Trained to be a lawyer, he went into school teaching in Texas, not yet converted and still "shaking my fist" in God’s face, I joined a church. After his conversion he was truly pressed of the Lord into the Gospel ministry. The first sermon he preached, well listen to his biographer: He was out raising money to build a church, one of the businesses he intended to solicit was the one operated by A.P. Borger who "owned the town". When he got there he found several deputy sheriffs waiting for him, along with a photographer from the local newspaper. He was informed that no money would be collected at that business until they had been given a sample of his preaching. Barnard immediately stepped up on a large beer keg and delivered a message on "death". The essence of this message was that those present were going to die physically, and if they remained outside of Christ their souls would die eternally. The photographer took Barnard’s picture while he was preaching. The next day newspapers showed this young preacher standing on a beer keg preaching to this unusual audience. His message of sovereign mercy was an awakening message. It was impossible to remain neutral when Barnard preached. Like the apostle Paul, when Barnard preached, there was either a riot or a revival. As he said so many times, "When the true gospel of grace is preached, the (true) believers will be glad, the rebels will get mad, and the pharisees will be confused."
Text Luke 12:1-5
The body of Christ needs to meet together to hear the Gospel preached in its purity and its proper order; then go out and witness a good confession, whatever the circumstances are. God’s true people have been conquered by the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are not our own, and we do not live for ourselves; we have lost our life that we may gain it. If this is not true of us, we are not God’s children. But you and I as God’s children must face this signal truth that we are attempting to preach the Gospel today in a generation that has been utterly sinned against in that we have forgotten that the Gospel must be preached in its purity and in its proper order. A man cannot hear the Gospel until he has been utterly slain by the law and left desperate, with no hope within himself. Not until that time will he care whether Jesus is the Son of God or not; whether He died for sinners or not; BECAUSE HE IS NOT INTERESTED.
The only weapon that God the Holy Ghost has or has had to prepare men to listen and receive the Gospel; and that is God’s holy requirements. Unless a man is desperate he cannot even hear, much less receive the Gospel of God concerning His Son. A man has to be desperate before he will cry for help or beg God for mercy.
We have a "Jesus" cult today in America. Everybody thinks mighty well of Jesus; but "to hell with God." Is that too tough for you? But they do not know Jesus as their Lord, and God the Father as the lawgiver. Our Gospel has been wrong. Would you be interested in listening to the Truth long enough that the Gospel would be good news to you? If you ever hear the Gospel as the Gospel, you will be saved right then. The big need of every community now is churches with a man of God filled with the Holy Ghost preaching the Word of Truth like it should be preached; so that some would definitely reject and some would be conquered by the Christ of the Gospel.
(He then picks up on his text) God came to Noah and said, "Noah, judgment is coming". I am going to destroy all those people with a flood. All on earth Noah had to go by was God’s word. And the most solemn thing I face and the most crushing burden any human being can bear is the burden of living in a generation that doesn’t believe a word of the Bible. God knows what a burden it is to live every day of your life among your neighbors and your relatives and your church members and folks you work for, and you believe that every step men take is one step nearer the awful consuming judgment of God; and you try to talk to them and they don’t believe a word of it.
How in the name of God can I confess Christ in a generation that doesn’t believe God; in a generation that if you talk to them about the judgment of God, they don’t know what on God’s earth you are talking about? There’s old Bill. He’s headed straight for the judgment. There’s my son or my daughter, they are headed for the judgment, but they don’t believe it. And I do. Now brother, that’s a burden!
It’s foolish to claim to be a Christian unless you devote your life to just two things: (1) the proclamation from the Holy Scriptures of the holy character of God, and His righteous demands and commands. (2). Then pointing men and women who will listen to the only place of escape, which is in Christ. Now that is what Noah did; HE RAN SCARED, he believed something, he believed that God was going to bring judgment on men and women. He couldn’t see it, but he truly believed it.
An old evangelist used to say that some of these days some little humble believer was going to pick up the Bible, read it and believe it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could believe it? Not argue about it, not sit around in nice little sessions merely discussing it, but with the help of the Holy Ghost believe it. And he said that little simple believer is going to make the rest of us folks ashamed of ourselves. Oh, says some fundamentalist. I believe the Bible from cover to cover." Let me tell you this fact, a man only believes what he obeys, what he puts into practice.
If I had just one sermon to preach, and I was the only preacher to preach, and I could get in some public place as the people of the world passed by, I tell you what I would do: I would hold up my hands, and I’d lift up my voice and I would cry, "Stop, people! You are headed for a meeting with the holy law of God!" There is one thing that no human being will escape. Every human being has got to deal with the holy law of God! Oh, my God! Won’t it be awful to come and have to face God Whose will, and His way, His demands, His commands, and His requirements which are expressed in His law?
If you choose to neglect, refuse, you will still be judged by it. You will end up facing the curse of the broken law, The word of the Divine lawgiver to you will be "Depart from me into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth."
If these truths ever "sink in" and you actually hear them, you will cry out to the holy God to have mercy. You will know you need a Mediator, the man Christ Jesus. That is the Gospel. My only hope, my only plea, Christ Jesus died and He died for me.
Which will it be as you look into the mirror of God’s holy requirements and demands?
1. We will not have this man to rule over us and demand of us.
2. Or, Oh, my God! Is there any hope for me?
(Now you heard for the first time and the Gospel is Good News.)
"Oh Father, may the Spirit of the Almighty God be pleased to convict men of their sinful lost condition; and their need of the only Mediator, the man Christ Jesus. We pray this in His Blessed Name. Amen!"
Excerpts from Running Scared, by Evangelist Rolfe Barnard