Let me start out by saying this: The word faithful has two different definitions. One of those definitions, when we say the faithful, would be a person who has a lot of faith, someone who believes. If we said, "Hey, this guy is a faithful Christian," what we could mean by that is just that he believes in Christ and the opposite of that would be unfaithful, not having any faith. That's actually the more uncommon definition of faithful. Usually when the Bible uses the word faithful, it's talking about a person in whom you can put your faith, someone who is trustworthy or reliable. That's usually what it means when it says faithful.
Now, if you just look up this word in the dictionary, here's what it says under faithful. Number one: Strict or thorough in the performance of a duty; a faithful worker, meaning that a worker where you know they're going to do a thorough job, you've given them a task to perform and you know they're going to get it done right. The second definition in the dictionary was true to one's words, promises, vows, et cetera. Again, what does that show? That you can trust this person. When they say they're going to do something they get it done. Thirdly, steady in allegiance or affection; loyal, constant, as in faithful friends. Then fourthly, reliable, trusted, or believed.
Again, when we see the word faithful it's talking about someone in whom we can put our faith, someone that we can trust. That's why the Bible says over and over again, "God is faithful. The Lord is faithful," meaning we can trust him, we can believe in him. He's not going to let us down. But let me ask you this: Are you the type of person that's constantly letting people down, constantly not fulfilling your duty, constantly unreliable or are you a faithful person? Now, this Scripture says here in Chapter 2, Verse 2: "The things that thouest heard of me," he's talking to Timothy. He says, "Commit those things, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also."
Paul is telling Timothy, "You need to find some people that can be trusted, that can be relied upon, that we might be able to pass on to the next generation the teachings of God's word, so that they can teach what I've taught you and what you've taught them." Now, if you would, flip back just a few pages to First Timothy 1:12. First Timothy 1:12. While you're turning there I'll read to you from First Corinthians 4:1. It says, "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful." Now, the Bible said there it's required in stewards that a man be found faithful. What is a steward?
A steward is someone that you commit something to for safekeeping, whether that is goods or that is responsibility, a steward is someone who takes care of your things. For example, if I had a lot of money and property and possessions, a steward would be someone who makes sure that it's all safe and that's it all invested properly, or that it's all in good order and good keeping. Some examples of this would be Joseph, in the Bible. Joseph was the steward of Potiphar's house and the Bible says that Potiphar didn't know anything about his finances. He trusted Joseph so much as a steward he didn't even know how much money was in the account. He had no clue.
All he knew was the food that was set before him. He just knew the bills are paid, the food's in front of me at lunchtime and he was able to focus on other things in his life because he just knew that Joseph was doing his job right, as the steward of his goods. That was a great example of stewardship, someone who you can trust with responsibility. He trusts him with his money. He trusts him with everything except his wife. If you remember when his wife wanted to commit adultery with Joseph, Joseph said that, "Your husband has trusted me with everything. He's not withheld anything from me except you because you're his wife." Of course he refused to commit that sin and commit adultery and he was lied about and put in prison.
But look at First Timothy 1:12 where I had you turn. It says, "And I thank Christ Jesus, our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." In Second Timothy 2, God is telling man to find faithful men that you can ministry, that they're going to be able to teach others also. Then God himself says that he counts people faithful and that he puts people in the ministry because they're faithful. He didn't say he counted me talented, he counted me a great speaker, he counted me a great people person. No, he said he counted me faithful, putting me in the ministry, meaning that I'm someone who was reliable, someone who could be trusted and counted on.
Now go back, if you would, to Proverbs, because in Proverbs there are a lot of Scriptures on being faithful or being reliable and counted on. This has a spiritual application, but even in your daily life, even at your job, this is something that you need to work on, having faithfulness. There are certain people who the boss knows that they're going to be to work on time, every time. They're going to be ready to do their job, and they can be given a job and they don't have to just keep being followed up with. Now, think about it. There are people on the job who need a supervisor to just watch them all the time and make sure that they're working, make sure they're doing everything. If the boss is not just on them, the work's not going to get done.
Guess what? That type of person gets paid less because you have to pay that supervisor. The money that you should be making is going to your supervisor, who has to babysit you and hold your hand and watch you the whole time. Whereas, if you can learn to babysit yourself, be reliable, be there on time, get your work done, without someone always having to be on you, then you're your own supervisor and then you're going to make more money. This is how to succeed in your job. Be faithful. Be reliable. Don't be someone that has to be watched all the time. I remember I was taught this as a manager. I was taught: You don't get what you expect. You get what you inspect. Because if you don't watch people and check on their work, their work doesn't get done. That's a shame, but when you find a worker that doesn't need to constantly be inspected, that's a great worker. That's a worker that's going to find advancement in whatever job they perform.
Look down at your Bible there, Proverbs. Let's go to Chapter 20 first of all. Proverbs, Chapter 20, Verse 6. The Bible says in Proverbs 20:6: "Most men will proclaim everyone his own goodness." Now isn't that true? When you go to hire somebody, especially in a job interview, what do people do in a job interview? They proclaim their own goodness. "Oh, yeah. These are all my skills. This is what I'm good at." The Bible's telling you most men are going to do that in a job interview, but a faithful man, who can find ... He's saying, "Look, it's hard to find a good employee that can be relied upon." They're all going to tell you, "Oh, I'm reliable. Oh, I'll be there. Oh, I'm always on time," but in reality it just doesn't work that way. The Bible's telling us here that the faithful man is a rare man. According to Proverbs 20, Verse 6, are most people faithful?
Pastor: No. It's something that's difficult ... It's like a virtuous woman, you know, who can find her? Her price is far above rubies. Go to Chapter 25, Verse 13. Being faithful, right away is going to get the attention of your boss and it's going to get the Lord's attention because the Lord is looking for faithful people to serve him in the house of God. He's looking for people who are faithful. He counts people faithful, he puts them in the ministry. He tells his underling, the apostle Paul, to commit to faithful men that can teach others. Paul tells his underling, Timothy, "Hey, find faithful people that you can command these teachings that they can teach others also." Look at Chapter 25, Verse 13.
It says, "As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him, for he refresheth the soul of his masters." Again, it's rare. It's refreshing. If you say, "Wow, that's refreshing. I actually gave someone a job to do and they got it done, and they did what they said they were going to do. What a refreshment," meaning that there were a lot of people who didn't do it. Now, look at Chapter 25, Verse 19, and get the opposite. It says, "Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint." He's saying when you trust somebody and rely on somebody to get something done and then they don't get it done, it is the worst pain. Because a broken tooth is very painful.
I don't know about you, but I've had some serious toothaches in my life. On the left side of my mouth I had some wisdom teeth come in, and they're always impacted and you know how it is when wisdom teeth come in. They wanted to take out my wisdom teeth, but I said, "No. I'm going to take my chances. I want to keep my wisdom teeth." I've kept them over the years and I've not regretted that decision, but let me tell you something, sometimes there's some pain involved in having those wisdom teeth. Sometimes if you get a really bad toothache, it can be debilitating, where it's hard to even function, because you'll get a really bad headache and your neck starts hurting, and sometimes you can't fall asleep at night because your tooth hurts so much.
But one of the reasons why I'm glad that I kept my wisdom teeth is because it's really easy to food to get packed in there, so it makes sure that I floss and brush and take care of my mouth, because the pain reminds me, "Oh, yeah. I need to take care of my teeth." Sometimes that can be a good thing, but enough about my teeth. The point that I'm trying to make is that a toothache is very painful, very annoying, very irritating, and can be debilitating to the point where you can't get anything done. That's what God's comparing it to when you have somebody that you rely on and you trust, and they're constantly letting you down. That's like having a broken tooth. That's like having a foot out of joint. It's debilitating. You're not going to go very far with a foot that's out of joint.
We see that God puts a high commodity on faithfulness. Let's go to Luke 16 in the New Testament. Luke 16. While you're turning there, listen to this Scripture, Matthew 25:23. "His Lord said unto him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. Thou has been faithful over a few things. I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.'" According to this Scripture, who is going to be ruling and reigning with Christ? Those who are faithful. He says, "You've been faithful over a few things. You've been faithful over the little things. You've been faithful in your human life. Now I'm going to put you in charge of great things for all eternity, ruling and reigning with me."
In Matthew 24:45, it says, "Who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you that he shall make him ruler over all his goods." Now this is a parable, so it has a spiritual application that when God sees you being faithful, he's going to give you authority. He's going to give you position. He's going to give you more responsibility because he knows if he can trust you with that which is least, he'll be able to trust you with much more. Then he'll elevate you to a great position. But because it's a parable, we know that it also has an earthly meaning, that if you are at your job and you're faithful, you will be elevated in your job. Your boss will exalt you and put you in charge of people, and make you ruler because of your faithfulness.
What is faithfulness? Reliability, trustworthiness, responsibility. These are great commodities, and sometimes a person who is very talented will accomplish less and succeed less than a person who's just faithful and just reliable. Because somebody might have a lot of talent and ability and skill, but if we can't rely on them, if we can't trust them, it's not worth it. We'd rather go with the guy that you can trust, that you can rely on, that's going to be there, not the guy who's just all over the place, unreliable. Let me explain something to you. There are two kinds of people in this world. There are people that are always on time and there are people who are always late.
Pastor: It's not like people are late half the time, on time ... No, no. There are people who are consistently late every time, and why? It's just who they are. Some people are so reliable, they come the exact number of minutes late every day. You think to yourself, "You're so reliable. It's the clock. The clock is the problem. You're not the problem. You're doing the same thing every day. We need to change all our clocks." Literally, there are churches today that have church that meets at 10:37 a.m. I'm not kidding. I got an advertisement in the mail for one of these big liberal rock 'n' roll mega-churches. It said it starts at 10:37. I got another one that said 10:39, because they just know you're going to be late, so we'll just change the service. 10:39. 10:37. Of course, then you'll show up at 10:45, you know, but whatever.
This is just a character flaw when someone is just continuously late, just late all the time. Now, are there times when there's a reason that you're late? Are there times when you're detained? Let's say you're on your way to work and you get a flat tire and something goes wrong when you try to change the tire, or your car breaks down on the way to church or something happens where you become very ill. Obviously there are things that detain you, but have you noticed that people who are late are just always late? Are you telling me that they are having these incidences happen every single time? Just happens to be that every day before work everything goes wrong, and every day before church everything goes wrong. No. It's just they're just late because they're just a late person. Some people are late, some people are on time.
Where did I have you turn? Luke 16? Did we read it yet? Look at Luke 16, Verse 10. It says, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much, and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore, ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches, and if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?" Over and over again, the Bible is telling us that if we're faithful, we're going to receive promotion, we're going to receive benefits, we're going to receive possessions that God's going to give us and that man's going to give us because we were faithful, because we were reliable. That's a rare commodity.
In Daniel, Chapter 6, you don't have to turn there, but the Bible talks about how faithful Daniel was, and it says in Verse 4, "Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; for as much as he was faithful, neither was there any error found in him. Then said these men, 'We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.'" People in life are going to hate us when we're following Jesus Christ. The Bible told us that, but people should hate you not because you're such a lousy worker, but because they don't like your religion, if anything. But when they try to find something wrong with your job performance, it should be like Daniel, where they say, "We can't find anything wrong with his performance. He's faithful. We're going to have to find it in relationship to the law of his God."
People will try to do this. People did this to me several years ago, where they called all my fire alarm customers and told them about my preaching and said, "This guy's railing on homos and railing on Obama and everything." They told my customers that and my customers canceled me and I lost all kinds of work and it wasn't because of a lack of faithfulness. These customers, I'd been loyal to them, I'd done my job well. I was one of their best vendors, but they canceled me because of the law of my God. But here's the thing. We need to be one like Daniel, where that's where they have to go to try to find something wrong with you. Not just, "Okay, well we can easily get rid of this guy. He's late to work every day. He's constantly late back from lunch. He's constantly not getting work done, where we give him work and then we go back and check up on it and it never got done." That shouldn't be what they catch you doing.
Now, let me go through some examples of this spiritually. Go to Psalm 12 first of all. Let me go over some examples of the spirits here. We're going to go to Psalm 12 and then we're going to go to Ezra 7, if you want to start getting there. In Psalm 12, Verse 1, it says, "Help Lord, for the godly man ceaseth, for the faithful fail from among the children of men." The word fail there is an old word. It's not like what we think of fail. The word fail there means they are lacking, they're missing. When it says the faithful fail from among the children of men, he's saying there's a lack of faithful men. "Help, God. We're looking for faithful men and we cannot find them. The godly man ceaseth and the faithful fail from among the children of men."
Now, there is a shortage today of faithful men in our church and in America. We have a lack of faithful men to commit the truth unto that they may be able to teach others also. We could say like Psalm 12:1 says, "Help Lord, for the godly man ceaseth, for the faithful fail from among the children of men." You see, new leaders constantly need to be created both in the church and in our nation. Why? Because we're constantly losing people. Now here's how we're losing people. Number one: Pastors of churches become old and they die the natural death. Of course they're absent from the body and present with the Lord and have eternal life, but who's going to take their place? There are all kinds of pastors who are passing off the scene through old age. Other pastors become apostate and they go liberal and they back down in their old age and they water down. There have to be new preachers starting up all the time, starting new churches to take the place of old churches.
It's just like the human race. I mean, people die and new children are born, and if new children aren't being born and people are dying, then there's going to be less and less people on this planet. When we have new churches not starting and we have old churches passing off the scene, eventually there are going to be less and less good churches. Someone has to rise up and be the next generation that will start the next generation of Bible believing, soul winning type churches in America. But even within a church, first of all, old age, people become old and pass off the scene, but not only that ... Of course our church is not made up of a lot of older people, but what about when we send out a guy like Pastor Dave Berzins to go start a church in Prescott Valley, Arizona? Who replaces him?
How about when we send out Brother Johnny Romero at the end of this month to go start a church in Fort Worth, Texas? Who is going to replace him? Who is going to do what he does? Who is going to take the place of men who've been leaders, who've taken responsibility, who've helped out in the work of the church? Someone has to fill that void. You lose a song leader, you lose a preacher, you lose a soul winning director. You lose people who performed functions in the church and someone else has to step up to the plate. There need to be faithful people to fill these roles in the church. Now I had you turn to Psalm 12. Flip over to Ezra 7. First of all, let me start out by saying that faithfulness is required and faithful men are required in the area of preaching. Preachers are needed today. We need churches to be started and even within the church, we need there to be preachers who have the ability and the preparedness to preach.
Look at Ezra Chapter 7, Verse 6, it says, "This Ezra went up from Babylon and he was a ready scribe." He was ready. When it says he was a ready scribe, you know what that means? He knew the Bible very well. He had studied the word of God, he knew what it taught, he knew what it said. "He was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given, and the King granted him all his requests according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him." Why did he have the hand of the Lord upon him? Because he was a ready scribe, because he'd studied the Bible, because the Lord found him faithful and put him into the ministry. See, Ezra performed a great role. How would you like to have a book of the Bible named after you? That'd be pretty cool, right? Ezra, the Book of Ezra.
You're going to go down to the children of Israel, who were brought back from their 70-year captivity in Babylon, and you're going to be the man who gets up and preaches, you're going to be the man that rallies the people back to God. You're going to teach, you're going to be a priest in the Lord and you get there and get to fill that role. Why? Because you were ready. But I wonder how many people could have great opportunities to do great things for God like Ezra did, but they're not ready. They're not ready.
See, God didn't come to Ezra and say, "Okay, Ezra, I'm going to give you a really cool job. I'm going to name a book of the Bible after you. I'm going to put you up on a platform in front of thousands of people to preach God's word. Go get ready for that." Do you think that's what God did when he came to Ezra and said, "Now, go start learning the Bible because I'm going to give you such a cool job?" "Oh, well I mean, if you're going to give me that job, then I'm going to go learn the Bible. Oh, if you're going to put me in front of that many people, yeah, I guess I'll take it seriously." But let me tell you something. There's always a prepared place for a prepared person.
Audience: Yeah. Amen.
Pastor: The problem today is not that we don't have opportunities or that we don't have platforms or that there aren't people to be rallied for the cause of Christ. No, the problem is that the harvest truly is plenteous, but the labors are few and we have a lack of people who are ready. There are plenty of places to start a church today. Nobody's ready. There are plenty of churches that need pastors to preach in them or churches that don't even have any pastors, but nobody's ready. People aren't ready. Opportunities to preach. Not ready. Opportunities to do other things in the church. Are you ready? Ezra was ready. That's why he got the job. Look at Verse 10. Chapter 7, Verse 10 says this: "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments."
Now this verse is a sermon in and of itself. It makes a nice three-point outline, because first of all, he prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, then he did it and then he taught it, right? He prepared ... Are you getting this down for when you start your church? Yeah, write that down Brother Romero. This is going to be a great sermon for you in Fort Worth, all right? Hey, first he learned the Bible. Then he did what the Bible taught. Then he taught other people to do the same thing. That is the calling of a ready scribe, all right? That's the title of the sermon, all right? Write that down. Just kidding. But anyway, so we see here about Ezra, he was a prepared person, and so of course God's going to use him. But you know what people think? They think that they can prepare and learn and be ready and that there's just going to be no opportunity. That never happens.
God will make sure that you get an opportunity to use your talents for him. If you have the talent and the ability to get up and teach or to preach the word of God, or to do soul winning, or to play a piano, or to lead the singing, you will get an opportunity to use that talent for the Lord. You will. The problem is you're not ready, because if you are ready, the opportunities will be there. It's not just, "Oh, man, if I could just get that opportunity." It's everywhere. You're not ready. That's the problem. The Bible is teaching here that if we're prepared, if we're ready, God can use us. You don't have to turn there, but in Second Timothy 4, Verse 2, it says: "Preach the word. Be instant in season, out of season. Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine." Watch this. He said, "Preach the word." He said, "Be instant."
What does it mean to be instant? Well think about instant coffee. What is instant coffee? What is it about instant coffee that makes it instant? What is it? It's ready. It's not something that has to be ground up and brewed. It's just ready. If I said instant oatmeal, it's ready at any time. There's not a big cooking process. It's just ready oatmeal, it's ready coffee, and if God's saying to a pastor, "Be instant," he's saying, "Be ready, ready to preach at any moment." Honestly, if you're serious about becoming a preacher someday, if you're a young man here today that's serious about being a preacher, you need to be ready to preach at any moment. Ready to preach, and if you are ready to preach, if you have a great sermon that God wants to be preached, he'll provide a place for you to preach that great sermon.
It's writing the great sermon that needs to happen. It's doing all the reading and studying and living to be able to preach that sermon, because remember the three steps. He prepared his heart to seek the word, then he did the word, and then he was able to teach the word. Are you ready to preach the gospel? You know, honestly, for years and years, I always knew that if I were not able to make it to church for whatever reason, that Brother Dave Berzins would be able to fill in for me. I knew that he could step in, he could lead the singing, he could do the preaching, he could do the announcements and he was ready all the time. I always told him, I said, "Have a sermon ready. Make sure you have the outline with you. Make sure you're ready to just step in because you never know what's going to happen."
Now, I have been very reliable over the years, because I have missed very little church over the last 8 1/2 years. Even when I had to buy expensive plane tickets when I was stuck somewhere, I always would fly back on Wednesday night. I always made it back for church, and some people even kind of laughed at that over the years. They looked at it and said, "Why do you feel like you just can't miss church on a Wednesday night and just have someone else fill in and do that?" Honestly, I've missed church very few times over the last 8 1/2 years, a couple times due to severe sickness and then a couple times I traveled to a distant country and a couple times my wife was giving birth. Honestly, it's been very few times. It's been less than 1% of the time that I've missed. I've just been here 99 point something percent of the time, but here's the thing though.
There are times when I do become severely ill or when my wife is giving birth or when something happens, like for example, I had to miss a couple times when my wife had to have surgery in the Los Angeles area about what, eight, nine months ago. I had to miss a few services for that and I needed people to fill in for me, and I needed someone who's reliable to be ready to step in and fill the pulpit, to be instant in season and out of season so that the preaching could go on, so that the church could go on. Here's the thing, our church is growing. Our church is larger now than it's ever been. That would mean that we should have more people that are able to preach, more people that are able to play the piano, more people that are able to lead the singing, more people that are able to take charge and run a service and give the announcements.
It's not that the training is not available. The training is here for you to teach you how to lead the singing, to teach you how to play the piano, to teach you how to preach, to teach you how to read the Scripture. You know, it's available to you if you'll take initiative and want to be used by God and be ready to do these things, and be ready to fill that void of leadership, and that void of performing these functions in the house of God. By the way, if I say to you, "Hey, be ready to preach at a moment's notice so that you can fill in for me," you know, part of that means that you're not dressed casually when you show up to church, so that people don't come to church and somebody's up here dressed casually preaching.
Now, look, I'm not against you wearing casual clothes to church, but the person who's preaching should not be in casual clothes because it just doesn't seem like we're taking things seriously down here if we got somebody up here in a Hawaiian shirt, we got somebody up here in a T-shirt preaching. Here's the thing, I'm not against you wearing casual clothes to church, but guess what? You're just not going to be put behind the pulpit to preach the sermon. You say, "Well, why is that? Where does it say that in the Bible?" You know, it doesn't say that in the Bible, but you know what the Bible does teach? To take the house of God seriously and to take our job seriously, and to be sober and grave. When you come to church you got to be dressed soberly if you want to be taken seriously from behind the pulpit.
I mean, yeah, I could get up here behind the pulpit today in shorts and a T-shirt and there'd be no sin in that, as long as my shorts weren't those little ones with the three stripes that way too short, you know what I mean? But if my shorts were actually knee length shorts and I had a T-shirt on, there'd be no sin in that clothing, but you know what? It would send a message to people that I'm not taking my job seriously, because if I went to see a wedding or funeral I'd dress nice. If I went to see the President of the United States, I'd dress ... What if the President of the United States came out in just really casual clothes, he comes out to give the State of the Union Address, and he's not dressed properly. He's wearing a tank top. He wouldn't wear a tank top anyway because he's such a skinny little wimp, you know. I'm just saying. But I'm just saying, you know, what if he came out and he's wearing a tank top and he's wearing shorts and he's wearing flip-flops? Wouldn't it be an outrage today?
Pastor: It has nothing to do with the Bible. It has nothing to do with Christianity. It would just be, "Wow. This guy's not taking his job as President seriously! He's not even dressing nice to do his job." Let me tell you something. Preaching behind this pulpit is way more important than anything that the President has ever said in his life.
Audience: That's right. Amen.
Pastor: Whatever the President said is meaningless, besides getting up behind the pulpit of Faithful Word Baptist Church and preaching God's word, or any Baptist church where the spirit of God is present and where God's word is being preached. God said to Jeremiah, he said, "I've set you above kings. I've set you above rulers." God's word has preeminence today and preaching the word of God is a great honor and privilege and so, if you are going to say, "Yep. I'm ready to fill the pulpit for you. I'm ready to preach. I'm ready to ..." and then you're just constantly showing up in casual clothes, constantly showing up late, how can I take it seriously that you're ready to preach and fill in if you're showing up late and in casual clothes? Again, I'm not talking to everybody. I'm talking about somebody who wants to be a preacher and so you got to take that seriously.
Now, speaking of being late to church. Look, if you're late on a Wednesday night because you're coming off of work and you're coming to church in your work clothes, God bless you. You're out working for a living. You're making money and I'm glad you're here. Better late than never. Get here and come to church in dirty work clothes and I did the same thing many times in my life. You're out working for a living, but let me ask you this. What's the excuse for being late on a Sunday morning? You know, unless you're working third shift on Saturday night, why are you showing up late on a Sunday morning? Why are you showing up late on Sunday night when you're not even working? That's just you not taking things seriously. I'm not saying that, "Hey, when you're working on Wednesday night and you're trying to make a living room, you get here late." Whatever. That's fine, but look, what it shows is a lack of respect and just a lack of seriousness about things.
Again, I'm not mad at you if you're one that's habitually late, but I will say this, though. How are you going to pastor a church? How are you going to be used by God to play the piano? How are you going to be used to lead the singing? Those are things that require you to be here when the service starts. Again, if you want to be late all the time, that's fine. That's up to you, but don't expect to be used by God as a servant of the local church when you're unfaithful. You can't be relied upon to be here. Then you're not going to be the one that we rely on and that we count on to fill these responsibilities. What if this ... Just stop and think about this for a moment. What if everybody showed up late?
What if everybody showed up late? You know what would happen if everybody showed up late? Then visitors would show up and find an empty building and they would think to themselves, "Church is not even happening," or they'd show up to the parking lot and see one or two cars and think, "I'm in the wrong place. I'm in the wrong time. Nobody's here." Think about that. But yet if you're late every single time, so what, everybody else has to be on time, so that you can be late. Stop and think about that. If everybody did like you do, then nobody'd be here and we'd just be ... Then the pastor shows up five, ten minutes late. "Oh, hey everybody. Let's turn the lights on. Yep, let's have church." People would think that's ridiculous. People aren't taking this seriously. This church is a joke. That's what people would think. Just keep that in mind, but I'm starting to meddle now. I've gone from preaching to meddling, but let's go to the second subject.
Flip over to First Chronicles, Chapter 9. First Chronicles, Chapter 9. By the way, it is possible to be on time. It's possible. Some people do it every time. Some people do it every week, these amazing, superhuman people. Find a way to ... Here's how you get here on time - you leave early. You give yourself a few minutes for Murphy's Law to kick in, and then you're always on time. Again, you say, "Well, this doesn't apply to me because I don't want to be a pastor. I don't want to be a preacher." Use this at your job. Use this with your friends when you tell your friends, "I'm going to be somewhere." If you're running late, what do you do? You call. Say, "I'm running late. I'm not going to make it today. I'm not going to be there. I can't be there. I can't make it. I'm going to be late. Can someone fill in for me?" That helps if you do that. Then that makes you reliable, because at least we know that if we don't hear from you, we can count on you.
Not only this - the area of music, so we talked about preaching - theory of music. First Corinthians 9:33 says this, "And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free, for they were employed in that work day and night." What we see here is amongst the Levites, there were the singers, and these people were employed in that business day and night, handling the music. Now, we could study the rest of the Old Testament. Flip over to Psalm 33, but we could go to the rest of the Old Testament and look at all the different positions of the Levites and see that many of them were singers, many of them played musical instruments, and that these people took their job very seriously. God took their job seriously. It was considered a very important job, and it was considered a position of honor to fulfill that role.
In fact, if you look at the Psalms, you'll see that a lot of the Psalms were written down by men who were the song leaders of Israel, men like Asaph, got to have his name attached to a lot of the Psalms. Obviously they're all through the inspiration of God, but they were used to deliver those Psalms unto the people and to prophesy those songs. Being a singer for the Lord, playing music for the Lord is an important job and it is something that God puts a premium on throughout Scripture. Look at Psalm 33, Verse 3. It says, "Sing unto him a new song. Play skillfully with a loud noise." God receives glory from those who play skillfully on musical instruments and those who sing out loud unto him praises. Now, whether you think it's important or not, whether you think it matters or not, it matters to God and he talks a lot about it through the Psalms.
In fact, the most common imperative command in the Bible, where he's telling you to do something, is praise. Praise the Lord. He tells you to do that more than he tells you to do anything else. We need people who are skilled in the area of music, that would step up to the plate, do the work necessary, and fulfill those roles and be faithful to them. Now, here's the thing. Sometimes people can't make it for whatever reason. That's why we need to have a backup person, and a backup upon the backup. It's okay if somebody can only do it on Sundays, but then we need somebody to reliably do it on Wednesdays. You see what I mean? We need to be able to have ... Even if it's multiple people filling these roles, we need to find people who can fill these roles and be faithful, because otherwise we get to service, we don't have singers, we don't have piano player and then we're up a creek and we're trying to figure out how to do it.
You say, "Well, we'll just do a cappella. Who cares?" You know who cares? I care. God cares. If we can do a better job, let's do a better job. Yeah, you're right. We could do the minimum and just sing a capella, but I think God would be more glorified if we have a song leader who knows what he's doing, if we have a piano player who knows how to play, an organ player who knows how to play, and we can sing out and play skillfully with loud noise and bring glory to God and that our worship would be something that somebody put some thought and effort into and not something that just randomly occurs. Now this is the truth that I'm preaching to you this morning, and let me tell you something. When I grew up going to church, when I grew up and I walked into a church, and I visited a lot of churches growing up and we switched churches a few times.
When I walked into a church, I always just as a kid in my 9-year old mind or whatever the age, I always considered the song leader to be the second in command of the church, whether he was or not. There might have been other assistant pastors and people, right? But when I walked into that church as a 9-year old boy, I looked at the song leader as the second in command. I looked at him as the person that was second in importance only under the pastor himself. Only second to the pastor was the guy who was leading the singing. You also walk in and a guy reads the Scripture before the sermon and you know what you're thinking to yourself? "Hey, this guy's an important person. This guy's a key player in the church. This guy is someone who has been found faithful. This is somebody who God is using."
These are positions that should not be taken lightly, and I've been in churches where people fought over the position to be the piano player or to be the song leader, or to get up and read or to get up and preach. Look, these are positions where God is putting you somewhere where you can really do something great for him and really be used by him and it's a position of leadership. When you're in a position of leadership, you know what that means? People are looking at you and they're following your lead. If you're up here leading the singing, people are looking to you as a leader. You say, "I'm not a leader." Yeah, if you lead singing in this church, you are a leader whether you know it or not and people are looking to you as a role model and a leader. If nothing else, 9-year old children like little Steven Anderson's are looking at you, thinking that you're a leader.
Let me tell you, when you're playing the piano, you're a leader. When you're playing the organ, you're a leader. When you read the Scripture, when you do the announcements, people are looking at you as a leader. You know what? That's a big responsibility and you better be faithful and take it seriously, and not only is it a big responsibility, it's a big privilege. You say, "Well, I don't think it's a privilege. It's work." Then you know what? Then let someone else do it. But let me say this. We have a shortage in these areas and as our church gets bigger you'd think we'd have more people stepping in and filling these areas, the bigger our church gets, but we lose people and we need people to fill those roles as we send out leaders to start churches. We need them to fill roles.
You know, Brother Romero, you say, "Brother Romero, we're not losing a song leader when he goes out the door." You say, "We're not losing the guy who reads the Scripture," but you know what? Brother Romero does fulfill an important function and role in this church. I probably don't even have to tell you what that role is predominantly, but he is one of the best people in our church about taking care of people, making sure that people who are in the hospital, he follows up with that, people who are sick, people who are gone. He checks in with them, he builds relationships with people, he has been a guy who is there being a helper unto the pastor, under the shepherd to help take care of the flock when they need help, and to go to people and figure out what they need, to help them with what they need, to be that personal touch and to be their friend. He has been one of the best friends in this church. He's been one that has showed himself friendly unto many people of the church. Who's going to step in and fill that role?
You say, "Well, I'm not a preacher. I'm not a singer. I'm not a piano player." Okay, who's going to step in and fill that role of just seeing people have need and help their need and being hospitable unto people and just reaching out to people when they're sick, when they're gone, when they're missing, when they're hurt? That's a role that needs to be filled by someone, and we all have different talents and abilities. Some of these things require skill. Now, if you say, "I don't have the skill," well, first of all, Daniel prayed for skill. Daniel prayed and in Daniel Chapter 9, Verse 22, after he had prayed ... Let me just read this for you. You don't have to turn there, but I'm going to turn there. Daniel, Chapter 9. After Daniel had prayed unto the Lord, an angel came to him and said in Verse 22, "Informed me and talked to me and said, 'Oh Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.'"
The angel came unto Daniel and said, "I'm going to give you skill. I'm going to give you understanding." In Chapter 1 of Daniel, talk about how skillful Daniel was and it was because God's blessing was upon Daniel that he had all that skill. That's why Paul said, "I thank Christ Jesus, our Lord, who hath enabled me for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." Watch this. He found Paul faithful. Then he enabled him and put him in the ministry. Do you see that? First you're faithful, then God enables you, then he puts you into the ministry. That formula works for anybody. Now, is everybody going to be a preacher? No. There are some people who are never going to have the skill necessary to become a preacher. There are some people who will never have the skill necessary to be a song leader. There will be some who do not have the skill necessary to play piano.
Most of that is because they didn't start at a young enough age. It's not as much natural born talent as just starting when you're 7 versus starting when you're 37. You might not ever get there at that point. Yeah, some of you have missed the boat. But let me say this. Some of you, if you put some work into it, could develop your skills a little bit, and you could do some of these jobs. You have the raw materials that it takes to become a song leader, but are you doing the work? Are you doing the practice? "Well, I need somebody to teach me." You know, I'm willing to teach people how to lead the singing all the time. I'm constantly showing people how to do it and then they don't work on it. You can go on YouTube and type in, "How to lead singing. Song leading patterns." There are going to be a million videos that tell you how to do it. Come to me. I'll teach you how to do it.
If you have ability to learn how to play the piano, and you have some talent in that area, you could put in the work and learn how to do it and then be someone who can be a backup piano player. Look, here's my philosophy. There are some churches I've been in where it was kind of hard to crack in to leadership. You know what I mean? It was kind of hard to crack in to these jobs and it's like, "Man, how do I get in these jobs? How do I get in?" But you know what? In our church it's real easy to get in, honestly. Because I have a philosophy. I don't have a philosophy of just one guy leads the singing all the time. I have a philosophy that says if we have four guys who can lead the singing, let's cycle them through and let's give everybody an opportunity to lead the singing so that we can give everybody ...
Because look, I'm here not to just put on a show for the crowd. I'm here to make sure that people get trained, so we train another generation, so we can send people out to start churches somewhere else and so I want ... If we have five piano players, we'll cycle them through. If we have five song leaders, we'll cycle them through, and then we'll never have a service where we don't have one. Because it's better to have five than zero. There's enough chance for everybody to get to serve and everybody to get the experience and to be able to do it. Look, it's an honor. It's a privilege to be able to serve the Lord.
Pastor: Thank God if he's given you talent. Don't be like that guy who takes your talent and buries it in the earth and doesn't use it. Not everybody can play the piano. If you have the ability to play piano, use that for the Lord. "Oh, I'm just going to learn classical." Waste of your life. Waste of your time. What in the world are you going to do with all this tons of classical piano? What are you going to do with it? Now, does it have some benefit? Yeah. It's not a total waste because it makes you smarter to play music. It's not a total waste because you can impress people at a party. You can get out and show them ... But you know what? Isn't that kind of vain in comparison with playing in the house of God?
Worshiping the Lord of hosts, the Lord of the universe, that is and was and is to come? You are praising him with what you're doing and then you're being used in the local church to be a blessing to the local church, teaching and admonishing one another in songs and hymns and spiritual songs and being able to worship the Lord, and being able to praise God, and being able to be a blessing to the local church? Hey, that's better. That's why God gave us talent, to use it for him. There are people that have great speaking ability and they become a stand-up comedian. Is that really the best use of their speaking ability? Or worse yet, they become a politician, and will serve the devil, or they become whatever, lawyers or whatever.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being a lawyer. There is something wrong with being a politician. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with some of these things, but let me tell you something. If you have an ability, even if you're using it in the world, you should use it for the Lord also. Let's say you are a concert pianist, and here's the thing. Learning how to play music, yeah, you might get a job as a professional musician, but you're probably not going to, because that's hard to crack into, and people who are professional musicians ... I got news for you, they don't make a lot of money. I mean, unless you're in a rock band. The vast majority of people who are professional musicians, they don't make massive ... I mean, the conductor makes a lot of money. How many conductors are there in that symphony? One.
Let me tell you something. You are more likely to be able to use your musical talent in the local church for eternal rewards than to just sit there and, "Oh, I'm going to use it for Broadway or the symphony hall," or whatever. Again, I'm not saying that all these things are inherently sinful. I'm just telling you that even if you are a concert pianist, even if you do make a living by conducting a symphony and playing piano at weddings or giving piano lessons and you actually use that as a way to make a living, why aren't you also using that talent for the Lord and serve God with it, right? Whether it's a speaking ability that God's given you, and listen. Here are some areas of service: Reading the Scripture before the sermon starts. That's a leadership role. That's an area of service for the Lord.
Here's the thing. It's something that not everyone can do, because see, if I call Brother Garrett up here to read the Scripture, he doesn't always know what chapter I'm going to. Now, I try to, when I can, give him a heads up. At least he knows on Wednesday nights what's coming at him, but I just hit him with a chapter and he has to be able to pronounce those words, because sometimes there are some crazy names. Basically to fill that role, it has to be somebody that a) knows the Bible, to be able to know how to give things the proper intonation when they do the reading, because it's harder than it looks to get up here and read the Scripture. You say, "Oh, come on. Reading the Scripture, who cares?" It's important. It's all important.
Pastor: Leading in prayer is important. Leading the singing is important. Leading the Scripture reading is important. Doing the preaching is important. He has to be able to know the Bible to know how to pronounce the names, and he has to just be a good reader. I mean, some people learned how to read with the see-and-say reading method instead of phonics, and they can't read right. Then they can't do that job, so here's the thing. If you're somebody who is skillful in reading and knows the Bible, and says, "I can get up there and read the chapter without making mistakes," then you know what? Come to me and tell me that, and tell me, "I will be dressed professionally and I will show up and I will read the Scripture without making mistakes." Not to replace Brother Garrett, but to be an addition to Brother Garrett, another person that could come up and read the Scriptures. Not trying to replace the piano player, but another piano player.
Because there are times when everybody's gone on the same night and we need people to fill in, and if all our eggs are in one basket, what do we do then? We have nobody to read the Scripture. We have nobody to take the offering. The camera doesn't get turned on. Nobody to play the piano, nobody to play the organ, nobody to lead the singing. There's no reason for it in a church our size. It just shouldn't happen. If we were 1 in 20, I would understand. "Okay, sometimes we got to go a cappella." But look, when we're running 125, 130 people on Sunday morning, where are people at to fill these roles? There's got to be somebody who can read. There's got to be somebody who can lead the singing. There's got to be somebody who has the raw materials to learn how to do these things and to step in and fill these roles.
I mean, even just taking the offering is a job that at least I know I can just say, "All right. It's time for our offering," and I know Brother Corbin's got that covered, but you know what? Somebody needs to be there to have it covered when he's not here, and I'm not saying he's unreliable. He is reliable. He's very reliable. It's a good example of somebody I just don't worry about the offering. It's done. But you know what? Here's the thing. Brother Corbin also is one who has the potential to be able to lead the singing and also has the potential to do other jobs where if we could get somebody else to do the offering, then that could free him up to do other things and other services so that he could get more training and learn even more things.
This is why it's good to cycle people through, because by the way, if you're going to be a pastor someday, you have to be able to do everything. Because when you start a church, you're doing everything. You're preaching, you're singing, you're praying, you're taking the offering, you're reading. You're doing everything. You've got to get the skills and the practice to do that. This is the place you get it, not in some Bible college somewhere, not in some seminary somewhere. You get it here in the local church by serving. We've got preaching, being ready to preach at a moment's notice. I mean, how many of you right now if I just opened the pulpit up right now and said, "Come up and preach right now." How many of you would be ready to preach right now? I'm not asking for a raise of hands.
How many of you would be ready to preach right now? But you want to be a pastor. You want to be a preacher, huh? You better be ready at a moment's notice always, or you're going to miss opportunities. That means you're dressed for the job, you got the outline ... The outline at home isn't going to help you. You either have to have the outline memorized or the outline with you. You know what? I would take it pretty seriously to get to preach a sermon in this church, because you've got a great crowd of godly people who are listening to you and you can influence great Christians by preaching in this church. Huge opportunity. Not to mention the fact that tens of thousands of people online listen to the sermons that come from this church every week. Every single month over 100,000. Did you hear me? 100,000 audio sermons are downloaded from this church website, let alone YouTube. 100,000 every month.
That means every single day, 3,000 some people are downloading an mp3. Forget YouTube that has 18 million views or whatever, but you know what? If you were given an opportunity to preach behind this pulpit, how prepared would you be, realizing first of all I'm preaching to these people right here. Look around. Look around the room today. These are godly people. There are more people in this room per capita that go soul winning than in any church I've ever been to in my life. These are the front lines of God's people. These are soul winning, dedicated Christians and you have a chance to speak to them and they're going to be listening to you. They're paying attention and they're learning from you.
That's a big opportunity, but how many of you if you were ready to preach, would be unprepared? You have not memorized the verses that you're going to be preaching on in your outline? You've not studied the material? You don't know what Scriptures to turn to? You get up and you don't do a good job, not because you don't have the talent, but because you're not prepared, because you're not ready like Ezra was ready. Preaching, leading the singing. By the way, if you're going to be the one to fill the pulpit, you've got to be to church on time. You got to be dressed right. You got to be faithful. You got to be someone that can be relied upon or I'm going to find somebody else that is. You know, you say, "Well, he's a better preacher." Well, I'm going to find the guy that's actually going to be there, because no matter how good of a preacher he is, if he's not there, he's not dressed for the job, he's coming late, it's not going to work.
Okay, then I'll just have to find somebody else. You know, playing the piano, leading the singing, doing the reading. You say, "Well, I don't have any of those talents," but you know what? Anybody, anybody can do certain things, like how about this? Being to church on time. Make that your ministry. Getting to church on ... You say, "Why is that a ministry?" Because you know what? If you get here 5 or 10 minutes early, you know what you can do? Talk to people. Talk to visitors. Greet people. I can't always be here early. Like for example, on Wednesday nights, I'm rushing back from the soul winning time that I'm running at 5:15. I blow in at the last minute because I'm out soul winning on Wednesdays and I just get here on time.
Who can be here on Wednesday a little early, greet visitors if people get here early, win them to Christ if they're not saved, be their friend, greet them, be friendly to them. You say, "I don't have all these talents and abilities." Okay, well when the service ends, can you talk to visitors? Can you talk to the Sunday morning only crowd that maybe's a little new to our church? Maybe people who have only been here 2 weeks, 3 weeks, maybe even 3 or 4 months, but they just haven't really gotten that plugged in yet, they don't have a lot of friends. When you see somebody standing around and nobody's talking to them, can you be the one that would greet that person and get to know them and be their friend and love them and pray for them? Anybody can do these jobs and be faithful and be reliable just to be at church, just to greet people, just to be a soul winner.
What else do we need people for? We need people to run these soul winning times. Because we had a soul winning time that Brother Berzins was running, but the Berzins left, and Shawn Fairchild had to fill that void, okay? Who's going to fill the void for Brother Romero? Or are we just going to keep having less soul winning times and just having less ... Somebody needs to take charge and say, "You know what? I can run a soul winning time. I can be reliable. I can be there every week, and if I'm not going to be there, I'll find someone to be there for me and take my place, and be reliable. I'll do that. I'll fill that void." There are many things that all of us can do. Now, some of you are listening to this sermon and thinking, "Well, I'm not really interested in any of this." Well, you know what? I'm preaching to the people who are interested.
Because I personally consider it a great privilege to do any work in the house of the Lord. I like what Brother Jimenez preached on the camping trip, where he preached about how the church is sort of like a fire station. It's like a fire department, where everybody's job is fighting fires. Otherwise you're not a firefighter, right? If you're not out fighting fires, what's the point in even having a firehouse? It's not a social club. You're there to put fires out, but everybody in the firehouse has a different job, too, like one guy mops the floor, one guy cooks the meals, one guy washes the truck, right? Everybody has a menial task that they perform. Here's the thing. In the church everybody's job is to be a soul winner. Everybody should be evangelizing. Everybody should be witnessing. Everybody's out giving the gospel to friends, family, co-workers, loved ones and door-to-door. That's for everybody.
Anybody can do that. That's for everybody. God wants to use us all to do that. By the way, that's the main emphasis of our church is reaching the lost with the gospel. That's the main thing, just like the main thing at a fire department, putting out fires. The main thing at the church is getting people out of the fire of Hell. But hold on. It's also great if everybody has another job that they do. For example, what if a guy is a really good firefighter, but he says, "I'm not mopping the floor. I'm not cooking the eggs. I'm a firefighter. Call me when there's a fire. Until then I'm going to be up in my room." Do you think that guy's going to last? He's going to be fired. No pun intended. Then let's say there's another guy who's just awesome at mopping the floor, he's cooking meals, he's washing the truck. He's scrubbing it with a toothbrush, getting it perfect, getting it gleaming, and then it's time to fight the fire and it's like, "I'm scared."
You think that guy's going to make it as a firefighter? You got to do both. If we want God to really be pleased with us, let's be a soul winner, but you know what? Let's find a ministry in the church, too, to just get involved in. Some ministries are more public than others, like being the song leader. You're in front of a lot of people. Playing the piano. These are really honorable roles, but you know what God says? That some of the parts of the body of Christ, some of the members of the body upon whom we bestow less honor, it says are just as necessary in First Corinthians, Chapter 12. When he goes through those spiritual gifts. He says a lot of the people behind the scenes are necessary, people who clean the building and clean the bathrooms, people who greet visitors, people who take people out to lunch, people who get to know ... All of those are really important, necessary jobs.
You know what? Just because you're not in the limelight doesn't mean you're not important, but if you're in the limelight and by the way, if you're playing piano, leading the singing, preaching a sermon, reading the Scripture, you are in the limelight. If you're running a soul winning time, you're in the limelight. You need to take that very seriously as a leadership role, but even if you're not in the limelight, it's important what you do. Take it seriously. Be a person who serves in the local church because honestly, we could use faithful people that will labor and help and work and get things done, and honestly, there are some areas right now where we do have a shortage of people, and they're really great jobs. They're really great positions that really I would have, when I was your age, I would have loved to have that job.
Do you know what I mean? When I was coming up, in a fundamental Baptist church, when I was sitting in the pew, I would have loved ... I would have loved the opportunity to get up and read the Scripture before the church service. I would have thought that was the greatest thing ever or just to lead one song per service. I would have thought that was amazing. But it's just ... You got to be ready. You got to be prepared, and the opportunities will be there. God wants to use you, but he needs you to get ready. How do I get ready? Read the Bible, learn the Bible, learn how to read out loud, learn how to lead the singing, learn how to play piano, get good at being friendly. Get good at greeting people, get here on time, take it seriously, and just be available to help when you're called upon.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for your word, Lord, and all these admonishments that you've given us to be faithful, Lord, and you've told us that if we're faithful, we can be a ruler over all things, Lord and that you will put us in positions like Ezra where we can have great influence and be greatly used by you, Lord, and more than anything Lord, help us to want to bring honor and glory to you. Help us to play skillfully with a loud noise and bring honor and glory to you, whether it's through the piano or the organ, singing, whether it's guitar, whether it's a melodica, whatever instruments, Lord. Please just help us to be used by you as preachers, soul winners, teachers, preachers, singers, greeters, just people who show hospitality, Lord, and we ask you to please help our church grow, not just numerically, Lord, but to grow in leaders also.