The Program of the Pastor


The Program of the Pastor

March 20th, 1971

Leviticus 17:11

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
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School of the Prophets Special


Dr. W. A. Criswell

Leviticus 17:11

Saturday Afternoon




Now there are some things that I want to say, that I just must say, out of the lecture this morning.  There are some things that just I ought to mention.  Maybe tonight we will have a longer period of time; I do not know where forty-five minutes goes.  It seems to me I just get started and the forty-five minutes is over.  There is so many things along the way that I would like to talk to you about, and I would like for you to talk to me about.  This thing of these children is all important; there is not anything in my ministry that has meant more than my working with these little children.  It will be the same with you:  when you work with a child, you are working with parents—everybody that loves the child, grandfather, grandmother—oh! you just reach the family when you work with that child and to take time for it.

Down here in the New Orleans Seminary, one of the former staff members of our church is a teacher down there, and she was talking—in her School of Religious Education at New Orleans Seminary—about working with children.  So after she had described what she had seen here in the church without saying where she had seen it, why, there were members of the class that said, “Well, that is all very fine philosophically, you know, empirically, you know ephemerally, you know ethereally, you know pedagogically, you know, here in the class; that is all very fine.  But who could have time for a ministry like that?  Who could do it?”

And she said, “Well, I’ll tell you one who has time for it:  my pastor from whom I learned how to do it, the pastor of the First Church in Dallas.”  We have got time to work with these children, and if you will take the time to do it, and do it as I have outlined to you this morning, you will be blessed of God beyond anything that you could ever do in working with a family.

Now somebody said to me, “I noticed this little booklet is copyrighted.”  Well, somebody did that, and I have forgotten the reason, they told me why it should be done.  I cannot remember.  But that copyright means nothing in the world; you use it, take it, copy it, use it, don’t even review it, all right.

When I came to the church here in Dallas, for forty-seven years the people who came, the pastor greeted them and said, “God bless you,” and they were seated.  That was all that was ever done.  Well, when I came here to the church, to me when anybody is saved that’s the time to shout, that’s the time to praise God!  That’s the time to clap your hands, rejoice!  So when people came down that aisle and gave their hearts to the Lord, man, I just exuberated ebulliency itself, walking all around Mount Zion up here at the front of the church.  So the chairman of the deacons called me in; he was chairman of the deacons here thirty-five years.  Chairman of the deacons called me in; he wasn’t mad, he wasn’t bad, he just said, “Young pastor,” and I was very young to him, I was thirty-four years old, he said, “Young pastor, I just think you need to know what folks are a-saying.” 

So he had several things he’d written out they had talked to him about, and that was one of them.  How much better, they said, just to say “God bless you,” and the man be seated.  Well, I thanked the chairman of our deacons so much—loved him, I buried him—he’s just fine; glorious man in heaven.  But I said to him, “Judge, that is I, that’s the way I feel.  And when people come down that aisle, we’re going to make over them, we’re going to just take them in, we really are.” 

Now, if I were not to do that, the people would think that I was sick, that actually something had overwhelmed me.  I counsel you to do that, I would urge you to do that.  When people come, oh, my! thank God and rejoice; then if they have members of the family, get them down there to stand with them, if they have friends, get them down there to stand, every time anybody comes down the front and stands up for Jesus it blesses them and blesses the whole congregation.  Why, I can’t tell you the number of times—three times a day—we’ve had them side to side clear across this auditorium.  Do it, make a lot of the people who come.

All right, now, I want to talk to you about counseling with people over there in that study where you are.  Now you listen to me:  if you will listen to me, God will deliver you out of many, many situations that you might fall into.  In counseling people, here is a woman who comes to you with a problem, and the problem will be an intimate problem, and because she is distressed, or perplexed, or disappointed, or heartbroken, and because you are a pastor, she will have an inclination to talk to you very personally, and if you at all are sympathetic—which you ought to be—she will more and more have the tendency to talk to you.  Now, you listen to me, don’t you ever let anybody describe to you their intimate life, don’t you ever do it, never, ever, don’t ever do that!

Now let me give you some things about it.  First of all, you can’t forgive sin.  That’s what the priest says he can do; but he’s lying to the people when he gives them that impression.  There is One who can forgive sin, and that’s God [Luke 5:21].  “You tell God about it, not me.  You tell God.”  I will help every way that I can, but under no conditions is anyone to tell you their intimate life.

All right, I’ll tell you what happened down here in this church right down this aisle.  Right down this aisle came one of the finest families in the city of Dallas and joined this First Baptist Church.  So the pastor of the church—she and her husband came from another church in this city—the pastor of that church, he was an illustrious man.  He’s in heaven now, but the pastor of that church saw me and said, “I see that one of my finest deacons and one of the illustrious businessmen of this city has joined your church.” 

I said, “Yes, but I never asked, they just joined.”  Well, he said, “I’d like for you to know why.”  He said, “That dear lady began talking to me one time, and I didn’t have sense enough but to sit there and listen.  And as she kept talking she revealed to me an intimacy in her life.”  Then he said, “Thereafter, every time I saw her in the church, I could see that she was self-conscious and sensitive.  And it finally got to the place that she became so self-conscious and so sensitive that he knew her intimate life that she just took her husband and left, and came down there and joined your church.”  Now, you will always find that when in that counseling room, and especially at a time in life when they might be particularly burdened, they will talk to you—and especially a woman will talk to you about the intimacies of her life.  Don’t you allow her to do it, for when she gets out of that study and things change, and the atmosphere changes, forever and thereafter she remembers you know that about her, and it just washes your relationship out.  Don’t do it, and you don’t need to.  I cannot tell you the number of ministers that I have run into; they like that intimate counseling service.  Do you know why they like to do it?  For the same reason that people like to go to see a pornographic movie, or they like to see salacious literature, or they like lot of things that are connected with all kinds of intimate sexual life.  And that’s the way the minister is:  he can be just like that as everybody else, and it feeds in him, and he likes it.  Why, bless your heart, I could have conferences like that every day, and I don’t know how many a day, if I wanted to; but it will never approach me, not within a thousand miles.  Now you listen to me, my fellow minister, and God will bless you in your work if you will listen to what I say.

Well, I want to speak a word about the membership.  I want you to have a copy of our bylaws.  And while I talk, why don’t you give them out?  A copy of our bylaws; we had a good deal.  See that deacon right there? Deacon A.B. Tanko is an illustrious lawyer, attorney—he was the attorney for the Atlantic Oil Company—and we finally hammered these things out.  The best thing to do is to have a universal rule in the church that people are put out by a majority vote, they’re brought in by a majority vote, that’s the best way to do it.  I don’t have time to stand up here for an hour and tell you why, but that is infinitely the better way to do it.  You look at those bylaws, just look at them.  And notice that little sentence?  All it is is a sentence that the membership is open in a majority vote, excluded in a majority vote, and that’s that.

All right, now may I say a word—and we must hasten because all of this is in this morning’s address—about being baptized?  When I was baptized as a boy I’ll never forget that.  Oh!  That great big preacher and he was large; he took me by the nape of the neck and he soused me in the water, and I remember it just flew everywhere! Hmm, Oh!  All you have to do to have a beautiful baptismal service is to remember what it represents.  It’s a burial and a resurrection [Romans 6:3-6].  You don’t throw your dead in the grave, you bury them, beautifully, preciously; isn’t that right?  If you’ll just do like it says in the Bible, it’s a burial and it’s a resurrection.  We bury them, and we raise them.  That’s all it takes—to do that and to do it beautifully—is just to keep the sense of it.

All right, about this Lord’s Supper; now here’s the way it was when I grew up as a boy.  In the church that I belonged to as a youngster, when they had the Lord’s Supper, they divided the people in two ways.  One; a minister would stand up, our pastor would stand up, and he would say, “All of you that are in good fellowship with the church, will you stand up?”  So the people that considered themselves in good fellowship with the church, they stood up, and then the elements were served just to those who were standing up.  That’s one way we did it.  The second way we did it was this: all of you that are in good fellowship with the church—you’ve been saved, and you’re baptized, and you’re in good fellowship with the church—all of you that are in good fellowship with the church, you all come over here and sit on this side of the church, then all the rest of you sit on this side of the church. And then they served the Lord’s Supper to those over there on that side of the church. 

Now I want to show you the reaction I had as a boy.  I didn’t know why, I was too young to be able to analyze the feelings in my soul; but as a little boy as I’d sit there in the church, I looked at those people to whom the Lord’s Supper was served, and then I looked at those people over there to whom the Lord’s Supper was not served, one of whom was I, because I was over there a little boy, so I didn’t get to sit over there with them.  So I looked over here on this crowd, and I do believe as I looked at it as a boy, that this bunch over here seemed to be better than that bunch over there.  I was just a little boy looking at it, just a little boy looking at it.

All right, another thing that came to my heart just as a little boy.  When I looked at that, there was something about the spirit of it that just violated something deep on the inside of me.  It did something to me.  And I couldn’t explain it, but I felt wrong, I felt wrong.  Now my brethren, you can do any way that you want to about that Lord’s Table; but if you separate them in a public service, don’t!  Get you a private service and don’t open it to the public, that’s all you have to do; don’t open it to the public.  Don’t have a public service, and then divide the people, the sheep and the goats; He does that, we don’t [Matthew 25:31-33].  Don’t ever do that publicly.  Whatever the doctrine of your heart and your church would lead you to do, well, that’s fine.  But don’t do that separation publicly.  If it’s just for your church alone, have a service at a stated time, and announce it just for your members alone.  Everything will be just fine, be just fine.  But don’t do it in a publicly stated service.

Now I might say what we have begun to do—we’ve just started this in our church.  As I have studied and prayed and read the Bible and Christian history, more and more—and increasingly the conviction comes to me that the Lord’s Supper ought to be magnified in the church.  So I’ve had the feeling for ever since I’ve been a pastor, and I’ve been a pastor forty-four years, that we just tacked it on to the end of a preaching service.  Well, I talked to my deacons about it, and the chairman of our deacons, Dr. Bagwell—not chairman now but when I talked to him—he said, “Well, pastor, I have no feeling that it is tacked on at all.”  Well, I did.  So, I just took it upon myself to announce that at 5 o’clock on Sunday afternoon we were going to have a Eucharistic service.  And I’ve used that word “Eucharistic” every time that we’ve announced it; we’ve done it three times.  We started in January, the first Sunday in January; a Eucharistic service. 

“And the Lord took bread and eucharisteō—He gave thanks, He praised God—eucharisteō, “to praise,” to “give thanks,” to tell God the gratitude of your soul.  “Then likewise He took the cup, He eucharisteō,” He praised God [Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26].  Well, He praised God; He was going to die [Matthew 27:32-50], why praise God, why thank God? Eucharisteō, just before He died.  Going to be on the cross at 9:00 o’clock the next morning [Matthew 27:45], yet a eucharisteō, He “praised” God [Matthew 26:26-28].  Well, of course, He saw beyond the atonement in the cross and the suffering [Romans 5:11]; He saw all of us washed, redeemed, “These are they who washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” [Revelation 7:14]; and He praised God.  It was the great payment [Matthew 26:26-28], the atonement, the expiation for our sins [Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21].

So I said that’s what we’re going to do at 5:00 o‘clock Sunday afternoon, the first Sunday of each month.  We are going to come down here, and we’re going to praise God for washing our sins away [1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5]; we’re going to bless the name of Jesus, and that’s all we’re going to do, not going to do anything else.  We’re going to have a eucharisteō service; we’re going to thank God for saving our souls and washing our sins away.  We’re going to break bread.  Then we’re going to praise God and thank Him for washing our sins away.  And we’re going to drink the cup [Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26].  Well, bless your heart! I had no idea how it would be, had no idea; but the first time in January—bad, bad weather.  This, where you are seated, was about two-thirds full. Then the second time we did it in February, it was not beautiful weather again, sort of bad weather.  But you couldn’t get in this auditorium; we closed off the balcony.  So the last time we did it—the first Sunday of March, this month—why, we opened the balcony.  And I think the day is coming when you can’t get in the auditorium when we have our eucharisteō service, just praising God.  We don’t take up a collection, that’s one good thing about coming to it, don’t make any announcements, we don’t do anything, we just eucharisteō, just thank God for saving our souls, magnifying the Lord’s Supper.

Now the last time we did it—and we’re going to refine this—we removed this pulpit desk, we put the Lord’s Table there.  We have on the Lord’s Table two of those trays with the silver top; you know, and a cross on it, two on this side and two on this side.  Then in the center we have a beautiful claret silver pitcher and then a beautiful chalice, a silver chalice on a beautiful silver tray, and we have a wash bowl there.  And I sit here, and the table is here.  Then on each side, there is the chairman of the deacons here and Brother Mel Carter here, and the elements outside of those that are on my table, are down here on either side.  And after I say what I want to say and bless God and thank God, why, I break four trays of bread, and I give two of them to him, two of them; first I wash my hands, I wash my hands and carefully dry them up there.  All that is symbolic, washing my hands and drying my hands; also gives people a feeling of cleanliness, when I break bread and they have to eat it. 

And then I pour out of the claret, I pour that red fruit of the vine in the chalice.  And then I speak of it, quoting Scriptures about it.  Oh! There’s so many of them:


The life of the flesh is in the blood: 

I have given it to you upon the altar for an atonement for your soul:

for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the souls.

[Leviticus 17:11]


Just, you know, things about the blood.  And then after the prayer, why, I take the two trays here and give it to them; take the two trays here and give it to them.  Then when I’m seated the deacons come up on each side, two at a time, one here and one on this side, and get their trays and take their places in the auditorium.  And then I hold the chalice up in my hand, a beautiful silver one, hold it up in my hand and, “This is the remission of sins in My blood [Matthew 26:28], this do ye as oft as you drink it in remembrance of Me” [1 Corinthians 11:24-26].  And drink.  Oh!  It’s just a beautiful way to do!

Well, now let’s hasten.  We’ve now come to the address for this afternoon: The Program of the Pastor, preparing for the preaching of Christ.  Well, the first part of this concerns putting content in our messages. 

Now we are going to talk about the preacher in his study.  Why do I have my study at home?  Many times a pastor will say to me, “I cannot study at home.  Remember, I’m not as you are there in that church.  We live in a little house and I’ve got six children in there.  And for me to study at home would be like studying in a menagerie!  I might as well be studying in a boiler shop.  The children come and go, and I just, it’s impossible for us.” 

Well, I realize that; if it is impossible, it is impossible.  You cannot have your study at home.  In my first full time pastorate, I followed my predecessor; I had my study at the church.  Now when I study, I want to study.  I don’t mean to go there and not study.  To me the time is to study.  Get that Bible down, and get my heart open toward God and study; pray and study.  And you know, if I had the temerity to confess a lot of times how I am, there in that study many times I’ll just weep as I prepare those sermons, just cry before the Lord, just moved by these things that come to my heart.  All right, my first pastorate: they said, “Now this man was very gifted and had been preacher a long time, and his example might be good for you, young fellow”—I was in my twenties—“to follow.”

So I went down there, well, I want you to know that every man who had retired in the church, and every dear woman who didn’t have anything to do, they’d come by.  And they’re not going to take up my time, just for a moment to say hello, you know.  And then as they say hello, why, they sit down to say hello; and hello again. Then as time goes on, that reminded them, “Did you know bossy had a new calf this morning?  Did you know?  And I got up, did you know, at 4:00 o’clock.”  No, no. That reminded them of something else, and it wasn’t long until I learned I could not study, period!  I couldn’t study.  So I took my study at the back of the house, and I have studied at the house ever since.  And when my library got so large that a large bedroom out at our house at the parsonage couldn’t hold it, why, I asked the men to build me a wing on the house where I could study, where I could put my books.  And they were gracious enough to do it.

Now, I want to show you something.  Did you know you’ll lose I don’t know how many hours of precious time if you study at the church, because you have to dress up to do it?  When you appear publicly, and when you go out in public, you’ve got to shave, you’ve got to put on your coat and possibly your tie, you have to comb your hair, you have to get in the car or something, and you have to go to the church.  And that takes you an hour or an hour and a half, and that’s the best time of your day; that’s when you’re the freshest and you’re the sharpest!  You know what I do?  When I get up, I don’t even take off my pajamas; that takes time to take off my pajamas, I don’t even take them off.  I leave them on, I roll up the bottoms of my pajamas so they don’t stick out—the pants legs—I roll up my pajamas. I have an old pair of pants and an old shirt; I put on the old shirt, I put on the old pair of pants over my pajamas, and I make a beeline down there to the study.  I’m there in about ten seconds; right straight down, and I start into it, right that minute.  Then at noon, or in the early afternoon, when I have studied myself stupid, why, I go shave, dress up, I don’t need to be fresh in my mind to tie my shoes, or to comb my hair, or put on a tie.  Now you imagine the hours that I have saved in the morning doing that.  Which hours so many preachers lose dressing, tying his shoes, putting on his pants.  Oh!  As though that were a part of the inspiration of God, to put on your pants.  Oh, don’t!  Take those precious minutes and put them down there in the study, do it.

Then another thing: at night, I cannot tell you the number of times I study late at night.  I did last night, late at night; go down there to that study, everybody’s in bed, I’m down there looking through history books, and encyclopedias and a thousand other references, getting ready for this sermon Sunday morning.  Why in the earth do I do that?  Why don’t I—here I am busy this week—why don’t I go back there some twenty years ago? Man, there’s nobody—even Deacon A.B. Tanko down here, as smart as he is—remembers what I preached here twenty years ago.  Why don’t I go down and get me a sermon out of the barrel that I preached here twenty years ago?  And why bother to study?  Because I’m interested in what I’m doing, and what I’m doing right now is preaching through the Book of Daniel, and I am obsessed with it!  I like it and I’m just digging out. 

I’m preaching Sunday morning about Mystery Babylon, Mystery Babylon—Scarlet O’Harlot, Mystery Babylon [Revelation 17:1-5].  I’m reading all about that prostitute, and I’m getting ready to preach about her Sunday morning.  Well, I got to be knowledgeable in those things.  Oh, dear!  I want to point out to you some things for your desk.  There’s not one preacher, for example, in a thousand that will pronounce “saith” correctly; there’s not one in a thousand.  Practically every preacher you’ll ever hear in the world will read the Bible, “Thus sayeth the Lord, thus sayeth the Lord.”  What is the correct pronunciation of that word?   That’s right.  Well, there’s not one preacher in a thousand that you’ll ever hear him pronounce it correctly.  And there’s so many words.  How do you pronounce “lambast”?  “Lambaste,” that’s right, there’s no dictionary in the land that will pronounce that “lambast.”  I don’t know whether I ever heard a preacher pronounce it correctly.  It is “lambaste.”  Live with that dictionary, live with it.  And when you stand up there in that pulpit, you just see to it that every word you say is precisely and correctly pronounced.  Mark Twain said, in talking about increasing your vocabulary, “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”  Isn’t that an effective way to say it?  God has revealed Himself in words, and let’s use them.  And much study, oh!  as you read, it will increase your understanding and vocabulary and expressive ability a thousandfold.

Now the schedule that I follow, and I’ve followed it ever since I’ve been in this ministry: in the morning I study, in the afternoon I do the work of the church, and in the evening I go to some kind of a meeting.  And I follow that all the time.  There are a lot of exceptions to it.  If I have a funeral in the morning, and I beg all of my staff to try to get my funerals in the afternoon, but sometimes they’re in the morning, I try to make up for it in the evening, at night.  Now here is a poem that I put in there, I want you all to read that poem.  This is so typical of the modern day pastor.  I won’t take time to read it.

Now when you have your time to study, I want to tell you—and this is on page twelve—the most fruitful homiletical discovery I ever made in my life.  It is simple:  anything you’re going to do in your studying has to be simple.  If it is not, you’re not going to do it.  And when I was in the seminary I was taught the “eureka” system of filing, and I’d say for the first few years I did well with it.  Then finally it just got bogged down in my busynesses.  Whatever you do, make it simple; and if you’ll keep it that way, you’ll do it.  Now, the most fruitful, homiletical discovery I ever made was this:  I found out that I could take the books that came into my hands—now I’m going to speak particularly and especially of sermon books, homiletical books, books that lend themselves to the exegesis, to the preaching of a text or a passage in the Bible—now I take those books and number them ad seriatum, just as they come into my hands.  The first one I got when I was a teenager, now one, two, three, just as they come into your hand, number them.  Then, on a wide margin Bible which is on my desk at home, in the margin of the Bible I place the number of that book, dash, and the number of the page upon which that text is discussed.  I can take that wide margin Bible on my desk, in my study—I can open it all through the Bible and just like that—just like that I can lay my hands upon the finest homiletical material in the world.  When you read a man’s sermon, say, on those last two verses of this psalm, you have a man who may have studied for that message forty years!  He may have thought on that for a lifetime!  And I have his message right there, maybe years and years of experience and study that goes into it.  Some of these passages, I will have maybe forty sermons on them, beside other homiletical material.  There has been not anything in my life or in all of my life put together that has ever enriched my ability to prepare a sermon like that simple thing.  Now if you’ll do that, it will do the same glorious thing for you that it did and is doing for me.

Now what I do in preparing my message is this:  almost always I am preaching through some book in the Bible.  At night; did I tell you all what I do at night here, what I preach at night?  Every night, every Sunday night, unless of course there’s an exigency, every Sunday night I preach through the life of Christ.  I preached through the Bible for seventeen years, eight months.  I started here at the front, and I went clear to the back.  It took me seventeen years, eight months to do it.  When I got through, I decided that Sunday morning I would preach on special books that God seemingly laid upon my heart; but Sunday night I announced, and I announce it often, when you come Sunday night you’re going to hear a sermon about the Lord. 

Now what I did when I started that on Sunday night was I started with a harmony.  As you know I learned that under Dr. A. T. Robertson, who wrote The Harmony.  So we studied the life of Christ “under the harmony,” so I was going through the harmony.  Well, after I’d been going through the harmony about three years or four years, it came to my heart—this is—there’s something wrong with this method.  I need to preach about the cross! [Matthew 27:32-50]. I need to preach about the resurrection! [Matthew 28:1-7].  And it’s going to be, oh, fifteen years before I can get to the resurrection.  And then the cross.  There’s something wrong with this! Then it came to my mind, why don’t I do like God did it in the Bible?  How did God do that?  He told the story of the Lord and led up to the cross and the resurrection! [Luke 1-24]. Then He started again with the story of the Lord and led up to cross and the resurrection! [John 1:21]. Then He started a third time with the story of the Lord and led up to the cross and the resurrection!  Then he started a fourth time and led up to the cross and the resurrection!  Evidently, God wanted us to magnify the resurrection and the atonement, the cross of our Lord Jesus! [Galatians 6:14].

So upon a Sunday night here, I announced to the people what I had come to sense.  I had been making a mistake following the life of Christ, you know, chronologically.  I said, “I’m going to quit it, I’m going to quit it right now with this text,” and I was then in the harmony—in the middle of the Gospel of Lukethe passage happened to be in the Gospel of Luke.  I said, “This minute I’m going to turn aside, and I’m going to do exactly as God inspired these apostles and these Gospel writers to do:  I’m going to go through the life of Christ as Mark was led to write it, and that includes the cross and the resurrection [Mark 1-16].  Then I’m going to do it as Luke [Luke 1-24], and then John” [John 1-21].  And I am now in the Gospel of John.  And when I get through with the Gospel of John, if I ever live long enough, I’m going back to Matthew [Matthew 1-28]; I’m going to start all over again.  And every Sunday night I’m going to preach about Jesus, going to brag about the Lord.  Then Sunday morning; why, right now I’m preaching through two books.  Pretty soon, little later on I will finish that, I shall have preached through the Book of Ephesians, and all of these sermons are going to be published. 

There will be a volume on Ephesians out next spring, and then right now I am preaching in Daniel.  And the third volume of Daniel will be out this coming November; two volumes have already been out.

Now what I do is, when I open the Bible I am here in—well, let’s say Daniel—I am here in Daniel, and I’m in the fourth chapter of Daniel.  Well, the first thing I do is, I admit to myself, “I don’t know anything particularly about this book.  I just didn’t live that long ago.  I’m going to have to be introduced to it.”  So I just, oh!  you can’t imagine, I run through the Encyclopedia Britannica forty-dozen times, about forty-dozen different topics and people in here, and all those ancient writers.  I try to get acquainted with all of them. Encyclopedia Britannica, and in the Hertzog, Schaff-Hertzog, and International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, I read those things, and I get acquainted with them.  And then I get those histories down, and I get all those commentaries down, and I just saturate my soul in it so that when I stand up here and preach, there’s nobody out there—nor any five dozen people out there—that even begin to start to commence to know enough about as much about it as I do.  And that gives me confidence.  Man, I just stand up and I just know those things, I just know them; they get to be a part of me, just living that, living that. 

Well, last Sunday morning, why, I was preaching in the fourth chapter of Daniel; and this is the chapter of the towering tree, the erect tree [Daniel 4:4-5].  And the title of the sermon was Lycanthropy.  Was that last Sunday or Sunday before?  Two weeks ago, it was Lycanthropy.  Well, I put Lycanthropy out there, you know on that—they won’t let me call it a marquee, I still don’t know what to call that thing out there, it’s still a marquee whether they want to say it’s a marquee or not, they say, “Well, you’re making a theatre out of this church”—well, I put Lycanthropy out there.  And they said, “Man, man! What in the earth has seized upon our pastor?”  Who ever heard of lycanthropy?  Well, I never had heard of it either, lycanthropy, lycanthropy.  But oh, my!  When I got into it, how did you like that sermon?  Wasn’t that one of the greatest sermons you ever heard in your life?  Oh, boanthropy, avianthropy, lycanthropy; anthropos, “man” in Greek, anthropos; in Latin the Latin word for “cow” would be bovis, Latin word for bird, avis.  So avianthropy would be somebody that thinks he’s a bird.  You know I studied all about that.  I ran across a guy who felt, thought that he was a cock-pheasant, and he roosted in a tree every night instead of sleeping in a bed.  Boanthropy would be a fellow who thinks that he’s a cow.  Lycanthropy, from the Greek word lucas, lycas, lucas, wolf, and anthropos; lycanthropy is the word that is usually used to refer to a man who, in his insanity—it’s a “monomaniacal” insanity—he becomes a monomaniac.  That is, in every other area of his life he’s just the same, just the same, has all of his sensitivities, and emotions, and his faculties; but in lycanthropy he’s insane in just one regard:  he thinks that he is an animal.  And that is the affliction that overtook Nebuchadnezzar.  For seven years he was a monomaniac, lycanthropy  [Daniel 4:24-25, 32-33].  And of course, the sermon is all about why, and how, and how God used it [Daniel 4:34-37].  Oh, it was an interesting sermon to me.  Isn’t that what you said?

Well, anyway, it just illustrates the marvelous, wonderful thing that comes from studying.  Now this coming Sunday, in the fourth chapter; tomorrow:


The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built, for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power,

and for the honor of my majesty?

[Daniel 4:30]


 Well, what I started out was, in that study, just slaving away at it, I got interested in Babylon, the great city of Babylon.  It is mentioned more than any other city except Jerusalem.  Nebuchadnezzar is mentioned more than any other king, any other king.  I presume Israel might have a king they’d mention more, maybe David, but let’s say it like this:  there is not a pagan king that in anywise approaches how many times they mention Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon.  And, of course, the sermon this coming Sunday is—it’s going to wind up with the seventeenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, which is Mystery Babylon, a while ago I called her “Scarlet O’Harlot”—Mystery Babylon, seventeenth chapter of the Revelation [Revelation 17:1-5], and the eighteenth chapter of the Revelation, that is the Babylon that refuses to have God, the system of commerce and government and politics that refuses to have God in their culture and life, and what happens to them [Revelation 18:1-24].  That’s what happened to them today.  Why, looking back there I found that all this astrology started there in Babylon.  These horoscopes in all of our papers, all of it goes back to Babylon.  That idolatry system, Ishtar and the baby—the Madonna and the Child—all that started in Babylon; it goes on today and will be till the end.  A sorcerer: pharmakia, pharmakion, pharmacy, black magic and drugs, why, you are just living in it today.  Dear me, what I am beginning to find out, preparing this sermon to preach in the morning.

Now, don’t try to do all of your sermon at one time, in one hour.  So many preachers will set aside a day, or an evening, or a morning for the preparation of the sermon.  Oh, that’s a bad thing!  You can study yourself stupid, as I say here. What you need to do is do it by intervals.  Study today, and the next day, and the next day, and if you’ll do that it will mean so much to you.

Now I must close.  When I get through with a sermon, I file it by text.  Then I have a book in which I write the text, G-F, in the general file, not a special file such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, the title of the sermon and the date that it is preached.  And in that way I have an enormous—dear me, it is enormous—I have an enormous background for any study to which I want to give myself in preparation.