Reach Them While You Can
by Dr. Darrell Cox
Darrell Cox is the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Mocksville, North Carolina.
“Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:33-35)
This is a story where Jesus told the disciples that He needs to go through Samaria, and Jesus went through Samaria and took the disciples with Him. Of course, that wasn’t the most popular place to go. The Samaritans didn’t like the Jews and the Jews didn’t like the Samaritans, but Jesus said, “I must needs go through Samaria.”
As He sat there at Jacob’s well, it says in verse 6 in the heat of the day, the disciples went to go get food to bring back, and as Jesus sat on the well, a woman came through with a water pot to draw water. Jesus asked that woman for a drink of water. He knew how to get a soulwinning conversation going, didn’t He? He said, “I would like to have a drink of water.”
She said, “You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan, for water?”
He said, “How about letting me give you a drink then? I can give you a drink from a well that you will never thirst again.”
She said, “Sir, the well is deep, and you don’t have anything to draw with.” He wasn’t talking about Jacob’s well, he was talking about Jesus’s well. Amen! She said, “Sir, give me this water that I thirst not.”
He said, “Well, go get your husband. I would like to get him in on this too.”
She said, “I don’t have a husband.”
He said, “You have answered right. You don’t have a husband, you have had five different husbands, and the one that you have got right now is not your husband.”
She said, “I perceive that you are a prophet.” Of course, she figured out then that she had never met a man like this -- in fact, this was no ordinary man. Brother, she got so excited, she took off running back into town, and in verse 29, she said, “Come see a man that told me all things ever I did. Is not this the Christ?” She had figured out that He was the One they were waiting for.
Brother, those men knew what kind of a woman she had been, and they dropped what they were doing and took off out there to see Jesus. The Bible said that many of them believed because of the sayings of the woman, and then others believed when they heard Jesus for themselves.
Then, the disciples came back. Jesus was rejoicing because this precious woman and these others had been saved. His disciples came with food and asked Jesus about meat. He said, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of.”
They said, “I wonder if somebody brought Him something to eat?”
He said, “My meat is to do the will of them that sent me.” In other words, “I am here to please the Father, and My main thing in life is to please My heavenly Father. That’s what feeds Me and strengthens Me and gives Me everything I need to keep on going.”
Folks, that ought to be your desire and ought to be my desire -- just to please the Father. Jesus said, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me.”
Then, He said to the disciples, “Say not there are four months and then cometh the harvest. Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes now, for the fields are white unto harvest.” Do you know what He was saying? Don’t wait for the later months to come and say it will be a good time then. He said, “I am telling you that people are everywhere right now. Sinners needing to be saved are everywhere. They are around this well. They are up on the hillside. They are in the villages. They are everywhere. Fellows, you need to lift up your eyes and just look around.”
You know, Jeremiah had something to say about the eyes. Jeremiah said, “Mine eye affecteth my heart.” I don’t know what people have got their eyes on, but I really believe today that people’s eyes are not on the main thing. I believe that we need to get refocused. The Bible says, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” Many today will perish because we have dropped our eyes and we are not looking on the fields. I want to speak to you on “Reach them while you can.”
Jesus said here that time is running out. “Don’t say there will be four months to wait and then cometh the harvest! I am telling you that the harvest is ready right now! Things are ready to go now. There are people needing to be saved right now. You need to keep your eyes looking on the fields now.” You and me have got to reach them while we can.
You know, time is running out. I am no prophecy speaker. I am just an old country preacher. I tell them down where I come from that I am just a cornbread and pinto-bean kind of a preacher, you know? I mean just plain food. I am talking about way out in the country where we make Cracker Barrel look like a McDonald’s. Brother, I am talking about country food. I am talking about plain and simple country preaching. That is what I am talking about.
I don’t claim to know a lot about prophecy, and I don’t try to get too deep in it because I have seen some who got in so deep that they never come back. “Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.” (Psalm 131:1) Do you know what that means? Don’t climb up on a limb where you can’t get back out. You know, if you will just preach the second coming of Jesus and say, “He is coming and I don’t know when, but you better be ready,” then you are always safe.
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3) I know He ascended back to glory, and I know that He is coming again. I don’t know when, but I know that you better be ready. I do know this, if I do understand anything about the Bible, I believe that in those first three chapters in the book of Revelation and dealing with those churches, we see that Laodicea church. Folks, I really believe that with all my heart. I know that was a real local church, but I also believe that represents a church time in our history and a church age, and I believe with all my soul that you and I are living in that Laodicea church time. I think we are there right now.
You know what? It is harder to motivate people probably than it has ever been because people’s eyes are in the wrong place, and their hearts are in the wrong place. Jesus in the Laodicean church age, it is in such a sad shape, that He is standing on the church porch knocking on the door. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) He is knocking on the door of a church, waiting to be invited into the church, but the church didn’t want nothing to do with Him. Then He shifted from the church to an individual man.
And then in the fourth chapter, the trumpet sounds, God says, “Come up hither,” and after that the church is not mentioned. I believe that we are in the fourth quarter of this thing, the final moments. I don’t know when He is coming, but I believe with all my soul that we are right on the threshold of the rapture of the church, and that Jesus is coming for the church.
So you and I, the greatest thing we can do is get busy at reaching men, women, boys and girls for the cause of Christ. Get the Gospel out to lost souls who don’t have much more time and opportunity to get saved. I say to you tonight, “Reach them while you can!” Let me give you some reasons why we should reach them while we can.
1. the commission of Christ
Number one, we ought to reach them while we can because of the commission of Christ. Do you know, it’s not just called the commission, it is called the Great Commission. It is the last thing that Jesus Christ ever told His disciples before He left here. Do you know also it is called the Great Commission because it is mentioned not just once, but several times throughout the Gospels and throughout the New Testament.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
“And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23)
“And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.” (Luke 14:22)
“But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:13-14) You know the key to getting your church blessed? You better get after that lost and needy crowd. Go after the poor, the maimed, the lame and blind, and thou shalt be blessed.
“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (John 20:21)
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) That is five times, right there. Now, you tell me. If somebody told you something once, it is important, but if God said something twice, it is awfully important. The third time, unbelievable! Then four times and five times, we better sit up and take notice, my friend!
It is called the Great Commission. Look, it is not called the Great Option. Not even the great Opportunity. It is called the Great Commission! We have been commissioned, commanded. I don’t care who you are, if you are a born-again child of God and you are in this auditorium, you have a commission on you. You have a challenge on you and a call on you to get out there and tell people about Jesus Christ. They are everywhere! People are everywhere! Jesus died for them. He wants us to let them know.
I was preaching a few days ago in Baltimore, Maryland. I was getting ready to leave that morning early, and I wanted to pick up a little gift for my wife there, and the place had just opened. I went in there, Brother Corle, and there was a dear black lady in there named Delores, and she was in there by herself. She came over and asked if she could help me. She was helping me pick out something because I am not too good at picking out gifts. But she came over, and she said, “I think this looks nice.” I went up to the register to pay for it, and I gave her a little Gospel tract, and she thanked me for it. I told her I was a Baptist preacher, and I gave her the tract and walked out of the store. I didn’t have long to catch my plane.
But when I looked back, that woman was standing with that tract open and was reading that tract. I didn’t hear God audibly, but it was so real to me. It was so real. It just seemed like God said, “Buddy, you did a pretty poor job back there.” I turned around and went back. I said, “Miss Delores, will you please excuse me? I am sorry that I got in such a hurry, and I do have to hurry as my flight is getting ready to leave, but I want to ask you this. Delores, if you died, do you know that you would go to Heaven?”
She said, “Well, you know, Preacher, to tell you the truth, I have been aiming to go down to my brother-in-law’s church and let them baptize me.”
I said, “Well, you know baptism is a good thing, but you need to be saved before you get baptized.” I said, “Delores, it is called Believer’s Baptism. It would be good to get baptized but you have got to go through the blood of Christ before you get baptized.” I stood there and explained the Gospel to that precious woman, and I watched her bow her head there by the cash register and she asked Jesus to be her Saviour.
She took me by the hand, and she kept thanking me. She said, “Preacher, I want to thank you. Thank you for coming back to talk to me.” One part of me was rejoicing, but another part of me was so convicted because I almost let that woman slip through my fingers and I almost didn’t tell her about Jesus.
You know, they are everywhere. They are in the airport. They are in the gas station. They are down at the grocery store, and they are in your neighborhood. They are across the road from where you live, they are down the road from where you live, and they are around the corner from where you live.
I moved into a housing development about eight years ago, and I travel a lot preaching, but I go soul winning every week, but I had not taken the time to get out on the street. I had been so busy traveling. One day, I was praying there, and I was given a list of the people that live in that development, and I was praying for them, and I thought to myself, “I have not been to all of their houses.” So I got me some tracts, and I told my wife, I said, “I am going to go to every house in here.” This is what I did. I had lived there about six months, and I hadn’t been to the houses. I talked to a few of them when I would see them, but not all of them.
So I went to their houses, and I knocked on the door, and when they would come to the door, I said, “My name is Darrell Cox, and I am the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church up here in Mocksville. I am also your neighbor, and I have come to ask you for your forgiveness.”
They said, “Well what in the world for?”
I said, “Well, I have lived in this development for six months, and I haven’t even been here to tell you about Jesus Christ” I said, “I want you to forgive me, and I want to give you this tract that tells you how you can know for sure that if you died that you would know that you would go to Heaven.” Listen, I talked to nearly every one of them. almost every one of them, and I went to the house and I felt convicted because I lived around those people, and I hadn’t been to their houses and shared that good news.
You see folks, the truth of it is that we need to start right here. I am talking about needing to start from the church and work our way out and reach them while you can and go from house to house and person to person and reach them because of the Great Commission of Christ.
2. the Consciousness of the time
Then, let me say this right here, we need to reach them while we can because of being conscious of what time it is. The consciousness of what time it is. Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes for the fields are ripe already.” They are ready now. “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4) The night will come of poor health. There are some of you sitting here now that are sitting here with the best days of good health slipping by, and you are not using it. Brother, while you’ve got it, you had better use it. The night cometh when you will wish that you could go and you may be confined to a sick bed with cancer or a stroke, and the night cometh of death. The night cometh when days of opportunity will go by. My mama used to be a bus worker, and I would talk to her on the phone nearly every day. I would call my mother and father, and I called to talk to my mama on a Saturday and I was out on a bus route, and she said, “What are you doing?”
I said, “Working my bus route.” My mother started crying. I said, “What is wrong, Mama?”
She said, “I was just thinking about the times when I was able to go out on the bus route.” She lives now nearly 24 hours a day with oxygen and can barely get around. She said, “Oh, to relive them days and to be able to get in a van and go out in the housing projects and the trailer parks and the streets and go into all those places and knock on doors!” But you see, the night cometh of ill health when you will not be able to do it. The night cometh of opportunities to pass you by. The night cometh when you will die one day, and you have got to do whatever you are going to do right now.
Be conscious of what time it is. “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Romans 13:11) The night is spent, and the day is at hand. We ought to be conscious of what time, my friend, that it is. Reach them because of the Commission of Christ. Reach them because of the consciousness of what time it is.
3. the chances of death
Then, may I say this, reach them while you can because of the chances of death that will come upon man. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27) You know that every man, woman, boy and girl has an appointment with death. I know only one man that I know of in the Bible that God changed that appointment for, and that was Hezekiah. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall when the prophet walked in and told him to set his house in order. He said, “You are going to die,” and Hezekiah set his face to the wall and began to cry and prayed, “Oh God, I have walked before you in truth and lived for you and stood for right.”
God answered him and said, “I have seen your tears and heard your prayer. I am giving you 15 more years.” I don’t know of anybody else in there that He changed that appointment for.
Old Dr. B. R. Laken said, “If I knew where and when I was going to die, I just wouldn’t go there.” The truth of it is that we are all going to die.
You know, it amazes me how many people that I have led to Christ, and now they are gone. Just one year ago, a woman that was a member of my church, she never could get her husband to come much. They had a vacation place where they lived in Florida part of the year. One day I got a telephone call. Her husband was a retired police officer, named Tom. She said, “Preacher, we are in Florida. I need your prayers. I had to rush Tom to the hospital. He passed out on me, and we don’t know what is wrong. They have to run tests.” She called me back a little later, and said, “He has got a brain tumor, and it is cancer. They will have to remove it.”
I said, “Can you put him on the phone?” She did, and I said, “Tom, this is Brother Cox, and I want you to know that I am going to be praying for you.”
He said, “Preacher, I am afraid.”
I said, “I know you are, but I want you to know that I will be praying for you.” I prayed with him on the phone, and then I called him every day while he was down there, for about five weeks. Then, he came back to North Carolina and they transferred him back to the Baptist Hospital. I went to his house when he finally got home. I said, “Tom, I am not a medical doctor, and I don’t know anything about medicine, but I know that the doctors are not giving you a good report, and I wish that I could tell you that you are going to get better.” I said, “But I am a preacher, and I do know one thing, that you need to be saved.” We were sitting in his kitchen table, and I watched that big old police officer sit there as I told him the Gospel, and I watched his eyes cloud up with tears, and I watched him sit there and weep like a baby. He reached his hand out and got me by the hand and prayed and asked God to save his soul. You know, he lived just over a year. Tom was there in church every Sunday until he died. God took him home to Heaven.
The truth of it is, what I am trying to tell you, brother, is that we need to reach them while we can because of the chances of death. Brother Anglea mentioned my bus route. I have got a bus route, and I started it 28 years ago, started just going over visiting and got me a bus to start putting people on it and just kept doing it and kept doing it, and now here I am all these years later.
One evening, I was out in a little apartment complex, out soulwinning me and another man, and three little blonde headed kids came running up to me and said, “What you doing in here?”
I said, “I am a pastor, and I am out here soulwinning.”
They said, “What is soulwinning?”
I said, “It is telling people about Jesus.”
The oldest of them said, “Why don’t you tell us about Jesus?”
Well you know how it is now with children and a man out there.” I said, “Well, where do you live?”
They said, “Right there.”
I said, “Well, I will tell you what. You go off running over to the house, and I will get in the car and drive over there. Is your mom and dad there?”
“Yes, momma is there.” I knocked on that door, and a woman came to the door and she was a driver of a taxicab. She came to the door with a cigarette hanging out of her fingers, and said, “What can I do for you?”
I said, “Well ma’am, I am the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, and I run a bus route in this area, and I met your children out here this evening and told them that I was telling people about Jesus. I got a little thing I do to explain the Gospel to children. Would it be okay with you if I sat down here on your steps and I tell them a story here out of the Bible? You don’t mind if I tell them a Bible story, do you?” I was going to preach the plan of salvation.
She said, “No, I don’t mind, you go ahead.”
I said, “Well ma’am, if you don’t mind, why don’t you just sit down here with them.”
She said, “I just got a call, and I have to drive the cab.”
I said, “Well, can they come to church on Sunday?”
She said, “I don’t care. Whatever you want to do.” Brother, she walked right around me and left them kids sitting there. There names were Austin, Zachary, and Taylor, three little blonde-headed young’uns. I took my New Testament and sat there and started to tell them about Jesus, and them little kids were just eating it up. The two older ones got saved. The little one, I don’t think he understood, but he was interested in what I had to say.
They got saved, and I said, “I will be back to see you on Saturday.” I went back there Saturday, and there was mom and her taxicab, with not one lick of interest.” I said, “Ma’am, can they come?”
She said, “Yes, take them with you.” The next morning, I pulled up there in that old International bus and swung that door open, and here came three little blonde-headed young’uns running out of the house and jumped up on my bus. Every week that I would go by there, and I kept going by and kept going by. Then Christmas rolled around. They rode the bus about six months, and they didn’t have nothing.
Folks listen, talk about pitiful, they didn’t have nothing. I can’t even tell you all the things that were going on. It was just horrible what all was going on with that family. We got some food and some toys that we took in there at Christmas time. I remember going in there on that Saturday, and I said, “Jennifer, God loves you. God loves you and wants you saved, and you need to come.”
She said, “I know I do.” The next Sunday I rolled up there with my bus like I did every Sunday, and I swung that door open, and the three little kids run out, and the oldest one would always pull the door too, but not this time! She left that door open, and here comes mama walking out! Brother Corle, she was dressed for church, and she came out and got up in the bus with us.
I said, “Jennifer, I am so thrilled you are here.” She got on that bus, and we rode off to Sunday School, and I will never forget that morning, she sat right over here. I got up and preached and gave an invitation that morning, and down the aisle came Miss Jennifer Wilkie. She dove into that altar, and one of our good ladies took the Bible and showed her how to come to Christ. She got saved, and we baptized her and had them all coming.
About eight months went by, and one Saturday she called me on the phone, and she was crying. I went by there that morning and couldn’t get anybody to the door. She said, “Preacher, I am at the Lexington Hospital. I came here to get my son checked out. Austin is sick, and I have been sick for two or three weeks, and they checked me out and told me that I have cervical cancer, and they are sending me to the Baptist Hospital. They said that they can’t do anything for me here.” They put her in an ambulance and sent her over there, and from that day she lived six months.
Brother Terry, I preached the funeral, and them little kids stood up there. You talk about something sad; they didn’t have no dad and no man around anywhere. It was just so sad. I will never forget that littlest one took a microphone like this off of a stand, and he had little glasses on, and those glasses were so thick, he was just about blind. He stood up there with tears dripping off of his face, and said, “I just want to thank God for the bus ministry and the Preacher,” he had a little lisp, “coming by with Gospel tracts and telling my Mama about Jesus.”
I am going to tell you something neighbor! Listen! There is nothing like it in all the world. That mama got saved and a woman who had kids come to our school took that little boy, and another family took the other two and moved to Montana. Last March, I was out there preaching in Montana, and this preacher said, “We have got a surprise for you tonight.” I was getting ready to preach, and out walked those two oldest young ones with a man with a flattop guitar, and them little old kids stood up and sung, “Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me.” Hey, let me tell you something, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to preach or not, it blessed my heart.
I will tell you this neighbor, we better reach them while we can! That is what I am trying to tell you tonight. We need to reach people while we can because death comes. Oh listen, I think about a little ole boy. I have got his picture right here, named Ephraim Gattara, a little Mexican boy that was riding one of our buses. This boy was 14 years old and he rode a bus in one Sunday and got saved, and he was coming to church for weeks and weeks, and he kept on a coming, and he would walk out on Sundays and he never would slip around past me like a lot of them would. He would come and hug me, and he said, “Preacher, I love you so much.” He said, “I want to be a preacher just like you.” Folks listen, he lived in a little old trailer, the floor was rotted out in it, and when you would go up to visit him on Saturday, there would be Corona beer cans six inches deep on the floor. I am talking about chickens running in and out of that trailer, the most awful thing I had seen in all my life. There were holes rotted through the floors, and it was just awful, and that boy lived in that place. He would tell me, “I want to be a preacher when I grow up. I want to be just like my pastor.” He would hug me.
Hey, do you know what? One day, I got a telephone call and that boy was sitting at his school desk over in the middle school, and they said that he grabbed his head and let out a scream and tumbled into the floor. He had a brain aneurysm and he died at 14-years-old. But thank God for a man named Eddie. There is a faithful bus captain that went out on that bus route on Saturdays and reached little ole Ephram and told him about Jesus Christ, and got him under the sound of the Gospel and got him saved. That is what I am trying to tell you it is all about.
4, the compassion of Christ
Oh, let me say this, we need to reach them while we can because of the compassion of Christ. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” (I Peter 2:21) The Bible says that Christ left us an example and we should follow His steps. He left us an example, follow His steps.
You know what, the Bible says that when Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because He saw them as sheep having no shepherd. He saw them lost. “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,” (Luke 19:41) “And of some have compassion, making a difference:” (Jude 22) You know what is the difference between a good church and a bad one? Compassion. Today, we are trying to come up with every idea that we can to reach people. I will tell you what will reach people faster than anything else. Somebody that loves them. Somebody who cares about them.
You know who will build a bus route? Somebody that loves the people that they are reaching and cares about them. I am talking about a genuine love and concern and care, and people know that. They know if you really care, don’t they?
Hey, you know one of the saddest verses in the Bible is in John 5 when the man was laying there at the pool of Bethesda, and Jesus walked up and said, “Sir, how long have you been laying here?”
He said, “I’ve been waiting here for 38 years.”
He said, “Well, why haven’t you got in the water when the angel came down that troubles the water?”
He said, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me in the water.” There are a lot of people that say, “I don’t have anybody. I don’t have any man.”
Boy, I think about over there visiting one day about a little boy in a motorized wheelchair. I was out visiting, and little old P.J. Morris, I saw him out there in a wheelchair. I said to myself, “That looks like a new boy over yonder.” I drove over there and pulled up in the car and said, “Son, are you new in here?”
He said, “Yes, sir. We just moved in. Right over there is my dad on the porch.”
I said, “Well, let’s go talk to him about going to church.”
He said, “No!”
I said, “Let’s go see about getting y’all in church.” We rolled up there and I got out of the car. Brother Corle, there was a man sitting there in a pair of gym shorts and a tank top wearing flipflops and long hair. He was sitting there with a cigarette. I got out and I said, “Hey, I am Brother Cox from the Trinity Baptist Church.”
He said, “I am Phillip Morris.”
I said, “Man, I’ve heard about you for years.”
He said, “I wished I had a dime for every time that’s been said to me.”
I said, “How long have you lived here?”
He said, “We just got here. My house burned down, and they put us in here.”
I said, “Well listen, I want to talk to y’all about the Lord and about going to church. Let me ask you a question...” About that time, the door busted open and here come a little ole girl out of the house about 12 years old. I said, “I want to ask you something Phillip, are you saved?”
He said, “No sir.”
I said, “PJ what about you?”
He said, “No sir.” The little girl said, “I am. I got saved at a Baptist Bible Camp last summer.” She said, “I am saved and I know it.”
I said, “Well, praise the Lord young lady.”
She said, “But daddy wasn’t saved.”
I took a New Testament out of my hip pocket and led Daddy and that little crippled boy in that wheelchair, I led them to Christ.” I said, “Would y’all come to church with me tomorrow?”
He said, “Preacher, everything I’ve got on is all I have. I have got a pair of shorts, these flipflops, and this tank top. Everything we had burnt up.
I said, “Stand up.”
He stood up, and me and him were about the same height. We looked about the same size. I said, “Would it offend you if I gave you a bunch of clothes?”
He said, “No sir.”
I said, “I will tell you what I am going to do. Will you come to church if I give you some of my clothes?”
He said, “I sure will.”
I said, “Well, I will tell you what I am going to do. You give me time to get back to Mocksville, and I am going to go through my suits, shirts, ties, and I will bring you everything you need, and I will get on the phone and suit this boy up.” I called my organist and told her about that little crippled boy, and said, “He is about the size of William.”
She said, “You come by, and I will have a load of clothes.” We went back by that house with clothes, and boy, the next morning I rolled up there in that bus, and listen, those boys came out of there all dressed up. They didn’t look like the same people. That man came out pushing that boy in that wheelchair, and I set that handbrake on that old bus and went down there to that wheelchair and picked that little boy up out of that thing in my arms. I started up them steps and sat him in the chair, and his daddy got in beside him. Brother, you talk about being ready to preach that morning! I want to tell you something. I knew that something was going to happen when that invitation was given!
I am simply saying, folks, we need to have some compassion for people. We need to reach them while we can with compassion. We need to show them we care. We need to realize folks are going to die without Jesus and burn in Hell if we don’t get out there and give them the wonderful truth that Jesus died to save them.
Brother, we have got some that ride our buses, and they come in every which way. There was a mother that was living with an ole boy sorrier than gully dirt, and he wouldn’t work and she was living with him in sin. He had two big fat ole’ bulldogs, and I don’t know what all they done with them, but them ole dogs weren’t worth a nickel. This woman had three young uns and took them two bulldogs and them other three kids. She left that little boy with another woman, and said, “You all can go by and get him, but we haven’t got any room,” but she took them two old Pitbull dogs. They should have skinned them dogs out and barbequed them or something.
They left there little boy behind. You know, we would go by and get him, and there was a teacher that came out the other day, one of our Junior Church workers. She said, “Preacher, you need to do something with this boy. We can’t hardly handle him in Junior Church, talking to that little boy.”
I said, “Let me tell you something about that little boy, that boy’s momma right there abandoned him. He hasn’t got nothing, and he never had nothing.” I said, “I will tell you what to do for him. I know he acts up. I just want you to love him as much as you can possibly love him and let’s pray. The only chance that boy has got is this church, that bus, me, and you. Let’s ask God to help us put up with him and love him and do everything that we can to keep getting him here and bringing him in here on Sundays and teaching him the Bible. Maybe, one day that little ole’ boy may be a Baptist preacher.”
You can’t just throw everybody out just because they cut up. I know that sometimes you have got to have rules and all of that, but sometimes what we need is a back Sunday School class somewhere and have a prayer meeting and say, “God, break my heart and help me to love these children that nobody cares about and have compassion.”
5. The casualty of Hell
We need to reach them while we can because of the casualty of Hell and the casualty of sinners. Real people are going to die and spend eternity in Hell. In Luke 16, you read about that rich man in Hell that is there in Hell burning and he looks up, and the Bible said that the rich man died, and in Hell he lift up his eyes, being in torment and seeth Abraham afar off, and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in these flames.” And Abraham said, “Son, remember in thy lifetime that thou receivest thy good things and likewise Lazarus evil things, and now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. Besides all of this, there is a great gulf fixed.” He said you can’t come here, and we can’t come there. He said, “Nay, Father Abraham, but send somebody back to my father’s house. I have got five brothers.”
Brother, he believed in soulwinning now. He believed in the Gospel. He believed in a place called hell now. Let me tell you something. We say we are fundamental independent Baptist Bible believing soulwinning people. Listen folks, we need to get busy about this thing and get our pockets back where they are filled up with tracts and get on those old doorsteps of people and talk to people about Jesus Christ.
You know what is sad is on Saturdays and Thursday nights? You know who you run into? You run into Jehovah Witnesses out there knocking on doors. I have never run into any independent Baptists, but I am always running into Jehovah Witnesses that are dressed up like fundamentalists. They look more fundamental than the fundamentals. They’ve got those girls in those little ole’ frilly dresses and the men have good haircuts, a white shirt and a tie on and shined up shoes. Brother, they transform themselves into an angel of light, but their doctrine is as wicked as the hell that spawned it.
Let me tell you something, here is some independent Baptist backslider laying on his couch on Saturday sucking on an iced tea, eating a hamburger, and watching college basketball. Somebody ought to take a stick and run him plumb out of the living room and send him out on visitation. God have mercy on us! We are letting the world die and go to Hell while we sit by and do nothing about it! We are letting people die and go to Hell without ever telling them one time that Jesus died to save them from Hell.
My friend, the casualty of sinners going to a place called Hell. Folks, it is about time we remember that Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields.” You know something you never see much anymore? Hardly ever anymore do you see a Christian cry over an old sinner they are burdened about who is lost, and they want to see them saved. You know, when I got saved that was a common occurrence in Bible preaching soulwinning churches, but that is something that is missing in many of our churches now. We have got nicer buildings than we used to have, bigger buildings, everything in the world to reach people with. We have got church vans, church buses, Bible colleges, computers, internet, copying machines, printing presses. We have got it all. We have got the slickest paper and the prettiest pictures that you ever saw in your life, but we ain’t getting the job done.
The problem is that we are not doing nothing with all the resources and tools in our hands. Yet the early church didn’t have none of it, and the Bible said, “These that have turned the world upside down are coming here, also.” They are coming here. They didn’t have anything except God and a burden for the lost to be saved.
You know, the difference is this. Paul said, “I say the truth; in Christ I lie not. My conscience also bearing me witness that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow.” My prayer to God is that we pray for Israel, Paul said. But we have lost our burden.
I remember the little country church where I got saved. It wasn’t anything unusual when the preacher was giving the invitation to see people coming out of the choir and see them with their faces buried, shoulders shaking, and they would say, “Pray for my mama, pray for my daddy, pray for my brother.” Let me tell you something, those days are gone.
Christian brother or sister, do you even care that people are dying without Jesus, going to a devil’s hell? Do you care enough to get out there and knock on a door and tell somebody about Christ? God told us that if we will go, souls will get saved, rescued from eternity in Hell. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:5-6)