Gambling Is Sin


Gambling Is Sin

November 10th, 1963 @ 7:30 PM

Hebrews 7:1-8

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Hebrews 7:1-8

11-10-63      7:30 p.m.



On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the evening message entitled Gambling is Sin.  It is just a part of the message, but the part is very pertinent to the subject as a whole.  Now in your Bible turn to the Book of Hebrews, chapter 7, the Book of Hebrews, chapter 7, almost toward the end of the Bible.  The Book of Hebrews, chapter 7, and the first eight verses we read together [Hebrews 7:1-8].  And if your neighbor does not have his Bible, turn to him and offer your Bible and read out loud together, the Book of Hebrews, chapter 7, the first eight verses.  Now all of us, let us read it aloud, Hebrews 7:1 through 8; going to talk about Melchizedek, and look how he uses the tithe as a token of God’s favor upon his priesthood.  Reading together:


For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation king of righteousness, and after that also king of Salem, which is, king of peace;

Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.

And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

[Hebrews 7:1-8]


Now let us all read that last verse together, verse 8 of chapter 7: we will all read it together, “And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth” [Hebrews 7:8].  This shall be a background for the final appeal of this message tonight. 

As I said this morning, and the sermon tonight is the second part of a message I began to deliver at the morning hour.  As I said this morning, because of our revival meeting out on the state fairgrounds in the Livestock Coliseum, we have held in abeyance, our tremendous stewardship appeal and we are telescoping within a few days what otherwise we would have taken several weeks to do. This coming Sunday for example, immediately is the great pledge day of our Sunday school, in which all of our Sunday school is to have their pledge cards turned in. 

Now in preparation for this appeal in behalf of our Lord, I took it upon myself to learn how it is that the church has been supported through the centuries and the now almost two millenniums.  I also started at the beginning and we looked at some of those things through these years and years past, how the work of God has been supported in the earth. 

Now we are going to take up tonight and look at some of the unusual ways in the last, say, 150 years and even now, that the church of Jesus is supported by the people.  I took for example from the Spectator a passage written in 1896.  Whoever wrote this in the Spectator was defining a church and this is his definition:


The church is a building, divided into wooden pews after the manner of a cattle market, with the entrance to each pen secured against intruders by lock and key and the interior adorned by various arrangements of cushions and hassocks.


 A hassock is a little thing you kneel on; that was their idea of a church. 

Now the sale of pews was the commonest way of raising money to support the work of God in this last century.  Practically every church auctioned off, hawked off, their pews, and the highest bidder took the pew.  And of course they bid highest for the choicest seats, and some of the stormiest sessions in the church were conducted and held when they auctioned of the pews in the church.  For example, the pastor of the Old South Church in Boston wrote this in his diary; he wrote:


We had a church meeting to determine the way in which the subscribers are to choose their pews.  O Lord, govern this matter in mercy.  Keep us in peace.  Mr. Prince and I had prayed together with an especial regard to this affair, and this day I again commended it to God.


 Then after the stormy session was over and the people had chosen their respective pews, the pastor of the Old South Church wrote in his diary, “O Lord, I thank Thee for the peace we enjoy.”  And in one of those papers, there was a doggerel writer who put in verse how they hawked off their pews.  So let us read of this auctioneer as he sells the pews in the church.


“Who’ll buy this pew?” the salesman cries,

“Location good, a pleasant size.

Two hundred fifty, three, go on,

Three fifty, four, five, going, gone.

Who’ll buy the next best in the church?

Bid up; don’t leave us in the lurch


“Tis gone, now the next; they must be sold,

Come, gentlemen, don’t mind your gold.

Money enough when you’re gone

For your sons-in-law to revel on.

Three hundred bid?  Well done, I say.

We’ll make a splendid sale today.


“It can’t be beat; the stock is good,

First rate, I see I’m understood.

Bid up, now show that you’re alive

Three fifty, four, four fifty, five.

Five hundred dollars for this pew,

Going at five, a bargain too.


“Tis gone, it is yours, Mr. Gray,

I do sir you congratulate.

You see the man who owns a pew,

If he’s to choose, can sell it too.

If things succeed there is a chance,

The pew in value will advance.


“There is our neighbor Mr. Kay,

Who sold his pew the other day.

Four hundred dollars he had paid,

He sold the pew for six and made

A handsome profit by the trade.

The furniture he sold by lot,

And more than what it cost, he got.


“I do not say that there are any

Who join the church to make a penny,

But in a case like this, you see,

A pew is not bad property. “

[author unknown]


And that is the way they raised money for the support of the church.  The guy bought the pew, and then if he could sell it at a profit, he just had that much money in the till.  Oh, the schemes, the schemes by which the church sought to support its work.  Merchandizing schemes—selling all kinds of cookbooks and soaps and all kinds of ointments and beauty aides—merchandizing schemes, and bazaars, items made by the people and brought to the church house and sold.  Entertainments: when I was a boy I used to go to Negro minstrels and the money that they made at the Negro minstrel was turned over to the church. 

Church suppers, man there are enough people who have brought enough food at church suppers trying to gormandize themselves into extending the kingdom of God to make the whole earth sick, church suppers.  Rummage sales, unwanted items are brought to the church and sold to the people and all kinds of commission selling.  And finally the lottery—the lottery, that use of the lottery, is one of the most unusual things that has ever developed in the life of the house of God. 

The first time in history that a lottery was ever employed was by Augustus Caesar who was the Roman emperor when Christ was born.  And he used it as a method of entertainment for his illustrious guests at dinner parties.  That is the first time the world ever heard of a lottery.  The first commercial lottery was employed by the Dukes of Burgundy in 1420; they were seeking money to strengthen the fortifications of their cities.  The first English lottery was in 1569, sponsored by Queen Elizabeth, raising money for the good of the realm.  But about 1720, and for the next one hundred years, the churches in America, everywhere, used the lottery to raise money. 

And there is one particular group of churches today that uses the lottery extensively in order to raise money.  The people were asked, for example, to buy twenty-thousand dollars worth of tickets and the prizes amounted to about three-thousand dollars.  So if they could sell twenty-thousand dollars worth of tickets, why, they could make seventeen-thousand dollars because the prizes that were given, to which you drew a ticket, only amounted to about three-thousand dollars.  And the variation of that lottery has gone through every kind and way imaginable.  For example, all kinds of raffles: they make quilts and they raffle off a quilt; they buy an automobile at a wholesale price and they raffle off an automobile; they take anything of value and raffle it off. 

And one of the most unusual rafflings that I ever heard of in my life was a cakewalk, is the cakewalk.  I thought a cakewalk was a dance of some kind, a guy going to the cakewalk, going to the shindig, going to the, you know, shake a wicked leg.  I thought that was what a cakewalk was.  But it is just this week that I found out what a cakewalk is.  A cakewalk is a means employed by the church to raise money, and this is the way that is works: all of the dear sisters in the church bake a cake and they bring it down to the church.  Then they have a large center table and they put one cake at a time in the center of the table.  Then all of the gentlemen that they could get in the community to come to the cakewalk buy a ticket for fifty cents.  And all the gentlemen who have tickets for fifty cents, they line all the way around that table.  Then while some kind of music is played over there on the side, why, those gentlemen walk around the table in a cakewalk and then when suddenly the music stops, why the guy who is standing next to the cake gets it.  It is his.  I would call that “Going to Jerusalem” or something like that, and we would play in parties.  But that is a cakewalk, and you bought a ticket for it, and the guy closest to it got the cake. 

Bingo!  Bingo; I quote, there is a priest in Newark, New Jersey who says that his church makes $250,000 a year in bingo, his one church.  All over America I have seen great church edifices, so-called, that are built by gambling.  All over America I see the work of the so-called church furthered by gambling, especially by bingo.  Millions, and millions, and millions, and millions of dollars funneled into the hands of the clergy by methods of gambling, so largely the scheme of bingo. 

What is the matter with gambling?  Why couldn’t any church employ bingo or raffling, or any other kind of chance or gambling?  What is the matter with gambling?  I have listed here five things that make gambling a sin. 

Number one, gambling transfers property in a way that destroys an acceptable and regulated and planned order.  There are four ways to transfer property and only four: by theft—by theft, by chance, by purchase, and by gift.  Those are the four ways in which property can be transferred, and there are only those four ways.  Property has to be transferred from generation to generation to generation, from hand to hand to hand, else the nation could not exist and the economic life of our people could not continue. 

Well, what is the matter with those first two ways?  Theft and chance, and then purchase and gift, the first two are illegitimate, they are wrong; they are morally not right in the sight of Almighty God.  It is not right, according to the character of God, to steal, to take by theft.  There can be two ways to take by theft: you can do it clandestinely, secretly, furtively, in the nighttime, steal when nobody sees and nobody knows.  Or you can do it by force and by coercion, like a bank bandit who will bind up the employees in the bank and threaten the customers with a sawed off shotgun and take the property, take the money by theft.  Or like Castro down in Cuba, pull off a revolution and confiscate the property into which people in America have put millions and millions of dollars.  That is morally wrong in the sight of Almighty God. 

The second way that property can be transferred is by chance, is by gambling, by shooting craps for it, or playing bingo for it, or playing cards for it, a game of chance.  Then the other two ways are by exchange, to buy it at a price or to give it to someone out of love and out of the goodness of your heart.  It is not right for a man to gamble away what God has placed in his hands. 

And now, let us follow that through.  The second reason why gambling is sin, gambling creates risks and makes no contribution in doing so.  Every once in a while, I will hear a man who defends gambling, and he says, why, the farmer is a gambler!  He sows his seed; he has no idea whether the sun is enough, or whether the rains will come, or whether the hail will beat it into the ground.  He is a gambler.  And the stock market investor is a gambler; he is just like I am.  I hear that every once in a while.  There could be no reasoning more fallacious, or further from the truth, than for a gambler to say that.  The difference lies in this: the gambler creates the risks.  But these who are in the farming world and in the business world do all they can in their power to minimize their risks. When the farmer sows his seed, and when he plows his crop, and when he cultivates the land, and when the harvest time comes, he is doing everything possible to minimize the risks that he takes.  He even prays God would bless the soil and send the gentle rain and give him opportunity to harvest. 

The same way with the great corporation that is seeking to make money and to stay solvent and to succeed in merchandizing.  Here is a great oil company and they do all in their power to make that company successful, and every risk they take, they take because they are forced to take it; they do not create them.  But the gambler lives on created risks, and if he does not have one that is slick enough, he will think of another one.  He invents them and he multiplies them. 

All right, the third thing, why gambling is sin, the gambler encourages indifference towards the interest of and the well being of his fellow man.  He tries the best way he can in order to get from somebody else something for nothing.  In his world all property is dealt with on a non-human principle, trying to get from his neighbor without making any return to his neighbor.  That is morally wrong in the sight of God.  If I take from my neighbor, I ought to return to my neighbor a full purchase price of what I take from him.  But for me to scheme, to take from my neighbor and give nothing in return, is morally wrong in the sight of Almighty God. 

Now a fourth reason why gambling is sin, gambling contributes toward a general deterioration of character.  Listen to this: the barrier between fraud and smartness ceases to exist in the mind of a gambler as he tries to get something for nothing, and as he tries slick schemes and ways and methods, taking chances with somebody else in order to take from him.  Pretty soon it is mighty easy for his smartness to turn into downright fraud, and thievery, and cheating.   That is the underworld; it lives and it thrives on the weaknesses of other people.

Then another thing I have found in my reading.  I discovered to my amazement—because I do not live with these people, gambling people—I have found out that gambling tends to corrupt true religion, which was an amazing thing to me.  What I have read says to me that gamblers create a pseudo-religion of superstition.  They put faith in charms, in rules of astrology, in hidden meaning of numbers, in rabbits’ feet, in color on the back of the playing cards, in a thousand things.  The gambler is looking for signs of success, like those old pagan heathen Romans and Greeks opened the entrails of birds in order to see if the gods were propitious as they went to war.  That was an astonishing thing for me to learn!  A gambler has a natural way of trying to substitute all of these superstitious signs for the worship of the true God.  No man in this earth could be a man of God and a child of Christ and give himself to this process of gambling.  It is a sin.  It is morally wrong in the sight of the great Jehovah. 

Now to return to us, few things are more frustrating—few things are more frustrating than trying to inspire non-Christian people, people who are not saved again, to give liberally to the work of God.  I quote now:


We have not reached the saturation point in what we ought to give, but I believe we have about reached the saturation point in what we will give in our present spiritual state.  It would seem then that the remedy is not more begging and pleading; a new scheme for raising money, but what we need is an experience with God that results in the reign of the Holy Spirit in all of our lives.

[“Money and the Church,” Luther P. Powell, New York Association Press, 1961, p. 204]


And I think that is one of the truest statements I ever copied out of a book in my life.   You can just ding-dong and ding-dong, and squeeze and squeeze, and plead and plead with unspiritual people, and you will never find a response.  But when a man loves God, and he has been genuinely born again, and God is first in his house, in his home, in his heart and in his life, that man, that man will respond when God makes an appeal to his soul.   What we need is an elevation of the great spiritual devotion in the life of our people. 

Now I want to illustrate that.  I copied here a weary pastor quote.  A weary pastor  published in one of our national magazines a news item, and then an item that he took, a characterization that he took from his church record.  First he wrote the news item that he read in the paper, and then he took from the church records down there where he was pastor.  All right, now let us look at what he found.  The news item:

Mrs. A entertained eight intimate friends with a dinner yesterday at the such-and-such club, after which she took the party to the Majestic Theatre to see such-and-so rendition.


That is the news item.  Now, here is the item from the church records:

 Mrs. A contributes $3.60 a year, a faithful member of the church for eighteen years.


All right, second news item:

Mr. and Mrs. B left last night for New York, where they will attend the World Series, the baseball games.  They will be gone for about three weeks, during which time they will visit Niagara Falls and other points of interest.


That was the news item; you see this is a small town church.  All right, from his church records:

Mr. B sent in his check for $60.00, covering the annual contribution for his family for the support of the church, and accompanying it was a note saying he was sorry it had to be less than last year.


All right the news item, out of a little paper:

Mr. E and family arrived at church last Sunday in their new Lincoln sedan which he recently purchased preparatory to a western tour of six weeks upon which they leave next Sunday.


That is the little country newspaper item.  All right, the preacher’s record from the church:

Mr. E pays $40.00 regularly per year, and always with serious objections concerning the extravagance with which the people’s money is spent by our mission workers.


All right, the last one, the little news item:

Among the three hundred guests at the governor’s reception, no one was more eloquently attired than Mrs. G.  Her rare jewels added to her native charm.  Mrs. G, accompanied by her two daughters, will leave in a few days for a four-month European tour.


That is the news item.  Now that weary pastor from his church records:

Mrs. G found it impossible to comply with the suggestion of the committee that she increase her support of the church twenty-five cents a week, on account of the increased costs of coal and labor.  She would pay as she had been doing thirty-five cents a week.


Isn’t that the beatinest thing you ever read in your life?  I tell you I never saw such an interesting thing in my life as I began delving in these things.  Now may I quote from the Manual for Canvassers in the Evangelical and Reformed Church?  I quote:


A subscription, the signing of a pledge, has a relation to religion rather than to finances, and every member of the family should have a personal interest in and connection with the church through a separate subscription— 

“Let each one of you…” man, that is the gospel!—

You do not take the Lord’s Supper for your wife.  You do not attend church for the children.  You do not do their praying or Bible reading.  Each one should enroll as a subscriber and have the joy of giving.


And to that I subscribe with my whole soul.  We are born one at a time.  We shall die one at a time [2 Corinthians 5:10].  We shall be judged one at a time.  We shall stand before God one at a time.  We shall also stand before God in this day of our pledging one at a time, the father, the mother, the son, the daughter, each one according to the Word of the Lord.  “On the first day of the week let each one of you, every one of you, lay by him, in store as God hath prospered him” [1 Corinthians 16:2].

Our time runs away, but I must tell you this and then I shall stop.  I came across in my studying, the words of a businessman, a Christian businessman by the name of Thomas Kane.  Thomas Kane, the latter part of this last century, Thomas Kane began to tithe his income.  He did it as an experiment, and after five years of trying that, he noticed that there was a decided change in his business that his personal fortunes were blessed and favored of God.  So Kane wrote a tract, a tithing autobiography, in which he described what God had done for him as he experimented with tithing, and he sent that tract to all of the preachers of the United States.  And with the tract, he sent a little circular saying, and I quote:


My belief is that God blesses in temporal as well as spiritual things, the man who honors Him by setting apart a stated proportion of his income to His service.  I have never known an exception, have you?


Now Kane sent that out to all of the preachers in America.  He went to look at all of their congregations and see if there was an exception, if a man tithed, that God did not bless him temporally.  Over a period of ten years, Mr. Kane sent out more than five million tracts and pamphlets on that subject and after more than forty years, after more than forty years, Mr. Kane wrote a pamphlet entitled, “Does Tithing Pay?”  And in that pamphlet he said that he had received thousands, and thousands, and thousands, and thousands of replies in those forty years from men who testified that when they tithed, God blessed them temporally.  And he said there were less than a half-dozen who disagreed.  That was one of the most astonishing things I have ever read in my life. 

I went around over the state of Texas.  I went around over the state of Texas in one of these great stewardship appeals with a great deacon from Arkansas.  That man was one of the finest men I ever roomed with.  We stayed together, going around over the State of Texas.  He testified what God had done for him as a businessman and then I would try to preach the gospel.  Well, one day with him in the hotel room, I said, “You know you have an astonishing testimony.  I just never heard anything like this.”  I said, “What is it that started you out in such a confirmed conviction that God would bless a man temporally if he tithed?”  Well, he said it to him about like this, he said: “There was a fellow that came to my door and he wanted to mow my lawn.  It was in the days of the depression and the man said, ‘I don’t have anything to eat.  I don’t have anything to feed my family and I am broke, and I am down, and I desperately need help.’”  And the deacon said: “I just thought I would try it with him.  I made a bargain with him. I said, ‘I tell you what, you can come regularly and mow my lawn if you will promise that one-tenth of what I pay you, you will pay into the church, you will give to God.’  And the man said, ‘I will sure do it.’”

So he came and mowed the man’s lawn.  And faithfully, according to his promise, he took one tenth of what he got from mowing the lawn and dedicated it to the Lord.  And the deacon said to me, he said, “Did you know I saw the day when that man, in the heart of the Depression, was making more money than I was?”  He said he had a syndicate, he had a corporation, he had a whole organization of lawn mowing.  And he said all over the city, all over the city he had men that he sent out taking care of shrubs and herbs and trees and lawns and flowers and beds and all.  And he said, “That man was one of the most affluent in our whole city.”  He said, “I never saw such a transition and such a change in my life!”  And he said, “I began to look around me and I began to look around me and look around me,” and he said, “I found that same thing everywhere, wherever a man would do that with God, God would bless that man.”   Oh!  It is an astonishing thing, it is an astonishing thing. 

Well, give me this moment.  Just want you to look at the churches; I want you to look at the churches.  These are the latest figures on how our denominations give.  Now I want you to look at it.  These denominations encourage their people to tithe: the United Brethren give a $119.00 plus per capita, the Nazarenes a $135.00 per capita, the Orthodox Presbyterian denomination $161.00 plus, the Evangelical Covenant $164.00 plus, the Brethren in Christ, $168.00, the Pilgrim Holiness, $200.00, the Evangelical Free Church, $203.00 plus, the Wesleyan Methodist, $228.00 plus, the Free Methodists, the Free Methodists $269.00 plus.  Now those are the denominations that encourage tithing, and that is how much their people give per member. 

Now look!  The Methodists give per capita, $1.00 plus, the Presbyterians give $2.00 plus, the Baptists give $1.44 plus, and the Episcopal the same, $1.44 plus.  Isn’t that an astonishing thing?  These denominations that encourage their members to tithe give $269.00 plus, $228.00 plus, $203.00 plus.  And over here all these other denominations like us, Baptists, $1.00 plus, Methodists $1.00 plus.  What an astonishing thing! 

Then I copied one other thing from these latest church statistics.  This is what the churches do for missions.  This is what the churches do for missions.  The Evangelical Free Church $36.00 plus, the Seventh-Day Adventists $31.00 plus, and so on.  And all of us who look indifferently on it, we give maybe $.50 plus, or $.25 plus, or $.13 plus.  Oh, these are astonishing things, astonishing things. 

Now why should I be astonished?  Why should I be astonished?  Why can’t I believe that God will keep His word?  Why can I?  Listen, listen:


You bring all the tithe into the storehouse and prove Me, test Me, try Me, saith the Lord, and see if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall be not room enough to receive it.

Try Me and see.

[Malachi 3:10]


Now you are listening so good, I want to take a little leaf out of my life.  In my pastorate I had a very brilliant man, a PhD, a very brilliant man.  He was the son of a Baptist preacher, and I was trying to encourage our people to be true to God in their stewardship.  And every time I would mention tithing, I had a scene with that man after the service was over—one of my deacons.  I was never so discouraged, not in my life.  I couldn’t mention the word “tithe,” I couldn’t speak of it.  I couldn’t make appeal but that I had that awful scene with that brilliant educator after the service was over.  I had a hard time. 

And he used an illustration that just floored me.  He would say, “Now look at him, see him over there?  Look at him.”  He said, “That is one of your tithers, and you say God blesses a tither? Look at him.”  He said, “He is in the gutter, and he is of the scum, and he is on the flotsam and jetsam, look at him!  Look at him, lost everything he had.”  He said, “I remember when he was in this church and a regular attendant and a noble businessman in this town, and he was prosperous and affluent and a tither!  And look at him, look at him.  Look at him; he is a wretch.  Look at him, and you say God blesses the man that tithes.  Look at that; look at him!” 

Well, I didn’t have any word to reply.  I looked at the man.  He was all that the doctor said he was.  He was a wretch, and he was down, and he was out, and he had been one of the most influential businessmen in the city, and he lost everything that he had and was now in the gutter.  What the doctor said was true, and I did not have any answer. 

On a Sunday night, like tonight, on a Sunday night like tonight, I was preaching to my people and when I gave the appeal, down the aisle came that man, that man, that wretch of a man.  He came down the aisle, and he fell on my shoulder and began to sob and to cry.  You could hear him all over the church house, and this is what he said, he said: “Pastor, young pastor, I am coming back to God tonight.  There was a time when I served God faithfully, and I was true to the Lord, and there was a time when I honored God with a tenth of all of my increase.  But,” he said, “I grew greedy, and I grew covetous, and I grew grasping, and I kept everything that God gave to me, and I quit tithing, and I quit giving generously to the Lord’s church.  And,” he said, “my fortunes turned, and I began to lose and to drop and to fall behind and finally,” he said, “I lost my business, and I lost my place in the community, and I lost my devoted service to God, and I have been down and down in these years since.  But,” he said, “pastor, tonight I’m coming back.  I’m going to start over again where I left off.  I’m going to draw nigh to Jesus.  I’m reconsecrating my life, and once again all that God shall give me I shall faithfully return a tenth unto Him.”

I want you to know, the man began to look different; he began to walk different; he began to dress different; he began to talk different; he began to live different!  And before I left the pastorate of the church, he was again on the way up in his life, in his business, in his heart, in his love for God, and in the favor and blessing of Jesus upon his soul. 

I’m persuaded that if a man will honor God, God will honor him.  If a man will put God first in his life, God will put that man first when God makes up His blessings and pours them out upon us who are pilgrimaging in this weary world.  I don’t think a man can out give God.  I don’t believe the Lord will let us down; if we are true to Him, God will be true to us.

 I am not saying that a man ought to do a thing like that in a cold hard bargain.  I go back to the first avowal that I read.  It has to arise out of a great spiritual devotion to Jesus. 

Lord, this is something in the soul.  Something I want to do, something by which I can honor Thee.  “And Master, not only what I have, but my soul and my heart and my life, O Lord, I dedicate unto Thee.  Now bless it, Master, unto Thy hands and mine,” and God will remember the prayer of His servant.  Oh, do it!  “Prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” [Malachi 3:10].  Abounding, overflowing!  May we pray? 

O Lord, blessed Lord, O that God will give us increasing faith to lay hold upon the promises of God; like we are taught to pray, “‘Give us this day our daily bread” [Matthew 6:11].  Looking to Jesus, looking to Jesus for health that God will make us well, looking to Jesus for strength that God will give us ableness for every day, looking to Jesus for blessing upon family and home and heart and life, looking to Jesus for salvation [Hebrews 12:12], keeping us, keeping us Lord, lest we fall, looking to Thee someday to be Advocate and Friend when we shall stand at the great judgment bar of Almighty God [2 Corinthians 5:10].  Ah, Lord!  That God might have us all, less and less of us, more and more of Thee, until it be none of self and all for Thee.  Now Master, we have done our best today, having studied and having tried and having prepared.  We have done our best Lord to lay before the people the truth of God, both in the Book and in the passing of history.  Bless the Lord, bless it Lord, and give us once again a great victory for Thee.  And Master, if Thy servant has preached the truth of God, honor it tonight, please Lord, with souls.  May somebody give his heart to Jesus tonight [Romans 10:8-13].  May families come into the church tonight.  May there be an increase in God’s house tonight.  Send us, Lord, another harvest, please Lord.  And we shall thank Thee for answered prayer, in Thy holy and precious name, amen, amen. 

And while we sing our invitation hymn, coming to give your heart in faith to the Lord Jesus [Romans 10:8-13], coming to put your life in the fellowship of the church [Hebrews 10:24-25], while we sing our appeal, while we tarry, make it tonight.  “Pastor, I give you my hand, I give my heart to God. Well, here is my wife and these are our children, all of us are coming into the fellowship of this great church.”  In the balcony round, from side to side, somebody you, make it tonight.  Make it now, while we stand and while we sing.