The Great Non-Compromiser
April 11th, 1979 @ 12:00 PM
THE GREAT NON-COMPROMISER
Dr. W. A. Criswell
4-11-79 12:00 p.m.
Isn’t it a benediction to know that we have at least two prophets here in our church? Joel, that’s one. I’m Amos, that’s two. Bless us both. And maybe on account of you, the teamsters in the freight division of our national economy are going to come to a contract. Keep at it, son. And once again, a thousand times welcome, to all of you who have opportunity out of a busy lunch hour to come here and to spend this moment with us. Remember, you can come any time, come late, come stay for a moment, any time that you must leave, you feel free; you will not bother me at all, and everybody will understand it. You get right up in the middle of a sentence and walk out, why, this is a service for all of us who’d like to take time this pre-Easter week and just spend a few minutes here in God’s house.
Because of the background of the treaty being hammered out between Israel and Egypt, I thought we would take as a theme this year, "The Deliverance of Israel Out of Egyptian Bondage." So, in following through with the theme, the subject concerns Moses, the Mighty Man of God. On Monday: The Renunciation. Yesterday: In a Flame of Fire. Tomorrow: The Birthday of the People of God. At sundown this evening: The Passover Season Begins for the Children of Israel. So tomorrow: The Birthday of the People of God. And on Friday, for us, the day our Lord was crucified and also the day of the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb: The Blood of the Passover. Now the title today: The Great Non-Compromiser.
For the first time in the Word of the Lord, in the third chapter of the Book of Exodus and the seventh verse, the Lord calls Israel "My people." The Lord said, "I have surely seen the affliction of My people" [Exodus 3:7]. And He spells that out in the fourth chapter. "You shall say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, even My firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me" [Exodus 4:22, 23]. The Lord speaks as though He had counted them all by name, and lest even one of them be omitted or left behind, He says, "These are My people, all of them. And Israel is My firstborn. Now, let him go that they may serve Me in the wilderness." So the fifth chapter begins, Moses and Aaron went into Pharaoh and said, "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness" [Exodus 5:1].
And when that was demanded of the king of Egypt, he was infuriated and saying that it is because of the slack in work, and the leisure time that these slaves possessed, that they were making this demand of him. So he commanded his taskmasters, "You lay double the burden of work and slavery upon them. And no longer will we furnish straw for bricks, but you let them find their own straw. And the tale of bricks, the number that they make each day, is not to be diminished" [Exodus 5:7-8]. So the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and demanded, "Wherefore have you not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and today, as heretofore?" [Exodus 5:14]. The grievous burden that the people already endured, was doubled now. And their tears and their sighing was but a reflection and a token of their servitude, and their struggle was but an affirmation of their bondage. They were hopeless and they could not deliver themselves. If they are saved, if they are delivered, it has to be from the outside.
Now you look at this. Twelve times, in this little word that I read, is the personal pronoun used; eleven times it is "I" and one time it is "Me." Who is going to deliver these people out of their slavery and bondage? God says,
I will do it. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord. I will bring you out from under the burden of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: I will take you to Me – that one Me – I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, who bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into a land, concerning the which I did swear it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob and I will give it to you for an heritage: I am the Lord.
If there is any deliverance, it’s not in themselves. It has to come from outside themselves. And God says that deliverance is in Me – "I will do it. I am the Lord."
So there follows this contest between Jehovah God and the gods of the Egyptians; it is the same, it is exactly the same setup as you have between the prophets of Baal on top of Mount Carmel, and Elijah the prophet of the one true God Jehovah [1 Kings 18:20-40]. You see every one of those ten plagues was thrust at the heart of one of the gods of the Egyptians [Exodus 7:20-13:15]. The Egyptians worshipped the Nile as a god, and the first plague was turning the waters of the Nile into blood [Exodus 7:20-25]. The ninth plague, just before the Passover – the ninth plague, was against the sun god, Ra. His name is incorporated all through Egyptian literature – Pharaoh, Ra, the great sun god. In the ninth plague, the Almighty blotted him out. There were three days and nights of impenetrable darkness, darkness that could be felt; you could cut it like a knife, and no one moved [Exodus 10:21-29].
Sometimes those plagues were thrust at the heart of a god that was supposed to protect the people. They had a goddess named Heket – she had a frog’s head. And the plague of the frogs covered the land with frogs, in a meal barrel, in the dough trough, in the bed. You lived with them. You slept with them – frogs [Exodus 8:1-15]. Sometimes those plagues were thrust against the priesthood and the sanctuaries and the temples, like lice, and bugs, and locusts and flies [Exodus 8:16-32; 10:1-20]. They were everywhere. They covered the god Apis, a sacred bull. Then they covered the god Isis. They covered the sanctuary and they were everywhere; lice and flies and insects. All of it was thrust against the gods of Egypt, in contempt, as though a bull would be a god; as though a sacred ibis would be a god; as though a sacred crocodile or a monkey would be a god; or as though the Nile River would be a god; or even the sun would be a god. There is no god, but God – "I am the Lord God" [Exodus 6:8]. And Moses and Aaron are there in Egypt in contest with all of the might and power of the gods of the Egyptians.
So when the Nile turns to blood, and when the frogs cover the face of the land, and when lice and flies are everywhere over every sacred vessel and in every sacred place, why, this is the first compromise. Pharaoh calls for Moses and Aaron and says, "You go. You go sacrifice to your God, only do it in the land" [Exodus 8:25]; first compromise. God said, "You get out of Egypt, serve Me out of Egypt" [Exodus 3:10; 8:27] and the first compromise, "You serve God. Only serve your God, sacrifice to your God in the land" [Exodus 8:25].
Now, I’m not saying that a man cannot be born again and be a Christian and yet live in slavery and in bondage in the land of Egypt. But I tell you two things that will happen to you. Number one is this: you will never be happy in your heart. You will be miserable all the days of your life. There is no such thing as a child of God being happy in the land of bondage and of slavery and of the world. When God says come out of it [2 Corinthians 6:17] and we stay in it, there is a concomitant and a corollary, an addendum that always follows after. You are miserable, all the days of your life.
A second thing: when you stay in the land of Egypt, in the world, in bondage, and in slavery, your words fall to the ground. The heavens are brass and the earth is iron [Leviticus 26:19]. Your prayers are like a sounding brass and your witness is like a clanging cymbal [1 Corinthians 13:1].
Well, what does God demand of us who have found refuge in Him? This is what God demands of us. He asks us to leave the land of [Egypt], the land of bondage and of slavery. And as His children Israel; get out, get out, get out to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and to serve the Lord your Maker. And that is God’s demand of us. Well, isn’t that an unusual thing? What is the matter with refining sin? What is the matter with trying to clean up the pigpen? Keep the prodigal in it, but clean it up. What is the matter with that?
Somehow, God is not pleased with it. What God wants with His prodigal son is to get out of the pigpen and back home. What God asks of His people is to get out of Egypt, out of the world, where we may sacrifice and please the Lord in all of the ways of our lives. I want to ask you; shouldn’t an addition to us be a subtraction from them? If a man gives his life to God, doesn’t that mean he didn’t belong anymore to the world? His ways are different. His thoughts are different. His visions are different. His dreams are different. His ambitions are different. He is a new creation. He is another kind of a man. He has left the slavery and bondage of Egypt, and he now is worshipping God, out of the darkened land and from under the taskmasters of Pharaoh. That is the first compromise. Now, you go ahead and be a Christian and you just, you just, you just do all that you want to about giving your heart to Jesus. But just do it where you are in the land – just as you are [Exodus 8:25]. We will refine all of these social sins and we will refine all of these compromises, but you just stay where you are. But God says, "Get out! Get out! Leave!" And that is what Aaron and Moses said to Pharaoh [Exodus 3:10; 8:27].
Now, the second compromise: "And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness, just as He said, only ye shall not go very far" [Exodus 8:28]. That’s the second compromise. Fine, if you are determined to give your life to the Lord God, and you are going to be a Christian, and you are listening to His voice, and you are following Him, fine; you go, only don’t you go very far; don’t be a fool about it; don’t be a fanatic about it. You know, a little religion, mighty fine thing; every town ought to have a church in it. It is good. And a fellow surely ought to go to church, yeah, he ought to go to church, that’s right. Yeah, he ought to go to church.
I remember that fellow standing in front of the judge, and the judge said, "Do you go to church?" He said, "Yes, sir. I haven’t missed an Easter Sunday for thirty years. Yes, sir, I go to church." And then if he had a real case of religion, he might go in Mother’s Day. "Yes, sir, I go to church. Every Easter I go to church and on behalf of my old mother, I go on Mother’s Day. Yes, sir. Yes, sir." That is the second compromise. If you are going to be religious, you have made up your mind you are going to go into that fanatical stuff; well, don’t go too far. Don’t let it touch you. Don’t let it change you. Don’t let it be a motivating influence in your life; just do somewhat; just do somewhat. Man, be it unthinkable that you go to prayer meeting on Wednesday night. That is unthinkable. And then go to church on Sunday night, why, I couldn’t imagine it. It would be a real effort for me if I went on Sunday morning, much less to pray and to be a soulwinner, and a witness for God, and a great help and pillar in the church of the Lord. That’s this compromise, and always it’s with us. It’s all right to go, but don’t go very far [Exodus 8:28]. Well, Moses and Aaron answered, "Listen, we’re going all the way; all the way."
And then came the murrain; and then came the boils; and then came the hail; and then came the locusts; and then came the darkness [Exodus 9:1-10:23]; and then, Moses and Aaron were hastened before the presence of Pharaoh and his third compromise. "Now, you go. You serve the Lord your God, but who are they that are going? Who is going?" And Moses said, "We are all going; we are all going. Our young, our old, our sons, our daughters, our flocks our herds, we are all going to serve the Lord, all of us" [Exodus 10:9]. And Pharaoh said, "Not so. Just some of you go," and then he spelled it out, "just some of you men go" [Exodus 10:11]. And that is the third compromise.
Let me tell you a little sentence that is God’s truth. "The devil hates family religion." I repeat it with all the emphasis that I can say in the syllables in the sentence, "The devil hates family religion." If you are going to be religious, just some of you be. And so we will choose up, and usually it will come out with the children. And world without end, for the years and the years have I seen families come to this door. This is our children’s building right back of this auditorium; come to that door on St. Paul street and to let out their children. And then after Sunday school is over, drive by and pick them up. Now, some of you go, that’s fine. Just some of you go, but not all of you go, not all of you go. It is all right for the children.
Why, my brother, I don’t even need to expatiate on that. When you have a boy, and you let him out at church, and then you pick him up, you know what that boy, he already knows that you say to him, "This is child’s stuff, but it is not for a real man." And when the boy gets older and he can make his own decisions, he will do exactly as his father, he won’t go either, that’s child stuff. Who is going? [Exodus 10:8]. And Moses said, "Pharaoh, we are all going. Our men are going, and our women are going, and our youngsters are going, and we are all going, the entire family. We are all going to be there at the sacrifice and the worship of the Lord, all of us" [Exodus 10:9]. Going to rear these children in the love and nurture of Christ Jesus. And until I die and go to heaven, I will be there with them. We are all going.
Then came other plagues and the last compromise [Exodus 10:12-23]. And Pharaoh called unto Moses and said, "You go serve the Lord, the whole bunch of you; fathers and mothers and children, the whole family. All of you go. You go serve the Lord, only leave what you have behind. Let your flocks and your herds be stayed; and let your little ones also go with you – even take your children, but what you have leave it behind, your flocks and your herds" [Exodus 10:24]. Isn’t that the devil? You just go right on. If you are determined in that, fathers and mothers and children, the whole family, well, you just go right on, but when you go, go empty-handed. And Moses said, "We got to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to offer unto God, and our cattle and everything we have are going with us, and there shall not be a hoof that is left behind. We’re all going and everything that we have. We’re going to offer it unto the Lord. We’re going to dedicate it to the Lord. I’m not going to appear before God empty-handed. I’m not coming before the Lord with my children and my family, and we’re not coming and leave everything we have behind; but when we come, we’re going to appear before the Lord with what we have, to make sacrifices and offerings unto the Lord" [Exodus 10:25, 26].
That’s what David said. Because of his sin of numbering the people, God sent a pestilence; and when the angel was drawing a sword over Jerusalem, to smite the people with pestilence, David cried in behalf of what he called his innocent sheep [2 Samuel 24:15-17]. And God said to him, "You go up there on top of Mt. Moriah and the threshing floor of Araunah is there. And on that threshing floor, you build an altar. And there you offer sacrifices unto God" [2 Samuel 24:18-19].
And he came to Araunah, and when Araunah saw the king he bowed down before him [2 Samuel 24:20]. And the king said to Araunah, "Araunah, God has sent me to offer sacrifice, to stay the plague. And He has chosen this, the top of Mt. Moriah, where Isaac was offered by Abraham. And God has told me to build an altar and to make intercession" [2 Samuel 24:21]. And Araunah said, "My Lord and king. Here, I give it to you. The threshing floor is yours. All the rocks to build the altar are yours, and the oxen are yours, and the implements for firewood, I give them to you" [2 Samuel 24:22-23]. And David said, "Not so. But I will buy it from thee at a price." And then that worthy and noble sentence: "Neither will I offer unto the Lord my God that which doth cost me nothing" [2 Samuel 24:24]. No, sir. When I come and appear before the Lord, it will be with something in my hands. I will not appear empty-handed, and it will be something that costs me. It will be a sacrifice and an offering. And God blesses, and the Lord looks down in acceptance. It makes us great in our souls, in our hearts, in our homes, in our families, in our church, in our city, in our nation, and in our world. That’s what it is to serve God.
Dear Lord, in Thy love and grace may there be a like nobility in our souls. All we have, ever hoped to be, every gift, every strength of life, we bring it to Thee. Consecrate it, hallow it, Lord, for Thy highest glory, in the name of our wonderful Lord, amen.
Dr. W. A. Criswell
I. Pharaoh’s compromises
1. Stay where you are
2. Do not go very far
3. Some of you may go
4. Leave your offerings behind
II. God’s plan for Christian is to escape bondage