CAN A CHRISTIAN STRADDLE THE FENCE?
*****
(Various Texts:)

ONE OF THE FELLOWS THAT I WORK WITH AT THE POST OFFICE TOLD ME THE

OTHER DAY THAT HE HEARD SOMETHING ON THE RADIO, OR TELEVISION, (I FORGET

WHICH), THAT HE SAID REMINDED HIM OF ME. CURIOUS ABOUT THAT, I ASKED HIM

WHAT IT WAS. HE STARTED OUT TALKING ABOUT A "SUPER BOWL PARTY" THAT

WAS IN THE WORKS FOR THAT SUNDAY NIGHT OF THE GAME. I COULDN'T UNDER-

STAND WHAT THERE WAS IN RELATION TO THE SUPER BOWL THAT WOULD REMIND

HIM OF ME, BUT I GOT THE IDEA WHEN HE TOLD ME WHERE IT WAS TO BE HELD. THE

SUPER BOWL PARTY WAS SCHEDULED TO BE AT A METHODIST CHURCH IN KING-

SPORT. I GUESS HE WONDERED WHAT I WOULD SAY ABOUT THAT?

IT WAS EASY TO SEE WHERE THEIR PRIORITIES SEEMED TO LAY: I GUESS THAT THE

LEADERS OF THAT CHURCH HAD SEVERAL THINGS TO CONSIDER:

1. SINCE IT WAS SUPER BOWL SUNDAY, THEY FIGURED THAT MOST OF
THEIR MEMBERS WOULD LAY OUT TO WATCH THE BALL GAME, SO THEY
DECIDED TO BRING THE BALL GAME TO CHURCH TO GET THEIR CONGREGATION TO COME.

2. MAYBE THE LEADERS WANTED TO SEE IT THEMSELVES, SO THEY COULD DO BOTH. COME TO CHURCH, AND WATCH THE BALL GAME.

3. MAYBE THE PREACHER WANTED TO WATCH THE GAME SO HE COULD
COME UP WITH A NEW "SPORTS ILLUSTRATION" FOR HIS NEXT SERMON.

I WONDER IF THEY EVER HEARD OF A VCR? IT USED TO BE THAT IF THERE WAS A

PROGRAM COMING ON THE TELEVISION THAT I WANTED TO WATCH, I WOULD JUST

SET THE VCR TO COME ON AND RECORD IT, AND THEN I WOULD WATCH IT AT MY

CONVENIENCE. BUT IT MAY BE THAT VCR'S ARE OUTDATED, IN THIS DAY AND AGE

OF DVD'S: I DON'T KNOW IF THE DVD'S RECORD LIKE THE VCR'S OR NOT. I IMAGINE

THAT THEY WILL; ELSE HOW WOULD SOME FOLKS GET BY WITHOUT RECORDING THE

SOAP OPERAS, OPRAH, AND THE OTHER DAY TIME SHOWS THAT ARE SO POPULAR?

ALL IN ALL, IT IS TO ME JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE WORLD IN THE CHURCH.

PEOPLE TALKS ABOUT CHRIST'S RETURN AND WHEN HE WILL TAKE THE CHURCH

OUT OF THE WORLD: I WONDER WHO IS GOING TO TAKE THE WORLD OUT OF THE

CHURCH? THAT SEEMS TO ME TO BE THE BIGGEST PROBLEM THAT WE FACE.

SO, I GOT TO THINKING ABOUT ALL OF THAT, AND IT SEEMS TO ME THAT ALL TOO

OFTEN AS CHRISTIANS, WE TRY TO "STRADDLE THE FENCE," IN RELATION TO THE

WORLD. WE HAVE A TENDENCY TO BE LIKE THE ISRAELITES IN THE DAYS OF MOSES;

WE WANT TO GO TO THE PROMISED LAND, AND YET KEEP ONE FOOT IN EGYPT. IT

IS LIKE THAT MANY, MANY PLACES TODAY.

THOSE JEWS THAT MOSES LED OUT OF EGYPT WAS A WEAK, VACILLATING CROWD

THAT DIDN'T KNOW REALLY WHAT THEY WANTED. THEY COMPLAINED CONSTANTLY.

WHEN MOSES WENT UP INTO THE MOUNTAIN TO RECEIVE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS,

THEY GOT TOGETHER AND FASHIONED A GOLDEN CALF TO WORSHIP. THEIR EX-

CUSE WAS THAT THEY THOUGHT THAT MOSES WASN'T COMING BACK, SO THEY

MADE THEIR OWN GOD, OR RATHER, GOT AARON TO MAKE IT FOR THEM: WHEN

MOSES RETURNED, HE FOUND THEM DANCING AROUND THIS GOLDEN CALF, AND HE

LOST HIS TEMPER AND THREW DOWN THE STONE TABLETS ON WHICH THE VERY

HAND OF GOD HAD WRITTEN, AND BROKE THEM INTO PIECES. OF COURSE, IT ONLY

WENT DOWN HILL FROM THERE: THE EARTH QUAKED, AND THE VAST MAJORITY OF

THOSE INVOLVED WERE KILLED. BUT GOD SPARED A REMNANT. AND THEY WENT ON

FROM THERE: IT SEEMS THAT GOD WILL ALWAYS HAVE A REMNANT THAT HASN'T

BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL. EVERY GENERATION WILL HAVE SOME "TRUE CHRIST-

IANS," AND ALSO HAVE OTHERS THAT JUST "PUT ON A FRONT."

I DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVE EVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT OR NOT, BUT ONE OF THE

GREATEST PROBLEMS TODAY WITH THE CHURCH AS A WHOLE IS NOTHING BUT

OLD FASHIONED HYPOCRACY: AND I DON'T JUST MEAN THAT IN THE SENSE THAT

EVERYONE IS OUT TRYING TO APPEAR TO BE SOMETHING THAT THEY ARE NOT;

BUT THERE ARE TOO MANY CHRISTIANS TODAY THAT ARE TRYING TO "STRADDLE

THE FENCE." THEY WANT THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS. WELL, ACCORDING TO THE

WORD OF GOD; THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE!

IN II CORINTHIANS 6: VERSE 15, WE FIND THESE WORDS:

"AND WHAT CONCORD HATH CHRIST WITH BELIAL? AND WHAT PART
HATH HE THAT BELIEVETH WITH AN INFIDEL?"

THE WORD "CONCORD" COMES FROM THE SAME ROOT WORD AS COMES THE WORD

"SYMPHONY." IN OTHERWORDS, WHAT "HARMONY" HATH CHRIST WITH BELIAL?

AND, IN RELATION TO US, WHAT HAVE WE TO DO WITH AN INFIDEL?

THE WORD INFIDEL IS AN INTERESTING WORD TO SAY THE LEAST: IF I WERE TO DES-

CRIBE IT IN ONE OTHER WORD, IT IS AN "UNBELIEVER." IT IS INTERESTING THAT THE

WHOLE WORLD IS RUNNING OVER WITH "INFIDELS." FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU ARE A

CHRISTIAN, THAN A MUSLIM IS AN INFIDEL TO YOU. IF YOU ARE A MUSLIM, THAN A

CHRISTIAN IS AN INFIDEL TO YOU. THE BIG DIFFERENCE IN THE TWO IS THAT AS A

CHRISTIAN, YOU TRY TO "LOVE" A MUSLIM OUT OF THEIR BELIEF, AND A MUSLIM

TRIES TO "KILL" YOU OUT OF YOUR BELIEF. ONE WANTS TO GIVE LIFE, AND THE

OTHER WANTS TO BRING DEATH: QUITE A CONTRAST, IT SEEMS TO ME!

BUT THE BASIC OLD BIBLICAL DESCRIPTION OF AN "INFIDEL" IS ONE WHO DOES NOT

BELIEVE IN GOD." THAT GOES ALSO FOR HIS SON JESUS CHRIST. IF YOU DON'T

BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD, THAN YOU ARE AN INFIDEL,

AND ARE LOST IN YOUR SINS.

THERE IS A PLACE THAT WE CALL HELL;
TIS THE FUTURE HOME OF THE INFIDEL!

I HEARD SOME MEN ON THE RADIO THIS PAST SATURDAY TALKING ABOUT SIGMUND

FREUD: HERE WAS THIS GREAT MIND IN PHYCHOLOGY, AND PSYCIATRY, AND YET HE

WAS REPORTED TO BE AN AETHIST! ONE OF THE GREAT MINDS OF THE NINETEENTH

CENTURY, AND YET HE WAS SO BLIND THAT HE COULDN'T SEE THE HANDIWORK OF

THE GOD OF HEAVEN:

"THE HEAVEN'S DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD, AND THE FIRMAMENT
SHEWETH HIS HANDIWORK." (PSALM 19:1)

YOU SHOW ME AN AETHIST, AND I WILL SHOW YOU SOMEONE WHO CANT SEE THE

FOREST FOR THE TREES!

BUT GETTING BACK TO THE CHRISTIAN STRADDLING THE FENCE: WHAT DOES THE

WORD OF GOD SAY IN RELATION TO THAT?

JESUS SAID IN MATTHEW 6:24

"NO MAN CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS; FOR EITHER HE WILL HATE THE
ONE AND LOVE THE OTHER; OR ELSE HE WILL HOLD TO THE ONE AND
DESPISE THE OTHER. YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON."

AND JAMES SAID IN JAMES 4:4

"YE ADULTERERS AND ADULTRESSES, KNOW YE NOT THAT THE
FRIENDSHIP OF THE WORLD IS ENMITY WITH GOD? WHOSOEVER
THEREFORE WILL BE A FRIEND OF THE WORLD IS THE ENEMY OF
GOD."

AND YET TODAY WE ACCEPT ALL MANNERS OF WORLDLINESS IN THE NAME OF

TOLERANCE. THAT IS A WORD THAT I AM GETTING SICK OF HEARING. IN FACT, I

HAVE "NO TOLERANCE FOR TOLERANCE." MAYBE YOU FEEL LIKE THAT YOUR-

SELVES! ALL OF THIS POLITICALLY CORRECT RHETORIC IS NOTHING BUT PEACE-

FUL CO-EXISTANCE WITH EVIL: SOME FOLKS SAY THAT WE SHOULD ADOPT THE

VARIOUS DOCTRINES OF OTHER RELIGIONS: THEY SAY THAT THERE IS ROOM FOR

ALL OF THAT IN THE MODERN CHURCH: BELOVED, THAT IS TOO MUCH ROOM!"

FENCE STRADDLING HAS BECOME A WAY OF LIFE IN AMERICA. WE'VE BECOME A

NATION OF ACROBATS! IT IS AS THOUGH THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE

TRYING TO WALK A TIGHTROPE WITH THE WINDS OF FADS AND PUBLIC OPINIONS

BLOWING IN EVERY DIRECTION. YOU HEAR IT IN CHURCHES TOO. THERE ARE MANY

CHURCHES THAT HAVE GONE TO HAVING TWO SERVICES ON SUNDAY MORNING:

NOT BECAUSE THE CROWD HAS GROWN THAT LARGE, BUT BECAUSE THEY WANT

TO HAVE A CONTEMPORARY SERVICE FOR THE YOUNGER FOLKS, AND A TRADIT-

IONAL SERVICE FOR THE OLDER ONES: INOTHERWORDS, IT IS WHAT WE WANT,

RATHER THAN WHAT GOD WANTS! WE'VE FORGOTTEN THAT GOD IS THE AUDIENCE

AND WE ARE THE PERFORMERS. EVEN HOLLYWOOD HAS BETTER SENSE THAN THAT!

THEY MAKE THEIR MOVIES TO ENTERTAIN THE AUDIENCE, NOT THE ACTORS! NOW, I

KNOW THAT WE CAN'T JUST SEND GOD A LETTER AND ASK HIM TO TELL US WHICH

STYLE OF MUSIC TO PLAY, BUT THERE IS AN ANSWER TO THOSE QUESTIONS IN HIS

WORD, IF WE WILL LOOK FOR IT.

A GOOD RULE OF THUMB IS THIS:

"IF THE MUSIC, (FOR EXAMPLE), SOUNDS LIKE THE WORLD'S MUSIC, IT'S
WORLDLY MUSIC."

I DON'T CARE WHAT KIND OF LYRICS YOU PUT WITH IT, IF IT SOUNDS LIKE ROCK-N-

ROLL; THAT IS WHAT IT IS! YOU KNOW THE OLD SAYING: IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK;

LOOKS LIKE A DUCK, SWIMS LIKE A DUCK; QUACKS LIKE A DUCK; IT'S A DUCK, PURE

AND SIMPLE! A CHURCH SERVICE SHOULD BE A PLACE WHERE WE COME AND

ACTUALLY COMMUNE WITH GOD! WE TALK TO HIM, WE SING TO HIM, WE CONCEN-

TRATE OUR THOUGHTS ON HIM AND HIS PRECIOUS SON: WE HAVE THE LORD'S SUP-

PER, WE HEAR THE WORD PROCLAIMED, AND WE LEAVE HAVING FELT THE DESIRE

TO GO OUT AND TELL OTHERS: THAT IS THE IDEAL WORSHIP SERVICE! IT GETS BAD

WHEN WE HAVE TO HAVE A "TALKING HORSE" ON THE PROGRAM TO GET PEOPLE TO

COME TO CHURCH! ALL OF THIS "COMPROMISING WITH THE WORLD" IS JUST PLAIN

OLD "FENCE STRADDLING."

RELIGIOUS FENCE STRADDLING GOES ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE TIME OF THE 1ST.

CENTURY AND THE EARLY CHURCH:

TURN TO THE FIFTH CHAPTER OF ACTS: LET US START READING AT VERSE 34:

READ TEXT (VS. 34-41)

YOU REMEMBER THAT GAMALIEL WAS A GREAT JEWISH TEACHER AND PHARASEE.

HE WAS THE TEACHER OF SAUL OF TARSUS WHO LATER BECAME THE GREAT APOST-

LE PAUL! NOTICE WHAT HE SAID IN VERSES 38 AND 39:

"AND NOW I SAY UNTO YOU, REFRAIN FROM THESE MEN, AND LET THEM
ALONE: FOR IF THIS COUNSEL OR THIS WORK BE OF MEN, IT WILL COME
TO NOUGHT: BUT IF IT BE OF GOD, YE CANNOT OVERTHROW IT; LEST HAP-
LY YE BE FOUND TO FIGHT AGAINST GOD."

THAT IS PROBABLY THE BEST EXAMPLE OF RELIGIOUS FENCE STRADDLING THAT IS

TO BE FOUND IN THE WORD OF GOD! AT FIRST APPEARANCE, IT SOUNDS PRETTY

GOOD: IT SOUNDS ALMOST LIKE GOOD ADVICE: YOU MAY BE WONDERING, WHY IS

IT NOT GOOD ADVICE:

THE ANSWER TO THAT IS BECAUSE GAMALIEL SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. HERE

IS THIS GREAT PHARASEE, WELL READ ON THE SCRIPTURE; HAD PROBABLY MEMOR-

IZED EVERY PROPHECY THAT HAD EVER BEEN CONCERNING THE MESSIAH, THE ONE

WHO SHOULD HAVE STOOD UP IN PILATE'S HALL AND SAID TO THE VAST MULTITUDE

ASSEMBLED, "YE MEN OF ISRAEL, BE CAREFUL HERE: THIS MAN, COULD WELL BE

THE SON OF GOD; HE COULD WELL BE THE MESSIAH, I KNOW THE PROPHECIES, AND

HE HAS ALL THE CREDENTIALS! BE CAREFUL HERE! BUT, HE DIDN'T DO THAT! WHY?

BECAUSE HE WAS A FENCE STRADDLER! THAT'S WHY! AND AFTER MESSING UP THE

FIRST TIME AROUND, HE DOESN'T DO MUCH BETTER HERE IN ACTS CHAPTER 5. YOU

SAY, "WELL, HE MIGHT NOT HAVE EVEN BEEN AT PILATE'S COURT WHEN JUDGEMENT

WAS PRONOUNCED ON JESUS." THAT MIGHT BE TRUE, BUT IT IS HARD FOR ME TO

BELIEVE THAT ANY PHARASEE WHO WAS IN JERUSALEM AT THE TIME WOULD HAVE

STAYED HOME: IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. BUT, EVEN IF HE WASN'T THERE, HE COULD

HAVE SENT A MESSAGE. AFTER ALL, HE WAS THE GREATEST TEACHER IN JERUSA-

LEM, AND WHATEVER HE SAID WOULD HAVE BEEN AT LEAST CONSIDERED. MAYBE

HE WAS AFRAID OF CAIPHAS, I DON'T KNOW. MAYBE HE WAS AFRAID THAT TO TAKE

SIDES WITH JESUS WOULD HAVE DAMAGED HIS POPULARITY WITH THE PEOPLE. IT

SEEMS THAT CELEBRITIES FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE HAVE A TENDENCY TO "BLOW

IN THE WIND LIKE A FLAG;" WHICH EVER WAY THE WIND BLOWS, THEY ARE

"FLAPPING IN THAT DIRECTION."

FOR WHATEVER REASON, GAMALIEL MAY HAVE LOST A LITTLE OF HIS CLOUT BY

THE TIME THAT WE GET TO ACTS CHAPTER 5! THE REASON I SAY THAT IS DUE TO

THIS: IN THE 38TH VERSE, HE TELLS THEM TO

"REFRAIN FROM THESE MEN AND LET THEM ALONE."

BUT NOTICE WHAT VERSE 40 TELLS US; IT APPEARS ALMOST CONTRADICTORY WHEN

YOU DI-SECT THAT VERSE: IN THE FIRST PART OF THE VERSE, WE FIND

"AND TO HIM THEY AGREED:"

BUT, AFTER THEY CALLED THE APOSTLES IN, WHAT DID THEY DO? THEY BEAT THEM!

THAT HARDLY SOUNDS LIKE THEY "LET THEM ALONE." WHY DIDN'T THEY DO LIKE HE

SUGGESTED, AND LEAVE THEM ALONE? WHY DID THEY DO "PART" OF HIS SUGGEST-

ION, AND IGNORE THE REST OF IT? THERE'S ONLY TWO REASONS THAT I CAN THINK

OF TO SUGGEST AN ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION:

FIRST:

THEY HAD LOST SOME OF THEIR RESPECT FOR GAMALIEL, FOR WHATEVER
REASON, OR,

SECOND:

HE GAVE IN TO THEIR POINT OF VIEW:

I DON'T HAVE A CLUE WHAT HAPPENED, BUT I FEEL THE LATTER MAY HAVE BEEN

THE CASE. IT IS QUITE POSSIBLE THAT WHEN THE APOSTLES WERE BROUGHT IN,

THAT A DEBATE AROSE ABOUT JUST "TURNING THEM LOOSE," AND SOME OF THEM

WANTED THEM TO AT LEAST SUFFER A BEATING AS SOME FORM OF PUNISHMENT.

THE SCRIPTURES TELLS US THAT THEY NOT ONLY BEAT THEM, BUT THEY TOLD THEM

NOT TO SPEAK IN THE NAME OF JESUS. THERE WAS SOME "FENCE STRADDLING"

INVOLVED IN THE DECISION OF THE PHARASEES, BUT THERE WAS NONE WITH THE

APOSTLES! IN FACT, WHEN YOU READ VERSES 41 AND 42, YOU SEE QUITE THE OP-

POSITE:

"AND THEY DEPARTED FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE COUNCIL, REJOICING
THAT THEY WERE COUNTED WORTHY TO SUFFER SHAME FOR HIS NAME.
AND DAILY IN THE TEMPLE, AND IN EVERY HOUSE, THEY CEASED NOT TO
TEACH AND PREACH JESUS CHRIST."

SEE THE DIFFERENCE? ON THE ONE SIDE YOU FIND A BUNCH OF RELIGIOUS "FENCE

STRADDLERS," AND ON THE OTHER SIDE, YOU FIND A GROUP OF MEN WHO WERE AS

THE MIGHTY OAK; "THEY WITHSTOOD THE BLASTS OF PUBLIC OPINION AND DECISION

AND PERSECUTION, LIKE THE MIGHTY OAK IN THE MIDST OF A GREAT STORM." AND

TODAY, THEY HAVE LEFT AN EXAMPLE FOR US TO GO BY.

GOD IS NOT PLEASED WITH "WISHY-WASHY CHRISTIANS:" JESUS IS NOT PLEASED

WITH "WISHY-WASHY CHRISTIANS." SOMEONE ONCE WROTE A SONG, I THINK IT WAS

A COUNTRY SONG; THAT SAID THIS; "YOU MUST STAND FOR SOMETHING, OR YOU'LL

FALL FOR ANYTHING." WELL, TO CLARIFY THAT A LITTLE, THERE IS ONLY ONE THING

IN THIS WORLD THAT WE MUST BE STANDING FOR, AND THAT IS JESUS CHRIST! I

KNOW THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF GOOD THINGS IN THIS WORLD THAT WE MUST BE

WILLING TO STAND FOR, AND THERE ARE MANY BAD THINGS IN THIS WORLD THAT

WE MUST BE WILLING TO STAND AGAINST, BUT FIRST AND FOREMOST IN THE DUTY

OF A CHRISTIAN IS TO STAND FOR JESUS CHRIST.

WHEN YOU DO THAT, THE FIRST THING YOU WILL FIND IS THAT THERE WILL BE A LOT

OF YOUR FRIENDS THAT WILL BACK OFF OF YOU LIKE YOU HAVE THE PLAGUE! THEY

WILL RUN AWAY FROM YOU AS IF YOU HAVE SOME CATCHING DISEASE. IF CHRIST-

IANITY WERE A DISEASE, IT WOULD BE NICE IF EVERY ONE IN THIS WORLD WOULD

GET A TERMINAL CASE OF IT. BUT MANY FOLKS WILL RUN FROM IT, LIKE IT WAS

CANCER, OR SOMETHING: HOW MANY TIMES, IN HOW MANY CHURCHES, HAVE SIN-

NERS GRASPED THE BACK OF A PEW WHEN THE INVITATION WAS GIVEN, TO KEEP

THEMSELVES FROM MAKING THE GREATEST DECISION OF THEIR LIFE? ANY CHRIST-

IAN WOULD BE GLAD TO TELL THEM THAT WHEN THEY ACCEPTED CHRIST FOR THEIR

SAVIOUR, THAT IT WAS THE GREATEST DAY OF THEIR LIFE! THE SINNER IS SO HELL-

BENT ON NOT GIVING UP HIS SIN, THAT HE NEVER STOPS TO CONSIDER JUST WHAT

IT IS THAT HE'S GETTING. WE GIVE UP A LIFE OF SIN AND SHAME, AND THE FIRES OF

HELL FOREVER, FOR THE NAME OF THE SON OF GOD, AND A HOME IN HEAVEN; IT IS

STUPID TO DO ANYTHING LESS!

LET ME CLOSE BY GIVING THREE POINTS THAT WE FALL SHORT ON SOMETIMES AND

TAKE THE POSITION OF A FENCE STRADDLER; THESE ARE AS FOLLOWS: WE DO IT

IN OUR DUTY, WE DO IT IN OUR DOCTRINE, AND WE DO IT IN OUR DEVOTION:

THE DUTY OF THE CHRISTIAN IS LAID OUT PLAINLY IN THE GREAT COMISSION: WE

ARE TO GO INTO THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL. THAT IS THE DUTY OF ALL

CHRISTIANS. WE ARE TO PROCLAIM JESUS CHRIST TO THE MASSES.

"HAD WE BEEN PROCLAIMING CHRIST TO THE "MASSES,"
WE MAY HAVE AVOIDED SOME OF OUR "MESSES."

SOME OF THE LIBERAL IDEAS THAT ARE BEING PROPIGATED IN THIS LAND TODAY

MIGHT NEVER HAVE HAPPENED IF THE PEOPLE HAD BEEN EDUCATED BETTER

TOWARD GOD AND HIS SON JESUS CHRIST. THAT WAS OUR DUTY TO CARRY OUT:

THE WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE IF THE CHURCH HAD DONE A BET-

TER JOB OF THAT!

THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH IS ANOTHER THING THAT HAS SUFFERED AS A RE-

SULT OF STRADDLING THE FENCE: WHAT ONCE WAS "RIGID AND ABSOLUTE," HAS

BECOME "FRIGID AND OBSOLETE." THINGS HAVE BEEN "OMITTED" FROM CHURCH

DOCTRINE THAT WERE ORDAINED OF GOD, AND OTHER THINGS HAVE BEEN "ADMIT-

TED" TO CHURCH DOCTRINE, THAT ARE ORDAINED OF MEN. BOTH ARE THE PLAGUE

TODAY IN MANY A CONGREGATION.

THE DEVOTION IN OUR LIVES HAS ALSO SUFFERED TREMENDOUSLY. MANY IS THE

TIME THAT WE IGNORE THAT COMPLETELY DUE TO THE EVENTS OF WORLDLY PLEAS-

URES. HOW MANY CHRISTIANS ARE NOT IN THE LORD'S HOUSE TODAY AS A RESULT

OF THAT SORT OF THING: HOW OFTEN DO WE TRADE OUR "TALKS WITH THE LORD,"

FOR "WALKS WITH THE WORLD?"

YES, IT IS MIGHTY EASY TO BECOME A RELIGIOUS FENCE STRADDLER. TO ALLOW

OURSELVES TO BE CARRIED ABOUT WITH EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE: TO BE LIKE

THAT CHURCH MENTIONED IN REVELATION THAT HAD "LOST ITS FIRST LOVE." OUR

LORD PAID A TREMENDOUS PRICE FOR THE CHURCH THAT HE PURCHASED. SEEMS

TO ME LIKE WE SHOULD GIVE HIM OUR BEST, IN EVERYTHING. APATHY IS A GREAT

DETRIMENT TO THE CHURCH: WE CAN REACH THE PLACE THAT WE DON'T CARE

ABOUT SAVING THE LOST. WE CAN REACH THE PLACE WHERE WE FEEL LIKE IT IS

SOMEONE ELSES JOB TO SAVE SOULS. IT IS! BUT IT IS OURS AS WELL!

HOW ABOUT IT THIS EVENING? IS THERE ANY ONE HERE THAT HAS BEEN A "FENCE

STRADDLER" RELIGIOUSLY SPEAKING? IF SO, WOULD YOU RESOLVE TO QUIT THAT

POSITION AND STAND FOR CHRIST IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES?

MAYBE YOU ARE HERE TODAY, AND HAVE BEEN "STRADDLING THE FENCE" IN RELA-

TION TO BECOMING A CHRISTIAN: THERE IS BUT ONE WAY TO OVERCOME THAT

PROBLEM. YOU MUST REALIZE THAT THE ROAD TO HEAVEN AND THE ROAD TO SAL-

VATION IS PAVED WITH REPENTANCE. AND, IN RELATION TO THAT, YOU MUST BE

WILLING TO FORSAKE SIN AS WELL: PROVERBS TELLS US:

"HE THAT COVERETH HIS SINS SHALL NOT PROSPER, BUT WHOSO CON-
FESSETH AND FORSAKETH THEM SHALL HAVE MERCY."

IT DOESN'T DO TOO MUCH GOOD TO CONFESS OUR SINS TO THE FATHER IF WE

AREN'T WILLING TO FORSAKE THEM BY PUTTING THEM AWAY!

THEN, WE MUST BE WILLING TO ACKNOWLEDGE BEFORE MEN THAT JESUS IS THE

CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. BUT IT TAKES MORE THAN THAT: THERE IS A

DAY COMING WHEN EVERYONE IS GOING TO DO IT: WE CAN DO IT NOW, OR WE'LL

DO IT LATER! PHILIPPIANS 2: VERSE 10 TELLS US

"THAT AT THE NAME OF JESUS, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW, OF THINGS IN
HEAVEN, AND THINGS IN EARTH, AND THINGS UNDER THE EARTH; AND
THAT EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD,
TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER."

WHAT ME MUST DO IS NOT ONLY CONFESS HIM AS TO WHO HE IS, BUT BE WILLING

TO LET HIM BE THE "LORD OF OUR LIVES." LET HIM HAVE ABSOLUTE CONTROL IN

ALL THINGS:

THEN WE MUST BE BURIED IN CHRISTIAN BAPTISM. THE OLD MAN IS DEAD, WE BURY

HIM IN THE WATERS OF BAPTISM, AND HE ARISES A NEW CREATION.

AND HAVING RISEN A NEW CREATION, WE MUST BE WILLING TO WALK IN A NEWNESS

OF LIFE THAT WILL NEVER GROW OLD: IT IS WHEN THE "NEWNESS OF LIFE," BE-

COMES THE "OLDNESS OF LIFE," THAT WE GET IN TROUBLE. AS A CHRISTIAN, WE'RE

TO BE SOMETHING BRAND NEW.

OR, PERHAPS YOU WOULD LIKE TO REDEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO CHRIST. OR MAYBE

YOU WOULD LIKE TO BECOME A MEMBER HERE:

IF THERE IS A DECISION ON YOUR HEART TODAY, WOULD YOU COME FORWARD AS

WE STAND AND SING OUR HYMN OF INVITATION?

NO.________.

Br. C. R. Carrier