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   I Find No Fault In This Man


LUKE 22:66 - 23:4



Sunday Morning Sermon

April 25, 1999

Fair Ave Baptist Church



This is part one of a two part message.  I will preach the second half tonight.  The sub-title of these messages is “How To Be The Happiest Christian Possible.”  You’ll have to come back tonight to hear part two.


I want to preach a sermon this morning that I believe will help you.  I have prayed that this sermon will be a blessing and help to you.  I prayed this morning, “Lord, help me to be a blessing to be folks.”


You don’t stand behind the same pulpit for more than 12 years without wanting to be a blessing to the people you know and love.


I want to preach this morning on this subject, “I Find No Fault In This Man.”


Now, you are going to be surprised at the message because it will not be what you think.  I not going to say what you think I’m going to say.


This will be as practical a sermon as you have ever heard in your life.  All I’m asking is that you listen to me, that’s all I ask you to do.  I’m not asking you to agree with me, just listen to me.











The other day I was driving down the street and saw a man and his wife who used to be members of our church.  They left almost seven years ago.  They were good people.


He became upset with me about something I had said.  He came in and talked with me about it and told me they were leaving.  She was always so sweet and kind and pleasant to be around.


And I stopped and spoke with them for a few minutes and I was glad to see them.  I had been their pastor for several years.


You can’t stop loving somebody because they get mad at you.


I enjoyed my visit with them.


Believe it or not, when someone leaves it is not good riddance, bad rubbish.


I still loved those people.

There were on my prayer list.


Now, they may not love me, but I still love them.


After our conversation, I found myself wishing I were still their pastor.


You say, “Now, Preacher, don’t you get mad at folks who get mad at you and leave?”


No, I don’t get mad.


The truth is my heart aches.


I may get a little frustrated because I failed to reach them and help them.


It bothers me because I know that after my years in the ministry that I can help people.


I know our church has the answers, and I want them and their children to find those answers.


I happen to think that this is the greatest church within 75 miles of here.


And I believe we have more to offer young people than any church within miles of here.







There’s not a church in this county or any county next to us in any direction where God has reached down and spoken to young people and called them into his service.


We were eating lunch with the Magas family Monday.  I saw a young woman that used to come to our church years ago.  I remember the night she was baptized.


She came over to our table and we talked and had a good time.






Years ago, I preached to her,

I counseled with her,

She went to youth camp a couple of times,

I scolded her,

and I love her like she was my own daughter.


But, her mother quit coming,

this young woman and her younger sister stopped being involved,

and within just a few short months,

and within a year her life was wrecked.


I remember her when she was 14,

Now she’s 23 and has a young son.

No husband,

Working seven days a week,

She looked rough.


But, I was so glad to see her.

My heart was thrilled to see her and talk with her again.

We invited her back to church.

I hope she does come back.


Let me help you this morning.







Listen to me carefully and I can help you with something that will make your Christian life the happiest possible.


My barber and I are friends.  I enjoy going to get my hair cut, and I thank God regularly for allowing me still have my hair.


My barber is my friend.  Now, he goes to another church, not a Baptist church.


I have been going to him since I first came to Gainesville nearly thirteen years ago.







We really don’t have a lot of common interests, but he loves to talk and I listen.


We have a lot of the same concerns about our country and the problems.  And we often joke that we can settle the world’s problems in that thirty minutes we spend together about once every three weeks.


He has been training a reining horse for several years now.  He takes that horse to different competitions and he enjoys it very much.






He talks about his sons who are airline pilots.


We talk and talk and I enjoy going to my barber.


Now, here’s the gist of the sermon.


I’m glad I don’t know my barber any better.


The truth is that if we got to talking about the differences in our churches, we would find out that we don’t agree.






There are some doctrines on which we would disagree if we got to talking about it.


There are some standards I’m sure we wouldn’t agree on.


But, I got to thinking that I’m glad I don’t know my barber any better.


Because if I knew him any better, it might cause a little strife between us.


I like my barber.







And I’m glad I don’t know my barber any better.


Because we got to know one another better, he would find some faults with me and I would find some faults with him.


Can you see where we’re going this morning?


I’m trying to help you this morning.


I want to make your Christian life the best possible.


Listen, if you spend too much time around our Academy, you’ll find some things wrong.


And if you are not a staff member of our Academy, you would be wise not to investigate too much.


I’m not talking about moral things, I’m talking about the little nitty-gritty things, the day-to-day things.


You should never get so close to any institution or person that you start criticizing.


It will make your Christian life miserable.


The closer you get to something or something, the more you see their imperfections.


Listen to me, don’t get so close to something or someone that you start to get disenchanted.


You can get around Cooke County Baptist Academy,


or our Bus Ministry,

or our Youth Department,

or our Music Ministry,


or the Church as a whole,


You better watch out,

You’ll get critical,

And you’ll get miserable,

Your Christian life will suffer,

And suffer greatly,

And you’ll leave the church that changed your life.


And though we would be a loser,

You would be a far greater loser than we would.


I’m trying to preach a preventative sermon this morning and I’m trying to prevent some of you from wrecking the lives of your children.


Just because you got too close to something,

Just because you got too close to someone,

Or too close to some friend for that matter,

And because you got too picky,

And you got too critical.


Please, please don’t get too close to any institution,

or any person,

or any friend,

that you become a critic.


You will never be a happy Christian if you get to where you are a critical Christian.


Now, there are two kinds of folks that this happens to.


First, those people who know nothing about the situation, and those who know too much about the situation.


Take a sports broadcaster, for instance.  Most of them never played any sport, they only got the job because of their voice and delivery.


They never put on the football pads in August and ran windsprints until they threw up.










They never pulled on a pair of football pants or a pair of shoulder pads.


They never pushed a blocking sled until they were exhausted.


They never went through tackling practice and got the slobber knocked out of them.


They never sweated and lost five pounds in one day during two-a-day workouts.


They never played the game of football,

Never called a play,

Never ran a pattern,

Never threw a block,

Never did nothing,

Never coached at any level except maybe Boys Club,


But they know that Chan Gailey did it wrong,

Or they know that Tom Landry did it wrong.


What America has become is a critiquing generation and it has spilled over into our churches.







You’ve never taught school, but you think you can do it better we can.


You’ve never been a principal of a school, but you think you know better we do.


Or, you’ve never been a bus captain but you know you could do it better than the ones we have.


You’ve never been a youth director but you sure did know how to do it better than Johnny Stephens did.


You’ve never run a hot dog stand but you know how to run a football team or a church.


Now, if you’re in that group that doesn’t know what in the world is going on, you need to stay away and not get too close to it.


The second group is that group of people who know too much.


Businessmen have to be very careful in the church.







Far too often they fail to realize that the way they run their companies is not the way you run a church.


I am so thankful that Tim Sicking and Ken Fomby have never come to me and tried to tell me that I am running the church the wrong way.


I am so thankful that those two very successful businessmen have enough sense to know that the operation of a church is completely different from running their business.


And I am thankful that if I have any questions about business or business dealings, I can go to them and ask them and they are very helpful.


All across America businessmen are destroying churches by critiquing the pastor and trying to run the church like they do their business.


The problem is that the church is not a business, it is a ministry.  And God didn’t call the businessmen to lead the church, God called the pastor.  And I’m thankful the businessmen of our church do not try to run the church or tell the pastor how to run the church.


None of us,

No institution can stand the critiquing of someone who is too close.


All of us have faults,

All of us have weaknesses.


I say it again.







Whether it is a person,

Or an institution,

When you get to the place where you are too close and about to criticize, back off.


Please allow me to get a little personal here for a few minutes.  During my 23 plus years in the ministry, I have made a lot of mistakes.


But one mistake was becoming too close to some people and allowing them to become too close to me.


I have a lot of faults.

Too many faults.

Just ask my wife.


But allowing people to become too close to me to where they saw more faults more closely caused those friends to become critical.


No institution,

No church,

No person can stand close scrutiny,

And I can’t stand up to it either.







Listen, please, listen.


The saddest days in your life will be when you become too close to someone. 


You get to spending too much time with them and you’ll regret it one day.


And, if you’re not careful, one day instead of being close friends, you’ll become enemies.


And what could have been a lifetime friendship becomes a broken relationship because they got too close.


I’ve lost good friends,

I’ve lost people I loved dearly,

All because they got too close and became critical.

But, it was easy because I gave them reason.

But it still hurts.


Bro. Ridge, let’s not do that, please.

I don’t know him very well.

In fact, I’m not sure I want to know him very well.






Let’s not get so close we become critical.

Let’s stay good friends.


I started off by saying I said I’m glad I don’t know my barber better.


But what happens is this:

Two people become best friends,

They get together all the time,

They spend a lot of time together.


It may be a mother and a daughter who are together too much and it wrecks the marriage.


When you say, “I give this girl away,” give her away.


It may be two friends who get together, and before you know it, you’ll get to know each other too well.


Now listen carefully.


I don’t care who you are,

You are not going to be able to stand careful scrutiny by a critic.


Now, let me take just a couple of minutes and tell you about someone you can get close to.


You’ll never be disappointed in him.


You’ll never find a blotch on his record.


His name is Jesus of Nazareth.


The judge who tried him said, “I find no fault in this man.”


The guard said, “Surely, this is the Son of God.”


Jesus of Nazareth.


Peter was the closest to Him.

Peter know Jesus very well.


And Peter summed up the life of Jesus when he said, “Jesus of Nazareth, who went about doing good.”


Now, if you are a critic, please do not get too close to me.







If you’re a critic, don’t get too close to my wife.  You’ll find out that she is a loud mouth.







None of us can stand close scrutiny.


Kenneth Ridge, a good man, but don’t get too close to him if you’re a critic.


Tim Sicking, a good man, but don’t get too close to him if you’re a critic.


Jerry Jones, a good man, but don’t get too close to him if you’re a critic.


J.W. Burrow .... well, let’s go on to someone else.







And the list goes on and on,

good men,

hard working men,

good men.


Listen to me -


No one can withstand the attack of a critic.


If you’re a critic, you’ll find fault with this preacher.


If you’re a critic, you’ll find fault with the men on this platform,


If you’re a critic, you’ll find fault with this church,


If you’re a critic, you’ll find fault with our Christian Academy,


But I don’t care how critical you are, you’ll never find fault with Jesus.


Only one can withstand the attack of a critic and that is Jesus.







Do you need to receive Christ this morning?


Say “Yes” to Jesus Christ this morning.

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