Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Chronicles 11
11-1-70 8:15 a.m.
On the radio you are listening and praying and helping by your prayerful attention. The angels can see it and God can see it. And whether you are there or here, you are one with us in this preaching of the gospel. This is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and the title of the sermon is Manpower.
Any member of the family would provide a fine subject for any sermon, anytime. Every member of the family is important, significantly so. We could have baby day, and the message be on our little ones. We could have children’s day and the message be on our children. We could have a teenage day, a youth day, and the message delivered on our young people. We could speak of our young marrieds. We could preach about our adult men and women. But today the sermon concerns men and boys.
This is a week in the life of our Southern Baptist Zion, all of our association of churches when we are especially presenting the work of our boys, and, of course, in our organized life, it is under the surveillance and direction of our men. Therefore the subject will concern our men.
We are beginning a ministry here in this dear church that I am looking forward to with as much anticipation as anything I’ve ever sought to do in my life. This coming Thursday, Thursday of this week, I think it’s the fifth day of November. This coming Thursday will be the first convocation of our Christian businessmen’s luncheon. And every first Thursday thereafter, we’re going to have our Christian businessmen––you can invite your friends––we are going to have them down here at our church. We are going to eat what I want to eat. We are going to have the finest kind of a meal you ever saw because I like to eat things that are real good, larrupin’!
So, the first menu for this Thursday we’re going to have hot biscuits by the mountains of them and sorghum molasses. And we’re going to eat family style. We’re going to sit down at the tables, and it’s going to be covered with those old fashioned red checkered table cloths. And we’re going to eat to our heart’s content. Beside hot biscuit and sorghum molasses and ribbon cane syrup, we’re going to have black-eyed peas, fresh black-eyed peas cooked with hog jowl and side meat and salt pork. Then we’re going to have beef, cooked so tender it’s going to be shredded, just heaped up on the plates. We’re going to sit down and have a great time together.
You can be here by 12:15, that’ll be in time. We’ll have a prayer meeting over in the chapel at twelve, and all of you can come there or come here and by 12:15 we’ll all be seated and breaking bread together. Then we’re going to have the finest moving program of any group of men in the world. First part of it will be music. We have marvelously gifted musicians in this church. Ed Burnett is going to take the first part of the program this Thursday. He’s a professional banjo player and songster. Then the pastor will bring a brief message.
We’re going to use this to get acquainted with one another, and as God will give me wisdom––and I’ve got things in my mind––we’re going to take the manpower of our church and dedicate it to the glory of God. Now be sure to call the church and make a reservation so that we’ll know that you’re coming. Bring anybody you want to. It’ll be a dollar apiece. You can’t buy a glorified hamburger with mustard and onions and dill pickles for that. It’ll be a dollar apiece. And we’ll also reserve a place for your car in the parking building. Just call us and everything will be laid out. We’ll have a God-blessed time together.
In the Book of Chronicles, in the eleventh chapter of 1 Chronicles, there is an unusual series of chapters. And these chapters present the mighty men of David. For example, in the ninth verse of the eleventh chapter of 1 Chronicles, “So David waxed greater and greater: for the Lord of hosts was with him. These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in the kingdom” [1 Chronicles 11:9]. Then for these chapters that follow, there are listed the mighty men of David and what they did [1 Chronicles 11:11-13].
For example, beginning at the seventeenth verse, David longed, and said, “Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is by the gate!” But Bethlehem was in the hands of the Philistines. And three of those mighty men broke through the lines and brought David that water. He poured it out as a libation before God [1 Chronicles 11:18]. “These things did these three mightiest” [1 Chronicles 11:19]. Then in verse 22, “Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man,” then his exploits: “he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day” [1 Chronicles 11:22]. Then verse 26, “Also the valiant men of the armies were,” and then is listed by name a whole page of the valiant men in the army [1 Chronicles 11:26-47].
Then in [chapter] 12:2, these men that are named in verse 1, “were among the mighty men…they could use both the right hand and the left” [1 Chronicles 12:1-2]. They were ambidextrous. Their left hand was as useful as their right hand. Then they number all of those mighty men of David [1 Chronicles 12:3-7]. Then in verse 32, “And the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” [1 Chronicles 12:32]; that’s one of the finest verses in the Bible. The men of Issachar had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do; men with a gift of wisdom.
Then it speaks of the mighty men of Zebulun and says “they were not of double heart” [1 Chronicles 12:33]; honest, straightforward. Then it concludes that chapter, “For there was joy in Israel” [1 Chronicles 12:40]; no wonder, with glorious dedicated men like that. Then the thirteenth chapter begins and David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds and with every leader [1 Chronicles 13:1]. In that series of chapters there, you have one of the finest pictures of manpower to be discovered in any kind of literature anywhere and certainly in the Word of God. They make an unbeatable team, a preacher and his laymen.
I speak first of the man in his home. In the second chapter of 1 Timothy, Paul writes, “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting, without wrath and disputation. I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands,” godly lives, “without wrath and disputation” [1 Timothy 2:8]. That is in the services of the church we are to have peace, and calm, and love, and sympathy without wrath and loud argumentative clamor. Let men pray everywhere, so in the home, without wrath, and clamor, and loud argument, and disputation. There is no home in this earth that is God blessed that is filled with wrath and anger and loud argument. It will curse a church. It will curse a home. And it is the most unspeakable spiritual environment in which children can be reared.
Oh, there’s a lot of things that ought to be said about that! You’re going to fuss, keep your voice down. If you’re going to fuss, go out in the barn and shut the door. If you’re going to fuss, apologize to God for it, and don’t do it. That’s what Paul is speaking of; men praying everywhere, without wrath, and loud clamorous disputations, and arguments, and violently expressed differences. We are not to do it.
Some time ago I read an article in Reader’s Digest entitled “Seven Words that Would Forever End Juvenile Delinquency.” Well, I was attracted by it immediately. And I turned, and it was written by a famous juvenile judge. There is a nation where there is no juvenile delinquency. And he went over there and studied that nation. And he came back and wrote that article and entitled it, “Seven Words that Would Forever Do Away with Juvenile Delinquency.”
And do you know what those seven words were? I was astonished at them: “Restore the father’s place in the home.” That’s what did it. “Restore the father’s place in the home.” That’s what he found. And wherever that place is not one of dignity and virtue and spiritual leadership, you have a weak home and children brought up who don’t know the disciplines of life.
Now, we break down in that relationship in the home many times, many times; too many times. I don’t think that I was ever more sorrowfully impressed as I read of a judge who called a teenager before him to sentence him. And the judge said, “You will now stand before the court for sentencing.” So the young fellow was placed there at the bar before the judge. And the judge referred to some books of jurisprudence that he had there in the courtroom with him. And he said, “Your father was one of the noblest men I ever knew and one of the ablest lawyers. Your father wrote these books. Why could you not have been like your father?” asked the judge.
And the teenager replied, “Sir, I didn’t know what my father was like.” And the judge said, “You didn’t know what he was like? What do you mean?” And the boy said, “I did not know my father.” And the judge said, “You didn’t know your father? What do you mean?” And the boy replied, “He never had any time for me. He was never with me. I didn’t know him. I didn’t know what he was like.” That’s all that was in the article. But I said in my heart as I read that, “I venture to say when that judge sentenced him he did it with a sad heart.” There’s a breakdown of communication; “I didn’t know, sir, what he was like.”
Then sometimes it’s broken on the other side. A boy is just not worthy. Recently, I was in the home of a far-famed preacher. In the beautiful living room, he had a big grand piano, and on top of the grand piano, it was loaded down with pictures of his two daughters and their children and their husbands. And the wall, piano was over to one side, the wall around on both sides was covered with pictures of his two daughters and of their children. And all the time I was in the home, that wonderful preacher talked to me about those families. He was so proud of those grandchildren and of those daughters and of their homes.
When I went away I said to the preacher who took me there, I said, “I have a remembrance that there was a son in that family, a boy. But I never saw his picture, and I never heard him referred to. Am I mistaken in that? He didn’t have a boy?” And the pastor said to me, “Yes, he has a boy; two girls and a boy. But the boy’s name is never mentioned. He is never referred to. The boy turned out to be blasphemous and incorrigible and bitter”; reared in that wonderful home by that glorious man of God.
I don’t understand, sometimes, the sovereign purposes of life that are worked out in our family circles. Once in a while I will see a house where there are say two boys in the same environment, brothers, same father and mother. And one of those boys will be godly and Christ honoring, and the other boy will be as recalcitrant and as incorrigible and obstreperous as though he were a heathen. I don’t understand. I just know that by the admonition of God’s Book, you men who are fathers are commanded to rear your children in the love and admonition of the Lord [Ephesians 6:4]. And all of us who are children are commanded to honor and to obey, to reverence our parents [Ephesians 6:1-2]. Paul says the first commandment with promise [Exodus 20:12], “that it may be well with thee in the land” [Ephesians 6:3]; which means that in the breakdown of the home, there is the breakdown of the nation and the breakdown of continuity of life itself. It’s our bounden responsibility before God: the two together, the parents and the child, to honor the Lord and to respect and love each other.
Increase Mather, that old divine who lived in the 1600s in New England, wrote a little pamphlet entitled “The Duty of Parents to Pray for their Children.” He had a very famous son, all of you fellows who read history. He had a very famous son called Cotton Mather. Increase Mather wrote the pamphlet “The Duty of Parents to Pray for their Children”; and Cotton Mather, the son, wrote a pamphlet in his day entitled, “The Duty of Children Whose Parents have Prayed for Them.”
That’s the way it ought to be; the father lifting up holy hands to God, “Lord, bless this house, bless this home, and bless my wife, and bless our children; and bless the work of our hands, bless our souls and our lives,” lifting up holy hands of intercession and appeal to God, and the children in the love and nurture and admonition of Christ Jesus [Ephesians 6:4], loving the parents, honoring the father. It’s a God blessed way to live. It’s the Christ life for us.
Now second: I speak of the manpower, the leadership of the man in the church. In the sixth chapter of the Book of Acts, in chapter 6, they were having a difficulty in the church. There were two kinds of people in it. There were Hellenists, Greek speaking Jews. In the church at Jerusalem, there were people there who had been brought up in the pagan Greek world. They were Greek speaking, called here Grecians; they were Hellenists. Then there were Aramaic Jews, families who lived in the land. And some of them felt they were discriminated against [Acts 6:1]. So the apostle called the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not reason that we should leave our ministry of the word and our intercession in order to go down and to solve these problems that have to do with the division of food and the taking care of the people” [Acts 6:2]. Then they said:
Wherefore, brethren, look you out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. And we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. We will give ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
That began the office of deacon and then finally the whole lay ministry in the church. Oh, I wish I had the eloquence and the power to lay upon the hearts of our men the marvelous division of that work that God has set here in His church!
What shall we do with our preacher? We’ve called him, and we pay him, and we support him and his family. He’s our pastor. He belongs to us. What shall I do with him? What do I want of my pastor? Well, we can drain him; empty him out like a pitcher with the mundane business problems of the church. As long as the church is the church militant down here in this world, and before it becomes the church triumphant up there in heaven, you have mundane problems with it. Our heads may be in heaven, but our feet are down here on this earth. And like any other mundane earthly organization that walks on the face of the globe, we have mundane earthly problems.
There are buildings to build and to keep up. There are light bills to pay. There is a budget to subscribe. Well, the laymen can say, “Let’s just turn it over to the preacher. Let him do it. That’s why he’s hired. Maybe he ought to be praying. Maybe he ought to be studying God’s Word. Maybe he ought to be preparing sermons. Maybe he ought to be trying to lead people to God; but where we are, we use him for a different purpose. We’re going to let him take care and be responsible for all of these things that pertain to the business of the church.”
And Paul, knowing of the tendency of men to turn things over to the preacher, Paul said, “As I gave order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” [1 Corinthians 16:1-2]. Isn’t that an astonishing reason? “You men, and you members of the church, on the first day of the week, set aside for God a proportion of what God has given you, that there be no gatherings when I come. When I come,” the apostle said, “my ministry is to be one of prayer, and intercession, and soulwinning, and preaching the gospel, and not standing up there trying to bleed blood out of a turnip, trying to get selfish miserly penurious people to support God’s work.”
I think no small reason for the power of this church, its influence and its ministries, lies in the willingness of our men to do that. “Pastor, you give yourself to the ministry of the Word, to intercession, asking God’s blessings upon us as you lead us in these great spiritual dedications. And pastor, we’ll do the rest. We’ll do the rest.” Why, right now between Sundays I am preaching through these state conventions.
Last week I was in the Texas convention at Austin and preached through the convention in Missouri. This coming week I go to Chicago and preach through the state convention of Illinois. The next week I’m in Michigan, in Detroit. And the next week I’m in Little Rock preaching through the state convention in Arkansas. My brethren, I can’t describe to you how God blesses me in that ministry. Lots of times the preacher is cowed. The academic sophist has made him feel that the reason he believes the Bible and preaches it is because he doesn’t know any better.
Oh, how God blesses me as I encourage that preacher to stand up, take that Bible in his hand, and declare the whole counsels of God [Acts 20:27], the revealed, inspired, infallible Word from the first verse of Genesis to the last verse of the Revelation, how God blesses me in it! But while I’m preaching to the preachers in these conventions and to the leadership of the men in these conventions, somebody has to be here seeing this program through, oversubscribing this budget, taking care of the house of God, supporting these assistant pastors as they minister in all the different areas of the church. My brother, God will bless you in what you do to support and to keep going in the life, God will support you, bless you, just as much as God will bless me as I go. You have a part, you do. God gave me this part, and God has given you that part. And I say, when we do it together, we are an unbeatable team!
In Bremen, Georgia, a week ago, they gathered all of the pastors in the northwestern part of the state, and they had a meeting there in a big industrial complex. And they put the two together: all the pastors in that part of the state, all of them, of every denomination, all the pastors in northwestern Georgia––they had it in Bremen, Georgia––and then they had the leaders of that industrial complex. And they said, “Want you to just preach to us.” Had a big barbecue and then got them together in a great big barn-like of a hall, and said, “Just preach to us.” And you know what I preached to them on? I preached to them on the unbeatable team. That was my subject: “The Unbeatable Team.” What is the unbeatable team? It’s a godly pastor, a dedicated preacher, and a consecrated layman; an unbeatable team.
Leave it to the minister
And soon the church will die;
Leave it to the womenfolk
And the young will pass it by.
For the church is all that lifts us
From the coarse and selfish mob,
But a church that is to prosper
Needs a layman on the job.
Now a layman has his business,
And a layman has his joys
But he also has the rearing
Of his little girls and boys.
And I wonder how he’d like it,
Were there no churches here,
And he had to raise his children
In a godless atmosphere.
When you see a church that’s empty,
Though its doors are open wide,
It’s not the church that’s dying;
It’s the laymen who have died.
For it’s not by song or sermon
That the church’s work is done,
It’s the laymen of the country
Who for God must carry on.
[“Laypeople,” Edgar A. Guest]
Get a two-fisted hold on your assignment from heaven. Be responsible to God for it. “This for my home, and this for my church.”
Well, I’ve got one more third of this sermon, and I don’t have time to preach it. You just don’t know how that hurts me to prepare the message, and I’ve got it all in my heart, then when I get to the last and climactic part the time’s gone. Sometimes I think, “Well, we’re going to have a vote and just see whether the people want to stay and hear me preach the last part of the sermon or not.” But I’m afraid to take the vote. I’m afraid they’d say, “Now preacher, enough’s enough.” O, God love you!
I just point out the text and that’s all. The first was, “Lifting up holy hands to God, without wrath and clamorous disputing” [1 Timothy 2:8]. In the house of God, in the house where you live, there is to be sympathy, and love, and calm, and understanding. We’re not to rail at our children or at our consorts, our spouses. We’re to be prayerful in all of our relationships in the church and in the home. It’s a whole lot better to cry a lot than it is to riot a lot, clamor a lot. Take it to God, over these children, rear them that way and in the house of the Lord.
Then the second was how God blesses us in the church when the Lord divided that ministry between the preacher who studies, and prays, and preaches the Word, and feeds the flock, and make appeal to the people; and the laymen who take a two-fisted hold of all of the problems that rise with our mundane relationships, budgets and buildings and a thousand other things, and carry it to heaven [Acts 6:2-7].
Now I just point out the text of the last one. In the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Acts, beginning at verse 25, the pastor of the church, James the Lord’s brother, writes to all the churches of the Gentiles that,
It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men, chosen men, with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have sent them with [Judas] and Silas.
And the message was on that word “hazarded,” paradidomi. And you know that word “dedicate” is almost in there, “paradidokosi,” dedicated men, “men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” [Acts 15:26]. The man and his house, and his home, the man and his church, the man and his Lord, the kingdom work of Jesus; paradidokosi. You know what that word means exactly? Paradidokos, to hand over to,” literally, “to hand over to”; and is used here in the Bible, as here, to surrender oneself to God, to turn over one’s self to God, to yield one’s self to God. Isn’t that a great word for a man to do, to turn over himself to God, to surrender, paradidokosi, to give himself to God, turn himself over to the Lord?
I was preaching up there a week ago in Philadelphia to the National Sunday School Association. And before I preached, they had a man to sing, a great big heavy man. He was a soloist with Fred Waring’s orchestra for a long time, the Pennsylvanians. Well, he stood up there, and he said, “Before I sing, I just want to say a word.” He said, “You know,” and he’d been advertised you know as a great showman and nightclub singer and all. He started off, he said, “You know, I’ve given up a lot for Jesus.” Then I thought he was going to name all those honors and all of those emoluments of the night life, and the night world, and the entertainment world. I thought he was going to do that.
And you know what he said? “You know,” he said, “I’ve given up a lot for Jesus.” He said, “I used to be a drunkard, and I gave that up. And I used to be a whoremonger and a gambler, and I gave that up. And,” he said, “my wife left me and my children scorned me, and I gave that up for Jesus.” And he went through a whole lot of things like that, “all of that I’ve given up for Jesus.” And he says, “Now, I have my wife back, and I have my children back, and I have my home back, and I have my health back.” Talked about his contemplating suicide, “And I have my mind back,” and he went through all that.
And I tell you, when he got to singing––I’m just that way anyway––but I just sat there just crying. Man, what a wonderful thing to do, for a man to paradidokosi, to give himself, to hand himself over to Jesus! [Acts 15:26]. It’s a marvelous thing to do. You can’t beat it. It has blessings in it, unspeakable, unfathomable, immeasurable, unimaginable; it’s the way to go. It’s the way to live. It’s the way to build your home. It’s the way to rear your children. It’s the way to glorify God in the earth. And I think someday it’s the way to see God face to face.
Give your heart to the Lord. Do it today. In this balcony round, down one of these stairways, you, a family you, all of you, “Pastor, this is my wife and these are my children, the whole lot of us, we’re all coming today.” Or just you, as the Spirit of God shall press the appeal to your heart, make it now. Do it this morning. While we stand and while we sing.
Chronicles 11, 12
family group, each member important
Today we present our men and boys
recounting of the mighty men of David(1
Chronicles 11:9-11, 17-19, 22, 28, 12:1-2, 32-33, 40, 13:1)
II. The man and his home
Lifting hands in prayer, without wrath and disputing(1 Timothy 2:8)
Paul’s order for us in the church
Men are to pray like that everywhere, including his house
Reader’s Digest article, “Seven Words that Will Solve the Problems of
Sometimes there is a breakdown in line of communication with the father
1. Judge sentencing
boy, “Why aren’t you like your father?”
Sometimes a breakdown on the other side – the boy doesn’t respond
1. In home of famous
preacher, no pictures of the son
is right for the father to bring up child in love and nurture of the Lord; no
less right for child to observe commandment to honor parents(Ephesians 6:1-2, 4, Exodus 20:12)
1. Increase Mather’s,
“The Duty of Parents to Pray for Their Children”
Cotton Mather’s, “The Duty of Children Whose Parents Have Prayed for Them”
III. The man and his church
beginning of deacons, lay ministers in the church (Acts
to give himself to preaching of the Word; lay ministers to look after the
earthly responsibilities (Acts 6:2-4, 1
IV. The man and his Lord
who hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord (Acts
1. Paradidakos en
– to hand over, yield to, surrender to
2. Fred Waring – “I’ve
given up a lot for Jesusâ€¦”
3. Poem, “Laypeople”