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Text Sermons : ~Other Speakers A-F : Hyman Appelman : THE CHALLENGE

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NEVER in all the magnificent history of Christianity and the Church was Paul's challenging
statement of the open door (I Corinthians 16:9) more true than it is today. The Church of the
living GOD is facing an open door of work and victory that should send a clarion thrill through
the heart of every soldier of the Cross. Wide as the far-flung six continents, open as the maw of
eternity, is this door beckoning to venture and adventure for CHRIST and the souls of men.
With yearning hearts the peoples of the world are waiting with bated breath for some leader or
group of leaders to point the way out of the miasmic corruption, the nightmarish despair that has
swept across the affairs of a seemingly doomed earth. Science has failed. Diplomacy has
crashed. Human reforms and schemes have but added to the ghastly turmoil. Popes, presidents,
dictators, and so-called religious leaders nave stepped in only to find the tinkling brass and the
sounding cymbals of their suggestions but increasing the tempo of the dance of doom. We falter,
we fail, we fall, unless, by the grace of GOD, the Lord JESUS CHRIST is given the right of way
in the hearts, souls, and activities of men.

This is the zero hour for the Church. This is the zero hour for the Christian. This is the zero hour
for the preacher of the true gospel. We have a message the world needs. We have the panacea for
all the world's ills. We have the constitution for a league of nations that will bring peace upon
earth to men of good will. We know the way out. The terrible question is, Shall we be satisfied
with our little piddling programs? Shall we be content with the routine round of things? Shall we
congratulate ourselves upon our tiny triumphs while the devil and hell are winning greater
victories? Shall we not rather rend our clothes, don our sackcloth of mourning at the thought that
outside of the few connected with the immediate families and organizations of our churches, the
vast non-attending multitudes are increasing in number, godlessness, indifference to sin,
desolation, and death? Shall we let the devil have most of it his own way?

Was that the way of Paul? Was that the program of Wesley? Was that the procedure of
Whitfield? Is that what Charles G. Finney did? Did Dwight L. Moody subscribe to such a pitiful
puerility? Was Billy Sunday satisfied with such undertakings? No! A thousand times over. No!
The very questions are an insult to the memories of these giants of GOD. GOD pity us if that is
the limit of our vision, if that is the horizon of our faith!

Who were these men? Who were these Pauls, these Wesleys, these Moodys? Men of like frame
with us, clay of our clay, earth of our earth - sinners every one of them,
sinners saved by grace,
sinners seeking grace,
sinners surrendering to grace,
sinners endued with the grace of GOD.
They were men. So are we.
They were Christians. So are we.
They loved the Lord. So do we.
They were baptized believers. So are we.
They were fundamental in their faith in the inspiration of the Book, in the virgin birth of the
Lord CHRIST, in the efficacy of the atonement, in the resurrection from the dead, in the second
coming of CHRIST. So are we.
They had the Bible. So have we.
They had the Church. So have we.
They loved the souls of men. So do we.

Why, then, could these emissaries of CHRIST do such mighty works, while we cannot even stem
the tide of godlessness in our own churches? Is it because we have not their vision? But we know
more about the needs of the world than they could have possibly discovered.
Is it because we do not have the Pentecostal unction, the enduing with the HOLY SPIRIT? But
He is ours. We may have Him with all His cleansing, consecrating, conquering might.
Consider, then, with me, as I humbly press upon your hearts, first the open avenues of service;
second, the opposing adversaries to service, third, the offered allies for service.
I. Consider first the open avenues of service.

There are open doors, open avenues of service for our country, for our nation, for these glorious
United States of America. There is the avenue to sanity rather than savagery. The jungle has
invaded the boasted civilizations of the world gone back to bestiality.

This is the opportunity for America. Under the aegis of CHRIST, in the way of the Bible, it is for
us to maintain sanity, poise, love, impartiality in this tempest-driven earth. It is for us to set the
pace of loving every race. It is for us to show that the things of the SPIRIT are eternally superior
to the things of the flesh. Yes, there is an open door for America, sanity versus savagery.
There is second, the open door for the Church. There is the open door of conquest rather than
compromise. The pressure is great. We must fight the world of politics, property, and pleasure. It
is so easy to hear and to heed the siren voices of suggestion and forgiveness. It is so easy to
borrow the plans, programs, and proposals of the world, incorporating them into our church
activities to make them more attractive, to keep our young people and to interest people in
general.

Oh, brethren, therein lies destruction. The Church has one purpose only, to preach the gospel of
salvation to a lost and dying world, to bring men, women and children to a saving knowledge of
the Lamb of GOD which taketh away the sin of the world. Not by one jot, not by one tittle, dare
we retreat from the proposal of the Great Commission, or mix it up with the things of the flesh.
No church has ever gained ground, no church has kept even the little ground it had hitherto
gained, by compromising with the plans of the world.

There is the open door of evangelism rather than stagnation. The church lives by conquest and
by the winning of souls. There is nothing in all the world that will revive a dead church as
quickly as a passionate going after and winning the souls of men. Evangelism, soul-winning,
travailing in prayer, witness-bearing - that is the way that leads to power and prosperity.
Challenge your people with that message! Burn into their very souls the thought that they are
ambassadors for CHRIST. Your pews will fill. Your Sunday school will grow. Your finances
will increase. Your mortgage will be paid. Your people will be happy. Your cities will be stirred.
Souls will be saved. JESUS CHRIST will be magnified. Yes, evangelism as opposed to
stagnation.
There is further the open door of world-wide missions rather than the selfish disposal of all the
monies in the home land. Axiomatic is it that a missionary church is a pure church - a praying,
harmonious, and soulwinning church. The challenge, the romance, the high adventure of the task
of sharing the achievements of bearing the battle burdens of scarred warriors of the Cross in their
far-flung engagements against the strongholds of sin, have a note in them that puts iron into the
blood of every born-again church member. There never has been, there never will be, there never
can be a conquering, victorious, CHRIST-honoring church unless its vision embraces the ends of
the earth. Yes, missions as opposed to selfishness and to narrowness.

For us Christians there are doors open. There is the door of purity rather than intemperance. All
about us men have engaged in a spree of wild living. There is intemperance in money-making.
Honor, love, loyalty, patriotism are offered in the open market to the highest bidder.
There is intemperance in money spending. From the government down to the poorest home, it is
spend, spend, borrow, spend, keep up the eternal round, forgetting that there is a day of balance
and reckoning coming. The hard toil and the sacrificial self-denial which have made the United
States the greatest nation in all the world are out-dated.

There is intemperance in pleasure seeking. This is a generation of sensation mongers pandering
to the vilest tastes of sensation seekers. It is for us Christians to keep our heads, to refuse to be
swallowed up in this terrible maelstrom of evil. Clarionlike the words of Paul demand of us, "Be
not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye
may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2).
Also there is the door of purpose rather than indifference. That is the blight of all of our
churches, of all of our activities. Not one out of ten, and that is very conservative, of our church
members can be depended on to back up the program of the Lord in any given activity.
Indifference is the killing dry rot in the program of the kingdom of GOD. We need a passionate
purposefulness that will enlist the very best in all of us, that will challenge and compel the
depths of our souls, that will constrain us to an advance against the hordes and hosts of hell, to
an attack for GOD and the souls of men. It is only a flaming, unflagging, unremitting purpose,
based on the outline of the Great Commission, that will enliven our churches, enlist our
backslidden, enthrone the CHRIST, enroll the lost and straying.

There is further, the open door of power rather than inadequacy. We are not militant enough.
Our conquests are too meager. We are making too little impression on the world. Our religion is
too soft. It is accomplishing too little. It has lost the respect of the virile man of the streets. It
lacks drive. Yet, the promises of GOD are still in the old Book. The SPIRIT of GOD is still here
upon the earth. Pentecost was meant for an example rather than for a finality. The dynamite of
Heaven is still ours for the having, ours for the using. There is an open door to the flooding tide
of the SPIRIT. There is an open door to the visitation of GOD's power which will make the
whole world sit up to take note that there is still a GOD in Heaven, that His promises are still yea
and amen in the Lord JESUS CHRIST.

II. Consider next, the opposing adversaries to service.
They are always the same, the unholy trinity of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Satan has
nothing new to propose. He uses different means and methods, but the basis is always the same,
the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. With these he beguiled Adam and
Eve. With these he has been fooling the descendants of that luckless pair. It is these that Paul had
to face, and Peter, and John. It is these that Luther, and Wesley, and Whitfield, and Moody had
to combat. It is these against which we are called to battle.
There is first the glamour of the world. In ten thousand and one siren forms it beats and drums its
invitations on the hearts of a bemused world. By paper, magazine, book, movie, lecture, concert,
drama, and by social, civic, fraternal, collegiate organizations, and the dulcet tones of some
sweet-singing modernistic preacher palliating sin, girl pussyfooting hell, pushing out the blood,
the children of men are lured away from the narrow path of repentance, reconciliation,
regeneration, righteousness, rewards in eternity, to the broad highway of pleasure, prosperity and
popularity.

There is second, the greed of the flesh. Success is not measured by honesty, honor, worth-while
contributions to the weal of mankind, or upstanding character, but by gold, property, and
possessions. Those churches are held successful who contribute the largest amounts to the
treasuries of their respective denominations. Soul-winning, numbers added to the churches by
confession, sink into insignificance alongside the co-operative contributions of the pastor-led
peoples. Our conventions and associations are taken up with plans and programs for the raising
of money. Gold is the standard, the criterion, the measure, the balance, the scale, the yardstick.
The world has enthroned greed. The cheapest thing in the United States of America is a human
soul. Greed has seen to that. Greed in high places! Greed in low places! Greed in politics,
business, social activities, education.

There is third, the godlessness of the devil. By every evil suggestion, using every available
means by misrepresentation and distortion, Satan has thrown doubt upon the Book, questioned
the existence of the Lord, denied the divinity of CHRIST, minimized the importance of the
Church, smashed the age-old foundations of a faith that has built up our nation to its present
exalted position. The Lord's Day has been desecrated, marriage vows defiled, claims of parental
obedience denied. Godlessness, whether in the active undermining by the American Association
for the Advancement of Atheism, or in the CHRIST-dethroning indifference of our own socalled
church members, is undoubtedly the bitterest, the most widespread foe that we face as we
stand before the open door of service. The dire tragedy of this enemy is that it so often assumes
the fair visage and honey tongue of a friend and well-wisher. This is an adversary to be
exposed and driven out into the bright white light of the HOLY SPIRIT's judgment.
III. But we must hasten on to consider last, the offered allies for service.

They are all about us, ready to lend their mighty support in the performing of the tasks facing us,
and to aid us in the overcoming of the foes we face. These allies have never known failure, have
never retreated.

Our first ally is the Lord Jehovah, the GOD, of hosts. "If God be for us, who can be against
us?" We have His unfailing promises. There is nothing of which GOD is unaware. There is no
incident that can meet us unknown to Him. There is no difficulty can befall us, no temptation
assail us, in the myriad multiplied activities of our lives, but that the Lord has long since taken
cognizance of them to set the machinery of Heaven in motion to obviate and overcome them. All
of His authority, grace, wisdom, and deathless compassion guarantee these promises. They are
ours to have, to claim, to hold, to use. The Lord is our ally!

Our second ally is the CHRIST of GOD,
the only begotten Son of the Father,
sent into the world,
nailed to the cross,
raised from the dead,
received up on high,
seated at the right hand of the Father,
endowed with all authority in Heaven and on earth,
interceding for us,
some day coming again to receive us Unto Himself in glory.

We have the CHRIST of GOD, who is able to serve us and to work in us, with us, through us;
able to save to the uttermost all those who come unto GOD by Him; whose blood has never lost
its efficacy, whose name has never lost its power. America is dying without Him; Europe is
panting for Him; Asia is looking for Him. CHRIST JESUS is our ally.

Our third ally is the HOLY SPIRIT, GOD's vice-regent, CHRIST's representative here
upon the earth. His power is beyond human computation and measure. His wisdom is limitless.
He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. He can take, He has taken the weakest vessel, the
humblest tool, the poorest instrument, and wrought wonders with them. It was He who
endowed Moses,
enrolled Joshua,
enabled Samuel,
ennobled David,
enlightened Isaiah,
emancipated Daniel,
encouraged Paul and Silas,
enlisted Luther,
endued Wesley,
enraptured Moody.

He is our Comforter also, ready to transform our lives into channels of blessings, making us
mighty unto the pulling down of the strongholds of sin, unto the advancing and the upbuilding of
the kingdom, unto the winning of multitudes of precious souls. Without Him we are helpless.
With Him the gates of hell cannot prevail against us.

He is the key to success,
the secret of victory,
the door to the impossible.
The HOLY SPIRIT is our ally.

Our fourth ally is the mighty inspiration of the past triumphs of the saints of GOD.
For nineteen hundred years, the world, the flesh, and the Devil has raised every kind of obstacle,
thrown up every kind of barrier, and invented every kind of difficulty against the ongoing of the
kingdom of GOD, against the upbuilding of the Church of CHRIST, and against the forward
movements of the people of the Cross.

For nineteen hundred victorious years, under the banner of Prince IMMANUEL, the armies of
Calvary have fought Satan. The Cross has reared its gory, glory splendor on every continent, in
every country, in every clime. Myriads, multiplied mighty myriads of precious, immortal souls
have been brought under the sway of the life-giving, beneficent Prince IMMANUEL. Women
have been freed, children liberated, schools built, orphanages erected, hospitals provided. The
Galilean has conquered in the past.

There have been setbacks, traitors, tragedies, bitter losses, disappointments, discouragements,
and disheartenments. Oceans of blood have been shed. Men, women, and children have travailed
in heroic venture and adventure, whose retelling makes the tales of chivalry, the stories of war
valor, pale and anemic reading. Every step has been contested. Every forward move has cost
sacrifice untold.

Our fifth ally is within ourselves. It is the power of consecrated Christian lives. "And they
overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they
loved not their lives unto the death" (Revelation 12:11). That is still true, if anything more true
than it ever was. We have examples of it all through the secular world. Who can forget the scene
in the Roman Colosseum in one of the early assemblages of the Fascisti? Mussolini had
delivered one of his most impassioned martial addresses for patriotism, for la bella ltalia. A
great concourse of the choicest of Italian manhood massed before him. He challenged them for
the weal of his and their country. When he finished in a passionate burst of oratory, stirred to
their depths, these tens of thousands of strong men lifted their hands in the Fascist salute, and as
one man, in a voice that made Father Tiber to tremble, they cried out the ancient gladiatorial
salute, Morieur, te salutamis - Death, we salute thee. These men, in the very prime, the very
vigor of their fine manhood, knowing they were face to face with war and death, laid their lives
on the patriotic altar for Italy and their Duce.

What about our own country? Who, with a burning drop of American blood in his veins, will
ever forget the sufferings of the Continentals in Valley Forge? Who, out of my own great state of
Texas, will ever cease to be moved by the matchless, undying message of the Alamo? For
country, home, liberty, and earthly ideals, these men dared, devoted, died. How much more
ought we to dare, to do, to die for Him who first dared, devoted, and died for us?
Oh, my brethren, the Nazis, the Fascisti, the Bolsheviks shame us with their zeal. Who has a
worthier cause than we? Who ever had or has now a nobler leader than this SAVIOUR of ours?
Who, in all the annals of man's heroism, had or has a greater task than the one entrusted to us?
Consecration - complete, final, obedient, unreserved, unhesitating, with all and everything on the
altar of love, loyalty, and allegiance - will win the day, stem the tide, save the world, and prove
our loyal, appreciative gratitude to Him who loved us and purchased us together with all that is
ours in His own hallowed blood.

There is the story beloved! There is the message! There is the challenge of the open door for our
nation, for our Church, for our own selves.






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