The title of my sermon this morning is, "Giving Christianity A Bad Name." Giving Christianity A Bad Name. First of all, I want to clear up some misconceptions about what most people seem to think gives Christianity a bad name, and then we're going to see what the Bible actually tells us gives Christians and Christianity a bad name. A lot of times people will throw around the phrase, "You're the reason why people don't like Christians." I've had people tell me that probably thousands of times. "People hate Christians because of people like you." First of all, let me clear up some of that misconception. Flip over if you would to John chapter 15, because it's very simply why many people in the world hate Christians, and that's simply because the world hated Jesus. If we follow Jesus Christ, the Bible tells that we will be hated of this world.
You go ahead and look at John 15. I'll read for you from First John 3:13, where the Bible reads, "Marvel not my brethren if the world hates you." The Bible says that we shouldn't be surprised or marveled when the world hates us. Look at John chapter 15, verse 18. "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own, but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." Flip over to chapter 17, just a few pages to the right in your Bible. The Bible says in verse 14 of chapter 17, "I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." Luke 21:17 said, "Ye shall be hated of all men for My namesake, for the name of Jesus Christ."
Let's just clear this up right away, this thing of, "Well you're the reason why the world hates Christians. No, the reason why the world hates Christians is that they hated Christ. That's what it really comes down to. Look if you would at Mark chapter number 6, Mark chamber number 6. A lot of people will say, "What gives Christianity a bad name is all this hard preaching against sin, and all this hard nosed uncompromising stance that Christians have, and it's just so unloving," and they think that gives Christianity a bad name. Have you heard that before? Let me show you in the Bible that it's not hard preaching that gives Christianity a bad name.
Look at Mark chapter 6, verse 17. "For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife, for he had married for. For John had said unto Herod, 'It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.' Therefore, Herodius had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him, but she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and holy, and observed him, and when he heard him, he did many things and heard him gladly." This shows you right here that even when the world is persecuting you, and even when the world is speaking evil of you, deep down they respect you when you actually take a stand for what the Bible teaches.
Here we have John the Baptist who is a hard nosed preacher, who is calling out sin for what it is. He is telling the King Herod that it's not lawful for him to have his brother Philip's wife. You see, his brother Philip was married to a woman, and divorced that woman, and then Herod married her. The Bible says right here in this passage that he had married her, so it's not that he was having this woman out of wedlock, but it was that he took her away from his brother; she was divorced of him and became his wife. It's not that John the Baptist hard preaching against divorce, "Well that's why people don't like Christians." No. John the Baptist was doing what was right. Jesus praised him for the stance that he took when he was sent to prison, and here even Herod ... Look what it says in verse 20. "Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and holy." Even when he's being persecuted and hated of the world, deep down the world respects him for standing for what the Bible actually says.
Look at John chapter 3. Flip over to John chapter 3. It's not being strict, or living a godly life, or taking a hard line against sin, or preaching hard that gives Christianity a bad name. No, actually the great Christian who ever lived, according to the Bible, was a hard preacher, John the Baptist. Look what the Bible says in John chapter 3, verse 19. It says, "This is the condemnation that light has come into the world and men love darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil, for everyone that doeth evil hateth the light." It's not the hard preachers that are the problem. It's not the Christians that are standing strong in a world that condones all manner of sin and filth. They want to live a godly Christian life. That's not what gives Christianity a bad name. Oh, no. Anybody who hates the light because of that, well they just hated the light anyway because their deeds were evil, the Bible says.
It says, "For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light lest his deeds should be reproved, but he that doeth truth cometh to the light that his deeds made be made manifest, that there wrought in God." People will say, "Well, it's the name-calling. It's when people get up and call out false prophets, and call out false religions, and when you preach hard against Catholicism and preach hard against orthodoxy, and when you call out the whores and whoremongers, and when you call out the murderers. Hey, that's what gives Christianity a bad name." No, that's now what gives Christianity a bad name, because that's what Jesus did.
Matthew 23 is one of the hardest sermons preached, if you'd flip over there in the Bible. Preached from the mouth of Jesus Christ himself, here are just a few highlights of this. Verse 17 Jesus said, "Ye fools and blind. For whether is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold?" Look at verse 19. "Ye fools and blind. For whether is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctified the gift?" Verse 27. "Woe until you, scribes and pharisees. Hypocrites, for you're like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness." Verse 33. "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers. How can you escape the damnation of hell?" You say, "Well I just don't like the harsh language and the name calling." You wouldn't have liked Jesus' preaching. You would have walked out of Jesus' sermon, the son of God, the lord of lords, the king of kings. This isn't what gives Christianity a bad name. This is what follows in the footsteps of Christ himself.
Look at First Peter chapter 4. Right now, this is all introduction. We're going to get into what the Bible says gives Christianity a bad name, but first we're just looking at some of the misconceptions where people will point to these things in our day and say, "Well, this is what's giving Christianity a bad name." Look at First Peter chapter 4, verse 1. "For as much then as Christ had suffered for us in the flesh, our mere selves likewise with the same mind for he that hath suffered in the flush had ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of gentiles when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries."
Watch this last part here, verse 4. "Wherein they think it's strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you." The Bible predicts that when you live a godly Christian life, they're going to speak evil of you, and they're going to think it's strange that you don't run to the same excess of riot. "Hey, why aren't you out there drinking? Why aren't you out there fornicating and partying?" Look at the last verse there, in verse 5. "Who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quicker they ... " They'll give an account for their wicked lifestyle, and they're going to speak evil of you, but does that mean we shouldn't live that strict godly life that God wants us to live? Of course not. That would be ridiculous to say that.
Look at chapter 2, chapter 2 of First Peter. It says in Verse 11, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lust which war against the soul. Having your conversation honest among the gentiles that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works which they shall behold glorify God in the day of visitation." Even if they speak evil against you, when you're doing what's right, when you're living a godly life, when you're abstaining from the lusts of the flesh, and when you're walking in the spirit, in the end, it's going to cause them to glorify God on your behalf.
Let's get into what the Bible says actually gives Christianity a bad name. Go to Romans chapter 2. Number 1, what gives Christianity a bad name is when you live a sinful life as a Christian. That's what actually gives Christianity a bad name. It's not when you're preaching hard against sin. It's not when you're taking a strong stand that goes in the face of this wicked world. It's not when you call out the false teachers and the false prophets for what they are. No, it's actually living a sinful life that causes the world to get a bad taste of Christianity. While you're turning to Romans 2, I'll read for you Second Samuel 12:14.
This is that famous story where David commits adultery with Bathsheba, and then he actually commits murder to cover it up, because he has Uriah killed. He commits adultery and murder, and this is what Nathan the prophet tells David. "How be it, because by this deed thou has given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme the child also that is born under these shall surely die." According to the Bible, when we commit sin, that's what gives great occasion for the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. That's what gives Christianity a bad name. That's where people could look at David and say, "Oh, here is the man who worships the Lord. Look at the life that he lives. Look at the adultery. Look at the murder," and it gave great occasion for people to blaspheme the name of the Lord.
Look at Romans chapter 2, verse 21. "Thou therefore which teachest another teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preaches demand shall not steal? Does thou steal? Thou that sayest demands shall not commit adultery. Does thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorest idols. Does thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law. Through breaking the law dishonorest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles through you as it is written." Do you see that? When you are a hypocrite, when you preach that a man should not steal and then you steal, when you say, "Hey, you shouldn't be committing murder. You shouldn't be committing adultery. You shouldn't worshiping idols," and then you go out and do those same things, the Bible says the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles through you when you do that hypocrisy.
It's actually living a sinful life that gives Christianity a bad name. If you want to have a good testimony, if you want to be a good ambassador of Jesus Christ, then living a clean and godly life is a good place to start. How about practicing what you preach? When the world looks at you and they see you practicing what you preach, even if they speak evil of you, they're going to respect you. They're still going to know that you're a just and a holy person in the end. Secondly, go to First Timothy chapter 6. The second thing that will cause Christianity to be given a bad name through our lives is if we are a bad worker at our job. This is something that the Bible brings up repeatedly about me. He says when you're a man, and you go to work, and you're a poor worker at the job, you will give Christianity a bad name. Number one, if you live a sinful life, you're giving Christianity a bad name. Number two, when you're a bad worker.
Look at First Timothy chapter 6, verse 1. "Let as many servants as are under the yolk count their own masters worthy of all honor that the name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed." Right there it's saying that if we do not give respect unto the boss at work, if we don't honor those who are at the job telling us what to do, He says that that'll cause the name of God and His doctrine to be blasphemed. Look at verse 2. It says, "And they that have believing masters," this is saying if you work for a Christian employer, "Let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather do them service because they are faithful and beloved partakers of the benefit these things teach and exhort."
There's a tendency in this world for the workers to despise the owner of the company. Have you ever been in a job where they talk bad about the boss, and talk bad about the owner of the company, and say, "Oh, man, must be nice being the owner of the company, and he treats us like dirt." We shouldn't participate in that as Christians. If you don't like the owner of the company, if you don't like the boss, then go get another job, but we should not sit around and talk bad about the boss and bite the hand that feeds us. We should have respect for our boss, and if he's a Christian boss, we should have even more respect for him, treat him even better, because he's faithful and beloved of God. That should be even more reason to be respectful, not to look for special treatment, or despise him, or think it's not fair.
You know what? You don't really know what it's like sometimes to own a company, and then you'll look down on the boss and think he has it so easy, but in reality, sometimes the owner of the company is working twice as much as you. Sometimes you might look at the owner of the company and see him taking it easy, but what you don't realize is that 10 or 20 years ago when he started the company, he paid his dues, where he worked 100 hours a week, and now he's starting to enjoy a little bit and starting to relax a little bit. You don't know what it was like starting that company, and when you're the employee, your paycheck shows up every Friday like clockwork; you don't even have to worry about it. Whereas the owner of the company, sometimes he doesn't get paid. Sometimes the customer stiffs him for the money, and sometimes he has to work all types of hours and things that you don't have to do.
The Bible is telling us that when we have a bad attitude toward the boss at work, we actually give the name of Christ and His doctrine a bad name. Go to Titus chapter 2. Actually, I'm sorry, go to First Thessalonians 4. First Thessalonians 4, and then after that, we're going to go to Daniel chapter 1, but go for now to First Thessalonians chapter 4, verse 11. The Bible says, "And ye study that ye study to be quiet." What does it mean to study to be quiet? Learn how to shut up, is what he's saying. Study to be quiet, and to do your own business. Right? Study to be quiet, and to do your own business, "and to work with your own hands as we commanded you, that you may walk honestly toward them that are without and that you may have lack of nothing."
Those that are without are the people that are outside of the faith, those who are outside of Christianity, and God's saying you want to walk honestly toward them. You want them to see you working hard, and being honest, and being a good worker. That's a great testimony unto the unsaved. Go to Daniel chapter 1. This is actually where I got the idea for this sermon, was I was studying Daniel chapter 1 this week and this is something that just jumped out at me right at the beginning of this chapter, and then something at the end of this chapter that jumped out at me, that just gives such a contrast between giving the word of God and His doctrine a good name and giving the name of God and His doctrine a bad name. Being a great testimony and being a terrible testimony.
Let's start out at the beginning of this chapter with somebody who is a terrible testimony, and who drags the name of the Lord through the mud. It says in chapter 1, verse 1, "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, King of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon unto Jerusalem and besieged it, and the Lord gave Jehoiakim, King of Judah into His hand with part of the vessels of the House of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his God, and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his God." The thing that jumped out at me in this verse is the repetition of the fact that the vessels are brought into the house of a false god, and nothing in the Bible is incidental, coincidental or accidental. I wondered, "Why did God repeat that and just emphasize that?" Why did he say at the end of verse 2 that he carried the vessels into the land of Shinar, to the house of his God, and then has this added statement at the end. "And he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god."
Stop and think about the story, and realize what's going through this king's mind, Nebuchadnezzar. What's going through the people in his nation's mind when they see God's house raided, and all those vessels brought into the treasure house of their God. You know what they're thinking to themselves? "Our god has more power. That's why our god just defeated your god. That's why we're going to take all of the vessels out of the house of your god and we're gonna put them into the treasure house of our god. We're gonna give them unto our deity." If you study the Old Testament, you'll see that these nations would say things like that. They'll say, "You know, hey, where are the gods of our pet? Where are the gods of the cities of [inaudible 00:18:45]?" Your god can't deliver you either, Hezekiah. Your god can't deliver you either, Jehoiakim or whoever.
The question is: Can God deliver? Of course. Was it God's fault that Jehoiakim is given into his hand? Was it God's fault that the vessels are taken from the house of God and put into the treasure house of a false god? No, it's because of the disobedience of Jekoiakim. Because of Jehoiakim's failure, because of his disobedience, God ends up getting a bad name amongst the heathen, where it looks like He doesn't have the power, when really God has all the power. It's man that messed it up, and limited God, and caused God's name to be blasphemed amongst the heathen. God has to redeem his name throughout the book of Daniel. It starts out the book of Daniel with his name being dragged in the mud, where this other god is just beating up on him, apparently, to the heathen. Yet throughout the book of Daniel, God has to show His power through faithful servants in order to redeem His name among the heathen.
Look how this starts in chapter 17. It says, "As for these ... " I'm sorry, verse 17. Good night. There aren't 17 chapters in the book of Daniel, unless you're in a Catholic Bible or something, so Daniel chapter 1, verse 17. "As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in. Then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar, and the king communed with them, and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Therefore stood they before the king, and in all matters of wisdom and understanding that the king inquired of them. He found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm."
The Bible says even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure and whether it be right. Even a child can have a testimony to the heathen. The unsaved can even look at a child and either see a good testimony for the Lord or a bad testimony for the Lord. These four children, and another thing you'll notice when you read Daniel chapter 1 is the world "children" over and over again. Children, children, children, children. Make no mistake. These are children. I don't know the exact age, but they were young. They were children, and God uses the world "children" over and over again for a reason. They're not young men. They're children. The Bible teaches here that God gave them knowledge and skill.
In the story, when we read the chapter, it's because of the fact that they were living a clean and separated life. They would not eat of the portion of the king's meat, nor drink the wine that the king drank. They were even willing to just eat bland food, and just eat pulse and water, basically beans, lentils, water in order to abstain from the meat sacrificed under idols and abstain from the king's wine. They separated themselves. They purposed in their heart not to defile themselves, with Daniel leading them, and then as a result of their godly, separated life, God gave them knowledge and skill. God gave them learning, and wisdom, and understanding, and then the world looked at them, and the world's judgment of them was these guys are ten times better. These children are ten times better than all of the magicians and astrologers that are in the whole realm. All of these supposedly wise men can't even measure up to these four children.
This shows how your testimony in your profession, in your job, can either give Christianity a good name or a bad name. If it were said of you at your job, "He's ten times better than any worker," would that give Christianity a good name? Absolutely. They associated it with the God of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as the story progresses. Go to Titus chapter 2. Titus chapter 2, so we've seen several places where this comes up. First Timothy 6 it's brought out. First Thessalonians chapter 4. We see the same principle in Daniel chapter 1. These guys are servants. They don't have freedom, and their job is to learn the tongue and the learning of the Chaldeans. They're basically in school and they're supposed to study all this information, and God blesses them, and they're ten times smarter than everybody else. They learn the material better than anyone else, through the power of God.
Look at Titus chapter 2, verse 6. It says, "Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded, in all things showing thyself a pattern of good works, in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient under their own masters, and to please them well in all things, not answer again." What does it mean, not answer again? Not talking back. Don't talk back, he's saying. Do what you're told. Verse 10. "Not purloining." Purloining is when you steal things from your job. You're maybe taking a little bit off the top, skimming the till or whatever. "Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things."
We're to teach and preach the word of God, but the Bible says we're to adorn the doctrine of God with what? Our good works. Our good testimony. A righteous life, so that we can give Christianity a good name, so that when we speak the name of the Lord, and when we speak the doctrines of the Bible, and when we speak the word of God, people want to listen to us because we have a good testimony, because we've given the word of God a good name. There's a thing out there ... Let me just stop at this point and bring up the fact that there's a thing out there called lifestyle evangelism. Have you heard of this?
This is a term that I would stay away from, because of the fact that lifestyle evangelism is this idea that you don't need to preach the gospel. You just live your life in a godly way, you just be a good testimony, sort of like I'm talking about here. You live a clean life. You're the best worker on the job. You're very respectful, and when you do that, people are supposedly just going to fall on their knees before you and say, "What must I do to be saved?" It's called lifestyle evangelism. Here's the problem with that. When you do this, you will have some people that will come to you and ask you how to be saved. It's true. If you live a godly Christian life, and you're a really good testimony at your job, you will have people come to you and say, "You know what? I admire your lifestyle. I want to know about your religion. I want to know about Jesus Christ, because you have shown me such an amazing testimony."
Let me tell you something. That's rare. It's something that happens every few years or something. That's not what God's called us to do. The early church, the Bible said daily in the temple, and in every house, they cease not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. They're daily, every house people are out preaching and knocking doors. God hasn't called us to win somebody to the Lord every few years when they come ask us. No, the Bible says we as Christ was are here to seek and to save that which was lost. We're supposed to go seek them, and we're supposed to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. The Bible says that we should open our mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.
Notice what it says here in verse 10, at the end of this passage telling you how important it is that you have a good testimony, and that you're a pattern of good works, and they can look at you as an example, and that you're not purloining, and that you're being respectful, and that you're a good worker. He says halfway through verse 10, "That they may adorn the doctrine of God." What is adornment? It's a decoration. It's the icing on the cake. What's the main course? The doctrine. What good is the adornment if there's no doctrine? Think about it. What if I was just really nice to someone, really helped someone out, I was just such a great Samaritan unto them, and then I never shared with them the gospel of Jesus Christ? What good is my testimony doing then if I show them a great testimony, but then I never preach them salvation? I never give them the gospel.
The adornment has to adorn something. It adorns the doctrine. Having a good testimony is not a replacement for preaching the gospel. It's just an adornment, okay? To make people more likely to listen to you, and to make people have a better view of Christianity going into it. It reminds me of when my wife makes schnitzel, because my wife cooks a lot of German food, obviously. She grew up in Germany, and so we have ... Who knows what schnitzel is? I'm not talking about the hot dog place, Wienerschnitzel. Schnitzel is a breaded meat cutlet. It could be a breaded veal cutlet. It could be a breaded pork cutlet, which is what we actually eat. It's really good. It's one of my favorite meals when she makes schnitzel, and potatoes, and cauliflower, and she makes this amazing cauliflower sauce that goes over everything. It's the best meal ever.
When you eat schnitzel, you love that breaded coating on the outside of the meat. You savor it, and on the edges of the meat where there's that extra coating is some of the best bites, where you get some of that extra fried breading on the edge of your meat. Here's the thing. When my wife's done making the schnitzel and she puts this coating on all of the schnitzels, she'll take all that leftover coating, the batter, and the coating is so good. Oh, the coating's the best part, but she'll take that coating all by itself and she'll fry it up as one final, just to use it up, because she has all this extra flour and bread crumbs to make. She mixes it all together and cooks it up, so it's a decoy, because there's no meat in it. It's just the adornment. It's just the breading, but there's no meat, and every once in a while, I'll accidentally grab that one, put it on my plate, bite into it, and it's like, "Bleh, there's nothing here. Bleh."
It's like, "Well, wait a minute Pastor Anderson. I thought you love that adornment." Yeah, but you want there to be meat inside of it or it's not the same. What if somebody just gave you a plate with just a bunch of frosting on it, no cake? Even if the frosting's your favorite part, even if you like a little extra frosting, you don't want just frosting, do you? You want cake, and we need some meat on the bone of our gospel. Not just all fluff, not just all adornment. Look at what I'm adorn ... You're adorning nothing. What good's the adornment if there's nothing inside? The gospel was never presented, and some people, they just use this as an excuse to skip preaching the gospel. "Oh, I just do lifestyle evangel ... I'm just letting my light shine." No, we need to shine forth the word of life. You got to shine the word, and adorn it with a godly life, adorn it with a good testimony, adorn it by being the best worker. Preach the word. Open your mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.
Number one. How do we give Christianity a bad name? By living a sinful life. By being hypocrites. Number two. How do we give Christianity a bad name? By being a bad worker on the job. Conversely, we give Christianity a good name by practicing what we preach, and by being a good worker on the job. What's the third way that God says ... Look, this isn't my opinion. I'm showing you verses where God says, "This stuff will cause people to blaspheme My name." Thirdly this, being a feminist will give Christianity a bad name. This gives Christianity a bad name all over the world today. The name of Christ is being dragged through the mud through feminism. You say, "Well, that's your opinion." No, look down at your Bible in Titus 2, verse 4. "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands that the word of God be not blasphemed."
What does the Bible say is going to happen when wives are not obedient to their husbands? It'll cause the word of God to be blasphemed. That tells me that feminism gives Christianity a bad name, and when I say feminism, I'm talking about this worldly movement that started in the early twentieth century, that says, "Well, men and women are the same, and they should do all the same jobs. They should wear all the same clothes, and marriages should be a 50/50 partnership between a man and a woman." This is all unbiblical garbage, and the Bible says that if women are not keepers at home, if they're not keeping the house, if they're not obedient to their husbands, if they're not discreet and chaste, He said that's going to cause God's name to be blasphemed among the heathen.
You know there are Hindus that look at Christianity and say, "Well, I would never want to become a Christian, because look how feminist they are." They say, "At least in Hinduism, we at least respect the man of the house. At least our women wear clothes, and are not going around half naked and promiscuous." Look, Hinduism is a wicked, false religion, but isn't it a shame that the name of God will be blasphemed amongst the Hindus through a feminist lifestyle in the United States? Even amongst the Islamic world, and Islam is a wicked, wicked religion, but the fact that Christians today have bought into feminism causes the name of Christianity to be blasphemed among the Muslims today. Bad testimony today.
It's funny. There's someone that I know really well, someone that's very close to us, and this guy was the biggest feminist ever. He even said, he said to me recently, he said, "I was the biggest feminist ever." He said, "I've been a feminist my whole life," and he got married, and he practiced feminism in the sense that he let his wife have her career and do whatever she wanted, and it was 50/50. This guy was the poster child for feminism, and recently his marriage completely fell apart, and he literally said to me, he said, "You know what? Feminism is the biggest fraud. It's garbage. It's a lie." He said, "I practiced it, and believed in it for over a decade," and he said, "It's a complete crock," and he said ... This guy's not saved by the way. Not a Christian. Not a believer. Doesn't believe in the Bible. He said, "You know what? It makes me want to just marry a Christian girl and do it the Bible way, even though I don't believe the Bible."
You know what? That shows that the testimony of Christians who have a marriage that's patterned after the word of God can even reach the most hardcore feminists. He doesn't even believe the Bible and he says, "Man, I want that lifestyle. I want that marriage. I want that family life that Christianity has to offer when it's biblical Christianity." The sad thing is, the vast majority of so-called evangelical Christians in America today are pretty much living the feminist lifestyle in America. It's very few Christians that actually follow the biblical roles of husband and wife, and it's sad because we could have such a better testimony amongst the heathen because the Bible clearly says that when wives are not obedient to their husbands, that'll cause the word of God to be blasphemed. It's a reality today. The Hindus are blaspheming it, the Muslims are blaspheming it, and then you see even an agnostic say, "Wow. I want your marriage lifestyle. I like that, because mine failed, because I bought into a lie. I was deceived. I bought into this fraud of feminism."
If you would go to First Peter chapter 3 and we'll see this reiterated. First Peter chapter 3. See, I didn't sit down and write this sermon and say, "You know, I'm gonna think of all the stuff I don't like, and I'm gonna say that that stuff gives Christianity a bad name." No, I actually just looked up in the Bible, and I said, "What does God say causes His name to be blasphemed among the heathen? What does God say gives a bad testimony and a bad rapport amongst the unsaved?" This is what I came up with. Number one, living a sinful life, being a hypocrite. Number two, being a poor worker at your job. We as men, what's the main thing we do with our lives? We work. That's our main thing. That's what we do. We are defined by our work more than anything else. That's how we're either a good or a bad testimony, through our work. Ladies, what's the main thing that you do? It's keeping the home. It's being a mother. It's being a wife. That's your main testimony to the heathen, how you do that job.
First Peter 3, verse 1. "Likewise, ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands, that any obey not the word, they also may without the word be one by the conversation of the wives." Look at this. In verse 1 here, get the order of events here, they hear the word, and they don't obey the word, right? They hear God's word, they don't obey it, but then they're won over after that, they're won over by the conversation of the wives. That shows how the wife's conversation, or lifestyle, or testimony can be that powerful, where somebody rejects the word but then they're won over by the conversation of the wives. What is it that won them over? Verse 2. "While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear, whose adorning ... "
Isn't that a word that we just dealt with? "Let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel, but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even though ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the side of God of great price." For after this manner, in the old time, the holy women also who trusted in God, adorned themselves. Adorned themselves, being in subjection under their own husbands. Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord, whose daughters ye are, as long as you do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Men, how do you adorn the doctrine? By being a great worker at your job. Ladies, how do you adorn the doctrine? How do you adorn the testimony of the word of God? It's through subjection to your husband, and if you don't do these things, you're giving Christianity a bad name, according to the Bible.
Lastly this. I got to hurry up. I'm running out of time, but lastly, the fourth thing that I found in the Bible coming up a lot, that causes God's word and His name to be blasphemed among the heathen ... Go back to Numbers chapter 14, is when we fail in our service for God. When we fail in our service for God, it makes God seems like a failure, even though God never fails. When we fail in our service to God, then that gives God a bad name. This goes back to that Jehoiakim example, where he's a loser. He doesn't follow God's word. He doesn't listen to God's advice. He messes up his life, messes up his whole city, messes up his whole nation, and then the heathen is like, "Yeah, we're putting that stuff in the treasure house of our God." Gave God a bad name.
In Numbers 14, we see something similar, where Moses is trying to bring the children of Israel into the promised land. This is all symbolic, according to First Corinthians 10. Of course it all literally happened, don't get me wrong. These stories did literally happen, but they also have a symbolic meaning, according to First Corinthians 10 and many other scriptures. When the children of Israel are in Egypt, that represents being in bondage to sin. When they apply the blood to the doorpost on the Passover, that represents salvation, right, through the blood of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins through the blood. When they cross the Red Sea to leave Egypt, that represents baptism, okay? When they enter the promised land, that represents the victorious Christian life, where they're where God wants them to be. They're in the will of God. They're in a place where God has prepared for them, doing the work that God has for them.
Along the way, there were some times when the children of Israel grumbled, complained, murmured against the Lord, or got into lust, and sin, and messed up. There were some times where it seemed like they're not going to make it to the destination. They're not going to make it to the promised land. In fact, the older generation, none of them made it except Caleb and Joshua. They all died in the wilderness, and it was the younger generation that had to rise up and have the faith to enter the promised land. Look at verse 11 of chapter 14 in Numbers. "And the Lord said unto Moses, 'How long will this people provoke Me, and how long will it be ere they believe Me, for all the signs which I have showed among them. I will smite them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.'"
You know what's so funny about this, is that people think, even today, that the Jews just get a free pass. "Oh, they're God's chosen people no matter what they do, no matter what they say. Even if they reject Jesus," but even in the Old Testament, God's already ready to disinherit them. Look what it says. He says, "I'm gonna disinherit them. I'll make thee a greater nation and mightier than they." Here's the thing. He doesn't end up disinheriting them, because Moses talks Him down, but in the New Testament, he does say, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." He had that new chosen ... That has nothing to do with the sermon, but I just had to point that out. He said, "'I'll disinherit them and make thee a greater nation and mightier than they,' and Moses said to the Lord, 'Then the Egyptians shall hear it.'"
Notice what Moses is saying here. "Well, if you do that, then the Egyptians shall here it, for thou brought us up this people in thy might from among them, and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land, for they have heard that though Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy clouds standeth over them, and thou goest before them by daytime in a pillar of cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if thou shall kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak saying, 'Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which He swear unto them, therefore, He hath slain them in the wilderness.' Now I beseech thee; let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou has spoken," and on and on he goes, and he begs forgiveness, and God says, "Okay. I will forgive them."
He says in verse 20, "The Lord said, 'I've pardoned according to thy word, but as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.'" Moses says, "Wait a minute, God. We don't want the Egyptians to hear this and to think that You weren't able, because then they're going to blame You. Even though it was these peoples' fault, they're going to blame You. Show your power, God. Bring these people." He says, "You know what? The earth will be filled with My glory, but this generation's not gonna do it," so that's when he said the older generation's going to die in the wilderness and He's going to bring in the younger generation as He goes on.
Think about this: What a good testimony it is when we set out to do great work for God. Let's say someone goes out to start a church, and they start out that church using biblical principles. They preach hard on sin, they preach the whole Bible, they go out door to door soul winning, they knock doors, and they do a great work for God. That's a great testimony for the Lord when they reach that promised land. When other people go out, and they do the soul winning, and they preach hard on sin, and they fail and quit, you know what that says to the heathen? Doesn't work. Can't preach like that. Doesn't work. Soul winning doesn't work. God didn't have the power to build. Our failure can sometimes give God's work a bad name, and our success can give God's work a good name.
What does that tell us in our Christian lives? That we all need to be giving it our best to make it to the promised land. We all need to be striving, and working hard, and rolling up our sleeves, and seeing God doing something great. It's not that God doesn't have the ability. God has unlimited ability, but when we don't get the work done, it makes it seem like God doesn't have the ability to them, the outsider. We know it's because of our own failing, but the world looks at it and says, "Oh, yeah. Those independent Baptists. Their soul winning. What a joke. King James preaching. It's antiquated. Put that thing in a museum where it belongs." That's the things that they're going to say if we fail.
What if Faithful Word Baptist Church fails? It's a bad testimony to everything that's been preached, whereas if Faithful Word Baptist succeeds, it's a great testimony that hey, you can preach the Word of God. You can do soul winning. You can be fundamental. You can be old-fashioned, and you can still make it through the power of God. It's a great testimony. Look, if Faithful Word Baptist Church does fail, it'll be our fault. It's not going to be God's fault. We know that. It's not because there's a problem with the Bible. It's not because there's a problem with soul winning. It'll be a problem with us, but to the world though, our testimony matters, and so we want to succeed in our work for God and not be like a Jehoiakim where everything falls apart on our watch, and then it all goes to the treasure house of their God.
They take all the materials from Faithful Word Baptist Church, they take the piano, and it goes down to the United Methodists, it goes into the treasure house of their false God. Look, don't tell me the United Methodists aren't worshiping another God when the pastor's a lesbian, at the United Methodist Church in Tempe. That's not the God that I worship. He doesn't condone that filth. They have a pitchfork on the sign of some of these liberal churches. It blows my mind. Who has seen it? The pitchfork on the sign. I saw a sign. It was some queer-friendly church, and they had a pitchfork, and then had a rainbow saying, "We want all the homos to come." Why do you have a Hindu pitchfork? The devil carries around a pitchfork. You have his pitchfork. Get all these weird symbols, all these satanic symbols, because it's not the God of the Bible.
I'd hate to see the piano of Faithful Word Baptist Church end up at one of these wicked churches. I'd hate to see this pulpit end up in the hands of some liberal preacher whose not preaching out of a King James Bible, and he's preaching salvation by works, and he's preaching all kinds of lies. Wouldn't it be a shame if lies and heresy were preached behind such a cool pulpit? They wouldn't even want this pulpit. This pulpit is too rough for their smooth preaching, but they might take this organ. They might take this tree. The chairs. God forbid, these chairs would be occupied by people who don't believe in soul winning, and brought into the treasure house of their God.
When we fail in our service for God, it gives God and His word a bad name. Look at Matthew chapter 5. Matthew chapter 5. Let me just conclude with some closing thoughts here. We started out the sermon just talking about someone of the misconceptions. It's not being too godly that gives Christianity a bad name. It's when we're not godly enough. That's what gives Christianity a bad name. It's not preaching too hard on sin, or ripping face. No. That doesn't give it a bad name. It's number one, when we're hypocrites and sinners, and obviously we all sin, but I'm talking about when people go into major sin such as adultery, murder, drunkenness, revelings and such like. That gives Christianity a bad name, when they look at us and say, "Wow, you're a total hypocrite." How many times have I criticized other religions and said, "They don't even follow their own scripture." Have you ever heard that criticism? I've used that on other religions, "These Muslims, they don't even follow their own scripture." God forbid that would be said of us. "Oh, these Christians don't even follow their own scripture."
Number two, it gives God and His word and His doctrine a bad name when we're a bad worker. Number three, when you're a feminist it's a bad testimony, and number four, when you fail to do your best for God, and fail to get to the promised land spiritually, it makes Him look bad, even though it's your failing and my failing. The conclusion of the matter is this: The testimony is important. It's important that we have a good testimony, but it's not going to do you any good unless you're preaching the gospel, because it's just an adornment is all it is. By the way, if you say to me, "Pastor Anderson, my testimony is just kind of in the toilet right now. My testimony is trashed." You know what? You could still go door to door soul winning, because nobody knows you. Seriously. That's not a joke.
There's no excuse, because I've heard some people try to use this an excuse. "Oh, my testimony's not right, so I can't preach the gospel." You know what? Go soul winning and nobody will know you from Adam. Go knock and doors, and just preach the gospel, and you'll see people saved, even with a bad testimony. You ought to clean up your testimony, because I don't know about you, but I like winning people to the Lord out there in the highways and hedges, strangers, but you know what's even sweeter? When you can win one of your friends to the Lord. Isn't it? What about when you can win one of your relatives to the Lord? Isn't that special? What about when you can win your coworker to the Lord?
Those are some of the best opportunities, because once that person gets saved, usually it's a great opportunity for discipleship, if you continue to work with that person, you continue to live on their street, you continue to have a friendship or continue to be at family gatherings. It's a great followup with that person. That's where your testimony's going to come into play. If you want those people to listen to you, you need to show the a good testimony. Matthew chapter 5 says this in verse 13. "You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost his savor, where with shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and to be trodden underfoot of men." A testimony that tastes exactly like the world is a worthless testimony. Don't give me this, "We have to be like the world to win the world," because if you taste like them anywhere, you're good for nothing, God says. You need to have the saltiness and distinct flavor of being of God's people.
He says, "You're the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid, neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven." That has to do with your testimony. "Where they see your good works." They see the good deeds. They see the lifestyle. The Bible says we are ambassadors for Christ, and so if we are ambassadors for Christ, we need to ask ourselves: Are we a good testimony of Jesus? Are we a good example? Are we representing Christ well, or are we representing Christ poorly in this world?
If we had an ambassador come from some country that we'd never heard of, our whole view of that country would just be based on that one guy. Think about it. What if you didn't know anything about Nigeria, for example? You met the girls from our church that are from Nigeria; that's what you think a Nigerian is like. Whether you have a good view of Nigeria or bad is based on the one Nigerians that you met. Here's the thing. We're ambassadors for Christ, and people are forming opinions about Christianity based on our life. We need to let our light shine, and we need to have the salt that has not lost its savor. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Father, we thank You so much Lord, for Your word, and for Your unspeakable gift of salvation, Lord. We thank You so much for this ministry of reconciliation that you've given us. What a privilege it is to be an ambassador for Christ. What a treasure we have of the gospel. Lord, none of us is perfect. We all make mistakes in all of the four areas that have been mentioned, and we all soil our testimony from time to time, but Lord, help us because of our love for You to strive to have a best possible testimony that we can, and to really try to adorn the doctrine of God, and our Savior, and all things, and in Jesus' name we pray, amen.