Today Derek finishes this theme by addressing the need for believers to think and live under another government—the government of God. He challenges us, the church, to speak up in the midst of wrongs and present the truth of God's Word in every situation. Be a true representative, an ambassador of heaven.
If you’re married and if you’re planning to get married or hoping to get married, remember your wife should be your glory. Now I’m proud of my wife in many respects. You may have noticed she keeps her hair covered, head covered. Do you know why she does that? Because the Bible says to. One simple reason. It’s not fashionable. So what? Are we dictated to by the fashions of this world? What I’ll tell you is I think she looks pretty. But she doesn’t do it for that reason. She does it because God says to do it. And if I didn’t encourage her and strengthen her, I would be delinquent.
Now, this is not an issue about whether you cover your head or not; that’s your business, not mine. But the issue is are you really in submission to Jesus Christ and the Word of God?
If you’ve been Pentecostal, you know there’s a lot of talk about “the world” and “being worldly.” And so I want to just suggest to you a way to think about what it means to be of the world or not of the world. Because Jesus said, “My disciples are not of the world just as I am not of the world.” So, if we’re not of the world, what does that mean? And I’ll give you a little example. This is in Acts 17, in Corinth. As usual, there was a riot. When Paul arrived in a city you could guarantee a riot. And when he arrived in Corinth the Lord spoke to him and said, “Don’t be afraid. I have many people in this city. Stay here and I’ll see you through.” It says in Acts 17:5:
“And some of them were persuaded and a great multitude of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women joined Paul and Silas. But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace and gathering a mob set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason and sought to bring him out to the people.”
I wish we had a few more uproars, to say the truth. We’re too - I don’t know what to say. We don’t really make much impact. But anyhow, I want to come on to what they said:
“But when they did not find them [that’s Paul and his companions] they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, ‘These who have turned the world upside down have come here too!’”
Actually the Greek says, “these who are turning the world upside-down...” Is that true of you and me? Are we turning the world upside-down? Does the world even know we’re there? You see, they weren’t turning the world upside-down; the world was already upside-down. What they were doing was turning the world right-way-up. People had lived so long upside-down, they felt upside-down when they were right-way-up. But I want you to notice what they said, because these are unbelievers. This is the way they saw the Christians, without knowing what they really believed.
“These who are turning the world upside-down have come here too. Jason has harbored them and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar saying there is another king, Jesus!”
They didn’t understand the Gospel. They didn’t have any doctrinal knowledge. They only knew one thing about these Christians. They say there’s another king and his name is Jesus. And amongst those who said that, there were Jews and Gentiles, rich men, noble ladies, workers, and many slaves—a strange assortment of people who wouldn’t normally come together. And what brought them together was they said there’s another king and His name is Jesus. And that, I believe, is what it means to be un-worldly. To live in a way that acknowledges another king. And His name is Jesus. To live under another government. We’re not solely under the government of this world. We have a heavenly government. We have a heavenly king. And that’s what we should be.
Tell me, are you living like that? Are you living in such a way that people say, “Well, I don’t understand her religion, but she’s got a different king. She obeys different laws. She’s under different authority”—or he.
There’s another phrase that they use in America (I don’t know if they use it here). They say about a certain person “He marches to the beat of a different drum.” You see, all the world is marching to a certain drum beat, and there these strange people, they’re not in step. What beat do they hear? They’re hearing a different drum. The drum of the kingdom. People of God. Crazy! Fanatics! Do you know what the definition of a fanatic is: somebody who loves Jesus more than you do! I mean, there is such a thing as fanaticism which is very wrong, but I say, “Lord, give us a few more fanatics. Please.” We are so respectable. We are so much in line. We seldom raise our voice. All sorts of ungodly things happen and we don’t even protest. And the forces of evil just say, “Well, we can get away with it. There’s no opposition.” Opposition is not our primary task, but when we stand for the right, we will be opposition. And I think, I really think, the opposition will be afraid of us, to say the truth. When I see the amount of influence that a little group of homosexuals—and I never use the word gay, because for me gay is a very beautiful English word. And I don’t want to apply it to something so ugly. They’re homosexuals. They’re perverts. But when I see the influence that that little, screaming, hysterical group is exercising here in this country, I say, “What is wrong with the church? Why don’t we make a noise? Why don’t we act up?” We’re too respectable. We’ve forgotten that we have another king. And His name is what? Jesus. Say it again. Jesus. That’s right. Now say it just as loud in the marketplace next time!
Well, that’s been a strange message. It wasn’t the way I’d planned it, but that’s the way it came out. It can’t be changed now; it’s all recorded.
Now I think that we should try and give an application to this message I’ve preached.
For five years I used to train African teachers for African schools in Kenya. And they had a lesson plan that they had to submit. And always the bottom line was “Application.” What do you make the children do to prove they’ve understood what you’ve said. And I think sermons should have applications, too.
So I want to suggest that you pause for a moment and consider what I’ve been saying about what it means to be a man. Let alone a man of God. And then, if you feel, as I said of myself, that you’ve been delinquent; that you hadn’t really had a backbone—I don’t want to insult you, but you’ve been far below the standard of Scripture in being a man, in being a husband, in being a father, in being a pastor. But tonight you’ve been confronted with something. There is a standard. God has expectations. He’s never lowered His standards. He’s still the same as He was in the Garden of Eden and with the apostle Paul and the apostle Peter. He’s never changed. He’s still the same as He was with John Wesley. And you would like to say to the Lord, “Lord, I recognize I’ve come short of Your standard; and I repent. But by Your grace, Lord, by Your grace, I’ll do different. If You’ll empower me, if You’ll equip me, I will be a man.” That’s what the world is crying out for—is a man. Is men. Thank God for women who are doing things, but where are the men? And I’m not criticizing the women. There’s a vacuum and it’s created by men who are delinquent, who’ve abdicated.
So now, let’s just be silent before the Lord for a few moments. And now, there are men here tonight who have been touched by what I’ve said, who’ve come face-to-face with a truth, and you need to change. You’re willing to repent of your delinquency, from your laziness.