Monday, March 19, 2007

Woe to the Couch Potato

(Here are some notes from a sermon by Dr. Raymond Barber which was published in the March 9, 2007 issue of The Sword of the Lord. A word of warning, however; this may cause some to be convicted about their current service to God and give them a reason to get off the couch and do something for God!!!)

Amos 6:1-6 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came! Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border? Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David; That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

In our text, Amos addressed a problem in ancient Israel that is also a plague in modern fundamentalism. Apathy, complacency, neglect, laziness, lukewarmness, lameness, sameness - these are just a few of the select names that could be used to describe fundamental Christianity today. We have allowed so many things to take our time, our energy, our money, our devotion, our affection and our priorities that we are almost amalgamated with everybody else. If we are not different, there is no need to exist. We are different, and we must maintain that difference.

One of the great sins that characterize the saints of our time, in my opinion, is the sin of indifference. Do we really care if men go to Hell? Vance Havner said, "Never before have we had so many degrees in the church and yet so little temperature."

Many pastors today are infected with rocking-chair religion, and thousands of others are carriers, even if they are not personally infected. Let me warn you that there are three temptations that will assail every preacher;
  1. The temptation to shine - "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" Shining - egotism is the hypodermic that God allows a man to administer to himself to deaden the pain of being a fool. Beware the temptation to shine.
  2. The temptation to whine - "Oh, dear God, nobody is left who believes the Bible but me. Nobody is evangelizing but me. Nobody is winning souls." Don't invite God to your pity party; He is too busy to attend.
  3. The temptation to recline - "I'll get to it, but I'm just so tired right now." Shine, whine and recline!!!

But, thank God, there is a remedy. There is a guaranteed three-fold prescription that will bring a cure;

  1. Go see the Great Physician - To paraphrase the old song, a talk with Jesus will make everything right.
  2. Take a full dose of Acts 5:42, "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Note that this is a daily dosage!
  3. Walk one block - As you go, stop at every house and witness to somebody about Jesus.

Repeat that every day, and I guarantee it will cure you of rocking-chair religion. We are living in the midst of a generation of preachers (and their congregations) with dry eyes, unbent knees, and folded hands. We have lost the wonder of it all. If we had more "knee-ology" in preparation for preaching instead of settling for just sound theology in our sermons, we would experience more "go-tell-ology."

If we invested a fraction of the time, effort and energy in eternal priorities that we do in earthly pursuits, we would evangelize the world in our own generation. We call ourselves independent, fundamental, Bible-believing, conservative, missions-minded, soul-winning preachers; yet we spend more time with the TV than we do with the KJV. We spend more time primping than praying; more time fishing for compliments than fishing for souls; more time analyzing than agonizing; more time minimizing than mobilizing; more time criticizing, fraternalizing, and patronizing than evangelizing.

God did not save us to sit down and sit, but to get up and "git." Don't you think it is time that we started acting like what we have become? We have become the sons of God; let's start acting like sons, reflecting the Father. We have become saints; let's start living like saints and letting the light of Christ shine through. We have become servants; let us don the servant's robe and start serving.

"Woe to them that are at ease in Zion." The time has come when we must get over our easiness.

  1. How can we remain at ease on the couch when the majority of the world's population are going to Hell???
  2. How can we remain at ease on the couch when Jesus died to save all men from eternal damnation???
  3. How can we remain at ease on the couch when the love of God for sinners is inexhaustible and immeasurable???
  4. How can we remain at ease, all cozy on the couch, when time is running out and the return of Jesus is pressing nearer with every day that passes???

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Blogger Sis. Julie said...

Wow!!! This is a very needed post in every saved person's life. Even if a person isn't a literal couch potato...they are in their life of not doing something for God. We can all get busy doing other things and not be busy doing as God has commanded us to do. And in that sense we become a "couch potato" of sorts. Thank you for this post. I needed this one!!

9:23 AM  
Blogger Bro Tim said...

Just to let you know I am still around and reading your posts. Thanks for sharing this message by this preacher. How it should stir our heart for our Lord.
Bro Tim

2:41 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Sis. Julie and Bro. Tim,

I appreciate both of you being faithful readers of my blog... speaking for myself, I know there are periods when I spend too much time on the couch!!! Please pray for me to be more consistent in doing work for my Lord and Saviour!!!

6:27 PM  

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