Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning, Oct. 7, 2001, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia. 


Scripture Reading: James 1:21-25

Text: James 1:22

James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Introduction: We have designated today, “Miracle Sunday,” and it is our desire that each one of you who attended today will get something special from God for coming here.

Today also marks 26 years for me of pastoring Bible-believing, fundamental, independent Baptist churches. I surrendered my life to preach in 1972, nearly 30 years ago, but on the first Sunday of October, 1975, I brought my first message to my first congregation, and it was from the very scripture passage we are using this morning.

The title of this morning’s message is simply RSVP. Perhaps you have seen this abbreviation on an invitation you have received to attend a wedding or banquet. The abbreviation comes from the French expression, répondez s’il vous plaît, which means, “Respond, if you please.”

God does not speak for people to admire His tone, theme, and technique. He speaks for a RESPONSE.

Job was a godly man and at the time the richest man in the world. However, godliness and riches do not exclude a person from trouble. Job repeatedly asked the question that many people do when they suffer, “Why?” Finally, God questioned Job in very stern fashion:

Job 38:3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

God demanded an ANSWER from Job.

I am glad you are here today, but we did not ask you to come so that you could simply sit and admire, criticize, or enjoy our people, program, and properties. We asked you to come, believing that we need to hear from God, especially in a day of terrorism in America such as this, and that we need to RESPOND to Him!

I have two basic truths that I want to impress upon your mind today. Hearing them, understanding them, believing them, and properly RESPONDING to them will make, for some of you, the difference between eternity in heaven and in hell, the difference between happiness and misery, the difference between a productive, Christian life and a wasted, selfish one.



John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

A. As in an order given by a superior

  • John 5:39-40 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me,that ye might have life.
  • People don’t have eternal life simply because they WILL not COME.
  • Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

B. As in the offer of a gift

  • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • A gift may be extended and explained by the giver, and it may be examined by the person to whom it is offered, but it never becomes his POSSESSION until and unless he RECEIVES it.
  • At my own expense, I have published a 211-page Bible study book, “To Be Like The Most High,” and I am offering it as a GIFT to each household represented here today. However, before YOUR book ACTUALLY becomes YOURS, you must RECEIVE it.

The gospel message is clear: Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the scriptures. If you will trust the Lord Jesus Christ and His payment for your sins to save you for all eternity, God will GIVE you eternal life.

However, you must RESPOND to the gospel message:

Acts 16:29-31 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

RSVP – “Respond, if you please!”


Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua commanded the people to CHOOSE … THAT DAY … whom they would serve!

Many religious people are confused. They think that a person is saved by serving God. They think that if you keep the Golden Rule, pray, and don’t kill anyone you will go to heaven.

You’re not saved by SERVING God, but by grace through faith in the SON OF GOD.

However, although a person is not saved BY His service, He IS saved TO DO service. The Bible puts it this way:

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

God has provided certain things for your service, but it is up to YOU to respond:

A. He has a prescription for your service

  • The BIBLE. It is the Christian’s textbook on how to live for God.

B. He has priorities for your service

  • Put Him first!
  • Salvation precedes service. Then come confession of faith, baptism, church membership, etc.
  • If you skip the BASICS, you will never get to the intermediate levels of service.

C. He has a pastor for your service

  • 1. A pastor is simply a shepherd, and God’s people are called SHEEP.
  • 2. Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd, assigns pastors to guard and to guide His people.
  • 3. You need to find God’s pastor for you if you are to serve God effectively.

D. He has a place for your service

  • Everyone knows about Jonah and the whale. The reason Jonah was swallowed by the whale was simply that he didn’t want to go minister in a town where God wanted Him! — Nineveh!

E. He has a purpose for your service

  • If you are saved, God has specific plans for you. It may include preaching or teaching the word, working with music, ministering to the elderly or with children, a jail ministry, or many other things.
  • You who are saved need to discover God’s purpose for your life and DO it.

F. He has a period for your service

  • The time to serve the Lord is NOW.
  • Not when you’re not so busy …
  • Not when you retire …
  • Not when you straighten out yourlife …
  • NOW.

You can KNOW these things, but you will never amount to anything in the Lord’s work until you RESPOND to messages like this one and decide to DO them.

RSVP – “Respond, if you please!”


Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

When I was a freshman student at Dougherty High School, my English teacher, Mrs. Creech, had a sign on the wall that I have never forgotten. It read, “Not To Decide IS To Decide.”

I call upon you who are NOT saved to decide to trust Christ as your Savior. If you do NOT decide to ACCEPT Him today, you have decided to REJECT Him today.

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

I call upon you who ARE saved to decide to SERVE the Lord Jesus Christ. If you do NOT decide to SERVE Him today, you have decided to DISOBEY Him today.

1 Chronicles 29:5 The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?

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