Date: July 20, 1997

Bible Text: Romans 12:1-2 |


Sometimes we can get wrapped up in an illustration or a story and we miss the spiritual lesson that God has for us.  I was in a camp preaching this summer down in Arkansas, and a lot of the kids would come up afterwards and say, “Oh, we liked your story.”  And I would always ask them, “What was the spiritual point of it?”  If you don’t get the spiritual point, the story or the illustration is wasted – it’s completely worthless.  And so I hope that you get the spiritual point of what I want to get across tonight, and that’s the idea that there is not one person in this auditorium tonight that God can’t use.  Not one of you.  I don’t care who you are; I don’t care what you’ve been through; I don’t care what your background is; I don’t care how smart or how dumb you are; how shy or outgoing you are – God can use you.  All you have to do is get to the place to where you are yielded to Him where He can use you.  And so I trust the message will be a blessing and of benefit to you.

Romans chapter 12 verse 1.  A very familiar scripture passage.  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”  I would like to call your attention to the last phrase here in Romans chapter 12 verse 1 where the Word of God reads, “. . . which is your reasonable service.”  And I’d like to preach tonight on the subject of your reasonable service before God.

Most of you here, or at least a lot of you, are familiar somewhat with a little bit of my background.  I was born and raised in Pennsylvania.  I was raised Roman Catholic.  I attended Catholic schools most of my life.  When I was out with the ensemble we went through my hometown, and I took them around and showed them the Catholic school that I had attended most of my life.  I got out of high school and was a very rebellious young person.  I didn’t want to take orders from anybody anymore, so I did the only thing that a rebel could do back in the mid-1960’s that didn’t want to take orders from anybody anymore – I joined the Marine Corps, amen?  Not real smart.  I spent a number of years in the military.  I just finished up almost two years on Paris Island, South Carolina, as a drill instructor when I got out of the Marine Corps, and it was shortly after that that I heard the gospel preached for the very first time in my entire life.  It shortly after that that I got saved.  The church that I was going to at the time – I went to church one day and a message was preached on Romans chapter 12 and verse 1, the text that I read to you tonight.  I don’t remember who the preacher was anymore.  I don’t even remember what the message was about.  But the Word of God grabbed ahold of my heart that day, and I remember going home, going up to my bedroom, opening up my Bible to Romans chapter 12 verse 1, and I read this text over, and over, and over again.  And up there in my bedroom that night, God began to deal with my heart about what He had done for me through salvation.  I thought about the fact that here was an almighty God – now you think about this – here was an almighty God that was willing to leave the glories of heaven to come down here on this old earth and die on the cross for our sins.  I don’t know about you, but I’ll tell you what, every time we think about what Jesus has done for us, we ought to get excited.  And then I thought about the fact that here is an almighty God that’s willing to use every one of us.  Do you ever stop to think that God really doesn’t need any one of us?  Do you ever think about that?  I don’t care how much talent you might have; I don’t care how dynamic a personality you might have; I don’t care how many PhD’s we may have strung after our name – the fact remains that God really doesn’t need any one of us.  But the fact that He’s willing to use us – we ought to count that a great honor and a great privilege.  Understanding, though, that someday each and every one of us is going to stand in front of God, and we’re going to answer to God for how we’ve lived our lives.  And then that day up in my bedroom – I’ve never gotten over it even to this day.  It’s kind of like the frosting on top of the cake.  I thought about the fact that because I’m saved – and because you’re saved, if you’re here tonight and you are saved – there’s going to come a day in our lives when we’re never, ever, ever going to have to worry about dying again.  Isn’t that a great thought?  You think about that.  There’s going to come a day in our lives when we’re never going to be sick or tired or hungry again.  There’s going to come a day in our lives when there’s going to be no more good-byes.  There’s going to be no more problems.  Someday, I’m even going to have a full head of hair again, Amen?  You can’t beat that!  I don’t think heaven can help Craig O’Hair; I think he’s a lost cause.  Now listen, I thought about all these things that God had done for me.  What He had done for me at Calvary, what He wanted to do for me down here on earth, and what He was going to do for me throughout eternity.  And I have to say that day up in my bedroom, as I thought it through, as I reasoned it through, I had to say to myself, “Yes, Lord.  It really is a very reasonable thing, isn’t it?  That whatever you want me to do, wherever you want me to go, whatever you want me to lay on the altar, whatever you want me to sacrifice, whatever you want me to give up, that is my reasonable service.”  And I have no right to ever gripe or grumble or complain about what God wants me to do, because of what He’s done for me at Calvary.

Here’s our problem:  we get right to the place in our lives to where we’re willing to maybe lay everything on the altar.  We get right to the place where we say, “Yes, Lord, I’m willing to go all the way.”   And right at that point in time, the devil is so good at slipping into our lives and saying, “Wait a minute, Christian.  Don’t you know that you can’t do those things that God wants you to do?”  Has he ever done that to you?  He’s done it to me many a time.  “Don’t you know that you can’t do those things?  You can’t be the soulwinner; you can’t be the Christian that God wants you to be.” You know what happens?  We believe the lie of the devil over the promises of God.  And we become content to waste years of our lives warming a pew instead of doing great things for God.  Folks, listen.  If you could ever understand and comprehend this, it would change your life.  Listen, so often as we go through the Christian life, if we’re not careful, we have a tendency of focusing on the negative, don’t we?  We have a tendency of focusing on all of our might.  “God can’t use me, look, I’ve got this here, I’ve got . . . .”  Listen, when God made you, He didn’t make any mistakes.  God made you exactly the way he wanted to make you.  You might say, “Well, Pastor Behrens, you just don’t understand.  I’m kind of shy, and I’m kind of backwards.”  God made you that way.  “But you don’t understand.  I’m not real smart.  I’m kind of slow, and I’ve got to struggle academically.”  God made you that way.  And all you have to do is get to the place in your life to where you’re willing to lay whatever God has given you on the altar – the pluses and the minuses.  Lay them on the altar, and let God take over.  And you know what happens?  Some of you here would be amazed; you’d be shocked at what God could do with what you consider so little.

I mentioned to you I was born and raised Roman Catholic.  I never held a Bible in my hand until the night that I got saved.  That was the first time in my life I ever held a Bible in my hand.  I was dating my girlfriend at the time – she’s my wife now – we were engaged to be married.  She was going to a state school up in northern Pennsylvania studying to become a school teacher.  And about once a week, I’d get in my car, drive the two hours north to visit with her, and then come on back home to southern Pennsylvania.  One day I got in my car, drove the two hours north, but little did I realize this time that about a week before she had gotten saved.  I drove to visit with her like I normally did, and because we were engaged to be married, we didn’t talk more than five or ten minutes when all of a sudden the subject of marriage came up.  I no sooner mentioned the word “marriage” to her when all of a sudden her head dropped, she got visibly nervous, and she looked at me and said, “Bill, we can’t get married.”  Now the first thing that popped in my mind was that she met another guy up there at school.  And I thought to myself, “We’ll find out who this guy is.”  (Smack)  Amen?  That is the way you handled things back in the old days, right guys?  Nowadays, most young guys would say, “That’s okay, you go right ahead.”  Not back then you didn’t.  And the first words out of my mouth – I looked at her and I said, “Who’s the other guy?”  She got more nervous, but finally she worked up enough courage to say, “Bill, there isn’t anybody else.  I got saved last week, and I can’t marry you because you’re not saved.”  That was the first time in my life that I ever heard that word used in that context.  I had no idea what that word meant.  But I knew that it had something to do with religion.  That one word just drips of religion, doesn’t it?  Saved.  It’s enough to get any grown, unsaved, reprobate man a nervous breakdown, isn’t it?  And it did me.  She threw that word – man, I tell you what, you talk about getting nervous!  But she no sooner threw the word at me when my mind began to race.  And I thought to myself, “I don’t know what she’s talking about; I don’t know where she’s headed, but if I can turn this thing around over the next three or four weeks, maybe I can get this relationship back to what I considered normal.”  And so in a matter of moments, I decided I would just string her along.  I went back home.  The next week I came back up and we didn’t talk more than five minutes when she threw this “saved” stuff at me again.  I was ready for it this time.  I smiled, nodded my head, acted like I was interested.  But as she was talking to me about this “saved” stuff, I was daydreaming.  I thought about going out hunting, fishing, whatever, anything but this “saved” stuff.  After about three weeks, I wanted her to think she was getting somewhere with me even though she wasn’t.  So I told her, I said, “Listen, you pick out any church at all and I will go with you to that church one time.”  Wasn’t that nice of me?  She got all excited.  She went to the phone book, went back to the Yellow Pages, and looked up churches.  She went down through the churches until she hit “Baptist Churches.”  She looked up a certain church and said, “Let’s go to such and such – a Baptist church.”  Baptist.  I had a problem with Baptists.  All my life I had been warned about the Baptists.  To this day I remember sitting in the Catholic classrooms and the nuns, one nun in particular – I still have nightmares about her – her name was Sister Andre.  Sister Andre carried a ruler.  And she used that ruler.  She would wack us on the back of the knuckles, wack us on the back of the head.  They called them the Sisters of Mercy.  Isn’t that a contradiction?  She’d stand up there in front of that classroom and she would say, “You kids, you stay away from those Baptists.”  And I’d stand there, I had no Baptist friends, none.  But I promised her that I’d go one time.  And so all that week I made my plans.  It was life or death to me.  All that week I made my plans as to what I was going to do, what I wasn’t going to do, everything like that, you know.  Sunday morning came.  I went over to the house and picked her up.  We drove over to that Baptist church, pulled in the driveway, parked the car.  And when she got out of the car, I grabbed ahold of her arm.  And I said, “Listen.  From the time we get in the back door of that Baptist church until the time we walk out, I’m holding on to this arm.”  And I said, “You better tell me what to do and what not to do, because I don’t want those Baptists to find out there’s a Catholic sitting in the middle of their church service.”  Let me just stop and say something here.  You know, we chuckle at that, but let me say this.  Unless you’ve been in that kind of situation, you will never realize how important it is to be friendly to a visitor.  You have somebody come out and they visit this church for the first time, I’ll tell you what else they are – they’re scared.  And just you being warm and friendly goes a long way toward getting them saved, folks.  Or at least having an open door to go visit them the next week.  But all that week I made my plans.  I grabbed ahold of her arm and I said, “You tell me what to do.”  She looked at me, smiled and said, “Don’t worry, Bill, I’ll tell you everything.”  Yeah.  Now the first thing she didn’t tell me was she had never been in a Baptist church herself.  She just wanted to get me in and get me preached to and get me saved.  We walked in the back door.  Here’s what my plan was.  I had planned on sitting in the very back pew row so that I could make a quick getaway right after the service.  Little did I realize, though, that she had made her plans.  We walked in the back door, we got right by the back row, I had ahold of her arm, and I made my move to move into the back pew row, and she just kind of grit her teeth and just kept right on walking.  Drug me a couple pews.  I caught up with her and in a very nice tone of voice I said, “Listen, we’re going to sit in the back today, okay?”  She looked at me as only a woman can look at her husband when she knows that she has you in public and there’s nothing you can do.  You know what I’m talking about, right guys?  “What are you going to do, Bill, we’re in public?”  You know.  And she looked at me and said, “We’re going down front.”  And she just kept right on walking.  We started to argue coming down the aisle about where we were going to sit in that Baptist church.  By the time we got about three-quarters of the way down the aisle, we had the full attention of everybody in that Baptist church.  We got about three-quarters of the way down and she figured that that was about as far as she was going to get me without me turning around and walking out the back door, and without any warning at all, she just shot in one of the side pews over here.  She did it so quickly that her arm slipped out of my hand.  Now, common sense should have dictated that I just move in right beside her, but I didn’t.  When I felt that arm slip out of my hand, I went into a state of shock.  I didn’t see what she did; I didn’t see what she didn’t do.  The last thing in the world that I wanted to do was make a mistake.  But just for a split second . . .   Folks, this was my first time ever in any other kind of church but a Catholic church.  When I felt that arm slip out, I went into a state of shock.  I was right there by the edge of the pew.  I automatically did what any good Catholic young person had been trained to do from the time they were little kids.  I very calmly knelt down and crossed myself and moved in.  Let me tell you something.  You could hear false teeth hit the floor that morning.  Some of those old saints had never seen anything like that in their life.  By the time I sat down, I felt like a porcupine in a balloon barrel.  I mean, everybody’s just kind of standing there looking at me; people whispering, etc.  Did you ever hear of instant sweat?  Sweat was just rolling off my forehead.  I knew I had made a mistake, but I didn’t know what the mistake was.  I just knew I made one.  Finally, things calmed down a little bit, and I sat there and I thought to myself, “Well, I’m here, I might as well see how the Baptist stack up against the Catholics.”  I’ll tell you what.  The first thing I noticed right off the bat was that Baptists didn’t have holy water.  I thought, “That’s weird.  How can you bless yourself is you don’t have holy water?”  I looked around a little bit more, and the second thing that I noticed was that there were no candles in the Baptist church.  I thought, “Man, how can you pray for the people down in purgatory if you don’t have candles up here?”  I looked around a little bit more and to my amazement, there were no statues.  And then to my utter shock, I looked around.   Normally the Catholic church has it right over here . . . .  I looked around and I thought to myself, “Where’s Mary?  How can you be a real church without Mary?”  I couldn’t believe it.  And then the one thing, the one thing that I’m even happy for today, was that the Baptist preacher didn’t wear a dress.  I would have had a hard time with that one.  But all of this was new to me.  We sat there, and I was taking it all in.  Little did we realize that out of all the churches in the world that she could have picked out, she picked out the one church that was having some problems.  There was somebody in that church that disliked that preacher.  Now that in itself is not unusual for a Baptist church, is it?  Why they stay, I have no idea.  But what this guy did was unusual.  This guy disliked this preacher so much that every week he would write this preacher a letter and accuse him of everything in the world, call him every name in the book.  He didn’t have the guts to sign his real name, so he always signed Mr. Anonymous.  That’s how he was known throughout the whole church.  And every Sunday morning from the pulpit – it couldn’t have been Sunday night or Wednesday night when we weren’t’ there – every Sunday morning from the pulpit this preacher would get up and read this letter to the congregation.  So here I am.  The first time ever in a Baptist church service.  I’m stacking the Baptists up against the Catholics.  This preacher gets up, holds this letter up and says, “I got another letter this week.”  The whole place went dead quiet.  He opened up the letter.  Listen, I was an unsaved reprobate, but I’ll tell you what, that thing even embarrassed me.  He got done reading the letter, he took the letter, slammed it down on the pulpit, stepped off to this side of the pulpit, took his coat off, and flung his coat across the auditorium.  All the heads just went (whew!) like that and watched that coat go sailing.  And then he stood over here and said, “Okay, Mr. Anonymous.  Wherever you are out there, come on up and let’s have it out right now.”  I couldn’t believe it.  I never saw anything like that in my life.  That morning in that auditorium, every head was straight forward.  Every eyeball was that big.  Nobody was even breathing.  I mean, you could have heard a pin drop.  The only person moving in that auditorium was me.  I don’t about you, but listen, I like a good fight, Amen?  I like a good fight.  I do.  I sat there, and I thought to myself, “We are going to have in this Baptist church an old-fashioned ring-court rumble, Amen?”  I thought, “Any minute now some guy is going to jump up, he’s going to come running down the aisle, the preacher is going co-caulk him, and we are going to have a brawl!”  And I got excited.  But nobody moved.  Nobody jumped up.  This preacher was so made that morning.  Apparently, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back that morning.  He was so made, he preached about a 20-minute message at this Mr. Anonymous, whoever he was.  That was the service.  He didn’t even hold the invitation.  He got done preaching at this guy and just stomped out the side door over there.  That was it.  After the door slammed shut, the people kind of looked around.  They realized the service was over with, and they started getting up and filing out.  We got up and kind of looked at each other and we started filing out.  We got in the car.  She got in the car.  I knew she was upset.  She sat in the car.  She was literally __________.  She figured that was her last chance to ever get me under the sound of the gospel and get me saved.  I knew she was upset, but I didn’t know what she was upset about.  We got about half-way home without saying a word and finally I turned to her and said, “Hey, that was a pretty interesting church service, wasn’t it?”  Wrong words.  She just looked at me and bawled.  What do you do with a crying woman?  You leave them alone.  She bawled all the way home and broke off the engagement.  Her dad took her back up to college.  All that week, no phone calls, didn’t come back down the next Saturday.  That next Sunday morning I got out of bed.  And as soon as my feet hit the floor, I said to myself, “Today may be the day when that Mr. Anonymous stands up.”  And I thought, “If I’m not there, I am going to miss one good fight.”  I like a good fight.  I got dressed.  On my own I went back to that Baptist church and walked down the aisle.  (I didn’t make the same mistake twice!)  I sat down, folded my arms, and I waited.  Sure enough, this guy gets up again.  “I got another letter this week.”  I sat down there and went, “Yes!”  I’ll tell you what.  I would have wasted my Sunday morning if that guy hadn’t had a letter.  I’ll you what, folks, this is a lot more interesting than the Catholic church service, Amen?  I’d go out to the Catholic church and the priest would get up and go, “Dominos nobius vun. . . .”  I would sit out there and say, “Ichlum spiritudo. . . .”  And then I’d go to sleep.  I mean, here in this Baptist church, it was a fight a week, Amen?   A lot more interesting!  Now you know what?  Listen, God works in unusual ways, doesn’t He?  If any of you would have gone to a church like that you would have turned around with good reason, walked out the back door, and never come back again.  But I believe with all my heart that God in His wisdom knew that something like that would keep on bringing somebody like me back again.  And even though there were all those problems, listen, I began to see people in that church that had something that I didn’t have.  I saw people in that church that had a peace and a joy that I’ve always wanted but I never had.  I saw people in that church that had an assurance about where they would go when they died, that I always wanted but never had.  And slowly God began to deal with my heart about my need for a Savior.  It was about that time when Pastor Voegtlin, when Preacher came to this little church in Pennsylvania, he thought he was coming to the perfect situation.  (Ha, ha!)  It wasn’t long after he came when this preacher resigned, and they made him intern pastor.  He got up behind the pulpit one Sunday and said, “Folks, I have no idea what’s going on here, but we need to get this mess straightened out.”  So he said, “Tomorrow night, Monday night, 7:00, we need to have a deacons’ meeting.”  I was sitting out there and I said to myself, “A deacons’ meeting.  That sounds pretty interesting; I’m going to come to that thing.”  I had no idea what a deacon was.  I never heard that word “deacon” before.  I didn’t know what the word meant.  The only deacon that I ever knew was Deacon Jones.  Remember him?  Deacon Jones.  He was a football player for the Los Angeles Rams.  And if anybody knows anything about the career of Deacon Jones, Deacon Jones loved to fight.

I went home that day.  By then I had noticed one thing about all Baptists – all Baptists carried Bibles.  Have you ever noticed that?  It doesn’t matter whether they’re backslidden or right with God, they all carry Bibles.  Black Bibles, red Bibles, blue Bibles, brown Bibles, rainbow Bibles.  I’ve seen come to church with two or three Bibles.  Why, I have no idea, but I’ve seen it.  I didn’t have a Bible.  But I knew where I could get one.  We had a Bible up in our attic.  It had been up there probably for 20 or 25 years.  All good Catholics have Bibles up in their attics for religious purposes.  This Bible that we had up in our attic was about that long, about that wide, about that thick, and pure white.  It was a big, old Catholic Bible.  It had been up there for years.  Monday night came.  I went up in the attic.  I got that big, old, white Catholic Bible out of the attic, dusted that thing off, put it under my arm, and I went to the deacons’ meeting.

To this day, my one regret in life is that I don’t have a picture of those deacons’ faces when I walked in that side door.  I walked in that side door with that big, old, white Bible – there were looks of shock, stunned, disbelief.  But none of them told me to turn around and go back home.  I walked in.  They were sitting in the first three pew rows over here, and I walked by.  I thought, “Man this is an awfully small meeting tonight.”  I didn’t know what was happening.  They were sitting over here, and I walked back and sat in the fourth pew row with that big, old, white Bible on my lap and I waited.  It wasn’t long when another car pulled up, the side door opened and Pastor Voegtlin walked in.  He walked over to this side and got a little podium.  He sat the podium up right over there in the church and got ready to start the deacons’ meeting until he look around and saw me sitting back there.  And he knew I didn’t belong.  And he stopped everything, pointed at me, and said, “What’s he doing back there?”  And I thought, “Uh-oh.”  Two of the deacons got up and brought him over to this side of the pulpit.  There they were talking to him that I had been coming out and was just visiting the church and stuff like that.  He left the two men, walked back to the fourth pew row, came to the edge of the pew, pointed at me and said, “Son, why don’t you come with me down to the basement?”  And I thought, “That’s where they get rid of the Catholics, down in the basement.”  I did not want to go down there with him.  But I picked up that big, old, white Bible and followed him down to the basement of that church.  And down there in the basement of that church that night, November 9, 1969, Pastor Voegtlin is the one that led me to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now follow with me.  After he got done leading me to the Lord, he had a narrow orange tablet with him, much like on what you would write a grocery list on.  He tore a page off of it, gave it to me, and had me write down the Romans Road.  The Romans Road, Preacher talked about that on Thursday night for those of you that are new Christians.  That what we primarily use as Christians to lead other people to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He had me write down the Romans Road so that I could review what I did when I got home.  As I was getting ready to lave that night, he stopped me again and said, “Bill, do you know how to find those verses in the Bible?”  I said, “Nope.”  I had no idea where to find those verses that he gave me.  He sat me back down.  He had to give me the book, the chapter, the verse, and the page numbers so that I could find those verses in the Bible.  I still keep that little orange slip taped to the back of my Bible even tonight.  It’s a reminder of two things to me.  Number one, somebody cared enough about Bill Behrens to tell him about Jesus.  Bill Behrens better care enough about others to tell them about Jesus.  I went home that night, let me tell you something, for the first time in my life, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I died I was going to heaven.  And I was excited.  Let me just say this too, folks, I didn’t know anything else about the Christian life.  If somebody would have come up to me and said, “Do you have standards in your life?”  I would have had to get a definition from him.  I didn’t know there was such a thing as standards.  If somebody would have come up to me and said, “Are you a soulwinner?”  That would have been a new word in my vocabulary.  I didn’t even know that word existed that night.  I just knew I was saved, I was on my heaven, and I was excited about it.  I got up in my bedroom that night and I couldn’t sleep.  I just kept thinking about what happened to me.  I was saved; I was on my way to heaven.  It got to be almost midnight.  And finally, I got out of bed and said to myself, “I’ve got to tell somebody what happened to me.”  I got dressed, got in my car, and drove across town.  In a little second-floor apartment, my sister and brother-in-law lived.  I got over there and knocked on the door and got my sister out of bed.  She opened up the door.  We went into the living room and I said, “Sit down, Patty, I’ve got something to tell you.”  She sat down, I took out this little orange slip of paper and I said, “Patty, Romans 3:10, page 886.”  Real smooth, huh?  Is that or is that not a professional soulwinner at work?  I read her Romans 3:10.  I said, “Patty, do you know what that verse means?”  (A staunch Catholic herself.)  I said, “Do you know what that verse means?”  She said, “What?”  I said, “That verse means that if you don’t get saved, someday when you die, you’re going to go to hell.”  That’s all I knew.  That was my theological interpretation for every verse in the Bible that night.  That’s it.  I turned her over to Romans 3:23, and I read her Romans 3:23.  I said, “Do you know what that verse means?”  She said, “What?”  I said, “That verse means that if you don’t get saved, someday when you die you’re going to go to hell.”  What I didn’t know was that my brother-in-law, Bobby, was in the bedroom listening.  Bobby is what I affectionately call our family hillbilly.  He was born and raised in Snow Hill, North Carolina.  He knew the language, but he wasn’t saved.  He got dressed, came out into the living room, walked up to me and said, “Bill, where did you all learn how to talk like that?”  I said, “Sit down.”  We got to the end, and I had no idea what to do with them.  I mean I knew that night that I had prayed the sinner’s prayer and asked the Lord into my heart.  But I’ll tell you what, that was the first time in my life that I ever prayed a prayer that was not memorized, and it scared me to death.  And I wanted to make sure they got the same salvation I got, and so finally I looked at them and said, “Listen you two, Sunday morning I’m coming by the house, I’m picking both of you up, I’m taking you over to that Baptist church, and both of you are going to get saved Sunday morning.  Do you understand me?”  They just sat there that night because it went like that.  I got back in my car almost 1:00 in the morning and went back over to my dad’s house, got my other two teenage sisters out of bed, stood them in front of the fireplace, went through the Romans Road with them, got to the end, and said, “__________ and Nancy, Sunday morning I’m coming by the house picking both of you up, taking you over to that Baptist church, and both of you are going to get saved Sunday morning, do you understand me?”  They just stood there and looked like that.  All that next week I went around and saw my friends, my neighbors, my relatives.  I said, “Did you hear what happened to me Monday night?”  They said, “What happened to you Monday night?”  I said, “I got saved Monday night, and we’re going to take care of you Sunday morning.”  Now listen to me, I didn’t know you were supposed to be scared about this soulwinning stuff.  In fact, I’ll go a step further.  You know what ran across my mind after I got saved?  I couldn’t figure out why Baptists kept this thing a secret so long to our shame.  I didn’t know you needed a 16-week soulwinning course before you were qualified.  You say, “Is there something wrong with that?”  No, there’s nothing wrong with that, but too many of us use that as an excuse.  I didn’t know you were supposed to pray the soulwinner’s prayer before you go out.  You say, “What’s that?”  “Lord, please don’t let anybody be home tonight.”  You know, if the truth be known, there’s a lot of Christians that pray that in spirit before they go out.  I just knew I was saved, I was on my way to heaven, and I was excited.  I called my ex-fiancé up and told here I got saved.  She was all excited.  We got re-engaged again over the phone.  She came back down the next week – we were dumb about this; we didn’t know any better – Sunday morning came.  We went house to house of everybody that I talked to that week.  By the time I got to that Baptist church, and we brought the people down the aisle, I had three pew rows of family, friends, and neighbors that followed me out that first Sunday morning.  I think it was something like 31 or 32 people that followed me out that first Sunday morning.  I brought them down the aisle, I put them right over here in the front pews.  We sat back on the fourth pew row; we were excited.  We had the service day, and at the end of the service, everybody stood heads bowed, eyes closed, nobody looking around.  I thought, “Here it is.”  They gave the invitation and not one person came forward.  Not one person.  I didn’t know what the problem was.  Not one person moved.  Finally, somebody said, “If nobody comes after this stanza, we’re going to close the service.”  And I thought to myself, “You’d better do something, bud.”  And I didn’t know you weren’t allowed this either in a Baptist church service.  But I made my way out.  I made my way out, I came down the aisle, I came right to the very front pew row.  When I got to the front pew row, I just went (snaps his fingers), like that.  I just snapped my fingers.  And when I snapped my fingers, everybody just looked up and I said, “First row, move it out, let’s go!”  You know what?  Ignorance really is bliss, Amen?  I didn’t know any better; they didn’t know any better.  They thought that was the way Baptists operated.  They put their songbooks down, we moved them over to here to the front, and we took them down to the basement, Amen?  I went down there and I said, “Second row, your turn, let’s go, come on!”  We took the second row down.  By the time we got to the third pew row, their songbooks were down, they were facing front.  Let me tell you something interesting.  Every one of those people that came out that Sunday morning got saved that Sunday morning.  And over the next three months I had literally dozens more of my family and my friends and my neighbors that got saved using this dumb, stupid, ridiculous, shallow, orange slip of paper.

Now here’s what I want to leave you with tonight.  If God can take a dumb, old Catholic that didn’t know the first thing about the Word of God, and he can use him to win his family and his friends and his neighbors to the Lord, He can use you, folks.  He can use you.  I don’t care who you are.  I don’t care what your background is, God can use you to be a soulwinner.  He really can.  We say that we believe that this book is the Word of God, do you believe that?  Do you really?  You know what, if you believe that this book is the Word of God then you have to go the next step.  You then have to believe that there’s a real heaven and there’s a real hell.  And if you believe that, then you have to go the next step.  You say, “What’s that?”  You believe this is the Word of God, you believe there’s a real heaven, you believe there’s a real hell, now here’s where you have to make it personal or everything I’ve said tonight is completely wasted.  Then you as a person, as an individual – make it personal – you have to believe that you have a mother, father, brother, sister, an aunt, an uncle, niece, nephew, cousin, you have a next-door neighbor, you have a co-worker.  And they’re going to die, and they’re going burn and scream in hell forever, and ever, and ever, if you don’t tell them about Jesus Christ and get them saved.  And I believe that because of that, I can stand up here tonight and I can point you back to Romans chapter 12 and verse 1 and ask you this question when you look at what hangs in the balance.  Think about that.  When you look at what hangs in the balance.  An eternity in heaven versus an eternity in hell.  Isn’t it just reasonable?  Isn’t it just the reasonable thing that you are the soulwinner and the example and the testimony that you ought to be?  You may sit out there tonight and say, “Well, I’d like to do it, but I’m just afraid that if I tried to witness to them, I’m just afraid that I’d mess them up.”  Let me tell you something.  You can’t mess them up any more than they’re already messed up, Amen?  They’re on their way to hell, you can’t get any more messed up than that.  You might sit out there tonight and say, “Well you know, if you just saw where I work.  Man, if you went to where I work, if you saw the guys that I work with, man you’d see real quickly they’re too hard to get saved.”  Let me ask you another question.  Who made you God?  Who made you the determiner of who’s going to go to heaven and who’s going to go to hell.  Our job is to give the gospel out and let the Holy Spirit do His work.  It is not our responsibility to pick and choose.  And once we refuse to give the gospel out for any reason at all, once you refuse to give the gospel out, then what you’re doing is you’re setting yourself up as judge, and you don’t have that right.  You could sit out there tonight and say, “I just know he won’t get saved.”  What you’re doing is you’re sending him to hell and you’re judging him.  How many times has your judgment been wrong?  Mine’s been wrong a whole lot.  Are you the soulwinner?  Are you the example?  Are you the testimony that you ought to be tonight for your Savior?