Pastor Walstone Francis, Shiloh Baptist Church of Waukegan and Board Member of Community Renewal Society, delievered the following sermon during worship at the CRS Winter Leadership Council Meeting on February 28, 2015.
I Corinthians 9:16—For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!
We come today to not only stand for justice, and to secure justice, but because we have been summoned to do justice. We come with a sense of a divine calling; a “MUST” has been laid upon us; an irresistible compulsion. And this compulsion is not just for the leadership, but for everyone. We are to be of one mind and one spirit, with solidarity and unity of heart, striving to accomplish the purposes for which God has given us in His word.
Not only has He called us, but He has commanded us, demanded us, and we must submit to His authority. We are compelled not only because of our calling, and because of His command, but because of His great compassionate love by which He loved us. And we are called to come together as the church and be the church, be the hands and feet of a compassionate God who desires to have a relationship with us; so that we can do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
The church exists, not for herself, but to put on display the manifold wisdom of God to the world. The providential hand of God is upon us demanding us, directing us, disciplining us, and demonstrating through us His powerful purpose and perfect plan for mankind. The favor of God, the faithfulness of God, and the function of God are all designed to bring about the fruitfulness of God. For with God “all things are possible.” By His design, we have spiritual gifting, multiple talents, special skills, dynamic diversity, and proven personality and availability. We have specialization, innovation, made possible by salvation for us to bring about restoration, rehabilitation, reconciliation, liberation, and yes, regeneration (evangelization).
Henry Blackaby said that “when God speaks, you go. The time to move is the time that God speaks.” We are here for such a time as this!
There is an enabling, an equipping, an empowering, an endowing, an engaging, an emboldening, an encouraging compulsion that God has placed upon us. It is a divine “must”; a spiritual sanctioning, an eternal energizing, a godly gifting, a righteous rousing, a stirring, an inspiring, a moving, a stimulating, and a provoking command we are under. It is an overwhelming “must,” a have too: a necessity, an obligation, a charge, an order, a decree, an essential directive from the very gates of heaven.
It is an “anointing” such as Christ received; a “woe is me” that the apostle Paul surrendered to; a “burning, unquenchable fire” that the prophet Jeremiah could not extinguish; that drives, that forces, that motivates, that initiates, and that vitalizes. It is a passion that moves to action; an urge that leads to utterance; a thrusting that is transformational; a sending that cannot be satisfied until engaged.
This compulsion gives us courage that we cannot create; bravery that we cannot generate; a clarity of purpose we cannot invent; a valor we cannot craft; an audacity we cannot produce; a resolution we cannot construct; a commitment we cannot conceive; a dedication we cannot design; a devotion we cannot develop; an allegiance we cannot initiate; a steadfastness we cannot start, because it (the compulsion) comes from the throne of glory; the portals of heaven; the gates of the Sovereign God.
I must remind you that we have a formidable, frightening, dreadful, fearsome, terrifying, intimidating, threatening, daunting, menacing, bullying, coercing, terrorizing, and hellish enemy.
We are in a combat that is no place for cowards;
a conflict that is no place for chickens;
a dogfight that is no place for deserter dodgers, doubters;
a skirmish that is no place for sissies;
a warfare that is no place for wimps;
a task that is no place for traitors;
a battle that is no place for a turncoat;
and an engagement that is no place for a quitter.
We must be prepared for intense opposition; much hostility; persistent persecution; and severe suffering. Boldness and confidence must be the order of the day. Without this divine compulsion, our plans will falter; our pursuits will be futile; and our program will fail. But thank God that we have such a compulsion. And it is such a compulsion, that no suffering can stifle; no governmental mandate can stop; no enemy can defeat; and no death threats can strangle. And we are assured that our purpose and plan cannot be overcome, overtaken, or overwhelming, for not even “the gates of hell can prevail against it.” And we will discover that no weapon formed against us shall prosper; and that the battle is not ours, but the LORD’s.
I must tell you again that we are under a divine compulsion, based on a defined compassion, a determined concentration, a dignified conception, a definite confirmation, a decisive consecration, with a dedicated congregation, a disciplined conviction, a dynamic confession, and a duty to declare and defend the constitution. And we must remember that this doesn’t happen automatically, we must be intentional, purposeful, deliberate and calculated.
So in the words of the great hymn written by Charles Wesley, I close with this undying commitment . . .
1. A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.
2. To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill:
Oh, may it all my pow’rs engage
To do my Master’s will!
3. Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!