IFB Sermon (Point 1)

This is part 2 of an IFB sermon critique.  The reader should consider reading the introduction to this series if he/she hasn’t already.  The introduction can be found here.  Remember that the sermon will be in regular font and the author’s comments/critiques will be in italics.
I. Stay in the Word of God.
Stay in the Word of God. Whatever comes your way. Whatever heartache comes your way, whatever trouble comes your way, whatever trial comes your way, stay in the Word of God. In verse number 32 it says, “They continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine.” They stayed in the Word of God. They stayed in the preaching of the Word of God. They stayed with the Word of God. So whatever you do, whatever else you do, whatever the rest of the solution is, start here by staying in the Word of God. May I remind you, that the Word of God has counsel for every relationship you have in life? The Word of God will tell you children in here how you ought to behave towards your mom and dad. It’ll tell you teenagers how you ought to honor them and respect them and how you ought to behave towards mom and dad.Do you know the Word of God will tell you how you ought to behave on your job? Whether you’re the employee or the employer, the Word of God will tell you how to behave in those relationships. The Word of God will tell us as a church how to behave in the relationships that we have here in the House of God. The Word of God has the answer, Beloved.
If  you have a relationship problem this morning, whatever it is. Oh, by the way, in your marriage, the Word of God will tell you how to handle those relationship problems. It’ll tell you husbands how you ought to live and how you ought to behave yourselves and how you ought to love your wives. It’ll tell you wives how you ought to honor, obey and submit yourselves to your husband. It has the answer. So stay in the Word of God. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, stay in the Word of God. Walk close to the Word of God.This Book is wisdom. “If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.” {He did not give the reference, but it is James 1:5.} How do you think he’s going to give you wisdom? He’s not gonna give it to you through some book written by “Chuck the Swindler.” He’s not gonna give it to you by some book that came down the latest tel-evangelist pike. The wisdom you need is in the Word of God. So whatever comes your way, whatever heartache you have, whatever problem you’re bearing, stay in the Word of God. It is wisdom.{He did not expand on this particular verse, so I’m going to take the opportunity to do so here. Let’s put it back in context and see if it is saying what he says it is saying. Starting in James 1 verse 1 it says in the NIV: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  So we see that through verse 4,  this is talking about what our attitude should be when facing trials. We are to be joyful. The first step on the road to being able to have joy in trials is by asking God for wisdom.Verse 5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” I heard a pastor once say that the word “if” is literally translated “since” in the Greek.  He said James is saying here “Since you lack wisdom…” The commentary in my Bible says, “Wisdom is not just acquired information but practical insight with spiritual implications.” This is a Godly wisdom that we are to continuously be asking for. This wisdom is something that God has promised to give to any of His children who ask for it. It could be asking for wisdom when doing day-to-day things like talking to people, running errands, working at your job, etc. God has promised to give it to you generously. He doesn’t say, “Well, you just sinned 30 seconds ago and now you’re asking for me to give you wisdom? No. He gives it to you without finding fault.But, to receive this wisdom, one must ask correctly. Verse 6 says “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt…” This means without wavering or hesitating. Believe that when you ask God for wisdom in dealing with any situation, that He will give you that wisdom. Continuing in verse 6 it says, “…because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” That person does not have any kind of anchor or foundation. They are tossed about by whatever life hands them. The doubter is double-minded and unstable according to verse 8. So, this passage is about more than just having a wisdom that comes from reading the Bible. It is talking about having the wisdom to deal with whatever trial may come your way. It is about asking God for that wisdom. I really wish the pastor would have talked a bit more about this passage. But instead, he glossed over it to get on to other things.}

Not only is it wisdom, but it’s health. Let me just turn over here real quick and share a passage of Scripture with you, if I might. Proverbs Chapter 3. You don’t need to turn there, necessarily. You might just jot it down. This is a powerful passage of Scripture. Solomon says, “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” Did you hear what he just said? He said if you’ll stay in the Word of God, it’ll add length of days, long life and peace. That’s what we want. That’s what we’re looking for. {Proverbs offers wisdom and advice not commands or law. It’s a “you’d be wise to consider this advice” instead of a “you must do this or else,” type of Book. To think that keeping the law (being perfect) would lead to a long life is a works based righteousness and God doesn’t work that way – at least not anymore. We are under grace and mercy now not law.

The Christians who were thrown to the lions in the days of the Apostles were not all older people. I’ve read that even small children were thrown to the lions. Those people might have been reading the Word of God, but it did not help them to gain favor with others of that time. What about someone who dies at a young age today? Does that mean the person was not reading their Bible, so God did not allow them to live a prolonged life?}

He says, so stay in the Word of God. He said, “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. Listen to verse 8. “It,” the Word of God, “shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”

I said this Book has the answer to your relationship problems. I’m convinced it has the answer to medical problems. It has the answer to the physical problems that come our way. Stay in the Word of God. Read the Word of God. It’s healthy to be in the Word of God. It’s wisdom. It’s health. {I must take issue with this sub-point. I’m not trying to minimize the importance of reading the Bible, but I’m not convinced that just reading the Bible is the answer for every medical or physical problem. I happen to know some people (and they have given me permission to use them as examples) who have some serious physical and medical problems. They do read and study their Bibles, but not in order to be healed from their afflictions. The reason they have those problems has not been made known.

In thinking about this, I was reminded of John 9 where the disciples asked Jesus why a man was blind. Was it because he sinned or his parents sinned? Jesus told them that it was not because anyone had sinned. The man was blind because God was going to use him as an example of His power. It could be that someone has a medical problem or physical problem because God just wants them to have it. No amount of Bible reading will change that. And furthermore, this sounds an awful lot like some sectors of the IFB’s stance against doctors and medical professionals.}

It cleanses. Psalm 119:9. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” Do you got personal sin you’re battling? Is it a personal problem that you’ve got? Do you have to overcome some personal habit or personal sin in your life? You say, “Preacher, I don’t know what to do.” Stay in the Word of God. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” Listen to the rest of the verse. “By taking heed to the Word of God.” So how am I gonna get victory over personal sin? How am I gonna get victory over that battle I’ve got in my life? I’m gonna stay in the Word of God. I don’t know what’s coming your way. I don’t know what’s in your life. But I do know this, you need to stay in the Word of God. It cleanses. {He did not say it, but conforming to what God says through His Word is how to heed the Word of God and cleanse a person’s way.}

Not only that, it saves. If you’re here this morning and you’re not saved, the Bible says that we’re “saved by faith.” It says, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” If you wanna know how to be saved this morning, don’t ask the Baptists, or the Catholics, or the Charismatics, or whoever it is. Look to the Word of God. Find out from the Word of God what you’ve gotta do to be saved. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” It saves. {The verse he is quoting here is Romans 10:17. The first thing to notice is that Paul is talking about the Jews and their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah at the beginning of the chapter. It can be expanded to include Gentiles, and that happens in verse 12. Hearing the Word of God does not mean just hearing any verse out of the Bible that is ripped out of context, though. In the different translations which I used to look up this verse, they all talk about a person receiving their faith through hearing the Gospel message. Romans 10:17 in the NLT says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”}

Not only that, it teaches. This Book will indoctrinate ya’. Do you know why the Jehovah’s Witnesses are Jehovah’s Witnesses? They’re JW’s because they have the JW book. Did you hear me? Did you know that for any of the cults or the groups like that to exist, they’ve gotta do two things? They’ve got to cast out the Word of God, first of all, and they’ve got to bring Jesus Christ down to a different level. There would be no Mormonism if they didn’t have a different book and if they didn’t bring Christ down to another level. There would be no Jehovah’s Witnesses or other countless groups out there if they did not minimize the Word of God and bring Christ down to another level. {There would be no IFB if they preached and taught Scripture in context. There would be no IFB if they didn’t put God in a box and make Him fit their mold of who God should be. Sorry! I’m getting a bit irritated as I type this.} Stay in the Word of God. This is the pure Word of God.

Hey! I showed you one word a while ago. I said to circle the word “for.” I cannot afford for one word in my Bible to be changed. One changing of that word alters your doctrine. Stay in the Word of God. Find out what you believe based on the Word of God. Do you believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ? Why do you believe that? Do you believe it because your momma and daddy told ya’? Do you believe it because you saw a little Christmas program? Do you believe it because you heard it over the airwaves? Why do you believe it? You ought to believe it because you got it out of the Word of God.

Why do you believe in the sinless life of Jesus Christ? Do you believe it just because you heard somebody say it? You ought to believe it because you got it out of the Word of God. Why do you believe in the local, visible, Bible-believing, New Testament {from what I was taught, this can only be an IFB} church? Do you believe it just because that’s how you was raised or did you get it out of the Word of God? Why do you believe in baptism by immersion, by the authority of the local church? Do you believe it just because that’s what you’ve always heard? Or did you get it out of the Word of God?

Listen to me. I’m saying to you this morning, no matter what comes into your life, stay in the Word of God. Stay in the Word of God. Read the Bible. Read the Bible. There’s too much reading about the Bible and not enough reading of the Bible. We get out our little devotional books. We get out our little Daily Bread’s. Get out our little helps and we read all about the Bible. And I’m telling you, if you’ve not read through your Bible, you ought to lay that stuff aside and read through your Bible. {I completely agree. Unfortunately, he did not often encourage anyone to do what he is saying here. He encouraged people to get the “little devotional books.” In fact, they were available to be picked up off the table in the foyer of the church.} Read the Bible. Read the Bible. Stay in the Word of God. There’s not enough reading of the Bible.

Here’s what you need. Each of us. We need to get on our knees. Determine what you believe and then don’t change. Get on your knees, determine what you believe based on the Word of God and then don’t change. {What if someone does change their beliefs based on the Word of God? What if as they read and study, they find out that they were believing something that is actually contrary to the Scriptures? As we grow in Christ, we’re going to change in some of our beliefs.}Let me show you another passage of Scripture. Ephesians Chapter 4. Let me just turn over here real quick like. Or as quickly as my chubby little fingers will get me there. Down in verse number 14, he says: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”{I think we need some context, here. Starting in verse 11 and reading from the NIV, it says, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness in Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”It starts out talking about Jesus assigning spiritual gifts. Those who are pastors, evangelists, teachers of the Word, etc, are to prepare Christians for whatever act of service God has for them to do. They are also to build up the Body of Christ. This is not talking about numbers, but is about, as the commentary in one of my Bible’s puts it, “the spiritual edification, nurturing, and development of the church.” Unity in the faith and maturity in the Christian life are possible only when they are built on the foundation of sound doctrine.Which now brings us to the verses this pastor quoted. Someone who is a spiritually immature believer and is not grounded in Christ and His Word, is inclined to uncritically accept everything that calls itself “Christian.” These false doctrines are perpetuated by false teachers in the church. What Paul is saying here is that those who are called by God to teach the Word are to be spiritually edifying and nurturing those believers and teaching them sound doctrine. The truth is to be proclaimed in love by those teachers and pastors. Just as you would do with a baby, pastors are supposed to help with the new believer’s spiritual nourishment until they are ready to feed themselves. In so doing, they are to be teaching people the differences between sound doctrine and false doctrine.}I say to you this morning, stay in the Word of God. Get on your knees, find out what you believe and don’t move. We’ve got enough of this wishy-washy Christianity. We’ve got enough of  “I’m this today and I’m something else tomorrow.” Beloved, if you’d get it out of the Word of God, if you’d get it out of the Word of God and say it from the Word of God, you can settle it and settle it once and for all and stay where you stand on the Word of God. Number one. Stay in the Word of God.

{The second point of this sermon will come in a separate article.}


  1. Yes. Not everyone feels that way about the medical profession, though. But this pastor is very definitely stating that being in the Word of God will take care of whatever physical or medical problem one may have. But, some of the Godliest people I know have some sort of physical ailment. That doesn’t mean the people aren’t reading their Bibles. In fact, I think having some type of problem draws us closer to God, not so that He can take the physical problem away, but just because we realize that He is in control.

    1. Right on-sometimes He calms the storm, sometimes He calms His child. Jesus said that physical ailment was not due to sin, but to show His power. I don’t remember the exact reference.

  2. Thank you for this article. You mentioned some sectors of the IFB being against medical doctors, etc. I wasn’t aware of that, but my ex-boyfriend (the one who escaped hyles and schaap only to join another IFBC), he avoided doctors and medication and used to criticize me for my use of them. I was stupid enough to even stop my blood pressure medication in hopes of pleasing him, until my BP got so high it was critical. I never knew it had anything to do with the IFB, I thought he just preferred a more natural approach, which I really do also, whenever possible. Interesting, I wonder what else I don’t know about some of their unusual beliefs. Thank you for all your time devoted to shedding light on this darkness.

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