Grace and Truth
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 9 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Grace and Truth)
KEEPING BUZZARDS AWAY
Rizpah had lost two sons in death. In order that the fouls of the air did not eat their bodies, she positioned herself by the dead bodies of her sons and protected them from the carnivorous creatures who were circling with inflamed appetites. II Samuel 21:10.
When God told Abraham that he and Sarah would have a son, God wanted to confirm it, so He told Abraham to take a heifer three years old, a she goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtle dove and a pigeon and lay them side by side on the altar. This Abraham did. God was going to confirm His promise by allowing fire to fall and consume the sacrifices.
Abraham takes the sacrifices and lays them side by side on the altar, but wait! He sees vultures. Where could they have come from? This he did not know, but he saw them hastening to their prey. Look at old Abraham spring into action. With the vigor of his youth he drives them away and positions himself to protect the sacrifice. We too are to protect the sacrifice and are to drive away the buzzards.
1. The sacrifice of Christ. These vultures who are after the sacrifice on the altar are not all dead. Let a church spring up carrying the message of Calvary, and watch these carnivorous creatures collect to criticize. Let a preacher become aflame with evangelism, and watch these buzzards buzz and burn and bellow and bark. Let a church find its altars filled with new babes in Christ and its buildings begin to bulge, and watch these fouls flock to flay.
This is the great object of attack by our enemy. He attacks the sacrifice of Christ. Beloved, we may differ on baptism and still be brethren, but we cannot differ on Calvary and still be brethren. We may differ on communism and still be brethren, but we cannot differ on Calvary and still be brethren. We can differ on prophecy and still be brethren, but we cannot differ on Calvary and still be brethren. We can differ on predestination, healing, sanctification, or even denomination and still be brethren, but we cannot differ on Calvary and still be brethren.
Notice Genesis 15:11 calls them fouls. These who would take away the bloody sacrifice are not called reverend but fouls. They are not called brethren but fouls. They are not called rabbi or pastor or father or minister, but fouls. God calls them what they are. May we do likewise to these who have disarmed God's infantry, sealed the gates of hope and nailed shut the windows through which the light of the Word of God wants to shine.
Notice that we are to chase them off. We are not to join their church, belong to their ministerial association, share communion with them, attend their schools or call them reverend. We are to chase them off.
Some of these buzzards are found in college classrooms. Others are found behind high school desks. Still others wear seminary robes. Some even stand behind pulpits. They lodge in the branches of the kindergarten waiting to destroy the faith of our children. They hide on the limbs to deceive the lambs. They hover the trees in our high schools to destroy the teens. They wait at the matriculation desk at the university to shipwreck our youth. They hide with flocks of doves and appear as doves in order to peck away at the sacrifice.
One of these kites called me on the phone one day. He is a pastor of a church. He asked me if I could spend some time with him instructing him on how to build a Sunday school. I asked him if he believed in the virgin birth.
He said, "No."
I asked him if he believed in the vicarious death of Christ.
He said, "No."
I asked him if he believed the verbal inspiration of the Scripture.
He said, "No."
He asked me if I would instruct him about Sunday school growth. I said, "No!"
He replied that I had a bad spirit. I told him I did not have a bad spirit toward him but toward his work. I told him, "I am set for the defense of the cross and the Christ of the cross." I told him if he ever had a flat and I saw him on the street, I would help him fix the flat. If he were hungry, I would feed him. If he were naked, I would clothe him. If he were in trouble, I would help him, but I told him when he got up to preach the next Sunday and denied the Bible, the virgin birth, the new birth, the blood atonement, and the cardinal truths of God's Word, I hoped he would get hiccups!
When I was a little boy my mother used to hold the Bible up before me and say, "Son, this is the Word of God." She would make me repeat it after her several times. She would say, "Son, say, 'The Bible is the word of God."' I would say it over and over again, night after night, week after week, month after month.
Several years ago I was asked by a nationwide Christian magazine to debate with a liberal and have that debate published in the magazine. This I did. When the debate was over, the liberal preacher complimented me by suggesting that I had a pretty sharp mind. He then asked me how a man with a mind like mine could still believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that Jesus is God's Son.
I looked at him frankly and said, "Because I'm scared of Mama!" Then I said, "If you had a mother like mine, you wouldn't be a heathen either!"
Beloved, when these ravens come to pick away at the sacrifice of Christ, make light of His Word, His atonement, His virgin birth and the foundations of the Gospel, we ought to love them but their false teachings and their works should make our blood boil, our cheeks flush, our eyes moisten and our fists clench!
Let us stay at the sacrifice and fight off these fouls who teach an earth with no creation, a Gospel with no good news, an altar with no sacrifice, a cross with no atonement, a Christ with no deity, a Bible with no inspiration, an eternity with no Heaven, a Jonah with no whale, a Noah with no flood, a Daniel with no lions' den, \a Hell with no fire, a kingdom with no King, a death with no resurrection, and a salvation with no regeneration!
There is, however, a danger. We can become so enchanted with fighting off the buzzards that we spend our entire life chasing buzzards only to find ourselves away from the sacrifice. Abraham was not in the buzzard-chasing business He was in the sacrifice-protecting business. Let us never forget the reason we are to keep the fouls away from the sacrifice is to keep the message straight so it can be preached and people can be saved.
Recently while preparing these thoughts I was flying from Philadelphia to Chicago. The stewardess brought a meal. As I began to eat, a fly circled the landing strip with a desire to sit at my snack bar with me. I drove him away. Why? I was protecting the food. I had nothing in particular against the fly. I didn't even know him and as long as he would leave my food and me alone, I would leave him alone. However, he so irritated me by continuing to share my lunch that I tried to kill him. Soon I forgot I was protecting my lunch and got busy trying to kill the fly. I even turned around to try to get him. I did get him only to find when I turned back to my food that two other flies were feasting because of my folly.
This is what so often happens to preachers. We get busy fighting communism off the sacrifice and we leave the sacrifice and chase communism. We get busy fighting the sex education program off the sacrifice and we spend our hives fighting the sex education program. We leave the sacrifice in order to fight its enemies and leave it unguarded. Let us not leave the sacrifice or other birds will come.
2. The sacrifice of self. Romans 12:1, "1 beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." No sooner is a Christian off his knees at the altar until some buzzard offers him a drink, tells him a dirty joke, offers him some dope or a cigarette, or laughs at his Christian faith. No sooner does a person receive the Saviour until he finds some raven criticizing his church or some kite showing him the kingdoms of this world and offering them at a reduced rate.
Beloved, let us give our lives to the guarding of these sacrifices-the sacrifice of our Saviour on Calvary and the sacrifice of our bodies on the altar of service for Christ.
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