That Old Time Religion...is it really Lost?
Ahh...the Morning comes! It's 1958. The bright sunshine and birds are singing, the grass is definitely green and our hearts fly here and there, we feel great, we rested well and we are 100% renewed. It's Sunday morning and we get ready for Church and Sunday School, we embrace the Lord and begin with praying in our hearts and “Thanking the Lord for such a wonderful day”! We walk into the Sanctuary, all the while smiling and softly speaking with those we know and even the Church is looking remarkable, this fine morning. We sing a couple of Hymns and approach the Alter of God in Humility through Prayer and then the Sermon is to begin. Now for just a moment, lets reflect for a moment, that I am talking about a Church in the Southern USA, which I know is a little different than our Counterparts else-where. So remind yourself of this, now and then as you read. Now to the Sermon.
“God's Word is infallible, it is absolute Truth and Wisdom! Therefore anything your read in God's Word, must be absolute Truth and you must take this Word of God into your Hearts and meditate on it, believing it and letting it work through your life, everyday! You CAN NOT be a Born-Again Christian, a True Follower of Jesus Christ if that is not first in your life! You CAN NOT expect to see Heaven unless you keep the Word of God, fully centered in everything you do everyday of your life! You MUST be washed in the Blood of Jesus Christ, you MUST bring your SIN to the Cross of Jesus Christ and Leave it there! You MUST seek Jesus Christ at every turn of your life, any decision, any idea you may have, because the road to Heaven is narrow! My Brothers and Sisters, there is no other way to Heaven! It says in
Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." That is straight from the Word of God! It is to Be Believed, without question, it is from the mouth of God! If you ever stop for one moment and you look around yourself and you see that you are on a very wide road through life, then for your Soul's sake GET OFF IT!! I don't care what others tell you, I don't care if they say your square or a geek or even stupid, GET OFF IT!!! Call Jesus Christ by name, tell Him your a sinner and you need Him to save you, because if you don't you are headed for Hell Eternal!!!”
Back in the day, probably the 50's and the 60's, the pastor would be banging on the Pulpit, screaming at the top of his lungs, as he brought the Word of Truth! Sweat would be rolling down his face in big droplets and he would be visibly shaking. The only other place I heard sermons like these, was at the Tent Revivals with my Mom and Dad when I was a kid. Scary at first, yet, in time you began to expect it and for some, they would relish it. Back then they used to call this “The Old-Time religion”. Others used to call it the “Hell-fire and Damnation” religion. But I have to tell ya, it was relevant back then and is still relevant today, we see few of these Preachers today though.
“That is the sermon for this morning! Hell's fire, it's damnation, it's finality, it's endless pain and suffering the likes you could never imagine in a million years! Yet there is one thing we have today, that will NOT exist in Hell and that my Friends is HOPE! Hope will no longer exist for you in Hell. You had the opportunity of Hope when you were alive, yet for whatever reason, you ignored it! It was your choice, it was your decision, you did this all by yourself, no one helped you, no one held your hand, YOU...TURNED YOUR BACK ON JESUS CHRIST...ALL BY YOURSELF!!! YOU are responsible for YOU being in Hell and YOU get to think on this for all Eternity! As your face slides from your skull, as your eyes melt and fall out, as you scream in pain and utter agony, you get to remember...THIS is your choice!!” And the Pastor would slam his Bible down on the pulpit, the Microphone resonating and amplifying the BOOM! “Why?! WHY?!?! Would YOU choose this existence for yourself?! Do you not understand the Written English language?! You never got through school, you don't know how to read?! THEN FIND SOMEONE TO READ IT TO YOU!! Get on your knees...BEG to be forgiven of your sin...ask Jesus to come into your heart and make YOU clean once again! Don't give up, don't give in to Sin, don't go away angry!! Go away SAVED...through Jesus Christ and HIS Blood on the Tree!!” Again there would be the BOOM through the microphone, everyone would be sitting up straight, as if they were on a Roller-Coaster! Every eye would be fixed on the Pastor as he would take a drink of water and mop his brow.
“What can I say?! WHAT...MUST I do, to get you people to understand, this is the TRUTH!! This is straight from the Mouth of God...to YOUR ears...HELL isn't half full!! And if you don't decide for yourself to follow Jesus Christ and be washed clean in His blood from the Cross...YOUR GOING TO HELL!!! In Hell, there is no day or night, there are no calenders, no holidays, no Christmas or Thanksgiving!! There are NO DAYS OFF for anyone!! You burn!! You Fry!! YOU sizzle and pop and burn you do!! And just when you think it's all over, you start this all over again!!! DAY IN AND DAY OUT! THERE IS NO REST!! Not so much as a single drop of cool, refreshing, clean tasting, water! You know how it is, when it's hot here in the south and you, you walk out into the fields and the dry dust hits you in the face and you turn your face away from the wind. Your mouth instantly becomes dry and you can taste the dirt and the grit in your teeth! Sweat begins to roll down your face, leaving tracks in the accumulated dust, until it settles on your neck. You think to yourself, Lord...it's so hot! All of a sudden the water from the garden hose, doesn't seem so bad, actually it sounds refreshing. So off to house you head and as you look around, all across the fields, you watch as the heat rises and waffles through the air, distorting everything behind it. You finally reach to house and the garden hose, you turn it on and the sparkling fluid rushes out and you taste the sweet, clean and cool water. The you take the hose, bowing your head and you let the water rush over your head. The dirt and dust rushing away, the heat of your head rushes away as well and suddenly you feel renewed and you thank the Lord for the water! HELL IS WORSE, FAR WORSE!! AND THERE IS NO END TO IT...EVER!!! Let's bow our heads in Prayer.”
Boy, what a roller-coaster ride this has been, right? You look at your watch and it's been 28 minutes and for just a second, you feel the need to run, run far, far away, never looking back! There were all the pauses, the drink of water, mopping his face, the occasional apology for the sweat and yet the ceiling fans would be at full tilt. The every-so-often re-reading of the Scriptures, the Call to the Alter, at every turn, the feeling of the congregation was quiet, solemn and reverent. The Hymns were “old-school”, but so greatly Loved and sang with pride and adoration for the Lord of Heaven. I have even been to a church where the children were in a totally different room, the adults were segregated as well, men on one side and women on the other, but remember this was 1958.
I am by no means, ridiculing those days or those sermons. In many ways, I wish those days and those Pastors were still around, those people were not afraid to stand up for what they KNEW was right! If it was written in the Bible, then God definitely said it! They believed it with all their hearts and they would never let go of it for one second or one day. How different this world is today, how accepting people are of whatever “Feels Good” to them. For that feeling, they are so willing to distort the very Word of God! And why is it this way?! Because we have learned to be “Tolerant”! Oh How wonderful of us. We must tolerate the Homosexuals, the Murders and thieves among us. “They didn't really mean it, they were high or drunk and well, you know, it just wasn't their fault. They may have been brought up that way, you know, by cruel parents that didn't care for them.!” And the list will go on and on, without end, and do you for one second truly believe them? Everyone KNOWS the difference between what is RIGHT and what is WRONG! To believe otherwise is pure hog-wash and you know it!
Some people even think, there is an excuse for not believing the Bible, they simply can't understand what it says. I tell them, that they don't follow Jesus Christ in sincerity, with a whole heart, they have simply made sounds with their mouth, that resemble they are a True Follower, but that they haven't given their lives over to Jesus Christ. There are some, that are sitting right there next to you in Church, have been there for years, they know the Hymns and they know when to yell “Amen”. Yet Jesus Christ does not live in their hearts, they have heard all the sermons and bowed their heads in prayer, yet...they have no idea to whom they are speaking. And of all the people, they are the ones that are trying desperately to understand why they are never blessed of the Lord, like others are.
Since the 1950's, nothing has changed, except the people of this world. The Word of God is still the only book that has the answers in it, that will save YOU from Hell. There are few Pastors that still preach Sin! More often than not, too many are preaching the “Feel Good” Gospel. “Oh, you never have to worry, everyone will eventually make it to Heaven. And why is that? Because our God is a loving God and He will accept us because we are “Good People”! That idea is WRONG! And if you for one second believe that, you my Friend are in for a really BIG surprise! The other message of today, is the “Prosperity Gospel”. “That everyone should believe in Jesus Christ and reap the benefits of Jesus hand on our lives and our bank accounts! If Jesus Loves you, you will know by Him Blessing you with wealth and Prosperity.” What utter hog-wash that is as well! I guess they never read in the Bible where it said Matthew 22:17-22 "Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them,Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way." In other words, give to the world what the world expects and to God all that HE expects of us. It has to do with whom you choose to follow, the world or Jesus Christ!
Maybe they missed the part about, Matthew 6:24 "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." That is so to the point, I couldn't say it any better, but then we are reading the Scriptures, right? What's “Mammon”? Actually, it is of this world and has nothing to do with our Lord and Savior or with Heaven! Many like to say Money, but that would engulf such a small amount, as opposed to the entirety of all things not of the Lord.
Let me put it to this way of thinking, as in the old days of better Pastors, that walked the walked and talked the talk, of Jesus Christ, of Life and death, of Heaven and hell! “You have nothing to fear, if you are following Jesus Christ...with a TRUE Heart! If this is you, then you never have to fear going to Hell. On the other hand, if you are “Tolerant” of everything, then you will see Hell, you will experience Hell! There is NO hope in Hell, there is no end to hell, there is no Day off in Hell! “There is a difference, as far as East is from the West, is Heaven and Hell and YOU must choose where YOU want to go! Paraphrasing is mine. I don't care what other people tell you! If you want the truth, about Heaven and Hell, of where you are going in Eternity, then you NEED to read the WORD OF GOD and Believe it, because it is the ONLY Truth there is! ALL YOU need to know, is that Jesus Christ is the only one that can save you! He is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, HE IS GOD!