The Great Non-Compromiser
June 27th, 1990 @ 7:30 PM
THE GREAT NON-COMPROMISER
Dr. W. A. Criswell
6-27-90 7:30 p.m.
A thousand times welcome to the multitudes of you who are sharing this hour on radio. You are now part of our dear First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the message entitled The Great Non-Compromiser. It is an exposition of Exodus chapters 7-10. And because of time limitations, I haven’t opportunity to read it with you; but we shall look at its message and apply it as God would have us to apply it to our lives today.
This is biblical – most so. For example, in 1 Corinthians 10:11, the inspired apostle Paul writes, "Now all these things happened unto them for" – and the King James Version translate it, "ensamples." A good translation of that Greek word will be "types." When we read what God did back there, in the pages of this Old Testament, we see there a type of our Christian pilgrimage today; so thus we’re going to follow these chapters and see our Christian life in it.
God’s people down in Egypt, away from Canaan’s promised land where they belonged, are in cruel bondage; and the taskmasters make life hard. "We’re unable to worship God in Egypt as we ought." So the Lord sends Moses to lead them out of the land of darkness and bondage to serve Him. As he says in Exodus 8:23 and [chapter] 11, verse 7, God makes a distinction between Israel and the Egyptians. He makes a difference between you and those out there in the world.
It is true that one may be a Christian, redeemed and in possession of eternal life, and still be dwelling in Egypt – be out there in the world in the place of bondage. He is saved from the penalty of sin but not from the power of sin. A Christian in the world and of it, making some failures, the same kind of weaknesses, is of all men most miserable.
There is no Egyptian taskmaster who was more merciless and cruel than sin, and the case of no Israelite was ever more helpless and hopeless than a Christian out in the world. He is groaning in bondage every day of his life. The Christian in Egypt is powerless. He’s of the world. He’s unable to serve God. His prayers are like sounding brass and clanging cymbals [1 Corinthians 13:1]. His testimony is darkened. He’s out there with and in the world. So God calls us to come out. Our heavenly Father never intended that we who are His children by regeneration should live in the haunts and habits of sin [Romans 6:1-11; Ephesians 4:22-27; 1 John 3:9]. I repeat: God makes a difference between us and the world.
So Moses is sent down into the darkness of Egypt to deliver his people; and when he comes before Pharaoh, there are four compromises that Pharaoh suggests to Moses about that call of God to come out. The first compromise: Stay where you are. Stay out there. Pharaoh says in chapter 8:25: "Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land. Stay here in Egypt. Stay where you are. Stay in the world." Moses replies in chapter 8, verses 26 and 27: "Not so. Shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians? We go and sacrifice as God shall command us." Their sacrifices and their manner of serving was not pleasing to the Egyptians. It was different from them, and they have to separate themselves – they have to disassociate themselves from the world, the darkness of the land of Egypt, in order faithfully and truthfully to serve God.
Now, Satan has a lost man tied up. He says to him, "You’re all right. Stay just as you are in the beer joint, on the dance floor, on the shore of the floor of the Sunday’s picture show, at the ball game, in domino parlors, in pool halls," and a whole lot of other things that are worse that I don’t name. Satan has the lost man; and he there is tied up in the powers of darkness and sin. But Satan also has a child of God in bondage, and he says to him, "Stay just as you are. You can serve God and not place your membership in the church. You can serve God and not attend the services or the prayer meeting." You want to know whether God’s popular or not, look at the attendance on Wednesday night. You can serve God and not go to prayer meeting. You can serve God and spend your afternoons at the farm or the ranch, your evenings on the dance floor, the Sundays in the picture show, your money out there gambling or otherwise wasting it. Do not the elite of Egypt do it? You do not want to be an abomination unto them. That’s what Satan says to you.
And if Moses could answer today, he would say, "Not so. We have to come out. Our manner of serving God is different. We walk not by the example of those that are in bondage, but we walk according to the liberty that God has given to those who have trusted in Him." And if you are a child of God, you will come out. Well that’s the first compromise that he said: "Stay where you are."
The second compromise of Pharaoh, chapter 8, verse 28: "Ye shall not go far away. Do not go very far." And Moses answers in 8:29 and verse 32: "Let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully" [Exodus 8:29]. But he did [Exodus 8:32]. This way is always a deceit. Don’t be very different. Don’t go very far – not very far from Egypt and not very far toward Canaan, the promised land – not very far from sin, and not very far toward God; enough of religion just to get by, just for respectability’s sake. Not very far from sin – dress it up; make it respectable; do not renounce or denounce it.
Gambling: oh, but convert the money into raffles and use it to build the church. You’ll see them gambling in the name of God all over creation including the city of Dallas. Drunkenness: oh, but wash the glasses, paint the front, sweep off the floor, and serve it just before dinner; or have a cocktail hour – the most respectable way that the elite of any city lives. It’s their way of life. Public dancing: oh, but supervise the ball – put some old maids on the sideline in order to shield it.
It’s a different world today. I’m going to read to you something that I’ve kept in my files for so many years I can’t count them. You’ll never hear it mentioned – not today. The round dance – you know, the dance that you think of when you think of the dance – the round dance was started in a house of prostitution in Paris by a mistress of a king of France and was never danced outside of a house of prostitution nor by anyone but prostitutes and rakes for the first one hundred years after it had started.
The waltz was originated by a French dancing master by the name of Goff. He was guillotined in 1632 for strangling to death his own sister in an attempt to ruin her. The most popular step used in ballrooms today originated with Negro prostitutes of the barbaric coast of San Francisco. The next most popular step originated with prostitutes on the bowery in New York City. T. A. Faulker, a converted dance master, took careful census of two hundred prostitutes in Los Angeles and found that 163 attributed their fall to the dance in the ballroom, twenty to drink given by their own parents, ten to willful choice, and seven to poverty and want.
Bishop Spaulding of New York said that nineteen out of every twenty fallen women stated that their fall came through the dance. A great educator has said, "The dance hall is the nursery of the divorce court, the training ship of prostitutes, and the graduate school of infamy" [Reverend J. L. Henry, quoted in The Afro-American, 1 July 1933, p. 19]. You have never heard anything like that today. It’s perfectly acceptable, all of this dancing today. The most insidious sin is the respectable one – the socially acceptable one. The anteroom to all the filth behind the door is this respectable sin. It is the prelude to the fornication that follows and embraces it with all kinds of social behavior. That’s Satan. Don’t go very far in your Christian life.
All right, the third compromise: "Just some of you go." Pharaoh’s servant said in chapter 10, verse 7: ". . . let the men go." And Pharaoh himself said in verses 8 and11: "Ye that are men, serve the Lord" [Exodus 10:11]. Moses, chapter 10, verse 9, said, "We will go with our young, and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters. We are all going" [Exodus 10:9].
Paul says these are types [1 Corinthians 10:11], but surely this does not happen. Nobody is enticed by such a compromise. Then we begin to look at the Christian people in bondage – and look at them! The devil hates family religion – the kind that sends dad and mother and children to the house of the Lord. Let the men go and leave all of the other family behind. There are religious congregations that don’t include women and children in anything that they do. Then there are others who say, "Let the women go. She has the religion in the family;" and, world without end, is the religion sustained by and supported by the women.
Then there are others who say, "Let the children go. Sunday school is for them. Take them, drop them off at Sunday school, then pick them up; but it never occurs to father and mother that they also ought to be there with their children. I can tell you the reason why the Baptist churches and the churches like us in England are so small and getting smaller with every generation. When you look at a Baptist church in England, there’ll be a billboard: "Such and such Calvary Baptist Church. Services 11:00 Sunday Morning." In the lower caption: "Sunday school at 2:30 in the afternoon (for children only)." That is universal from one side of England to the other – for children only. Just some of you go. Mostly, take the children to Sunday school, but we don’t go. Dad and mother don’t go; and the children grow up believing that religion may be all right for a little boy or a little girl, but when you get grown, you get beyond it. The church dies.
The fourth compromise: "Leave your offerings behind." Pharaoh said in chapter 10:24: "Go ye, serve the Lord; let your little ones also go with you, only let your flocks and your herds be left behind" [Exodus 10:24]. And Moses replied in chapter 10:25, 26: "[You] must give us also sacrifices and offerings" [Exodus 10:25].
Satan says to you, "Go ahead, you, your family, and your children if you’re stubborn. Go ahead but leave your possessions behind. Take no offerings with you. Go empty-handed. Go with nothing for God." He knows this will utterly defeat the work of the Lord. Come without a sacrificial offering, or if you do come, bring a nickel or a dime or something very small.
And the children – they have money for candy and for the show and for toys and for trinkets, but give them a nickel or a dime for God. I do not know of anything that is more pointedly dynamic in teaching children than an example like this: when the State Fair of Texas opens out there on the fairgrounds, and on Saturday you take your children, and you give them money for the Ferris wheel and they go around and around and around; and you give them money for all the other games and all the other entertainments out there; and you buy for them popcorn and peanuts and candy and ice cream; and you spend dollars and dollars and dollars on them out there at the fair. Then the next day is Sunday. It’s the Lord’s Day, and you give your children a pittance for God. You give them a dime or a quarter for church.
You don’t need to say anything. They learned it well. Popcorn, and peanuts, and a Ferris wheel, and all of the world of entertainment: that’s big business. Man, that’s dollars and dollars and dollars. But God’s business is little business – that’s a dime or a quarter. It’s peanuts. What we need to do is to turn it around. If you give dollars out there on that state fairgrounds, when Sunday comes, give those children so much to bring to the house of God they look at it bug-eyed. "I can’t believe this – can’t believe this. I never saw a $10 bill before in my life, and you gonna to ask me to give that to God in church? Take it to church?" That would teach that child. He would never forget the lesson. God’s business is big business – real business.
"We will not leave behind," says Moses, "in Egypt our offerings. They too go with us to God" [Exodus 10:25-26]. And David said – and you heard me repeat it until it’s worn out – when the owner – what’s his name? On Mount Moriah? What is it? Araunah? I thought Araunah, but I got a block in my head up here. When David came to Araunah, the Jebusite, and said, "God has sent me to offer sacrifices unto Him to stay the plague in the land" [2 Samuel 24:21; 1 Chronicles 21:22], why, Araunah said, "My lord, it’s yours. I give it to you. Here’s the oxen for sacrifice. Here are the instruments of threshing for wood, and here’s the Mount. It’s yours" [2 Samuel 24:22-23; 1 Chronicles 21:23]. The famous word of David in reply: "Not so, but I’ll buy it of thee at a price – at a price – for I will not offer to God that which doth cost me nothing" [2 Samuel 24:24; 1 Chronicles 21:24]. That’s the way we ought to be with God’s work. You ought to give until you feel it – not a tip that you don’t miss, but a sacrifice that goes down into your deepest life.
God bless us. God bless us as we listen to these types that are written for our blessing and for our good in Holy Scripture. We have a great opportunity here in this wonderful church in downtown Dallas. I am meeting now as I never have in my life – my last appointment over there. The deacons have appointed a committee, and the committee chairman met with me just before I came over here; and before that, I had a long meeting with another group who represents a facet of our church ministry that is so vital. And both meetings concerned: "Pastor, what are we going to do? What are we going to do with the tremendous appeals for support that come to us from the campus of our college and the college itself, from our wonderful gift from heaven – the Dallas Life Foundation – and the increase of our ministries over there at the 505 North Ervay building, and our own ministries here in the church? Pastor, what is your answer?"
Well, I believe in the hand of God. There was a time – and we ought not to forget it – there was a time a few years ago when the church owed 10.5 million dollars; and that First National Bank that went bankrupt, thank God, The First National Bank raised our interest to 23% a year – 23%. I never in my life saw a corporation do a church like that under high heaven: raised our interest rates on that debt to 23%, and we faced actual bankruptcy in this church. The deacons called me at a meeting at the Dallas Country Club at a breakfast and announced to me, "Pastor, there’s no other way. We’re going to have to sell the Spurgeon Harris building right over there. We’re going to have to sell it."
Well you heard me if you were alive and present. You heard me lament in this pulpit and wring my hands and cry and appeal to God – O, Lord. And did you know out of that God came down from heaven? We paid off that 10.5 million dollars, and we had beside those two parking buildings and an income of a $1,400,000 a year out of that awesome prospect of bankruptcy. That’s the hand of God. That’s the strong arm of the Lord. And I believe with all my soul that if our people will give themselves to a great commitment for that school teaching these preachers how to be a wonderful soul winner, and how to preach this unsearchable riches of Jesus, and how to be a wonderful, God-blessed missionary, and how to be a faithful servant of Christ as a staff member of the church. If we’ll do that, and if we’ll ask God to be with us in the ministry to these poor – he that lendeth to the poor lendeth to the Lord, and He never forgets to repay.
If we’ll give ourselves to a persuasion that God will bless us in that ministry to the homeless and the helpless and the outcast in that great Life Foundation, and if we will believe that, if we’ll work and teach the Word of God, the Lord will help us to fill up the eleven stories of that 505 North Ervay building with these who are hungry for the Word of God. If we will do that, God will be with us. He’ll work with us, and the power and the blessing and the presence of the Lord will be ours, before our very eyes, just seeing God do it in our presence.
Now, Fred, I want us to sing us a song. The way to be saved is through Jesus. There’s "no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved" [Acts 4:12]. He died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, was raised the third day, according to the Scriptures" [1 Corinthians 15:3-4] for our justification – to see to it that we make it to heaven. That’s the gospel. When a man preaches the gospel, that’s what he preaches. Jesus died for our sins, was buried, was raised for our justification. And to us who look in faith, commitment to Him, He writes our names in the Book of Life [Philippians 4:3; Revelation 20:12-15], and He keeps us to Himself forever.
If God calls you this solemn moment to give your heart and trust to the Lord, you come and stand by me. If there’s a couple, if there’s a family led of the Lord to put life in our dear church, you come and stand by me. As the Spirit of the Lord shall press the appeal to your heart, you answer with your life; and welcome, while we stand and while we sing.