A Cake Half Turned

Scripture: Hosea 7:8-10, NLT

8“The people of Ephraim mingle with godless foreigners, making themselves as worthless as a half-baked cake!
9 Worshiping foreign gods has sapped their strength, but they don’t even know it. Their hair is gray, but they don’t realize they’re old and weak.
10 Their arrogance testifies against them, yet they don’t return to the LORD their God or even try to find him.
I want to talk to you tonight about a problem that I see in the present day church and I see this problem here at Danville and everywhere I go. We have become, over time, an introverted church. We are preoccupied with our self. We are selfish and we seek our own personal agendas. We are more concerned with our comfort than we are the conversion of the lost. We are more concerned with by-laws than we are God’s law with is to love Him with all our heart and our neighbor as our self.

Once a church becomes so consumed with its own personal interest to the neglect of a lost and hurting world, that church begins to die. That church may continue to meet and have services but for all practical intents and purposes, it is dead.

Let me illustrate: The church has six basic functions–

  1. Worship
  2. Proclamation of the word–bibile study, preaching
  3. Fellowship
  4. Evangelism
  5. Missions
  6. Ministry

We excel in three of these: Worship, Bible Study and Fellowship. We do not do well in Evangelism, Missions and Ministry.

In other words: we do well on the introverted functions. We are good at GATHERING. We attend Sunday services and call that church but really we are only a cake half turned. There is more than gathering for Sunday School, Preaching and then have pot luck after church on Sunday night.

The unfortunate think is that our churches are filled with people who think that Gathering and looking to our own spiritual growth is all there is to church. In reality, it is only one side of church.
Jesus commanded us to GO.
  • Matthew 28:19–Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
  • Luke 9:60–But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead, your duty is to GO and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
  • Luke 10:3–Now GO, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.

The word “Go” is used 85 times in the four gospels and most of those were by Jesus. You can’t spell God without spelling go. But we don’t want to go: we want to sit. The problem with sitting is that we sit, soak and sour unless we do some going.

Lets face the facts, we have become an introverted church, a lazy church: we gather for worship but we don’t scatter to witness. We are a cake half turned. Done on one side and raw on the other.

I’m going to tell two stories to illustrate my point. There is more to church than gathering for Sunday School and worship.

Story One

Thirty four years ago, I came to know a man by the name of Tyler Short but he was anything but short. Tyler stood 6’8″ and weighted over 300 pounds. He was so big that his mother never recovered after his birth and he was raised from pillar to post. After becoming an adult, Tyler got a job working at a steel mill in Bessemer, Alabama. He worked at the mill in the day and was a bouncer at a bar at night. He was an intimidating figure and I can see where he would have made a good bouncer.

Tyler got saved through the Gideon Ministry and began attending a Church of God some where in Bessemer. After six months are so of going to church Sunday morning, night and Wednesday night, he became disenchanted with his new faith. He went to his pastor and confessed. I thought there would be more to Christianity than this; I feel like something is missing. Is there more than just coming to church? The pastor smiled with delight and said “Yes, Tyler, there is much more.” He took him aside and gave him a crash course in evangelism and then told Tyler. You practice in front of the mirror when you shave and then begin sharing with your friends at work.

Tyler practiced on the mirror a few times and then he began sharing Jesus at the mill. He lead several of his friends to faith in Christ. Tyler became such a fireball for Jesus that churches began inviting him to come and share his testimony. Our oldest daughter Hannah was saved at one such meeting.

Story Two

This is a George W. Truett story. Dr. Truett pastored the first Baptist Church of Dallas Texas for 50 years. Dr. Truett had a young bussinessman get saved and his story is much like Tylers. He came to church faithfully for more than a year but after that he came into Dr. Truett’s office and said, “Dr. Truett, I made myself a promise before I joined this church. I said, “I am not going to be a hypocrite. If I can’t live it, I am going to admit it. I am not excited about being a Christian. I don’t know what it is but something is not right. I have come to ask you to remove my name from your church roll.”

Dr. Truett was lost for words: he was taken back to say the least but he glanced down at his desk and saw a name that his secretary had given him earlier. It was the name and address of a woman who had an alcoholic husband who had not provided for his family [this was early 1900’s, before welfare]. Dr. Truett got a brilliant idea. He said, “Son, I respect your honesty but would you do me one favor before I remove your name from the roll?” The young man was a bit unconfortable with the question but he reluctantly agreed. Dr. Truell handed him the name and address of the woman and told him their needs. “Would you go but this family some groceries and deliver to this address?” Dr. Truett asked. Again the young man reluctantly agreed. He was single and was a man of means so the money was no problem. He went to the market and got several bags of groceries and carried them to the address. He intended to sit them on the porch and knock on the door and then leave before anyone could see him. But before he could get all the food on the porch, the lady heard him and out she came followed by the children. They thanked him again and again as he tried to leave. But they would not allow him to get away. They invited him in. The kids got as close to him as they could. The young man said, “I really must go…” “No, no” said the kids. The mother then told him. “We prayed all night for God to send someone and he sent you; we have to celebrate His goodness. We want you to lead us in a prayer before you go.” No maam, I am sorry but I can’t pray out loud,” said the young man. “Sure you can,” she said, and all the kids gathered round. It took him a few moments to muster up a prayer but he did much better than he expected. These kids didn’t want him to leave. They followed him to the car thanking him over and over.

When he got back to Dr. Truett’s office, he simple said, “Dr. Truett, give me another name.”

The reason we have so many disgruntled and unhappy church members is because we are not being obedient. Joy is the fruit of obedience.


Salty Saints

Scripture: Luke 14:34-35, NLT

34 “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again?
35  Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”


Jesus used salt as a metaphor more than once:

Matthew 10:13…

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

Mark 9:50

Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Salt was a highly valued commidity because it was used for so many things:
  1. Salt was a preservative
  2. Salt was a additive–a seasoning
  3. Salt was an antiseptic and remains so today
  4. Salt was used as an additive to manure to make fertilize
  5. Salt was a poison–a saline abortion is the process of killing the child in the womb with salt. It is very dangerous and I don’t know if they still use this techique if you can call it such. Too much salt will kill you, yet we all have to have some.
  6. Salt {In NT times} was adulterated, not pure Sodium Choloride. It came from the salt mines near the dead sea and was mixed with other substances, especially gypsum. The adulterated salt could lose it saltness. Salt that has not saltness is worthless.

In other words, Jesus is saying, “There is no such thing as an uncommitted disciple, right!” Do you believe that a person can be an uncommitted disciple.

An uncommitted disciple is an oxymoron like; acting naturally or pretty ugly.

A lot of folks and I am one of them believe that Jesus is talking to the church in Matthew 10:13…. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

Question: Do you think the modern church is salty or do you think the salt has been adulterated and lost its saltness?

A pinch of salt can do wonders to a bowl of beans. The church is to act upon society the way salt acts upon food, we are to give it some flavor. We will never be the majority but we don’t have to out number the beans to influence them. We do have to be salty and here in lies the problem.

William Barclay says, “The church is the conscience of the nation. The church must speak out fearlessly against all evil.” Do you think we have been faithful in that area? Judging by the moral putridness of our present culture, I think the answer is no, we have not been faithful to decry evil. There has been no moral outrage.

Our founding fathers, especially Washington and Adams, knew that you could not give broad sweeping civil liberties to an immoral people. This is why Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Ben Franklin: Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.

Over the years we have allowed a group of bureacrats make their homes in Washington DC. One election will not uproot them. They are deeply rooted and they goal is to govern us, that is the small people, the common people. These people have celebrity status but many of them were elected by us and now we can get them out. I am not talking about democrats only, I am talking about Republicans who along with the democrats are on the take. They are in the pockets of the big corporations like Walmart and G.E. These huge corps are not a friend to small business. Don’t kid yourselves, Walmart does care about your small business; they will go overseas in a heartbeat. Matter of fact, if you aren’t careful, they will destroy your small business.

Republican big wigs in DC do not like Donald Trump because they fear him. If he is elected, he is going to upset their apple cart. He knows they are on the take. Men like Richard Shelby are a stooge for big business, he will sing any tune they tell him to sing. He does not represent me, never has. We need term limits for congress and the Supreme Court. Washington DC is a stinky toilet that needs to be flushed.

I want you to listen to a man who can say what I believe better than I can say it myself.



Discipleship Is Not For Sissies

25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them,
26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.
27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
28 But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?
29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.
30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
31 Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him?
32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away.
33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
34 Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again?
35 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”


What does every pastor, preacher, evangelist in America want? A larger crowd, more followers and bigger numbers. I got caught up in the Church Growth movement years ago but then God convicted me of having impure motives. Pastors want to grow big church because this is the way the culture gages success. If you pastor a large church, and this one is not large, you are a success and if you pastor a small church, you are not. Every Association, State Convention, and especially the SBC uses this criterion for measuring success. This is what makes Jesus so unique: He did not measure success by numbers.

Matter of fact, He turned on this crowd that was following HIM after the dinner at the home of a leading Pharisee. He not only turned on them, He scattered them with His stern message on discipleship. Jesus had a distinct advantage on us, He knew exactly why they were following Him, He knew their motives.

  • Some followed to see the miracles. They were into sensational things. They were curious. They wanted to see what Jesus would do next. We call this group “Miracle Mongers,” or “Sensation Seekers.”
  • Some followed Him for what the benefits: Jesus healed thousands of people and He fed thousands. They followed for what they could get from Him. These folks were self-seekers.
  • Some followed Him because they believed He would lead them to political prominance and victory of their Roman conquerors. They were power seekers.

Jesus knew where He was headed and it was not to a throne but to a cross. He knew these folks were following for the wrong reasons so He stops to clear the air. They had expectations for HIM that He had no intention of fulfilling so He stops and tells them the truth, “If you are really serious about following me, let Me tell you where I am going. I am headed for a Roman cross and if you are not willing to suffer with me, and die for me, you need to go elsewhere.” This is the JEV, Jack’s everyday version.

There are a lot of things being taught today and I know it gets confusing. There are some who believe in LORDSHIP salvation, “If Jesus isn’t LORD in your life, you are not saved.” It is equivalent to saying “If you are not filled with the Holy Spirit, you are not saved.” Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe, to whom I admire, says that Jesus distinguishes between SALVATION and DISCIPLESHIP and I am inclined to agree. This view does not distract from what Jesus says here about discipleship, it enhances it.

  • Salvation is free –Discipleship is costly.
  • Salvation is for all–Discipleship is for a select few
  • Salvation is confession of sin and trusting Christ–Discipleship is following Christ.
  • Salvation is what Christ does for us–Disicipleship is what we do for HIM.

Jesus made is very clear, that discipleship is for those who are willing to pay the price and not every believe is willing. Those who deny carnal Christianity believe that the church is filled with lost people. They are like the Jews in Luke 14, they are lost but do not know that they are lost. This is one way to resolve the problem. Looking at my own experience, I was saved at nine but did not become an active disciple until I was 19. Would I have gone to hell had I died during that 10 year period? I do not believe so. I have met scores of people who I believed were saved but they had never committed to discipleship.

I had a man come to me after a REVIVAL service and say, “I am supposed to be doing what you are doing. God called me to preach but I did not obey and I have been miserable since.” I honestly believe he was telling me the truth.

Jesus is honestly saying to this crowd: “I don’t mind you following me but I do want you to understand the cost. I want you to consider the cost before you make a commitment to follow.”

So today, Lets talk about the COST OF DISCIPLESHIP


“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”

Jesus said, “You can’t follow Me if you love your parents more than me.” But Jesus didn’t stop with parents, He covered all human relationships. You can be married and follow Christ but to do so, she was to be willing to go where He leads you. I left my home and family at age 22 and I never had the opportunity to return. During my folks retirement years, I was away serving churches. I missed those years and at one time, I grieved that fact but I have come to believe that it was no sacrifice at all. I believe in my heart that heaven will make up for that loss and more.

In Luke 18 we have a dialogue between Peter and Jesus on this very subject:

Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.” “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”


27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

Earlier, in Luke 9, Jesus said to another crowd…

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

A huge part of discipleship is “Self-denial.” You cannot follow Christ and pursue your own selfish and personal interest at the same time. Being a disciple means sacrifice. The game of baseball illustrates what a sacrifice entails. The batter gives up his chance for a hit or a home run in order to advance another runner who is already on base. This part of baseball has almost passed away in the American League and rarely do you see anyone other than a pitcher do it in the National League. Why? I am glad you ask…

No one wants to give up their right to swing away and go for better stats and a bigger salary. Major League ball players as a whole are selfish and they put themselves before the team.

The Heart Of A Pastor

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:16-28, NLT

16 Again I say, don’t think that I am a fool to talk like this. But even if you do, listen to me, as you would to a foolish person, while I also boast a little.
17 Such boasting is not from the Lord, but I am acting like a fool.
18 And since others boast about their human achievements, I will, too.
19 After all, you think you are so wise, but you enjoy putting up with fools!
20 You put up with it when someone enslaves you, takes everything you have, takes advantage of you, takes control of everything, and slaps you in the face.
21 I’m ashamed to say that we’ve been too “weak” to do that! But whatever they dare to boast about—I’m talking like a fool again—I dare to boast about it, too.
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.
23 Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.
24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.
26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.
27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.
28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.


We are getting near the end of our series in 2 Corinthians which will be my final here at Danville. I have been watching you the last few weeks and I can tell your interest in our study is waning. 2 Corinthians 10-12 is taylor made for preachers but it must get boring to lay people so I have decided to exclerate the pace just a bit.

When I was kid, I didn’t think my mother and daddy knew much about parenting but when I became a parent, I changed my mind. You can’t understand parents until you become one. The same is true with being a grandparent. No one can tell you what it is like, you just have to experience it for yourself. The same is true with being a pastor. It is impossible for lay people to understand the pressures and anxieties that a pastor carries. I could preach a hundred sermons on the subject and it would not help one iota. To understand what it is like to be a pastor, you would have to be a pastor.

I understand what Paul did; I know why he said the rediculous things he said; I know why he commended himself. Scholars are divided on Paul’s motive, Dr. Wiersbe {a pastor scholar] says that Paul was forced to defend himself, the Corinthians forced him and his boasting was a proof of his love for them. I love Warren Wiersbe but I respectfully disagree.

Palmer says, “Paul went temporarily mad.” I’m going to have to lean toward Palmer, I think Paul did brag on himself; he commended himself and I don’t think it had an bearing on his critics, it never does. As far as I am concerned, it was an expression of his humanity and proof that the Corinthians had hurt him deeply. Paul was not super-human, just human and I find nothing offensive in his honesty. It has always been a refreshing passage to me because I could read it and identify with Paul but this is much harder if not impossible for a lay person to do.

Surfice it to say, there are many perils in the ministry and Paul mentions quite a few in this passage.


 This group of critics within the Corinthian church are most likely a minority. F.F. Bruce and others are convinced that this did not represent the church as a whole. Most of the Corinthians are supportive of and they probably don’t understand what he is talking about because they are not pastors. Why punish the entire group for something that only a few were doing? These critics {whoever and howmany} are very hard on Paul: {1} They impugh his motives by accusing him of preaching for personal gain. {2} They criticise his appearance over which he has no control. {3} They criticise his speaking ability and {4} Question his authority. Listen, you cannot prevent these kind of things from happening. You cannot stop criticism.

If a young man came to me and ask me what I thought of him entering the ministry: I would tell him the truth. Expect criticism and do not defend yourself against every attack, every criticism, it will not work. This will allow criticism become a major distraction which is exactly what the devil wants. We have to follow the model of Christ, not Paul. God wanted Paul’s words to be recorded because his experience has helped thousands of preachers through hard times but what he said did not stop the ones who were stirring the stink. You have to accept the fact that you are going to come under fire and some of it will not be fair. Your loyal supporters are not going to take part, they give you the benefit of the doubt and those who oppose you are not going to be convinced of your innocence by anything you say, so there is no need to defend or commend yourself. It is ineffective, a total waste of time.



Paul is guitly in a sense, he confessed in verse 17…Such boasting is not from the Lord, but I am acting like a fool. And in verse 18…And since others boast about their human achievements, I will, too. 

It is obvious that Paul is not claiming inspiration at this point, he is resorting to the same tactics as that of his enemies…boasting about human achievements. What Paul did was a minor infraction compared to some of the things I have done.

The greatest guilt and misery I have experience over these 49 years is from getting into the flesh in the pulpit. Don’t tell me it can’t be done, it is a never ending peril of ministry. It can happen when you least expect it. It is a constant temptation and there is no end to the pressure it exerts.

There are some measures you can take to help–like preaching through the bible or a book in the bible but there is no fool proof method of keeping it from happening. It has happened to me recently and I had prayed about the message all week. I had no intentions of saying what I said but it came out.

Dr. Wiersbe thinks that Paul intentionally portrayed himself as weak in this passage and it is true that he brags about his weakness but that is not what’s happening here: he is bragging about his credentials and his experiences and you know as well as I that commending one’s self is unacceptable and I firmly believe, a waste of time.


There are a lot of bad stats floating around about preachers:
  • 77% of the pastors we surveyed felt they did not have a good marriage.
  • 75% of the pastors we surveyed felt they were unqualified and/or poorly trained by their seminaries to lead and manage the church or to counsel others. 
  • 72% of the pastors we surveyed stated that they only studied the Bible when they were preparing for sermons or lessons.
  • 38% of pastors said they were divorced or currently in a divorce process.
  • 30% said they had either been in an ongoing affair or a one-time sexual encounter with a parishioner.
  • 80% of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.
  • 50% of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.

None of the stats above can be supported with empirical data. All are grossly exgerated but they are partially true. Some pastors do have bad marriages and if want reasons why this is true, talk to a pastor’s wife. Many pastors do battle feeling of inadequacy but this is common. I would be more worried about the ones who don’t feel unqualified at times. A recent survey states that 93% of Evangelical Pastor’s feel priviledged and I am among this group.

BUT discouragement is a pitfall in the ministry. There are not 1,500 Evangelical Pastors leaving the ministry every month but there are some who get discouraged enough to quit. Charles Spurgeon fought depression constantly. There were times when he stayed in the bed for two weeks. Moses, Elijah, and Jeremiah all fought depression and discouragement.

I surrendered to preach the gospel at a relative young age, I was 19 and I had no bible study habits. I did know a few verses that I had learned in SS but I was no avid bible student. When I surrendered to preach, I had to begin studying in order to preach and teach but I was 50 years old before a daily quiet time became an established habit and passion. I have notice a remarkable difference when I look at my life before and after concerning spending time with the LORD. 

The key to overcoming discouragement is to spend a lot of time with the LORD.

The LORD is indeed my refuge and strength. I look forward to my time with Him daily.

Some criticism is good but too much can crush your spirit and you can’t let that happen and it will happen if you fail to spend that quality time with the LORD and you focus on the criticism. So I don’t put my ear to the ground, I don’t eavesdrop, I don’t question people. Jesus did ask His disciples what folks were saying about HIM but I’m not Jesus. I want to stay focused on my call and my responsibility.



Scripture: Luke 14:15-24, NLT

15 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”
16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.
17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’
18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’
19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’
22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’
23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.
24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”


Tonight, we are going to talk about excuses. Billy Sunday said, “An excuse is a shin of a reason stuffed with a lie.” Ben Franklin said, “Those who are good at making excuses are seldom good at anything else.” Ben was right. There is a commercial on TV where the guy says, “When I was a child, I made myself a promise that I would never grow up.” A lot of people have made such a promise. Have you noticed how difficult it is these days to get anyone to take ownership for a mistake: we are a generation of excuse makers: nothing is our fault, we have an excuse for everything.

Excuses For Not Attending Church

  • Too many hypocrites
  • It’s too boring
  • I’m too busy
  • Too much drama
  • Too many people {I am an introvert}
  • I’m too messed up, they don’t want me
  • It’s too cold, I freeze to death
  • It’s too close to drive and too far to walk
  • I don’t have the time, I work
  • I don’t have anything to wear
  • I don’t need church, I can pray at home
  • I don’t know anyone there
  • I don’t like organized religion
  • I don’t feel welcome
  • I don’t fit in
  • I don’t get anything out of it
  • All they want is my money
  • Sunday is my only day to rest
  • I’m afraid the roof will fall in



Successful people make adjustments, changes and plans: irresponsible people make excuses. I can tolerate a person who makes mistakes, I make tons of mistakes myself but I have little patience with those who make excuses.

You will never improve your lot in life by making excuses. It is like cheating at golf. When you play alone and you don’t count your shots correctly, you will never improve. That’s how a lot of people live, they don’t count their shots, they don’t discipline themselves and they never improve.


I. THEY WERE ALL COMPLICIT {They all began making excuses}

It is not just one person making an excuse, it is one after the other. It’s like there is a conspiracy to insult the HOST. As I noted about, excuse making is very common these days. Perhaps these men had discussed the banquet. Maybe they had talked with each other and all decided to decline the invitation. Obviously, it was a widespread problem and not one isolated case.

II. THEY ALL LAME {Not really good excuses}

  1. I just bought a field and must go inspect it.” Most folks in real estate do not buy a piece of property without inspecting it first. This man’s excuse doesn’t hold water. What kind of businessman would do such a thing, especially an aristocratic Jew. They did not get wealthy by making lame decisions. There is no doubt: this man has seen the property that he purchased or else he had not made payment.
  2. “I have just bought five pairs of oxen and I want to try them out.” Again, we have a fishy excuse. He just bought them but did not try them out before the purchase. Do you buy a car without test driving it first? Either this man is a horrible business man or else he is making a lame excuse.
  3. “I now have a wife, so I can’t come.” This is the lamest of the lame. He’s either extremely henpecked or else he is hiding behind her skirt. He is either using her or blaming her, one or the other. In either case, he is not much of a man. Speaking of lame excuses, did you hear about the neighbor who went next door to borrow a lawnmower. His neighbor told him “No, I have to go to town.” The poor dejected man said, “What does you going to town have to do with me using your mower?” Said the stingy neighbor, “Absolutely nothing, but If I do not want you borrowing my mower, one excuse is as good as another.”


The HOST did not except their excuses.

  1. The first man said, “I’ve bought a field and I must inspect it.” Must? Who was forcing him? This man felt a sense of urgency about tending to his business rather than accommodating the HOST.
  2. The second gets just a tab more honest…”I have bought five pair of oxen I want to try them out.” This man made it clear that he had rather seek his own interest than to appease the HOST.
  3. The third said, “I now have a wife and I can’t come.” This man was the most pathetic of all, he felt impotent, “I can’t come, I have a wife.”

All three are preoccupied with their own personal interest and refuse to HONOR THE HOST by putting their business on hold. They were saying in effect: “My business is more important than your business.”


Alexander MacLaren said, “This world has gone crazy, its like an asylum filled with lunatics who don’t know right from wrong. We can’t discern hat is valuable and what is not, our bad decisions are evidence of an epidemic of insanity on this planet.”

We have the truth right here {bible} and we preach it three times a week but not one is knocking down doors to get in. If we were giving away “Lottery Tickets,” we would have to have law enforcement to keep chaos from breaking out. They would tear the doors down to get in. If we really wanted to up the attendances, we could give away a new car, a UTV or a big screen TV every week.

What am I saying? This world craves the wrong things, we value the wrong things. We place a lot more value on money than we do truth. We place more value on the worlds good than we do heavens.

We can make all the excuses we want but none will be accepted by HEAVEN’S HOST.

The Invitation

Scripture: Luke 14:15-24, NLT

15 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”
16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.
17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’
18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’
19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’
22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’
23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.
24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”


This morning we are going to focus on THE MASTER’S INVITATION and tonight we will focus on the EXCUSES various people made in declining the invitation. Jesus told this story because the room where they were dinning was filled with elite Jews–Aristocratic Jews, Pharisees, Religious leaders. Jesus mentioned the resurrection in verse 14 and the Pharisees believed that just after the resurrection of the dead, the KINGDOM would be inaugurated with a huge banquet. Jesus doesn’t deny that a banquet will take place but He is calling in to question, whether or not these elite Jews sitting around the table will be there. They assume they will be because one of them says in verse 15, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”

As the old Negro spiritual read, “Everybody talking about heaven aint going there.” There is only one way to heaven for Jew and Gentile and that is Jesus. We do need an invitation to go but we have one right here in Luke 14; no one is excluded, not even the poor, crippled, lame and blind. Sinners are invited. Whereas it is true that we can’t save ourselves, we can certainly damn our self by rejecting Christ invitation {T.W. Manson}. You may go to hell but it will not be because you are predestined to go there, it will be because you shunned multiply invitations.

This morning, lets focus on the invitation…


Obviously, the host is a person of infinite resources. There is no anxiety about running out of food or space. There is no hint of reward in the story: the Host is being gracious and generous. Legally, he does not have to share his wealth but he invites others to come and dine at his expense. There is no charge, no tickets to buy; no hoops to jump through. This wealthy man did not have to have a feast. He did not have to share his riches. He chose to do it: it was a gracious and generous gesture.

Of course, the Host is God the Father, who in Christ extends us an invitation to partake of His mercies. None of us deserve to go to heaven but because God is merciful and in Christ has made a way for our sins to be forgiven, we get invited.


In the ancient East banquets and feast were big deals. They were planned on a set day but the hour was always determined by the host on the day of so we actually have in this story four invitations;

  1. The initial invitation–[v.16] A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.
  2. The follow up invitation–[v.17] he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’
  3. The third invitation–[v.21] ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’
  4. The final invitation–[v.23] ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.

As you can see, there are multiply invitation and no one is left out. The wealthy were invited first but eventually, everyone was invited and no one was left out. The is the GOSPEL. Jesus died for all. {2 Corinthians 5:14} For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died. If Christ died for the elites and the so called elect who believe that they are elite, we have no gospel. Jesus did not die for the rich and religious, He died for sinners.

Today, you can claim your personal invitation to heaven by acknowledging your sin and turning from it. Repentance is turning from sin and turning to Jesus.


Note: with each invitation, there is a greater intensity. The first may have been engraved; the second is by word of mouth [Courier], the third is a urgent plea, Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite and the fourth is even stronger, its urgent…urge anyone you find to come.

There is one catch to the invitation: The host has a temper and he was insulted and offended by those who made excuses and refused to come to his banquet. He took the offense personally. He said, For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.”

Had you ever received an invitation that said RSVP? Actually RSVP is French and it stands for répondez s’il vous plaît. In English, it means “Please Respond” or Respond Please actually. RSVP invitations have a set period of time in which you can respond.

Jesus knows that the Jews will recognize Him when He returned in glory but it will be too late. The invitation was for now but the window of opportunity would close soon.


There is room at the cross for you:

The cross upon which Jesus died
Is a shelter in which we can hide
And its grace so free is sufficient for me
And deep is its fountain as wide as the sea.

Though millions have found him a friend
And have turned from the sins they have sinned
The Savior still waits to open the gates
And welcome a sinner before it’s too late.

The hand of my Savior is strong
And the love of my Savior is long
Through sunshine or rain, through loss or in gain,
The blood flows from Calvary to cleanse every stain.

There’s room at the cross for you
There’s room at the cross for you
Though millions have come, there’s still room for one
Yes there’s room at the cross for you.


Responding To Criticism

SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 11:5-15, NLT

5 But I don’t consider myself inferior in any way to these “super apostles” who teach such things.
6 I may be unskilled as a speaker, but I’m not lacking in knowledge. We have made this clear to you in every possible way.
7 Was I wrong when I humbled myself and honored you by preaching God’s Good News to you without expecting anything in return?
8 I “robbed” other churches by accepting their contributions so I could serve you at no cost.
9 And when I was with you and didn’t have enough to live on, I did not become a financial burden to anyone. For the brothers who came from Macedonia brought me all that I needed. I have never been a burden to you, and I never will be.
10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, no one in all of Greece will ever stop me from boasting about this.
11 Why? Because I don’t love you? God knows that I do.
12 But I will continue doing what I have always done. This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours.
13 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ.
14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.


All God’s servants suffer criticism. This is not a new thing: the Israelites were very critical of Moses and we know in retrospect that Moses was a phenomenal leader. A pastor can be p0litically correct, very careful, as soft as a butterfly’s landing but you will still be criticised and you cannot stop it. There are preacher haters in this world and they are going to be critical. I know pastors who were diplomatic and tactful and they got critized for being too soft and lacking boldness. I decided a long time ago, to be myself and to be honest. Have I come under criticism for my frankness? Sure, I am even despised by some but they are going to be critical one way or the other. I prefer to be criticised for being bold, direct and politically incorrect. A preacher has to pick his poison. You cannot stop criticism from happening.


Since it is impossible to stop criticism, the next question is: how do I respond to criticism? This will be our subject for tonight. Before we attempt to answer this question, let’s do a quick review of the criticisms against the Apostle Paul. Some of these criticisms are easy to spot and some are not.

  1. Paul’s authority [2 Cor. 10:7-8]

  2. Paul’s personal appearance [2 Cor. 10:9]

  3. Paul’s speaking ability [2 Cor. 11:6]

  4. Paul’s motive for service [2 Cor.11:7-11]

NOTE: All these criticisms are stinging, hurtful and severe.


Some criticism is face to face, person to person and this makes dealing with it much easier but most criticism is here say. The children of Israel murmured against Moses. This means they complained and grumbled in their tents. They didn’t confront Moses directly. Moses had a divine intuition that most of us don’t have and Jesus could read minds. I can’t read minds. I know intuitively when people are critical but I do not know the exact nature of their criticism.

Hearsay info is very unreliable. Sometimes the folks delivering the message give someone else credit for what they said or think. Plus there is the difficultly of getting the news right. When things are repeated, they get exxegarated most of the time. By the time the criticism gets to you, it may be much worse than it is so we learn over time not to jump to conclusion. Moses ignored a lot of criticism and sometimes, this is the best response.

Criticism can be distracting for a minister. We lose sight of what God has called us to do and spend all our time fighting brush fires. Like Nehemiah, we have to remain on track, focused and moving forward. Frieght trains do not stop for barking dogs.

This does not mean that we can ignore all criticism. There comes a time when it has to be dealt with but we deal with it caustiously and carefully. I have responded rashly before and I did more damage than good. We have to be careful.


Criticism can be both helpful and harmful. A lot depends on the nature of the criticism and a lot depends on our response. There is no way you are going to stop all criticism and it would be impossible to respond directly to all criticism but we have to be honest: there can come a point where it is hurting the ministry of the church. This is what takes place in Acts 6…

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

Most translation read… a complaint…NLT reads…rumbling of discontent. The Apostles believed that he should be dealt with because if was effecting the fellowship of the church. If the fellowship get damaged, all parts will suffer.

Most Baptist churches put a lot of emphasis on fellowship and there is nothing wrong with making it a priority. The reason for this is simple: if you have a fractured fellowship, it will damage every ministry in the church. Wisely, the Apostles dealt with this complaint.

Personally, we I am criticised, I withdraw to a quiet place and spend some time with the LORD. I could not survive without a refuge, a hiding place and a divine counselor. I am like David in the sense that I pour out my heart to God. This includes my fears, frustrations and failure. It is during this process that the LORD works on me. There have been times when He revealed truths to me that changed my life and it would not have happened a part from criticism.

For me personally, criticism is always humiliating. The true is: I need to be more humble and the LORD uses criticism to humble me. Sometimes I feel as helpless as a baby. A lot of the time, I realize that I do not need to respond. I do not need to defend myself. Jesus didn’t defend Himself. Take the humiliation, it will not kill you.

The Romans 8:28 principle works in the area of criticism: sometimes people say hurtful, ugly things that are designed to discourage you. They want you to quit and their motive is not pure. God was not pleased with the murmuring of the Israelites. It was a complaint that did not come from Him but had a Satanic origin. However, God can take a bad situation and bring good out of it if we respond prayerfully.


This is where Paul’s response is go glaringly wrong. His hurt is obvious. I don’t know how anyone could read chapters 11-12 and not see the hurt. Paul made a huge sacrifice to get the gospel to Corinth and a sacrifice to stay with them for 18 months. Obviously, this sacrifice was not fully appreciated. It hurts when we are not appreciated.

Paul does several things that are unadvisable…

  1. He commends himself…[2 Cor.10:18] Paul knows not to do it but does it anyway
    • I don’t consider myself inferior
    • I am not lacking in knowledge
    • I was wrong to preach to you without expecting anything in return
    • I robbed other churches to serve you
    • I was in need when I was with you and you didn’t help
    • I was never a financial burden to you
  2. Paul brags…[after stating that we are not to compare ourselves to others [2 Cor. 10:12, 11:16-17]
    • Paul boasted about his independence [2 Cor. 11:9-10]. I never became a burden to you and never will. I will boast about it all over Greece.
    • Paul boast about his credentials [2 Cor.11:21-22]
    • Paul boast about his suffering and sacrifice [2 Cor. 11:22-27]
    • Paul boast about his experience [2 Cor. 12:1-7]

Paul knew that boasting is fruitless, futile and vain [2 Cor. 12:1] but he does it anyway. I thank God that the bible is an honest book. Paul was not perfect, but he was perfectly human.


I have two question for you to ponder…

  1. What does football and Christianity have in common? [most prefer to be spectators] The most criticised are those on the field: the officials, the coaches, the players. We prefer to hide in the crowd and remain anonymous but even those who hide will be accused of being cowards. No one is above criticism.  NO ONE!
  2. Since criticism is so hurtful, how can we respond gracefully? Corrie ten Boom had the right idea. Corrie was in one of the Nazi death camps during WWII. Her sister died while incarserated and Corrie was mistreated horribly by the German guards. After the war, she was speaking in a church and made eye contact with a former guard. Instantly, anger rose up in her heart. When he started toward her after the service, she grimished, she did not want to shake his hand or hear what he had to say but the LORD prompted her to stick out her hand and she listened as he ask for forgiveness. She didn’t want to forgive him but the LORD urged her to do so. She did it by imagining that her pain and abuse was a rose and once she converted it into a rose, she was able to lay it at the LORD’s feet as an offering. Once she gave her suffering to the LORD, forgiveness was easy.

We are called to suffer. To think that we can skate through our eartly sojourn without any bumps and bruises is unrealistic. All who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.


Humility and Hospitality

Scripture: Luke 14:7-14, NLT

7 When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, He gave them this advice:
8 “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited?
9 The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!
10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests.
11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12 Then He turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward.
13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.
14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”


These verse are connected to 14:1-6, it is all a part of the same story. Jesus gets invited to the home of a leading Pharisee. The pharisees think they have set a trap for Jesus. By putting a man with dropsy in their midst, they are confident that Jesus will heal him and then they will have Him for breaking the Sabbath law but Jesus turns the table on them by asking, “Is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?” He puts the monkey on their back. If they say yes, they would be violating their own law; if they say no, they would appear to heartless and cruel. So they plead the 5th and say nothing.

Jesus heals the man and then sends him home but Jesus does not leave. They probably wanted Him to but He doesn’t. While they are sitting in stunned silence, Jesus ceases the moment to teach a couple of lessons: One to the guest and one to the host.


Luke 6:46-47

“Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.” 

Rule # 1–Never promote yourself…never commend yourself! Nothing good can come of it, nothing.

[v.11]  For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Ultimately, in the great marriage feast of the Lamb, God will do the seating. Seating the guest is the privilege of the host. Ultimately, God will be our host. This is what David is referring to in the latter part of Psalm 23….

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever. 

Humility is always the best and the safest policy.

If I am willing to take the worse seat in the house, I have no way to go except up. The safest chair is the lowest. Remember, I am the guest and I have nothing to say about the seating arrangement, so I take the lowest seat. If I take a middle seat or a high seat, the host may come to me and ask me to move to a lower seat. To eliminate that risk, take the lowest seat.

JESUS is not talking to hear His head rattle: this is a LIFE PRINCIPLE to live by.

My mentor, Calvin C. Inman believed in living this principle. He told me repeatedly, “Jack, don’t get too involved in finding a place of service, just be willing to go where God leads. If you were to work yourself into a good situation, you might have doubts as to whether or not it was God who got there. When the times get tough, you are going to need a sense of His call and you will not have that if you get in the flesh and get ahead of God. Let Him move you.

Somehow his words found a lodging place in my feeble brain. I’ve never had a resume other than the one they made me prepare in Seminary. I never mailed a resume in my life and yet God has faithfully given me a place to preach for these 49 years. Why should I doubt Him now.

Could I have served as pastor of Belleview in Memphis had I been more assertive? NO! Could I have served there as pastor if God had put me there? Yes, it would have been a miracle of miracles but nothing is impossible with God. Do I feel like a failure because I have never served a big church or even a city church? NO! Definitely not. I served where God planted me. He could have given me five talents had he wanted to but He gave me one and I am thrilled to have the one.

Be content with what you have, don’t jockey for position. 

We probably have a view of who we think should sit in the seats of honor but we probably have it backwards. Jesus said more than once, there is going to be a great reversal; many who are first now will be last and many who are last here will be first. I have always had a gut feeling that the Martyrs and Missionaries will have most of those seats; it could be children or babies, I don’t know but the HOST will decide who sits where.


Then He turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.  Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

I believe, I am not sure, that our LUKE 14:14 BANQUET goes back to 1987 or 88. I remember the first because Johnny Hayes and myself, tried to used starter fluid to start the van and it caught fire. It was a small fire but inside the van. The idea came from this very passage.

The holidays can be happy times are stressful times; it all depends on how you approach them. They got stressful for June and I so we made a change. Most of our friends gave us more than we could give in return, so we decided not to give to those who gave to us but to give to those who could not give to us in return.

There is no question: we are indebted to a lot of people. I have a friend who has given to us a cash gift every Christmas since 1976. His gift kept me from being broke on a lot of Holidays.

I have to be honest with you; there are a lot of people who love to criticize Danville Baptist Church. Unfortunately, some of them are members but it is not just members. I don’t know, it would be hard to prove it one way or the other but DBC has given a lot to the community. If we averaged all our BLOCK PARTIES at $10,000 per, that would be an accumulated total of $170,000 since 2,000. We have hosted the LUKE 14 for over 30 years. Trunk-A-Treat is a give-a-way to the community. Yes, we have church member who come to Trunk-A-Treat but the majority are not church members. I have never, to my recall [there may be one exception] had one of the non-members come to me and say, “You have a giving church and we appreciate what you do for the community.” When we are facing a storm of criticism, this bothers me. I am thinks, “Folks, we are the most giving church in the country and all you can do is bad mouth us.”

But some years ago, I read the bottom line: [v.14] Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

Stay humble, live by faith, do the right thing and don’t worry about reward, recompense or recognition. It will come eventually if we stay faithful.

Working On The Sabbath

Scripture: Luke 14:1-6 NLT

1 One Sabbath day Jesus went to eat dinner in the home of a leader of the Pharisees, and the people were watching Him closely.
2 There was a man there whose arms and legs were swollen.
3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in religious law, “Is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?”
4 When they refused to answer, Jesus touched the sick man and healed him and sent him away.
5 Then he turned to them and said, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out?”
6 Again they could not answer.


Sunday dinner is a big deal to Bailey’s. It has been this way as long as I can remember. We gather somewhere for lunch after the morning worship service practically every week of the year. We are giving Big Mama a break today but usually she is our host.

Of course the Jews worshiped on Saturday, not Sunday but they had the same tradition. They ate two meals a day Sunday through Friday but three meals on the Sabbath day and the extra meal was the one following the morning service at the synagogue. So this explains what is happening here: Jesus has been invited to one of the leaders of the Pharisees, probably a member of the Sanhedrin for a Sabbath.

But there is a fly in the ointment; the Pharisee as shrewdly set a trap for Jesus. He has arranged for a man to be present who has dropsy. This is excess fluid in the tissue that the body can not get rid of; today we call it congestive heart failure. The fluid is a serious issue, it causes pain, discomfort and is fatal at some point. However, the scheme of the Pharisees backfires. [1] First, Jesus knows exactly what they are plotting and why. One of the advantages of being God is that you see men hearts. [2] These poor saps were slow learners; they intended to put Jesus on trial but He turns the table and puts them on trial.


I want to show you some things from this story that support what I just said…


If a group of people hated you and were plotting to destroy you, would you have any desire to share Sunday lunch with them? I’ll be honest, I don’t want to hang out with or eat with folks who despise me: matter of fact I would make a special effort to avoid them. Jesus knew what this group was up to and yet He excepted the invitation. My question is why? One of the commentaries I read is by a man name Norval Geldenhuys. I have no idea how to pronounce the name. He was a friend of F.F. Bruce an a awarded student at Princeton Theological Seminary. His commentary is very insightful. He believed that Jesus attended this dinner because He had not given up on the Pharisees. Jesus went home to eat with these cold and hateful people because He loved them and He did not want them to go to hell. To love someone who is out to get you takes a higher love than we humans have, it takes a love from above, agape, the divine love. Only God could love a Pharisee. Harlots and Tax Collectors were much easier to love than these self-righteous hypocrites.


The Pharisees saw Jesus compassion as a weakness. They knew His tendencies so they staged this situation, believing Jesus would show mercy and in so doing, would violate the Sabbath. Jesus did exactly what they expected, only, He first asked their opinion. “Is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?”

Sometimes silence can indicate innocence. Jesus was silent during his trial. So much so that Pilate was amazed. But this is not the silence of innocence. This is silence of guilt. Jesus put them on the spot. If they said, “Yes”, they would be violating the very law in question. If they said, “No,” it would make them look like cold, callous and heartless men. They sheepishly plead the 5th.

Silence is not always golden, sometimes is just plain yellow.


There is something prophetic in this story. When Jesus visited His hometown Nazareth at the beginning of His ministry, He quoted from Isaiah the prophet…

“The Spirit of the is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the ’s favor has come.

Do you see our miserable condition? We are poor, enslaved, blind and victims of injustice but the GOOD NEWS is this, JESUS is not going to leave this way. He is going to save us from sin, self, the grave and hell. He is going to save us from the penalty of sin and the misery that sin has brought upon the human race.


Jesus did not have to leave heaven’s glory to come here to planet earth. He didn’t have to be born in a cold stinking barn or born into a poor Jewish peasant family. He didn’t have to live a selfless life and He did not have to die on a Cross. At lunch this day, He didn’t have to heal the man; he didn’t even have to attend the lunch. He is God, who is going to make Him do something He doesn’t want to do.

He came here because He loves us. He lived a life of poverty because He loves us. He died on the cross because He loves us. Every thing He did was motivated by love.

He wants us to love others the way He loves us: unselfishly. How many people did Jesus heal? How many did He fed free lunches? Did these people who He helped, help Him in return. Did they love Him in return? No! He loved them because He choose to love them. He loved them without conditions. Deep down, this is the way we all want to be loved and this is how we are to love our fellowman.

The Pharisees did not love people; they loved money, seats of honor, praise of men and social status. In the coming KINGDOM, they will not have a seat because they failed the basic or acid test, they did not love people. How are you and I doing on this subject? In preparing for this sermon, I felt a strange conviction…I have failed in a thousand ways, maybe more but my greatest failure is in loving people; I am sure of it.

The Marketing Gurus say, “Every person has an invisible sign on their back that reads…Make me feel important.” Jesus saw this sign, those who are good in human relations see the sign. As soon as I read this I began to think about people who make you feel important: unfortunately, I am not on the list but I want to be, what about YOU?

Super Apostles Or Pseudo Apostles

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:1-6

1 I hope you will put up with a little more of my foolishness. Please bear with me.
2 For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.
3 But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.
4 You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.
5 But I don’t consider myself inferior in any way to these “super apostles” who teach such things.
6 I may be unskilled as a speaker, but I’m not lacking in knowledge. We have made this clear to you in every possible way.


Paul paints a word picture here of a loving father who is jealous for his daughter. He wants to keep her pure for her wedding day. He wants to present her to her husband as a chaste and pure bride. It is a priviledge that not many fathers are getting these days. Paul confesses in verse 3…. “I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted.” Paul is worried about the church in Corinth.

The Problem

Evidently, some false teachers {Super-Apostles} had infiltrated the church. The evidence indicates that they were Judaizers, a brand of so called Christianity that was a blend of works and grace. Paul is very upset because these false teacher are very cunning and they seemed to have gained a foothold in the Corinthian Church. It seems that they were even popular with at least one segment of the congregation. Paul is upset and he has every right to be upset.

 All false teacher have certain things in common.


But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. [v.3]

Robert Tasker said, “The chief weapon of all false teachers is subtilty.” I agree with Tasker completely. False Teachers are cunning. They know how to hide the facts that will give them away. The Judaizers, to whom Paul was dealing with were pedalers of half-truth. A lot of what they said was true. The problem was, they mixed the truth with untruth. When that begins to happen, there is confussion because no one knows the truth from the lie. This is what Satan did to Eve in the Garden, he mixed truth with a lie and then replaced God’s truth with his lie. The end effect of deceit is that we are fooled.

False Prophets tell some truth but not the whole truth. We have something similiar going on in the SBC today. We have a resurgance of Calvinism which goes under the title of Reform Theology. A lot of the young men in our Seminaries have been influenced by men like David Platte and Al Mohler. When they preach and interview in leu of a call, they keep their Reform beliefs hidden. They do so because they know that most SBC churches are not going to call a hyper-Calvinist.

The first church I pastored was in such a situation just a few years ago. After some hints, one of the members of the search committee came right out and asked candidate, “Are you a Calvinist?” But he did not answer the question directly. He gave a political answer: he said a lot without saying anything. Finally, the entire committee said, “We want an answer, yes or no, are you a Calvinist?” He confessed and the interview was over. I never attempted to hide anything from a church. Matter of fact, if a church was calling me, my trial sermon would be TEN REASONS you don’t want to call me.

The use of deceit is always evil and a sure sign that something is not right.


[v.3] I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted. 

The NASB like this...But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

Pseudo Apostles, false teacher, false prophets are always looking for a following. Paul’s concern here is that the Corinthians will be led away from their simple devotion to Christ. People don’t recognize false teachers right off the bat because they are subtle, cunning and they slowly move the followers away from Christ and to themselves.

When a congregation talks more about their pastor than they do Jesus, it is not a good sign. When they praise their pastor more than Jesus, it is not a good sign. The Christian church is to be CHRIST CENTERED. Everything is to be focused on Jesus. TASKER: “Whenever the Christian Church ceases to be purely Christ-centered, it is in danger of being corrupted.”

Our Bumper Sticker at DBC is “Celebrate Jesus.” You are going to hear it everytime you show up. Our goal in worship is to lift up and celebrate Jesus. Everything we do is focused on Jesus.

A false teacher will slowly move the followers away from devotion to Christ until they are absolutely devoted to their spiritual leader {false teacher}. Jim Jones could not have seduced 350 sober Christians to commit suicide. Jim slowly lead them away from Christ and to himself to the point they were absolutely loyal to him no matter what. I like loyalty, especially to your pastor but your first loyalty is to Jesus. Your highest allegience is to Jesus. Any spiritual leader that wants you to love him/her more than Jesus is a devil. I understand that the more you love Jesus, the more you will love me but loving HIM come first.


[v.4] You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach.

Jesus never promise health and wealth. False teacher say what folks want to hear and they offer a superior experience. They love to teach on the “deeper things.” Any time some one tells you that they have something better than Christ and the simple gospel, know that they are false. Isaiah said of Judah,They tell the prophets….”Don’t see any more visions. Don’t tell us what is right and wrong. Tell us pleasant things. Prophecy things we want to hear even if they are not true. Get out of our way! Don’t block our path and keep the Holy One of Israel away from us.” {Isaiah 30:10-11, NIrV}

Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” [Luke 9:23]

Paul said,  “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.” [Romans 8:17]

The battery is a good example of the balance required between good and bad, pleasant and upleasant experiences in life. When connected in a circuit, a battery can produce electricity. A battery has two ends — a positive terminal (cathode) and a negative terminal (anode). If you connect the two terminals with wire, a circuit is formed. Electrons will flow through the wire and a current of electricity is produced.

Power is produced by the battery because of the electrolyte, the center of the battery. The electrolyte is like a wall or a insulator and it keeps the electrons from the anode from going to the cathode. Electrons don’t like each other, they do not like to be crowded which means they are looking for a way out of this crowded environment. When you connect the the cathode [+] with a wire or circuit to the anode [-], you give the electrons a way out and they jump to the circuit [path]. When the electrons are released from the Positive terminal it opens the electrolyte so that electron flow through the battery and back again into the circuit. Here is the surprise: the current flows through the negative terminal.

Those who want to put sugar and spice on everything Christ taught do a great injustice. We learn from suffering. Watchman Nee, the Chinese theologian said, “We learn nothing apart from adversity.” There is glory in the Christian life but there is also suffering. I should not preach on suffering every time I get in the pulpit but I must not leave it out all together. It is a part of the Christian life.

The Joel Osteen and Reverend Ike stuff is a different Jesus. It is a Christianity without a Cross.


[v.4]... they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.

John instructed us… Dear friends, do not beleive every spirit. Test the spirits to see if they belong to God. Many false prophets have gone out into the world. [I John 4:1]

  • The spirit of disobedienceWherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. [Ephesians 2:2]


False teachers are directed by their self-will. They don’t take instructions from anyone. They have an unteachable spirit. They bear no marks of the fruits of the spirit…But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,  faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their sinful nature to his cross.

  • The spirit of the Anti-Christ…I John 4:2-3
    Every spirit that agrees that Jesus Christ came in a human body belongs to God. But every spirit that doesn’t agree with this does not belong to God. It is the spirit of the great enemy of Christ. You have heard that the enemy is coming. Even now he is already in the world.
  • There are all kinds of spirits: evil, unclean and many, many more. We have to learn to discern what is the Spirit of truth and what is the spirit the devil {untruth}. The Pharisees were full of the spirit, but it was the wrong spirit.

False prophets are full of the spirit but it is the wrong spirit


[v.5-6] But I don’t consider myself inferior in any way to these “super apostles” who teach such things. I may be unskilled as a speaker, but I’m not lacking in knowledge. We have made this clear to you in every possible way.

False Teacher alway exult with pride and arrogance.

When Platte wrote his book RADICAL my son bought a copy for the deacons and handed them out. I took them up immediately. He said, “What are you doing.” I said, “Son the man is a calvinist.” He protested. I assured him that I would show him later which I did. When a man uses the graveyard illustration and makes light of evangelism: he is a calvinist. We have high ranking officials in the SBC who don’t seem to know what Platte is about but it was not hard for me to spot. Generally speaking, those of the Reform pursuasion are arrogant. They think they have a corner on knowledge. You can spot them from a mile away. Jesus never taught that we should be known for our pride and arrogance.

A condescending attitude is a dead give-a-way. Jesus taught us not to despise and look down on others. These false prophets who had won the affection of many of the Corinthians were condescending toward the Apostle Paul. This is hard for me to imagine. How could anyone look down on Paul even if he was tiny in statue. Paul was a spiritual giant compared to these want-a-be apostles.

Paul may not have been a great speaker but who could question his theology and his knowledge?


Life is made up of decisions and choosing directions. We need to make well informed decisions and God’s word is an valuable asset. We must prayfully and carefully navigate the tricky waters of this world. Our future depends on the choices we make.