as you abide in Jesus.

Conclusion

Let's pray. Heads are bowed, and eyes are closed. O Father God, I pray, today, that you'll make good daddies, good mamas, good brothers, good sisters, good employees, good employers, and good citizens out of bad people, like we are. Lord, we know that we have been created by Christ Jesus unto good works that You have before ordained that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). In your name we pray. Amen.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

The Sweet Smell of Victory

By Adrian Rogers

Date Preached: June 26, 1994 Main Scripture Text: 2 Corinthians 2:14­16

Outline

The Sweet Smell of Victory ..............................................................................................1 Outline ............................................................................................................................1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................1 I.The Dynamic Author of this Victory ..........................................................................3 A.The Lord Delivered You from Death...................................................................3 B.The Lord Delivered You from Debt.....................................................................4 C.The Lord Delivered You from the Devil ..............................................................6 1.Satan has been Stripped.................................................................................6 2.Satan has been Shamed.................................................................................7 3.Satan has been Subdued................................................................................7 II.The Dynamic Arena of this Victory ..........................................................................7 III.The Delightful Aroma of this Victory .......................................................................9 Conclusion....................................................................................................................11

Introduction

want to talk to you today about victory. The title of the message: "The Sweet Smell of Victory." Let me give you some good news--some good news: When you were born again, you were born to win. And, God's plan for you is perpetual victory. Look in chapter 2, verse 14--here are the words of the Apostle Paul: "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour"--that means the perfume--"of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour..."--a sweet smell--"For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?" (2 Corinthians 2:14­16). God's plan for you is victory--perpetual victory--always and in every place. "Now," you say, "Pastor Rogers, aren't you stretching it a little bit? Nobody can have victory always and in every place." Well, I guess Paul just made a mistake, then. No, friend, if you're not having victory, it is not because Paul made a mistake; it is because you are not appropriating the victory that is yours in the Lord Jesus Christ. And, how my soul burns today to lay that upon your heart! The Bible admits the possibility of defeat for the child of God, but never the necessity of it. Did that sink in? The Bible admits the

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

possibility of defeat for the child of God, but never the necessity of it. Now, look at this verse: "Thanks be unto God, which causes us always to triumph in Christ Jesus" (2 Corinthians 2:14). Look at the word triumph, and let me tell you about the word triumph. If you were to go to Rome--to the Roman forum--there, you would see an arch called the Arch of Triumph. And, that's what Paul is writing about--the same thing that that arch was built for. The Romans had a custom that, when a Roman general would go away to a war and he would win the victory for war, they would celebrate in the streets of Rome. And, here's how they would celebrate: Sometimes they would build a monument like the Arch of Triumph, which actually celebrates Titus' victory over Jerusalem--the emperor, or the general, Titus, who conquered and subjugated Jerusalem. They built this magnificent arch. You can see it today; it has a picture of the Roman soldiers carrying away the Menorah out of the temple of God. Go today, and you can see that. And, a herald would come, and he would tell the people, "Rome has won." He was called a herald. They didn't have CNN; they didn't have Dan Rather. Well, that was a blessing. They did not have so many things that we have today--telephones and fax machines. There needed to be a runner, a herald, with the good news. How beautiful were his feet, because he would come, and he would give the good news, "Rome has won!" Did you know that the same word for herald that was used for this man, and for a preacher of the gospel, is the same word in the Greek language? Do you know what a preacher is? He's someone who stands before you and says, "Jesus has won." We have the victory; and so, that's what preaching is--it's just simply announcing the victory that the Lord Jesus Christ has won. How beautiful are the feet of them that tell the good news of the gospel of Christ! (Romans 10:15). We are on the winning side. Jesus has defeated the enemy. When that herald would come and tell people that Rome had won the victory, then, they got ready for a celebration. They would hang out garlands and festoon the city with flowers. They would build, as I say, monuments. People would line the streets and get ready for a parade, and the priest would take great bowls of incense and begin to burn that incense. The whole city would be filled with the sweet smell of victory. Have you ever been down to Florida, to the Promised Land, when the orange blossoms are in profusion? You just drive along, and the air is filled with orange-blossom perfume. That's the way it was in Rome. It was incense. It was the sweet smell of victory. And then, the returning general would come. He would be riding in a chariot; that chariot would be pulled by a magnificent white steed. And, the defeated general--they didn't kill him; they had a better plan. They wanted him alive, because they were going to put him on display. And, they would put him in chains; and then, they would chain him

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

to the victorious general's chariot, and they would drag him along behind, naked--his beautiful uniform stripped from him; his medals, his regalia, gone. And, there he is, in humiliation, being dragged through the dust. And, the people are shouting the victory, because Rome has won. The general went to war, and he has come back victorious. Now, for a long time, Rome didn't lose any wars, but she then began to lose. But, Paul says, "Thanks be unto God, who causes us always to triumph in Christ Jesus" (2 Corinthians 2:14). And, do you know who it is that is chained to Jesus' chariot's wheels, stripped, shamed, and subdued? It is Satan. He doesn't want you to learn that--he does not want you to learn that you are to have the victory always and in every place.

I. The Dynamic Author of this Victory

Three things I want you to learn. First of all, I want you to see the dynamic author of this victory. Look again, if you will, in verse 14--look at it: "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph"--now, look at this next phrase; look at it--"in Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:14). Your victory is in Christ. Someone said to a man who had been saved, "Oh, I understand you've got victory over the devil." He said, "No, I have the victor of the devil. It is in Christ." That is where your victory is. Jesus has subdued the devil. Now, take your Bibles, and turn to Colossians, for a moment. Keep the mark there, in 2 Corinthians; but turn to Colossians. It's just a couple of books to the right. And, when you come to Colossians, I want you to look, if you will, in chapter 2 and verse 13. Now, we're speaking, here, of the same thing that Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians chapter 2. Listen to it. Here's the victory that Jesus, the conquering general, won for you. Now, put this in your mind: When the Roman general had won, Rome had won. When Jesus conquered, you have won. Now, here is the way Paul describes it, in Colossians chapter 2, verse 13: "And you..."--hey, that's talking about me; that's talking about you. So, let's pay attention--"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened"--that means, "made alive"--"together with him" (Colossians 2:13). A. The Lord Delivered You from Death The first thing that the Lord delivered you from was death; you're delivered from death. You see, the Bible says Jesus was manifested, that He might destroy him that had the power of death, and that is the devil: And, "through death He destroyed him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14). Don't get the idea that, when you were unsaved, you were just sick and needed to get well. When you were unsaved, you were dead. You needed a miracle. You needed a resurrection. You didn't just need

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

a makeover; you needed a new life. You were dead. And, Jesus destroyed the devil that had the power of death, and He gave you life. I have a friend, Byron Richardson--he's now in Heaven; but Byron was driving through the Smokey Mountains with his wife on a beautiful summer eve. It was a wonderful time. They were having great fellowship in those mountains. But, she looked over and saw that the gas gauge was getting over toward the left-hand side. She said, "Byron, here's a service station. Let's stop and get some gas." He said, "Well, plenty of time--plenty of time." And, he didn't stop. Have you ever done that, mister? Well, he kept on driving, thinking he would find a place. He got on those narrow, winding mountain roads. They were on a back road. She went to sleep. That gas gauge kept moving to the left. He said, "There are no service stations out here. There are no stores." He got a little panicky. He kept driving. It got darker. He said, "If she wakes up and finds out we're on empty, she'll kill me. And, if we run out of gas, I'm a goner. What am I going to do?" He began to sweat, and to pray, "God, give me a service station." That needle got all the way over on the left-hand side. It seemed like it was just running on vapors. He was... Fellows, you know how he felt. He was panicky, right now. And so, he said, "Lord, You've got to do something." And, he went around a curve, and he saw that little mountain grocery store. You know the kind; you've seen them so often--just there, old-fashioned. And, there were some old gasoline pumps out front--not the modern kind, the old-timey kind. He said, "Boy, I hope those things still work." He got out, knocked on the door. The old mountaineer came to the door. He said, "Can I buy some gasoline?" He said, "Yep"--about all he said, and came out. "Thank You, Lord--thank You." The old mountaineer had his head down. He was putting the gas in the tank. Byron was feeling so good now. He just stretched and breathed the mountain air, and he said to the old mountaineer, "Man, it's great to be alive." The old mountaineer never lifted his head. He just said, "Don't know. Never been no other way." Well, friend, if you're saved, you have been another way. You were dead in trespasses and sin; and, when Jesus Christ died, He delivered you form death. B. The Lord Delivered You from Debt But, not only did He deliver you from death; He delivered you from debt. Look again in this passage of Scripture here, in Colossians, and see what our Lord delivered you from. The Bible says here that He did something very wonderful. In verse 13, he says He has "forgiven you all trespasses;"--that means, "debts"--"blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (Colossians 2:13­14). Now, are you ready for a blessing? Not only did Jesus, your conquering general, deliver you from death, but He

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

delivered you from debt. What was "the handwriting of ordinances" that was "contrary to us"? Well, let's suppose you had done a crime. You're indicted for that crime. There is a handwriting of ordinances. That is, there's the written law. The law says that, if you have committed a crime, here is the penalty. There it is; it is written out. It is the handwriting of ordinances; it is the written law. And, this verse says it is against us, because we are the criminals. Now, in Bible times, in Rome, if you committed a crime, you would be hailed into court. The indictment would be read; the trial would be adjudicated; and then, your sentence would be written. This is the handwriting of ordinances that is against you: what you have done; what the law says, and what the penalty says. That's all on the handwriting of ordinances that's against you. Then, they would take you and put you in prison, if you were to be put in prison. They would take this handwriting of ordinances, and they would nail it to your prison door. And, there it is. If you want to know what this man is guilty of, just read it. You want to know how long he has to serve, what his punishment is--it's right there. If you want to know what law he transgressed, it's right there. It's the handwriting of ordinances. That man would stay in prison until he had paid in full; and, when he had paid in full, the jailer would come and release him, take that bill from off the door, that handwriting of ordinances, and carry the man to the court. The handwriting of ordinances would be given to the clerk. The judge would say to the clerk, "Is this the man?" "Yes." "Has he paid the penalty?" "Yes, he has." The judge would say to the clerk, "Then stamp it, `Paid in full,' and give it to him." And, he would write on that handwriting of ordinances, "Paid in full," and give it to him. In the Greek language, he would write, "Tetelestai"--"It is finished; it is paid in full"--and give it to him. Then, should he be walking the streets, and somebody would say, "Aren't you the one who did that crime?" "Yes, I am." "Arrest him." "You can't arrest me. I've already paid. You cannot pull me into double jeopardy. There it is. It is marked, `Paid in full.'" That's "the handwriting of ordinances" that was against us. Now, notice what the Bible says that Jesus did on the cross: He took the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, and He nailed it to his cross--against us, but to His cross (Colossians 2:14). All of those things--all of the debt--that we have done were nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ; and, Jesus suffered, bled, and died, in our place. And, when He had finished with our atonement, Jesus bowed His head. And, what did He say? "It is finished" (John 19:30). "It is paid in full." Now, the Bible calls the devil, "the accuser of our brethren" (Revelation 12:10)--"of the brethren." He's like the prosecuting attorney. You and I have sinned. We have failed. And so, Satan has access to Heaven to accuse us, as he accused Job, before God the Father. And, he says to God the Father, "You call Yourself a holy God? There's

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

that man down there named Adrian. He claims to be Your follower. But, You are holy. You can't let sin go unpunished. He's a sinner. And, I demand, if You're a holy God, that You fling him into Hell." But then, my defense attorney, my advocate, stands up--"If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1)--and, He says, "Yes, Father, he's sinned. But, Father, look at this certificate of debt. It is paid in full. It is written, `Paid in full. It is finished.'" "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?" (Romans 8:33). Hallelujah! "He ever lives to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 7:25). And so, the devil says, "I'm not going to get anywhere up here. I'm going to go down there and torment Adrian." So, he'll wake me up in the middle of the night, or just before I get ready to preach, or some other time, and he'll say, "Look at you, you miserable wretch! What right do you have, with all of your failures and all of your faults, to stand before those people and preach? You are condemned. You know what you've done." I can just pull out my certificate of debt, stamped, "paid in full," written in the crimson blood of Jesus Christ, and just wave it in his face and say, "Read that, and be gone!" See? What did Jesus do? He took the handwriting of ordinances that was against us and nailed it to the cross. He went through the prison house of humanity--said, "I'll take his list. I'll take his list. I'll take his, and hers, and hers, and hers, and hers, and hers, and his, and hers, and hers, and hers, and hers, and his, and his. I'll take them all"-- every filthy, dirty, wicked thing we've done. He took that handwriting of ordinances that was against us, and nailed it to His cross. And, when He died, He said, "Paid in full." And, folks, that's good news--that's good news. Now, we're not finished yet. C. The Lord Delivered You from the Devil Not only did He overcome, friend, our death, verse 13--I'm in Colossians 2--and our debt, verse 14; but He also overcame the devil, verse 15--look at it: "And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:15). 1. Satan has been Stripped Now, look at it. Look at the word spoiled. Do you see it? This is Colossians 2, verse 15. Do you know what the word spoiled is? It's ekduo; it means, "to strip." Satan has been stripped--all of his pomp, all of his circumstance, all of the majesty, all of the glory that he had as the chief angel. And, he was the chief angel. He was Lucifer, the son of the morning, before he fell and became Satan, the father of the night. But Jesus, at Calvary, ripped from him all of that pomp, and all of that glory, and all of that circumstance: "And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly" (Colossians 2:15).

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

2. Satan has been Shamed Now, the word to make a show of means, "to be put to shame." He has ridiculed Satan. Satan has ignominiously been dragged before and paraded before the peoples of this world. And, Satan still wants you to see him as some sort of a maniacal monster in control. But, his back has been broken. He is chained to the chariot of Jesus, and Jesus has made a show of him openly. He doesn't want you to understand that, my dear friend. He has been stripped; he has been shamed. 3. Satan has been Subdued And then, look: "Triumphing over them in it"--them referring to principalities and powers; Hell and all of its hosts (Colossians 2:15). There's a triumph. Satan has been stripped. He has been shamed. He has been subdued. And, at the cross, when Jesus died, He took care of your three great things, your enemies, that bring you into bondage--your death, your debt, and the devil have all been taken care of by the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. That, my friend--that is the author of our victory, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is victory in Christ.

II. The Dynamic Arena of this Victory

Now, here's a second thing I want you to notice: Not only the author of this victory, but I want you to notice the arena of this victory. Go back, if you will now, to this scripture--go back to 2 Corinthians chapter 2, and look in verse 14 again: "Now thanks be unto God, which..."--now, look at the next word--"which always..."--put a circle around it--"which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge in every place" (2 Corinthians 2:14). Put a circle around "always," and put a circle around "every place." And then, look up here, and tell me, when He said, "always," and, "every place," what He left out. Nothing. I mean, when you've said time and space, you've said it all--"always" and "in every place." It is not that you triumph sometimes. You triumph always, and in every place. There is no time that the child of God is not to be victorious. He is always giving us the victory in the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul tells us, in 1 Corinthians 15--not will give; not in the sweet by-and-by, but in the nasty now-and-now; not over there, but right now, where you are (1 Corinthians 15:57). In your circumstances, in your family, in your job, in your health, in your finances--where you are, right now--you are to be always triumphant in every place. "Well," you say "Pastor, that means that it will be just smooth sailing for me all the way--all honey and no bees, sunlight and roses, and, health and happiness, and joy." Nope--nope. If you didn't have any problems, you wouldn't need to be triumphant. Friend, listen to me. Paul wrote this text right here in trouble. Look, in chapter 2, verse

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

12--he says, "Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia" (2 Corinthians 2:12­13). He said, "I came to Troas to preach. Titus wasn't there. Everything got messed up. I had to go over to Macedonia. My plan fell to the ground. I lost an opportunity, but I'm still triumphant--I'm still triumphant." Just fast-forward to chapter 4; look in verses 8 and 9. If you think that Paul didn't have any troubles, or if you think that I'm being ridiculous by telling you that you're to be in victory all the time, look in chapter 4, verses 8 and 9--Paul said, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:8­9). Paul saw himself as an athlete who always won. He knew trouble; he knew difficulty. Look at it: "We're troubled on every side, but not distressed"--that is, "not without hope" (2 Corinthians 4:8). I'm speaking to some people today--you've got trouble; I mean, big trouble. You've been to the doctor, and the doctor tells you that you have a malignancy; without a miracle, you won't live. Some of you are getting old, and you're lonely, and your children have been ungrateful. You go to a mailbox--there's no letter. You wait for the telephone to ring, and it doesn't ring. Some of you need a job; you don't have a job. Some of you are preacher boys here at Mid-America Seminary. You're trying to hold two jobs and go to school, getting further and further behind. And, you can't learn that Greek. It's hard. Some of you have kids that are breaking your heart. You've got a boy on drugs. You've got a precious daughter who's sleeping around. Some of you have a husband who's abusive and mean. You say, "Pastor, you call that victory?" Friend, that's where the victory comes. The devil says, "I have got you; and, I have got you pinned to the mat, and you will not get up." You say, "Jesus, help me to lift that shoulder," and he can't pin you. That's what he's talking about--"troubled, but not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair" (2 Corinthians 4:8). The word perplexed means, "I don't know; I can't understand it." "There is no way out, but I'm not in despair." Have you any rivers that seem to be uncrossable? Have you any mountains you cannot tunnel through? God specializes in things that seem impossible. He knows a thousand ways to make a way for you. (Oscar C. Eliason, adapted) "Persecuted, but not forsaken" (2 Corinthians 4:9). You have some enemies? Of course you will. Have you been reading the paper now that it's open season on Christians? I have

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

been telling you for several years it's coming. It has arrived. We are in a cultural war, and get ready to be persecuted. That's what the word persecuted means. Don't let it upset you. It just simply means you're doing right: "Persecuted, but not forsaken" (2 Corinthians 4:9). Jesus is especially true, especially near, especially powerful, for those who stand up and refuse to bow the knee. He says here, "Cast down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:9). Do you know what that means? It means, "Knocked down, but not knocked out." Satan is counting over you, "One, two, three, four, five--uh oh, he's getting up again. I've thought I'm done with him." Friend, he'll never be done with us, because Jesus has finished him, and we have the victory in our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul knew trouble. He knew heartache; he knew pain; he knew anguish; he knew temptations and trials. But, he said, "Thanks be unto God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ Jesus" (2 Corinthians 2:14). Do you get it? Friend, if there's no opposition, what do you need to triumph for? If there's not difficulty, no trial, no heartache, no tears, no fears, no problems, then why do you have to be triumphant? The divine author of our victory. The dynamic arena of our victory is "always" and "in every place."

III. The Delightful Aroma of this Victory

Last of all, I want you to notice the delightful aroma, the distinctive aroma, of our victory. Go back to our text now--2 Corinthians chapter 2--and look. Look, here's what it's all about. Now, as the priest in Rome would burn incense, what is the incense that is burned because of the victory of Christ? It is my life and your life. Look, if you will, in verse 15: "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:15). And, why do we do this? Well, look in verse 14: "We make manifest the savor"--the perfume-- "of his knowledge by us in every place" (2 Corinthians 2:14). When we, in adversity, in trial, in heartache, in persecution, in distress, in necessities, when we then praise God, and then stand in the victory that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is then, dear friend, that our lives become perfume, and we give a testimony to the fact that Christ has won the victory. Let me give you the best illustration that I know of. It's found in Acts the 16th chapter. Paul and Silas were God's evangelists and missionaries. They had gone to the city of Philippi to preach and to build a church, and the devil had opposed them. And, there was a demon-possessed girl who'd followed after them, and said, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation" (Acts 16:17). Well, wasn't that right? It was right, but it was a trick of the devil to associate the gospel with the occult. The devil is very clever. And, Paul did not want the patronage of Hell. And, he turned around, and he rebuked that girl in the name of Jesus and ran the devil out of her. Her owners, who were making money through this fortunetelling, were

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

incensed. They trumped up some false charges on Paul and Silas. Paul and Silas were thrown into prison. Now, friend, if you think that prison conditions are bad in America, you should have known prison conditions in Bible times. The conditions were intolerable. There were no sanitary facilities. They were no toilets, no running water. People would sleep and walk in their own feces and refuse. There was no air conditioning--unbearably cold, unbearably hot; no light, except maybe a small ray of light seeping in through a little hole; scraps of maggot-filled food to eat. They would be beaten and whipped, kept in stone-cold steel chains. And, here's Paul and Silas now, preaching--men of God. It was Paul who said, "God causes us always to triumph" (2 Corinthians 2:14). What are they doing now? Are they complaining? Are they saying, "God, is this the way You treat Your servants? Here we were preaching, here we were in a revival, and You threw us into prison. You allowed this God. Why?" No, they didn't do that. You read Acts chapter 16--the Bible says, at midnight, Paul and Silas were doing what? Singing songs in the night and praising (Acts 16:25). Now, you didn't hear singing in jail--moaning, but not singing; cursing, but not praising. The angels come to look over the bottom of Heaven. There's a smell that begins to arise. A sweet perfume is coming out of that jail. It's going up to Heaven. God the Father smells it. God calls His earthquake angel, and He says, "Go down there, and shake that place"--the first jailhouse rock--"shake that place." The Bible says the prison doors began to swing idly on their hinges (Acts 16:26). The bonds fell off these men's hands. The jailer woke up out of his sleep. He sees the doors open. He says, "Oh, they've all escaped; they'll torture me and kill me." He draws out his sword; he's going to kill himself. Paul and Silas say, "Do yourself no harm. We are all here"--not just Paul and Silas; every prisoner was there (Acts 16:28). That's interesting--not a one of them left. They've been so awed by the power of God in these men's lives, and the miracleworking power of God. They wanted to stay to hear the gospel. This man comes in. He sees that God has been at work. He smells that incense, that savor of life unto life, and he asks the question that you and I need to get everybody to ask, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30). Learn this, friend: Not only are we witnesses for Jesus; we're part of the evidence. They need to smell that perfume--that incense, that sweet smell of victory. "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30). And, you know the answer--in Acts 16, verse 31: "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31). That is, "If the people at home believe, they'll be saved too." And, they did. Think about it. The prisoners were saved. I believe they were. They stayed right there in that prison. The jailer was saved. The jailer's wife was saved. The jailer's

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

household was saved. The devil said, "I am going to stop this revival." He didn't stop it. All he did was change the location. Amen? And, as a matter of fact, when he crushed them--when that rose was crushed--that's when the perfume came out. And, they became a savor of life unto life. That is the sweet smell of victory, and your neighbors need to see it.

Conclusion

Friend, when you have heartache, and fears, and tears, and distress, and perplexity, I want you to open your Bible, and I want you to say, "Hallelujah! Thanks be unto God, who causes us always to triumph in Christ Jesus." Satan has been defeated--he has been stripped; he has been shamed; he has been subdued. He sails a sinking ship; he rules a doomed domain. Jesus has won, and never forget it! We are triumphant in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have victory in Christ. But, this verse-- verse 16--says, "We are a savor of life unto life, and death unto death" (2 Corinthians 2:16). If Jesus' victory does not save you, it will condemn you. You're on one side of the cross or the other. There was a man who once was a citizen of France, and that man became a citizen of Great Britain. You will remember that the English defeated the French at Waterloo. While that man was a citizen of France, Waterloo, for him, was a defeat. But, when that man became a citizen of Great Britain, Waterloo, for him, was a victory. Now, friend, it all depends on what side of the cross you're on--"a savor of life unto life, or death unto death" (2 Corinthians 2:16). You need to get on the victory side.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

It's Decision That Determines Destiny

By Adrian Rogers

Date Preached: August 02, 1998 Main Scripture Text: Ruth 1:1­18

Outline

It's Decision That Determines Destiny..............................................................................1 Outline ............................................................................................................................1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................1 I.The Principle of Willing Choice .................................................................................4 A.We are Free to Choose ......................................................................................4 B.You are Not Free Not to Choose........................................................................4 C.You are Not Free to Choose the Consequences of Your Choice ......................6 D.One Big Choice Takes Care of a Lot of Little Choices.......................................6 II.The Problem of a Wicked Choice ............................................................................7 A.The Cause of a Bad Choice ...............................................................................7 1.The Wrong Motive...........................................................................................7 2.The Wrong Method .........................................................................................8 3.The Wrong Master ..........................................................................................8 B.The Consequences of a Bad Choice..................................................................8 1.Death...............................................................................................................9 2.Deprivation ......................................................................................................9 3.Disappointment .............................................................................................10 III.The Power of a Wise Choice ................................................................................10 A.What Ruth Had Against Her .............................................................................10 1.A Cursed Life ................................................................................................10 2.A Crushed Life ..............................................................................................11 3.A Condemned Life ........................................................................................11 4.A New Life.....................................................................................................11 B.The Seven Elements of the Wise Decision ......................................................11 1.A New Determination ....................................................................................12 2.A New Direction ............................................................................................12 3.A New Dependence ......................................................................................13 4.A New Desire ................................................................................................13 5.A New Devotion ............................................................................................13 6.A New Dedication..........................................................................................13 7.A New Destiny...............................................................................................13 Conclusion....................................................................................................................14

Introduction

ould you find the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament? And, you'll find it right after

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

the Book of Judges--Judges. And, we're going to be studying, now, the Book of Ruth for the next four Sundays. The Book of Ruth is a wonderful book. It is a love story, but it is a true love story. It is not a romance novel; it is true. And, we all love love. We all love love stories. I heard of some girls who were in the college dorm at the Christian college, and they were praying in their dorm. And, they were praying, "Lord, give us pure hearts. Lord, give us clean hearts. Lord, give us sweethearts." And, all the girls said, "Ah-men." We love a love story. And, this is a love story, but it is a unique story--the Book of Ruth. It's one of two books of the Bible that bear the names of women: the Book of Ruth and the Book of Esther. But, this book is unique because it is devoted primarily to a woman whose name was Ruth. As we're going to see, Ruth is a picture--in the Old Testament--of the Church. And, she marries a man named Boaz, who was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, our kinsman Redeemer. Now, we won't get to that this morning, but it's there; and, it's some of the most beautiful teaching in the Bible about the redemption we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. But, you're going to love the story of Ruth. And, there is so much to learn about this story, because, you see, Ruth was a pagan. She was from Moab; spiritually, she was from the wrong side of the tracks. And, she comes to Israel, to Bethlehem, and she meets Boaz--very rich, very strong, very kind, very good. And, Boaz, as we're going to see, was a bachelor; and so, it's a Cinderella story. The maid from Moab meets the bachelor from Bethlehem, and they get married. It's a love story, a wonderful story, an intriguing story, with plots and subplots. Benjamin Franklin--as you know, one of the fathers of our country--was also the ambassador to France. And, when in France, he was a member of a literary society, and they were giving different readings and so forth. Ben Franklin, without letting this agnostic literary society know where he had gotten it, shared with them the love story of Ruth. They were astounded. They said to him, "Dr. Franklin, that is beyond a doubt the most beautiful romance--love story--we've ever heard. Would you give us leave, please, that we might have it published and give it broad distribution?" He said, "It is already published, and it already has broad distribution. It is found in the Bible, that book that you profess to despise"--this wonderful story of Ruth that is found here, in the Bible. Now, the Book of Ruth was written in dark days. It was written, as we're going to see, in a time of the judges. And, you know that it follows the Book of Judges. And, the last chapter in that Book of Judges--the last verse--says, "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). Therefore, it was a day of anarchy. It was a day of apostasy. It was a day of apathy. It

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

was a day when sin was rampant. And, it was a dark, dark day. And, right in the midst of that dark, dark day, God gives us this wonderful four-chapter Book of Ruth, which reminds us that God is still alive; He is still on the throne. I believe we're living in a dark day, but I refuse to despair, as long as there's a God in the Glory. And, books like the Book of Ruth tell us that, no matter how dark the day, there is always the star of hope in that dark sky. And, God is the One who pulls back the curtains of night, and pins those curtains with the star of hope, and opens the gates of our lives, and floods it with His life and His glory. And, if you are discouraged today, let me tell you there is hope for you. And, if you will do what Ruth did and yield your heart to the Lord, He will make your life a love story. And, you can be part of a dramatic and wonderful love story, just like Ruth's life was a part of a dramatic and wonderful love story. Now, this is bright hope--bright hope for dark days. And, in chapter 1, we're going to be talking about the choices that people make, because you're going to see that a man named Elimelech made a bad choice. And then, you're going to see the choice that Ruth made, which was a wonderful choice. And, our house, very frankly--our lives--are the sum total of our choices. And so, we're going to think under this heading, "It Is Decision That Determines Destiny." That's our title this morning: "It Is Decision That Determines Destiny." We're going to learn some things about decision making today-- the importance of decisions--because we make decisions every day, whether we like it or not. Or, whether we agree or not, you will be making some decisions. Now, look, if you will, in chapter 1 and verse 1: "Now it came to pass in those days when judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem..."--now, this is very interesting, because the name Bethlehem means "house of bread." You remember, it's where Jesus, the Bread of Life, was born--"And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech..."-- and, that name Elimelech literally means, "my God is king." And so, here is a man who evidently had a godly heritage. He lived in the little town of Bethlehem; he had so much going for him-- "And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi,"--which means "sweet, pleasantness"--"and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there" (Ruth 1:1­2). Now, what had happened, very quickly, is this: There is a famine in the house of bread. And, rather than trusting God, and doing what God would have him do, here's a man who goes into a pagan country. The Moabites had been enemies of Israel; they had invaded the land and kept the Israelites under subjection for some 18 years. They

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

were pagan, barbarous, cruel. They were born out of an incestuous relationship of Lot with his daughter. It was a terrible place. And, here is a man of God who makes a choice, and he goes over there.

I. The Principle of Willing Choice

There are three things about choices--three things about choices--that I want you to notice with me, this morning. And, the very first of these three things is the principle of willing choice--the principle of willing choice. God gives us a will, and with that will we make choices. We're not automatons; we're not machines. We're not forced. God made us moral creatures; and, when God made us moral creatures, God gave us a choice. A. We are Free to Choose Now, you are free to choose. God says, in the Book of Deuteronomy, "I have set before you this day life and death, blessing and cursing...choose life, that you may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19). God says, "It's here. You can go to the right. You can go to the left. You can receive Me, or you can reject Me. You can honor Me, or you can despise Me. You can accept Me or reject Me. It's there." And, God has given every mother's child in this building today a choice. There's the principle of choice. And, we like choice. Did you know that, if you want to get a soft drink, you can get Pepsi; you can get Coke; you can get 7-Up; you can get something else? You can get caffeine-free or with caffeine. You can get sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened. You can get small, large, medium. We just like choices. If you want to get a new automobile, they have, now, 752 different models that you can choose from. And then, out of those different models, you can get different colors and different accessories. Americans like choice. There is a store in New York City that has 2,500 different kinds of light bulbs. Now, a lot of these choices are inconsequential. The necktie that you chose this morning--it doesn't really make all that much difference. Earrings that you're wearing, dear lady--doesn't really make all that much difference. But, some choices are very, very important. But, some choices are very, very important. And, some choices are life-changing. And, here is a man named Elimelech who makes a choice. So, we're talking, now, about the principle of willing choice. You are free to choose. Do you understand that? B. You are Not Free Not to Choose But now, listen to me very carefully. While you are free to choose, you're not free not to choose. You're not free not to choose. At the close of this message, as I did earlier today, I will give an invitation to say an everlasting yes to Jesus Christ and ask you to choose Christ as your personal Savior. I will ask you, very frankly, to make a choice and

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

a decision; and, at the close of this service you will make a decision. If you're not a Christian, you will make a decision. You say, "No, I won't." Oh yes, you will. You say, "I beg to differ. I will not." Oh yes, you will. If you don't decide for Christ, you will decide against Christ. But, you will decide. There's no way that you can be neutral. Jesus Christ said, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matthew 12:30). You will choose Him or refuse Him, but your refusal to choose Him is a choice. There is no way that you can be neutral. There is no way that you can say, "I will not choose. I choose not to choose," because, when you chose not to choose, you just chose. And, it's a choice. It's so simple: that we're free to choose, but we're not free not to choose. I was in Pensacola, Florida, one time, walking down the streets, and there were two young ladies there. And, I just stopped and engaged them in conversation--never seen them before, and haven't seen them since. And, I began to witness to them and tell them about the Lord Jesus Christ. And, as I finished my witness, I asked one of the young ladies, "Would you like to pray and ask Christ Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior?" She said, "I would." And, we prayed, and she, very sweetly and wonderfully, prayed, and asked Christ to come into her heart. And then, I asked the other young lady--I said, "Would you like to pray and ask Christ?" She said, "Well, I'm not... I'm not ready." I said, "Well, let me explain it again," and I explained salvation. I thought maybe she didn't understand, because she obviously seemed under conviction. Then, I asked her again. I said, "Would you like to pray and receive Christ?" She said, "No sir, I'm not ready to do that." I said, "Well, young lady, don't you realize that if you do not say yes to Christ, you're saying no to Christ, that you're rejecting Him, that you are saying, `I don't want You, Lord Jesus?'" "Oh," she said, "I would never say that." But, I said, that's what you are saying. And, I gave her Matthew 12, verse 30. Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matthew 12:30). And, I talked to her about that, and I said, "Now, don't reject the Lord Jesus Christ. I've explained how to be saved. Why don't you pray?" She said, "I just can't do that." I said, "Would you reject Him?" She said, "Oh no, no, no, no. I'm not rejecting Him; I'm just not ready to receive Him." I said, "Okay." I said, "I've got to go." I felt like I didn't want to push it anymore. I said to her, "Well, I've got to go. Would you shake hands with me?" "Oh," she said, "yes." I said, "Fine. If you'll take Christ and Heaven, take my right hand. If you take Satan and Hell, take my left hand." She said, "What?" I said, "You said you would shake. Now," I said, "if you'll take Christ and Heaven, take my right hand. If you'll take the devil and Hell, take my left hand." She put her hands behind her and said, "I'm not going to take either one." But, I said, "Young lady, you are. When you say no to Jesus, you say yes to

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Satan. There's no way that you can be neutral." What I'm trying to say is this: You're free to choose, but you're not free not to choose. C. You are Not Free to Choose the Consequences of Your Choice Now, listen very carefully. And, you are not free to choose the consequences of your choice. You're free to choose. You're not free not to choose. You're not free to choose the consequences of your choice. Now, you climb up a 10-storey building, open the window, and step out--you're free to do that; but then, after that, your choice chooses for you. You see what I mean? You're not free to choose the consequences. You're going to go down. You're not going to break the law of gravity; you're going to demonstrate it, because your choice then begins to choose for you. And, you're not free to choose the consequences of your choice. We have a lot of people, today, talking about free love. They say, "I'm free to do whatever I want to do." But, you're not free to choose the consequences: the sexually transmitted disease, that broken life, that affront to Almighty God, that little precious baby that might be conceived, perhaps put to death--those are the consequences. You're not free to choose those consequences. Those come. You may make the free choice, but the consequences that follow are still there. You're not free to choose the consequences of your choice. Sometimes, people conceive. They say, "We've decided not to have this baby." Wrong. The only choice now is whether you're going to have a live baby or a dead baby. You're going to have a baby. You see, you're not free to choose the consequences of your choice. People don't understand that there are consequences that come with these things, and you cannot choose the consequences. D. One Big Choice Takes Care of a Lot of Little Choices Now, let me say this about a choice, also: One big choice takes care of a lot of little choices. Have you ever decided to go out to dinner with your wife, and you get in the car, and you haven't decided where you're going to go? "Where do you want to go? What do you want--Chinese, Mexican?" You drive the car all over, all around like this, everywhere you're going, turn in this corner, that corner. You both are talking. "Well, let's don't go..." and so forth. And, you just--every corner--you don't know which way you're going to turn. You have to decide whether you're going to turn right, left, or go straight. But, if you've already decided where you're going to go, you don't have to make a decision at every corner, do you? Because, the big decision--well, that's not really a big decision, as the big decisions of life go--but one decision there takes care of a lot of other decisions.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

I travel; I go to hotel rooms. You know, there are dirty movies in hotels. I don't have to decide whether I'm going to watch them. I've already decided. I've already decided that I'm going to give my life to Jesus. I'm going to honor Him. I'm not going to set some wicked, dirty, filthy thing in front of my mind. I've just simply made a decision. So, each night that I'm there, I don't have to keep making little decisions: "Should I, or should I not?" You see, you're free to choose. You're not free not to choose. You're not free to choose the consequences of your choice. And, a few big decisions take care of a lot of little decisions. Here was a man, Elimelech, who said, "My God is king," but he made a very ungodly choice; and, he choose to do something he ought not to have chosen to do. Now, we're talking here about the principle of choice--the principle of a willing choice.

II. The Problem of a Wicked Choice

Now, let me talk to you about the problem of a wicked choice. The principle of a willing choice; the problem of a wicked choice. Here was a man who made a very unwise-- literally, a wicked-- choice. He got out of the will of God. He went over into the land of Moab; and there, he meant to sojourn there. He stayed there for 10 years. He just thought he was going to take a little side trip into Moab; but he went into Moab, and Moab got him. And, he met tragedy there, in Moab, because he did not trust the Lord. He made a wicked choice. A. The Cause of a Bad Choice Now, what was the reason for that choice? What was the cause of his choice? 1. The Wrong Motive May I submit to you that, first of all, he had the wrong motive in his choice. Do you know what his motive was? It was physical--he went there for bread--rather than spiritual. He's not seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. There was a famine in the land of Israel; and therefore, he hightailed it over to Moab to get some food, to get some bread. What motivated his life was what buttered his bread. Now, a lot of people are just like that. You make your decision. You may call yourself a child of God, but you are motivated primarily by the material and the physical, rather than the spiritual. You say, "What's wrong with that?" Well, there is much wrong with that. The Bible says, in Matthew chapter 6 and verse 33: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). Now, many of us seek things first and try to tack God on. We worship things and use God, when we're to worship God and use things. We wonder why it doesn't work for us.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Well, I'll tell you something about God: God never has--and God never will--work in second place. He's not going to be some moonlighting God, part-time God, with a duplex for a throne. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Matthew 16:33). But, here was a man seeking things and bread first. Some of you are businessmen, but when it comes to business decisions, you just have one bottom line; and, it's not necessarily the things of God. What would you think if a pastor, who was serving happily and fruitfully in a church, received a call from another church and went to another church because they offered him a bigger salary? What would you think of a pastor like that? You say, "Well, good riddance, if that's the way he is, if that's what motivates him, if he would go from Point A to Point B simply because somebody said, `I'm going to give you some more money, if you will come.'" You would say, "That man is a materialist," and you'd be right. I wouldn't have any respect for him, and neither should you. Let me ask you another question: What would you think of a businessman who leaves one city and goes to another city, simply for money? "Oh," you say, "that's different." Why? Why? It takes just as much of the blood of Jesus to save that businessman as it does that pastor. Listen. We're all children of God. We cannot make our decisions on something that is motivated by money. And, here was a man that had the wrong motive. 2. The Wrong Method And, not only did he have the wrong motive; he had the wrong method. He is operating by sight and not by faith. That's the wrong method. How easy it is to walk by sight! We want to see it-- something we can understand. And, we just simply say, "Well, you know, a man's got to live." No, he's got to die; and, after he dies, he's got to face God. We don't necessarily have to live. And, things may not look like they're going to work out for us. Do you know what faith is? Faith is believing God in spite of appearances and obeying God in spite of consequences. That's faith. Not operating by sight, but by faith. He had the wrong motive. He had the wrong method. 3. The Wrong Master And, he ended up serving the wrong master. He got over into Moab. He left the covenant blessings of Israel, and got over there with the ungodly pagans, and found himself in the devil's camp. He became a dirty double-crosser of the God of Israel. And, that's what we do, sometimes, when we make the wrong decisions. We disgrace and dishonor our God, and say, "God, I cannot trust You. I'm going over to the enemy camp. I am going over to the other side." That's what he did. B. The Consequences of a Bad Choice The consequences were devastating.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

1. Death When he got over there, we found out that he died over there. Can you imagine--a man of God dying in Moab? And, his sons took wives of the Moabites; and then, those sons died. Look, if you will, in verse 3: "And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons." Now, there she is in a pagan land--a widow, with two boys. "And they two took them wives of the women of Moab;"--that was contrary to the Word of God--"the name of one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelt there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband" (Ruth 1:3­5). There is a woman there, Naomi, whose name means "pleasantness," but her life is not pleasant now. There she is in a pagan land; she is a widow. She's got two daughterin-laws who are widows. And, her husband--Naomi's husband--Elimelech, is dead, and her two sons are dead. And, there she is with her daughter-in-laws, Ruth and Orpah. You see, the reason that Elimelech left Bethlehem was for a livelihood, and what he found was a grave. 2. Deprivation Now, we need to understand this: that you cannot--you cannot--run from God. Don't you think that, if you get somewhere else, you're going to somehow get out of the will of God and get into the place of blessing. So many of the times, we're praying, "God bless us. God bless us. God bless me. God bless me. God bless me." Well, I want to ask you a question: Are you in the place of blessing? Ruth was not in the place of blessing. Orpah was not in the place of blessing. Naomi was not in the place of blessing. They were over there, in the pagan land; and, there's no blessing there, away from God. Hey, folks, if you want God to bless you, find a place of blessing where God can bless you. Get back where you need to be, so God can bless you. Here, they're going for life, and they find death. There's an old fable about a rich merchant of Baghdad who had a servant who came to them. The servant was ashen face and trembling--frightened and trembling. And, the servant said to his master, "Master, give me one of your best horses. I must flee Baghdad." And, the master said to his servant, "Why do you need to go from Baghdad?" He said, "Well, master," he said, "today, in the marketplace," he said, "a sinister figure jostled me in the marketplace. And, when I turned to look in his face, it was Death. I was looking into the face of Death. I must flee for my life." And, the rich merchant of Baghdad gave to his servant one of his finest horses. He said, "Flee? Where are you going?" He said, "I'm going to Samarra," and the servant left. Later on, the rich merchant thought he would go down to the marketplace and see, according to the fable, what was there. And, he saw this hooded figure, this boney figure, who is Death. And,

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

he pulled Death around, and looked in Death's face, and said to Death, "Death, did you frighten my servant? Why did you jostle my servant? Why did you alarm my servant?" Death said, "I didn't mean to frighten him. I didn't mean to alarm him. He surprised me. I didn't expect to see him here. I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra." 3. Disappointment You can't run away. Here was a man running from death, and he ran to death and found his grave right there, in the land of Moab, rather than staying where God had put him and where God had planted him. He couldn't trust God. And, he found death, and he found disappointment. And, his wife, Naomi, now changes her name from Naomi to Mara, which means "bitterness." And, she blames her bitterness on God. There are many people saying, "Well, if there's a God, why are all these things happening to me?" Part of them may just be simply the result of a choice that you've made.

III. The Power of a Wise Choice

Now, what I've talked about is this: the principle of a willing choice. I've talked to you about the problems of a wicked choice. But, I'm just moving toward the third thing and the most important thing, and that is the power of a wise choice. Ruth, in this book, makes a choice. She chooses for God. And, she makes a very wonderful choice that not only transformed her life and changed her life, but, in a very real sense, has touched your life and my life, because we're going to see--not only does she become a beautiful picture of redemption and salvation, as we're going to see later on, when we get into the other parts of this book, but she, Ruth, became an ancestress of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the flesh. And, King David was one of her descendants. What a wonderful... I mean, she is a Moabite. A. What Ruth Had Against Her Now you think you have it bad? You think that things are going bad for you? You think there's no hope for you? I want you to think about Ruth for a little bit. I want you to understand the condition of Ruth's life. 1. A Cursed Life First of all, she had a cursed life. She was under a curse. The Bible says that "a Moabite should not enter the camp of Israel, the covenant of Israel, even up to the tenth generation," because there was a curse upon Moab (Deuteronomy 23:3). And, folks, there's a curse upon us. The Bible speaks of us, in Ephesians 2, as "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel" (Ephesians 2:12). We have a curse upon us, and the Bible says, "Cursed is every man that abideth not in all things of the law to do them" (Galatians 3:10). And, the law said to Ruth, "Stay out." But, we're going to see that grace said, "Come on in."

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

2. A Crushed Life She was a young woman; her husband died. She watered that grave with her tears. She's there, in the land of death, and dirt, and degradation. She just had a crushed life. She knew sorrow. Do you know sorrow? Do you have a broken heart? Well, the Book of Ruth is for you. You can become part of a love story. 3. A Condemned Life Not only was she cursed and crushed; she was condemned. I mean, she was condemned to death. She had no way. A condemned life--because her husband, who was to be her provider and her protector, was dead. There was no social security. There was no way for widows to be taken care of, apart from the goodness of God. And, just as her husband died, and her hopes died when her husband died, we, through the death of Adam, are condemned. By one man's disobedience, many are made sinners. There's such a parallel there between Ruth. But, against this dark background there is a diamond of God's grace, as we're going to see next time that we come together. But, don't say there's no hope for you. Don't say, "It's too late for me," or, "too dark for me," or, "too difficult for me," or whatever--"too degrading for me." God will make a way for you--the same God that made a way for Ruth, because, against all of that, Ruth made a decision. 4. A New Life And, she, you know, her life then became a new life--a new life. Do you know what the Lord Jesus says? The Lord Jesus says, "Behold, I make all things new" (Revelation 21:5)--all things new. Do you know what the Apostle Paul said? The Apostle Paul said, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17). B. The Seven Elements of the Wise Decision I want you to see seven new things that happened to Ruth, right here. Let's begin reading now, in verse 7: "Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was,"-- that is, Naomi--"and her two daughters in law..."--that would be Ruth and Orpah-- "...and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah." Now, Naomi has heard that there is bread in Bethlehem, and she is going home. She is going back to the place of blessing. "And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each of each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people." They said, "No, Naomi, we're going to go with you. But now, notice what she said, and this is sad. Verse 11: "And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; would ye tarry for them till they were grown?"--that is, "You can't have any more sons from my womb. Even if I could have children, they would just be babies. You couldn't wait for them. Verse 13--"would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me" (Ruth 1:7­13). And, like many backsliders, she's blaming God for it. Now, notice verse 14: "And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her." Now, I've been pastoring long enough to know that, in a service like this, you have the kissers and the cleavers. You have those who get emotionally moved but never go through with a decision for the Lord Jesus. And then, you have those who get hold of God and will not let go. Now, there's a difference here between Ruth and Orpah that is a line of demarcation that goes for all eternity. But now, listen to what Naomi said in verse 15--and that's the reason why I said it's so sad: "And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law" (Ruth 1:14­15). Can you imagine this? Naomi is so backslidden that she would tell her two daughterin-laws to "go back to your people, back to your land, and back to your pagan gods." What a disgrace! And, Orpah turned and went back. And, friend, that's the last we've heard of her. But, resolute Ruth makes a decision, a wonderful decision, and I want you to see that decision, right now. And, we're going to look at that decision, because that is what I am talking about: a wise decision. And, it was a decision for Almighty God, and what a wonderful decision it was! And, remember we said that, when you come to God, He makes all things new. 1. A New Determination Notice what Ruth had--look in verse 16. She had a new determination. She says, "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee" (Ruth 1:16). Now, what she's saying is this: "Naomi, where you go I will go. It is a decision. Don't tell me not to follow you." I wonder, would you make a new determination today? I mean, would you say, with every inch, every ounce, every nerve, and fiber, and sinew, "I am going with You?" 2. A New Direction She has, in verse 16, a new determination, and that new determination leads to a new direction. Look again, in verse 16: For whither thou goest, I will go" (Ruth 1:16). Do you know what a Christian is? He is a follower of Jesus. "Wherever He leads, I will follow"--have you said that to the Lord Jesus Christ? A new direction. You see, when

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Jesus calls disciples, He says what? "Come and follow Me." 3. A New Dependence And then, there was a new dependence. In verse 16, she says, "Where thou lodgest, I will lodge" (Ruth 1:16). That is, "I am coming into your household. I'm coming under your shelter. I am coming for your provision. I am coming to live with you. I'm coming, Naomi, to look to you for my provision. Where you lodge, that's where I'm going to lodge." Have you ever said that to Jesus? 4. A New Desire A new determination: "Intreat me not to leave thee." A new direction: "Wherever you go, I'm going." A new dependence: wherever you lodge, I will lodge." And, a new desire: "Thy people shall be my people" (Ruth 1:16). "I want to be with your people. I don't want to be with the pagans. I don't want to be the heathen. I don't want to be in this land of death, and degradation, and debauchery, and defilement, and idol worship. I want to be with the people of God." One of the marks that we've been saved: We want to be with God's people. I can't understand why a man says he loves the Lord Jesus and doesn't love the people of God. The Bible says that we are not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). When a man gets saved, he desires the fellowship of the people of God. 5. A New Devotion And, there's a new devotion. She says, in verse 16--Ruth says: "And thy God my God" (Ruth 1:16)--"I'm turning from my idols." You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13). And, friend, you've go to let go of this world and give your heart to Jesus Christ. She knew that she had to follow the God of Israel. 6. A New Dedication There is a new devotion and a new dedication. She says, in verse 17: "Where you die, I will die" (Ruth 1:17). Now, what does that mean? She said, "Look, Naomi. I am going with you all the way. I'm not going to get there, and, if things get bad over here in Bethlehem, I'm not going to turn around and go back to Moab. This is a lifetime commitment; and, where you die, I will die." 7. A New Destiny And then, she says, "There's a new destiny. Where you're buried, there, I'm going to be buried. I mean, I'm with you" (Ruth 1:17). You see, even death--even death--will not separate us. Isn't that what Paul says in Romans 8? That "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God,

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38­39)? And, this is one of the sweetest declarations of faith in all of the Bible: "`Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.' And, where you die, I'll die; and where you're buried, I'll be buried" (Ruth 1:16­ 17). She made a decision. It was her decision to make. Elimelech made a decision--a bad one. Ruth, out of a dark background, made a wonderful decision, and it counts for all eternity.

Conclusion

There were some people who came to our house when I was a teenage boy and invited our folks to a revival meeting. I was out there with my dad cleaning the front yard. I saw my dad go over and speak to those people and nod his head. And so, my dad said, "We're going to church tonight." We were not a church-going family. We went to church in Northwood Baptist Church there, and I was sitting about 12 rows back. My dad was sitting right next to the aisle, and I'm sitting next to him. And, the preacher was preaching; and then, he gave an invitation for people to come forward and give their hearts to Jesus Christ. My dad stepped out. I was amazed. I didn't even think he was listening. My dad went out. It was like a dagger of conviction in my own heart. I knew I needed to be saved. I knew I needed God. I didn't know anything about sexual immorality or dope, and I thank God I never have and never will, by God's grace. I knew what it was to tell a lie and get in strife, fights; and, I knew what it was to skip school, and be disrespectful to my parents, and cheat, and all those things that boys ought not to do...take God's name in vain. I knew I needed to be saved. And, I went down there. I got up and followed my dad down the aisle. They said, "We're glad Adrian has come," and I'm sure they were, because I terrorized that neighborhood. They're glad Adrian has come. And, they sat me down there and dealt with me; and, there, on that front row, I gave all I knew of me to all I knew of Jesus. I've learned a whole lot about both since then. I've done far more repenting after I got saved than I ever did when I got saved, because I've learned more and more about me. But, I gave all I knew of me to all I knew of Jesus and made a decision there, as a teenage boy. Many, many years passed since that time, and I went back to that church, and I found a custodian. The church had passed on to other hands, and that little auditorium where I had gone forward was no longer an auditorium. They had changed it into a little dining hall. But, I said, "Can I be alone here?" And, they let me be alone, and I went to the front, and found, as best I could, where that pew would have been at that time, and got on my knees, and thanked God that, by His grace, I was able to say to the Lord-- not in these words, but I meant it: "Entreat me not to leave Thee, nor to return from

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

following after Thee, for where You go, Lord, that's where I want to go. And, where You live, Lord, that's where I want to live. And, Lord, Your God will be my God; your people my people." And, as a result of that decision, I am standing here today--because of that. It is decision that determines destiny. You are free to choose. You are not free not to choose. You're not free to choose the consequences of your choice. And, when you make a big choice, you make a lot of other choices right along with it. Let's bow our heads in prayer.

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Four Principles of Victory

By Adrian Rogers

Date Preached: July 11, 1999 Main Scripture Text: Exodus 17:8­13

Outline

Four Principles of Victory..................................................................................................1 Outline ............................................................................................................................1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................1 I.Receive a Gracious Provision: Salvation..................................................................3 II.Realize a Grand Purpose ........................................................................................5 III.Respect a Grievous Problem: the Flesh .................................................................7 IV.Remember a Glorious Principle: the Victory is God-Given ....................................8 Conclusion....................................................................................................................10

Introduction

ou'll notice in your program a logo which represents the celebration that we're having; and, there is a hand holding up a hand, and the caption there says "A Legend of Loyalty, a Vision for Victory." That is taken from the 17th chapter of the Book of Exodus, and I'd like you to turn to that, if you would here, for just a moment. And, while you're turning, I want to tell you something about a church member that I had difficulty with. As a matter of fact, I've had difficulty with this church member for a number of years. Really, he's given me a lot of trouble, and he has disappointed me many, many times. And, I have had to just expend a lot of energy with this particular church member who really--frankly, we are a wonderful congregation--but this member has given me much, much sorrow and heartache at times. Maybe I ought to tell you his name. I think I will: Adrian Rogers. You're looking at the guy who has given me a lot of trouble. You know, my biggest enemy is my own self. Have you found that true? We have an enemy inside the fort called self. Sometimes the Bible calls that the old man. Sometimes the Bible calls that the flesh, but we're all in a battle. You see, we have three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Now, we're going to be talking about that center enemy, the flesh; and, when I'm talking about the flesh, I'm not talking about your material body--not talking about your skin and bones. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God. It is crafted of God, and it is to be wholly dedicated to Him. But, when I'm talking about the flesh, I'm talking about the lower part of our nature that we inherited from our parents, who got it from Adam. It is a disposition against the things of God. The Bible tells us, in Galatians chapter 5 and

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

verse 17, that "the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these two are contrary one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that ye would" (Galatians 5:17). Now, what does that have to do with the 17th chapter of Exodus? Well, let me tell you a secret to understanding the Bible. Now, while the Old Testament is history, it is more than history. Are you listening? It is devotional literature. I'm talking about the Old Testament, and I'm talking about the history of the Old Testament; and, I'm talking particularly of the coming of the Jewish nation out of Egypt through the wilderness and into Canaan. The Bible tells us, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, that "all of these things happened to them..."--1 Corinthians 10, verse 11--"all of these things happened unto them for examples" to us (1 Corinthians 10:11). Now, you're going to learn a lesson today about the life of conquest. Remember that, at one time, the Jewish people were in Egypt, and they were slaves. Now, Egypt represents the world, therefore, that we've been called out of, but God called them out of Egypt. Pharaoh was the king of Egypt; Pharaoh represents the devil. Then, they were headed toward Canaan, a land of oil, and wine, and corn, and figs, and pomegranates, and milk, and honey, and rivers, and trees, and valleys, and hills, brass, and iron. They were called into Canaan. What does Canaan represent? Not Heaven someday. Canaan, in the Bible--don't miss this--Canaan represents victory. Canaan represents the Spirit-filled life--not in the sweet by-and-by, but in the nasty now-and-now, for we can have victory day by day. So, as Christians, we have come out of Egypt. We're coming through a wilderness, but we're headed toward Canaan; and, we ought to already be there, so Canaan represents the Spirit-filled life. Egypt--the world; Pharaoh--the devil; Canaan--the victorious life. But, we're going to meet somebody now, in just a moment, who represents the flesh--that member I've been having such difficulty with. And, I know that, if you're saved, you've been having the same difficulty. Now, with that in mind, begin in verse 8: "Then came Amalek..."--Amalek represents the flesh-- "Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed." I can imagine Dan Rather being there, Dan Rather saying, "There's a battle. Our man on the field is reporting something. Let me get it here in my... Oh, yes, yes," he says, "there's an old man, some man who has a rod in his hand. And, as the old man holds up his hand, something is

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

happening down here, in the valley, ladies and gentlemen. It seems that, when the old man holds up his hands, Joshua's army is victorious; but, when the old man's hands go down, the armies of Amalek are victorious. It's a strange thing that we report today." All right now, notice verse 12: "But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands"--that is, "held up his hands"--"the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek..."--that's just a fancy way of saying, "He whooped him"--"Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword" (Exodus 17:8­13). Now, I want to talk to you about four principles of victory, and I want to talk about some Canaan conquest. Now, you might, right now, say, "Well, I've come out of Egypt, but I surely haven't gone into Canaan. I have been dunked in the desert." Well, let me tell you how you can change your life sincerely, now--sincerely--from the monotonous to the momentous, from failure to victory. And, before you get to Heaven, you can bring Heaven to Earth. I'm talking to you about absolute truth-- truth that the Bible teaches, and that I have experienced in my own life. There are four things I want to lay on your heart. And, I've got to do it very quickly; and so, you listen in a hurry.

I. Receive a Gracious Provision: Salvation

Number one: You need to receive a gracious provision--receive a gracious provision-- and that provision is salvation. Now, go back, if you will, to the first verse of this chapter: "And all the congregation of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched"--that is, they set up their tents--"in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses,"--they scolded him--"and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do you tempt the LORD? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?" (Exodus 17:1­3). Friend, I've been there, to this place. You talk about a barren, desolate place; it is indeed a barren, and a desolate, and a dry place. "And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go." Now, Moses had a rod that was a miraculous rod; we're going to say more about it later on. "Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel" (Exodus 17:4­6).

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Now, I want you to get the picture. They're out there in the barren land; they're dying of thirst. And then, Moses says, "God, what shall I do?" God says, "You take the elders of Israel, and you take a rock; you take a rod, and you go to this rock, and you--with that rod--you smite that rock; and, when you do, water will come from the rock." Did you ever try to get water from a rock? Water will come from that rock. Now, what is all of this about? Well, I'm not being fanciful when I tell you this is a glorious illustration--though it literally happened--it's a glorious illustration of our salvation. Put in your margin--put in your margin--1 Corinthians 10 and verse 4. Now remember, I told you, in 1 Corinthians 10, verse 11, the Bible says, "All these things happened for examples," remember? "All these things happened for examples" (1 Corinthians 10:11). First Corinthians 10, verse 4--the Bible says, "And [they] did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:4). That rock pictures the Lord Jesus Christ--the Rock of ages, smitten for us. Isaiah 53, verse 4 says, "We did esteem him stricken, smitten of God" (Isaiah 53:4). You see, Jesus, the Rock of ages, was smitten for us; and, because Jesus was smitten for us, out of His riven side, came forth water. And, that water represents the Holy Spirit, which is the water of life. And, you and I have... because the rock was smitten, so long ago, when Jesus hung in agony and blood upon that cross, and He died. Our Rock died for us. Out of His side has come that refreshment, that Holy Spirit that is in me, right now--in you, right now. Thank God for the blessed, precious Holy Spirit. I want to ask you a question, my friend: If you're here today, and you've never received Jesus, are you thirsty? Do you know--do you know--that there's something missing in your life? If not something, it is someone: What you're thirsting for is Jesus, I can tell you that. You'll never be satisfied, you'll never feel contentment, until you know the Lord Jesus Christ. I have an evangelist friend of mine who was on an airplane, one time, Brother Mark--and, you know, it just aggravates me when these stewardesses come along and try to sell us booze on those airplanes, but that's part of their job. And, this gal came to my friend Mike, and said, "Sir, would you like a drink?" He said, "No ma'am." He said, "I had a drink about 20 years ago that satisfied me completely." She said, "You did? Must've been some kind of drink!" He said, "It was." She said, "Tell me about it." He said, "You serve everybody else, come, and I'll tell you about it." She served everybody that booze, then came, buckled herself alongside this brother, Mike, and said, "Tell me about it." And, friend, he did. He told her about that drink, that Rock of ages--that, out of His side has come forth that water of life. And, Jesus said, "If you're thirsty--if you're

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

thirsty--come to Me and drink" (John 7:37). I wonder, are you thirsty today? Are you thirsty? You say, "God knows I'm empty." I didn't ask you that. My car's been empty many times; it's never once been thirsty. Are you thirsty? Do you want more? Thank God for the smitten Rock. So, the first thing, if you want to live a life of victory, number one, you must receive a gracious provision, which is salvation.

II. Realize a Grand Purpose

Number two: You must realize a grand purpose, because being saved is wonderful, but God has more--much more--for you. You see, God's plan for His people was not merely that they come out of Egypt and go into the wilderness of Sinai; God's plan for His people was that they go into the land of Canaan. I'm not talking about pie in the sky; I'm talking about victory, right now. God brought them out, that He might bring them in. Now, you're in Exodus chapter 17; turn to Exodus chapter 13. Just go back just a couple of chapters, and look with me, in verse 3: "And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt..."--just underscore that phrase--"ye came out from Egypt,"-- underscore that--"out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out"--underscore that--"from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. This day came ye out in the month Abib. And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into..."--underscore that, now: "bring thee into." Notice He brought you out, that He might bring you in--"bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee,"--now, watch it--"a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters. And thou shalt shew thy son in that day,"--notice "in that day"--"saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt" (Exodus 13:3­8). Now, what's all this saying? God says, "Look, I brought you out, that I might bring you in." Now, God says, "When you get into the land,"--notice, the land flowing with milk and honey--"then I want you to celebrate; then I want you to keep the feast of the Passover. I want you to keep the feast of unleavened bread. I want you to celebrate; and, when you celebrate the feast, your son's going to come to you, and your son's going to say, `Dad, what does all this mean?' And, you can tell your son, `Son, we are celebrating what God did for us when God brought us out of Egypt and God brought us into this land.'" I want to ask you a question: Why is it that the devil is getting the kids of the best

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

families in our churches today? I'm talking about people who are faithful, Brother Mark--people who sing in the choir, people who take up the offering, people who teach Sunday School, people who love God, people who are saved, people who are tithing, people who live clean lives; and yet, their kids, many times, are into drugs, won't come to church, are running with the wrong crowd--maybe sleeping around. How does that happen? Well, I think it's a complicated thing, and we can't put everybody in one category. But, I'll tell you, one reason that a lot of it happens is this--and you listen to me: There are people--and some of them sitting in this congregation, this morning, most Baptists that I know--who have come out of Egypt, but they've never gone into Canaan; they've never gone into Canaan. Now, you know what they had in Canaan to eat--in the wilderness to eat? Do you know what they ate in the wilderness? Manna. Do you know how long they ate it? Forty years. Now, manna was not meant to satisfy them; it was only meant to sustain them until they got into the land that flowed with milk, and honey, oil, and corn, and figs, and pomegranates. It was only meant as a temporary feast--a temporary food. They were only to spend a little time in the wilderness. They were to come out of Egypt, and they were to go to Canaan. But, because of their unbelief, they're going around, and around, and around in the desert, not believing God. They've come out of Egypt, but they've never gone into Canaan, but they're in the wilderness. Now, in that time--40 years--there were children born in that time. Let's imagine a kid--he's 14 years of age; he's born in the wilderness. His parents have come out of Egypt, but he's a wilderness boy. He never says, "Mama, what's for breakfast?" He knows what's for breakfast: manna. He never says, "Mama, what's for lunch?" He knows what's for lunch: manna. He never says, "Mama, what's for supper?" He knows what's for supper: manna. He doesn't say, "Mama, what are we going to have tomorrow?" He knows what we're going to have tomorrow: manna, manna, manna, manna, manna--manna in the evening; manna at suppertime; manna all the time. Just manna, manna, manna--that's all the kid gets. Now, suppose they've decided they're going to celebrate there, in the wilderness. Now remember, God says, in this passage, "You celebrate; you celebrate in the land-- not in the wilderness. You don't have a lot to celebrate in the wilderness." Now, suppose... There they are--the father sitting on a hot rock, the son sitting on a cactus. And, the father says, "We're going to have the feast of Passover." Say, "Well Dad, what are we doing?" He says, "We're celebrating, Son." Now remember, this kid has heard sermons about Canaan. That's all he's heard--just sermons about Canaan. He's never seen Canaan. He might have heard Pastor Rogers preach about Canaan, but he's not seen Canaan; his parents are not living in Canaan; his parents are not

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

living the victorious Spirit-filled life; they're not living in victory. All his parents are saying--they've come out of Egypt, but they've never come into Canaan--and they say, "Now, Son, we're celebrating!" He looks around. Said, "We're what?" A rattlesnake goes by. "What?" Sun is broiling. The tumbleweed is coming along. "What are we doing, Dad?" "Oh, Son, we're celebrating what God has done for us." He said, "Dad, don't you think it's about time we got back to Egypt--I mean, where there was fish, and garlic, and leeks, and melons, and fun? All we're doing out here is being dumped in the desert." I'm going to tell you, that's why the devil's getting a lot of our kids, of good people: They have come out, but they've never gone in. They have never learned how to live in victory before their children, and their children know that their parents somehow are sincere, but they feel like they have just simply missed it. Now, friend, God brought us out, that God might bring us in; and, if you have been one of those simply dumped in the desert, you have to understand, not only must you receive a gracious provision--salvation--but you must realize a grand purpose, which is victory that God has for you.

III. Respect a Grievous Problem: the Flesh

Now, here's the third thing: You must respect a grievous problem. There is a grievous problem, and what is that problem? Look, if you will again--go back to our text, now, in Exodus 17--and, look, if you will, in verse 8: "Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel" (Exodus 17:8). What is Amalek? Who is Amalek? Amalek was a king, but he was the grandson of Esau. And, who was Esau? Well, Esau, you remember, was the man who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. I don't have time to get into it, but Esau was a profane man. Esau sold his spiritual things for a bowl of stew; and then, he was more interested in the present than in the future, the material than the eternal, the things of the flesh, not the things of the Spirit. And, therefore, the Bible calls Esau, in Hebrews chapter 12, "a profane person...who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright" (Hebrews 12:16). And, the Bible teaches, in Malachi, that God has a perpetual warfare declared upon Esau. Listen to this scripture: Malachi 1, verses 1 through 4: "The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever" (Malachi 1:1­4).

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Now, what's God talking about? God, here, is not talking about little baby Esau, when He says, "I hate Esau." He's talking about a whole nation. He's talking about the Edomites. And, He's not just talking about people of the flesh, and people in physical bodies. He's talking about a principle, and that principle is the flesh. Now, it gets a little complicated here, so pay attention. Amalek is the grandson of Esau. He is a part of that category of persons that God says, "I have a perpetual war with." What does Amalek represent? Amalek represents what all of us have in us, and it is the flesh. Say that word flesh--flesh. Say, "my flesh"--that's your enemy. Remember I said I had a church member I have a lot of difficulty with? Friend, there's an Amalek in you; he's the grandson of Esau, and you have this. Put down in your Bibles, Romans chapter 8, verses 6 and 7": "To be carnally minded"--that word carnally means "fleshly minded"--"is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:6­7). And then, Galatians 5, verse 17: "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh" (Galatians 5:17). There is that principle that will come against you--the flesh. You say, "Well, I'm over here in Egypt. I'm going to give my heart to Jesus Christ today. I'm going to get saved. I believe on Christ," and you give your heart to Jesus; and, as soon as you drink of that water, as soon as that Rock is smitten for you, as soon as that water comes to refresh you, then the Bible says, "Then came Amalek" (Exodus 17:8). Immediately, when you come out of Egypt, the flesh comes--Amalek comes--to say, "You are going no further. You are not going to get into Canaan": "Then came Amalek" (Exodus 17:8). Deuteronomy says, "He smote the hindmost of thee, when you were weak and faint" (Deuteronomy 25:17­18). God will test us in our strongest point. The flesh will attack us in our weakest point to keep us from entering into Canaan.

IV. Remember a Glorious Principle: the Victory is God-Given

Now, how are we going to have victory--not over the world, not over the devil, but that internal enemy, the flesh? We all have that enemy with us, day by day. All right, I've got to fast-forward here. Here's the next thing I want you to notice; and, very quickly, if you would, you must remember a glorious--a glorious--principle. What is the principle? Look, if you will again, beginning in verse 9 of this chapter: "And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun" (Exodus 17:9­12). What is the glorious principle? Here's the glorious principle: The victory is God-given. How am I going to overcome the old Adrian, that church member that I have the most difficulty with--how am I going to overcome him? By rededicating my life, by struggling? No! There is a perpetual warfare. That flesh is in me, in you; and, when you get saved, the flesh is not eradicated. But, thank God, you can have victory, and the victory is God-given. God said, "Moses, you take that rod." Now remember, it was the rod of God; it represents the power of God. It was that rod that opened up the Red Sea. It was that rod that smote the rock and sent forth water--and the rod that led them out of bondage. The rod that led them out of barrenness now is the rod that is going to lead them in battle. He says, "Take that rod; go up to the mountaintop; hold that rod up; and, when you hold that rod up, Amalek will be defeated." Listen. The victory--the victory over Amalek, over your flesh--is a God-given victory. The Bible says, "Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of your flesh" (Galatians 5:16). If I've learned one thing in all of my Christian life, it is this, precious friend: that holiness is not the way to Christ; Christ is the way to holiness. Now, I'm not just playing with words. He does not say-- listen--He does not say, "If you will not walk in the flesh, then you can walk in the Spirit." He doesn't say that. He says, "Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh." I'm telling you that the victory over your flesh is a God-given victory--that's the only way that you're going to come out of Egypt, through the wilderness, into Canaan, because there's an Amalek within you that stands against you to try to keep you from living in victory. But, thank God-- hallelujah! Praise God there is a victory--when you take the rod of God, which is the Word of God, the power of God, the Spirit of God, and you hold that high. Now, that's the reason we need to pray one for another and help one another. Now, I come back to what the whole morning is about. Friend, we need to hold up one another's hands, because the victory is God-given. The victory is won on the mountain, is realized in the valley. Oh, there's a battle! You can't just roll over and not get in the battle, but the battle is the Lord's. Having said all that, I want to say this: I thank God for this dear man right here, Bob Sorrell, who has helped me to hold my hands up high. The victories that we've had at Bellevue Baptist Church--do you think we strut, when I tell you what's happened since 1979? Do you think we say, "Look what we did"? I tell you, we'd be sheer fools--any of us, all of us. That's God; that's God-- the God who has given us the victories

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

individually. It is a God thing. He is the One who's had His hand upon Bellevue Baptist Church, and may we ever hold high the rod of God, the power of God, and understand that this church will continue to move on as we hold it high. You know what Aaron was? He was a priest. He represents prayer. Hur, who held up the hands of Moses--his name means "whiteness" or "purity." Purity and prayer-- that's it--holding up the hands of a people of God. The victory is God-given.

Conclusion

You know what we're going to do next Sunday? Well, tonight, we're going to celebrate this man who's been holding my hands for 20 years. We're going to do that. I'll tell you what we're going to do next Sunday: Next Sunday night, God willing, we're going to break ground on our Fellowship Building. Do you know why? Because, when we came out here, we called this our Canaan-- "claiming our Canaan." Well, we had a lot of work to do, but when you get into Canaan, friend, that's the time for the fellowship. That's the time--not that you lay down the sword and pick up a fork, oh no! Some of the sweetest times that Jesus ever had with His disciples were times when they fellowshipped together. And, we're going to enjoy the victory that God has given us; we're going to break ground on the Fellowship Building. This building we call the Praise Building. The other building behind us, the activities building, is the Grace Building. The building we put our little children in over here is the Love Building. And, we're going to build, starting next Sunday, the Fellowship Building. Won't that be wonderful? Amen, glory to God, amen! Glory to God! Friend, you receive that provision, that salvation. You remember God's purpose-- that is Canaan. You recognize a problem--that's the flesh. But then, you believe a principle--and that is, if we walk in the Spirit, we'll not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Let's bow our heads in prayer. Father God, seal the message to our hearts. Lord, there's so much here. Lord, help us to understand it, and help us, moment by moment, and day by day, to walk in the Spirit, and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Now, while heads are bowed and heads are closed, if you're tired of Egypt--if you're tired of Egypt--and you say, "I want to come out of Egypt; I'm tired--sick and tired--of Pharaoh telling me how high to jump; I'm tired of being beat up by the devil; I want liberty; I want victory," if you're thirsty and you need a drink from that Rock, His name is Jesus, and I want to offer you a drink from the Rock today. Would you pray this prayer: "Dear God..."--just pray it--"Dear God, I know that You love me, and I know that You want to save me. Jesus, You died to save me, and You promised to save me, if I would trust You. I do trust You. Right now, come into my heart; come into my heart; forgive my sins; save me, Jesus." Pray it, friend, and mean it. Say: "Jesus, thank You for paying for my sin with Your blood. I receive it now by faith. And, Jesus, begin now to make me the person You want me to be. And, give me the courage to make it public. In Your holy name. Amen."

This Sermon Is From The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection Used By Permission © 2010 www.ARLC.org

Information

The Leadership Collection

125 pages

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate

850495

You might also be interested in

BETA
Commentary on Genesis - Keil & Delitsch