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It was rather significant that this morning the opening song that we sang was taken from the 15th chapter of Exodus. The song of triumph that Moses and the people of Israel sang after they’d crossed through the Red Sea and then watched the waters come back and cover their Egyptian pursuers. The passage that I’m going to read this morning follows on immediately after that incident. The next thing that happened was that the prophetess Miriam took out a tambourine and led all the Israelite women in dancing and praise on the sands of the Red Sea. I think sometimes we read words and don’t sufficiently picture what’s involved. But conservative estimate placed the number of people of Israel at that time at two and a half million which means there must have been close on one million women capable of dancing. I think the sight of one million women praising the Lord—well, I mean, it really boggles the imagination, it’s hard to conceive what that would be like.
Incidentally, we also tend to overlook the age of the people involved. As I understand it, the prophetess Miriam at that time was 84 years old at least. So, none of you have reached retiring age here this morning. I think there’s one thing that helps to keep you young, it’s praising the Lord. And, praising the Lord in a pretty active way.
I’m going to read now the next incident. It’s remarkable how God deals with His people. There come moments of pressure and moments of tremendous difficulty, then great difficulties, moments of triumph and praise and we tend to take the attitude, “Now, everything is settled, that’s it. No more problems.” How many of you know it doesn’t work out that way? Just after the tremendous victory about three days later you’re facing a completely new problem, one that you never imagined could come in your life. This is how it was with the children of Israel.
I’m reading now in Exodus 15, beginning at verse 22. I’m reading the King James Version because in some of the particular points that I’m going to bring out it happens it’s much closer to the original than the modern translations. It isn’t always true but it is in this particular passage.
“So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.”
So after this great deliverance and victory, when it seemed all their problems were finally solved they went three days in the wilderness; men, women, children, cattle, all that they had, without any water.
And then they came to water, they saw a pool of water but this was a bitter disillusionment.
“And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.”
Which, in Hebrew, means “bitter.” Can you imagine the feelings of the people after three days without any supply of water? They come to a pool of water, stoop down to drink and find that it’s too bitter for them to swallow. In that situation, what would you have done? You don’t have to answer. I’m inclined to think that some of you would have done what they did, which was complain. As a matter of fact, it seems to me about two million people complained and one man had the sense to pray. The man who prayed got the answer. Complaining never gets you an answer, it’s just wasted energy.
“And the people murmured [or complained] against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? [Moses] cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet ...”
You find that, for instance, the New International Version says, “a piece of wood.” What you have to understand is that in Hebrew the word tree is used of a tree while it’s growing but it’s used of the same word after it’s cut down.
There happens to be at least one other language that I had to learn at one time of which that’s true. When I was in East Africa in Kenya in educational work, the general language used amongst the people there was Swahili. In the Swahili language there’s a word for tree. It’s ?ooti?. I don’t suppose there’s anybody here that knows Swahili. You’d be surprised, because it’s got around a lot. The word ?ooti? means a tree when it’s standing up and when it’s cut down. So, if you were going to build a log house, you’d built it out of trees. They wouldn’t be growing trees, they’d be cut down trees.
This is true in Hebrew. So, the Lord showed Moses a tree. Whether it was growing when he saw it or not we don’t know. But, if so, he had to cut it down. When he cast this tree into the waters, the waters were made sweet. It does not say the tree made the water sweet. In fact, I really don’t believe the tree made the water sweet. God made the water sweet, but casting the tree in was the act of faith that released the miracle-working power of God in those waters. You see, generally speaking, any miracle is triggered by an act of faith, something very simple. It doesn’t have to be very complex.
One of the ministries in which this is very apparent is the ministry of Elisha. Every time Elisha had a problem he did something apparently silly but it solved the problem. For instance, he was with a group of people and they were eating some food and they discovered it was poisonous and they were all going to be dead if they didn’t do something. He said, “Bring me some meal.” Some flour. And he threw the meal into the pot and the food was all right. The flour didn’t make the food all right but that simple act triggered the miracle-working power of God which made the food all right.
Then another time he was near the city of Jericho—and those of you who have ever made a tour to Israel have always been shown this place. There was a spring of water there but the water was bad, it didn’t make the ground fruitful, it was kind of bitter or saline water. So, they said to Elisha, “We like the place, it’s a beautiful place but the water is no good.” Elisha said, “Bring me a cruse of salt.” And he threw the salt into the water and when the salt entered the water the water became sweet and drinkable. And it still is today. Every tour group is taken to see what they call Elisha’s Spring. So, for something like 2,700 years that testimony has stood of what happened when Elisha threw the salt into the water.
The salt didn’t make the water drinkable. In fact, salt never makes water drinkable, does it? But, it was the act of faith that released the miracle-working power of God into the water.
And on another occasion with Elisha, he and the sons of the prophets were down on the bank of the Jordan, they were cutting down trees to build a house, an extension to the Bible school, and one man had a loose axe head on the shaft of his axe and as he was using it the axe head flew off, fell into the water and sunk to the bottom of the Jordan. Now, if you’ve ever been in the Jordan you’ll know that it’s a very muddy river. It’s probably got about three or four inches of soft, black mud at the bottom. So, it didn’t just lie on the sandy bed of the river but it sunk right down into the mud and there was no way to recover it. The young man came to Elisha and said, “I’ve got a real problem. I was using this axe and it isn’t even mine. It was borrowed and now I’ve lost it.” Elisha said, “Give me a little piece of wood.” They gave him a piece of wood and he threw it into the river and the axe head came up and floated on the surface.
The piece of wood didn’t make the axe head float, but throwing in the piece of wood released the miracle-working power of God which made the axe head come to the surface.
You think that’s out of date? No, it isn’t. Jim Croft and I have a friend—I don’t know why it came to my mind to tell you this story and I’ve got to be rather careful how I relate it because life in East Africa is in some respects a little more crude than it is in the United States. Anyhow, Silas Oweetee is a precious black brother, a member of the Luo tribe in western Kenya and one of the most faith-inspiring and godly men that I know. A good many years back, probably in the early 1950s he was sovereignly brought to the Lord in a very supernatural way. I don’t think I’ll go into the details of that. After he came to the Lord a sort of fountain of faith was released in him and things began to happen. He himself told me this story.
He was comparatively poor but an Indian friend—in East Africa there are Indians, there are Africans, there are white people. An Indian friend lent him a rather expensive fountain pen. He was carrying the fountain pen in his pocket and he went to the bathroom—in Swahili they call it a ?cho?. It’s not a water closet, it’s just a deep, deep hole in the ground. And, while he was there the pen slipped out of his pocket and into the hole. Now, what would you do? Well, he did what Elisha did, he just cut down a little piece of wood, threw it in, up came the pen! I believe every word of Silas Oweetee, he’s the most honest man I know.
So, when you have a problem next time, remember there’s a simple act of faith that can release the miracle-working power of God. Faith without works is dead. If you don’t do anything, you don’t have faith. I often find when I’ve prayed for people with arthritis, I know they’re healed but they don’t know they are so I say, “Now look, you can sit there forever in that chair and you’ll never know you’re healed. Get up and walk.” Sometimes they look at you incredulously but the moment they start to act, the miracle-working power of God is manifested.
So, here’s a deep, scriptural principle that we find early on in the Bible. When you have a problem that you can’t resolve but you want the miracle-working power of God to move in on that situation, God will show you a very simple act of faith that will release the power of God into that situation.
Going on at verse 25:
“[Moses] cried unto the LORD; and the LORD showed him a tree, which when he had cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet ...”
Another thing strikes me there is that if you’re going to act in faith you’ve got to let it be known. I don’t know whether it’s ever struck you that God told Moses to throw the tree into the water. I could picture some people who didn’t have total faith would have said, “Well, I’ll see if this thing works. I’ll wait till it’s dark and I’ll tiptoe down to the edge of the water and I’ll just slide the tree in. If it doesn’t work, nobody will know I ever tried.” God didn’t approve that method. He said, “You stand there in full view of everybody and look like an idiot.” That’s right.
There’s nothing that inhibits our faith more than the fear of looking foolish, isn’t that right? A lot of times people will not move out in faith because they think “I might look a fool.” But Moses was willing to look like a fool. He took this piece of wood, this tree trunk and threw it into the water with a splash. Everybody could see, everybody could hear. But, the result was everybody could drink.
Now, God used that incident to teach Israel a deep truth about healing. Then it says, going on in verse 25:
“... there he [the Lord] made for them a statute and an ordinance ...”
A statute is a kind of regulatory law as to how their life was to be conducted as a people. An
ordinance is a particular way of doing things. Who can think of an ordinance in the New Testament church? I know of at least three ordinances, three prescribed ways of doing things in the New Testament church. One is water baptism. There’s a prescribed way of admitting people into the fellowship of God’s people, baptizing them in water. One is the Lord’s Supper, that’s an ordinance. There’s a prescribed way for God’s people to meet together and feed in Spirit on the body and blood of the Lord and proclaim that covenant in the blood of Jesus. The third is anointing the sick with oil. James 5:14: “Is any sick among you, let him call for the elders of the church, let them anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
Now, there’s another example of an act of faith. No one suggests that the oil heals the sick any more than the tree healed the water. But it’s an ordinance, it’s a specific way of doing things which proclaims your faith and releases the miracle-working power of God into that situation.
So, you see, under the Old Covenant with Israel there were many statutes, many ordinances. Life was pretty complicated. Almost everything was governed by some kind of an order. In the New Testament church the situation is somewhat different. There’s a much greater measure of liberty, there’s much less prescribed action but there are certain statutes and ordinances for us also in the New Covenant.
Now, this was the statute and the ordinance, verse 26:
“[The LORD says:] If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do what is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”
Let’s look at that last statement first. “I am the LORD that healeth thee.” In Hebrew the word “that healeth thee” is precisely the word in modern Hebrew for a doctor. So, if the Lord were speaking modern Hebrew, what he would be saying is, “I am the LORD, your doctor.” It’s got a precise a meaning as that. It doesn’t have a spiritual meaning; it’s got a physical meaning. God specifically reveals Himself to His people as our doctor. I wonder whether we’ve really absorbed the full impact of that revelation? “I am the LORD, your doctor.” Israel didn’t ask for this revelation, God Himself sovereignly gave it to them. God determined to be the doctor of His people. He determined to take responsibility for their physical health.
It’s very clear that the whole import of it is physical because He said, “I will not permit any of the diseases of Egypt to come upon you. “We’re not talking in the spiritual frame at all, the whole thing is on the physical level. God said, “If you will accept Me as your doctor, I will preserve you from all the sicknesses that you saw for so many years in Egypt.” Those of us that have been in Egypt—and I spent two years in Egypt—I doubt whether there’s any major sickness that isn’t represented in Egypt. If ever there was a country of sicknesses, it’s Egypt. So, when God said, “You remember all the sicknesses you saw in Egypt. I won’t allow any of them to come upon you. I am your doctor.”
Now, there is no human doctor that would ever dare to make that claim. Isn’t that true? Thank God for good doctors, but I don’t know a single doctor that could say to his patients, “If you will let me take charge of your case all these diseases will never come upon you.” You see, I don’t think we fully appreciate what God is saying to us. I think we tend to approach the Bible with our own preconceptions. We got a kind of idea of how far we think God might be prepared to go and after that, well, we’ll do our best.
I didn’t really relate in my testimony last night how the Lord taught me about divine healing. At least, I didn’t go into it in detail. I did quote that verse in Proverbs 4:20–22.
“My son, attend to my words, incline thine ear unto my sayings, let them not depart from thine eyes, keep them in the midst of thine heart.”
Those words are very close to what the Lord said here to Israel. Let me read these words again. He said:
Some people just pass by that little word “if.” God says, “I will do so and so if you will do so and so.” After awhile it doesn’t work and we say to God, “Well, you didn’t do so and so.” God says, “You forgot the little if. If you will do so and so then I will do so and so.” God says:
If thou will diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God ... The phrase “diligently hearken” in Hebrew is a repetition of the word listen, which is one of the ways that Hebrew emphasizes a specific word. “If you will listen listening to the voice of the LORD your God.” You will find almost all through the Bible where it’s a question of physical healing and health, the primary condition is what we listen to. God says, “If you’ll listen listening to the right thing.” What’s that? The voice of the LORD your God.
When I was in hospital seeking God for healing I found this passage amongst many others. I said to God, “What does it mean to listen listening?” I believe He answered me. “I gave you two ears, a right ear and a left. To listen listening is to listen to Me with your right ear and your left.” I realized later how many people listen to God with their right ear and somebody else with the left. If you listen to God with both ears, the result is faith. But if you listen to God with one ear and maybe the devil with the other, do you know what the result is? It’s confusion, not faith. God says, “If you listen to My voice and do that which is right in My sight, when you hear My voice, you’ll obey Me and you’ll give ear to His commandments.” Notice it comes back again to the ear. And in Proverbs 4, “incline thine ear to my sayings.”
And again, the Lord dealt with me about that. I told you how I was reading the Bible through underlining in blue everything to do with healing, health, physical strength and long life. I just couldn’t believe what I was reading. Because, with my background in Europe—and in the Anglican Church in England particularly—and I have to say that basically the European attitude to Christianity is it’s a kind of outmoded relic from primitive days. It’s estimated less than three percent of people in Britain regularly attend any kind of church at all. For people in Europe, by and large, Christianity is a historical relic. It left a lot of churches and abbeys and cathedrals. People go there with a guide and pay so much and there’s a little box somewhere that says, “Please help us keep this building going. Your gifts are needed.” But the average European has no concept that Christianity has got anything relevant to say to us today.
I didn’t realize it, but a good deal of that attitude was already in me. My attitude was: Well, there are some people who are Christians but really, the kind of people who couldn’t succeed in life anyhow and this is their consolation for failure. That’s what I thought a Christian was. I was pretty confident that I was going to succeed and I didn’t need a consolation for failure—in those days, let me say.
So, when I read all these remarkable promises especially in the book of Proverbs of wisdom: “Length of days is in her right hand, prosperity is in her left. You will not stumble, you’ll live to be a good old age. It will be health to your marrow, strength to your bones. You’ll have abundance.” I thought to myself, You know, I can’t be understanding that right because it looks as though God really wants me to be happy, successful and prosperous. I thought, That isn’t the way religion is, that isn’t what religion is.
So, after I’d been struggling with this for quite awhile sitting there in the bed, the Lord one time spoke to me. Inaudibly but very clearly. He said, “Tell me. Who is the teacher and who is the pupil?” I said, “Lord, you’re the teacher and I am the pupil.” He said, “Well, would you mind letting Me teach you?” I realized that I was not listening to what God was saying because I had my own preconceptions of what I thought probably God would say. Do you know? My conviction is the majority of people in our Western culture read the Bible that way. Their ears are stopped, they have their own prejudices and preconceptions and denominational background and they are not able to hear what God is saying. God says, “If you will listen diligently, if you will listen with both ears.”
There are many of you here this morning that are not living in the fullness of the provision of God. The main basic reason is you can’t even hear what God is saying to you. Maybe you’ve heard a doctor’s verdict. Such and such is so, it will never change. You know your problem? You’re listening to God with the right ear and to the doctor with the left. I respect doctors. If I go to a doctor I listen carefully to what he says. But when it’s all over, I make up my mind, Am I going to believe the human verdict? or am I going to believe the divine promise?
I worked as a medical orderly for five and a half years in the British Army; I know doctors well, I worked with them. And I respect the achievements of medical science. But I just want you to know that God is on a higher level than medical science. God says, “Whatever you ask, I’ll do.” You ask God for something that doesn’t exist, what happens? God says, “I’m obligated to create it, there’s no alternative.” The simplicity of the promises of God! We’ve got it so confused. Do you know the way to eliminate confusion? Start listening to God with both ears.
Take a mental fast for a month. Except where it’s necessary for your employment don’t read anything but the Bible. You’ll miss out on the news but you’ll find at the end of a month things are much the same as they are now. I mean, every day we think something tremendous is going to happen that’s going change everything, but a month later, although the thing was tremendous, the situation basically is still the same. Take a fast for your eyes. I’m just giving this as a suggestion. Just don’t sit in front of a television quite so long quite so often. Faith cometh by hearing the Word of God. It does not normally come by watching television! I say that because there are television programs that can inspire faith. I think there were probably some on the television this morning. I’m certainly in no sense downgrading those.
Basically, what most of you people here this morning need is to take a lot more time listening to God. I’m not excluding myself from that category. We simply underestimate that God means what He says when He says, “If you will very carefully listen to My voice, I’ll be your doctor and you won’t have any of these physical problems that came upon the people of Egypt.” You know, frankly, most of you sitting now are thinking, “That’s too good to be true!” That’s your attitude. We’ve got to be reasonable; we’ve got to be realistic. Let me tell you there is no more realistic person in the universe than the Holy Spirit. He is far more realistic than we are. We’ve got all sorts of fancies and prejudices and emotional hang-ups and the Holy Spirit comes along and tells it like it is. It’s hard for us to receive. I’ve been praying for God to enable me to accept the Holy Spirit’s evaluation of people and situations instead of trying to read my thoughts into them.
God says, “If you will listen listening to the voice of the LORD your God.” Of course, He has to be your God. You have to have a committed relationship with the Lord or this promise doesn’t apply. And you’ll do what He tells you to do and you’ll give ear to His commandments. How many of us have dealt with people, we tell them what to do and they go off and do what they want to do? They come back and say, “I did what you told me.” You say, “I never told you to do that. I asked for three carbon copies, not fifteen.” Why didn’t they do what you told them? Not because they didn’t want to, but because they didn’t hear you. Why didn’t they hear? Because they’ve got their mind already made up what you were going to say.
I don’t know that God wants me to go much further this morning than just this. If you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God. Believe me, brothers and sisters, I’m pointing my finger at you but I’m also pointing it at me because I realize as I stand here before you that there’s a whole lot more in God that is available than any of us are enjoying. The problem is we don’t spend enough time listening to the voice of the Lord.
Let me just say one thing about that tree. I believe that tree has a deep meaning. Let me just read to you another passage about a tree in 1 Peter 2:24. You’ll see the word tree occurs in this verse. And again you will understand that the tree here is the cross and you’ll realize that it was not a growing tree. I’m sure maybe you’ve wondered sometimes why the Scripture says that Jesus died on a tree. It’s because of that use of language which I explained in Hebrew which is parallel to Swahili that it’s a tree whether it’s growing or whether it’s cut down. Every time in the Scripture I read about a tree I’m always open for an insight into the cross. So, Peter says here speaking about Jesus:
“[He,] his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
That tree is the cross.
Let me relate something that happened. When I begin to think about a certain period in my life my mind tends to go back there. I mentioned this morning about the time I spent in Kenya in East Africa. I’m thinking now about the situation while I was there in educational work and also in preaching, I was invited to hold a week of Bible teaching in a certain African village or township about 15 or 20 miles away from where we were living. I went out every day, seven days in a row, starting on a Monday and taught these Africans through an interpreter. Every day at the end of my teaching I asked those who were sick and wanted prayer to stand up. Believe me, in Africa there’s never any shortage of sick people! I don’t think there is in America either. Every day I saw a certain African woman who was blind who was led to the meeting by a boy. Every time I said, “Would those who are sick and want prayer stand up,” she stood up. Every time after prayer she was still just as blind as before we prayed. The last morning, which was a Sunday, I was on my way to the final meeting and I was meditating on what I would preach about and I decided I’d preach on 1 Peter 2:24, this verse I read to you—which, to me, in a certain sense, is the very heart and core of the gospel message.
Then I thought to myself, most of the people I was preaching to are illiterate, they can’t read or write. How will they ever understand anything so profound as this truth? The Lord began to speak to me and said, “The things in that verse are just the things these people do understand. They’re the things they have to live with. Sickness, pain, death, life. That’s their life. When you get into some other area they can’t follow you, but in this area they can.” I memorized this Scripture out of the King James years and years ago and so the Lord said to me while I was driving the car, “Why don’t you check on the number of syllables in each word in that verse.” Do you know what I discovered—and you can check for yourself. In the King James Version there are 23 words in that verse. Nineteen are words of one syllable. Three are words of two syllables and there’s one word of three syllables which is the word righteousness. God said to me, “There isn’t anything that could be simpler than that.”
It isn’t simplicity that’s the problem, it’s confusion. Now let’s listen to what it says.
“He himself [Jesus] bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes [or wounds] ye were healed.”
Notice that last statement. Every word is a monosyllable. “By whose wounds you were healed.” Anybody could understand it. It’s not understanding it that’s the problem, it’s believing it.
Let me tell you what happened. I arrived there that final Sunday morning. Being a Sunday there were more people available. There were too many for the church so they moved out onto a grassy hillside and I spoke there. I preached on this text, did the same thing at the end and said, “Those of you that want prayer for healing, stand.” I closed my eyes, prayed just the same kind of prayer. I knew that blind lady was there, I saw her stand up. When I opened my eyes, do you know what I saw? I saw her walking forward on her own to show the people that she’d been healed. Praise God!
I cannot say how much I respect a woman who would stand up every time, seven times in a row and not stop because nothing happened the first six times. I would have stopped. I was almost sorry to see her stand up, but God honored her faith. Praise the Lord!
Now, that’s the tree. That’s where it all happens. That’s where every human problem was resolved once and for all. God doesn’t have a lot of different answers to our problems, He’s got one answer. It’s the cross. That resolves the relationship between God and man, it resolves the relationship between man and man, it solves our spiritual problems, our physical problems, our financial problems, our emotional problems. They’re all solved at the cross. Jesus took our sicknesses, He bore our infirmities, He became poor with our poverty that we might be rich with His wealth. He endured our rejection that we might have His acceptance. He died our death that we might have His life. He bore our griefs that we might have His joy. Every human problem that has ever happened is solved through the cross—if we believe.
Now, go back to that incident in the history of Israel. They’ve arrived at the water, they’re thirsty, they’re discouraged, things seem to have gone wrong. When they stoop to drink of the water, it’s bitter, and that’s the worst disappointment of all. It would have been better to have no water at all than have water that you can’t drink. But one man prayed. God says, “There’s a solution. Take that tree, throw it into the water,” and the tree thrown into the water made the water sweet. To me, that’s a picture of human life. I don’t care who you are, how educated, how wealthy you may be. And there are probably not many too extremely wealthy people here this morning. But if there are, please know you’re accepted, we won’t turn you away. But whoever you may be and whatever your background, if you’re more than 20 years old, I’ll guarantee that you’ve come to a place where you wanted to drink and the waters were bitter. Isn’t that right?
People sometimes think that childhood is such a happy time in your life. Well, thank God for those who are happy. But I’ll tell you, because of my particular family situation and maybe my personality, I endured some tremendous inner conflicts and agonies before I was 15 years old. Loneliness, bewilderment. In Europe, in England and in most other European countries, on Sundays even now the church bells ring. It’s a familiar sound all over the country. I can remember as a boy not older than 10, I dreaded the ringing of those church bells. Do you know why? Because somehow, in a way I couldn’t define, they spoke to me about something in life that was missing in my life. They spoke to me about eternity. And somehow I knew that whatever they were saying, I wasn’t ready for. They brought a kind of melancholy over my soul every Sunday morning.
Now, I only relate that because you don’t have to be very old before you’ve tasted waters that you wish you could drink but you find them bitter. Isn’t that true? If I were to ask—and I’m not going to— how many people here have never come to a place in their lives where the water they drank was bitter, there wouldn’t be many that would raise their hands. I want to tell you God has a remedy. The remedy is the cross. It’s in what Jesus did on the cross on our behalf. He resolved every human problem.
Some of the declarations of Jesus are so sweeping He either had to be the Son of God or a lunatic, there was nothing in between. “Come unto me all that labor and are heavy laden. I will give you rest.” Nobody ever proved Him wrong. To me, that proves He was the Son of God. He made the most sweeping assertions and no one ever proved Him wrong. He never said a thing that He didn’t deliver on. He never exaggerated, He never held out false hope, He never painted unreal pictures. One of the cries of the current generation is, “Tell it like it is!” To me, that’s the sweetest words that a preacher could ever hear.
Tell it like it is. The message of the gospel tells it like it is. It tells man what he is, what his problems are, how desperate his need is, and it doesn’t spare his feelings or his pride but it comes up with an answer that works. I thank God for the cross. I think I understand a little of what Paul meant when he said, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul was a highly educated, very intelligent man. But he said, “I’m not going to talk about my education, my religious background, my racial inheritance. The only thing I want to boast about is the cross because that’s the place where every human problem is resolved.”