Amen. 2 Kings chapter 13, in this chapter we see the end of the life of one of the greatest men of the Old Testament, which is Elisha the prophet. Elisha dies in this chapter. Leading up to that the bible tells us about how the Syrians had been attacking the Israelites, putting them in bondage. As a result of their sins, God had brought in the Syrians as a punishment to continually punish them.
I want to start in verse number 17 here. The new king Joash has come on the scene and now Elisha is dying and he goes to see Elisha before he dies. He has great respect for Elisha. He's sad about the fact that Elisha is dying. He says, "O my father, my father," about Elisha, and he says, "The chariots of Israel, and the horsemen thereof." Which is going back to 2 Kings when Elisha had first become a prophet.
Look what the bible says in verse 17, "And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the Lord's deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them. And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice. And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year."
What happens in this story is Elisha as he's dying he tells Joash just to shoot an arrow basically out the window. He just fires an arrow, and he tells him that's the arrow of the Lord's deliverance. A lot of times preacher's in the bible would use illustrations and they would use parables using common objects and so forth. Then he tells him to take the arrows and to smite the ground. He's saying hit the ground.
He's telling him to do that continually, hit the ground. The man, the king, Joash drops the ground and he hits the ground three times and then he waits and looks for a reaction. Is that what I was supposed to do? He hits it three times and then the bible says that Elisha gets angry at him. He's wroth, wroth is just extremely angry.
Elisha gets angry and says, "Why do you only hit the ground three times? Why didn't you hit it five or six times." He's angry saying, "However many times you hit the ground that's basically how many times you would've defeated Syria, and because you only hit it three times you're not going to completely defeat Syria. They're still going to be coming after you."
The title of my sermon is this, if you flip over 2 Kings chapter 2, the title of my sermon is this, Go Big or Go Home. That's the title of the sermon tonight. Go Big or Go Home, why? Here's the story, when we look at the life of Elisha, about a man who went big, he thought big and he didn't like it when he's confronted with a man who doesn't think big. Three's enough, "No! Five! Six!" He tells him.
If you would go back to chapter 2 because we see the beginning of Elisha's ministry, Elisha had already been training with Elijah. He poured water on the hands of Elijah. He was taught to preach and taught to be a prophet by Elijah. Now Elijah is about to die and he's passing the torch to Elisha.
Look what the bible says in verse number 9, "And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so."
Here Elisha, at the very beginning of his ministry he's setting the mark really high. He's setting his sights high. He's like the Apostle Paul who said, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." He's basically standing in the presence of the greatest preacher of that whole era. He's standing in the presence of the greatest prophet had known and this man asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?"
You know what he didn't say? He didn't say, "I would just like to be half as great as you." Even if he would've said that, he's asking a lot. Elijah was such a great man of God. If he would've said, "Boy, I just want to be half the man that you've been." He said, "No, I want a double portion of thy spirit."
He's thinking big because he understood the fact that with God, the sky is the limit. Nothing is impossible with God. The only limit for what we can do for God and what we accomplish for God is ourselves. We decide what the limit is because God can do anything. He asked for a hard thing. He said, "I want a double portion of thy spirit." Elijah said, "You'll get it."
By the way, if you look at the life and ministry of Elisha, he did twice as many miracles and he preached twice as many things that are recorded in the bible. He literally had doubled the ministry of Elijah because he though big. You can see why he's angry at Joash for thinking small later in the story.
Let's keep reading here. In says in verse number 11, "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over."
Here's a guy who right away is doing a might act right there by smiting the water with the mantle and seeing the water of the Jordan river part and he passes over on dry, like a personal Red Sea crossing just for him, parts the water and walks across. By the way, it wasn't just for him because there were fifty other sons of the prophets who are standing and they saw this. They said, "Wow, the Spirit of the Lord God of Elijah, the spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha," because they saw that miracle.
Now here is a guy who right at the end of the life of Elijah is able to pick up that mantle and say, "I want to do more. I want to do double." When he gets to the end of his life there's another man Joash who says the same thing he says. What did Elisha say when Elijah died? "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof." What did Joash say when Elisha died? Same exact thing.
We see here Elisha smiting the water. We see Joash smiting the ground. The difference is that Elisha went on to do great works for God because he though big, whereas Joash, the small thinking man, who think, "Oh, three times that'll be enough." The small thinking man became a nobody. Who here wants to talk about the great works of Joash?
If you talked about Joash from the bible, you're talking about a different Joash. There was a different Joash that was a King of Judah. He was the guy who became king when he was seven years old, and he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. This guy Joash of the Northern Kingdom of Israel is a nobody.
The only bible story we have about him is him failing, thinking small, failing to pick up the torch where Elisha put it down. Why is Elisha spending his dying moments with Joash? Why? He's trying to impart something to him. He's trying to give him a mission and tell him what he can accomplish for God, but he didn't get the message because he's thinking too small.
Go to Isaiah chapter number 7. Isiah chapter number 7 reminds me of the story where Elijah says to Elisha, "What shall be done for thee? What do you want?" Then Elisha asks a hard thing. He asked a big thing, "I want to have a double portion." This is similar where the Lord himself speaks unto King Ahaz and he asked him, "What kind of a sign do you want to see?" He gives him a chance to ask to see something.
If you remember King Hezekiah was given this same thing where He said, "Hey what do you want to see for a sign? Do you want the shadow to go forward or backward." He said, "Going forward is too easy." I don't know how you figure but he said, "I want to see the clock go backwards. I want to see the sundial go backward." He's asking for something hard, and Hezekiah is one that we know as a great man of God in the bible. Ahaz, anybody know great bible stories about Ahaz or Joash of the Northern Kingdom? No, these men failed. Why? They're not thinking big.
Look at Isaiah chapter 7 verse 10, "Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD." God wants to be put to the test. God wants us to ask for something big and he just said, "I'm just not going to ask for anything. I don't want to ask for anything."
God gets angry at him in verse number 13, "He said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?" What does it mean to weary someone? It means they're sick of you. If you weary someone they're sick of you. "I'm sick of you. Here I am giving you the opportunity to ask to see something cool and you're, "I don't want to ask for anything." Shut up! Ask for something." Ask for something big, be like Elijah, be like Elisha and think big today. That's what he's saying.
The bible says in Jeremiah 33, you don't have to turn there, "Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." A lot of times we misunderstand the word great in the bible.
Go to John chapter 14. He said, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." When we think of something being great today, we think of it as something being magnificent or glorious or of a really high quality. "Hey, the food was great." If we said, "Hey that was a great service." We mean that we enjoyed it, it was a quality service."
Often in the bible when the word great is used, it actually has to do with size. When it talks about something being great, it often has to do with how big it is. When we see the word great, it often means big in the bible. Let me show you an example. John 14 verse 12 says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
This is Jesus, again, at the end of his life passing something on the next generation. Jesus knows that he's about to go to the cross, like Elisha was about to go, like Elijah's about to go, like the Apostle Paul was about to go and he told to continue in the things that he learned and to teach others and so on.
Jesus, at the end of his ministry here, says, "The works that I do shall ye do also; and greater works." Look, we know that he can't be talking about quality there because obviously anything that Jesus did is of the ultimate quality. You're not going to preach a better sermon than Jesus preached. You're not going to be a better soul winner.
The bible says, "It is enough for the disciple to be as his master." He said, "The disciple is not above his master. The servant is not about his Lord." We know he's not saying you're going to do a greater quality of work. No, but he said to the disciples, "The works that I do shall ye do also; and greater works." What's he saying? Bigger. Big, think big, don't think small. Do something big for God.
There are way too many people today that are just satisfied with doing something small. Look, go big or go home. God wants us to do something big today. There are so many people who don't have a big vision and they think real small and they just think to themselves ... Am I already losing a cufflink? Good night. All right, we'll see how long the other one last.
There are so many people who they think small, they don't think big. This church here in Fort Worth Texas needs to think big. This area is a big area. Fort Worth is big, and then there's Dallas. This whole area is a big area. I would love to see this church to get a vision not for just reaching this immediate area right here but to think big and say, "Hey, we're going to knock every door in whole Dallas, Fort Worth area, every person in this area, ever person who lives anywhere near here. They shall know that a prophet has been among them and they will have a chance to accept or reject the Lord Jesus Christ. Every door will be knocked again and again and again."
Looks it's possible because that's what Jesus' ministry did. Jesus and his disciples they're in the ... I brought a spare cufflink because I know how this game works. If you think about Jesus' ministry he told them, he said, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand." That's what they did.
In that three and a half year ministry, they covered that whole area. It was a pretty big area because if you look at a map it's about one hundred forty four miles from Dan to Beersheba. When they talk about Israel they kind of say, "From Dan even to Beersheba." It's about one hundred forty four miles, and Jesus and his twelve disciples, they went through all the towns and villages, all the cities and villages during that time preaching the gospel.
The bible says in Mark 9:35, "Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people." In Mark 1:38, "He said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth."
In Mark 6 he talks about him going round about the villages teaching. They went to every town, every village, and they went into the big cities and preach. Everybody knew who they were. Everybody heard the massage. They went personally to each little village in town and talk to people and went door to door and entered into houses and talked to people and so forth.
Look, God wants us to have that same ministry today, but he just expanded it after the death, burial, and resurrection where he said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations." He basically showed us with one nation. He said, "Here's the nation of Israel, my nation." The nation that he grew up in, and he said, "I'm going to take it upon myself with the church that I've assembled here," which was twelve people that he sent out soul winning and then eventually seventy people that he commissioned and sent out as apostles.
He had that group and he said, "We are going to get the gospel to everybody in this ..." Everybody's going to hear about it to point that when they're on the road to Emmaus and they meet Jesus and they don't know it's Jesus. Jesus asked them, "What are you guys talking about?" They were talking about the crucifixion. He says, "Are you a stranger in Israel? How can you have not heard of Jesus the prophet from Nazareth."
Everybody have heard of him. Everybody knew about him. Why? He spent three and a half years with his disciples, his apostles going everywhere, preaching to everybody and getting it done. Then he told his disciples, "Go unto all nations. Teach all nations." Look, that commission is still valid for us today.
Pastor Anderson: We have our own area here in Texas. We have our area in Arizona. You have your area here in Texas. God wants you to get a big vision about preaching the gospel to every creature and about doing a big work for God right here. It's a big area. This church needs to be a big church doing a big work for a big God.
If you would go to Acts chapter number 19, the Book of Acts chapter 19. As we read the book of Acts, you know what we see in the book of Acts? People doing big things for God. Exactly what Jesus said would happen, that's what happened. He said, "You'll do greater works." What did they do? Greater works, greater works.
All throughout Acts, you turned to chapter 19 but in chapter 2 it talks about, in verse 41, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." In chapter 4 it says, "Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand."
These are big numbers. Three thousand are getting saved and baptized. Five thousand are getting saved over here. The bible says, "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." It says in Acts 5:42, "Daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
Look at chapter 19 verse 8. Here's the Apostle Paul. He was a big thinking guy and he did big works for God. Look at Acts 19 verse 8, "And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks."
Here we see the apostles having a ministry where they go to an area, they're there for a couple of years and it can be said, "Hey, everybody that's in that are heard the gospel, both Jews and Greeks." He's there for three months. He's there for two years. Then he stands back and says, "You know what? Everybody has heard the gospel in this area."
Couldn't that be said today where we would look at Phoenix, Arizona and say, "Hey they continued year after years so that all that were in Phoenix Arizona heard the word of the Lord, both Jew and Greek, red, yellow, black, white. They all heard the gospel." That's plausible and people act like, "Oh that can't be. That's too big. That can't be done. Let's just focus on just our zip code. Let's just focus on a five mile radius or a two mile."
No, you need to think bigger than that! You know what? Faithful Word Baptist Church hadn't been around that long, less than ten years. We're going on ten years, and our church is not a huge church. Our church runs on Sunday morning hundred and sixty, hundred and seventy people, which is bigger than most Independent Baptist churches, but it's not some massive, huge, megachurch, Joel Osteen's denial church.
Yet in our area of four million people in Maricopa County, you see I'm thinking big, not just Tempe, no the county. You need to think about Tarrant County. I look at the big county, four million people and we've knocked the doors of about one-fourth of that. Here's the thing, if you look at the area immediately surrounding the church, we've done those doors five, six, seven times to the point of ridiculousness where it's like we need to get further out, we need to branch up.
What we're trying to do is try to start soul winning times that meet in other parts of the city, so that instead of always leaving from Faithful Word Baptist and having to go farther out, we basically could have people meeting up in these other areas and radiate out from there and get it done. There are about forty, independent, fundamental, King James-type Baptist churches in Phoenix, Arizona, forty.
I'll be you probably have more than that here because of the fact that this is The Bible Belt and everybody is Baptist or whatever, but that doesn't mean that they're saved. Go soul winning, talk to somebody Baptist and ask him, "Hey, you believe you can lose your salvation?" "Oh yeah, you can't live however you want." You're like, "You're a Baptist?" You ask them if they saved and they give you all kinds of crazy answers.
The bottom line is there are all these churches. Look, what if they all got a big vision. My goal, and I believe that God willing, I believe we'll get it done, to know every door in the greater Phoenix, Maricopa County area. That's one church. What if forty churches got that vision? What it shows is that somebody is asleep at the wheel. All right, I only have so many cufflinks.
Somebody is not getting the job done is what that tells me, and there are plenty of places out there where every door is not being knocked, where people aren't hearing the gospel. You know what? You have a responsibility here for your area where God has placed you to get a big vision and say, "You know what? Let's get a big vision of what we can do for God. If Jesus could do it, the apostles could do it, and he told us we'd do it if we would believe in him, we could get this done if we get excited about and get serious about it."
Look, one person can't do it. I don't care how excited Brother Romero gets, I don't care how big his vision is, it's not done by one man. Look if you would at Acts chapter 20 verse 18, "And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
"And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."
He saying here, "Look, from the day I got here, all seasons, I've preached unto you, I've taught you publicly," and he said, "And from house to house." He said, "Therefore I'm free from the blood of all men." If he would've just knocked a few doors in his neighborhood right around him, could he really say, "Oh man, I'm free from the blood of all men in this area." He's in a big area. He's in a big city. He said, "No, I can honestly sit back and say, "I am free from the blood of all men." Why? The bible says that if we don't warn people and they're damned the bible says, "His blood will I require at the watchman's hand."
If the watchman doesn't warn, and that's what God has called us to do, to warn people. He said that their blood is on our hands if we don't talk to them, if we don't warn them, if we don't preach the gospel. Paul said, "I'm free from the blood of all men." Everybody that you talked to is not going to get saved. You're not going to get all of Fort Worth saved. People talk about, "Oh man, they're going to shut down the bars and they're going to shut down ..."
It's not going to happen because broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Let me tell you something. A realistic vision that's a big vision is that, well, everybody's going to know that this church is here. Everybody's going to know that a prophet has been among them. Everybody's going to know the gospel of Jesus Christ.
If they choose to reject the free gift of salvation, it's not going to be because they didn't hear about it repeatedly, it's going to be because they heard it and they had a chance and they chose not to be saved. I can live with that. I can go to bed at night and live with the fact that some people aren't going to get saved through their own choice. I don't want to live with the fact that there are people out there sitting in their house that would've been saved if we would've told them, but they died and went to hell because they never even heard the true gospel of Jesus Christ. All they heard was lies.
I don't want to live with that. I don't want to have that on my hands. That's sick. That's a horrible thought, that someone's eternity would be impacted like that, because of the fact that you didn't get a big vision, you didn't get excited about soul winning, you didn't show up, you didn't care, you didn't get in church, you didn't get trained, you didn't go out and win souls, and people's lives are hanging in the balance today.
I'm sick of this Calvinist garbage that says, "Oh, it's all foreordained. It's all predetermined." That is a lie. The bible says in Matthew 16, he said, "I'd give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." He says, "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Look, he's saying, "I'd give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." What do you think that means? What is this like just some mayor giving some big shot the key to the city, doesn't really open anything, it's just a decorative key?
Is that really what you think Jesus is saying? "Here let me play games with you. Here's the key. It doesn't open anything." What's he talking about? See there's other people out there that are false teachers and false prophets. You know what they do? They shut up the kingdom of heaven against men. He said of the Pharisees and the scribes, they don't enter in themselves and they stop people from entering. They shut up the kingdom of heaven against men.
What's the opposite of that? Opening the door wide. Putting your hand on their shoulder and trying to guide them to that door and say, "Look, here's the door. Jesus said, "I'm the door. If any man enter in by, he shall be saved, and go in and out, and find pasture." Here's the door. We got the key my friend. These are the keys to the kingdom of heaven right here. Here's a key for you, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John 3:16, Romans 5:8.
Those are the keys that unlock the door to heaven for people. All they have to do is call upon the name of the Lord and they shall be saved, but how then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?
Don't get sucked in to this philosophical, human wisdom, navel-gazing, Calvinistic, predetermined, where they just sit around and dream up all these excuse why soul winning isn't important. You know what? If I believe that garbage I wouldn't be out soul winning very much. I'd go out a little bit just to say I did. You know what I mean? Just, "Oh well you said go preach. I'll go do it." If I'm not accomplishing anything, I don't know about you, I don't like wasting my time. I don't like to spin my wheels.
Like the Apostle Paul said, "I don't want to be like one who beats the air." I like running. I don't run on a treadmill because I want to go somewhere. I don't want to just be on this spiritual treadmill like, "Oh, I'm working really hard, but you know what? I'm going to be in the same place whether I run or don't run. It's all of God's will." No, God's not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance. That's what the bible says.
God would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. He said, "You have not because you asked not Ahaz, Joash, small thinking men. You don't have anything because you don't want anything. If you'd want it and have a desire for it and you'd ask God for it and you go out and work hard you'll do something big for God." That's the true story my friend, but people don't want to live with that. Like I said, I don't want to live with the fact that people around me are going to hell and they would've been saved.
Here's two ways to not live with that. You can lie to yourself and say, "Oh, if they really want to get saved, they'll get saved. If God chose them, they'll get there with or without me. He'll do it on his own." Then they go to sleep at night, or you can go out and warn everybody and say, "Hey, I did my part." Then go to sleep at night. Don't get sucked into those lies my fried. The bible teaches over and over again that we have free will.
He said, "Look, I set before you of life and death, choose life. Just kidding I already chose for you. Oh, by the way, you're death." What kind of a God, it's crazy. It's crazy stuff. You know what? People that aren't say or blinded, they come up with these stuff. The bible says that the foolishness of preaching saves them that believe. The bible says that natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. It says, "Neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
The Calvinist can't understand the bible when it clearly just says, "Whosoever will, may come." Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. It's just like, "Come take the ... Choose life!" He's like, "You don't choose." It's like, "What?" Yet be blind to believe that. Small thinking my friend is something that we don't want to be a part of. We want to think big. The bible talks about those who continue in the word and serve God. He said, "They bring fruit to perfection." He said, "Some bring forth thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred." These are numbers. These are big numbers, not one, not two, not five, he said thirty, sixty, a hundred. These are big numbers. God wants us to think big.
One of the small thinking movements that's out there is this so-called house church movement. It's for small people with a small vision and they don't have a big vision and they think that doing little, tiny, small works for God is what God's looking for. No, the bible says, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bring forth much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."
You can't sit there and say, "I'm a disciple of Jesus," and then do this really small work. That's not what Jesus did. Jesus did big works, great works. He said, "If you follow me, I'll make you fishers of men," and he said, "You'll do greater works than what I've done." To sit there and be the small minded, small thinking, small work doing guy, and then say, "I'm a disciple of Jesus. I'm following Jesus." No you're not.
Look, you're saved if you believe in him, but there's difference between being saved and being his disciple. You see, when Jesus was on this earth there were lots of people that were saved, but how many disciples? Twelve. How many disciples were in the early church? Hundred and twenty? How many thousands were saved? Tens of thousands were saved, but how many are disciples. If you want to be his disciple, you're a fisher of men.
You want to be his disciple? You bring forth much fruit not some tiny, little, poking little piece of fruit or something and get all excited about it. No, you need to do something big. Let me tell you something, we live in a big world that's full of people that need to hear the gospel and if we as Christians just have this idea that, "Oh our church are going to get a couple of people saved this year." We're going to get two people saved and baptize two people and think that we're even putting a dent in the Dallas, Fort Worth area, that's ridiculous.
Do you really think it's God's will for us to sit around and do almost nothing and to reach almost nobody? Look, this house church movement, I'm sick of it. I'm tired of it. It's a joke. I say it's evil because of the fact that it's taking people out of real churches and putting them in these play churches, a little toy church for you. Listen to me, go big or go home. Let me tell you something.
This house church movement, it's not just church meaning in a house, because that'll be fine. I'm not against a church that meets in a house. In fact, when this church started, Steadfast Baptist Church, it met in a house. When Faithful Word Baptist started it started in a house. There are five times in the bible where it talks about a church meeting in someone's house. Look, the building is not the problem my friend.
When I say house church movement what they do is they're against any church that's bigger than can fit in the house. I've run into these types of people. I literally had people in our church, in Faithful Word, where the church got to a certain size and they quit the church and said, "The church got too big." What a joke. You wouldn't have lasted long in the book of Acts. "I keep leaving church, they keep getting bigger and I keep leaving and they get bigger."
What kind of a ridiculous thing is that to say, "I left the church because it got too big. I need the pastor to coddle me and hold my hand all the time." No, the pastor is trying to do a big work for God. He's not there to be you babysitter. Look, you should get happy when the church gets big. You should get excited about the church growing. You should want the church to grow.
Look, the problem is that there's a bad movement out there that wants to grow with no regard from what's right and wrong, no regard for the truth. They just want to grow at all costs. They'll bring in the rock band. They'll bring in the liberal preaching, and they water everything down and just say, "Oh, let's just get big." That's the Joel Osteen, the Rick Warren, the Bill Hybels crap. That's wrong, obviously, to compromise the truth in order to get more people to come. That's not what we're talking about.
Some people, when they see that, they react even further on the other way and they think like, "Oh it's bad to be big. Oh, big churches are all bad." No, big churches are not all bad. In fact, I pray to God that this church will someday be a big church. I pray that Faithful Word will be a big church. This church should run a thousand people some day, or more, thousands. Faithful Word Baptist should run a thousand people. In the bible that's what they did.
The problem with these big liberal churches is not the fact that they're big, it's that they're liberal. You say, "Don't go by size. Don't look at size. Size doesn't matter." Size does matter, but here's the thing. You got to do it according to God's word and it takes time. It doesn't happen overnight, like a weed that grows up overnight. No, it's a slower growth. It's a steady growth. It's a real growth, but we should be striving for growth. Growth should be goal. It should be one of the goals, to go big.
Why? We have a big work to do and we're not going to do it with one person, and we're not going to do it with five people. We need a big church to do a big work for God. That's what we need today. We need to think big today. Look, I'll never compromise and if the church stops growing, well so be it. You know what? I'm always going to think big. I'm always going to do the biggest work that I possibly can.
Here's what's wrong with this house church movement. It's not a church that's starting in a house thinking big, growing and then outgrowing the house and getting into some kind of a building. This house church movement is a movement that just wants to stay in the house forever. It's a movement that says when you outgrow the house, you basically split it. Keep splitting it so there's always just a few people meeting in somebody's living room.
Here's what they say, "Oh, this is like it was in the Book of Acts." That's a lie because in chapter 1 they already had a hundred and twenty people in the first service in the Book of Acts. They only got bigger from there. They only got bigger. I don't know about you, but I can't fit a hundred and twenty people in my living room.
This house church movement, what it really is, it's a bunch of prideful, blowhards, a bunch of know-it-alls who basically don't want to submit themselves unto any leadership. They don't want to pour water on the hands of Elijah because that'll be degrading and demeaning. "Why should a man pour water on the hands of another man? That's degrading." They have this prideful, arrogant attitude where nobody's good enough to pour water on their hands.
I don't think Elijah was perfect. I don't think Elisha was perfect. You know what? They're men of God in the bible. Moses wasn't perfect, but he is a man of God. The disciples and the apostles, they weren't perfect, but they were men of God. A smart person would've gotten with these guys, learn from these guys, listen to these guys, let these guys lead you.
Listen to me, if God intended the New Testament church to be a free-for-all then why did he give such strict qualifications on who can be the bishop, who can be the pastor, who can be the deacon? Why would he have all these strict rule? It's actually tough to live up to. First of all, it's not a beginner, not a novice. It has to be somebody who's been there for a while. They have the aptitude to teach the bible. It says that they have to be the husband of one wife. They have to rule their children in their own houses well. They got to have all these qualities.
Why would God give you all these qualifications and then just say, "Oh, just kidding, you don't need a pastor. Just kidding, you don't need a bishop. Just kidding, church is when you get together with your Christian friends. That's what they're teaching in this house church movement. Look, where two or three gathered together, Jesus Christ is in the midst, but that doesn't make it church.
You know what? When I gather with my family, there's ten of us, just my wife and eight kids. Look, is Christ in the midst when we get together as a family of ten and read God's word and pray? Yeah, but that's not a church, that's a family. Look, church, family, these are not the same. These are two different concepts. These are two different institution.
Here's the third concept, friends. Friends is not family. Friends is not church. Friends are friends. Family is family. Church is church. When we have this movement today that's pulling people out of church and telling people, "Oh, church is when you have a few Christian friends come over to your house and you all take turns rattling your cage, and you all take turns around the coffee table, talking bible, singing songs." Look, that's great. I'm not against that.
If you want to get together with your friends and have a bible study, good. If you want to get together and preach to each other and sing songs, do it. Don't call it church my friend, because the church is an institution that God ordained and he ordained that a church would have a leader. People would say, "It should have multiple leaders." Why don't you start with one and then we'll talk.
Everybody wants to talk about multiple pastors. Why don't we start with one and actually who's qualified, who's actually ... Listen to me, at Faithful Word Baptist Church, we just don't have this overabundance of qualified guys where it's like, "We have ten pastors." First of all, according to the bible, the pastor is a paid position. Peter was told to stop fishing. Paul was never a pastor. He's an apostle but he was never a pastor.
Peter, John, they were told to quit their secular jobs and to do it full time. Basically, they want to have all these multiple pastor in their living room and they don't even have enough to even think about paying or supporting one guy, but they want to have a bunch of multiple leaders, multiple pastors, multiple deacons. What you end up with is too many chiefs and too few Indians, is what you end up with.
Yeah, there's ten people meeting in the living room, half of them are the pastors. It's stupid. It's just prideful arrogance. "Yes, I'm a pastor of an internet ministry. I'm one of the seven pastors of the church. We're running eight right now. We're all single dudes." It's stupid my friend. Look, if somebody is living it Timbuktu and listening to this sermon on the internet or something and they say, "No really, there's no Baptist church." Okay fine. Get together with your Christian friends, sing songs. If that's all you got, that's all you got.
That's a shame that people aren't being sent out to go start churches all over the world and reach the whole world at least with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here's thing, if you're living in the United States of America, there's a real church for you to go to. Let me say that again, real church. Let me put it this way, big boy church. Church that isn't playing games. Church that's the real thing.
You say, "No, because every church in my area is wrong on this doctrine." Okay, how do you know? A lot of people they think that every church is wrong and it's like, "Have you read the bible cover to cover one time?" "No, I'm working on it." You know that every church in your area is all wrong on this, wrong, maybe you're wrong on things. "No, I know they're because Pastor Anderson said it." Pastor Anderson is not God, and you know what? You need to read the bible for yourself and figure out what the bible says.
You know what the bible says about the person who reads the bible everyday in Deuteronomy 17? The bible says that if a person reads the bible everyday it says that it will make them so that their heart is not lifted up above their brethren. It says when you read therein all the days of his life, that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren. The most arrogant, prideful, everybody's wrong, no-good church, there's nowhere to go, are the people who don't read the bible.
They get all puffed up and lifted up and arrogant and whatever. Listen to me. You need to find the ... Some people are not from this area, right? I know to some people this sermon might be hurting a little bit right now because I might be talking to you. I don't know. There are people who came from different areas. Let me just say this, this is what God expects you to do in 2015, to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, which what I'm doing right now, and so much the more, as we see the day approaching.
We need church in 2015 more than we've ever needed it, not less, more. This is what God expects you to do. He expects you to find the best church in your area and to go there and get involved. Look, it's not going to be perfect. You say, "They're wrong on bible prophecy." Is that really? Look, is that really the biggest thing that there is? I don't know about you but my biggest doctrine is the gospel. My biggest doctrine is salvation by faith. My biggest doctrine is the eternal security of the believer. The greatest works that I believe we can do is to go out and preach that word.
Why don't you just find a church that's King James and soul winning, and I guarantee you that if you live in any decent sized area in the United States, there is a soul winning church in your city, period. "It's not as good as Steadfast." Then move to Steadfast. "It's not good enough." Then why don't you put up or shut up. Why don't you go big or go home. Why don't get here then, if this church is so great, then why don't get here and be here.
Otherwise you go find a church in your area and you get your butt to that church and you start doing something for God and quit whining. Do something. Listen, you'll do bigger works in a church that's not perfect than in no church at all. In no church at all, this is about how much soul winning you do when you're in no church. When you're in no church, why? The bible says, "How shall they preach except they be sent?"
Listen, theoretically, we can all just go out soul wining by ourselves, right? Theoretically, right? Let's say I'm living in some distant place. Theoretically, I could just go out and start soul winning by myself. You know what? God would bless that and that would be great. You know what? I'm telling you, people don't do it.
Look, I grew up in a Christian home. I got saved when I was six years old. I remember as a teenager having a burning desire to get people saved, to give people the gospel, to the point that I even went to my youth pastor in the church I was going to and I said, "Will you take me out and knock door with me and we can just tell people about Jesus and just tell him how to be saved?" He wouldn't do it because it was some liberal NIV whatever church.
He would do it. You know what I ended up doing? Nothing! You know what I mean? Look, I don't think anybody would argue that I'm a soul winning guy. I've gone soul winning every single week for the last seventeen years now. Every week for seventeen years, but you know what? When I didn't have a church sending me out, guess what I did? Guess what Steven Anderson did for God when there was no church? Nothing.
Then I got in church that was a soul winning church and they said, "Hey, soul winnings on Saturday at 10am." Then all of a sudden I'm soul winning now. Look, you say, "Oh, Steven Anderson, the soul winning." No, Steven Anderson did nothing until getting in a church that, guess what? Was stupid on bible prophecy, that was pretty trimmed to the bone.
Look, but hey, I did more in an imperfect church than the nothing I was doing not being in church. You know what? I'm not just trying to be mean or hurt people's feelings or rattle my cage. You know what? I'll tell you exactly where my heart is, I love souls. I love soul winning. I have a big vision. I believe that it's possible.
Listen to me. I'm not playing games up here. I'm not here to put on a show. I didn't come out here just to get up and wow every ... Look, I'm here for one things. I'm here because I believe that in our lifetime we can shake this nation with the gospel to where ... I'm not saying we're necessarily going to reach the whole world with this message. You know what I'm telling you? We can shake this nation with the gospel in our lifetime. You know what? It's very possible.
I'm looking around the room. I see a lot of young men. I don't know your situation. A lot of young men in this church, I don't know the names or the faces or the situations. I bet you that there are men in this church that someday are going to go out and be the next Pastor Romero and start the next church.
Let me tell you something, it's possible if we think big and you think big and these young guys that are under the sound of my voice think big. I guarantee you that we could go out and start multiplying to where Faithful Word is sending out churches and then Steadfast is sending out people to go start churches all over Texas. Pastor Jimenez is sending out people to start churches all over California.
You know what? It's possible to do something so big where anyone who lives in America, in our generation will know, "Hey, somebody came to my door with the gospel and it wasn't the Latter Day Satanists, it wasn't the JFWs, it was actually the real gospel.
Look at Acts chapter 17. I think you're there in chapter 20, flip back a few pages to chapter 17. Look I believe it's real. I believe it's possible. I believe that every person in Arizona can hear the gospel in our lifetime. I believe that every person in Texas could hear a clear presentation of the gospel in our lifetime. I believe that red hot soul winning churches could be started in every major city in America in my lifetime.
Look, other generations have done great things for God in the past. It's time for us to say, "I want to double what they did. I'm not just going to keep recycling the old past, the Jack Hyles or the man of the past that people say, "Hey, he did those great work." Why don't we just be double of what he was? Forget him. You know what? He's with the Lord. Forget him. He's not the one that God has given you Pastor Donnie Romero.
Wherever you are from, your church, your pastor, you know what I mean? We need to just stop living in the glory days of the past. The bible says if you ask the question, and I'm paraphrasing from Ecclesiastes, "If you ask the question why things were greater in the past?" He said, "That's a stupid question." He said, "Thou inquiry is not wisely if you say, "Wherefore were the former days better?" No, no, no, let's do the greatest work of any generation.
How do you top Elijah? You double what he did. We need to get serious. Listen, if you're serious about the Lord you're in church. Getting a church is like step one of Christian growth. These house church people they're not even the first base spiritually. They haven't even hit the ball yet. They're not even at bat yet. They haven't even put on the uniform yet.
Speaker 3: That's right. Get the waters.
Pastor Anderson: Yeah, exactly, they're the water boy, the spiritual water boy. I'm telling you it's possible. We need to think big and realize it can be done. You say, "Pastor Anderson you've asked a hard thing." Yeah, but it can be done. Look at Acts chapter number 17 verse 6. "When they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also."
Don't you love that verse? This is what the enemies are saying. He's saying, "Look, these guys have turned the world upside down and now they've come here also. Now they're here." That's what we want. Every city in America should be like, "Uh-oh, Steadfast Baptist Church just sent out a young guy. This red hot preaching, hell firing, damnation, he's a soul winning machine. Big vision, he just sent a guy like that down to our city, down in South Texas or whatever. Look out! One of these guys are down here now. These guys are turning the world upside down."
They didn't mean that as a compliment, but you know what? It is a complement. I love that verse. Why? It's talking about people who did something big. I'm not one of these that gets excited about everything that's small. No, big, go big or go home. We get too much emphasis on, "Oh let's tell the story about a missionary who went and spent twenty years in a foreign field and got one person saved, and it was all worth it." That's a stupid story.
Look, I'm sorry, you say I'm unspiritual, "You're unspiritual if you think that's a stupid story." I think it's a stupid story and there's nothing like that in the bible ever. You can sit there and call me unspiritual and say I don't love the individual and I don't care. Hey, there's no story like that in the bible. Show me the story in the bible where they spent twenty years and got less than people saved and got excited about it, because it ain't there.
The people in the bible got people saved, because the bible says, "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." It's doubtless, doubtless. God has already given us the victory. This idea that we go out and do this ... Look, if the guy really went to some Timbuktu and spent his whole life to get ten people saved, that guy would've been a lot smarter to stay in the United States then, where he would've got thousands of people saved.
He would've probably accidentally gotten some people from that country saved anyway, because the United States has people from every country in it. I've gotten people saved from Iran. I've gotten Indian saved. I've gotten Chinese people saved. I've gotten Arabs, and so will you if you go out and knock doors in Dallas, Fort Worth. You're going to find all of this.
Brother Romero was just telling me there's a community right down the street from here that had Ethiopians. You want to talk to the Ethiopian eunuch, he lives down the street. You can live the Book of Acts today. That's his business. You don't want to go looking for him like, "Excuse me ..." The point is that there are Ethiopians over there, there are Arabs over there, Africa, Asia. Look, we live in such a cool generation where we live in a place where it's like the day of Pentecost every day.
What was so special about the day of Pentecost, people from all nations are there. That's a day in Dallas, all nations are there. You could have a Pentecost every day, if you think big. Let me tell you something. The bible said if it's an unreceptive area you shake off the dust and go somewhere else. That's what the bible says. Why? So you don't just live your life and never do anything big.
Look, this is stuff you don't normally hear bible preaching, but it is biblical stuff, what I'm saying right now. Jesus said, "If you enter into a town or a village and if it's unworthy, then shake of the dust and go to the next one." That's why if I'm out soul winning, if you come to a house where they don't hear, shake off the dust. A man that isn't heretic after the first and second admonition, reject. Why? You don't want to spend three hours arguing with some dyed-in-the-wool Mormon, when right down the street there's somebody who wants to get saved.
When I go out soul winning I'm going to get somebody saved. Look, it doesn't mean I don't care about the individual. It doesn't mean I don't love the individual. It's just that if you love the individual, you'd realize that there's a bunch of individuals. It's like, "Oh, next year why don't you just beat your head against the wall to get one."
They want to go to be a missionary to Israel, like the most unreceptive place in the whole planet and it's like, beat their head against the wall. Beat their head against the wall to beg, and they'll get one Jew saved in a blue moon or something. Why don't you go somewhere receptive? Why don't you go to the poor areas of Dallas, Fort Worth and you can save the plane ticket, you could save getting arrested. You're not going to get arrested soul winning here.
We were out soul winning a couple of weeks ago and the cops showed up. Some long haired hippie called the cops on us. Some God hating atheistic type that just, "Oh, you guys ..." He called the cops on us because we're soul winning in an apartment complex. It's like, "Oh it's private property." Every house you knock is private property. You can't walk up to somebody's door and knock it without being on their private property.
If they don't want to hear, look, I'm more than happy to leave when they don't want to hear it anyway. I don't want to be there if they don't want to hear it. "I'm not interested." See you. Next door, who cares? Shake it off. We're at this apartment complex and the cops are called. The cops showed up and he starts telling me. I said, "No, don't lecture me."
I said, "I don't have time to listen to your lecture." I said, "Am I arrest?" "I have to give you a warning and this and that." He said, "If you come back you'll be arrested." I said, "Let me just tell you something. The only reason I'm not coming back is because we've already knocked every door in this complex." I said, "You know what I'm going to do next Wednesday? I'm going to go across the street and knock all the doors right there."
He's like, "If you're ever back at this complex though, you'll be arrested." I said, "Listen, I'll be back at this complex in about two years, after we've knocked everything else and come back around the rotation." I said, "Then you can come back and arrest me at time." You know what, honestly, they're just huffing and puffing and blowing smoke. I told him, I said, "We're doing the work of God and you're trying to stop us, that's evil," I said.
The bottom line is today that the reason that I could talk ... You couldn't talk that way at other countries to the cops, they'd beat the snot out of you in a lot of ... If you're down in Mexico. Don't try this on the Mexico mission strip or something. Excuse me senior. It's like boom. It's not going to work.
You know what? That's why we should thank God for our freedom in America. Thank God for the First Amendment. Look, you're sitting in a country that's prosperous. You're sitting in a country where it's easy to go soul winning, where you're not going to be arrested, you're not risking your life, you're not going to be killed or beaten for soul winning. It's all right here, people from all nations, unlimited doors in Dallas, Fort Worth, what are you doing?
Go big. "I do a little token soul winning." No, go big. "I came on the big day." No, go big, go weekly, get involved, get excited, get the map. I see a map. I didn't really look at that map but I see a map back there. That's a big map. That's a big map, shade in that big map and then get a bigger map. Then get a map of Texas and start putting thumbtacks on all the churches that are being planted.
Of all the guys that are being trained at Steadfast Baptist Church, and start by, "Hey we need a church. Here's a gap." Then they get big maps. Look, it could be done if we get to work, if we get serious about it. Am I talking to Elisha tonight? Am I talking to Joash tonight? Am I talking to Hezekiah tonight? Am I talking to Ahaz tonight? I haven't heard of some of these guys, because they're losers. They're nobodies.
If we walk up and asked, "Hey, who's Ahaz? Have you ever heard of King Joash?" You didn't know, but Elisha? "Oh yeah." Peter, James, and John? "Oh yeah. I heard of them." Jesus? "Oh yeah of course." That's because they did something big. You know what? I want to do something for God. I'm here tonight because I want to get you excited to do something big for God as a church.
That's why I'm here. I want you to get a big vision, to think big. Big, not like these small thinking house church people who are like, "Oh, we're just like the Book of Acts with five people in the living room." No you're not. Look, it's okay for a church that's starting out to be running five, ten, fifteen people. Everybody's got to start somewhere, and plus I've known that were that size, they're still doing a big work for God.
For example, when we started our church in Tempe, the first year we ran ten, the second year we ran twenty, the third year we ran thirty. It wasn't some super, astronomical, fast growth. Listen, even when we were running an average of ten, we had two hundred saved that year. We grew and went from there. Why? We still thought big. We still preached big and got excited about doing something.
Look, some people have driven far tonight. That shows dedication. The fact that you drove from a distant city shows that you're not playing games. You're excited. You want to do something big for God. You care about what I'm talking about tonight. It's so good to preach to a crowd of people that are excited, that want to do something big for God.
You know what? We need to do it. Not just talk it or think it, we need to go big or go home. Look, are you cold or hot? Don't be lukewarm. Go big, be zealous, repent, do the first works. Get excited about doing something big. Look, if you're from a distant city and you don't go to church, I'm talking to you, get your bunch in church. That's what I have to say to you tonight.
"It's not the best." Look, if you need help finding a church talk to me, talk to Brother Romero, we'll help you surf the net and find a good church in your area. Honestly, I always tell people the same thing. There's a website called Military Get Saved. I don't know why it's called that but it's called Military Get Saved.
You just Google Military Get Saved and then go to your state and just search the world soul, soul. All right, why? Soul winning, so you Control F, soul, and then you'll see all the churches in your state that are at least advertising soul wining, those churches are usually going to be King James and right on the gospel if they're soul winning.
"Oh, it's not perfect." You're not perfect. I'm not perfect. Romero's not perfect. You get in there and you be a blessing. You don't go there and say, "Okay everybody. Get ready for some changes around here." You know what I mean? You show up and you get involved in the church program. You get involved in the soul winning. Don't tell them how to do it, show them how to do it.
Don't tell me how to do anything. Show me how to do it. You get there, you do the soul winning, you get involved, you go to church. Yeah, download Pastor Romero's sermon as a supplement, but don't sit there and just say, "Oh, we're house churching it." No, you get in church with a real pastor. You get excited. You know what? You say, "That's not good enough for me." Okay, then pack your bags, put up or shut up and don't just sit there and whine. We have a big world, a big job.
Hey, it's called The Great Commission. I don't think it's called The Great Commission because it's so cool like, "It' great. It's cool. Yeah." I think it's great because it's the big job. We need to start thinking of it as the big commission. He left us with a big job and we need people who think big to get a big job done and do a great work for God. Go big or go home.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father we thank you so much for you word Lord. Thank you for the examples of these men in the bible, Lord. The good example of Elisha and the bad example of Joash who was such a small thinking man that he smites the ground three times and he thinks that's enough. Lord help us to be like the Elishas of this world who wold say, "Three is not enough, let's go with five or six. If three is good then five is better. If one soul is worth more than the whole world, then a hundred souls is worth even more than that Lord. Help us to get excited to give everybody a chance to hear the gospel and to do something big for you, and in Jesus' name we pray, amen.