Contending with the Horses


June 29, 2015

Now the first thing that I wanted to preach on tonight is verse number 5 of Jeremiah 12 where the Bible reads, "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?" What the Bible is trying to get across in this scripture is something that actually comes across in a lot of different scriptures throughout the Bible, and that is that if you cannot do that which is easy, you're not going to be able to do that which is hard. If you can't do the little things, you're not going to be able to do the big things.

I noticed as I was studying the Bible that this type of a formula comes up a lot in the Bible saying, hey, if you can't do this, then how are you going to be able to do this? Go to I John, chapter 4. Let me show you one of the places that this exact formula comes up. He said, "If you've run with the footmen and they have wearied the, then how canst thou contend with horses?" Who do you think is going to be easier, to outrun a human being or to outrun a horse? Think about it. Horses run pretty fast, don't they? Now it is true that it is possible for a human being to outrun a horse but only in a race of 100 miles, and it has to be a really fast, really well trained human being.

There are actually man versus horse races, believe it or not, where human beings run against horses and the human beings do win, but they're extremely highly trained and they run 100 miles, because humans are good on the endurance side of it. He's saying, "If you can't even run with the footmen, how are you going to run with the horses? If you can't handle the land of peace, how are you going to handle the swelling of Jordan?" Meaning when the floods of life are just beating on you, how are you going to stand if you can't even stand when things are going good? How can you do that which is difficult when you cannot do that which is easy?

Here's an example. Look at I John 4. It says in verse 19, "We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." This statement is phrased in the same way, "Hey, if you can't run with the footmen, how are you going to run with the horse?" He says, "Look, if you can't love your brother whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you've not seen?" Now I remember when I was a child, I heard this verse.

I remember I used to hear preaching about this verse and about other scriptures that were similar. I remember when I was a kid, I used to hear preaching that said, "If you don't learn how to get along with your brothers and your sisters, you're not going to be able to get along with your spouse one day." I remember they would say, "If you don't learn how to get along with your sister, you're not going to get along with your wife." I remember at the time thinking, "That's not true." I remember just shaking my head at that when I heard that priest, thinking, "There is no way," because you think that it's going to be so easy to be married and to get along with your spouse because you're going to be in love.

Honestly, there are challenges to being married, and there are going to be times where your spouse gets on your nerves or where you get on your spouse's nerves and where there's conflict and strife within a marriage, and it is true that when you are a child, learning to get along with your brothers and sisters, that is a great training ground for getting along with your spouse some day. It is true that if you don't learn how to get along with your brothers and sisters or to get along with your parents, whom you have seen, you're not just going to magically be able to get along with your wife whom you're not yet seen, or your husband whom you've not yet seen.

You must learn how to love and get along with the people in your life now. God's saying here in this scripture that it's easier to love your brother than it is to love God. That's what He's saying, because He's saying if you can't love your brother whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you've not seen? The Bible says, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments." Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ that are created in the image of God, that are the children of God, that are walking with God, that is similar and connected to our love for God. But if we can't do the easy thing, we can't do the hard thing.

A lot of children today that have trouble obeying their parents right now as children, they're not going to be obey their boss at work some day. They don't like being bossed around now, but actually when they grow up, they're going to be bossed around even more. I remember when I was growing up, my dad was pretty strict with us. He really would boss us around, and we had to work really hard with him. I remember that when I first got a job doing alarms, on my first day on the job the boss told me, he said, "Go run out to the truck and grab this and that part." I remember just sprinting out the door of the house we were working in, running to the truck, opening up the toolbox, sweat coming, grab it, sprint back, and I get back I'm (makes out of breath sounds).

He's like, "Dude, what are you doing? Relax." It was because when you worked for my dad, that's how ... You had to hurry, and he expected you to jam. He's like, "Whoa, calm down." Here's what's funny. It seemed like my upbringing was overkill, yeah, until later, I had a job where my boss was so mean. He would cuss me out every day. He was just so demanding and unreasonable. I remember talking to my dad and I said, "Dad," I said, "My new boss makes you look like Mr. Rogers," because he knew that he yelled at us and was strict and everything. I said, "You were nothing." I said, "Thank you, Dad, because there's no way I ever could have handled this job if I hadn't of worked for you first, because you taught me and trained me that."

If I couldn't obey my dad, then I'm not going to be able to obey my boss at work. Look, kids, when you grow up, you're going to go to work, and people are going to tell you what to do, and they're going to be more strict than your parents. When you're an adult and you go to your job, they are more demanding and more strict than what your parents were when you were growing up. What's funny too is people grow up and they're rebellious, and they want to get away from their parents. They don't want that authority, and then they join the military. There's going to be some serious authority there too.

People are going to be telling you what to do. If you can't handle the one, you can't handle the other. If you would go to Matthew 13, Matthew, chapter number 13. By the way, if you don't obey your parents as a kid, you're not going to obey God when you grow up, your heavenly Father. If you can't even obey your earthly father whom you've seen, how are you going to obey God whom you've not seen? If you can't have enough faith and trust in what your parents are telling you, who you can see with your physical eyes, how much faith and trust are you going to put in the commandments of a God that you've never seen?

We need to learn to obey our parents as children so we can obey our heavenly Father when we grow up. By the way, wives are commanded to obey their husbands. If you can't obey your husband on this earth that you've seen, then how can you obey God whom you've not seen? God has given you that earthly authority figure in your life, of your husband. If you can't obey him, then how are you going to obey God in everything else if you can't even obey the earthly authority He's given you as a child, as a wife, whatever the case, as an employee? Here's another statement that's similar to that. If you can't go out and win the souls of strangers door to door, how are you going to win your friends and family to the Lord?

Because you know what? It's a lot easier to win strangers to the Lord than to win your friends and family to the Lord. If you can't run with the footmen, how are you going to contend with the horses? Look what Jesus said in Matthew 13:57. "And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." Jesus was unable to do many mighty works amongst these people because He had grown up with them, because they were His family and friends, and He said, "A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house."

Mark 6:4, you don't have to turn there, but Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin," 'kin' means relatives, "and in his own house." Jesus found it harder to reach the people that were His family and friends than He did at reaching those that were outside of His family, outside of His friends. Outside of His hometown He had more success than in His own hometown. It's not any fault of Jesus because we know that Jesus was sinless, and perfect, and was everything that He was supposed to be, but it's just simply easier, we can gather from this, outside of your own country and outside of your own house when you're a prophet or a preacher.

You see, it's easier to go out door to door soul winning than to witness unto your family and friends. Here's why, because when you witness unto strangers, you're never going to see them again. You're not as nervous because if you mess up, you just go to the next door. If you're embarrassed, if you stammer and stutter, the stakes are not as high as when you're talking to your friends, your family. You're more nervous about them. Maybe they're judging you more, and maybe they're not taking you as seriously because they know you so well or something of that nature. I say if you won't win the souls of friends and family ... I'm sorry, if you won't win the souls of strangers, you're not going to have success at winning family and friends.

A lot of people, here's what they say. "Well, I'm not going to go door to door soul winning. I'm just going to witness on my job, and I'm just going to witness to people that come across my path." That's great to do, but I'll tell you what. If you're not doing the one, you're probably not doing the other. I know that I spent my whole life on that program of winning friends and family to the Lord, and I got zero people saved until I was 17 years old. I got my first person saved at age 17 when I out door to door soul winning. I had tried, but as Jesus found, it's difficult. Then once I went out and did a lot of door to door soul winning and got good at that, then I was able to go back after I had done that which was a little easier, then I was able to do that which was hard.

I started seeing friends, and family, and loved ones, and relatives get saved, and it was a blessing, but I don't think it ever would have been possible if I hadn't of done the basic step of going out and just preaching to the lost, strangers, door to door. Go to Luke 16. This is a principle that's all throughout the Bible. It said, "If you can't run with the footmen, how are you going to contend with the horses? If you can't love your brother whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you've not seen?" If you can't get along with your sister now, you can't get along with your brother now, how are you going to get along with your spouse? There are a lot more people getting divorced in this world than there are just cutting off contact with their brother and sister? Why?

Because it's easier to get along with your brother or your sister than it is to get along with your spouse some day. It's easier to win the lost out door to door than to win your friends and family. If you can't do what's easy, you're not going to be able to do what's hard. Look at Luke 16, verse 10. We'll find a similar statement. It says, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"

Did you see that? If you're not faithful with that which is another man's, who is going to give you that which is your own? If you're not faithful in the least, you're not going to be faithful in the greatest. Now think about this. Before you ever could succeed at running your own business, you know what you have to do first? Be an employee, and be a good employee, and be a successful employee. You don't sit there and say, "Oh, I'm failing at my job. I think I'm going to go start my own business." It's easier to be an employee than it is to run a business. Now every employee doesn't believe that.

They think, "Oh, man, the boss is sitting on easy street. He sits in that office all day in the air conditioning. I'm out breaking my back," but you don't understand that the boss' job, the owner's job is much harder than your job, and it's much more demanding. He's putting in much more time, and energy, and effort. If you can't be faithful with another man's, you're not going to be faithful with your own. If you can't be a good employee, you're not going to be a good employer, because it's harder, because it takes more effort. Everybody I've ever know, because I've known people, I've known a lot of people who started their own business, they were always first successful at a job. Then they went out and started a business and succeeded at that business.

They weren't the worst worker on the job and then they just became just a smash success in business, doing it on their own. It doesn't work that way. When I grew up, my dad always owned his own business. But before he ever owned his own electrical business, he was the top electrician at the company that he ... At least that's what he told me growing up. No, he was though. He was the top electrician at that company, and he was very successful at what he was doing. When he went out and did it for himself, he's going to be successful at that. Because if you're successful with another man's, you're going to be successful with your own.

Now that leads me to my next point. If you can't be a good follower, you're not going to be a good leader. See, it's harder to be a good leader than to be a good follower. Being a good follower's not that hard. Being a good leader is very difficult. If you can't do that which is easy, how are you going to do that which is hard? If you look at some of the greatest leaders in the Bible, they were first great followers before they were great leaders. Just like the great businessmen were great as an employee, then they started a successful business. For example, Joshua was a great follower of Moses. He followed Moses everywhere he went. He tarried with Moses. He was always right there, obedient unto him, respectful unto him, honoring him. He became a great leader.

David is probably one of the best examples of this. Look how loyal David was unto Saul, to where the men of the kingdom, when they heard Saul talking bad about David they said, "Wait a minute. Which of your servants is more faithful than David? David is your most faithful, loyal servant." That wasn't David saying that about himself. That was everybody said about David. They said, "He's loyal. He's faithful." People talked bad about Saul and wanted to get him to harm Saul or fight against Saul, and he was loyal to Saul. He said, "I'm not going to put forth my hand and touch God's anointed." He went out and fought the king's battles for him.

He fought the Philistines, and he gave Saul the glory, and he did not try to usurp the authority of Saul or be a bad follower of Saul or harm Saul. He was just a great follower. Then one day he became what? A great leader that was able to rally the kingdom, and he was able to unite the kingdom that had become split into the kingdom of Judah and Israel. Because obviously we know that that split took place permanently in the days of Rehoboam and Jeroboam after Solomon, but even when David was first coming to the throne, there was a split that took place, if you've read your Bible carefully, and that the nation was fractured. Some people were following David, the house of Judah, but then other tribes were following the sons of Saul and so forth.

He was able to rally everybody together and be a great leader and build a strong kingdom that he could pass on to his son, Solomon, because he was a great follower first. That's why he made a great leader. That's why Joshua made a great leader. What about Elisha? Elisha, a great man of God that did twice as many miracles and made twice as many predictions and prophecies as his predecessor, Elijah, but if you remember, first he was a great follower. He said, "I will not leave thee" to Elijah. Wherever Elijah went, he followed. He poured water on the hands of Elijah and served and was a great follower before he was a great leader. What about the 12 disciples? Great leaders, great men who led, but first they were great followers of Jesus, following Him through difficult times and times when He had no place to lay His head.

They were right there with Him. They forsook all and followed Jesus. That's why they made great leaders. First you must be a great follower before you can be a great leader. First you must be faithful with another man's before you can be faithful with that which is your own. Now go to I Timothy chapter 3. This ties in with that also, when we think about being a leader in the sense of being a pastor, because it says in I Timothy chapter 3, verse 4, this is the qualifications for a pastor or a bishop. It says in verse 4 of I Timothy 3, "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity," and here we have another one of those statements that I'm talking about tonight, "for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?"

What's that telling us? That ruling your own house is easier than taking care of the church of God, and if you can't do that which is easy, you're not going to be able to do that which is hard. If you're not able to rule your own house, you're not going to be able to take care of the church of God. If you can't run with the footmen, you're not going to be able to contend with the horses. If you can't be faithful with another man's, you are not going to be faithful with your own. You see, before you can be a great pastor, you have to be a great church member. That's part of the training to become a great pastor is becoming a great church member, and succeeding in your local church, being a blessing and an asset to your local church is preparing you to pastor some day.

Now there are a lot of people today that feel that our church, that our nation just really needs new churches to be started all over America because there are so many areas where people struggle to find a decent church to go to. By the way, I don't want to go to a decent church. I want to go to a great church. But a lot of people are struggling just to even find a decent church to go to in their area. You know what? I agree that we need churches to be started up all over America that would be on fire, soul winning churches that would preach hard, and stand strong on doctrine, and knock the doors, and win souls to Christ. It's definitely something that's needed, but a lot of people are constantly talking to me and constantly coming to me and saying, "Hey, are you sure that I have to be sent out by a local church?"

Just recently a guy, and I don't mean not that their heart's not in the right place, a guy said, "Man, you know, we need a church over here. I want to start the church. I'm married. I have kids. I meet the qualifications. What do I have to do to start this church?" Basically right now, he's at a church that's not a very good church. Here's the thing. This church would never send him out to start a church, and basically he's disgruntled with that church, and the church is disgruntled with him and he's saying, "I need to start a different church out here. We need a good church out here." He said, "Could I just fly out there and you could just lay hands on me and just send me out to start a church?"

I don't know you, but not only that. It's not just that I don't him because even if I did know him, the point that I'm trying to get across is that in order to succeed at starting a church, you first have to be faithful with that which is another man's before you can be faithful with your own. Honestly, you're not properly trained if you're disgruntled and leaving a disgruntled church and you're disgruntled. You don't even know what it's like. You haven't yet succeeded in the right kind of church, and been there, and been a blessing, and been an asset, and succeeded in that local church to go out and then pastor a church. I think sometimes people just don't fully comprehend or register just how difficult it is to start a church.

You can say it until you're blue in the face and explain it to people, but I think it just goes over people's head. They just think just, "Yeah, just, yeah, just start a church," like it's just that easy, like, "Yeah, you just ... Oh, there's no good church there? Just start one. Start a church. Yeah, piece of cake, right?" Starting a church is really hard. I know because I've done it and because I've helped other people do it and talked to other people who have done it. It's extremely difficult. You're not just automatically just going to succeed at it. Now if you're going to succeed at it, you need to have basically every advantage that you can get.

Part of that is that you need to be in the will of God. That means you need to follow scripture. Part of that scriptural pattern is that the church begets the church. Everything brings forth after its own kind. The church begets the church. Whenever people in the Bible are a pastor or a bishop or sent out as an evangelist to go and start a church in an area, they're always ordained, and they had the laying on of hands, and they were sent out with the blessing of the church, and they were separated out by the church and prayed over and sent out. It wasn't just, "I'm disgruntled with my church, so I'm going to go start a church."

That's not a scriptural model for starting churches. The elders, the bishops, the pastors were ordained. The deacons were ordained. Now you say, "Well, what about the apostle Paul?" Here's the thing. The apostle Paul was ordained by God to be an apostle. He was ordained to be an apostle. Now we don't have any apostles today because the apostles are those which saw the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected, and He appeared unto them, and He ate and drank with them. He sent them out, He gave them power. They were able to perform special miracles the Bible said. Notice the word 'special miracles'. Some people teach that, "Oh, every Christian can do those miracles."

No, it said special miracles that were done by the hands of the apostles. He specifically gave them power to cast out devils and to perform all these type of miracles. We see the apostle Paul ordained by God, the 12 apostles ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, but then we also see bishops and deacons being ordained by the churches, being ordained by the apostles, and then the bishops ordaining other bishops, and so forth, not just this freestyle free for all of just, "I'm mad at my church. I'm disgruntled. I'm going to go start a church." You say, "Oh, man, you're just being all technical. All these pesky qualifications and scriptural things," but you know what though?

Honestly, people are more likely to succeed anyway if they do it right and they do it God's way. Think about it. Aren't you going to be more likely to succeed if you actually go to a church that's succeeding, a thriving church, a soul winning church, a right church. You go there and you become a great follower at that church, and you first learn to be a follower. Then you can go out and be a great leader. But if you've never learned to be a great follower, there's a great chance that you're going to fail as a leader. Many do fail. It's not easy to succeed. You've got to do it God's way. Honestly, you say, "Well, yeah, but I don't want to be a great follower because my pastor's (blank) this, and he doesn't do this, and he's wrong on this," but then you know what?

You need to find somebody that you can follow. If you don't want to follow pastor Anderson, then you go find somebody that's following Christ that you believe in, and that you want to learn from, and that you want to serve under, and that you want to follow, and you need to be humble, and learn something, and grow, and be a great follower before you can be a great leader. Now some people, they just think that they're smarter and better than everybody. They just can't be under anybody's ministry, because I mean they're just smarter and better than everybody so how could ... Let's say that even if you were smarter and better than everybody, which I don't believe, and I don't even know who you are in this hypothetical scenario that I'm making up right now, but let's say that you were smarter and better than everybody.

You know who was smarter than everybody? Jesus. You know what He did? Submitted Himself unto His parents. The Bible specifically says in Luke chapter 2 that Jesus was subject unto His parents. He submitted unto them. He was a great follower. Even Jesus. You know who else He submitted to? The Father. The Father. The Son submitted unto the Father. Even the Lord Jesus Christ, who's going to rule and reign on this earth for a thousand years in the millennium according to I Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20, when that millennium is over, when that thousand year reign is over, He's going to deliver up the kingdom to the Father and be subject unto the Father.

That's what the Bible says in I Corinthians 15. Of course, we believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is God, but we believe in the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost, and these three are one, but the Bible does say that after the thousand year millennial reign of Christ, in I Corinthians 15, those who read the Bible know what I'm talking about, He says He will deliver up the kingdom to His Father and so forth. Therefore, no one is above being a follower. No one is above being under somebody else's ministry and learning from somebody. These people who think that, "Oh, Faithful Word Baptist Church is the only good church" or something, you know what?

Where did I go for the first 24 years of my life? You know what? I went to churches that I didn't agree with things about those churches. There were things that I was shaking my head about inside my heart, but you know what I did? I went there, and when I went to church at the churches I went to before I came here, honestly, I served in those churches. I went out and did the soul winning. I was involved in the program of the church. I was there Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I served in the ministries that they had. I served in the nursing home ministries. I served with the bus ministry. I served in children's church. I preached whatever chance I got, and I brought visitors to church.

I brought many visitors to church. I brought families to church. I would bring visitors to church. Now here's the thing. How can you start a church some day and bring people into your church that you're starting if you can't bring visitors to Faithful Word Baptist Church? Now you want to talk about that which is easy versus that which is hard? What's easier, bringing a visitor to Faithful Word or bringing visitors to your church that you start? Let's see, Faithful Word's got a big nice building. Faithful Word has got 100-and-some people on Sunday morning, 90-some people on Sunday night.

Faithful Word has got all kinds of things about it that make it seem like, "Okay, this is legit. This is an existing church. This is, 'Oh, look, all these children for my children to play with, these children that are here,' and 'Oh, look, there's all kinds of friends for me to have here. There's a whole bunch of people here.'" Okay, now let's think about the church that you're starting. It meets in your living room. They're the only ones that come. Think about it. When you first start a church, there are just a couple of people coming, and it's maybe the pastor's family and two people, three people. When we started Faithful Word Baptist, the first Sunday morning we had four visitors and my family.

That night we had two visitors and my family. Wednesday night it was just my family. Next week we had three people show up. What do you think is easier, saying to people, "Hey, why don't you come visit my church that's meeting in my living room," and when you get there, it's just you and maybe one other person, or saying, "Hey, come down to Faithful Word Baptist. Oh yeah, we've got a ton of kids your kids' age. Oh yeah, we've got all kinds of families your age. Oh yeah, we've got a big ... It's that big ... It's over on the corner of 48th and Southern," a corner that everybody knows that lives in the state of Arizona, 48th Street and Southern.

Anybody can find that. That's easy to find. How easy is it to find your neighborhood when you live in a residential house all buried in some neighborhood? You're not saying 48th and Southern. Back then, I was like, "We're on ..." I don't want to give my street address anymore. There's so many haters out there. I'm just kidding. You want to try to guide people through your neighborhood to get to your house and all that. It's harder. Just believe me, it's harder. It's harder to start a church than to bring visitors to an existing church. That's why you need to be faithful with another man's so that you can be faithful one day with that which is your own church that you're pastoring.

You've got to learn how to be a great church member before you can be a great pastor. You've got to be a great follower before you're going to be a great leader. You've got to get the practice now and succeed ... I remember I started my own business in the fire alarm business, but before that, I ran someone else's business before that. It was great because I made a lot of the mistakes with his business. Then when I started my business, I was like, "Okay, now I know how to do it," but first I had to learn to be faithful with somebody else's before I could start my own. That's the way it is with pastoring.

In the scripture that we just looked at there it says, "If you can't rule your own house, how can you take care of the church of God?" What's easier? The Bible's telling us here that it's easier to rule your own house, and if you're not able to succeed at that, you're not going to be able to succeed at pastoring. Now again, in addition to people asking me, "Hey, why do you have to be sent out of a local church? Can't we just bend that rule?" Another rule that people are constantly asking me to bend is to say, "Are you sure that the pastor has to be married? Are you sure he has to have kids? I mean why can't we just ... Think about all the churches we could start."

That's another thing that I've been asked a lot of times. I remember there was this guy in another part of the country that said this to me. He's like, "Oh, can't we just make an exception?" He's like, "I would love ..." He said, "I would love to have one of these young single guys from your church or that listen to your sermons come here and start a church. I'd bring my family to that church. I'd go to that church. Why are we being so strict about it?" Because it's God's word, but not only that though, I'm telling you there's no way that a single man is going to succeed at starting a church. Period. Not going to happen. It's just not going to happen, especially not a young, inexperienced, single guy.

People, again, they just don't understand what goes into it. God's saying, "Look, if you can't do that which is easy, you're not going to be able to do that which is hard." Here's the thing. If you think about the analogy of getting married and finding a wife, if you think about it, you find a wife. Now when you find a wife, she's not going to be the perfect wife. Here's the thing. You have to sometimes maybe teach her some things and guide her. Now everybody has different testimonies and things. Now I know with my wife, my wife when I met her was not saved, when I met her. I had to win her to Christ, and get her baptized, and get her in church, and teach her the Bible.

Of course, she got saved before I even would think of dating her, marrying her, and so forth. She had to get saved, she had to learn the Bible, and then I had to lead her and teach her in the Christian faith. Don't you think that was a great practice or training for then turning around and what am I doing as a pastor? I'm going to go out and knock on somebody's door, and I'm going to find somebody that's not saved, and I'm going to get them saved, and then I'm going to get them baptized, and then I'm going to teach them the principles of the Bible. Now think about this. If you can't get one person in your church, which would be ... Let's just call that your church, and I'm not preaching some house church thing, but I'm just saying let's your family's like a church in a sense. Every man is kind of the pastor of his family, the shepherd of his family.

Think about this, if you can't get one woman recruited to follow you, which is basically what marriage is. When you get married, ladies, you're going to follow that guy, right? Isn't that what the Bible says, that you're going to be subject unto him, and that the man is the head of his wife, and that the wife is subject to the husband? Look, when you're a husband and you're marrying a wife, you're basically promising that you're going to keep yourself only unto her, you're going to love her, you're going to provide for her, you're going to care for her until death. Basically what she is committing to you is that she is going to follow you, and be faithful to you, and obey you. She's putting herself ... Because that's what marriage is. Now out in the world, there's this 50/50 stupid marriage, but biblical marriage is involving an authority structure where the husband's the leader. Who here thinks the husband is the leader of the home? Say 'amen.'

Congregation: Amen.

Speaker 1: The husband is the leader of the home, so hold on a second. If you think about it, marriage is almost a bigger commitment for the woman, because she's committing basically, "Where he leads me, I'm following." Now it's almost in a sense less of a commitment for the man, because at least he's the leader. He doesn't have to put as much faith and trust in his wife as she has to put in him. She's having to fully trust him to pay the bills, to lead, to guide, to direct, and to take the family in the right direction. Now isn't a pastor a leader? Isn't the husband a leader? The Bible says, "If a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?"

The ruler in the home is the husband, and if he can learn to rule his house, he's going to be able to be a ruler in God's house. What the Bible is teaching here is that, look, if you could get a woman to follow you, then that is step one toward learning how to be a pastor of a church, being the pastor of one person. Now if you can't even find one person that's willing to join your "church" or get on your program or follow you, whatever you want to call it, how do you expect to get some hair-legged man to follow you some day when you're pastoring? How are you going to get a hundred people? You think that you're just going to go out and just 100 people to follow you just like that, right?

You're just going out, "Oh, man, if it weren't for these pesky qualifications, if it weren't for this rule about getting sent out and getting ordained, man, I'd just go out and just, boom, 100 people, 200, 300. It's easy. Knock doors, win souls, preach. I can do that." Okay, where's your one follower, that's a woman? Show me the one female follower. You say, "Well, there just aren't enough Christian girls in our church." Okay, hold on a second. That's what your church is going to be made up of, right, just all ... You're just going to go out and just find all church going Christians? You're going to go out and start a church, and everybody you recruit to your church are all going to be already Spirit filled church going Christians? Is that your plan, Brother [Romero 00:35:58]? You're going to go to Fort Worth, and your whole church is just going to be nothing but already sanctified, Spirit filled, Godly, three to thrive ... What?

Congregation: Fundamental Baptists.

Speaker 1: Yeah, fundamental Baptists. That's all he's going to reach is just fundamental Baptists. He's going to take them from other churches. That's his plan. You'd say that's ridiculous. You know what Brother Romero's actually going to do? He's actually going to find people that have a long way to grow, and people that have a long way to go, and he's going to find people that in many cases are not saved or maybe they are saved but they have a lot of growing to do. Maybe they haven't even been baptized. Maybe they don't even know about some basic doctrine. But see that's what I'm saying. It's the same thing with your wife.

You might not necessarily just find the ready made perfect wife. It'd be great if you do find that girl that's just a godly, saved, fundamental Baptist, Baptist born, Baptist bred, when she dies she'll be Baptist dead, that just package deal, just already no assembly required. She is just, she cooks, she cleans, she's a virtuoso piano player, she's gorgeous. But here's the thing. When you find that girl, she's not going to want anything to do with you. Here's the thing. What I'm saying is it's the same job, my friend, the same job of ... Look, here's the thing. I'm not saying that everybody should go out and find an unsaved girl and win her to Christ and do that, because you know what?

Honestly, it's great if you can find one that's already in church and saved and everything. Of course, that would be a best case scenario as it were but, honestly, if you look at a lot of people that are pastoring, how about myself? I won her to the Lord before we dated. I won her to the Lord. Okay, Pastor Roger [Jimenez 00:37:56], guess what? He won his wife to the Lord. He met her at Subway. They were both working at Subway. She was his boss at Subway. Now the tables are turned. Pastor Roger Jimenez met his wife at Subway. They both just reached for the cucumbers at the same and ... No, I'm just kidding. That's where they met, but here's the thing.

He won her to Christ, and taught her, and got her in church, and did all that. Brother Dave [Bersons 00:38:28], pastoring in Prescott Valley, same thing. His wife was not saved. He got her into church, and saved, and baptized, and everything like that, and taught her. What I'm saying is that is sometimes the way it works. Other times, there are a lot of other people who have great testimonies. Thankfully, all these little kids that are growing up in our church will probably grow up and have a ton of Godly people to choose from to get married to by the time this real young generation grows up and they have just a huge singles group to draw from.

That's great. That's a blessing, but be that as it may, any way you slice it, no excuses about it, if you're not ready for marriage, you're not even close to being ready to pastor. If you haven't had children, you're not even close to being ready to start a church. You might think, "Oh, man, the work of God's being hindered." No it isn't, because you know what it would be is a bunch of failure. It would be a bunch of yahoos going around and starting churches and screwing it up. That's what it would be, my friend. I'm not trying to be rude. I'm just being honest with you. I'm just telling you the truth. God knows what He's talking about.

We can't just sit there and say, "Oh, man, these rules. I tell you what." God's rules are not the problem. It's not that we just, "Oh, man, if we could only just put all these young singles behind the pulpit, man, we'd just set the nation ablaze." No we wouldn't, and you know what we ... "Oh, if we could just get rid of that thing about being sent out, all these guys all over the world that listen to Pastor Anderson's sermons could just start great churches where they live." No, that's not the way it would work. It would not succeed. God knows what He's talking about. You know what?

If somebody really wants to be starting a church and being trained, then they need to move somewhere because, look, how are you going to have the faith to start some mountain moving Baptist church if you don't even have the faith to move across the country if need be or at least not even across the country, across the state or whatever just to get a place that you could get trained? Or if you have something already in your town, you'd get trained there. Or go to a distant city. Look, Abraham had to leave Ur of the Chaldees and go into Canaan. People throughout the Bible were asked at different times to geographically relocate. Honestly, I thank God that when I was in Sacramento, California, I had a great church to go to.

I didn't have to pass sea and land to go there. I went to that church, and I submitted in that church, and I was not a rabble-rouser or a trouble maker in that church. I went there, I served, I succeeded, I learned. Honestly, I would have just been trained there all along, but my pastor just wasn't training me, so basically I went somewhere else to get trained for a while, and then I came back. Honestly, you've got to get the training. You've got to get the foundation. You've got to put the root down deep before you're going to go out and do a great work for God. You need to start by being a great husband and being a great father. Then you can become a great pastor. That's what the Bible says. "If a man know not how to rule his own house," that's okay because we need churches really bad. Is that what it says?

Congregation: No.

Speaker 1: Look, He told Titus in Titus 1, "Things are lacking. There are churches and cities that have no pastor, that have no elder." He said, "Here's the qualifications." He didn't say, "But if you can't find anybody with these, just find somebody." No. It's not worth it. Bringing visitors is harder in a new church than in an established church. Pastoring the church is harder than dealing with your wife and children. Being a great church member and being an asset to the church is easier than starting a church or pastoring a church. Now what about this one? If you would, turn to John 13. What about this one? Preachers who won't go soul winning in America, but they're going to go be a foreign missionary and go soul winning in some foreign language that they don't even speak.

If you can't be a soul winner in America in English, that you're good at, that you were born speaking, yet we're supposed to believe you're going to go to some foreign country an be an awesome soul winner. They go around, they show the slide shows. I always love how these missionaries are going to start churches. Why don't you start one and then we'll talk? But they're going to start churches. Oh, wow but, okay, let's go soul winning. "Oh, I'm busy." "Oh, I don't know." "Oh, I've got stuff to do." They can't do any soul winning. They don't want to do any soul winning, but they're going to go over to Mozambique and, man, they're going to do a lot of soul winning over there.

Of course, they don't know the language. Of course, they don't know a lick of the language. You try to help them learn the language. I've tried. Look, I love missions. Did you know that I was going to be a missionary? When I was a teenager, I was going to be a missionary and when I was a young adult. When I married my wife, I told my wife, I said, "Honey, I just want you to know that if you marry me, I just want you to know that I'm probably going to be a missionary to a foreign country. I just want to make sure that that's where ..." She said, "I'll follow you anywhere, baby." Basically I told her, because that was my plan, because it meant a lot to me.

That's why I learned a lot of foreign languages. I decided instead to start a church in America because I saw that the home base needed a lot of help here in America, so I started a church here because it's so needed, plus because no church would ever support me as a missionary anyway. Whenever missionaries would come through my church, I always loved missionaries. I would always take them out to eat and try to ... We'd help them out and try to encourage them and everything. I would always ask them, "Are you learning the language," because I love languages. Even to this day, I love foreign languages. I'm always studying some language.

I would take them and say, "Are you learning a language?" I'd always say to them, "Can I help you learn the language," because I said, "You know, I know how to learn languages. I've learned a few languages, and I traveled throughout Germany, and I know German and Spanish. I can help you learn." I would even try to buy them materials and show them how to do it and give them tapes and CDs and stuff. They'd always say, "No, no, no. I've been told ..." This is what every missionary says, all of them. Pastor [Bergens 00:45:13] just told me that somebody just told him this two weeks ago, a missionary that came and visited him, "I've been told that it's better not to learn the language before you get there, because it's just going to confuse you. You need to learn it once you get there and spend two years sitting in a language school."

Why don't you just get there and start winning souls because you actually already learned the language? If you're so confused that you can't learn a language from CDs or tapes, maybe you're not called to be a missionary, if you're that inept at foreign languages. Maybe God's just not calling you to a foreign country. But they're like, "Oh, I've been told," but here's the thing. You can't learn the language here, but you're magically going to learn the language there? You can't listen to the teacher's help Swahili CD while driving down the road for hours and hours every day between churches. You can't listen to that, but over there you're just magically going to learn the language.

You're not a soul winner here. You're just magically going to be a soul winner when you get there. This one missionary came through. He said he was going to be a missionary to Brigham City, Utah. He said it's 90-some percent Mormon. It's the most Mormon city in America. I walked up to him after the service and said, "Have you ever won a died in the wool Mormon to Christ? Have you ever won a devout Mormon to Christ?" He said, "No, never, not one." But he's going to be a missionary to Brigham City, and he's going to win all the Mormons to Christ in Brigham City. "Have you ever won one Mormon to the Lord?" "No." But magically you're going to do it over there. Oh, I know you can't run with the footmen, but magically you're going to run with the horses.

Oh, I know that in the land of peace you're tired, and panting, and worn out, but in the swelling of Jordan you're going to just be swimming upstream. Oh, I know that you never go soul winning in America. You never get anybody saved in America, but when you get over there you're starting churches and you're going to win the whole country to Christ. I know that you can't learn the language here, oh, but you'll learn it over there. Oh, I know that you've been a pain in the neck to every church you've ever gone to, but some day you're going to be the most awesome pastor in America. I know that you've never even been able to find one girl that would follow you, but you're going to have just an army of hair-legged blue collar men following you in your church some day.

Do you see what I'm saying, folks? Do you see what the scripture ... Oh, I know you love God. You don't love your brother in Christ, you don't love your sister in Christ. You're never helping people that need help. You never do anything for anybody. You can't get along with anybody in your church. You can't get along with your physical brother and sister. You can't get along with your spiritual brother and sister. You can't get along with your spouse. But I know you love God. But no, if you don't love your brother, you don't love God. If you don't love your wife, you don't love God. If you don't love your husband, you don't love God. That's what He said. He said, "How can you love God whom you've not seen when you don't even love the people that you have seen? And this commandment have we from Him that he who loveth God love his brother also."

People always just have this pie in the sky idea of what they're going to do down the road, and what they're capable of, and what they can do, and how they're going to do this, and they're going ... They're boasting of the morrow is what they're doing. Speaking of learning languages, it's funny because you know what it takes to learn a foreign language? A lot of hard work. It takes studying. You know what you learn from? Books. You get a book, and you study it, and you read it, and it's hard. I know. I've learned a bunch of foreign languages. I only speak a few languages right now, but there was a day when I spoke even more languages because I studied, and traveled, and learned how to speak several languages.

You know what? There's so many gimmicks out there that just tell, "Oh, you learn it in seven days." "Learn it in ten days." "The easy way to learn." "No memorization." You can't learn a language with no memorization. That's bizarre. "No memorization, no drills, no flash cards. It's easy, the way you learned your first language." Okay, so I guess I'm going to start nursing, and I'm going to say 'mama' after one year of study. It's so stupid to sit there and say ... But this is what it is though. People like to just spend money on things. They're just like, "I'm going to learn Spanish." Here's the first step, a thousand bucks for Rosetta Stone. "Yeah, I'm making progress. I'm getting there." It's like they just think that buying this program ... But here's the ... If you can't learn, if you can't even just learn Spanish from stuff that's for free online.

Before I ever went out and bought some thousand dollar Rosetta Stone, you know what I would do first? First I would get the trial and learn it, and I'd learn everything I could for free online. I'd go to the library and get some books and get some CDs. You can get stuff at the library, CDs, books, whatever. I'd learn as much as I could and see if I'm even capable of learning this, see if I even have the discipline, see if I have the ... Before I went out and shelled out a bunch of money for some program. You know what? You know there are just a ton of people, I wish we could give a number of how many people have bought Rosetta Stone and just not learned it.

You know what I mean? It's got to be a lot. They just spent that thousand bucks. If you can't do it without that, you're not going to do it with that. If you can't learn it here, you're not going to learn it there, but people, they love to just shell out the money because there's a pie in the sky. "Oh yeah, I'm going to do this." The Rosetta Stone advertising is so ridiculous. "No memorization. Easy, the way you learned your first ..." Look, it took me a long time to learn my first language, and I worked on it all day every day. After one year, I could say 'mama' and 'dada' after a year of study.

Now I hope Rosetta Stone's going to teach me more than that in 12 months of working at all day every day. "The way you learned your first language." You're not going to learn it the way you learned your first language, unless you're going to enter into your mother's womb a second time and be born. What are you going to do, just drop yourself off in some foreign country and somebody else is going to spoon oatmeal into your mouth and say, "Say mama, mama, mama, ma, ma, ma." You're not going to learn it the way you learned your first. You're going to learn it through hard work. You're going to learn it through memorization.

You're going to learn it through boring drills. You're going to learn a bunch of grammar. That's how you learn. It's work. That's how you get it done. You know the other thing that people love to buy? Fitness equipment. Fitness equipment. That's why if you ever want to buy fitness equipment, get it used, because on Craigslist there's a million pieces of fitness equipment that you can get used, because everybody's got the, "Oh yeah, I'm going to do this program. It's going to be great." They go out and spend just thousands of dollars on real expensive equipment. Here's the thing though, never done a push-up.

How much equipment does it take to do a push-up? No equipment needed. That's where it's ... Here's the thing. Before I ever bought a piece of fitness equipment, you know what I would do? As many push-ups as I can, as many sit-ups as I can, as many pull-ups as I can. Before I went out and bought a treadmill, I'd run down the street a few times and say, "Okay, can I run down the street? Can I run around the block? Can I run at the park?" Why? Because if I can't do a push-up, and I can't do a pull-up, and I can't do a sit-up, and I can't run down the street, some $14,000 piece of equipment is not going to make me in good shape.

If I can't even just go to the library and just get some CDs and tapes or go online and learn some basics of the language, Rosetta Stone is not just miraculously going to teach me that language. If I can't win souls in America, I'm not just going to be able to just automatically win souls in a foreign country. If I can't be a great church member, I'm never going to be a great pastor. You've got to be able to prove yourself first. Before I ever wanted to start a church in Utah I'd say, "Let's see if I can win a Mormon to Christ in Mesa, Arizona." Look, if you're here today and you feel like God's calling you to start a church in Utah today, that's nobody, but if you did, if I were you, I'd go to Mesa and try to win those Mormons to the Lord in Mesa.

If you go to Mesa and can't win any Mormons to the Lord, don't go to Utah. God said not to go somewhere if they're unreceptive. He said, "If they don't receive your word, shake off the dust of your feet and go somewhere else," so if you can't win a Mormon to the Lord. I'm not saying nobody can win a Mormon to the Lord. Whoever can do it should go there. You know what I mean? Seriously. But you've got to prove yourself first. Are you listening? Prove yourself in your marriage and children whether you have what it takes to pastor. Prove yourself in soul winning in America before you think about soul winning in another country.

Prove yourself with being a great leader in the local church under the pastor before you decide you're going to go out and be the senior pastor somewhere and lead the show. Prove yourself whether you can do the push-ups consistently before you go out and buy the bench press. This is a bench press on the ground with no equipment. It's free. What I'm saying is we need to understand that if we can't do the easy stuff, if we can't do the stuff that's free, if we can't do the stuff that's cheap, if we can't do the stuff that is basic and beginner level, then we're not going to be able to do the expert level things in life.

That's what God is constantly teaching us. Now let me give you one final point. You're there in John 13. Look at verse 36. "Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, the cock shall not crow till thou hast denied me thrice." Now Peter here is talking big, isn't he? "I'll lay down my life for you, Jesus," but you know what? In just a moment, he's going to deny that he even knows Christ to a maiden, to a damsel, a woman who's the waitress where he's taking refreshment.

The waitress comes and says, "Hey, weren't you with Jesus?" "I don't know who you're talking about," denies. Here's the final point. If you can't live for Christ, you won't die for Jesus Christ. Think about it. If you can't even live for Him, you bet you're not going to die for Him. "Oh, I'll die for Him. I'll die for Christ. I'll lay down my life." That's what Peter said. Did he do it? Does every Christian who thinks they're going to die for Christ, are they all faithful unto death? Apparently not, because Peter, he denied that he knew Him just to try to save his own skin.

Let me say this. If you can't serve Him now and be faithful to Him now, you will not do so in the tribulation. Think about it. Right now in America today, is it illegal to go soul winning? Is it illegal to read your Bible, to pray, to go to church? What if it were illegal? If you can't even be faithful in the land of peace, and that's what the verse said in the beginning. It says, "If in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?" If you can't even be faithful to Christ when it's peaceful, when it's legal, when the persecution is at a low level, how are you ever going to handle tribulation and persecution that's to come? How are you going to handle it? You've got to start being prepared now. Here's how you get prepared now for the tribulation that's coming.

You serve God now, you're faithful now, you're strong now, you read your Bible now, you pray now, you're faithful to church now. Then when the tribulation comes or when other persecution comes, you're going to be able to be strong enough to withstand and to do it. But if you can't do that which is easy, you can't do that which is hard. Do not be boastful or even in your own heart or even in your own mind to think, "Oh, man, I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that" or even to think, "Oh, man, I could do so much better at this or that," go into your job and you could run the whole company. You'd be such a better owner of the company. You'd be such a better boss and, "Pastor Anderson, I could do way better than Pastor Anderson. I could do way better than what these other pastors are doing. Just give me a chance to get out there. I'll show these guys." But you know what though? Honestly, I hope you do. I hope you do go out and start a great business some day.

I hope that you do go out and start a great church some day. I hope that you do some day do greater works than I've ever dreamed of doing. But let me tell you something. Prove yourself now, to yourself, to the Lord, and to our church, because if you can't, then you're not ready. Did you hear me? If you can't serve in this church and succeed in this church, you are not going to be ready to pastor. You can't succeed in marriage and child rearing, you're not ready to ... I'm not saying you're a bad person. I'm not saying you're a loser. I'm not saying you're a failure. There was a time when I was not ready.

There was a time when I probably would have thought I was ready. You know what I mean? If you would have come to me if I was 18 or 19, if God would have said to me when I was 18 or 19, "Hey, I'm going to make an exception in these qualifications for you, Steven Anderson. I'm going to lay hands on you," the angel of the Lord appeared unto me, and laid hands on me, and said, "You're ordained. Go out and start a church," I would have thought, "Yeah, I can do this," and I would have totally failed, because I learned a lot from the time I was 18 to the time I was 24. What happened during that time? Getting married and having three kids and living more of life.

I'm not saying you're dumb, you're a loser, you're a failure if you're struggling at your job, if you're struggling to find a wife, if you're struggling to succeed in our church, or you struggle to bring visitors. All I'm saying is that that's what you need to focus on achieving, and you're not ready for bigger, better things until you can learn to be a great follower, and just try to succeed where you are, and be content with where you are in life, and succeed at that. Then when you're ready, you move forward.

Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, please just help us, Lord, to be ready when the swelling of Jordan comes, when difficult times come, when the tribulation comes, Lord, when just persecution comes or when we have big opportunities before us to pastor a church or to start a business or to raise a family, Lord. Help us to be ready for these things by serving you now. Help us to never think that our job now is too small, it doesn't matter, we're not going to give it our best. Help us to realize that every little thing that we do now is helping us to learn faithfulness for the big things later. Help us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.