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Home The Light Articles from 2009 Keep Off the Grass Part 1

Keep Off the Grass Part 1

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(Transcribed, condensed, from a ser­mon preached July, 1991 in Mullin, Texas; scheduled as a two-part series in the May/June issues of The Light.)
Good morning! What a beautiful sight-the body. I love it so. Thank you for this opportunity. I'm very very glad to be here. Preparing for this, I was worried about being nervous...I was worried about saying the wrong thing, but it never entered my mind that some of the men I admire most in the pulpit would be sitting out there. I'm glad that just occurred to me. The brethren have asked me to talk to the young people among us, but I believe that maybe what I have to say will be for the benefit of everyone.
When I was posed the question of whether I would feel comfortable in discussing my past, well, I don't. And I thank God that I don't. I'm so very very ashamed of the majority of my life. Except for the last four years it's been one of sin and wickedness. But if speaking on it today will produce any good, then that is what I must do. If what I say today to you young people will help you say "no" just one more time to the offer of a beer, say "no" to the offer of a marijuana or any kind of dope For instance, if you've ever noticed as you walk through a big public park, up and down the sidewalks, did you ever notice or see a sign that said "Stay Out of the Trees"? Well no, you've never seen a sign like that, but you probably have seen a bunch of little signs that say, "Keep Off the Grass." And to me, there's a whole lot of sense in that. I see the point. Because if you don't ever get off the sidewalk (I'd like that to represent God's path of righteousness)-if you don't ever get off of the sidewalk and onto the grass, you'll never have to get anyone to come help you get out of the tree.
For my sake, I want to try to keep this kind of simple, because I am not, like you say, professing to be a preacher, but I do have something I want to say. I have a little basic outline,just say "no" one more time, and those of you who are in the dating situation-if you say, "let's stop and wait, and think about this," and see what God has to say on any of these major decisions-if you just examine what God has to say just one more time, then I have reached my goal. That's all I want to get out of this to­day. I believe it will be well worth how nervous I am and how ashamed I am of what I'm going to bring forth to you today.
The reason I tell you to say "no" one more time is because I believe there's a point in our lives that we will quit refusing sin and from that point on we start breaking down and it becomes easier and easier to stray. You know, no one who never drank ever had to go through de-tox. No one who has never tried drugs has ever had to go through a rehabilitation program. So I believe that just common sense would tell us that the easiest way to quit these things is to never start.
It's been said of me that I have a different perspective on things. You know, I do notice things and see things a different way than other people do. I do have this strange outlook. I want to hit three points: the first being God's Love, the second God's For­giveness, and the last one that I believe the very most important is, How Little Time We Have On this Planet.
Let's look at God's love first. I think we need to look a little closer and un­derstand it. We all know how much God loves us as individuals. The Scrip­tures tell us "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We also read that "God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." God wants each and every one of us to make it to heaven-He loves us that much. But He also loves us enough that He made us all free moral agents. That gives us the right to choose. And it gives us the right to choose whether to serve Him or to serve Satan. There's a lot of things in this life-I don't believe it's just one choice. For the vast major­ity of us it's a whole bunch of small choices.
And so, while preparing this talk I went back and asked some of my life­long acquaintances (that is, those who are still alive) some questions. Now, for those of you who don't know me, these people consist of bikers, alcohol­ics, weed heads, pill heads, heroin addicts and pretty much a combination of all these. I asked them a basic ques­tion: "What could I say to this group of young people so their lives won't turn out like mine was" (and their's still is).
Well, I was very surprised at the answers I got because I was just about half way expecting them to say, "Well, it's alright to drink a little bit, or just do a little weed, you know, just a little marijuana," because, let's face it, these people are junkies and that's the kind of response I expected. But I was shocked at the response I got, and I was very excited. I asked what to do and they responded with, "Tell those young people not to drink!" which to them is just a common every day prac­tice, just as Koolade is to most of you people here. I was shocked and I had to ask, "Why?" For us we know, be­cause it's a sin, but like I said, amongst these people just because "it's a sin" doesn't carry much weight.
I had one response that's especially special-I want to try to relate it. This one guy answered, "When I started to drink, I started to lie to my parents. I learned how to be sneaky. I learned how to lie to the police. I started lying to the people around me. I started to lie to myself." (I didn't say it, but he also started lying to God.) You see, all this comes from a junkie. I believe it's a valuable lesson because what he was saying was that when he started being disobedient to God on a small scale, he finally let it get way out of control. I find it especially touching because this is the same guy I get a call from in the middle of the night and he'll be crying. (I've got to try to relate this to you.) I know some of you don't understand, but this is just totally not done in this circle...for him to cry over the phone to me in the middle of the night. And he's always crying, but he has the same basic question and it's, "Stump, how did you do this? I'm miserable, it's more than I can stand. I just can't live like this anymore. But I just can't quit-it's got me and it won't let go."
Now, like I said, it's very hard to relate. It's very hard to explain being a prisoner to your own flesh. When the flesh craves the very thing that's killing you physically and spiritually, it's hard to understand, and it's harder to ex­plain. Well, if any of you have ever had that filthy addiction of tobacco, and you've tried to quit, you might understand just a little bit. You might understand. It's the very thing that you know is certainly going to kill you. It's what your body feels like it must have! And I know that there's no logic be­hind it, but that's something that I can't express to you people-it's that very thing that you know in essence is kill­ing you-that is what you want more than anything else.
You see, what my friend is saying when he calls in the middle of the night is that he's up that tree, and he's call­ing because he wants somebody to come get him out. And the sad part is that, even if you live long enough, it's very hard to get out of that tree. That's why I believe, by his own message, what my friend is trying to tell you all is keep off the grass. Stay on the path of righteousness. If you don't get started in this wicked life, you'll never have to quit it.
Well, like I said, I might be "crazy," but I'm not naive. I do know what goes on in the minds of young people. I know some of what you think. I can almost hear, after this meeting-say a week or two, a month or two down the road-"Well you know, that guy at the meeting said if I ever drank, or if I ever tried any dope I'd be a junkie and I'd die. Well, here I am. I'm not a junkie and I'm not dead, so I guess that's just some more of that 'church talk'." They might even laugh at me.
I want to try to explain this to you. Try to think of this business like having an empty back pack. The first time you sin just put a rock in that pack. You might put that back pack on and say, "Why, I can carry this around just fine. It's not too much trouble." So you might try to pull this same stupid stunt again, but next time you might have to lie, you might have to take a couple of rocks-compound sin, if you will. With that point, go ahead, get a couple of rocks and put in that back pack.
Well, I guess you can kind of see how this is going. It won't be long till you won't be wanting to carry that back pack with you anymore. It will be real heavy. One day you'll wake up and you'll look at that pack full of rocks and they will be more than you want to carry. That back pack you see-that's your flesh. You can't choose. You've got to carry it. You'll wake up, you'll be sick. You'll need a drink, you'll need a fix-and when you get it, the sad part of it is, when you get that drink or that fix, you've still got to put a couple more rocks in that pack, you've still got to add to the habit. At this time, you feel more alone than you ever have in your life, 'cause you see, there'll be no one there to suffer with you. There will be just you and your back pack.
Well, now I've got a sixty-four thou­sand dollar question. How do I get rid of twenty years of carrying that pack around-how do I get rid of all those rocks in it? How do I stop sticking that needle in my arm from daylight to daylight?.. .by whatever means I could get money together. How do I quit drinking until I pass out, just to wake up and start again and be so sick I thought for sure I would die-and those of you who don't know it, you CAN die from not having the thing that will kill you. You can die of withdrawal!
Well, it's the same question I get posed to me. It's happened now where its once or twice a month I get a call in the middle of the night. I don't know why...well, yes I do know why its in the middle of the night. But I get these calls, and these desperate voices, they want to know, "How did you do this? What's the secret? How did you do it?" Well, "I" didn't. It wasn't me. And that's a point that's so very important. It's so hard to explain too. You see, some of you fine people right here took some of those rocks. The brethren I have back in Port Arthur, they took quite a few of those rocks. But you see, the biggest burden, the heaviest part of that sack-my Savior carried them to the cross with him. In spite of how weak my Savior was from all the beat­ings, I still think the reason he stum­bled on the way up to calvary was the weight of all of our back packs that he was carrying. -1651 CR424, Comanche, TX 76442   ... Continued next issue.
 

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