How to Organize a Visitation Program

How should a visitation program be organized? What methods should be used? These and other questions are asked continually by church leaders, especially pastors. Some suggestions will be given in this chapter for use in organizing a visitation program.

1. Have a Card File. You may use a simple card file for your prospect cards. The NAME and ADDRESS’ of the prospect are all that you need on the card. Then, use the back of the card for writing a report on the results of your visit, and the date of the visit. This will keep the next visitor informed of the results of the previous visit. Any helpful information should be written on the back of the card for the visitor.

The pastor should go through the card file personally, and choose the people to be visited. As he goes through the file, he should pick out the ones whom he feels need visiting this particular week. The best prospects are those who have visited in the regular church services, the “new moves” into the city, and others who voice interest in coming.

It is good to separate the card file and set it up by town sections. This has been the most effective method for us. We have our city divided into twenty sections, and the cards are placed in their corresponding section. Below is a sample of one of our 4 x 6 prospect cards, which we mimeograph in our office.

There are many visitation card files you may use. All of them are good and may be found anywhere. However, the important thing in a visitation program is not the file-it is the way the file is used. This chapter is not to

(cut of one of our prospect cards)

PROSPECT CARD

NAME: John Doe

DATE: 11-20-57

ADDRESS: 123 Main Street

New Move to City:

(check one)

DATE OF VISIT: VISITED BY:

New Address: Other:

RESULTS OF VISIT:

11-21-57 – Smith & Jones-Just moved in. Baptist. Promised to visit us Sunday. Nice.

(over)

give you filing suggestions, or card suggestions, but to give you practical ways to use the files that have already been made.

2. Do Not Have More Than Two Visitation Programs Each Week. By having not more than two visitation pro­grams each week, the efforts will be concentrated. Per­haps the wisest thing to do is to have the visitation pro­gram on one day-one session in the morning and one in the evening. The ladies may visit in the morning and the men at night, along with the ladies who work dur­ing the day.

3. Do Not Have Too Many Other Activities in the Church Program. Make visitation the biggest thing-make soul winning the most important thing in your church. Then the people will have time to do that which Jesus told us to do. Many churches are occupied with such varied activities that soul winning is pushed under the carpet. The visitation program should be the largest thing in the church. It should be better attended than softball games and other functions. Some churches have found it best not to have the other activities, but major entirely on the soul winning and visitation itself.

4. Thursday Is Often the Best Day for Visitation. Our visitation program is on Thursday morning and Thursday night. The ladies come on Thursday morning (with some of the men who work at night) at ten o’clock; and the working ladies and men come at seven o’clock on Thursday night. Thursday is a good time for two reasons: First, it is close enough to Wednesday night so that no one forgets visitation. A reminder on Wednesday night is always in order. Second, it is near enough to Sunday that people who are visited can easily remember the promise they made. Monday is a good day to go visiting, but it is so far from the next Sunday that it is less effective than Thursday. However, I would suggest Monday as the second best for a visitation program. People forget easily. It is easier to get folks to come to the church on Monday or Thursday than any other time, because it is fresh on their minds after the services on Sunday and Wednesday.

5. Have a Place for Everyone. We have found it advisable to have something planned for each age group on visitation night. For example, in our church we have all of our nurseries open. We also have a planned period for the beginners and primaries. Workers from a different beginner or primary department are in charge of the beginner and primary children whose parents come to visit each week. This program includes singing, games (modeling clay, picture puzzles, etc.) conduct or child life stories, Bible stories (flannelgraph) and handwork of some kind. The handwork may be simple (color sheets or something to make from construction paper, etc.). Sometimes the children go outside for games and refreshments.

We also have a special program for our juniors on visitation night. They meet in the back yards of some of the workers’ homes each week where they have a special time of fellowship and Bible study. This program for juniors may include special Bible memory work con tests, and the children may be rewarded for their efforts. We have our youth choir on Thursday night, which takes care of the young people. This leaves only the adults free to visit. A place is provided for everyone in the family. For a long time we noticed that a husband would come to visitation and his wife would stay home. Hence, we have practically doubled our efficiency by providing a place for each member of the family on Thursday morning and Thursday night.

6. The Pastor Should Meet the People as They Come.

I have always tried to make it a practice before the services to stand outside and meet the people as they come -especially at visitation. If the people can meet the pastor, and chat for a while before they go visiting, it is a blessing. They feel that they have had God’s man fellowshiping with them for a while.

7. Compliment the people for Coming. Many of us are hard on people who do not visit; it would be better to concentrate on being nice to those who do visit. A “God bless you,” or a “I’m glad to see you tonight, John,” or “It’s a blessing to see you, Joe,” means something to people. Also, a letter of thanks to those who have come for the first time will be appreciated by them, and will encourage them to participate regularly in the visitation program.

8. Visit by Family Rather than by Age Group. We have found it best to set our files up by families rather than by age group. For example, if there are five people in a family and the visiting is done by the Sunday school classes, one family will get five visits­and four families will go unvisited. If we visit by families, not only does it mean that more families will be contacted, but it also means that people who work in the Sunday school with the younger children will have the opportunity to witness to adults. It also helps to keep the church one family, rather than several small churches within a church. We, therefore, have only one card for each family in our prospect files, rather than having one for each member of the family, set up by Sunday school age groups.,

9. Have a Short Service Before You Go. We find it helpful to have a song and a few testimonies-and just a short service before leaving to visit. Also, a period of prayer puts the people in a spiritual attitude before they go.

10. Go Two by Two. When the people arrive at the church, many of them have already chosen their visita­tion partners. Those who do not have partners should be carefully aided by the pastor in selecting visitation part­ners. People of mutual interests and social standing should be chosen to go together if at all possible.

11. An Experienced and an Inexperienced Visitor Should Go Together. Often the pastor should encourage the people to take inexperienced partners with them to visit. If two inexperienced people go together to visit, they might become discouraged and fail to return to visitation. However, if you can send an experienced visitor with each new person who comes, that will be an encouragement, as well as instruction to the new visitor.

12. Give Only Five or Six Cards to Each Team Which Goes Visiting. If a person can make two or three good visits a night he has done well. To do this, five or six cards would seem advisable. About fifty per cent of the people will not be at home; hence, the reason for giving several cards to each team.

13. Place a Promising Prospect in Each Group of Cards. If each group of cards has one good prospect in it, then each person who goes visiting will receive a blessing. As you group the cards, prior to visitation time, try to see that there is one good prospect in each group of cards, thereby assuring each visitor of at least one blessing. If they can come back from visiting feeling that they have done some good in at least one place, they will likely come back the next week.

14. Leave In An Orderly Manner. Be careful as you give the cards to the visitors. Some people can visit better in certain sections of town than others. This selection may be done tactfully and carefully. Also, as the teams come by for their cards, give them doorknob hangers, literature about the church, tracts, and other items which can be used successfully in the visitation program.

15. Have the Team Pray for Persons on Each Card.

One of the most successful things that we have ever done is to have a period of prayer by the team, after they are in their car, as they look at each card which has been given them. They call the name of the person on each card in prayer before they go.

16. The Pastor Should Be Waiting for Them as They Return from Visiting. Many people have won victories on visitation and they want to share them with the pastor. Many have had reversals they want to tell the pastor about. The pastor can rejoice with those who are rejoicing, and lament with those who are lamenting, en­courage those who have not had good visits and thank them from the bottom of his heart for coming. This encourages the people, and gives them an opportunity to see the pastor before they leave to go home.

Another idea in getting folks to visit is to have folks who already come to visitation regularly solicit someone who does not come, previous to the visitation day, to go with them. If this could be done one particular week, the visitation crowd could be doubled in a week.

How to Get People to Visit

The problem in every church seems to center around visitation. Other pastors are constantly asking me, “How do you get your people to visit?” “How can you get folks on the field?” They are always trying to find new methods and new ways to encourage people to visit for Jesus. Following are some suggestions for the pastor on this subject.

1. Make Every Service Evangelistic. If people go out to win souls to Christ, and bring lost people to a service in which there is not a spirit of evangelism, those who visit will be discouraged. It is the pastor’s job to be sure that the services are evangelistic and not disappointing. Many times people will visit, bring a lost person to the service and then the pastor preaches a sermon on budget­raising or some other similar subject and the lost per­son has no conviction whatsoever. Someone has said that when Jesus wanted some money to pay His taxes, He found the money in the fish’s mouth. It seems that it would be wise for us to spend our time getting fish. When they are caught and converted, then the money will be in their mouths.

To say the least, every service should end with an evangelistic appeal to let the sinner know that others are concerned about him, and to let the soul winner know that any time he brings a lost person to the services, there will be a sincere appeal made for his salvation.

2. Visit and Let the People Know It. Each pastor and each leader of the church should be a personal soul winner. If you are not a soul winner, you cannot train your people to be soul winners. If you do not visit regularly, you cannot train your people to visit regularly. Be sure that your people are conscious of the fact that you are a perennial visitor and soul winner. To be such a person will be exceedingly difficult. The devil will block you at every hand to discourage your regular visitation program. I would suggest that as a pastor or special worker you set aside at least two days each week in which you do nothing but visit prospects, and let nothing except an emergency hinder your visitation pro­gram. When your people know that you are a fervent, consistent soul winner, then you will be leading them and not pushing them.

3. Make Visitation Seem the Most Important Thing in the Church. Many people think that being a deacon is more important than being a soul winner. That is not true. Many people think that being a Sunday school or youth worker is more important than being a soul winner. That is not true, either. The greatest job in the world is the job of bringing people to Christ. If the pastor will magnify the job of soul winning above the other jobs of seeming importance in the church, then the people will get the idea that soul winning is the most important thing in the church.

4. Choose Your Teachers from Those Who Visit. Show your people that you believe soul winning is important by selecting your teachers and officers from those who visit regularly. This will encourage visitation on the part of those who are not teachers.

5. Do Not Work People on “Odds and Ends” Too Much.

Many people are so busy working around the church do­ing such jobs as carpenter work or decorating, that they feel this is their service for God. I realize that many churches must be built by the members, and that is well and good. It is always good for a plumber to use his profession and talent at the church. It is good for carpenters and electricians to use their talents at the church -but keep before the people the fact that this is not their complete service for Christ. Keep reminding them that Christ expects them to be soul winners and witnesses apart from their other work at the church. Many of us have taught our people the wrong interpretation of the parable of the talents. We say that if all you can do is shake hands at the door, then do it the best you can. Or, if all that you can do is put flowers in the vase, do it the best you can. Dear friend, when Jesus gave us the commission to go into all the world and teach all nations, He was giving it to each of us. Every Christian should be a witness. Certainly we should use our talents at the church, yet the commission is still true. Each of God’s people is to be a soul winner. Let us not discourage our people from doing the main thing by encouraging them too much in doing other things.

6. Have a Soul Winning and Visitation Course Annually.

At least once each year in our church we have a course on soul winning and visitation, teaching our people how to win souls to Christ in a simple, straightforward way. This should be done, I believe, from the Bible, with no other textbook, unless it is used only as a supplement.

After the first year you will need to provide two courses-one for advanced soul winners and one for beginners. We have made it a practice not to worry about awards at the end of the course. The greatest award or examination that one could ever receive or pass would be to see someone converted through his efforts. The examination is on the battlefield for God, and the awards will be given at the Judgment Seat.

Make this a practical study course in soul winning. A following chapter will be given to soul winning, and will be a good chapter to consult in teaching the course.

7. Get Committals on Wednesday Night. Our visitation program is on Thursday. Since it is, we encourage our people at the midweek service on Wednesday night to come to visitation on Thursday. Many times we stress it more than at other times by asking the people to raise their hands or stand, and promise to come. If they will commit themselves on Wednesday night, usually they will come on Thursday night.

If your visitation is on Monday or Tuesday, then perhaps a committal on Sunday night would be in order.

8. Do Not Over Stress It Every Week. It could become a ritual. People can become so used to hearing you stress a certain point that it becomes habit and they scarcely hear what you say; hence, do not stress it to the same extent each week. Stress it vehemently periodically, then just slightly between times.

9. When You Know of Someone Who Is Ready to Be Saved, Give His Name to Someone Other than Yourself on Visitation Night. When you know of someone who wants to be saved, and he is ready to be saved, and you feel sure that he can be won-send someone else to visit him rather than going yourself. This will give the one who goes a blessing and cement him into the visitation program of the church.

10. After You Win Someone, Send Another by to See Him before Sunday. After you have won someone to Christ yourself, as a leader in the church, why not go to one of your people whom you wish to encourage and give him the name of the person? Ask him to go by and visit the person whom you have won. Then, on Sunday when the person you won walks the aisle to make profession, it will be a blessing to the person who went to visit him, and encourage him to continue in the visitation program of the church. This may also prove successful with folks who have voiced their intentions of moving their membership. Send some of the members by to visit them. This will give them a feeling that they have had a part in reaching this family, and will give them a blessing.

11. Have Different Persons Go Visiting with You. As a leader in the church you can train soul winners by inviting people who are not soul winners to go with you in witnessing. As they see you win souls, they have themselves been instructed and taught how to win someone. The best soul winners we have in our church are people who have been with the pastor or some other soul winner and have personally seen the miracle happen.

12. Opening Assembly Program. One of the most effective ways to train soul winners is to show them. When you have won a soul during the week, have that person come with you to the opening assembly of Sunday school or the youth group and present a “skit” for the people. Show exactly what happened as you won the Person, from start to finish. That will give your people firsthand information about how to win a soul.

13. When a Member Wins a Soul Include This Fact in Your Sermon. When you hear of one of your members winning a soul to Christ, give him just praise and reward in a public way by telling the people-either in announcing it, or including it in your sermon. Or, when the person comes down the aisle, let the soul winner come and stand beside the convert, and give due reward and credit to the soul winner.

14. Do Not Wear the People Out. There is such a thing as getting people tired in the service of the Lord. Certainly we should never tire of service for the Lord-but we can give our people so many things, including a number of nonessentials, that they can fail to be good witnesses for the Lord Jesus. If a church program is kept simple (teach the Bible, pray, visit) without too many “frills” on the side, then the people will not be so worn out they do not have time to visit.

15. Give the People Some Nights to Stay at Home.

Many of our people are so busy doing other things that they feel they simply must have some nights at home, so they take the night at home which is usually given to visitation. It is my observation that if people know the pastor is trying to let them have some nights at home, then they will give the church more nights of service for Christ.

We have found it advisable to have two nights each week called “Stay at Home Nights,” or “Lights Out at the Church Nights.” Tuesday and Friday nights are good. We encourage our people not to go to any class meetngs, parties or any other church gatherings on these two nights, except during revivals or Bible conferences.

Practical Pointers for the Pastor and His People

One of the most disheartening things in the modern church is the seeming disharmony between many pastors and their people. I believe that one of the most sacred relationships in all of the world is the relationship that the pastor of a church should have with his people. God is not pleased when the people are dissatisfied with the pastor. Neither is God pleased when the pastor has a bitter attitude toward his people. God wants the pastor and the people to love each other, to pray together, work together, serve together, worship together, win souls together, give together. Following are some suggestions that will help the pastor understand his people.

1. Love Your People. Ask God to give you a heart full of love for the people you serve. This does not mean that you can always condone what they do. Many times a parent who loves his child will have to spank him hard, and the child may doubt the parent’s love; however, behind the heart of a true parent there is a love that realizes it is best for the child to receive punishment for his errors. This is also true with a pastor. A pastor who scolds his people because he is tired of their sinning, is wrong. A pastor whose heart is broken because of the sins of his people, and scolds them for their own good, is right. Many evangelical ministers have failed in this respect because of the lack of a deep, abiding love for their people.

2. Be Expressive in Your Love for Your People. Some preachers carry a little pad around with them, and a pencil, and when they think of some member who has been a blessing to them, they jot the name down and later write the member a note or express appreciation personally to one who has been a blessing. Our people do much for us-they pray for us, overlook our faults, forget our mistakes and make us what we are. Let us express to them our love and appreciation.

3. Pray for Your People. The pastor should call the names of his people in prayer, especially those who have burdens and heartaches. When a home is having trouble, the pastor should pray for them. When Johnny has the measles, or Mary has the mumps, the pastor should pray for them. Many times a little note to Johnny will be an encouragement to him; or a phone call to Mary might be a blessing. It is always good for a pastor to pray for his people.

4. Do not Use Your People to Build a Great Work, But Use Your Work to Build Great People. Some have the idea that it is the job of the preacher to build churches. This is not true. It is the job of the preacher to build people to be great Christians. To use the people to build a work is wrong; to use the work to build great people is right. The greatest product of a pastor is a steadfast Christian, and not a sanctuary. The greatest work of a pastor is to see a Christian grow in the grace of the Lord, and not to see the membership grow. Individuals are important. When a preacher can see his people individually and rejoice more over a Christian who grows than over a building that goes up, then he has developed a true pastor’s heart.

To use our people as stepping stones for our ministry is not fair; neither is it Christlike.

5. Make Your People Feel That You Are Theirs. People like to feel as if they have a pastor. They like to feel as if the pastor belongs to them, and that they belong to him. Do not let your people feel secondary. Spend your time with them. Many preachers spend so much time with each other that their people feel they cannot have fellowship with their pastor. Live with your people, love them, pray for them, work with them and seek their good-not your own.

6. Eat in the Homes of Your People. It is good for the pastor to be in the homes of the people. When your people invite you for a meal, try never to reject such an invitation. It is a mutual blessing. The people need the fellowship with the pastor; the pastor needs the fellowship of the people. Children know the pastor better when he comes into their homes. If he is kind, thoughtful and understanding to the children, they will become his pals, and will feel that he belongs to them.

7. Give the People Some Time at Home. Many of our people are tired. We preach to them hard and long that they should have a Christian home, and then give them no time to have a Christian home. A preacher should encourage his people to spend some time at home. Then, he should not plan such a heavy church program that it will take all of their nights, so that they do not have the opportunity to have a Christian home. It is difficult to come in at midnight with sleepy children and have a family altar. However, with some nights at home together with the family, it becomes easier to pray together and stay together. When the families realize that the preacher is concerned about their problems, then they will love and appreciate him more.

8. Be with Them in Hours of Need. When a person is to have an operation, go to the hospital and have a period of prayer with him. When a couple is married, spend some time with them. When a baby comes, rejoice over the coming of the baby. It has long been my conviction that the pastor should not receive remuneration for the things he does for his members. It seems to me that marrying the church members is a part of the pastor’s duties; hence, it would seem inadvisable to accept a fee for marrying one of my church members. Little things like these make a pastor dear to the hearts of his people. Of course, it should not be our desire or our aim to become dear to the hearts of the people. These things should come naturally to the true man of God who loves his people.

9. Remember That Your People Make You What You Are. A good church can make a good preacher; a poor church can make a poor preacher. All that we are, we have been made by the Lord, and God has used our dear people to make us what we are. Many times people come to me at Miller Road Church and say, “Pastor, God has used you to make me what I am.” Then, I go home and think -God has used my church to make me what I am. Our soul winners, and those who pray and are faithful, have helped to make our church what it is. Because of that, the pastor has opportunities open to him that he would not have had, had the people not worked for the Lord Jesus. Never forget, dear pastor friend, that what you are is largely a work of Christ as He has used your people to make you what you are.

10. Never Reject Anything From Your People. Dr. Truett used to say, “Even if all they offer you is a glass of water, drink it. They are offering it as unto the Lord.” You are God’s man, and they are offering you something as God’s man; hence, never reject it. Accept it, and be grateful to God, regardless of how small the gift.

God Save America!

God Save America

Just exactly how are nations saved? This does not deal with all the people of a nation coming to Christ but rather how a nation can be saved from destruction and from God’s total disfavor so that our sins can be forgiven and our land can be healed.

II Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Leviticus 2:13, “And every oblation of thy meat-offering shall thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” Numbers 18:19, “All the heave-offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord unto thee and to thy seed with thee.” II Chronicles 13:5, “Ought ye not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?”

To understand this properly we turn to the phrase, “the covenant of salt.” II Chronicles 13:5, “Ought ye not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?” A covenant of salt was a covenant made between individuals pledging an unbreakable friendship. They vowed that strong friendship to each other, and as a symbol of that covenant, they ate bread and salt together. The bread symbolized the nourishment of the friendship and the salt with its savoring capacity emphasized the durability of the friendship. Salt had an important part to play in religious ceremony and sacrifices in the Word of God. For example, salt had to be in every sacrifice. Leviticus 2:13, “And every oblation of thy meat-offering shall thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” The Christian is called the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Christ is called the Bread of Life. John 6:35, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.”

The conclusion is, Christ will enter into a covenant with His people—a covenant that will not be broken. However, God will not enter into a covenant with a nation unless there is enough salt for the preservation of that nation. Since Christians are called the salt of the earth, there are two requirements for this covenant before God will enter into such an agreement: First, there must be enough salt in that nation. Second, that salt must have not lost its savour. God is looking for enough salt that is savoured in a nation so He can spare that nation from destruction. Note what this salt is. Salt represents the righteousness of Christ. Savoured salt represents personal righteousness. These two forms of righteousness are mentioned in Romans 10:1-3, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

Abraham came to God and begged for the salvation of Sodom. His nephew, Lot, was there, and Abraham did not want Lot and his family destroyed. He asked God that if he could find 50 righteous people, would God spare the city? God agreed to do so. Abraham could not find 50, so he pleaded for the salvation of Sodom if he could find 40. Again he failed. Then he asked if the quota could be lowered to 30. It was. He failed again and requested the quota be lowered to 20. Again he failed to find 20 righteous people. Finally God agreed that He would save Sodom for 10 righteous people!

Now it must be understood that these ten righteous people must have both imputed righteousness and personal righteousness. They must be salt and they must be savoured salt. This was the only hope for the city. Genesis 19:1, “And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.” Notice that Lot was at the gate of the city. Some have suggested that he was an alderman. Others have with justification, supposed that he was the mayor, for at the gate of the city sat the judges, magistrates and city leaders. The business of the city was done at the gate, much as it is done at city hall today. At least we know one thing—Lot was a city official. Neither cities nor nations are saved because the right officials are elected! The soul winner does more for the salvation of his nation than does the precinct captain. The answer for America is not excessive political involvement on the part of God’s people, but it is the excessive soul winning on the part of God’s people and the excessive preaching of righteousness, separation and standards in our pulpits and in our homes!

I believe that God has a quota set for America—a quota of righteous people who are possessed with the imputed righteousness of Christ in response to their faith and with the personal righteousness of a holy life! I do not know what that quota is. In Sodom it was ten, but I believe with all my heart that God has placed a number of people as a quota for the salvation of this land, and that God will enter into a covenant of salt with us if we can find sufficient salt that has not lost its savour! The answer for America is not in a generation of preachers who leave their pulpits and leave their soul winning to enter politics. Of course, we should vote. Of course, we should pray for our elected officials. Of course, as citizens we should have some participation influencing others to vote properly, but this should be minute in comparison with the gathering of salt. This nation and every other nation will be spared only by direct intervention from God Almighty! I am talking about the walls of Jericho crumbling. I am talking about the drying of the Red Sea. I am talking about the sun standing still for Joshua. The only hope for America is for soul winners to get busy winning souls and for leaders to get busy preaching personal holiness so that God will enter with us into a covenant of salt and will spare our land! Now notice Genesis 19:26, “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Why was Lot’s wife turned to a pillar of salt? There was not enough salt in the city to cause a covenant of salt. When a city is taken in battle, its destruction was finalized when the conqueror would sow it with savourless salt. What a symbol this is! Savourless salt will not spare a nation; it causes its destruction!

What then brings the salvation of a nation? II Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” A nation is not saved because the homosexuals straighten up or because the drunkards sober up. A nation is saved when there are enough Christians to form enough salt with savour so God will make with that nation a covenant of salt! Those Christians must needs be separated and holy in their living. For many years this has been my goal in my ministry. I have gone day and night for years. The thrust of my ministry has been twofold—soul winning and separation, for I believe with all my heart that if we can get enough people saved and possess the imputed righteousness of Christ and then get those people holy so they will possess personal righteousness, God will look down from Heaven and forgive our sins and heal our land. Notice again the words in II Chronicles 7:14, as follows:

1. “If My people, which are called by My name.” There you have the salt.

2. “Shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways.” There you have the salt with savour.

3. “Then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Here you have the salvation of the nation.

The answer, therefore, is in building soul-winning churches over the length and breadth of this nation and in preaching of separation and personal holiness in those churches. The answer is not in the White House; it is in the church house. It is not house-to-house registering of voters; it is house-to-house preaching Christ. I have four children and nine grandchildren. I have lived a lot of years. At this writing I am 58 years of age. I have preached over 41,500 sermons. I have flown nearly five million miles on airplanes. I have watched this nation deteriorate. Every patriotic American longs to see our nation spared. Some fell that its sparing is in political reform. Some feel that the nation can be spared if conservatives stay in the White House and Senate. I believe that America can be spared only by Divine intervention! It will take a miracle akin to that of the crossing of the Red Sea or of the crumbling of the walls of Jericho. I believe that God must intervene. He will not intervene until we have won enough people to Christ and made enough of them holy so that God, Who is the Bread of Life, can meet with His holy people, who are the salt of the earth, and that salt and bread can be mingled into a covenant of salt so that God says to a nation, “I will enter into an agreement with you for an unbreakable friendship for your generation.”

I long to see my children and grandchildren live their lives in the kind of America that I have known. I long to see the judging hand of God stayed. I have given most of my life to this end. When I lay my Bible down, walk out of the pulpit for the last time after having preached my last sermon, I want to look at those who follow me and say, “I did my best to get enough salt and to get enough salt savoured so that you will have the nation I have known.” I may be wrong. I don’t think I am.

May God give us preachers and churches aflame with the message of salvation and stricken with compassion to preach holiness so that we may have enough people with imputed righteousness and enough of those with personal righteousness so that God will look from Heaven and say, “America has met My quota. There is enough salt and enough savoured salt for Me to enter with them into a covenant of salt so that their generation may be spared.” To this end I work! For this I pray! In this I hope! God, save America!

Jack Hyles Sermon Outlines

Jack Hyles

There are two things that the preacher sees as he delivers his message. He sees first his people and second, his sermon outlines. Only one of these can he control-the outline. Sometimes the people Will inspire him as he speaks; sometimes they will not. So the only predictable thing that catches his eye as he speaks is his sermon Outlines. Hence, it is vital that the outline do the purpose that it is intended to do. Different preachers use different types of sermon outlines.

One day I was sitting talking to Mrs. Billy Sunday, whom we affectionately called ‘Ma” Sunday. She was telling me about Billy Sunday. I asked her what kind of sermon outlines he had. She told me that each letter in his outline was an inch tall. I asked her why, thinking perhaps that he had poor vision. She told me that his letters were so big because: (1) He seldom came near the pulpit, and as he would run by he glanced at his outline. The letters had to be big in order for him to read them while running by (2) The big letters made him speak louder. In other words, the fact that the letters were written an inch high put him in the shouting mood, and he liked to preach With enthusiasm and a loud voice.

For 22 years I traveled extensively with Dr. John R. Rice and shared pulpits across America with him. Over 2200 times he and I have sat on the same platform together and preached on the same program. Dr. Rice did not use old sermon outlines. He would use sermons that were old, but right before each sermon he would outline his message again! It would be the same outline that he had used many times and the same sermon that he often preached, but he always outlined it again just before preaching it. We were in Ohio together. I was noticing just before the service that he was outlining his sermon. I asked him why he did that. He replied that it helped him to keep his mind on the sermon and to remember the sermon outline if he wrote it down right before preaching it. It made it fresher in his mind.

Some great preachers use simple sermon outlines of less than one page. Some use many pages of outline. I am thinking of one of America’s greatest preachers whose sermons sometimes have thirty pages of outline. My sermons are usually from two to four pages of sermon outlines. They are not usually typewritten but rather are written in longhand.

This is the most important paragraph in this chapter. It deals with the purpose of Jack Hyles sermon outlines. AN OUTLINE IS PRIMARILY TO PUT THE SPEAKER IN THE SAME FRAME OF MIND WHILE PREACHING AS HE WAS WHILE PREPARING AND STUDYING. A preacher goes to his study. He prepares his message. The Bible begins to burn in his heart. His message baptizes him with its truth. He is lifted to the heavenly places. He cannot wait until the time comes for its delivery so he can share with the congregation the great truths and great experiences he enjoyed while walking with God in his study Then the sermon time comes. He stands to speak. The truth does not seem nearly as sweet; the Scripture no longer burns in his soul; he is disappointed and that sermon that he had so anticipated preaching becomes drudgery instead of delight. What has happened? He has failed to transfer the spirit of his study to the pulpit. He has failed to realize that the only tool he has while he is in the pulpit to remind him of the ecstasy of the study is his outline. Because of this, the outline and its purpose is not only to capture the truths that the preacher learned in study but the spirit and joy with which he learned them. The outline is to remind him not only of what he learned but how he learned it. It is to carry him back to the same joy and thrill of preparation and transfer it to the delivery. His failure was caused by his unawareness of the purpose of his outline. He thought that the outline was simply to remind him of what he learned. This it did. He did not realize that the outline was supposed to remind him of the spirit he felt while he was learning it. So the outline fulfilled the purpose that the preacher had for it, but its purpose was not large enough.

When the preacher looks at his outline from behind the pulpit, it should remind him of the great truths he has learned, but it also should remind him of the heavenly places in which he walked while he learned those truths so that he may not only transfer the truths he learned alone to the people but he may transfer the heavenly places in which he walked while he learned those truths.
Jack Hyles Sermon Outlines
With that in mind we will examine the outline.

1. The first thing at the top of the outline should “grab” the preacher. It must get his attention. The first part of the sermon is not primarily for the preacher to get the people’s attention but for the preacher to get his own attention. If the pastor can get his own attention, the people will listen. People love to listen to someone who is listening to himself, someone who is caught up in his message and is totally involved in the truth he is presenting. If he can get his own attention, the attention of the people will come. This is the reason I rarely use humor in the introduction of a sermon. Now I may use it in the introductory remarks before I begin the sermon, but once the sermon is begun I rarely use humor in the introduction. I want to use something that will lift me out of myself and totally involve me in the sermon. It is important that my mind not be on two things. It should not be on the sermon and also wondering how I am doing. It should not be on the sermon and wondering if the lady in the middle section is going to carry her baby out or sit there with him during the entire service. I must be totally lost and involved in the message. If I get involved and the people know it, they will get involved.

In my sermon “Is There Not a Cause?” I begin as follows: “Several years ago I was on an airplane flying to the south. It was a flight with a stopover in Lexington, Kentucky On the one-hour flight between Chicago and Lexington, I looked across the aisle and saw a familiar face. I turned and spoke to him and asked, ‘Sir, aren’t you Adolph Rupp?’ He replied in a beautiful southern drawl, ‘Yes, suh, I am Mr. Rupp.’ (Adolph Rupp was for many years the coach of the University of Kentucky basketball team. During his career his teams won more basketball games than those of any other college coach in history.) I said, ‘Mr. Rupp, I have been for a long time a fan of yours. My name is Jack Hyles.’ He replied, “Yes, suh. I have read of you. You pastor that large Baptist church near Chicago.’ For almost an hour we talked together in a delightful and stimulating exchange of ideas. We landed in Lexington and said goodbye. I got off the plane to take a walk and go to the washroom. I was washing my hands at the lavatory when I looked over and saw that Mr. Rupp was washing his hands at the lavatory next to mine. I said, ‘Mr. Rupp, could I ask you a question? I understand that you will soon retire because of the mandatory retirement at the age of 70.’ A tear invaded his eye as he said, ‘Yes, sub. Soon I will have to retire.’ I asked, ‘Mr. Rupp, what do you plan to do when you retire?’ A tear escaped his eye as he replied, ‘Sub, I guess I’ll just die.’ Several months later Mr. Rupp retired. Not long after his retirement I picked up the sports page of the Chicago Tribune to see the big headlines which read, ‘ADOLPH RUPP IS DEAD!’ Why did he die? He died because he had lost his cause-that thing for which he got up in the morning, that thing that lifted him above himself that made him forget himself, that pulled him out of himself in which he lost himself-it had been removed. He had lost his cause!”

That is the introduction to my sermon, “Is There Not a Cause?” Now it may or may not be a good introduction as the reader sees it, but it is the kind of introduction that gets my attention. By the time I finish that introduction, I am ready to preach on the subject, “Is There Not a Cause?”

In my sermon, “Others,” I get my attention as follows: “Many years ago in the city of London, England, the Salvation Army was conducting its annual convention. The giant auditorium was filled with delegates, but for the first time in the history of the Army its founder and leader, General Booth, was unable to attend. He was old, nearly blind and in poor health. Gloom spread across the floor of the convention as the delegates realized that for the first time they would conduct their annual convention without the presence of their leader and founder. Someone suggested that General Booth send a message to be read at the opening session. This he agreed to do. When the moderator engaged his gavel to the podium he said, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, as I call to order the annual convention of the Salvation Army, I regret to inform you that our leader and founder, General Booth, is for the first time unable to attend. He has, however, agreed to send a message to be read at this time, as follows: Dear Delegates of the Salvation Army Convention: Others. Signed, General Booth.”

Now, this may not get the attention of my congregation, but this illustration always gets my attention. When I use it, I am ready to preach. It puts me in the right frame of mind, captures me and loses me in my sermon.

In my sermon, “The Lust of the Holy Spirit,” I begin as follows: “Months ago in the city of Seattle, Washington, I was enjoying a time of Fellowship at a luncheon of Christian workers. After the luncheon there was a question-answer session where the pastors and full-time workers were allowed to interrogate me. One pastor asked this question, ‘Dr. Hyles, what in your opinion are the four spiritual highlights of your life?’ Now normally I would not answer a question that involved such a lengthy answer, but for some reason that day I did answer that question. I said, ‘The first spiritual highlight in my life took place in August of 1937 when I, as a little lad nearly 11 years of age with bare feet and ragged clothes, received Christ as my Saviour. The second great highlight of my life took place on New Year’s Eve just before the dawn of 1944 when as a timid, introverted teenager I felt the call of God to preach the Gospel, and now for these many years I have been proclaiming the message around the nation and around the world and, yes, around the block. The third great highlight of my life took place on the grave of my father after he had died a drunkard’s death. I returned to the grave and threw myself face down upon the dirt that covered it and stayed there until God did a work in me. I believed then and believe now that that was the first time in my life I was filled with the Holy Spirit. The fourth great event of my life took place when I was a young preacher. I was pastoring a little country church in east Texas. It was 6:05 in the morning. I was standing in an empty auditorium preaching from behind the pulpit on my morning broadcast called, ‘The Old-Time Religion Broadcast.’ I was speaking that morning on the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Up until that moment, however, I had never spoken to the Holy Spirit. I had never told Him I loved Him; I had never asked Him to guide me. I knew He lived in me. I knew Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 6:19, 20, etc., so theoretically I knew the truth, but practically I had never experienced fellowship with the Holy Spirit. That morning, suddenly for the first time in my life, the Holy Spirit became more than an influence; He became a Person to me! I began to tremble while I was speaking. When I finished the broadcast I knelt behind the microphone and apologized to the Holy Spirit for neglecting Him through the years and told Him that I would never do so again. I got on my knees beside my little car that morning and told the Holy Spirit to guide me what route to take home for breakfast. After breakfast I begged Him to lead me to know what route to take back to the office and from that happy day until this, I have never neglected the Holy Spirit in my life, even for one entire day I always talk to Him, tell Him I love Him and seek His guidance.”

Now this introduction may or may not capture the attention of the audience, but it captures my attention, and once my attention is captured, the audience will listen.

2. Do not worry about how many points there are in the outline. I am basically a one-point outliner, but I know some great preachers who are not. Dr. John Rice had many points. An example of this is his famous sermon, “The Sevenfold Sin of Not Winning Souls.” My good friend Dr. Bob Gray uses points and sub-points. That wonderful soul winner, Dr. Jim Vineyard, often has as many as 25 points. The important thing is that you fit it to yourself with whatever you are comfortable.

3. Use different type outlines as far as writing is concerned. For example, if I preach on Heaven, I make the Outline orderly and beautiful. I may type it or print it very carefully or write it with the best of script. This is because Heaven is orderly and beautiful. If I preach on Hell, I will scribble the outline and make it messy If I preach a hard sermon, I will often use a bold magic marker to remind me that I am to be bold.

If I preach a soft sermon, I will use a fine-line pen.

If I preach a commencement address, I will make an immaculate outline.

If I preach a sermon in which I want to become excited, and in order to remind myself that I was excited in my study, I will underline the main points or capitalize them. Bear in mind, the purpose of this outline is to carry the spirit that I had in the study to the pulpit. If I was excited in the study, something in the outline should remind me of that excitement. If I was tender in the study, something of the outline should remind me of the tenderness. If I wept in the study, something in the outline Should remind me of how I felt at the time I prepared my message and my heart.

When I have an illustration in my outline, I write the abbreviation, “Ill.” to remind me that this is an illustration.

If I have an especially good idea that I want to set apart in my outline, I will put a circle around it.

I always put a bold line between points. This line is very bold to let me know that one part of the sermon is ending and another part is beginning.

When listing things, I always number them. This makes it easier for me to keep my place in the list.

When I want to whisper in my message, I use tiny writing. When I want to shout, I use bold print. Bear in mind that the purpose for the outline is to transfer the spirit of the study to the pulpit. It is so much easier to get excited when alone with God and His Word than it is when standing in front of hundreds or maybe thousands of people. This is not being hypocritical or mechanical; it is being honest. You prepared the contents of your message in the study; your outline is to remind you of what you learned. You prepared your heart in the study; the outline should remind you of what you felt, and it should help you to feel that same sweet fervency that you felt when you were alone with God in the study

When using familiar illustrations, I just put a word or two that remind me of them and circle them in my outline. For example, I have mentioned so many times in my sermons the death of my drunken father, I will just write the words, “Dad’s death,” and put a circle around them in the outline. I often use the illustration of the Sunday school departmental superintendent who told me when I was five years of age that Jesus loved me. Her name was Mrs. Bethel. When I put that in my outline, I simply write the words, “Mrs. Bethel,” and encircle them.

I also write out my text at the top of my outline and encircle it. This is not just the reference but the very words of the text so I can refer to them easily and remember them readily

If I am using a one-point sermon, I will write down that point several times throughout the outline so as to remind me to keep emphasizing and repeating that single point that I am trying to stress.

4. I use an 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper for my outline. I fold it and place it in my Bible. This covers two pages. In other words, when the Bible is open, the page to the left and to the right are covered with outline. Then I draw a bold magic marker line down the center to be sure that the pages are divided in my mind.

5. Let your outline tell you how you felt as you prepared it. If while I was studying, I wept over a certain truth, I may preface that truth in my outline with a statement like this, “Nothing moves me to tears faster.”

If I was unusually excited about a truth in my study, I may put in my outline a preface to that truth like this-“Thank God I can still get excited about If something irritated me in my study, such as some sin that is so prevalent, I may preface that statement with, “Nothing upsets me more than.

If I get happy in my study and want to laugh because of the goodness of God, I may remind myself in the outline that I laughed at that particular point.

If at a certain time in my study I was overcome with thanksgiving, I may put in the outline something like this: “Thank God….”

I simply want to deliver to my people from the pulpit what God delivered to me in the study I want them to feel what I felt. I want them to be thrilled as I was thrilled, to be moved as I was moved, to weep as I wept, to rejoice as I rejoiced, and to share with me the ecstasy of the experience that I had of walking with God as He gave me His message for my people.

6. Wait until you are moved and have entered into the heavenly places before you make your outline. No outline should be made coldly, but only after God has moved the heart of the preacher. If you make your outline on the mountaintop, you will identify it from the pulpit with the mountaintop.

Hypocrisy is twofold: If you express something you do not feel, that is hypocrisy Likewise, if you feel something you do not express, that is hypocrisy Not only should the sermon transfer the facts learned in the study but the emotions enjoyed in the study The outline can remind you of both; it should call to your mind what you learned and to your heart how you felt so that you may accurately transfer the feeling of your heart when you became acquainted with the truth to the people so that they may have the same feeling when they become acquainted with the same truth.

7. Outline your sermon no earlier than 48 hours before it is preached. If you do this, it will be fresher and it will be easier for the outline to fulfill its purpose.

8. If using an old outline, read and reread it right before preaching. As mentioned elsewhere in this manuscript, Dr. John Rice always re-outlined his messages right before preaching. This is a good idea. However, if this is not done, it certainly is wise for the preacher to read and reread his outline so that it may be fresh in his mind when he walks in the pulpit.

9. Use ditto marks in a list. Suppose, for example, that in the outline you are listing some things for which you are thanking God. Do not write for each thing the words, “I thank God.” Write the words, “I thank God,” for the first one and put ditto marks under those three words down through the outline. This will make the outline a little bit less messy and less confusing while you are preaching.

10. Write yourself instructions on your outline. Suppose you have a certain Scripture in your outline that you feel the people should read with you. Then beside the Scripture write some words, like, “Read in unison,” or “Entire congregation to read.” Suppose that there is a Scripture that you want the congregation to quote with you. You may forget that while you are preaching. Write it down in the outline.

There may be a Scripture that you want to look up and read to the people. Make yourself a note like this: “Look it up.” In other words, if there are certain things that in the study you feel the Lord is leading you to do while you preach, make a note of them. To be sure, while a person is preaching the Lord may lead him to do certain things, but it is my feeling that the Lord can lead better while you are on your face before God in the study than while you are on your feet before your people in the pulpit. This is not to say that God does not lead in the pulpit. It is simply to say that God also leads in the study

11. It is often good to use verses that outline themselves. There are some verses that just form an outline, such as these: II Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” John 14:12, “Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.” John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, bath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Psalm 1:1-3, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Jack Hyles Sermon Outlines

Each of these verses outlines itself. For example, look at the outline in II Chronicles 7:14.

I. The people’s part.

1. Humble themselves.

2. Pray

3. Seek God’s face.

4. Turn from their wicked ways.

II. God’s promises.

1. He will forgive their sins.

2. He will heal their land.

The same is true with Psalm 1:1-3. Notice the natural outline.

I. Man’s part.

1. Walk not in the counsel of the ungodly

2. Do not stand in the way of sinners.

3. Do not sit in the seat of the scornful.

4. Delight in the law of the Lord.

5. Meditate in the Bible day and night.

II. God’s promises to that man.

I. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters.

2. His leaf also shall not wither.

3. Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Now go through John 5:24; John 3:16; and Romans 8:28 and let them outline themselves. Before doing so please note that the purpose of these Scriptures is to try to get God to act. That means the outline should emphasize what man can do in order to propel God’s action.

Years ago a very old man was a member of our church, and he passed away I was called to his bedside. The last words the old man said before his spirit was taken to the presence of his Saviour were these: “Thank you, Preacher, for walking with God all these years and telling me on Sunday what God said.” This cannot be done unless the walking with God while we are alone is transferred to the pulpit while we stand in front of the people. The only things we have that will transfer the spirit of the study to the pulpit are the memory and the outline. The memory is often clouded by circumstances in the service, but the outline can be and should be a reminder of the heavenly walk that we enjoyed with God during our hours of preparation and research. for the outline to remind us of that walk is not critical; but to deliver with a cold heart and dry eyes the message that was received through tears and a burning may be!

Logic Must Prove the King James Bible

I’m not attacking the Catholic church tonight. I’m not a Catholic. Maybe you noticed the sign out in front of our church that says, “First Baptist.” I never think I’m being unkind if I have the same thing on the inside that we have on the outside. I want you to listen carefully. I’m going to state some facts about the Catholic church. They are facts; they are not railing accusations. They are facts, and any Catholic who is honest will tell you that what I’m going to say is true about the Catholic church. It is not a matter of my making false accusations; it’s a matter of record.

I am also going to say some things about the charismatics tonight. I’m more Catholic than I am charismatic. I’ve got more respect for the pope than I do the P.T.L. Club, and I mean that. However, my respect for the pope is not really soaring! Don’t get mad now. I want to help you. I’m simply saying that I’m going to give you some facts. I’m going to give some facts about the charismatics, and if a charismatic is honest, he will agree with the facts I’m going to give. There will be no accusations, no gossip and no slander; I will just give facts that any charismatic would give.

Also, I’m going to say some things tonight about Protestantism. In fact, I may not miss anybody tonight. Everything I say will be factual. I will be the kind of thing with which even the people about whom I speak will agree. So I want you to listen. With the battle raging as it is about the King James Bible, I think that any pastor ought to alert his people.

When I was a boy, from the time I remember– I remember back when I was two and three years of age– until I went into the paratroopers in World War II when I was 18, my mother would read to me for 30 minutes every night from the Bible. Then she would hold it up and say, “This is the Word of God!” She did not say, “The manuscripts from which we got this are the Word of God.” My mom didn’t even know what a manuscript was. She just knew she had a Book that was the Word of God. That’s all she knew. So, she said, “This is the Word of God.” I would look at it, and I would have to say three times, “Mama, the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is the Word of God.”

I have Mama’s Bible– the same one she read– in my office. I’ve had it there for years. I don’t know how old it is, but I suspect it is 55 or 60 years old. It is the same Bible she used to hold up. I was thumbing through it the other day. On the inside, it says on the title page, “King James Bible.” That’s what it says. You know it worked. It’s amazing how well Mama did before she found out that it wasn’t the Word of God.

I’ve been going to Baptist churches for 51 years. Every pastor I’ve ever had preached from the King James Bible. He always said to the crowd, “Open your Bibles and let’s hear what the Lord says.” These pastors were not unfortunate enough to have sat at the feet of those with lower education– which calls itself “higher education.”

It is amazing how well this nation did when we didn’t know how ignorant we were. (Are you listening?) This is my fifth pastorate. I’ve seen miracles in my pastorates. I’ve preached over 41,000 times, and I’ve never yet preached a sermon that wasn’t preached from the King James Bible. I really don’t know what I’ve missed. To be quite frank with you, I’ve seen fellows who preach from other Bibles, and I somehow get the idea THEY are missing something. Dr. Evans, I’ve never seen a fellow really whoop it up about any other Bible. I’ve never heard a fellow say, “Blessed be God, let’s look in the Book. Let’s look in the Douay Version.”

Did you ever go to mass and have the priest get up and say, “Hallelujah for the Word of God!” Don’t get mad at me! I’m telling the truth. If you don’t believe it, go next Sunday and see. He will usually use that prayer book and not a Bible.

Follow me. I’ve taught you about the textus receptus, Wescott and Hort, those manuscripts from which came the Douay Version that the Catholics use and the American Standard Version, which is highly overrated. The Wescott and Hort manuscripts came from the Vatican manuscripts that were hidden in the Vatican for years– from whence came the Catholic Bible.

The textus receptus manuscripts are those from which we have gotten the King James, and they have been the evangelistic manuscripts, if you please. I won’t go into that. I’m a textus receptus man. I haven’t got a bit of patience with Wescott and Hort. Not a bit! In fact, I really have a hard time not being bitter against my Greek professors in college who taught me from Wescott and Hort Greek manuscripts. It upsets me greatly.

This is the message. The question at hand is this: Where is the final authority for church building and for Christian living? There are four different final authorities in American Christendom. I’m not talking about Mormonism and those who have other books. I’m talking about Christendom. There are four basic final authorities.

1. SOME VIEW THE CHURCH AS THE FINAL AUTHORITY. This is fact. Any honest Catholic priest will tell you that the Catholic position on the final authority is that the church has final authority. If you want to go a little farther than that, if the pope speaks ex cathedra, he is the final authority. Ask any Catholic or read any Catholic doctrine, and both will tell you that. I’m not trying to be critical. I’m telling you the truth. If a Catholic priest were standing here, he’d tell you the same thing.

Our Catholic friends believe that the church is the final authority. If the pope speaks ex cathedra, that’s God speaking. I’m not being critical; I’m being factual. There is a second final authority.

2. SOME VIEW EXPERIENCE AS THE FINAL AUTHORITY. In other words, “It happened to me, so it’s true. I was there when it happened, and I ought to know. I had an experience. I saw Jesus. I saw a vision. I have a word of knowledge.” This is the charismatic position. Ask them. They will say, “I have a message from God, so this is God talking. God gave me a message.” (The foolish thing about that is, if that is true, you had better start writing more Bible.)

When this happens, people believe the final authority comes from experience. God has supposedly given someone a message. Someone talks in tongues, and somebody else interprets what God said. However, the truth is, all that God has ever said to man is right here in this Book. This is it. This is God’s complete revelation to man!

By the way, that is the basis of the whole thing: What is the final authority? There has to be some place, ladies and gentlemen, where we can say, “This is it, and what this says is the final word.” So, our Catholic friends say the church is the final authority. Our charismatic friends go beyond the Bible and say human experience is the final authority.

3. SOME VIEW HUMAN REASONING AS THE FINAL AUTHORITY. That’s what liberal people say. “Every man is searching for the truth, and every man gets a portion of it; so, nobody is wrong, and nobody is right. We are all searching, so it doesn’t seem to me that God would make a Hell; therefore, there is no Hell. It doesn’t make sense to me that God would let anybody go to Hell, so God wouldn’t let anybody go to Hell. It doesn’t make sense to me that God would regenerate anybody, so there is no such thing as regeneration.” That’s what most of our Protestant friends believe, and all the humanist crowd believes it. That’s what the liberal believes. That’s what 95% of all the people in the seminaries in America believe. That’s what 95% of all the faculty and students in religious colleges in America believe– the final authority is the human mind or human reasoning.

The average Protestant church in Hammond believes that. “I don’t see how there could be a place with golden streets. If I don’t see how there could be, there isn’t one.” That is idolatry in its most pagan form. “My mind is my God. What I can’t conceive of, I won’t believe. What I can’t understand, I won’t accept. So, I’ll trim the Bible down to fit what I can believe. I just can’t believe there is a God of wrath, so there is no God of wrath.”

All right, we have the first three answers to the question, “What is the final authority?” The church is, according to our Catholic friends. Human experience is, according to our charismatic friends. Human reasoning is, according to our liberal and Protestant friends.

4. SOME VIEW THE BIBLE AS THE FINAL AUTHORITY. Every church in America in Christendom who had services this morning had a preacher who stood up and preached what he believed. He either preached that he believed that the final authority is the church, or that the final authority is human experience, or that the final authority is human reasoning, or that the final authority is the Bible.

The only authority that we as independent Baptists believe is the Bible. There was a day when I could say Baptists, but the truth is, most of the Southern Baptist colleges and seminaries are staffed by professors who don’t believe that the Bible is the final authority. I may as well say it all. There’s not a single Southern Baptist college or seminary to which I’d recommend anybody to go any more. None! I went to a Southern Baptist college and seminary. Thirty-five years ago, I heard a professor in my seminary say that he didn’t believe the resurrection. He said that the resurrection was a bunch of blindfolded spirits in a vacuum. He said it. I was there. Think what they are saying now!

Consequently, independent Baptists believe that the only final authority for practice and doctrine of the Christian and the church is the Bible. I cannot speak ex cathedra. I cannot speak and say, “This is truth.” All I can say is, “The Bible is truth.” You see, I can’t say, “I’m going to speak now, and this is God speaking through me.” I don’t much like people to pray, “Dear God, put the words in the mouth of our preacher.” I think you can say, “Lead our preacher”; but if God puts the words in my mouth, we’d have more Bible.

See, I have no power in this church but the power of influence. Sometimes I wish I had more. Sometimes I wish I had power to make you ladies dress like I think you ought to dress. Sometimes I wish I had the power to make you adults have rules about your teenagers that I think you ought to have, but all I can do is influence you. I have no power. Officially, I have one vote in this church; that’s all. I have no vote at deacon’s meeting and one vote as a member of this church. The only power I have is my vote and the power of influence.

It was a good day for me when I decided that I was going to make my final authority the Word of God. I was taught in Southern Baptist schools to believe that the Southern Baptist program was it. One day I decided to just read my Bible and reorganize my church. I did. I decided to get the book of Acts and read it word for word to see what the New Testament church was all about. I cast aside all the tradition I had been taught, all the jargon I had been taught, all the catechisms to which I had been taught to swear allegiance, and I decided I was going to try to find out what kind of church the New Testament church really was.

Dr. Curtis Hutson gave the best compliment to First Baptist Church of Hammond that has ever been given in the SWORD OF THE LORD. He said that he was here for Pastors’ School. He told how many conversions and baptisms we had the Sunday before. Then he said, “If God were writing the book of Acts today, He would write about the First Baptist Church of Hammond.” That’s the ultimate compliment.

You see, I decided that I was going to get my Bible down and decide what I thought the New Testament church was scripturally; then, that’s what I was going to have in my church. I believe with all of my soul that the First Baptist Church of Hammond is as near as is humanly possible to being what the church in Jerusalem was 2,000 years ago. Where did I get that? I got it from the Bible. Do you know why we are scattered abroad winning souls all over this area? It’s because the church in Jerusalem was “scattered abroad,” and they “went every where preaching the word.” (Acts 8:4) Do you know why we go house to house, knocking on doors? We do it because it says in Acts 5:42, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” We do it because that’s what they did in the Bible.

Somebody says, “Well, we have different kinds of churches. You have a soul-winning church, and we have a deeper-life church.” In the first place, it’s a lie. There’s no life as deep as a soul-winning life. However, they say, “We just have different kinds of churches.” No, we don’t. WE have a church, and you don’t! Brother, the Bible is our charter to exist. If the Bible is not your final authority in practice and doctrine, then you are not a church. You might have the word “church” on the outside, but you are not a church.

Since the Word of God is our authority,– hear me carefully– we simply must have it. That’s a profound statement. We’ve got to have it! I mean, shall we have an authority we can’t find? Would God tell us His Word is the final authority and leave us without His Word? We must have a copy or we may as well join our Catholic friends and let the church be the basis for truth. If we have no Word of God, and if the Bible is not the Word of God, then we have only three other alternatives. We’ve got to say the final authority will be the church, or human experience, or human reasoning.

I’m saying, if we have no Bible that is the Word of God, then we have no way to go to the Book for the final authority. If one word in this Bible is not true, we don’t know which one it is; so, once again, the mind of man or experience or the church is going to have to decide which one is true and which one is not true. If we are going to believe that the Word of God is the final authority, we’ve got to have a copy of it.

Let me ask you a question. Would God call a man to preach His Word and not give it to him? God calls a man and says, “I’m calling you. Spend you life preaching the Gospel. Preach the Word!” So, wouldn’t He give him a copy of His Word?

I’ve said this so often, and I’ll say it again and again. I would step down from behind this pulpit tonight and never walk in it again to preach if I didn’t have the Word of God in my hand. I would not waste your time nor take your money unless I could say to you, “You have the Word of God. I have it, and it is preached here.” I’m an honest man. This is what I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again. If I did not believe that the Book I hold in my hand tonight was God’s Word, I’d find out where it was. I’d go there and get a copy, print some copies for you and give you a copy. I mean, brother, if we don’t have the Word of God in our hands, we have no place to go except to the human mind, human experience or the collective human mind which is the church. God would not reach down and give a divine call to a man and say, “I call you to preach My Word, but there is no copy of it any more.”

I don’t like a statement of faith that says, “We believe the Bible is the Word of God in the original manuscripts.” In the first place, there are no original manuscripts anywhere in the world tonight. None! If the Word of God was only the original manuscripts, there is no Word of God available for mankind today. If I did not believe the Bible I hold in my hand was the Word of God, and I believed there were some manuscripts, I’d get on an airplane, fly to where they were, break in the building if I had to, get the original manuscripts, make copies of them and give you a copy. I’m not going to stand here as an imposter preaching a Book that is not the Word of God and giving you instructions on how to live from a Book that is not the Word of God! I’m not going to do it! I’m just not going to do it!.

Would God tell His people to live by the Word and not give it to them? Let me say this. Of all the nations on the face of this earth, America is the center of world evangelization. America is the only hope for the world to have the Gospel. Do you think that God would not give His Word to America? The countries of this world look to America for missionaries. They look to America for preachers. Every great movement of God in the world today was founded by a ministry or movement that was propelled by American evangelization. The mission movement was founded basically, by Hudson Taylor. Now, wait a minute. Of all the nations on the face of this earth, it just seems to me that God would give the key nation the Word of God.

Check the history of Christianity in America, and see how well we’ve done without all these extra Bibles. Check the history of the church in America from 1950 back, before every little preacher had the misfortune to sit at the feet of a college theologian. Do you know what? We won’t have people who are just theologians teaching Bible at Hyles-Anderson College. Every teacher of Bible at Hyles-Anderson College is a preacher. We won’t hire a theologian. No way! You say, “Are you opposed to theologians?” No, I’m just leery and wary of them. I am wary of those who dare to sit in judgment on the Bible. Brother, it seems to me if there is any place in the world where you ought to have your faith in the Bible stabilized, it’s a Christian college or Christian seminary. However, the truth is, that’s where you get your faith shaken.

That’s one reason why some things bother me. It bothers me when people say, “We believe that the Bible, in the original manuscripts, is the Word of God.” If that’s true, we have no Bible. Did you hear what I said? We have no Bible. One day they did, but WE don’t.

Dr. Ed Hindson of Liberty Baptist College said concerning I John 5:7, “Thus, according to John’s account here, ‘there are three that bear record in heaven.’ The rest of verse 7 and the first nine words of verse 8 are not in the original and are not to be considered as part of the Word of God.” I’d like to ask Mr. Hindson a question: “When did you see the original?” How does he know they are not in the original? Look at me now. How does he know? The only way an honest man can say they are not in the original manuscripts is to have seen them, and they are not available. Now, he could say they are not in some of the manuscripts that are considered the most ancient. I personally think he was saying that they are not in the Wescott and Hort. I can’t prove that.

Before I get too rough on him, look at your Scofield Bible in I John 5:7, the verse Dr. Hindson quoted. Folks, I have no axes to grind. I have nobody’s feelings to hurt. I’ve just got to have the Word of God; that’s all. I’ve got to have it! The Bible says the Word of God is what we are supposed to preach. The Bible says, “Preach the Word.”

Now, look at your Scofield Bible– I John 5:7, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” Now look at that little “o” there in front of verse 7. Look in the center reference, and find the “o”. Mr. Scofield says, “It is generally agreed that v. 7 has no real authority, and has been inserted.”

I’d like to ask Mr. Scofield when he saw the original. He never saw it. Somebody who thought he was intellectual told that to somebody who thought he was intellectual who told somebody who thought he was intellectual. Listen, we don’t want the intellectual community to think of us as being nincompoops, but I’d rather have a nincompoop with a revelation from God than to have an intellectual without a revelation from God.

We’ve got to have a final authority! If this Book is not true, then the church or human reasoning or human experience is the final authority. Listen! There are only two– God and man. If God is not the final authority, man is the final authority. If we have no final authority in a book, then man has got to discern what God says; if man discerns what God says, then man becomes the final authority instead of God. So, Mr. Scofield had problems the day he came to this verse. How does he know? Pray tell me, what in the world he could have ever seen that would make him say that? He didn’t see anything. He sat in somebody’s Bible class and some Dr. Mess-’em-Up or Dr. McFuddle or Dr. Broad Stomach stood up and said, “Well, in the original manuscript…” which sounds scholarly; but nobody in our generation has seen them. Dr. So-and-So hasn’t seen them, the professor in the seminary hasn’t seen them and the college Bible professor hasn’t seen them. Either what I hold in my hand is the Word of God, or we don’t have any Word of God. I don’t believe God would leave us without His Word. I don’t believe that. I JUST DON’T BELIEVE IT!

We need a Bible that we can understand and a Bible that is God’s Word. It looks like anybody would agree that if God gives us the command to preach the Word, He would give us the Word to preach. That’s logical. If God wants to say to a nation, “You are the custodian of world evangelization for a generation or two or three or four,” it looks like God would give that nation the Word of God.

What is it? I would say it ought to be the one that has worked. Which one has worked? The one I hold in my hand right now. I has worked! It will work!

I’d like to say the same to our friends in the charismatic movement. You say, “Why do you stress it?” I stress it because the charismatic crowd is trying to teach our crowd every day that they’ve got something we don’t have. Tonight, before I walked into this pulpit, one of our fine ladies came and told me of one of our men who has been swept aside. One of our good faithful men has been swept aside by the charismatic crowd. As pastor of this church, it is my job to warn you of wolves who are dressed like sheep.

If we don’t have a Bible that’s the Word of God, we’ve got to go to human reasoning. If God says to a church, “Build your church on My Word,” God’s got to give us His Word. Listen, God wouldn’t be God is He told us to do something we couldn’t do. Everything that God has ever commanded us to do, He has given us the wherewithal to obey that commandment. God has never commanded man to do anything that was unreasonable or impossible for man to do. When God calls a man to preach and says, “Preach the Word,” God would have to give him a Word to preach. If God says to a church, “Build your church on My Word,” to be God, He’s got to give that church the Word of God.

Our Methodists seminaries say, “It’s not verbally inspired.” There was a day when John Wesley started that movement. He said the Bible was inspired, and they had the fire back in those days!

The Presbyterian seminaries say, “The Bible is not the Word of God,” but John Calvin believed it, and they had the fire! John Knox and others believed it!

I’m saying that we’ve either go to admit this is the Word of God or we have to flee to the church, or to human reasoning or human experience as being the final authority. If there is no Word of God today, we have no other recourse. If God has not given us His Word, we have to decide what is God’s Word. That’s human reasoning.

By the way, basing a doctrine on human experience is idolatry. Basing a doctrine on the church being the final authority is idolatry. The church is the idol. Letting the pope speak ex cathedra and saying that it is God Who is speaking is idolatry. You’re making him as God.

Human reasoning says that what we can reason, we’ll believe. That’s idolatry. So the truth is, you’ve got one choice of two. Either this Bible is the Word of God or we have no other place to turn but to idolatry. Did you hear me? Either this is the Word of God, or there is no place to turn but idolatry. Our three choices are human reasoning, human experience or the church, and they are each a form of idolatry. They are all three the same because making the church the final authority is done so by human reasoning. That means Catholicism is humanism, and the charismatic movement is humanism. It is man saying, “I was there. I felt it. God spoke, and here’s what He said.” That’s human reasoning. It’s humanism. So either this is the Word of God, or there is nothing left but humanism.

I’ll tell you this. To whatever degree this Book is not believed, that society has the exact proportionate belief in humanism because there are only two choices available: God and man. If God hasn’t told us what to do, man has got to tell us what to do. When a country does not believe this Book, it is totally humanistic. When a country leans away from this Book, it leans toward humanism. When a country is divided about this Book, it is divided about humanism.

I just don’t believe that God would say, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” (Mark 16:15) and not give us His Word to take with us. I just don’t believe that God would say, “Train up a child in the way he should go,” (Proverbs 22:6) and write the words of God “upon the door posts of thine house,” (Deuteronomy 11:20) and “teach them your children,” (Deuteronomy 11:19) unless there were a Word of God.

I don’t think God would say, “Start a Bible college. Send out young men to proclaim the truth,” unless God had given us the truth. I just don’t believe that God would send young men to the mission fields without the Word of God. I don’t think God would send Rick Martin halfway around the world to proclaim His Word without giving him a copy of it. I don’t think God would send young men out from this church to build soul-winning churches without giving them His Word.

With all of my soul, I believe that the final authority for faith and practice for a church and for a life is the Word of God. I do not believe that I’m the final authority; nor the bishops or the cardinals– nor are the Cubs or the White Sox!

Not long ago, then there was no pope, a fellow said, “I think Ernie Banks ought to be the next pope.” “Why?” “Well, the Cardinals have had it long enough. It’s time the Cubs got to have a pope!”

I’m not the final authority. “El papa” is not the final authority. He can wave his magic wand all he wants to. He can rustle his skirts all over the country. I’m simply saying, the Bible is the final authority, not man. I don’t care what he is called, it is not man!

You say, “You’re criticizing the pope.” Whatever I’ve said about pope, I’ve said about me. FIRST I said, I’M NOT the final authority. THEN I said, “HE’S NOT the final authority.” So our people have as much right to get mad as you Catholics do. Mr. Oral Roberts is not the final authority. The Bible is the final authority. I just don’t believe God would leave us down here without a copy of His Word.

How can we know which is the real Bible? Well, you can scratch off the Revised Standard Version because the liberals put that one together. You can scratch off any Bible that came from Wescott and Hort because that comes from the Vatican manuscripts. I’d suggest you find the one that has worked.

Find the one that widows have read; find the one over which they’ve wept and prayed for their children. Find the one that dear mothers in the history of our country have read, loved and taught. Find the one for which faithful evangelists have given their lives and for which missionaries have circled the globe. Find the one that has caused people to leave home, family and friends to carry its message. Find it! Find the one Dwight Moody used. Find out which one Billy Sunday used. Find the one the great soul-winning churches in America use.

Find the one tested by time. Find the one that Adolph Hitler said he would destroy, but couldn’t! Find the one about which Thomas Paine spoke when he said, “Within one generation, the Bible will not be printed anymore.” However, as soon as he died, the same printing press on which he printed that garbage was used to print more Bibles. Find the one they can’t destroy. Find the one that has stood the test of time. Find the one that liberals have tried to destroy, Hitlers have tried to burn, Mussolinis have tried to outlaw and Khrushchevs and Stalins have tried to burn! Find it! The Bible says, “My words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) Find the one that has stood the test of time!

Don’t find one that has a hippie on the outside of it and bunch of hippie jargon on the inside of it. Find the one that has stood the test of time! You say, “I don’t understand those ‘thees’ and ‘thous.'” “Thee” means “you.” “Thou” means “you.” “I” means “me.” “We” means “us.” You know it, and you know you know it! Not only that, but the Holy Spirit of God lives inside of you, and He’s the author of this Book. If you can’t understand a part of it, ask Him to teach you, and He will do it. He wrote it! We’ve got to have a Bible! We have got to have a Bible!

You say, “Boy, that’s right. I’ll tell you what, I believe it from cover to cover.” Try OPENING the covers. “Boy, I believe every word of it.” QUOTE a few of them! If we had Scripture quoting tonight, we’ve got Sunday school teachers here who know only, “Jesus wept,” and if somebody said that verse before your turn came, you’d say, “He got mine.” Read it! Memorize it! Study it! Love it! Teach it! Preach it! Live in it! It’s the Word of God! You can depend on it.

Every jot and every tittle shall come to pass. Not one comma and not one punctuation mark shall pass away. Matthew 5:18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” I checked those words, “pass away,” a little bit; a synonym for that phrase would be, “My word will always be alive.” There never will be a day when somebody says, “Beloved, we are gathered here in the presence of ‘Gawd’ and these witnesses to remember the word of ‘Gawd’ that died.” We never will! It will always be there. It always will.

I can’t believe that God would give us a great commission and tell us to teach it, preach it and spread it, and not give us the truth to teach and preach and spread.

It was good for our fathers;

It was good for our fathers;

It was good for our fathers;

And it’s good enough for me;

It was good for my mama;

It was good for my mama;

It was good for my mama;

And it’s good enough for me.

The Love Circle

WITH WHOM WILL WE LIVE IN HEAVEN? Here is a searching question that nearly every Christian must someday face. I believe the Christian will live in Heaven with his “love circle.” By that I mean he will live with that circle of people for whom God has given him “agape love.” Love is foreign to the unsaved man, for he needs no preparation for Heaven. Love is a heavenly quality that is given to prepare men to enjoy the heavenly city more. The unsaved man has no preparation even to enter the city; hence, he needs no preparation for added enjoyment.

When God saves a man, He, by grace, gives him true love for some. Since the Scripture says that those who die in the Lord are followed by their works, that love (*) goes with them to Heaven (*the love that God gave them for certain individuals). God never has a subject without a predicate, never creates an appetite without a fulfillment, and never gives a gift without a promise that it will be used. Hence, when God gives us an eternal, heavenly love for another, He is preparing us to live with that person forever. God is getting our “love circle” ready for Heaven.

Love is a gift of God. The gifts and callings of God are without repentance. Love never faileth; hence, it accompanies us to Heaven. The objects of that love must do likewise.

John tells us that we will, in that day “be like Him.” In Jesus’ resurrected, glorified body He appeared to many, but to whom did He appear first? He appeared to those in His little circle. To Mary Magdalene first, to His closest apostles, to the women, and to His dearest followers did our Lord appear. In our resurrection bodies no doubt we will also spend much of our time with those in our “love circle.”

It is true that the Bible seems to teach that the family circle will be together in Heaven. Our Lord reminds us that many shall come and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (grandfather, father, and son). We are reminded by Moses that Jacob was “called to his brethren.” Yet, the same Word teaches us that there is no marriage in Heaven as we know marriage now. This is not to say that the family circle will not be together; it is to say that in Heaven one’s circle will be deeper than family ties and physical relationships. It is my feeling that God will allow us in Heaven to be with those for whom He has given us the deepest love. We will be with Him Whom we love the most and Who loves us most. We will live forever with Him and with our “love circle.”

I Need You

Dear members of First Baptist Church of Hammond, I need you. Dear born again preacher brothers across America and around the world, I need you. Dear Christian eating rice in the poverty of India, I need you. Dear African missionary, I need you.

Yes, I need every Christian. None of us can do without the rest of us. I do not know in what way I need the unknown peasant of India, but I need him, for I am taught in the Word of God that I am a member of the body of Christ and every member of that body needs every other member of that body.

I have never seen many of the organs of my body. I have never seen my liver, my gall bladder, or my stomach, but I need them all just as I need every Christian whom I know but have never seen. There are, however, many organs in my body about which I do not know. I do not even know the names of all the members of my body, but I need them. If one became inflamed or infected, I would suddenly realize how much I needed it. Likewise, there are millions of Christians whom I do not even know, but in a strange and mysterious way I need them. Especially is this true because I am a leader-a leader God’s people chosen to pastor, and in a sense, to pastor pastors. There are several things that I have found about my need for you.

In the first place, if a leader builds followers, he builds a more secure foundation under himself. Likewise, if the follower helps to build his leader, he builds a more sure building above himself and offers himself more security and more chance for service for Christ. Hence, if I would be the best leader I can be, I must build the best followers I can build. They hold me up; they support me. If I would be strong, they must be strong.

There is another way in which I need you. I can learn from you, for all men are my teachers. There is a motto by which I try to live. It is as follows: “Every man knows something that I do not know. I must probe until I find it; hence, all men are my teachers.” I have often said that a leader is simply one who collects ideas from each of the followers and compiles them and gives a copy to each follower. The Apostle Paul said he could but speak the things which he had seen and heard. A leader is one who sees and hears a lot and retains what he sees and hears. When I go to another church to preach, however small the church may be, I travel through the Sunday school departments, the classes, the pastor’s study, the offices, etc., looking for new ideas. Many of the ideas which I have given to people across the country and around the world have been found in some little obscure church. I need you to teach me.

I need not criticize you, for you are me and I am you. We are of the same body. When I criticize you, I criticize myself. When I tear you down, I tear down myself. We are in the same body; we are to do the same things. Let us suppose, for example, that I can do ten times as much as you can. If I tear down ten people like you, then I have rendered myself ineffective. For my sake I must not tear you down; for your sake, please do not tear me down. We are of the same body; we need each other. Many people in one day can tear down someone with more responsibility and influence and can do more harm in one day to the cause of Christ than the good they can do in a lifetime. The leader needs the follower. If he criticizes him and tears him down, soon his leadership is no longer effective. The follower needs the leader; in fact, we all need each other. Because I need you I must pray for you. I must not criticize you. I must love you. I must build you up. I must edify you, for you are me and I am you and we need each other.

Yes, I need you. I need your prayers, I need your help, I need your confidence, but if I know of no reason why I need you, we are still of the same body. For some reason unknown to me, I need you; and even if you are unknown to me, I need you. I do not know you, I do not know why I need you, but I do know that we are in the same body and I need you and you need me.

When one goes to the top, he must be pushed up from the bottom, not pulled up from the top. If I rise any higher, you must help me do it. If you rise higher, I must help you. Let us love each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, for you need me and most certainly, I NEED YOU!