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November 26, 2021 12:00 am
No walk worthy of imitation because of their oratory, which was great, not because of the size of the congregation is a pastor which will are because of the reach of their political influence or the debt of their understanding.
They are worthy of imitation because what matters to them is the gospel of Christ.
What motivated them was the approval of Christ. What mesmerized them was the legacies in this series examines the biographies of Christian heroes from the past. Unlike other lessons Stephen looks at two people in this lesson. EV Hill and S. M. Lockridge what would change in your life.
If the gospel was your priority. What if you were to become committed to sharing the truth with the people around you without holding back EV Hill and SM Lockridge were a lot like Peter and John in the book of acts they preached with confidence inspired by their passion for Jesus today working to be inspired to follow their example.
Stay with us. We continue our brief study series of identifying the lives of believers worthy of imitation as the apostles told the early church even defined within their assembly. Those worthy of imitating so we just sort of take a little pause here and were introducing some choice servants of the Lord from recent church history and do some as far away is about four 500 years ago. If you bear long enough, you probably heard me mention, of course, my father preaching in the number of churches and I can remember growing up traveling with him in his ministry there.
Norfolk, Virginia to sailors, predominately sailors there and that service and center. He would load up an old boss and every Sunday night would go to a different church to worship. Typically, it would be a church that would provide prayer support or financial support to their ministry and he he preached all kinds of churches.
I wasn't raised in the Baptist church. He would preach in Presbyterian Church as missionary alliance church is Methodist churches, Bible churches, Baptist churches brethren churches and frankly I didn't realize the wonderful education. I was getting in the broader world of evangelical Christianity, and is something I treasure now. In fact that what he called me this morning we were reminiscing about one particular Sunday. It's one of really diffuse Sunday evening services. I can I can still remember.
I can still see myself sitting in that assembly. It was a predominately African-American church Baptist Church.
They had invited him to preach.
It was a different kind of service that I'd ever seen before but it still brings back fond memories.
I can tell you nobody was sleeping up.
You have like well on preaching here on Sunday morning. Everybody was alert back from the announcements to the closing benediction. It was just it was just riveting. I treasure those memories in fact selling my data because of events like that, but to this day I am particularly inspired and motivated and moved by the preaching of evangelical black pastors. I so appreciate and admire their courage. They stand on the shoulders of their fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers who many of them were pastors who preach and lived with great courage in a culture and society was not accommodating in any way shape or form.
I love bringing to our congregation so that we can hear the good preaching of men like Richard Alan Farmer and Robert Smith and EV Charles Charles Ware and others, and I love the fact that in our own congregation were multiethnic were part of one family in in Christ, but to this day.
Some of my favorite preachers are these African-American pastors. I can imagine beloved, how difficult it would be to pastor as an African-American in 1860. I can imagine how difficult it would be to pastor this country in 1960, so I think of these men to them and introduce to you they were not only faithful as men as husbands, as fathers, but they were faithful to the gospel and in a society that was not accommodating to them. In fact I wanted tell you little bit about how they made enemies on both sides of the tennis that simply because they delivered the truth of God's word and frankly, when I hear them preaching about freedom in Christ. When I hear them preaching about the faithfulness and provision of God. There is a richer and deeper nuance to their voice and they so moved me that motivate and inspire me to my favorite pastors from recent history. Both of these men have been with the Lord now for nearly 20 years are EV Hill and SM Lockridge. You don't know who they are. It's about time I introduce them to you. There are no biographies written about these men and that is very unfortunate, but if you read their obituaries. If you read their sermons. If you listen to audio recordings of them.
If you read things they've written themselves. You will pick up enough information that I've as I tried to piece it together for you today. They live with similar devotion and courage and passion and I could boil down their lives and ministries into three observation.
It would simply be these what mattered to them was the gospel of Christ.
What mattered to them was the gospel of Christ. What motivated them was the approval of Christ motivated not the approval of mankind, but the approval of Christ and what season mesmerized them was the glory of Christ reading what little I can find on the life of EV Hill. It took me in my mind the book of acts in the early church, let me invite you will look briefly at attacks in acts chapter 4 so turned their have a copy of the New Testament when you this text could be on the calling card of these men. This was their highest objective and it ought to be ours as well why you're turning.
Let me tell you little bit about Edward Victor Hill Senior he was born in the early 1900s in a log cabin in Texas. He was born into poverty. He grew up in poverty.
However, he would later write this and I quote him. I didn't know I was poor. I didn't know I was poor because we never eat cleated material things with poverty to us. Poverty was a matter of the spirit and we will rich in spirit.
That alone is a wonderful lesson for us. Well, through hard work.
He graduated from high school in the providence of God. He earned a scholarship to a college that had been founded in the late 1800s to give the children and grandchildren slaves an opportunity to get a college education Prairie view agricultural and mechanical College for the benefit of color you have that for a name. It would later become part of the Texas A&M University system and am standing still for agricultural and mechanical education. Although courts are many degrees but that really wasn't his desire, and I do want anyone in the ministry, but this was an opportunity to go to college and so he did his mother sacrificed tremendously.
He would say later by a bus ticket to get in there when he arrived to it. A dollar and $0.83 in his pocket, and only the pseudo-clothing on his back.
That's all the he didn't receive a theological education and receive a biblical training as a biblical training ground there at the school, but was valuable in many other aspects at the age of 21.
He then became the pastor of his first church and it was located in Texas. He would go on to pastor for nearly 50 years. He might not have had the best theological preparation, but he couldn't help but think is just on his life that he had the spirit of illumination and a desire to learn the word and for the most part he was self-taught and if you listen to him think he had earned several degrees you would think he was a walking Bible encyclopedia articulate and brilliant but that wouldn't be how he be viewed.
Certainly early on in his ministry. And I couldn't help but think of acts chapter 4 and verse 13 notice, the apostles are called in before the Sanhedrin and were told now as they, that is, the Sanhedrin, the High Court of Israel, the Supreme Court as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and I can stop you for just a moment that work confidence is a word that is is nuance to carries the idea of expressing yourself and not holding anything back tears, Peter and John speaking to the Supreme Court of the nation Israel with confidence there, delivering the truth of the gospel there holding nothing back.
Sanhedrin one more comment that will look. By the way, happened to be the most biblically literate, theologically trained group of men in the entire nation the Sanhedrin there*notice again these men are uneducated and on train. The word friend, uneducated, literally means on letter is no category. In spite of that notice they were amazed and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus that you love that been with Jesus. She wasn't a matter of education. It was a matter of association may be the reason I think about my own life. Maybe you wondered the same about your own life. Brats were not having the spiritual fruit. We like to have is because were more educated than ever, but the world is in recognizing us as having been with Jesus you can go out there and you can talk about God all you want but you start talking about Jesus is a different story.
They have been with Jesus early on EV Hill would be recognized for that kind of intimate association with the Lord and I want to tell you he will be disliked by the white community. He will be disliked by the black community and everybody in between because he's called the preaching is going to deliver the truth. He will speak it and hold nothing back. I I went to his University online to try to get a little research done. In fact, I thought there'd probably be a paragraph or page on this most illustrious alumnus and they did have a page in fact it's titled notable alumni of Prairie view and notice is quite impressive. There are the names of corporate CEOs, University presidents professional athletes in the WNBA, the NBA, the NFL many names I recognize there are the names of recording artists and concert musicians and civil rights leaders, but his name is and found among the notable alumni of Prairie view, the most famous pastor to have ever graduated from that school is not listed and I just sort of you know probably feel about my desk and said well let me think of why it was pretty obvious why. As you study is life didn't fit. He didn't fit the white community, even for the black community. He he was a notable alumnus in the school of biblical doctrine, but because of that he made enemies on both sides might've been because he placed the gospel above racial issues. Even though he was a confidant to Martin Luther King Jr. when he preached it was about the gospel, maybe even make the list because he was more interested in building a church that political movement maybe was because he had friendships with men like Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham.
Maybe it was because he preached, as he did a very strong pro-life position that he preached and held to a very strong six literal day creation view. Maybe it was because he left the Democratic Party early in his ministry and began identifying with conservative political leaders, he would pray the inauguration of one Republican president he would he would become a confidant to another one, maybe even make the list because on one occasion he called the American Civil Liberties Union satanic that is negative when you friends see what mattered to him was the gospel of Christ. What motivated him was the approval of Christ and not man.
He is worthy of imitation. How freely do you speak out there of your association not with God, but with Jesus. This mattered most, is interesting.
I read a book some time ago by James Montgomery boys know the Lord was the pastor to Presbyterian Philadelphia and he was a friend of EV Hills in his book voices book on the Christian and politics, which is the name of it. I copied out of that book an illustration about the ministry of EV Hill as a pastor Mount Zion missionary Baptist Church in the Los Angeles California area.
He eventually left Texas. Becky spent nearly 40 years in California with a one-time early in his ministry. EV Hill was a ward leader for the Democratic party and as a ward leader. His assignment was to to get his ward out to the that strategy continues to this day on both sides of the island and in the middle as well and he designed the strategy that what he needed to do was get a block captain for each block in his region and on election day, the block captain would call their neighbors on the block and encourage them. Remind them today. You gotta go vote.
Great strategy when EV came the Los Angeles and began pastoring. He was convicted by that thought in EE thought you know if I used to do that for politics. Why don't I translate that into the ministry of the gospel and so he thought. Why don't I get a block captain for each block in this Los Angeles area from our church. He calculated that it is area south-central Los Angeles. The number of city blocks was 3100 that was an ambitious goal, but he decided that would be their goal and the entire church moved intentionally in that direction.
Church members decided where they live based on whether or not somebody in the church already lived on that block.
Can you imagine, I mean our day in my thinking is hey I got a couple of families on my street to go to call him. This is great. There was another. Gotta spread out. We need somebody on every block when EV was sharing this strategic method with James Montgomery boys. He had already established block captains in 1900 blocks and south-central LA he tells Steve he does have a funny story of something that happened. He said there was one man who'd been so put off by the block captain, where he lived. She was always inviting them to church every time she saw him she wanted to talk about the Lord, the gospel, she was friendly, tactful yet persistent and he kind of avoided her at every opportunity, and finally got tired of her, and he decided to move the moving truck came, he loaded up his possessions and just before he drove away the block captain came out there and bid him farewell gave him one more invitation the church as he was driving away as he drove away. He said to himself. I'm so glad rid of the moving truck pulled away as soon as it was out of sight.
The block captain ran into her house, got out the directory of the Mount Zion block captains found the person in charge of the block to which her neighbor was moving and when he pulled up there was the new block captain waiting. Welcome to your new home and let me invite you to church. This time it was classic. He said good Lord, you people are everywhere. Love that I read that though I was deeply convicted by that. Imagine if we truly believe we were positioned and stationed and assigned to our block that cubicle that desk on assignment to get out the vote to exalt Jesus Christ's life is worthy of imitation. We introduce you to a colleague of his who grew up equally passionate about the gospel's name was Shadrach me shack Walker would go by SM lot shorter. He was born in 1913 he lived to the end of that century, died in the year 2000.
Again, there is no biography on his life affect there's less information on SM's life that EV's but again, if you look for scraps here and there and read the obituaries what other people said about him and listen to some sermons and whatever you can put the pieces together as I have for you and for my own ministry and heart. He also grew up in Texas in poverty. He pastored his first church in Texas. I can imagine how difficult it would have been to pastor a church in Texas 1925 to go through what he went through on so many levels. Societally as well as pastorally. It would serve for nearly 40 years in the ministry. Much of it in California.
He was called to pastor in San Diego and and while there for decades became a really powerful religious voice and social voice became the president of the California missionary Baptist state convention.
He was also known for his courageous said powerful love preaching he like EV hello they were like Peter and John to me. I just laid out there and held nothing back, but plenty of enemies, plenty of friends. SM eventually served on the faculty of the Billy Graham school of evangelism that teach evangelism courses. He served on the greater Los Angeles Sunday school convention and even published two books that were for the most part, sermons, one on the Lordship of Christ and the other entitled rekindling holy fire which he tended he would be used widely of the Lord preaching Crusades associated with the Billy Graham evangelistic rallies conferences all around the world. Colleagues called him a giant among preachers again self-taught.
But when you listen to his articulation. You would think uterine theological degrees.
Because of his study and life in the word is best known message is a sermon entitled, that's my King. He preached it 40 years ago. In this sermon he describes the Lord and it's clear to me and that's why I put that third observation on the lives of these two men he was mesmerized by the glory of Christ today that sermon. There's no video there's only audio that is kind of scratchy but that audio from 40 years ago, now has been downloaded millions upon millions of times it's more than likely the most listen to sermon in modern church history and is nothing more than the exaltation of Jesus Christ.
The lyrics and I say lyrics because it is poetry in motion some of them I've edited down it's a it's an hour long. When you give you three or four minutes worth some of it goes like this. My Bible says he's the king of the Jews. He's the king of Israel. He's the king of righteousness. He's the King of the ages he's the King of heaven is the King of glory. He's the King of Kings and he is the Lord of lords. He's my king. I wonder, do you know he's the greatest phenomenon that is ever cross the horizon of this world is God's son.
He's a sinner Savior. He's the centerpiece of civilization. He's unparalleled he's unprecedented.
I wonder if you know he sympathizes and he say he strengthens and sustains the garden he guides he forgives sinners he discharges debtors he serves.
The unfortunate he regards the agent and he rewards the diligent.
I wonder if you know his light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting is love never changes his word is enough. His grace is sufficient.
His reign is righteous.
His yoke is easy and his burden is light. I wish I could describe to you, but is indescribable. He's incomprehensible.
You can't get them out of your mind. You can get them off your hand. You can't outlive them and you can't live without.
The Pharisees couldn't stand them, but they found out they couldn't stop him like Peter and John pilot couldn't find any fault in them.
Herod couldn't kill him, death couldn't handle him in the grave couldn't hold them. That's my King, one EV Hill and SM Lockridge are worthy of imitation because of their oratory, their skill in communication was great, not because of the size of the congregations they pastor which were large because of the reach of their political influence or the debt of their understanding. They are worthy of imitation because what mattered to them was the gospel of Christ. What motivated them was the approval of Christ. What mesmerized them was the of crime like EV Hill and SM Lockridge.
The gospel, the glory and the approval of Jesus Christ should consume us as well. I'm glad you joined us today here on wisdom for the hearts with Steve and Dave, we've just about come to the end of Stephen series entitled legacies of light, as he examines the biographies of Christian heroes. We have one more lesson to go in this series and will bring you that next time. I hope you have a great weekend will conclude this current series on Monday. So join us for that here on wisdom for the harness