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Don't Judge a Book

John Bradshaw


It’s often said we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Yet how often do we judge people by appearances? Many “unlikely” people have come to faith in God. As we respond to Jesus’ great commission, it’s important we see every person as a potential citizen of God’s eternal kingdom.


John Bradshaw

President of It Is Written



  • June 19, 2019
    10:30 AM
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It's good to be with you today let's pray together before we open the Bible and we'll expect that God will speak to let's pray Father in heaven for the privilege of being able to open your Would we have very grateful I pray that you won't let the limitations of full and humanity prevent your spirit from doing a great wood we need to be fade we need to be encouraged perhaps we need to be a challenge to guide us by your holy spirits we pray gratefully in Jesus' name a man a young man walked into a church it was the middle of the week he expected the church would be full it was his 1st ever visit to a church quite like this and he was not aware. That the habit was not full people that come out to church midweek he thought everyone would be there but it seemed to him as though there was a law that said don't come in the middle of the week when you go to the church there was the pasta 5 elderly ladies and 2 middle aged men and here he was walking into the church for the very 1st time with his long hair is old is faded jeans with an earring in one ear with a scruffy scraggly sort of a beard and with shoes riddled with holes they looked like moths had eaten them. So what does a congregation do with someone like that a young man received a hen bill in the mail it was advertising a series of meetings that would focus on the prophecies of the Bible he was interested and so he attended long be an earring This was back in the days when it was still rebellious to have an earring a denim jacket that was decorated with metal studs he looked like he'd come directly from gang headquarters not the sort of person you would automatically be inclined to trust maybe not the sort of person you would want to be around a church member made the comment and said that I will never be baptized in fact both men would baptized on either side of the Atlantic Ocean both of them shaved cut their head took out their earrings change their clothing somewhat and became ministers of the gospel one of them was me when I 1st walked into a church nobody was thinking this guy will hold a Bible and preach dogs would one day they were thinking more along the lines of What have we here where did this guy come from this character must or were lost on his way to somewhere else and I'm sure some of them were thinking we had better make sure valuables secure you can't judge a book by its cover Well actually I suspect you can do that from time to time maybe we all have and perhaps even still do but God does not judge a book by its cover and you and I are both glad about that a min. The Prophet Samuel was told by God to call a man named Jesse to a sacrifice knowing that he was to anoint the next king he saw a young man named. By one of Jesse's sons he said to himself Surely this is the Lord's anointed but 1st Samuel 16 in verse 7 says but the Lord said unto SAMUEL Look not on his countenance or on the height of his stature because I have refused him for the Lord see if not as men see a man look at all the out would appearance but Lauda look. What. God looks on the hot you glad about that some years ago I was in India and I was in the home village of it is written for India physician Dr J.. Dr Jacob provides as an author just many very poor people who couldn't get access to or afford cataract surgery as we were talking in his home town right by the 1st school he ever attended a humble little school he told me how missionaries from the church school 40 miles from his house came to visit his parents they told Jacob's parents they wanted to take him to the church school and give him for free education something that his parents could never afford Jacob was the only boy in his family he has civil right old assistants his parents said. They would never allow it there is no way you can take Al boy our only son our youngest child you can have the school folks reason we have a sponsor your child gets such a good education he will have a bright future and eventually I'm a dad relented. And they allowed the church school people to take their little boy away to the church elementary school he was sponsored through elementary school and through high school as well now he didn't have a sponsor to to enable him to go to university but then a sponsor came along and he went to university and then he went to medical school and he specialized in off the. Today he performs a very precise cataract surgery it's a complicated surgery a delicate surgery that he makes look simple I've time to him at one minute and 40 seconds for an entire cataract surgery on an eye and he can be more efficient than that he's gone much faster he has performed 465 cataract surgeries in a single day he's a remarkable man so I asked him there in his home village if you had not had the opportunity to get that education what would you be doing today he thought about it he looked down he pulled it over there in the distance there was a young manhood in Buffalo that would take Buffalo from one patch of grass to another to another to another to another Go to keep these animals fared Jacob looked over there he looked at me and he said most likely. Would be herding Buffalo today I looked over there that man that Dr Jacobs could have been I said What would you be he said most likely about as much is about 4 U.S. dollars. Week he was a young man born to hood Buffalo you know the other alternative was his dad had a patch of ground with coconut trees were growing maybe he would have done something with the coconuts except as I talked and he said that it wasn't even with the family's time harvesting the coconut she just get nothing for them it's a loss even to do that. He was born to hood Buffalo but inside a 5 or 6 year old future Buffalo Hooda was a highly skilled medical specialist a philanthropist really and as much as he gives so much of his time to people who ever be able to pay him for what he does. I learned to look at Buffalo hood as differently inside these poor young children inside the neglected inside the Forgotten is brilliance and achievement just waiting to be realized in side the people that we see there are missionaries waiting to come out inside the last people of this world preachers and teachers and leaders and people who could change the world or change a great part of the world if only they were given the opportunity to do so as Paul wrote to the church in Rome for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved how the end shell they call on Him in whom they have not believed and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard and how shall they hear without a preacher someone has to sell them and when they're told. So often change who comes into your church think about that who comes to your back door who is into 6 with you on the road through life young person comes to church with a strange haircut How does God feel let me pause and talk with you about that you know what I believe I really do believe that God's people are by and large very accepting I really do believe that I remember go to a certain church in there was a young fellow and his hair was a blue a was a green he was naturally blonde quite blond but he died as he has some shocking color and I don't know what he was thinking and no I don't think he looked good at all in fact I think it looked rather ridiculous but he liked his head and the little old ladies would come to church and they'd say I forget his name it's called him let's call him Brant and they'd see him and I said. BRANT Oh you know Harris today oh that looks nice pretty don't you think that looks nice Mabel Mabel would say Oh Brant that's not you not print the blue is good I prefer the green not to know exactly what Brit was trying to prove I think there was a little part of him that was trying to shock people the little old ladies wouldn't be shocked. They just loved him anyway they loved him you know how it works in some churches what in the world are you out here like that ball boy go home and get that straight this is God's house no wait a minute there's a doctor inside that kid there's a missionary inside that kid there's us there's a Sabbath school teacher inside that kid there's a preacher there's a lawyer inside that kid we know want to discourage the blue head kids of the will you don't have to like it they know you don't like it. But what do you do when that kid with blue head comes to church what do you do when it gets a black thing in l polishing black clothing and black hair and black black black black black and they look like depression alive and well you can't look at that at least I can as a fashionable you look at that and you think well something's going on that child's life but if that child comes looking like Halloween fright to church you know what you do you say praise a lot kid is in church and you encourage the child how does God feel when God sees the blue haired kid come to church all the black dress didn't come to church God says it's nice to have you in my house someone comes to church that you don't know how does God feel God is think and great and the reason God brought them to church is so that you can say how are you today Lida think about this how much this is cost this is a must go into Hi I'm John how are you today didn't cost me anything I'm not going to get a bill in the mail I would get an e-mail saying that it cost me something it's free and you know what I just did know some bodies day you see I can't judge a book by its cover I don't know who that person is I don't know what's going on in their life but I know that like me they need Jesus in their heart they need salvation in their life somebody comes to church that's all they different race to you Do you think maybe they're in the wrong church or do you think Thank God that person doesn't matter what color they are on the outside because God looks not on the out with appearance but God looks on the every person we see is a soul for whom Christ died every person we see is someone through God can change the world I would like you to think of the great conversions of the Bible go to the Book of Daniel and you meet pretty immediate Lee ruthless. Conqueror a tyrant named Nebuchadnezzar he was the king of Babylon shed more blood than you could ever even hope to measure. Time God impressed him with the truth of time God gave him the evidence that he couldn't do with over time God revealed to him that there is a God and in a short time you going to meet never could measure in heaven if somebody told you 2600 years ago that you were going to see never could measure in heaven you would have rejected that person outright you would have thought the person was mad but he will be there because what you see on the outside is not a measure of God's ability to change what's on the inside this is what God can do let's think about somebody else King the NASA last person you'd expect to see in heaven he came to the throne at 12 years of age 2nd Kings Chapter 21 says and he did that which was evil in the sight of the old after the abominations of the heathen whom the Lord cost out to befall the children of Israel for he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed and he read it up. And made a grove as did they have king of Israel and would ship all the host of heaven and then he build old as in the house of the old of which the Lord said in Jerusalem will I put my name and he built altars shocking isn't it for all the host of heaven in the 2 coats of the house of the Lord and he made his son passed through the 5 you know what that means he sacrificed his children to the devil shocking and observe times and used in chants and dealt with the millions spirits and wizards he wrote much wickedness in the side of the Lord to provoke him to anger. And he said a graven image of the grove that he had made and. Was in the temple most people wouldn't want to invite someone like that to church yet monastic is going to be in heaven. Gone. Through to his. If God can reach monastic God can reach people in your own neighborhood if God can reach monastic he can reach that couple living in sin he can reach those people who drink alcohol and using drugs he can reach that person who just got out of prison. To do it but somebody says no one in my neighborhood is interested Well that's what you think we'll never know if we just wait for them to come to us about this is. Territory this is a tough town I've got news for you it's all territory we recently went and held evangelist meetings in a territory in the United States but $210.00 plus baptisms later we see that God is able to handle hot we conducted meetings in Rome in Italy tough place a mile from St Peter's Basilica tough territory secular secular a secular city and 2018 it's about a secular as you can be but people will one to faith in Christ and long enough to we left town there were still people coming to faith in God couple of months 3 months I think after the meeting ended maybe a little less it was Sabbath morning in church and the 4 separate people came to the church office and spoke to the pasta and could we please have Bible studies this is in Rome when was the last time that happened in your church for different people please would somebody study the Bible with me a min and when the pasta baptized somebody that day and he said if anybody would like to be baptized would you just come down the front and join me here 12 people came down in front you'd be glad to see that any place in Rome Italy that's not any place to place. This is what God can do you know it's important that we learn to see people as Jesus sees them and I don't want to act like I'm not even in touch with reality it can be difficult to reach people there's no question about it there's no question but of method of reaching people is to pick a doctrine and challenge them with the most challenging doctrine and then expect them to believe like us that isn't going to work you get to that later here's how I've been putting it recently how many letters are there in the alphabet in the English alphabet hell many letters can you tell me that's right of course 26 and the 1st letter of the alphabet is what a loss leader of the alphabet is what Z. whole Zed Zayid Z. how of you said it's still. A is followed by tell me B. a B. this is there no trick questions right now a B. and then one C. and then a B. C. is OK right D. Now there's 26 letters they're all as good as the other unless you're playing Scrabble in which case a Q. can be difficult to get rid of but if you do you a lot of points all the letters of the alphabet are of of equal usefulness a you know what I mean you might use a few more days an easier than you do let's say x's and Josie's but they're there for a reason they all have the job now when you teach your kid the alphabet you don't say you know what let's be creative with you and we'll start A W W C J M B Q C. You don't do that you don't say OK I'll teach you the off with a B. X. because I like X A B J A J for John A B J No you don't do that because the j would be out of place you say OK we're going to go through the alphabet in order A B. C. you might really like an AM or an E. or an X. but you get to that in time you understand what I'm saying when you're sharing your faith you start at A and then B. and then C. and you get to J. and and R. and W. in the fullness of time sometimes we see somebody and we say you know what I got to do I got to tell him about this teaching they don't believe like I do on this so I got to tell him about this if the Holy Spirit tells you go off to them and speak about this then you must but the fact of the matter is more often than not God will not encourage you to make your 1st point of contact on something very challenging you want to do that you don't want to find the most challenging doctrine in the book and say let's go and take that one you start with Jesus how are things between you and God isn't God good how's your faith do you believe do you read the Bible if they do praise the Lord you go on A.B.C. Now you're moving on D.E.F. Now you move it on. G H I and you move in on you know how it goes you don't need to take somebody like in a tackle. Them stab at the beginning the Save the a mingled among men as one who desired the good he won the sympathy ministered to the needs or he showed sympathy for them ministered to the needs won their confidence and then he bade them follow me. Would it be a good idea to make friends make friends with Jesus and win their confidence and show sympathy and minister to them as though as though people say wow they really can that be a good thing you've heard that old say no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care it's a worn out line but I tell you it's as true today as the day in which people 1st started using it Jesus spent more time healing than teaching so when you see somebody and you think I wonder yes there's a way and let me tell you this before you started sharing with that person God was there already before you even thought about sharing a tract or an invitation or something else the Holy Spirit was already at work you never went and spoke to somebody about Christ you never tried to share your faith in Jesus with anybody without the Holy Spirit already having gone there so you can know that you are working with the Spirit is working but keep this in mind you need to be working as the Spirit is working I don't know why you would offer an atheist a bible study the atheist doesn't believe there is a god unless of course you would like to say frankly I don't know what you would say but you might offer to mow the lawn for the atheist though the atheist laundry is hanging out in the rain is coming you might want to take the laundry in you might want to drop the atheist off supermodel take that person shopping or look up to their kids or invite them over for dinner take them a loaf of bread and before long that person thinks then whatever this person Scott I like the way it looks and it could be that before long that person who professed no faith in God or professed that there was no God. To believe in a god that has made a positive impact in your life and might I say please. Let people see that God has made a difference in your life no one should ever say I want to do business with those folks because they're dishonest other want to be around them because they mean I don't want to deal with old Mr So and so because he's cantankerous if Jesus is in your life you'll make a good in a strong impression Yeah it's true some neighborhoods are hot it's true it's absolutely right some difficult some areas. Tough but God is tough the Holy Spirit is able and if god. Couldn't is it to fate if God could King NASA to faith in God continue. He can to. Make your colleague he continued. He continue a friend and he can do it the watching for when God is working. And then you would get to tell you how to place South Texas is how it's tough when my associates speak air click and you went to South Texas to hold meetings he knew that he was going to a place that was as tough as anywhere else he could not know that a young lady there in South Texas was having a rough time in her life she had been raised in difficult circumstances she was in a bad relationship she just decided just decided that she was going to leave. Leave a live in boyfriend and she would walk miles to a shelter so that she would be safe and have some way to live so she is walking out she don't even know where she's going to sit she knows the shelter in this town several miles away what's going to become of all she knows is that she's got to leave behind what she's been doing she's walking down the road and a cop pulls of them and the kind lady driving the CAHSEE where you go and she explained she thought there's no point line because I had a rough life I'm heading to a shelter I'm in a bad situation I've got to go someplace that I'm safe you know if you met that late How are you doing fine do you go to church no do you use drugs yes do you drink alcohol I should do what's your lifestyle like I'm living in sin you'd probably have thought not a candidate for the kingdom you may have thought that many people would. The lady in the in the side of her to stay and. I have spirit. Help you. Go to the shelter you'll be safe with me. And so she accepted the offer. Turns out that the kind lady lived next door to the church. And she said to the new young friend there are meetings going on at our church right now how would you like to attend. If you knew the young lady you would expect that she'd be interested you might not want her to be in your home but Jesus wanted her into his house she heard Eric open up the would of God Eric open the Bible and read what was in it and the heart was touched she spoke of Jesus he spoke of Jesus as Lord and Savior and she said yes I want Jesus to be my Lord and Savior he spoke about baptism she said I want to be baptized he spoke about people receiving new Hotz through the grace of God she said that's what I need she needed it and she received it changed your life hard place but Jesus inhabits the hard places he is they would King on the odd cases his spirit is working away on those who aren't interested or on those who think they're not interested if God hasn't given up on them there's no way in the world that we should give up on them the Bible sells us not only about Paul but about Saul Saul of Tarsus he believes he persecuted believers he delivered them to be put to death and he says Now I'm going to read his own woods here in Acts Chapter 22 and 20 Acts Chapter 22 and verse 20 Paul said and when the blood of your witness Stephen was being shared I also was standing by approving and watching out for the coats of those who were slay him he was complicit in their death he in fact caught them apprehended him and dragged him away so they could be executed when he came out of the church the church members were suspicious of him but God had. Great plants you would I cannot afford to see people and write them off we can't afford to see people and dismiss them because they don't look like or act like or smell like live like or believe like someone on their way to heaven if every person without Christ is a person who we could see in Heaven every single one I have met men who have come to faith in Jesus on death row and they mention I went to visit somebody on death row I'm not going to tell you what he did but let me tell you the way the law judges he certainly deserved to be there according to the law no question about it he could not know that I was coming I went to visit if you can call a guy like that I went to his cell and there's one of these narrow windows is this rectangle shaped window oh my goodness I looked through that window into a cell something inside me felt like a died I thought to myself that's the rest of his life every day he lives he will live inside that little room he doesn't the comforts of home it's not a picnic I'm not saying you don't deserve to be there don't get me wrong I'm just saying what a terrible place to have to spend 23 hours of every day and when I walked up to the window and looked through the window. I was amazed that what I saw he was down on his knees or on one knee I can't remember which his little thin mattress was turned back so that the big the solid bed was exposed and he was using that as a desk and he had something to write with and what looked like a pad with paper and he had a Bible and it looked like a bible commentary and a Bible Dictionary and maybe another book and he's studying his bible oh my goodness a man on death row he wasn't doing it to try to impress me or anybody else and as we went to a cell the man said to me the prison guard said oh you're going to go and see Mr A.B.C. and I said Yes I'm on my way to see him right now and he turned to me and he said I want to tell you that man has really changed I said that's what God can do in a person's life he said he's changed he's really changed when he was being sentenced to life in prison no one would have expected that that man could come to faith in Christ but he did and he still has faith in Christ to this day what he did terrible but what God did in his heart one. Can you see leading. A condemned man to faith in Christ you might say yes you must have done it already you might say I'd love to you might say Not me I wouldn't know how we can learn how you can learn how to share your faith. If you enjoy fine music. And you'll appreciate the sound of an orchestra an orchestra is made up of numerous instruments can you name some can you name one name one right now Name one. Usually people they say violin or they say trumpet maybe upright bass another one that comes up quickly is cello clarinet flute trombone Cuba Cuba great big thing how they carry those big French horn. Drums Actually I said little They're not little bit big drums they sound great at the right time. And then there's also the piccolo and I must confess I don't know if the piccolo ever gets played in an orchestra maybe it does not but I can tell you what instrument that does and it's little the triangle when I ask people about instruments an orchestra is no one says the triangle they forget about the triangle because it's so small it's almost insignificant but it's often the case that without the triangle there would be something missing it doesn't look like it would take much sure make much difference but it does the right time. Just sets off a piece of music and you are glad for it now if you're the tuba honking away praise the lord for you if you're the triangle sweet little thing every now and then you'd be a triangle for the glory of God because it might be doing that will make the difference in someone's life you might not ever get the opportunity to preach in a stadium if you don't. Try and go for the Lord you know what I'm saying if you can't see a self doing great things for the old Just do something for the Lord and that will be great enough a teenager in the north of England decided that she had to do something the women bridge in Sunderland has been described as a notorious spot Sunderland north east England not far from you cos you know this young lady who had had mental health challenges who self knew that people with mental health challenges often walked out on to the women bridge and did themselves. So Page Hunter. Decided that she would write notes write notes and she'd leave them on the bridge so that people could see those notes and be encouraged she would write things like even though things are difficult your life matters you're a shining light in a doc world so just hold on she would write you a not alone 3 woods and leave a sticky note or maybe should put it inside little plastic and leave it there on the bridge people walking across the bridge for the most part would have wondered what in the world until they found out what page was doing how how tough a job do you think that would be writing a note and putting it on a bridge not tough but this young lady had to do something because she was aware of people's suffering notes on a bridge she didn't send Blus the bridge she didn't chisel something into the bridge she didn't pay for an expensive sign notes that she wrote him with a pen or a mock and put them on paper and then maybe some plastic and stuck them to a bridge maybe she thought maybe they would never even be seen but recently page was recognized by Northumbria police because what she has done has made a difference some reports say her actions have saved 6 lives Other reports say her actions have saved 8 lives she's doing something people are dying so she's doing something friend around us people are dying we can be doing something it's why the church exists it's why God gives us the life and the energy and resources that's why we here on this God hasn't put us on this earth to judge a book by its cover. But to give God the opportunity to write an entirely new story. Can you be part of that can you a congregation be pot of that. Can you a life bend in that direction God I know I'm on this earth to make a difference you might say I don't even know how to make a difference but you can study each day saying Lord I'm willing to make a difference. Would you help me to would you work in my life would you make a difference through me why do we prayed that prayer right now our Father in heaven would you make a difference through me. Would you give me the opportunity to reach out to my neighbors can you give me grace to be proactive. There's somebody at wook certainly I need to be careful I don't want to be clumsy So give me is to hear and to be in tune with what that person is going through and perhaps I can offer that person something even just to pray for them. Even the father there are people all around us who are dying lost many of them they don't look at a little at all like they want to be saved. But we must not judge a book by its cover. Let us look not only outward appearance but on the hot use us to make a difference in some life in many lives make a difference in our life we pray in Jesus' name. Amen amen Thanks for taking your time today and may God bless and keep you.


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