Transcript and audio from Pastor Billy Brown at the Des Moines, Iowa International Meeting
I’m writing this as a foreword for Brother Brown’s message because I want to make clear my reasons for doing this. First of all, it is NOT so that anyone can make fun of it or to be un-respectfully critical. There are several things in here that I clearly disagree with and I know you will too, but there are some good things too. Brother Brown is entitled to his own views of the Bible. He is a GAC minister and most of us know what the GAC believes because most of us used to believe it as well. So that’s not the part that I want to focus on and am asking all of you to be careful as to how you respond. You are most certainly entitled to share your views as to things that you don’t agree with but only in a respectable way. Just as you are free to believe your own doctrines, whether you’re a Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopalian, Pentecostal, Charismatic, atheist, agnostic, deist, or just a non believer. All of us have a doctrine of some kind. So if we can try to keep our focus off of what you disagree with and focus on what we can agree with and see the good that Brother Brown is trying to do within his own group of peers.
I did tell him that I hoped that he did not consider me an enemy and he apologized for using that word. We all say things sometimes that we don’t realize how it sounds to other people, like when they use the words, “enemies, outsiders, one of us, and etcetera.” I told Brother Brown that none of us are “outsiders” because we were once part of that group and if the ministers would have done the right thing and treated the people right, we would probably still be there. He was very cordial in his response and so I want us to return that favor. You are free to post your responses to this message as long as it’s done in a respectable way. I did upload the audio file that I recorded off the video so it’s only the part with Billy Brown speaking. So you can click on the “Audio for Transcript” link and either, download it to your hard drive, or just listen while you read. Please understand that I am not saying that you can’t disagree or even strongly disagree with something and I’m sure that Brother Brown would appreciate some feedback, but just do it with respect. Thanks, Wanda
Pastor Billy Brown
May 24th, 2008
Well, I praise God for all the brethren that are gathered here today from different quarters of the world. I still deplore the language barrier that’s between us. We don’t speak plainly to each other. When I have trouble listening to them, it just reminds me that they’re going to have trouble listening to me. I know we’re only catching part of what each other says, but the part that we catch is valuable and we’ll have to catch the other part that next time. We’re going to get up and we’ll keep talking until we get it all clear. God’s going to give us a clear language one of these days where we can perfectly understand each other.
I’m not here today to approve this meeting. I might approve it more if I didn’t get up and talk. I usually feel better if I get to rest in a meeting and go home and everything that needed to be said was said and I just got to listen and be entertained. Brother… I came to one of these meetings here at Des Moines one time and went home without saying anything; Brother Goodwin called me the next week to apologize. I said, “Well, don’t apologize, it wasn’t your fault. You gave me plenty of opportunity.” The next time I came up here to a meeting, I told him, “If I don’t get up in this meeting, don’t call me to apologize because it’s no offense to me. I’m glad to get to be among the people of God. I enjoy the fellowship, the brotherhood, the love and the charity. I feel secure in our identity as children of God.”
I do feel a burden of responsibility for the work, which I hear these other brethren expressing here to carry on what generations gone before us have left in our hands. It’s something valuable that we don’t want to lose. This message of truth is scarce and hard to find. People that will believe this message are scarce and people that will live it are scarcer still. You know real Bible Christians don’t grow on trees? They tell a story about Mahat Maghandi, the great Indian leader that they say he studied the Christian religion in his youth and later years, he said that if he could have found a Christian, he might have become one, and that it’s just hard to find the kind of Christians you read about in this book. You don’t read about too many of them. You just read the instructions that were given to them. Jesus and the apostles gave some instructions on how to live the Christian faith; and we’re convinced that a fair number of people from that generation lived those instructions. We hope we can find some from our generation that will live those instructions. Amen. We’re given a chance today and we’re in a place where we can remind each other and encourage each other in going on in God, and not being discouraged about any of the things that are coming upon us or stumbling blocks that are placed in our way or difficulties we have within ourselves in living the Gospel. We just consider it a worthwhile cause.
I think I’ll tell a parable here that I read a number of years ago. It’s not from the Bible. It’s not one of Jesus’ parables, and so it’s got defects. It’s not as good as Jesus’ parables. But it gives me a jumping off place. They tell a story about an eastern type guru who had his disciples gather around him like Jesus used to gather his disciples around and give lessons. The guru called his group together one day and said, “Now today the lesson is about seeing in the dark.” He said, “There are many advantages to being able to see in the dark. You don’t get out of bed in the middle of the night and stomp your toe on the bedpost and if the power goes off or have a power failure and you can see to find the flashlight; and if your enemies are chasing you in the dark, then you can see where they are and you can stay out of their way. It’s just a good thing to be able to see in the dark.” So after talking that way a little while, his disciples left, went home that night to practice the lesson.
The next day they came out to the lesson and guru opened by saying, “Now today the lesson is about walking on water. There are many advantages to being able to walk on water. If you come to a river that doesn’t have a bridge, you just walk straight on across. Nothing gets in your way that way, no watery borders, and if the river gets out of banks and your neighborhood’s flooded, you can just walk out your door and walk straight out. You don’t need a boat or anything to save yourself from the floods. There are lots of advantages to being able to walk on water.”
So the class went home to practice the lesson.
The third day they came out and the guru said, “Now today, the lesson is about flying. There are many advantages to being able to fly. Things that fly travel very fast. You cover a lot of territory in a short time. If you’re fleeing for your life, well you can fly away from your enemies, and you can get up high and you can see farther. You can see all around and see where you need to go and see your destination. It’s a good thing to be able to fly.” The class went home again to practice what they’d learned in class that day.
The fourth morning, they arrived a little early and the guru was late. They began to talk among themselves, “Say, were you able to fly? How did you do it, walking on water? I couldn’t even see in the dark.” By the time the guru got there, they had quite a rebellion stirred up and they said, “Hey, what’s the benefit of these lessons anyway? This message is not working. None of us could see in the dark. You told us we ought to be able to fly, and we all tried and not a one of us could fly. None of us could walk on water.”
Then the teacher said, “Well now you misunderstood me. I didn’t tell you, you ought to be able to see in the dark.” I just said, “It would be a good thing if you could. It would be nice if you could walk on water and fly.”
They said, “Well, none of us could do it so what’s the point?
His point was if you never heard about it, you’d never study about it; you’d never learn about it, you’d never try it and know whether you could or not. If the opportunity ever arose, it wouldn’t occur to you to even take advantage of the opportunity to learn to do those things.
They said, “Oh.”
The guru said, “Now today’s lesson is about loving your enemies.”
The writer of that parable did not give the interpretation. He just left it to us to draw our own conclusions. So I may have drawn some different conclusions from what he intended. One of the obvious conclusions you could draw from that parable was that it’s just as impossible to love your enemies as it is to fly. In fact, for most people that’s true. Most of the people in this world can no more love their enemies than they could fly to the moon. But another conclusion I drew from that parable was that it was a faulty parable. It’s defective. It does not give a true picture of the important lesson. The important lesson being the importance of loving your enemies and doing good to them that hatefully use you and despise you and despitefully use you, he said. Those are things that Jesus made a way for us to be able to do.
Our guru has taught us how to do the right thing. He has given us practical lessons on Godly living. This book here is full of instructions on how to be a real Bible Christian. Hallelujah! He’s given us something from above, that good and perfect gift that came down from above from the Father of lights with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning. His Holy Spirit came into our hearts to give us power to do what we ought to do, not just what we want to do, but what we ought to do. There are some things that we ought to do because we’re going to get a chance to do those things. What I mean is love your enemies. You’re going to get some enemies to love if we’re having trouble loving our enemies. Maybe we haven’t had enough practice. He may give us some more enemies so we’ll get to practice. Your enemies may take you by surprise.
I want to read some of the words of Jesus now, and it was not so much a parable as pointed instructions that he gave to the 12 apostles in Matthew 10. He said, “Beware of men.” This is Matthew 10:17 – “Beware of men.” Men are dangerous, women too. He’s talking about men in the generic sense here, the species. Mankind is dangerous, and the condition we’ve got into sense the Garden of Eden, we’ve become a dangerous race, and especially to people who teach a high standard of living, by which I mean a high moral standard, a spiritual standard that requires self-denial. Nobody likes to deny self. Self-denial is not a popular thing. It’s not a good feeling. It costs you something. It’s some kind of a sacrifice, I guess; you know how you define sacrifices but it costs you something, like David said. You can’t offer to God a sacrifice that didn’t cost you anything. When you take up your cross and follow Jesus and deny yourself – that is at some personal discomfort.
Somebody reminded me the other day of a lesson I gave in Houston some time back when this person, he said, was in some spiritual discomfort, under stress and distress and a little offended at God. Did you ever get offended at God? You can feel like God’s either mistreating you or letting somebody else mistreat you. That’s the whole story of the Book of Job, God letting somebody else mistreat him. If you don’t have the patience of Job, you might get offended when God let’s somebody else mistreat you. This brother was sitting in the congregation when I made the statement that, “God’s not concerned about your comfort. He’s concerned about your character.” So he quit being mad at God and got mad at me for a little while. He’d got over it by the time he told me about it. But God will allow his people to suffer discomfort. For one thing, that falls in the category of chastening doesn’t it? Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord. The Lord chastens every son that he receives. I don’t know if you can bring yourself to view all discomfort as the chastening of the Lord, but you can view it at least as a trial of your faith and your patience and take it as a Christian either way. But we’re to beware of men because they will cause us discomfort. We cause them discomfort by preaching discomfort, self-denial. Self-denial is personal discomfort.
“They shall deliver you up to the councils,” he said, “and scourge you in their synagogues, and you shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake.” That is, you’re going to be sued in the court of law, and charged and prosecuted, perhaps as a criminal. You’re going to get to witness to government officials and judicial officers. When they, and he said, “For my sake for a testimony against them, the gentiles, but when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak for it shall be given you in that same hour what you shall speak.”
I can remember when my Pentecostal teachers used that verse rather indiscriminately to advise us to always get up without any forethought, without any malice of forethought. He says, “Let it fly. God will give you in this same hour. The Holy Ghost will speak through you.” I heard Brother D.L. Jones say in a meeting I was in that he came to a meeting telling the Lord, “Lord, I don’t have a thing to say in this meeting.” The Lord said, “If you didn’t have anything to say, I could really speak through you, couldn’t I?” I chewed on that for awhile and I came to realize that just because I don’t have anything to say and no guarantee, the Lord will speak through me anyway. He can. That’s what he said, “I could really speak through you.” But he might not. You might get up without anything to say and He not say anything either. So you can just say, “Hello and goodbye.” Nothing wrong with that is there? We’re to greet people with a holy greeting, salute one another. But this scripture here, when you examine it, it’s really pointed toward that time when you’re called to account for the faith.
You’re called on to give an answer for a reason of the hope that lies within you. You’re accused of being an enemy of the human race because you teach holiness. Under those conditions, the Lord has his reputation invested in you. Under those conditions, you can probably relax. You think you can relax in a courtroom when you’re the accused? Well, it seems like the Apostle Paul was fairly relaxed when he stood before magistrates and kings. He wasn’t afraid to give an answer. It does seem like the Holy Ghost spoke through him, didn’t it? Somehow they got it recorded and saved it for us for an example. I don’t know if you’ll ever say anything as profound as Paul did when he stood before Felix and Festus and Agrippa, but you might say something that will surprise you when you say it if you trust in God. It’s not you that speak, he said, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you at a time like that. This is His promise to us that we can count on him to be with us when we’re there through no fault of our own and it’s His message that’s at stake.
Here’s what is extremely sobering. He said, “The brother shall deliver up the brother even to death.” Your natural brothers or your spiritual brothers may so violently disagree with you and think that you’re so wrong that they would feel driven to turn you in and accuse you and testify against you. “The father, the child, and the children shall rise up against their parents and cause them to be put to death.” Here’s a statement I’m reading all this for. This is the buildup and this statement’s repeated again in Mark 13 and Luke 21 in Jesus’ discourse about the destruction of the temple. That’s a different occasion from this. Here he’s instructing the 12 Apostles when he first sent them out on their first evangelistic mission. But I’m sure he said this more than once because this is so profound and important a statement: “You shall be hated of all men.” He said up in the 17th verse, “Beware of men because you shall be hated of all men.” I’m not trying to scare you and he wasn’t saying it for that. He just wanted us to be prepared, just expect this. Jesus warned us. He prepared us for it to expect that we’ll be hated before this is over. We’ll do enough right and preach enough truth and live the Gospel effectively enough that we’ll be hated of all men. Get ready for it. The better Christian you become – the more hatred you’re going to stir up; the more resentment that will rise up against you. “You’ll be hated of all men for my name’s sake but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
We must be prepared to be hated for the standard we preach and the stand that we take, and the way we describe Jesus and the Father. You’ll be surprised how people resent the doctrines we preach. It’s always one of the shocking things to me is when people can sit under this message under anointed teachers like we’ve had, like I’ve sat under, explaining the relationship of the Father and the Son and then leave these churches and go out and in such a short time so many become so confused about so simple a doctrine as the godhead. I’ve sat under men that could make that plain. None of the preachers they’re listening to out there can do that. But it’s something that’s brought up and used to brand us as a dangerous group of people, just the doctrines and standards and the way we present the Gospel. So we can expect these things to come. The closer we get to the end time, the greater that threat becomes, if we’re to view it as a threat. Actually, it’s a cleansing force. Every church is going to go through the fire. Your faith is going to be tried as by fire, your faith that’s more precious than gold that perisheth though it be tried by the fire. Your faith must be tried. Every church, every work in the body of Christ is going to be tried by some kind of fire.
It’s deplorable if we ever give them a just cause to have a grievance against us. When that, if that does happen then those cases must be met with repentance along with charity; but the main point of my message today, what I want to convey is how the Lord’s people ought to respond to these conditions. We are not to feel threatened in the first place by persecution. We’re not to let that frighten us or public opinion, the pressure of public opinion and peer pressure. We’re not to be influenced by that. If we’re the elect, the chosen of God, we cannot be deceived by false teaching or by challenges to the truth that we have received. Jesus said the day would come that the very elect would be deceived if it were possible. What keeps that from being possible is that the elect is too well taught. They’ve got too much knowledge. They’ve received the truth and it has set them free from error and deception. Amen. That’s the way the truth works. Jesus used that expression in the 8th chapter of John, wasn’t it, in the context of sin being set free from sin, but the other scriptures make it clear that the Holy Ghost, I mean the truth does not directly set you free from sin but it identifies sin for you and everything else in your life. The defects of your character, it will identify that; it identifies false, hypocritical and Babylonish ways of worship. It helps you to recognize and understand those things so that you can’t be deceived by those things. It’s the Holy Ghost that comes to you, the Spirit from God along with the truth. It gives you the power to overcome sin, to mortify the deeds of the body. So the truth, directly, sets you free from deception, and the power of the Holy Ghost can set you free from sin in your life. The blood of Jesus Christ sets you free from those past sins that it’s too late, they’re already done, you can’t take them back, you can’t undo them, but God will forgive you for them. You can bring them under the blood.
The Spirit of the Father, it’s called, that Jesus sent back to us as the Comforter can deal with the continuing presence of the tendency to sin in your life. Let me inform you if you’re in doubt about this, you’re not free from sin until you’re free from the tendency to commit sin. You can be free from all the past sins just by repentance, but you still need to be stopped from sinning. God is not going to take sinners to heaven because He doesn’t allow sin up there. He’s only going to take overcomers to heaven, people that have overcome sin. Well, I may be preparing some enemies. Of course, they’re probably not here today but they’ll hear about it won’t they, because this is not being done in a corner? These things go out on tape and they go out on the Internet. Nowadays brethren, when you get up in the pulpit, you’ve got to be aware that your statements are being picked at and culled and sorted and sifted and spread around the world, especially those that can be used against you. They’ll be spread around the world, but we’re to take the right attitude and respond correctly to opposition, of course, the main teaching of Jesus on that, how to treat your enemies. This is when your enemies are actively persecuting you.
We’ll just turn back a few pages to the Sermon on the Mount. It’s in there in the 5th chapter, in the Beatitudes. Somebody has already used this one. These first two are the main responses by the way to opposition: “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Poor in spirit means humility. It means not being proud of your self. It means not being stuck-up and having a superior attitude, but just being humble. The next one is sort of resembles it: After the “Blessed are they that mourn,” ought to include these three. “Blessed are they that mourn over evil.” Are you sorry for the wrong things you’ve done?
“Are you even sorry for the wrong things that have been done around you? This was the position that Daniel took in, where is that, the 9th chapter of Daniel where he prayed that long prayer? He expressed repentance, a repentant spirit for the wrong things his people, his movement, the people of Israel had done. He confessed the sins of the fathers and the sins of his own generation as well as foregoing generations. Daniel repented for all those things. He hadn’t done all those things but he was part of the movement, the group that had done them and he accepted that much responsibility, enough to lift the whole group up to God in prayer. That’s a good thing to do sometimes. It’s good for somebody to get up here on the platform or out here in the pews and lift this whole crowd of people up before God. Just take the whole bunch of us with you approaching the throne of grace and telling God about our mistakes and our defectiveness and our weaknesses and faults and shortcomings and things that we’re sorry for and we’re repentant for those things.”
We have a higher ideal than that. Our altruism rises above our present condition, and we aspire to greater things, better things than what we have achieved. We’re not satisfied with where we are or what we’ve done or what we’ve come to right now. We see more to come. We see more progress to make. We see becoming more like Jesus and we take it seriously. That’s not just a statement, not just a smokescreen or a platitude. You can use those things, ideas of more like Jesus, being more like Jesus, the whole Christian world would agree with that and approve that, but to put it into practice, make it real and stop being a hypocrite about it and strive to be more like Jesus, is what makes it sincere. Nothing that isn’t sincere is going to register with God. So let’s be honest with ourselves and with God. We might as well be honest with God. We could deceive ourselves but we can’t deceive him. Nobody will ever fool God. You may think you’re somebody but He knows who you are. Amen. I’ll tell you, it’s safer to be nobody than it is to be somebody.
Glory! I just I’ve used this expression many times at home, talking about being a servant. I’d just like to be an invisible servant. Being a preacher is an exposed position, and I’m still not completely comfortable with that. I’d rather be in the background and not be noticed. I don’t have to strive for that. That’s not my temptation. My temptations lie in other lines. Everybody has got his own weakness or thought to overcome. I’m sure even the Apostles had those things. Each had their personal battles to fight. I remember Brother Patton saying one time, “Nobody but you knows the battles you fight in your mind.” We don’t know what kind they are. I’m fighting one kind of battle in my mind while you’re fighting another kind in your mind, but everybody that’s striving to overcome is fighting some battles, because it is a battle and it’s not completely easy. But I wanted to show these things that will help us in our relations with our enemies. For one thing, it helps to be humble and keep your head down in a certain sense. Don’t stick your head up too high, higher than the Lord is pushing you. Take the lowly position. Jesus taught the ministry even that come into a new place and don’t take the highest seat you can get; take a low seat. If they want to invite you up, they can and they will. If they don’t want to, then you’ll escape some embarrassment and public exposure, unfavorable exposure. You’ll just displace some humility and make people think better of you. People will think better of you if they think you’re humble, even if they think you’re no good. They’d rather see you be humble than stuck-up. They hate somebody that’s no good and he’s stuck-up. He thinks he’s good and he’s not.
So these are things that look better on you. This is Jesus’ way of teaching you this is good advice. It’s more than advice isn’t it, it’s the Gospel. Blessed are they that mourn, mourn for the evil that’s been done or being done. We’re to be sorry, sincerely sorry for the scandalous sins that have happened in the body of Christ and they have happened to some of you. Some of them may be overblown, magnified and made-up, but there’s been enough wickedness and evil break out among the people of God. It’s always been that way, hasn’t it, from the Garden of Eden on down? The first church God had on this earth had sin break out in it, and they pulled away, split off and separated from God. The voice of God came walking in the Garden in the cool of the evening and nobody would come to church. Nobody was there. He said, “Adam, where are you?” Meaning, “Why aren’t you here? The church doors are open.” But he lost His church. There’s been sin crop up among the greatest people of God ever since, all along the way. God said to David through the prophet, “You’ve given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme though this.” That’s a deplorable thing. It’s something for the whole church to be ashamed of. I’m sure all Israel was ashamed when they heard what David had done. It made them look bad in the eyes of the enemy nations roundabout, like: Their standards, they preach so much holiness and look what happened in the church. So those things can happen; they have to be recognized, they have to be dealt with.
A newcomer came to our church down there in Houston not long ago, and it wasn’t long until somebody gave them a clue that he found out all these scandals that are being brought up against us and he came and asked me about it. I said, “Well, we have had to do some housecleaning.” “Well,” he said, “If you’ve done it, okay.” So God’s house has to have a housecleaning ever once in awhile. If we don’t do it, the trash will pile up. Somebody wants to accuse me of sweeping things under the rug. I don’t see myself as sweeping things under the rug but neither do I lay all the trash on the table. I don’t broadcast every bad thing that happens but try to do what can be done about it. But we have, I admit, we need to admit, made mistakes. I’ve made mistakes, tried to straighten them up. I remember accusing a young girl falsely. I still don’t know if it was false or not but without sufficient evidence. I accused her of sin in our church one time many years ago. Years later, my conscience convicted me and I realized I had mishandled her. She was out and gone, of course. You drive people out of church by doing that. Somebody gave me her telephone number and I called her up with a personal apology. It didn’t get her back to church but I at least made the effort and made her realize that she could come back to church if she ever wants to. The door is still open, and if she needed another apology to come in, I’d make it. We’re to recognize and correct as much as we can, the mistakes we’ve made and mourn over the evil.
Then this one: “Blessed are the meek.” See, all these are lowly and somewhat submissive attitudes, humility and sorry, repentance and meekness. They’re not the kind of attitudes that make you rejoice. I mean you feel good when you fight and win, but these are not fighting attitudes. These are attitudes to take when you’re on the defensive and you’re subject to being judged; maybe misjudged, but when you’re on the judgment end, when you’re on that end of it, then this is the way to meet it, with humility and repentance and meekness. These things, they register and they inspire mercy for one thing. They may obtain mercy and they at least show honesty. When we just deny everything and brush everything off and won’t consider what we’ve done wrong, then we’re not liable to receive mercy under that attitude.
Now, I’m going to skip a few here, but Jesus recognized, as I’ve already said in the other chapter, that we’re going to be persecuted. What’s closing time?
Male Speaker: 3:30
We’re going to be persecuted. So in the 10th verse, he said, “Blessed are they which are persecuted.” All these things are good in here, aren’t they? It’s good to be poor in spirit. It’s good to mourn over evil. It’s good to be meek when you’re under attack. It’s good to hunger and thirst after righteousness. There’s a blessing for these things. It’s good to be merciful and to obtain mercy. It’s a good thing to be a peacemaker. All these things make you feel good just to think about them, don’t they? Well think about this one: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake.” There’s a blessing for that. Feel good about it. “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you, falsely, for my sake. “Rejoice,” he said, “And be exceeding glad. For greater is your reward in heaven.” Where is that verse where he…
Male Speaker: Luke 6.
Male Speaker: Luke 6.
He said, “Leap for joy when they cast out your name as evil.” Have you ever done that, Brother Goodwin?
Glenn Goodwin: Not yet.
Male Speaker: No sir.
You ought to try it.
Male Speaker: We need to.
I’ve done that a time or two in the pulpit. I didn’t jump very high but I went through the motions anyway to illustrate the point that we’re to be happy when they accuse us falsely and they try to paint us as a dangerous cult, brainwashing people. I said, “If I washed any brains it’s because my brain has been washed.” I’m sold on this message. I still believe what I was told 50 years ago when I came into the church in Houston. I still believe the way Brother Patton taught me the godhead. I still believe the way he taught me the resurrection. I still believe the way he taught me eternal judgment. I still believe the way I was taught on water baptism. I still believe in overcoming sin and evil. I still believe in overcoming evil with good. I believe this message of going on to perfection and being like Jesus. I’m striving to be like Jesus. I believe in trying. I don’t believe I can just relax and accept that it was completed on the cross. Jesus completed his part on the cross. My part’s not completed yet. My part depends on how much I accept what he did, believe what he said and practice what he preached. “We’re to go into all nations,” he told the apostles, “and teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever Jesus commanded.” What did he command? Love your enemies. Do good to them that hate you. Be perfect as your Father in heaven. Those were commandments of Jesus. Those are what we’re teaching when we go out to Africa and we go to India and China. This is what we’re teaching. It’s a good thing. It’s a good thing but it’s not as easy as it sounds if you lift this verse out of its context.
In the 11th chapter of Matthew where Jesus said, “My yoke is easy.” Isn’t that the 11th chapter? Verse 28: “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, loaded down. I will give you rest.” Well I’ve written in here where somebody taught me that’s from religious burdens. It includes that. That’s not all that He will relieve you from. He’ll relieve you of your burden of sin if it is loading you down. The Lord can relieve you of every kind of burden that you’re carrying that’s just burdening you down and not doing you any good. Now he will not relieve you of bearing your brother’s burden sometimes when your brother needs help, as Paul said in the 6th chapter of Galatians. “Bear you one another’s burdens.” So that’s a burden that Jesus didn’t relieve that person of and we’re to relieve him if we can. That’s his burden of troubles. Everybody has got them. You’ll have some trouble after you get saved, after you get your sins forgiven. After you lay your burdens down at Jesus’ feet, you’ll continue to have troubles and problems and some of them we could help you with. Let your neighbor, your brother, help you with your burden of problems, counseling and encouragement and sometimes even a dollar bill would help. There are ways we can help one another in bearing burdens of problems. What sounded contradictory if you didn’t explain all this, a verse or two further down, he said, “Every man will bear his own burden.” That’s the nature of things. Every man has got to bear his own burden. That’s his own burden of work. Nobody can relieve you of your calling in God. If you’re called to stand up here in this pulpit and preach these things, nobody can do it for you. Somebody else can do it that’s called to do it but he does it for his calling. He can’t relieve you of your responsibility. Just because if I sit back, somebody will get up in every meeting, I could sit back in every meeting but that doesn’t relieve me of my responsibility to get up some time and preach what God told me to preach. I’ve tried to do that. I try to do it occasionally and frequently enough to satisfy the Lord and hopefully to meet the need that I’m suppose to supply because that’s my burden. Nobody can bear that burden but me. You have to bear your own burden of work and labor meeting God’s calling. But Jesus made it sound so easy here in the 11th chapter of Matthew, that a lot of people lift it out of its context and make it a magic charm like.
They don’t really get the import. (Where was I now, 28th verse?) “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.” That’s not the yoke of bondage but it is a yoke. He may have set you free from the yoke of bondage but it’s by giving you a different yoke. He’ll take the yoke off of you and He’ll give you a better yoke, and, “It’s an easy one,” he said. “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me.” We need to learn of Jesus when we come to Him. Don’t just come to Jesus and unload your burden and go your merry way because you’re saved now, forever saved. Jesus did it all on the cross. No, come and learn of Jesus. It takes time to learn. He’s a teacher. It takes time to teach, doesn’t it? It can’t all be taught in one lesson. Learn of Jesus. That means learn how to act, how to live. We’re to learn how to act like He acted, live like He lived. “I am meek and lowly.” This is one of the things you learn when you learn of Jesus, how to be meek and lowly. “I am meek and lowly in heart.” It just comes natural. It’s not something he’s putting on. He doesn’t force himself to do it. It just came natural to him. We may have to practice on that but we can get to where it’s natural. It will be supernatural but it will be natural to us to be meek and lowly in heart. “Do that,” he said, “and you shall find rest unto your souls,” rest for your soul, what’s bothering your soul. That’s not rest for the body.
He’s not promising deliverance from the cotton sack, and I’m talking historically here. Nobody pulls a cotton sack anymore. I pulled one enough times to learn that wasn’t a good way to make a living. It’s not relieving you of the burden of making a living, raising a family, and doing a good job of what you do. What your hands find to do, do it with your might. It doesn’t relieve you of that burden, but it is rest for your soul. Your soul that’s being tormented by guilt and bitterness, anger and malice, desire for revenge, a thirst for revenge that drives you until you can’t rest; you can’t be happy, you can’t sleep. Every time you think of that particular person and what he did, you fly into a rage again. It rises up inside, something you can’t get rid of. It would take a miracle of God to change it and help you get rid of that load, that burden. You have to bring that to Jesus. You’ll find rest for your souls. You’ll become meek and lowly. Meek means being able to take it on the chin and not fight back, not even want to fight back, not even get mad, might get hurt, you might feel the pain; you might be disappointed, but not to get mad to the point of retaliation. Brother Watson and I finally figured out how to tell the difference between anger and wrath. We were talking down in Houston the other day, and we figured out that wrath was anger on wheels. It’s anger that’s out of control. It’s running away, run away anger. When you get mad and you don’t do anything about it, you just control yourself. You’ve got it under control. That’s anger. But when you get mad and you decide to do something about it: “I’m not going to take it anymore.” Then it turns into wrath. That’s how God’s anger falls on the world, doesn’t it, when it turns into wrath?
But those things can… We can lose our peace; lose the peace that God gave us by not practicing, not learning and practicing meekness. We have to come to Jesus to learn about humility, true humbleness and true meekness, how to turn the other cheek, and bear mistreatment, abuse, and not take on the wrong spirit and be destroyed by it. “I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me and you shall find rest unto your souls.” For he said, “My yoke is easy.” It’s a yoke but it’s easy. It’s hard to convince people it’s easy, but with Brother Richards up here a while ago talking about the standards. They’re not all that hard. We don’t preach anything unreasonable. It’s not hard to dress modestly. What’s hard is to want to when other people don’t do it. It’s not hard to refrain from body piercing and make more room for jewelry. It’s just hard to want to refrain from it when everybody else is doing it. It’s not hard to live a holy life, sanctified and set separated and clean. It’s just hard to want to. That’s our job here brethren as ministers, to make people want to. It’s not our job to make them do it. It’s our job to make them want to. You can’t make them do it until you can make them want to. As long as they’re doing it resentfully and rebelliously, they’ll get away as fast as they can. That’s happened to a lot of our young people because we were making them do it and when they didn’t want to and we were forcing them to, their parents you know, if they have the authority in their home, have authority over the children for a little while, and you do have to make children be good or else they’ll be bad. We’re saying, “Boys will be boys.” Well, you can expand that. You just know that boys will be bad boys if you don’t make them be good boys. But after awhile, as they grow up, they’ve got to be taught to do these things because they want to. If you’re going to live these standards when you grow up here and you go out to college or you go out into the working world and you’ll be called on from time to time out there to justify your appearance, your sacrifices, if you can call it a sacrifice to give up the world, why you don’t go to the same sports events and worldly things that your friends do. You’ll have to give some explanation and you can no longer say, “I can’t go. Mother won’t let me.” You’re going to have to say, “I don’t want to do that. I don’t choose to do that. That’s not for me. That’s not my lifestyle.” You can say, “I don’t feel like that pleases Jesus,” if you’re ready to give a religious lesson and defend your theology.
Somehow, you’re going to have to take as stand if you live this. It’s going to be because you want to. If you see the value in this, if you see the value of holiness, purity, spirituality, dedication to the will of God, submission to His direction, if you see the value in that, then you’ll take a stand on it. It will become your value, the thing that you live for. It will be your life and you won’t be ashamed to tell people, “This is my life. That’s not my life out there. That’s not what I do. This is who I am and this is what I do,” not be ashamed of it. You can’t afford to be ashamed of Jesus before this wicked generation. If you are, He’ll be ashamed of you before the angels in heaven. Don’t make Jesus ashamed. Take a stand. Settle it in your heart. Fix your heart on God. Determine to live right. Go the way that pleases God. Stay as far from the world and as deep in the church as you can. You understand the purpose of a church and the value of a church; you can’t go all the way with God and fully grow up in God without some experience in a church. Hermits on top of their telephone poles or back in the depths of their caves could never reach God like the servants that were out serving people, serving God’s people, serving other people too. We’re to do good to all men. We’re to keep the right attitude toward everybody, not just our Christian brother, but to the angry infidel that’s making up lies and stories against us. This is where you get to put Christianity into practice and show that you are a Christian. Jesus said in Matthew 5, “Even the publicans love their own,” the people that love them, but we’re to show with the love of God extends to people that don’t love you, they don’t like you, and they hate you. When people hate you and they do bad things to you, they do damage to you, they can hurt you in a physical sense – then is when we express charity, love, peace, the joy of salvation, the fruits of the spirit. That’s when we get to demonstrate humility, meekness.
I’m almost afraid to bring this up: Jesus said, “If they sue you at a court of law and take away your coat, let them have your cloak also.” I’ve never had a chance to do that. So I’ve been thinking: Would I recognize the chance if it came by? Would I be too angry and bitter to even think of that scripture? If somebody sues me and wins a judgment against me and I have to pay up, pay off, would I have the grace to throw in an extra thousand, make it a bakers dozen and give them a little extra a friendly gesture? That would probably make him madder. But that may be Jesus’ point. Heap coals of fire on his head. Things like that get attention. They don’t change everybody’s mind. They don’t save everybody, but it could save you and me.
(End of Talk – 59 minutes: 37 seconds)