Calvary Road Baptist Church

October 30, 2014 - 319 West Olive Avenue, Monrovia, California 91016 (626) 357-2711

ďADVICE YOU WOULD DO VERY WELL TO HEEDĒ

Philippians 3.20

 

My text is Philippians 3.20:

 

ďFor our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.Ē

 

This is the Apostle Paulís description of the believerís conversation and expectation. Allow me to spend some time addressing the condition of those who are not believers.

My friends, we live in a time of terrible spiritual apostasy. The departure from the faith that we see in churches around us is so complete that people actually think things are wonderful. But are things wonderful? How can things be wonderful when the most prominent spiritual leaders in the world are men who would have been tossed out of churches 200 years ago for being heretics? How can things be wonderful when Godís Word says that men should not enter the ministry because of greed for filthy lucre, but that is precisely the reason so many really are in the ministry? How can things be wonderful when there are so many so-called spiritual leaders who are adulterers, who are liars, who are drunkards, and who prey on children in their parishes? How can things be wonderful when pastors are now forming fight clubs in their own churches, and organizing octagon fighting cages as a way to attract people to their ministries? Have we forgotten that blood sport was Romeís chosen form of entertainment in the first century, and that we delighted the large crowds with our spilt blood at the hands of the wild beasts and the gladiators for refusing to deny Christ? And now so-called churches are encouraging gladiators to engage in blood sport in their places of worship?

We have many Bible colleges that are academically laughable jokes. We have seminaries that are unfaithful to Godís Word. We have churches that are engaged in the ridiculous imitation of the Hollywood entertainment industry. People claim to be Christians who get drunk, who fornicate, who never pray or read their Bibles, and do not participate in a church ministry or tithe and give offerings. Forgetting that God shows us in His Word that He deals with a faithful remnant, a very small minority, most people have fallen into the Satanic trap of thinking that most who claim to be Christians are, that most ďchurchesĒ really are churches, and that most ďpreachersĒ really are preachers of the whole counsel of Godís Word. Clearly, the Savior declared they are not.[1] Most ďChristiansĒ are not saved. Most ďchurchesĒ are churches in name only, but bear no resemblance to the churches of the New Testament era. And most preachers wouldnít know the truth that sets men free because they, themselves, are not saved.

As Paul wrote in Second Corinthians 11.14-15, Satan has transformed himself into an angel of light and has transformed his ministers into ministers of righteousness. However, because so few people are familiar with Godís Word, because so few people have any real concern for pleasing God and not sinning against the holy One, the downward spiral into religious apostasy continues apace. From time to time, however, a sinner does become concerned about his soul. When he hears about the wrath of God coming upon the unrighteous it rings as truth in his ears. He knows that something is not right, that all is not well with his soul, that he is not yet prepared to meet his God, that there is a coming day of reckoning when he will have to give an account of himself, and he knows he is not ready for that day.

Who can say when such a sinner will be brought into this church auditorium as someoneís guest? Who can say when a sinner already in this church auditorium will suddenly be troubled in his conscience and become spiritually sensible? Who can say that there are not several of you here today who have that nagging and gnawing suspicion that you are condemned already, and that Hell awaits you with openmouthed hunger? Because of the apostasy that we live in these days, there is no longer any cultural memory of things spiritual, of things Biblical, or of things Christian. Used to be, when a sinner was aroused in his soul he knew, to some degree, what to do. He didnít know how he knew what to do, and he didnít know everything necessary to be saved most of the time, but he did know some things, because even if he had never been to church in his life he had picked up enough snippets of information from the saved people around him that he would know what to do to do his wretched soul some good. However, that is no longer the case in the culture you and I live in. If you are here today and you are not saved you do not know what to do. You have no idea. You are clueless. You are in such spiritual darkness that you have no idea what questions to ask. You are so spiritually ignorant that you think the ministry of the Holy Spirit in a personís life is to make him feel good and not feel bad. But you are wrong. His ministry is to convict you of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come.[2] So you see, if you are like most who live in the United States, your ignorance of even the most basic spiritual truths taught in the Bible is profound. Not only are you spiritually helpless and completely hopeless, but it is likely that even these truths have escaped you.

Therefore, what Iím going to do at this time is to give you some advice. I recognize that advice not asked for is generally advice not taken. But if you want to be saved from your sins and escape the wrath of God in Hell, if you want to be reconciled to God, this is advice you would do very well to heed.

 

PIECE OF ADVICE #1, LISTEN TO ME

 

First Corinthians 1.18 and 21:

 

18    For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God

 

21    For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

 

I am a preacher. I preach the gospel. I am a rare and dying breed. There are very few of us around anywhere in the world today. Thatís too bad. I ask preachers all the time, ďName your favorite gospel preacher,Ē and they have no answer. That should tell you something. My first piece of advice is that you listen to me Sunday morning, and that you listen to me Sunday night, and that you listen to me Wednesday night. Why should you? Letís read these two verses again:

 

18    For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God

 

21    For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

 

Now take note of Romans 10.14-17:

 

14    How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15    And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

16    But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

17    So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

The way a sinner is saved is through faith in Christ. But the way a sinner acquires faith in Christ is by means of preaching. There are other ways, but preaching the gospel is the primary way, the preeminent way, and the most pronounced way. The old ones used to write about what they called the means of grace. They were referring to the means that God uses to reach down and stir the hearts of the lost and draw them to Christ, and also the means by which God sustained and provided spiritual nutrition to the saved. My friend, preaching is a means of grace, and itís a self-destructive fool who misses a chance to hear the gospel being preached. You may not like church or be thrilled with preaching, but so long as you do only what you like doing and listen only to what you enjoy hearing, you have no hope of escaping the eternal torment of the damned.

As well, consider Acts Chapter 2. Weíll not read Simon Peterís great Pentecostal sermon, because we donít have the time. Let me instead comment on the objections many sinners have to preaching. ďItís too loud. Itís too personal. It makes me feel bad.Ē As to being loud. Thatís what preaching is. The Greek word for preaching, , means to make public declarations, to proclaim aloud.[3] When you arenít energetic and loud you arenít preaching. It is as simple as that. As to being personal. Peter, like the Savior before He was crucified, was very personal in his Pentecostal preaching. Everywhere in the Bible preaching is personal. If it isnít personal it isnít real preaching. In Peterís sermon in Acts chapter 2, he uses such personal pronouns as you and ye dozens of times. And how much more personal can a public speaker be than when he says to his audience, ďGod hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ,Ē Acts 2.36? As to making you feel bad. Acts 2.37: ďNow when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart.Ē Acts 5.33: ďWhen they heard that, they were cut to the heart.Ē Acts 7.54: ďWhen they heard these things, they were cut to the heart.Ē And on it goes. Preaching doesnít make good people feel bad. It shows sinners the way they really are, and they donít like it. My advice? Listen to me; tonight, Wednesday night, next Sunday morning. Donít miss a single service.

 

PIECE OF ADVICE #2, LEARN GODíS WORD

 

I urge you to study Godís Word, not to discover the way of salvation, for I am convinced that very few will have success in that endeavor, but to learn about your sin, to learn about Godís character, and to learn about eternal torment.

I read from Acts 8.30-31:

 

30    And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

31    And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

 

The passage the Ethiopian eunuch was reading was a passage describing the Lord Jesus Christís saving work on behalf of sinners. Notice, he didnít seem to have much success deciphering the scripture he had been reading. Thatís because it is generally Godís plan to use a man to win a man to the Savior. Thatís what gospel ministers are supposed to be engaged in, providing direction to seeking sinners.

However, on your own there are things you must do. Luke 13.24 is a command the Lord Jesus Christ has given to lost people:

 

ďStrive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.Ē

 

Okay, how do you strive to enter in at the strait, or the narrow, gate? Let me give you a partial answer by taking you to another verse of scripture, Mark 12.34:

 

ďAnd when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.Ē

 

This said the Savior to an unsaved young man. However, keep in mind that the young man, who was as lost as lost can be, was told by the Lord Jesus that he wasnít far from salvation. How so? Partly, because he was a student of Godís Word and tried very hard to obey Godís Word. He knew what God commanded, and what God demanded, and that he himself had fallen short. You should do the same.

In addition to listening to me, then, learn those portions of Godís Word that describe your problem. Learn the sinfulness of sin. Learn the consequences of sin. Discover what scripture says about the damage of sin and the seriousness of sin. My friend, open up your Bible and find out what the problem is, and come and let me show you what the solution is. Thatís my advice to someone who wants to be saved. Does it make sense that someone drowning in the ocean off shore would have nothing to do with the aid that could be provided by a life guard? Therefore, it must be true that the person who does not seek the gospel ministerís help does not really want to be saved from his sins. Those who refuse the flotation device pushed toward them by a lifeguard do not want to be rescued.

 

THIRD PIECE OF ADVICE, LEAVE YOUR SINS

 

Do we know that Christ died for the ungodly, Romans 5.6? Yes, we do. Do we know that salvation is not of works, lest any should boast, Ephesians 2.9? Yes, we do.

Let us also know that if you are not saved the first time you hear the gospel it is good for you to, in addition to listening to me, in addition to learning Godís Word, leave your sins. John 6.44 shows us that no one comes to Jesus Christ except the Father draws him. And sometimes the drawing of sinners to the Savior is gradual. So, should you become concerned about your sins, should you become aware of the condition of your soul, donít be so foolish as to think you can continue in determined wickedness until you are saved. You may not ever be saved. Discard the marijuana and the fornication and the pride and the bickering and the pettiness now.

Will the discarding of such sins stand you in good stead with God? Not at all. Everything you do will be tainted with sin, even your attempts at self-righteousness. But fewer sins on Judgment Day will be better for you than more sins on Judgment Day. And it may be that the discarding of your sinful practices is an evident token of the Spiritís conviction, John 16.8: ďAnd when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.Ē

Some will object to what I say by claiming that if it doesnít do them any good to stop committing certain sins, why should they stop? First, because all sin is committed against God. Do you really think God will be disposed to save you while you recklessly and arrogantly continue to commit the vilest of sins against Him? Second, sin is wrong. It is always wrong to do wrong. It is always right to right. And although stopping a pattern of sin will not commend you to God, it will not so much provoke His wrath as more serious sins provoke Him.

So, leave off the booze and the drugs and the illicit sex. Go to church and read your Bible, tithe and invite others to church. Why? Itís less sinful for you than what you otherwise would do. And should you, in fact, not end up being saved, it will go easier for you on Judgment Day to have fewer sins than to have more sins.

 

LISTEN TO ME. LEARN GODíS WORD. LEAVE YOUR SINS. AND FINALLY, TAKE MY ADVICE AND PLEAD WITH GOD FOR YOUR SOUL

 

You know, some people really donít get it. They play their little religious games with God, and they dictate their terms to Him, and they get into their childish moods and have their silly spells. They have such an inflated sense of self-importance that they must imagine God pleading with them to be saved, begging them. As if God simply canít get along with you.

But they have it all wrong. God meets no need of His whether you are saved or lost. You see, He is self-sufficient and sovereign. The right attitude was displayed by the poor publican in Luke 18.13: ďAnd the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.Ē Understand that this occurred prior to Christís crucifixion and before the revelation that Christ is the exclusive approach to God was made known to this man. But the Lord Jesus Christ used him as an example of the right attitude by a sinner. Apparently, having gone to the temple and having offered his sacrifice to atone for his sins, the man is now pleading with God to be merciful. My lost friend, if you will not come to Christ, I suggest that you start pleading with God.

From John 9.31 we read the words of a man who said that God heareth not sinners. From Isaiah 59.2 we know that your iniquities have separated between you and your God, that your sins have hid His face from you, so that He will not hear when you cry out to Him. In other words, you, sir, have no standing or ground by which to approach God. But so long as you are only mildly uncomfortable with your sin, so long as you are something short of desperate, youíre not going to be saved.

You see, until youíre willing to plead for your soul youíre not going to be saved. You may not even be saved then. But itís been my observation, and itís been the observation of others who are concerned about seeing sinners really saved, that those who plead for their souls are more often saved than those who do not.

 

Most people whose thinking has been more shaped by this apostate culture we live in than by Godís Word think that sin is a bad thing, but not a terrible thing; an unpleasant thing, but not something to grieve and agonize over. And if you just pray a little prayer and ask Jesus into your heart everything will be okay and you will live happily ever after. My friends, that is wrong on all counts. Sin is a terrible thing, a soul damning thing, a wrath deserving thing. And a little prayer is not going to make it go away. Only people who have not listened to Bible preaching, who have not read Godís Word and studied what it says about sin, think thatís any solution at all.

As a lost man, you are really lost. Totally lost. And you will not be found by yourself. Those who are found to the saving of their souls, generally, listen to gospel preaching, and listen and listen and listen. We have people in our church who are saved after having listened to gospel sermons for decades before their conversion. Those who are found to the saving of their souls are those who know what God says about sin, what God says about damnation, what God says about the lake of fire and Hell, and about how right and proper and appropriate it is for them to be sent there to be punished for their sins. Those who are found to the saving of their souls are sometimes saved right out of the middle of gross wickedness. However, most of the time, especially if the conviction of the Holy Spirit goes on for any length of time at all, you will see sinners leaving their sins behind. Not because they think that will save them, but because they have become sick of their sins, tired of their wickedness, weary of being a soul estranged from God. And then, finally, read the many accounts of conversions in days gone by. With men who were really saved the Bible way. So often there was a heartís cry out to God for relief, for salvation, for mercy, for grace. Not that they expected to be saved any other way than by coming to Jesus Christ, but this was the cry of their soul over the wretchedness of sin.

Are you willing to take this matter of sin and salvation seriously? Even as a child, I expect you to take these things seriously. Of what benefit is it for you to come here Sunday after Sunday and store up wrath for the Day of Judgment if you have no serious interest in being saved from your sins? Do you come here to have fun? This is no place to have fun. Magic Mountain is for fun. Church is not for fun. This is a place for conviction, for concern, for weeping and wailing over sin, for praying for the lost, for listening to the gospel being preached, and perhaps, for occasionally rejoicing over a hopeful conversion or enjoyably engaging in an activity to show Christians how to live.

If you will listen to me, and if you are willing to learn Godís Word, and leave your sins, and value your own soul enough to plead to God for your salvation, then step into my office after the service, where perhaps we can discuss this matter of guiding you to Christ.



[1] Matthew 7.22-23

[2] John 16.8

[3] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), pages 214.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org