Lyle Shultz - Warnings - 2011

I have been thinking of some of the warnings that Jesus gave. When you’re traveling along the road, every once in a while there is a warning, and that’s the way it is on the road of life. We have a city in India called Madras. There is a road that leads to the airport and there is one place where there is a sign that says “Beware, this is an accident prone area.” When I first saw that, I wondered why they had put that there because I thought this whole city was an accident prone area! As soon as you get on the street you have got to be very careful, but there is something about that one spot that you have to be extra careful.

Life is like that. The moment you step out of your bed you have to start being careful. There are so many ways in which the devil tries to trip us. So, what we are going to talk about are some of the accident-prone areas. But before we do that, we will think a little bit about a car. When driving a car, it is good if just one person has the control of it, is that not so? We went with my folks one time, and they had a taxi ride that they will never forget. There were two young fellows in the front and they both wanted to drive. One had the steering wheel and the other one had the gear shift, and I don’t know how they divided the brake and the accelerator. Oh, that was a terrible ride for my mom and dad. Fortunately, they got to their destination. That’s the reason that we sang that last hymn where the third verse has a line that goes like this “Give Him absolute control.” #92.

It is very dangerous when there are two people trying to drive the same vehicle, and we are only safe when we let Jesus control our life. In the car, there is a steering wheel, and that controls what direction you go in. Then there is an accelerator pedal, and that controls how fast you go. Then there is the brake pedal, and that controls when and where you stop. So let Him have control of all of those. I remember when I listened to the Gospel that was my biggest struggle, just to let Him begin to control. I wanted to go this way and He wanted me to go that way.

I well remember the night when I surrendered and a wonderful peace came into my heart and I just felt “Now I am safe.” He was in control, but as time went on, I started wanting to take the control back again. I was thinking how nice it would be to get married and to have a little family and settle down. I started pulling the wheel in that direction but I felt a tug pulling the other way. That was not God’s will for my life and I had that struggle all over again. Then, once again, I came to the place where I decided to let Him have full control. If we give Him that in this convention, if we will go in any direction He wants - if you do that, you will have real peace in your heart.

Then let’s go to some more of the warning signs in Mark 4, verse 24. “Take heed WHAT you hear.” Luke 8, verse 18, “Take heed HOW you hear.” Luke 17, verse 3, “Take heed to yourself.” Luke 12, verse 1, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is Hypocrisy.” Luke 12, verse 15, says “Take heed and beware of covetousness.” These are accident- prone areas.

What was the first one? Take heed WHAT you hear. What is the first accident recorded in the Bible? It was a very serious accident that Adam and Eve had. What was the reason for that accident? She didn’t take heed to what she listened to. You know the story, don’t you? God had told them some wonderful things and He had prepared a wonderful garden. There was everything there to satisfy their hunger and their needs. There was just one thing that they were told not to touch. Eve was there when God told Adam, although Adam would have told Eve, and then the serpent came along and Eve made this very serious mistake. She took heed to the words that the serpent spoke. That brought lots of sorrow into their lives.

There is a story in Job. It says that one day the sons of God gathered together before the Lord and there was an un-invited guest in that meeting. There is one in this convention too. Most of you came because you were invited, didn’t you? There is one man here who wasn’t invited to be here. The brothers make out a speakers’ list and they didn’t put that man’s name on the list, but he (the devil) is going to be speaking in every meeting, just the same. Do you know who he is? He is that same one; he’s the devil. Whenever God speaks to you, then he is also going to speak to you just like he did to Eve. He is going to try to make you think that maybe God didn’t say what He told you. So that is one reason why we have got to be very careful what we hear.

There is a lovely verse in Romans that goes like this: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” When we listen to God’s word, faith comes, because faith comes by hearing, but faith also goes by hearing if we listen to the wrong voice or if we read the wrong things. If we look at the wrong things, faith will go. But God has given us this wonderful book. We don’t need to be afraid to read this one because it will feed your faith.

I like to think of the three gifts that God has given to us. One is the gift of life, human, natural life. Two is the gift of this book, (the Bible)and every word is inspired by God. The third gift is the gift of His Son. If you and I work right with those three gifts, we could be really rich in all the things that really matter in life. So take heed that you don’t listen to other voices, or read other books, because we have in this book (the Bible) all that will enrich our lives.

The next one we read was in Luke 8, verse 18. “Take heed HOW you hear.” Both times Jesus spoke of those two warnings was after telling about the sower and the seed. What you hear is the seed and how you hear is the condition of the ground. It is so important to be like that good soil, soil that is ready to receive this good seed. Then we listen with the purpose to do what God said. Someone said we can listen in three ways. We can listen with this attitude: “I could do it if I would, but I won’t.” Or we can listen with this attitude: “I would do it if I could, but I can’t.” The third one is very easy: “I will.” It is simple, so why make it complicated? Why be like that hard wayside soil and say, “I won’t do it?” Why doubt God and that He can’t help you by saying, “I can’t do it?” Every time, take the simple way and say, “I will do it.” It might mean change but don’t be afraid to change.

I will tell you a testimony of a boy in Canada. He simply said, “If I always do what I have always done, I will always be what I always was and I will always get what I have always got.” So what do you understand from that? If you are satisfied with the way you are, that is it, but if you know that there is much more that is to be done in your life then you can’t just continue doing what you have always done. We have got to be willing to change. God will show you, at this convention, what changes you need to make and when that message comes, you just say, “I will.” So those were two little warnings. Now we’ll go to the next one.

It is in Luke’s Gospel, chapter 17, and it says “Take heed to yourselves.” This is a very accident-prone area. Self comes up in so many different forms, doesn’t it? Sometimes it comes up angry and sometimes it comes up proud. Sometimes it comes up very selfish and oh, we have got to be careful with this person, self. We have a zoo in India. When you go into the first part, there is a little building where they have pictures of all different animals - lions, tigers, bears, and so on, and then one place there is just a little door. On this door is written, “Open this door to see the cruelest animal in all the world." So when you open the door, what do you think it will be? The lion or the tiger? It is a mirror! There you are looking at the cruelest animal in all the world. It is true, isn’t it?

When I was a little boy, sometimes I would take an innocent little bug and pull all the legs off! Cruel, and it doesn’t stop there. So we have got to be careful with this animal. It could have been written there, “Open the door to see your worst enemy.” That one in there is very stubborn. Next time you see him, just do this little test. You shake your fist at him and you tell him to just humble himself and be quiet. Do you know what he’ll do? He’ll shake his fist right back at you! That is the person we are dealing with. So we have to be careful.

We have a brother worker who sometimes asks this question: “What was one of the first jobs that God gave to man?” God put him in the garden and then it says that He put man in there to keep the garden. Then our brother worker said that God created us too, and the garden in there is our hearts, and one of our first and biggest responsibilities is to keep our hearts. Be sure that only the right seeds fall in there so that you can grow love, joy and peace and all those beautiful things. If we do that, we don’t need to be too much afraid of that man in the mirror.

There is one little verse in the Songs of Solomon, in the 4th chapter, verse 16. “Awake Oh North wind and come thou South; blow upon my garden that the spices thereof may flow out.” That is somebody talking, and they have been very careful with their garden, haven’t they? They are really confident of what is going to come out of their garden. Let the north wind blow or let the south wind blow, it doesn’t matter. There will always be beautiful aromas coming out of my garden. One man talked about somebody else and he said, “I don’t know why, but he always brings out the worst in me.” Do you know what his friend said? He said, “Well, if the worst wasn’t in there then it wouldn’t come out!”

That is why we need to be careful about ourselves. You might like to make a further study about taking heed to yourself, so I will just give you two references. One is Mark 13, verse 9, and the other is Luke 21, verse 34. That will tell you some other things about ourselves. This verse in Luke 17 says, "You be careful with yourself when somebody says something that hurts you." Now, if somebody hurt you, you would say to be careful of that fellow, wouldn’t you? But Jesus said “You be careful about YOURSELF when somebody hurts you,” because that is an accident-prone area and you can react in a wrong way.

I like to tell people about my wound. It is almost healed now so I had to make a mark where it was, but somebody cut me there very deeply, and it bled a lot, and it really hurt. I was just a little bit angry with him to start with but I got the victory and I understood that he didn’t do it on purpose. Yes, he was careless, but then we are all careless sometimes, and I completely forgave him. Didn’t I do a good job? Do you know who cut me? I did it myself. It is so easy to forgive and to understand when we do it ourselves, yet if somebody else does it, we sometimes think about it for days or years. That is why we need to take heed to ourselves.

Now we want to go on to another one, and this is in Luke 12 and the last part of the 1st verse. Jesus said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy.” Do you know what leaven is? A lot of our people in India don’t know what leaven is or how it works. We have something that works the very same way. It is very much like your sour milk and they call it curds over there. When you take some of that, all you have to do is to put some into a bowl of warm milk and let it set. At first it may look like it hasn’t made any difference but if you left it there for a while it changes the whole thing and it is not any more like it used to be. That is what leaven is like. It just takes a little bit, but it does a lot.

I am going to tell you another testimony. This little girl was giving her testimony in the meeting and she was reading a verse in Corinthians that says “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” She said, “I’ve been thinking about little things and there are three things that I thought about. One is that little things are easy to hide. If I tried to bring an elephant home my mom and dad wouldn’t let me do it, but a little thing I could get into the house and they wouldn’t even know. Little things are easy to hide. Number two is that little things don’t seem to matter because they are so small.” Then she came to the third thing and she said, “Little things don’t stay little. They grow and what you may be able to hide this year, next year everybody will know that you’ve got it.” What doesn’t matter very much now, in a year’s time it may matter a lot, so she said, “I want to be careful about the little thoughts and the little desires.” Wasn’t that a nice testimony?

Jesus said “You beware of the leaven of hypocrisy.” Do you know what that is? It is just simply pretending. There is a pastor in America who met God’s servants and had many visits with them. He was honest, and do you know what he finally said? He said, “I have been a paid professional actor, pretending, when I prayed, that I was talking with God; pretending, when I preached, that I was giving a message that God had given to me. The whole thing was pretending.” He let the Gospel work in his heart; he let it all go; he doesn’t preach any more and he has a meeting in his home. It is just so easy to go through the form, pretending that everything is alright when it is not. If you’ve got something in your heart or in your home that you don’t want the workers to know about, that is hypocrisy, and that is a very accident-prone area.

The last is the 15th verse of the 4th chapter where it says “Take heed and beware of covetousness.” That is a big word but it is just that little voice inside that says, when we see something, it says, “I want that.” Jesus is just saying, “You beware of that voice.” Sometimes it is a good thing. Sometimes you hear in a meeting like this some good things, and you say, “I want that.” But just remember that there is a price for anything that you want and what you have to do to get it. Often, in the world, people see something they want but they can’t pay for it; but God’s children are not like that. You just be careful of that little voice, because often it speaks when we see things that we shouldn’t have.