"TELL IT ANYWAY"
Several years ago, the great black preacher, Humphrey Foutz, was preaching in a gospel meeting at the all-black Azalea DriveChurch of Christ in Charleston, SC. One evening my brother (who preached for theEssex Village church in Charleston) and one of his deacons attended the Azalea Drive meeting. Five or six hundred people were present. Sid and Mac were ushered to the front pew where they were given choice seats, the only white folks in the building.
Foutz is preaching powerfully – walking back and forth across the platform, sweating, shaking, whispering one moment, bellowing the next. All the brothers and sisters are shouting "Amen," "Tell it," "Preach it, brother!" Sitting on a metal folding chair just in front of Sid and Mac is a little black man in his 20s or 30s who is really into the sermon. At a certain point, Foutz sort of winds down, gets real low and soft-spoken, and says, "Now brothers and sisters, you been "Amen-ing" everything I have been preaching. You been right with me, agreeing with everything I have been saying. But now I'm gonna tell you something you not gonna like…something you might not want to hear. You may not 'amen' me or urge me to preach it or to tell it…" At this point, the little black man in the folding chair, leaps to his feet, does a 360 degree turn, slaps his leg, and shouts, "Tell it anyway! Tell it anyway!"
I love the black brother's spirit. We need to listen to preaching that we like and agree with, but we also need to listen to preaching that we might not like or agree with at first. Faithful gospel preaching is not designed to just confirm us in what we already know and believe; it is intended to stir and challenge us concerning matters that we may not yet know, believe, or faithfully practice.
Someone said that preachers should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable! The apostle Paul urged the young preacher Timothy to "Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (II Timothy 4:2, KJV). Someone paraphrased that verse to mean: "Preach it when they like it and preach it when they don't like it." Paul himself declared that "I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).
In a day when people do not want their life-style disturbed or their beliefs challenged, faithful preachers of the gospel need to "tell it anyway." Consider the following:
* That Christ established but one church. (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 1:22-23).
* That baptism is involved in one's salvation from sin. (Mark 16:15-16; Acts2:38; Acts 22:16; I Peter 3:21).
* That baptism is a complete immersion in water of a repentant believer in Christ. (Acts 2:38; Acts 8:34-39; Romans 6:3-4).
* That when a person is saved from sins, he/she is added to the very church that Christ Himself established. (Acts 2:47).
* That God must be worshiped in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24).
* That Christians are not to forsake the assembling of themselves together for purposes of worship, fellowship, and encouragement in living a faithful Christian life. (Hebrews 10:25).
* That Christians are not to be conformed to this world, but rather they are to be transformed by the renewing of their mind. (Romans 12:2).
* That Christ gave but one reason for divorcing one's spouse and marrying someone else. (Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9).
* That Christ alone is the authority in religion, and the only head of His church. (Matthew 28:18; Colossians 1:18).
* That those who transgress and go beyond the doctrine of Christ as set forth in the New Testament do not have God. (II John 9).
* That Christians are to have the mind of Christ, produce the fruit of the Spirit, develop certain Christian graces, and make their calling and election sure. (Philippians 2:5; Galatians 5:22-26; II Peter 1:5-11).
August 30, 2011