IFB Sermon (Points 2 & 3)

This is part 3 of an IFB sermon critique.  The reader should consider reading the introduction to this series and Part 1 if he/she hasn’t already.  The introduction can be found here and Part 1 here.  Remember that the sermon will be in regular font and the author’s comments/critiques will be in italics.

II. Stay in the House of God.

Stay in the house of God. They stayed together. He says, “They continued in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship.” {He’s referring to verse 42 of the text passage.} They stayed together. Beloved, we need the encouragement of each other. We need the preaching from this old pulpit. Stay in the house of God. You say, “Preacher, I kinda go Sunday morning and Sunday night. Sometimes, I even get back for Wednesday night. I’m just about to get churched out.” No. You’re about to get churched out. (Laughs) Just kidding! {No he wasn’t. He rarely kidded about anything.} Um, you need to be in more church. You don’t need less church. You need more church. Can I tell you something? This is just between me and you. We’ll keep it a secret. Don’t tell the folks that aren’t here.

You know who I’ve counseled in my office more often than not? Those who don’t come to church. Hello? Folks who are here, hear the counsel of the Word of God and they can apply Bible principles. But if you miss week after week after week after week, the sermon’s been studied, the sermon’s been prepared, truth is ready to go out and you stay at home. It might just be the truth that could have saved your marriage. It might just be the truth that could have saved your son or daughter. It might have been the truth that could have kept you faithful for a little bit longer. {I must interject here. The only people who don’t need counseling are those who are at church, because the only way a person will know Biblical truth is to come to church? Did he not just say in the first point, “Read your Bible, Read your Bible?” Does God only use pastors to get His truth out there? What is the point of reading your Bible if the pastor is the sole keeper of the truth? Where is the Holy Spirit in this equation? Picking back up with his rant…}

But you had to stay home because you were tired. You had to stay home because you didn’t want to miss the last episode of Survivor. You thought that was more important. You had to stay home because you didn’t have time to eat yet. Eat when you get home. Stay in the house of God. The Psalmist said, “I was glad when they said unto me: Let us go into the house of the Lord.” {The verse he is quoting here is Psalm 122:1. When looking into what this verse and the whole chapter means, I found out some interesting things. First of all, Jerusalem had just been acquired by David. Second of all, the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant had just been moved to Jerusalem. (This was before the building of the Temple had started.) Third of all, this is a psalm that was sung by Jewish people as they made their pilgrimages to Jerusalem for three different feasts: the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks/Harvest/Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. David was not writing here about being excited about going to church and wanting to be in the house of God all the time. He was excited about the acquisition of Jerusalem, and the fact that the Ark had been moved there. He was happy to share that excitement with everyone.}

I don’t think it was like it is around a lot of our homes today. “Honey, it’s time to go to church.” “Awww! Not again. I went last week. I went Wednesday night.” Stay in the house of God. Be excited about going to the house of God. Be glad to be going to the house of God. “Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is.” {This is a classic IFB verse which is used (I believe) to guilt people into coming to church every time the doors are open. The reference is Hebrews 10:25. The first thing I noticed when I looked at this in the KJV is, this verse is part of a continuing sentence. The sentence starts in verse 23 and ends with verse 25. So the whole thought starting in verse 23 (NIV) says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

This is a passage that gives believers ideas for how to encourage one another as the time of Christ’s coming is drawing closer. One of those ways is to get together with other believers, but the writer of Hebrews is not mandating that a person be in church all the time. In another passage in the Bible that talks about our freedom in Christ, Colossians 2:16-17 says, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Having a mandate for getting together and worshiping God is something that the Old Testament Israelites had on them to symbolically depict the coming of Christ. We don’t have that same mandate on us because Christ has already come. I’m not saying that Christians shouldn’t get together and worship God at church. I am encouraged by gathering with fellow believers and am happy to try to encourage someone else.}

But, we’re to be gathering more and more as we see the Day approaching. Why is it that churches are canceling services? Closing Wednesday night? Closing Sunday night? Canceling services when the Bible says you ought to be gathering more and more and more and more and more? Why? Because problems come, heartaches come, grief comes. We need to know truth. We need to have some strength to serve God. So, what do I do? I stay in the Word of God. I stay in the house of God.

III. I live by the principles of God.

Live by the principles of God. What does that mean? That means apply what you learn. You know, what a waste for us to gain knowledge just for knowledge sake. We need to apply what we learn. When we learn something, when we get a truth from the Word of God, in the house of God, we need to apply that. {Again, he’s stating that the only way to get a truth from God’s Word is when that person is in the house of God (or the church). What about when we get a truth from the Word of God in our own house? His statement completely contradicts his first point and the work of the Holy Spirit.}

I was reading an article. I forget who wrote it. It was in the Baptist magazine that many of you get and I get. {I think he’s talking about the Sword of the Lord.} And I was reading an article on the history of dress and how people dress, and so forth. And it’s amazing how in 1910, the teens, that area, the 20‘s, things took a revolutionary change in America. And it’s only gotten worse since World War 1, World War 2, and what have you. It’s only gotten worse and worse and worse to the point today, where of course you know as well as I do, that anything goes. But, can I tell you something? What the preachers preached back at the turn of the century is okay to still preach today. You know, it’s alright to still have standards today. It’s alright to still live by Biblical principles today. It’s alright for ladies to still be modest today. And to look like ladies today. It’s alright for men to still be manly today. You see, we’ve got this unisex society. We’ve got this “let’s all dress alike” society. There used to be a men’s part of the store and a ladies part of the store. I see as many ladies buys their clothes out of the men’s department. I hate to say it. I’ve seen a few men in the ladies department. That one worries me a little bit. I don’t go often with my wife. She’ll say, “I’ve gotta look for a dress or something.” I’ll say, “I’ll meet you down…” You know where we all sit, men, out there in those seats in the center of the mall?

You know, I’ll never forget about fifteen years ago, we were in __________, __________. It’s like it was yesterday. And I went out there. I got the biggest kick. It was around Christmas time. And there was about six old guys sittin’ out there and all of them were asleep. And I was sittin there and I was watchin’ ’em. I was a young guy. This was about fifteen years ago. I was only about thirty years old. I was watchin’ them and __________(his wife) came out and I told her all about it. I said, “You should have seen this. It’s the funniest thing.” And one of the wives would come out and nudge her husband and he’d wake up and they’d go somewhere. I made fun of them. And guess what? I’m the old guy sittin’ in the mall sleepin’ now. Don’t wake me. My wife’ll get to me after a while. I thought that was so funny to see those old ducks out there just a-sleepin’ away. And now, I’m an old duck. You know, you get to a certain age, you can sleep anywhere. As a matter of fact, a few of you are doing a pretty good job in here this morning. {I have absolutely no idea what that story has to do with anything.}

But, it’s alright to still have standards. It’s alright men, to still be a man. It’s alright ladies, to still be a lady. No matter what the world says, it’s alright. Immorality is still wrong. If drunkenness was wrong in the Prohibition days, it’s still wrong today. If alcohol and tobacco and liquor and beer was wrong then, it’s still wrong today. Immorality is still wrong. If gambling was wrong then, it’s still wrong today. You Baptists, you take your little carcass out there to the riverboat. You ought to be shot. {Someone must have been guilty of going to the riverboat.} It’s still sin. It’s still sin. You play your little lottery, pay your dollar, get your ticket. That’s still sin. Now if you win, tithe is 20% off the lottery. {Of course it is.} Sneak it in though, because I don’t wanna know how you got it. Alright, sneak it in. It’s still sin. {He’ll take the money even if it was acquired through gambling. He never turned down money from anybody.}

I think preachers in the Carolinas ought to preach against smoking. I think preachers in Florida ought to preach against mixed swimming, mixed bathing, mixed nudity. I think preachers around the riverboat ought to preach against gambling. Why is it we get in a certain section of society and we change our preaching? Beloved, I’m just telling you, stay with the Biblical standards of the Word of God. Stay with the principles of the Word of God.

Hey! By the way, if dancing was wrong years ago, it’s still wrong today. You say, “What’s wrong with it?” Well, if nothing else is wrong with it, John the Baptist lost his head over it. That’s a good starting point. That’s a good starting point. And by the way, let me tell you something you naive, innocent Baptists. That fella hugging up to your wife out there isn’t thinking of pure thoughts on the dance floor. Get mad if you want to. But uh, I’m trying to help you out this morning.

And by the way, homosexuality is still sin. It’s still queers where I come from. It’s not an alternate lifestyle in my book yet. It’s still perversion. “God gave them over to a reprobate mind.” {This is Romans 1:28. Again, I want to look at the verse in the context of the passage that it is in. Paul started off this letter to the Romans with his greeting and his longing to be able to see them. He then talked about the power of the gospel and that it is the power of God for salvation. The gospel reveals a righteousness that comes from God by faith. Then in verse 18, Paul starts talking about God’s wrath towards man. Mankind is wicked and suppresses the truth of God. In verse 21 it says that because they suppress the truth of God, their thinking becomes futile. They think they are wise, but are actually foolish. So, God gives them up.

Mankind exchanges the truth of God for a lie. Paul started by talking about sexual sins. We are made in God’s image, but sinful mankind has exchanged God’s image for the image of man. So, God gives them over to their own lusts. This is a very graphic example of the exchange that sinful men make with God. In verse 28, Paul again says that God gives sinful mankind over to their own desires. In verse 21, the progression started with their thinking becoming futile. Now, in verse 28, we see the outcome of that foolish thinking. But, this particular passage continues. It is not all and only about sexual sins. The next few verses speak of evil, greed, envy, murder, etc. These are people who are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, boastful, etc. So, this verse about God giving people over to a depraved mind is not only talking about those who are homosexual. This is talking about what happens to everyone who rejects God.}

You say, “Preacher, you’re a little narrow-minded.” Guess what? I’m gonna stay a little narrow-minded. As a matter of fact, my preacher a hundred years ago. He says, “I’m so narrow-minded, a gnat could sit on the bridge of my nose and spit in both eyes at the same time.” Amen? That’s pretty narrow-minded. Listen, I’ve sat about a half-dozen gnats on the bridge of my nose lately, and both eyeballs got wet. {For some reason, that particular comment got a lot of laughs.} And I don’t plan to get broader-minded as the years go on. But, I plan to just keep narrowing it down, narrowing it down, little by little. Sooner or later, I’ll pluck your sin. {Again, he’s trying to do the Holy Spirit’s job. The Holy Spirit is supposed to convict us of sin. The Bible does not say that the pastor is supposed to keep narrowing things down until he gets to your sin.} You know what bad sin is? Deep sin? That’s the sin the other folks are doing. I’m not in the deep sin, that’s their sin. Would you help me out with shallow sin and deep sin? I’m afraid I don’t understand it.

I don’t care what’s come into your life. Live by the principles of the Word of God. You say, “Preacher, I’ve got problems now. I’ve got troubles now.” Listen, you and about fifty other folks who have called me or seen me this week have problems today. The people sittin’ by you have problems today. And I’m trying to tell you how to remedy your problem. Stay in the Word of God. Stay in the House of God. Live the principles of God.

Turn that stinkin’ movie box off. Quit going to the movie houses. Quit socializing with your little social drinking. Quit going out mixed swimmin’. Quit your little cocktail dinner parties. Cut out your gambling. Quit buying the lottery. Stay off the riverboat. Clean your life right and live right and see what God will do in your life. {Do, do do. Works, works, works} Live by the principles of the Word of God.

And by the way, rebellion against authority is still sin. I don’t care if you’re a teenager in here and you’re rebelling against your momma and daddy, or you’re an employee at your job, rebelling against your employer. I don’t care if you’re a wife in here and you’ve heifered out on your husband, you’re rebelling against your husband. It’s still sin. It’s still sin. {He’s saying that a woman is rebelling against her husband if  she doesn’t keep herself in shape. He’s referring to it as “heifering out.” It should be noted here that this man weighed about 300-400 pounds.  Why don’t you work to stay in shape for your wife? Why is it only sin for the woman?}

I already know I’m gonna hear it half a dozen times this afternoon. I won’t get home this afternoon until my wife will say, “that was a Sunday night sermon.” My phone will ring two or three times and say, “if I wanted to hear that, I’d come back on a Sunday night.” And I’m gonna say to you while you’re here, I’m gonna pluck your tail feathers. And you ought to be here tonight. Tonight, I’ve got an “I Love You” sermon. You don’t wanna miss that. I don’t have them very often. {That’s very true.}

And by the way, rebellion, I said is still a sin. And you parents that buck the rules of the school, you’re as guilty as your little rebel child is. {Someone must have challenged his authority.} You parents who say, “Well you know, it’s that school. Dumb rules. Dumb rules.” Yeah! You’re the same dumb parent. Go ahead and call my rules dumb, and I’ll use your word. You’re the same one who’ll tell your little Johnny, “Now don’t speed. It’s dangerous.” Little sixteen year old gets a permit. Or fifteen. You say, “Now keep to the speed limit.” They’re out there trying to protect your life. I’m trying to protect some of your children from spiritual damnation and spiritual corruption and you ought to jump on the bandwagon and say, “Amen, Preacher!” {Only by following his rules can a young person be kept from spiritual damnation and corruption? And those same kids are sitting in there listening to him call their parents names? How is that going to get them to want to follow his rules?}

Rebellion against authority is still a sin. I’m not changing my mind on morality. I’m not changing my mind on sin. And I tell you, no matter what comes into your life, no matter how heavy the burden, stay in the Word of God. Stay in the house of God. Live by the principles of God, and…

{To be continued}


  1. Dave,

    Yes, this pastor had derogatory names for anyone he didn’t like and didn’t want us to listen to/read, etc. You’ve already read his reference to Chuck the Swindler, but for instance he also called Sandy Patty “Sandy Fatty.” He railed against people quite a bit, actually.

    As far as the IFB being the only true denomination, I’ve also heard that all during my IFB years. A person who was truly saved would go to an IFB church. The IFB was started by Jesus, so therefore it was the only true church. All other churches have compromised in some way, so they are not the true church. Yep! I’ve heard it all before as well. In fact, that was a major issue for me when deciding to leave the IFB. I didn’t want to be outside the will of God, but I also couldn’t see that leaving a denomination would make me automatically destined for Hell.

    Yes, this pastor always needed some kind of validation. As you’ve already read (I think it was in the Introduction, but also might have been in the 1st point), if people didn’t say “Amen” he would repeat himself while also talking about the fact that we didn’t say “Amen.” So of course, he will automatically get Amen’s. Sometimes, he would say something with such an emphasis that I knew someone better say Amen whether they agree or not because he’s expecting it right now.

    I’m glad you are enjoying this sermon. I really enjoyed working through it. I have learned bunches about how to discern whether or not someone is telling me the truth Biblically.

  2. Does anyone have any recommendations for reading materials related to the holiness of God, or God’s promises?

    1. Laura – I had mentioned in my last post about my Charles Stanley bible, anyway, he has highlighted in blue EVERY promise in the bible! But I have seen books that cover those promises, and you can probably just google “promises in the bible” and find a load of stuff.

  3. Laura,

    “We should be constantly on guard, practice discernment, and search the context, all without getting paranoid, right?”

    Exactly!!!! I have been accused of being too critical, but I don’t think I am. When I listen to a sermon, I try to find something good in it as well. If something is so bad that it jumps out at me, then I note that. But I also try to figure out if I am being subtly deceived. I have other sermons by this same pastor where he uses the Scriptures incorrectly, but it is more subtle than this. This particular sermon was him just hitting every “sacred cow” of the IFB, all at once. I have listened to other IFB sermons where the pastors did a good and Biblical job. I have also listened to some very bad non-IFB sermons. I try not to automatically assume that just because it’s IFB, it is bad or just because it is not IFB, it is good. My prayer is that as people read this, it will help them to see the need to search the Scriptures for themselves and see if they’re being told the truth, whether it’s an IFB sermon or not.

  4. Jamey: You say now you can’t seem to look at any sermon without searching the context…I know exactly what you mean. In fact we think our search for a good church may be over, we found one! After service this past week, my 12-year old son asked if it was just him, or if my daughter and I also found ourselves wondering if this could be a cult and we just don’t know it yet. We should be constantly on guard, practice discernment, and search the context, all without getting paranoid, right? This is helpful for those who recognize and are escaping. Those who are in its clutches would not so much as glance at anything that could be perceived as an attack on their IFB church or (gasp!) their MOG. I think the best way to reach these abused, God-fearing saints is with Scripture that focuses on God’s love, mercy, and grace. I’ve been reading a lot lately. Voyle Glover’s Fundamental Seduction exposes not only the wickedness of Hylesology, but also sheds light on his impact on all of Fundamentalism around the nation through the annual “Pastor’s School”at FBC Hammond. Max Lucado’s In the Grip of Grace warmly reminds the believer about the truth about works righteousness and the freedom found in grace. Dr. Jerry Kaifetz’s Profaned Pulpit shows Schaap and the IFB movement to be just what they are. Larry Osborne’s Accidental Pharisees is a loving but direct wake up call for those self-righteous born-again believers. Charles Stanley’s Living in the Power of The Holy Spirit invalidates the self reliance so many have fallen prey to. There is a small booklet by Charles Stanley entitled God’s Grace – You Can’t Live Without It. It’s actually an excerpt from his book Living the Extraordinary Life. I highly recommend the brief booklet for those who may not be open to reading an entire book. It says what it needs to say without any extras, it’s inexpensive, and could easily be handed to someone without looking “preachy”. As you may have guessed, my plan is to mail these to my ex-boyfriend and pray that he will see the truth.

    1. Laura – So glad to see you reaching out and embracing some wonderful christian materials! Love Max Lucado! Charles Stanley is one of the very best bible teachers out there! My wife got me his study bible and it is fantastic! One guy I can highly recommend is Chuck Swindoll, his book “The Grace Awakening” is great. He calls folks like Hyles “Grace Killers” indeed that’s exactly what they are!

      I have looked into Hyles pretty closely the last couple of years and they have indeed had a negative impact on Christianity/fundamentalism in this country. There are websites dedicated to following Christian abuse cases across the country and Hyles/Anderson grads are by far too overrepresented. But all one has to do is look up Jack Schapp’s sermon on the polished shaft (it’s all over youtube) and you can see the absolute foolishness, indeed wickedness that is allowed in the pulpit, and you wonder why there isn’t even more abuse among their young graduates. Also a video on youtube shows a man preaching at 1st Baptist Hammond berating a young man for talking during the sermon, it’s so over the top as to be unbelievable, I would have walked out if I had been there, in fact, I may have had a few words for the jerk pastor in leaving! God help me! I think the guest speakers name was “Smith”

      Isn’t it good to be free of legalism! “whom the Lord sets free is free indeed” I just don’t believe that the Holy Spirit can operate effectively in such an environment!

      1. Greg: Thanks for the suggestion. I love Chuck Swindoll too. I already had ordered two CDs of his and am anxiously awaiting their arrival. I just ordered Amazon’s last copy of his “the Grace Awakening”, thank you! Laura

      2. You mentioned Chuck Swindoll, and I had to comment that I couldn’t help but notice this preacher’s reference to “Chuck the Swindler,” knowing that he most likely meant Chuck Swindoll. The pastor of the IFB church we left would often rail against just about every seemingly popular Christian figure that was not an IFBer, like Chuck Swindoll, Max Lucado, Rick Warren, and I the Sunday School “lesson” that made me finally decide to get out of there, he made the allegation that great people like Moody were actually failures because they didn’t do their work through a local, New Testament, Bible-believing church, so most of the people they “saved” we’re nowhere to be found today, and he had nothing to show for it. Then he went on to list a bunch of “great” Baptist (I can only assume IFB) preachers that I never heard of who did it the right way and their fruits are still showing today. This is the same “lesson” that asked what terrible things would happen if your daughter married a non-Baptist (again, read “IFB”), and was just an hour long drum beating on why IFBers are the only right ones and better than every other denomination. He’d always preface these kinds of things with “Now, I need to be careful here, but…” After hearing in previous “lessons” that we should never tell our kids that we don’t agree with something the pastor said “because it will just confuse them,” and so many other not so obvious red flags that didn’t seem that horrible when taken individually, I decided this place was a cult and got my family out.

        There was some other portion of this sermon, or maybe in the comments, where it seemed the pastor needed some kind of validation. That was evident in the church I left, too. If there weren’t enough amens yelled out, the pastor would have everyone close their eyes, bow their head, and have anyone who got something out of the sermon raise their hand. I always thought that was weird and completely unnecessary for anyone but the MOG.

  5. Greg,

    I completely agree. That verse is taken out of context a lot. In fact, I didn’t know that it was part of a continuing thought until I looked at the context of it. It is used to say that people are to be in the church building or at some type of church activity every time there’s something going on. I have been going to a church where they do not have Sunday night services and Wednesday nights are Bible Study nights at people’s houses. I had no idea how freeing it is to be able to spend an afternoon and evening at home until I started doing it. At first, I felt like I should be going to church somewhere, anywhere since it was a Sunday night, but I have quickly grown to like having my afternoons and evenings free.

    As for Wednesday nights, I think the church as a whole is closer through meeting in smaller groups than my former IFB churches are.

  6. Laura and Wayne,

    Thanks so much for your kind words. I didn’t know how bad this sermon really was until I slowed things WAY down and started looking at things in context. Now, I can’t seem to listen to any sermon (whether it be IFB or not) without looking at the context of every verse that is either quoted or alluded to. I’m so glad that others are able to learn some of the same things that I have learned. Since I had a steady diet of this type of preaching while I was growing up, I’m very interested in figuring out where there is error being taught and exposing it.

  7. I really like what you’re doing with these sermons. Having spent my entire life in the IFB, it is sometimes difficult to see through the sermons. My family still attends IFB church, but I am looking at what else is out there, trying to find what’s best for me. In the meantime though, it’s good to be able to have a comparison of what I know to what I want to be.

  8. Ahh, Hebrews 10:25, if ever there was a verse that was more taken out of context, I’m not sure which one it would be!

    Think about this, if no one is there on Wed/Sun nights, then the MOG has no one to berate, also no coinage is hitting the collection plate! (I’m not attributing these motives for ALL MOG’s)

    I think it’s fine if folks want to attend on Wed/Sun nights, but like everything else, the MOG wants to make it into a law! The bible clearly demonstrates once a week meetings (and that does not include multiple Sun meetings)

    Tradition dictates multiple weekly meetings, not the bible!

  9. I appreciate how you take his partial verses and expose the context, which reveals the intended meaning. I pray the Holy Spirit would convict those listening to this kind of garbage from their pulpits to do the same, searching the Scriptures in context and under His direction. Thank you for this post.

Comments are closed.