SAME PEOPLE, IN THE SAME PLACE, DOING THE SAME THING, AND
TELLING THE SAME STORY-- By Dr. Roy Branson
you getting weary in well doing? This sermon will lift you up and send you
along determined to persevere.
from cassette tape. Dr. Branson delivered this message on November 4, 1999 at
the invitation of Dr. DeVries during the fall revival at Landmark Baptist Church
in Hockley, Texas. Dr. Branson is a best-selling author currently serving as president
of Landmark Baptist University in Bristol, Tennessee.]
your Bible in turn to Acts chapter three. In Acts chapter three, we have the miracle
of the lame man being healed. As we read, beginning with verse eleven, And
as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together
unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's greatly wondering.
they were here in the temple, at Solomon's porch. That is what I want you to see.
chapter four, verse one, Peter was speaking unto the people who were curious about
this miracle, and it says, And as they spake unto the people, the priests,
and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, Being grieved
that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from
the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day:
for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and
the number of the men was about five thousand (vs. 1-4).
Now if you go on from there,
they were in the temple at Solomon's porch, they were arrested and brought before
the Sanhedrin and were told not to preach in the name of Jesus anymore. Then beginning
in verse eighteen of chapter four, we read, And they called them, and commanded
them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered
and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you
more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have
seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding
nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified
God for that which was done (vs. 18-22).
So they warned them, saying, Don't you do it anymore. They arrested
them. They warned them. They even kept them in jail overnight, saying, Don't
you go back there and don't you preach in this name anymore.
Well, go on over to chapter
five, verse twelve. And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and
wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in
where? Solomon's porch. They went right back to the same place. Reading
on in verse seventeen, Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were
with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation.
You see, the Sadducees were the religious liberals of the day. They didn't believe
in the resurrection, Heaven or Hell or anything else (That was why they were sad,
you see?). But they were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on
the apostles, and put them in the common prison, But the angel of the Lord by
night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth(v.18-19).
And then beginning in verse
twenty, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of
this life. And when they heard that, they entered into the temple right
back to the same place early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest
came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the
senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
But when the officers came.
see, they went and sent back and said, Get those people out of prison. We
warned them one time. Now we are going to teach them a real lesson. They
went back there and they were gone, because the angel of the Lord had let them
out, and they went right back to the temple. But when the officers came,
and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, Saying, The prison
truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the
doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the high priest
and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted
of them whereunto this would grow. Then came one and told them, saying, Behold,
the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people
They said, You know, those guys you arrested, you warned and went back and
arrested and put them in jail again to punish them. They got out, and those same
people are right back in the same place, doing the same thing, and telling the
same story. Isn't that something? Boy, that made them mad, so they went
and arrested them again, brought them before the high priest and council of the
Sanhedrin and verse in twenty-eight, Saying, Did not we straitly command
you that ye should not teach in this name? And, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem
with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Well,
His blood was already upon them.
Peter and James said, We have to do what God said to do. Then in verse
forty, we read that they said, Well, let's just beat them and let them go,
and to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten
them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let
them go. When they beat them, that was not just a spanking. They beat them
next door to death itself. I mean, it was an awful beating. And they departed
from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer
shame for his name. And they learned their lesson and didn't go back to
the temple and preach anymore. Whoops! It doesn't say that. And daily
[where?] in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and
preach Jesus Christ (vs. 40-42).
Now we have read in chapter three verse eleven, chapter five verse twelve, twenty-five
and forty-two, that after the disciples were first of all warned, then they were
in prison, then they were beaten next door to death, they went right back to the
same place and did the same thing and told the same story. If you remember in
Daniel chapter six, when the decree was made by the king through trickery, that
there would be no request nor calling upon anyone, any god or religion for thirty
days, except they call upon the king, Daniel heard it, knew the consequences and
what did he do? He opened the doors, and just like he always did, he didn't change
anything. He did the same thing and prayed three times a day. Then they threw
him in the den of lions and we know what happened.
The title of this message is The Same People are back in the same place,
doing the same thing, and telling the same story.
A few weeks ago, I taught Sunday school at my church and I noticed I had, as so
many times, some of the old folks who had been in that church for forty or fifty
years. I thought to myself, You know, this might be the apostles and disciples
of old, that no matter what the time, or discouragement there is, you can always
count on those same people, sitting in the same place, doing the same things and
listening to the teacher telling the same story. Then beginning the Sunday
morning after Sunday school, I went out a few miles from my home church and began
a revival meeting there.
was just a tiny, little church around twenty or twenty-five people. I saw again
some of those old faithful people there. I preached there in that church many
times, and I thought the same thing. I have notice that across the country, that
there are so many churches, some large, some small, that there are people there,
who have for many years been faithful. You can always expect them. Sometimes the
world might say the church is failing. And some churches do fail and go out of
business. But you are always going to have those faithful people, who will always
be where they ought to be, doing what they ought to do, and telling the blessed
old story they ought to be telling.
The temple in the days of the apostles was the centerpiece of the nation. It was
there that Peter and others preached, day after day, and that was where the people
would come to worship. So Peter and others were warned, imprisoned and beaten,
but they always returned to do the same thing. What an example they are to us
today! We have a society and a government that does not want to hear the Gospel
proclaimed or the Bible taught. It is banned in our schools, our courts and our
state houses. Businesses and apartment complexes, and even individual homes post
signs, forbidding us to approach people with the Gospel. Airline stewardesses,
teachers and employees of various businesses have been threatened and fired because
they witnessed in the blessed name of Jesus on their own time. Politicians have
lost office, judges have been under fire for speaking in the name of Jesus. On
and on we could go, talking about those things. And you are familiar with that.
there is a pushing and shoving, modern movement among so-called Christian leaders,
to change our message, our approach, our message and our attitudes. Supposedly
we are no longer to tell people that they are lost. That just isn't the courteous
thing to do. Or to tell them there is a Hell, because we don't want to scare them,
and a loving God would never hear of that anyway. Or even bring up the subject
of religion unless they request.
We are told our sermons are to last no more than ten possible minutes during which
time we are to tell people nothing but how good they really are. You are all right
and I'm all right, everyone is all right. Don't we have a beautiful glass church
to worship in this morning?
I want to know just what is wrong with the way it was done in the Bible. What
is wrong with the pattern intently given to us by our forefathers in the faith,
in the book of Acts and elsewhere throughout the Bible? We have churches today
called user-friendly churches. I've read articles in Christian magazines. One
fellow was writing where everyone else or lots of people were saying amen.
He said, Well, we have to change the ways of our church. Some of these old
time preachers are standing in the way, and we either have to get rid of them
or wait until they die off, so we can change the church and make it effective.
Listen. I'll tell you why the church is not effective. There have been too many
changes in the church, and we need to go back to the old-time faith of our fathers.
They say we need to change things, don't you see?
are the fundamental leaders of ten years ago? It is said this author made the
statement in a public meeting not very long ago, that we are going to have to
change our ways and accept modern music and modern bibles and all the rest of
it, if we are going to go forward as a church. And I am saying to you, if it needs
fitting, if it needs compromising the Word of God, I would rather not go forward.
I would rather do whatever I have to do to be obedient to God. What we need are
people who will always be back in the same place, doing the same things, and telling
the same story, week after week, year after year.
need the same people, back in the same place, doing the same thing, telling the
same story. After all, our God is the same God He always was. As He was, He is
and as He is, He shall forever be. Malachi 3:6 says, For I am the LORD,
I change not James 1:17 says, Every good gift and every perfect gift is
from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness,
neither shadow of turning. In Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and
to day, and for ever. In Psalm 90:2, Before the mountains were brought
forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting
to everlasting, thou art God. Listen, God is not going to change and God
is going to bless those who do what God says, live like God said to live, will
be like God says to be and be when God says to be, when He says to be there. The
same people, in the same place, doing the same thing, telling the same story.
preacher, what if it doesn't work? We won't have big numbers and all of that.
God did not tell you to have big numbers. He said to obey. Obedience is
better than sacrifice.
Just like old Noah. Think about old Noah, always in the same place. Can you imagine
that? Every day people would get up, look out and wonder if old Noah was going
to get up and work on that stupid boat that day. They would come out, gather around
and say, There he goes. There are his sons with him. He's ruining those
boys. Social Service ought to step in and take those boys away from him. He is
ruining them. Just look at them. Those same nuts are going back to the same place
and doing the same thing, telling the same story, the fairy tale that we are going
to have a flood. Who ever heard of such a thing as that? They are trying to brainwash
us. We need to be careful of these right wingers. They are a danger to our society.
He didn't have many converts, did he? At least the Bible doesn't record any. But
he was always there. I would hate to be like Noah. I would hate to go for one
hundred twenty years and never see a soul walk the isle.
But God does not change,
so why should we change the message and the methods that He gave us? We are warned
in Proverbs 24:21, My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not
with them that are given to change. Now I realize we have things today we
didn't have then, and we ought to make use of them. Radio is good, television
is good. These are ways, but you know, the story is the same. What we have to
do is the same. The approach is the same. You can't improve upon the way and the
pattern that was given us in the Word of God. God is the same. So why should we
Then number two, human beings are still the same. With all our inventions and
technology, we are the same as Adam when he was expelled from the garden. Basically
we live the same. Basically, we must have food, preferably a whole lot of it.
We need water and air. We are born and we grow old. We die and we weep and laugh.
We sweat. We have modern baths. I remember as a boy I would stay with my grandparents
a lot. The only heat was a fireplace, and of course it was in one part of the
house. I slept in the back bedroom with my uncle Howard, who was three or four
years older than I was. And boy, when in midwinter at night, it would get cold.
We would heap up under those blankets.
remember two things I hated, getting in bed and getting out of bed. You got in
the bed, you had to lie about a half hour to get the place warm. It was like crawling
into sheets of ice. Some of you may know what I'm talking about. I can remember
on a January night, snow on the ground and ice everywhere, but I had to get up
about two or three o'clock in the morning. I just couldn't wait any longer. I
had to get up and those bare feet would hit that icy floor. Out through the kitchen
and on the back porch, down steps and down the narrow path by the chicken lot
to that little house that set out back. I will always remember that long, cold,
lonely path and those ice cold feet.
we have changed since then. We have modern baths instead of the old time outhouses,
but we still have to use them in one way or the other. What I'm saying is, man
is still the same. And nature is still the same. Jeremiah 17:9 says, The
heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
In Romans 5:12, Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and
death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
Yes, men are still the same. They have a nature to sin. So the news today is not
filled with deeds of righteousness after all, is it? No, it is the same story
as it has always been, just growing worse if anything.
Men die as they always did. We don't live as long as Adam, Methuselah and Noah,
but we do live longer than our forefathers did. But all still go down to the grave.
In Proverbs 30:15-16, it says, There are three things that are never satisfied,
yea, four things say not, It is enough. and the very first one is The grave The
grave is never filled. The grave never says it is enough. In Psalm 88:3, it says,
For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
Man is the same. His nature is the same. He dies the same. And then, all men must
still face judgment. That hasn't changed. Hebrews 9:27 says, it is
appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment Yes, there
is a judgment for the lost. There is a Great White Throne judgment of the damned,
and for the saved, there is the Judgment Seat of Christ. Everything is the same.
God is the same. Human beings are still the same. So let us continue to be the
same people, in the same place, doing the same thing, telling the same story.
number three, not only is God still the same, and man still the same, but Heaven
and Hell remain the same. Hell is still hot. Well preacher, we just don't
believe in a Hell today. Well, I know people who don't believe in Dallas,
but it is still there. One day it won't be, but it is still there. Just because
you don't believe in something, it doesn't make it go away. But don't you
know preacher, you might frighten someone. Well, I certainly hope so. It
is something to be frightened of. I wish there were no Hell, as far as I'm concerned
in the flesh. I don't pretend to understand it all and the awfulness of it. But
I know God is a just God and Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, and
those who rebel against God, as Satan did by disobedience and self-will, saying,
I will have my way, not God's way. I know that Hell hath enlarged
herself to receive those who have rejected Jesus Christ.
There is a Hell, and Hell
is still hot. Heaven is still sweet. The rich man, for at least two thousand years
now, still screams for a drop of water. He still has a vision of a man dipping
his finger in water, and he sees that silver drop hanging there on the end of
that finger, and he screams again and again, Send Lazarus, send someone,
that he might dip his finger in water and cool my tongue. For I am tormented by
this flame. Heaven and Hell are still the same.
The four noble barons of Revelation chapter four, one like a lion, the other like
a calf, another with a face of a man and the fourth like a flying eagle, each
full of eyes and with six wings. They still fly about the midst of the throne.
They roar and they thunder, and they declare, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God
Almighty; which was, and is, and is to come. Heaven is still the same. The
streets are still gold. The walls are still jasper. The gates are still a massive,
single pearl. The river of life still flows. The tree of life still yields its
fruit. The seven lamps, the fire of the Spirit, still burn. The seven voices of
the Holy Ghost still rumble from the throne. The angels still praise Him. The
saints still go there. God is still on the throne, with Jesus at His right hand.
And yes, He is coming back again someday. So I say, why gettest thou about and
changeth thy ways? I will remain among the same people, in the same place, doing
the same thing and telling the same story.
God is still the same. Man is still the same. Heaven and Hell are still the same.
And the blessed Gospel is still the same. It will never change. It still says
in John 3:36, He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he
that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on
him. It is the everlasting Gospel. There has never been another gospel.
There will never be another gospel. There is no alternate route to Heaven. There
is no parallel path. There is no merging way. There is no side door. There is
no other gate. There is no hidden entrance. There is no back up bus, surrogate
savior, standby lord or substitute plan. It is Jesus. It has always been Jesus.
Ye must be born again. and By grace are ye saved through faith.
It has never change and it will always be the same. Therefore, I urge you to keep
on being the same people, back in the same place, doing the same thing and telling
the same story, until God calls you home.
In conclusion, I like the old words. I'm an old fashioned person. I hate computers.
I have three of them, but I hate them. My son says I need to get on the Internet.
I guess it will to make the books more available. Remember the number two pencil?
I remember when the number two pencil came out, and that was Satan. That was technology
gone awry. I thought it was the end of civilization. What was wrong with a goose
quill pen? George Washington used it. But anyway, the primitive church, that means
the early church, gave us the pattern. They were warned, arrested, jailed and
beaten. Then later on, they were murdered, those same people, who kept showing
up at the same place, doing the same thing and telling the same story. But they
are telling us in this country that we can't do that anymore.
We have a diverse, multi-cultural
society. Where there is no diverse society in Heaven. There are only those who
have been born again. We need to be those kind of people. Why not? God is still
the same. Man is still the same. His character is still the same. His needs are
still the same. Heaven and Hell are still the same and the blessed sweet Gospel
is still the same.
As they were in days of yesteryear, as our forefathers were, I urge you to be
the same. Keep coming to the same place, being faithful, telling the same, sweet
story of Jesus. And remember, your success is not measured by numbers, but by
a heart of charity and faithful. And those motives are God's measuring rods. In
Revelation 2:10, He said to the faithful church of Smyrna, of which He found no
fault, Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil
shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation
ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
have a picture out of a book of history of Bristol, Virginia that someone gave
me. It is a picture of around 1890 to 1900. At the top is a photograph of members
of the Bristol Fire Department around that time, one hundred years ago. It is
now divided into two halves, Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia. There on
the bottom of the picture, it shows an old fire wagon with three white horses
pulling the wagon. I want to read you what it says:
Tennessee fire wagon was pulled by three white drones and the Virginia wagon were
pulled by two black mares. With the coming of the mechanical fire engine, the
horses were retired and sold. Two of the horses were taken to farms. One of the
old firefighters was sold to a local resident who lived near the fire station.
There was a practice of blowing the fire horn on top of the station whenever there
was an alarm to summon the volunteers to work. The seasoned veteran, the old horse
that had been retired and put out to pasture, thinking he was still needed, would
jump the fence and race to the station. As the firefighters arrived at the station,
they would find the old steed trying to back up to the new engine, eager to answer
An old warrior, when the bell sounded, he went back to the same place, ready to
do the same thing. And that is the kind of people God needs. That old horse is
an illustration to us. You couldn't keep him from the call of duty.
I would like to think that
in our community, seeing the coming and going of the church on Sunday morning
and during special meetings, let them not fail to realize, no matter how they
formed their thoughts or words, there they are again. I can look out the window
and see this brother here, this other brother over there, this sister here, there
they go again. The same guy. The same woman. I could live for ten, fifteen or
how ever many years and every Sunday morning, I could look out and there is that
woman, going back to that same church, doing the same thing, listening to the
same message. Doesn't she ever get tired of it? The answer is no, how can you
get tired of the blessed old Word of God. The same people, back in the same place,
doing the same thing and telling the same story.
By the way, aren't you glad that when you meet Him, God is in the same place,
doing the same thing, answering the same prayers, saving souls as He always did?
And if you are not a child of God, you do not know that your sins are forgiven
and you are going to Heaven, let me tell you that old story again, the same thing
I do at every message.
Five things God wants you to know. One, no one is good enough to go to Heaven.
Number two, everyone is a sinner. Number three, there is a terrible penalty for
sin, Hell fire. If it was up to me there would be no Hell. I don't understand
those things and I would be unjust. But you see, there is a Hell. Number four,
Jesus paid the penalty in your place and rose from the grave. Number five, if
you believe and trust in Jesus to forgive you of your sins and save your soul
and take you to Heaven someday, that is the way He always is. That is the way
it always will be. He is right there in the same place, waiting for you to say
yes to Him.
ADMIRE SUCH A MAN, BUT THEY DO NOT WANT HIS ETHIC