Donate to The 'God Is Just A Prayer Away' radio broadcast

Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012



Sermon of the Week #200827 – July 6, 2008

Gimme that old time religion, Gimme that old time religion, Gimme that old time religion, It’s good enough for me. Now just what is the Old Time Religion? The Old Time Religion is a Midnight Sermon.


The service began at midnight in the Philippian jailhouse with prayer and singing. The midnight hour is the most unusual hour of the day. It is at midnight that today becomes yesterday in the twinkling of an eye, and at the same time tomorrow becomes today. Jesus spoke of the midnight-hour when He told the story of the wise and foolish virgins. They all went out to meet the Bridegroom, and at midnight there is a cry, “Behold the bridegroom, come ye forth to meet Him.”

At first glance some might say it looks like the Lord will stage His Second Coming at the hour of midnight, and then we remember that He said just before this that no man knows the day nor the hour. Since Jesus would not contradict Himself, we realize that our midnight-hour is the midnight-hour of our day on earth.

At His Second Coming it will be our midnight-hour on earth, and if He delays His coming our midnight-hour is our last day on earth. Since we do not know the hour of His coming nor do we really know the hour of our death, every sermon becomes a midnight sermon. The preacher needs to preach every sermon as though it will be the last one he will ever preach, and in an audience that is heard by tens of thousands like this broadcast, there are many of you who are listening to the last sermon you will ever hear. Many of you will have the numerals of this year carved on your tombstone. I was told early in my ministry to preach every sermon as a dying man to a dying people.

The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power

To tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.

Today is all the time you own, so live, love, work with a will

Put no trust in tomorrow, for the hands may then be still.

The Old Time Religion is a midnight sermon and it’s good enough for me. What is the Old Time Religion?


The Old Time Religion is singing in the dark. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns unto God. I can understand how they could pray after the severe beating they had received, but it is hard to understand how they could sing. I hope when I get to Heaven that I might prevail upon Paul and Silas to sing a special number before the assembled saints in glory, and I would ask them to sing that song they sang in the jailhouse at Philippi. And I would request that they not sing it in their celestial voices, which might be almost as good as Elvis, but sing it in the same off-key voices they sang in the jailhouse at Philippi. What a special number that would be!

But I still don’t understand how they could sing in the jailhouse under the circumstances until I realize what happened when they were beaten, and the judge told the jailer to keep them safely, and Paul saw the jailer approach. I think he must have jabbed Silas in the ribs and said, “Silas, there he is.” Silas said, “There who is, Paul?” And Paul said, “Silas, this is the fellow I saw in the vision saying, ‘Come over into Macedonia and help us.’” Now, of course, I don’t know that Paul said that, but he did see a man standing and beseeching him and saying, “Come over into Macedonia and help us,” and if this was not the man in the vision it was somebody like him; and he was the first man he saw that could qualify as the man in the vision. Paul realized at the time that he and Silas were living in the center of the will of God and that is why they felt like singing in the dark.

Later on Paul would write to the Church at Philippi and tell them, and us, how to sing in the dark when he said, “In nothing be anxious but in everything by prayer and supplication let your request be known unto God and the peace of God which passes all understanding shall guard your thoughts and your hearts in Christ Jesus.” That is the Old Time Religion, and it’s good enough for me. What is the Old Time Religion?


The Old Time Religion was preaching to unseen ears. Paul and Silas were praying and singing in the dark and the prisoners were listening to them. And that is what the Old Time Religion is today in this day of electronics and television. Every listener to this broadcast is an unseen listener. One such prisoner in Cairo Egypt writes to say one night he heard this program coming from another cell. Unseen ears are listening. That is the Old Time Religion, and it’s good enough for me. What is the Old Time Religion?


The Old Time Religion is earthquake religion. And suddenly there was a great earthquake and the foundations of the prison-house were shaken. Without the wake-up call the Philippian jailer would never have known salvation. The earthquake was a wake-up call for the jailor.

God has a way of giving us a wake-up call. Something happens in our lives that shakes us down to our foundations. Without that wake-up call we would never have become Christians. Your wake-up call may have been a disease, an operation, the loss of a loved one, the hearing of a gospel sermon, or a dozen other things, but be assured the wake-up call is a part of the Old Time Religion.


The Old Time Religion is the open-door religion. At the time of the earthquake all the doors were opened and every ones’ bands were loosed. The doors were not opened to let the prisoners out, but to let the jailer in to confer with Paul and Silas. God still opens doors today.

Remember what the Lord Jesus told the Church at Philadelphia in Revelation 3? He said, “These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David who opens, and no man shuts and who shuts and no man opens. I know thy works and thou hast a little power and behold I have set before thee an open door which no


man can shut.” When God opens a door no man can shut it, and when He closes it no man can open it.

This Church at Philadelphia was not a big Church like the Church at Sardis that had a big name, and was dead. It was a Church with a little power, but because of faithfulness, Jesus set before them an open door. If you are faithful to His Word, God will open a door for you. Paul told the Church at Corinth, “I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost because a great door of effectual service has been opened to me and there are many adversaries.”

Whenever God opens a door for you the Devil will try to shut it, but he cannot shut a door the Lord has opened unless Jesus permits it. The Devil would like to close the door of many a faithful Church, and the only reason they stay open is because He that shuts no man can open, and He that opens no man can shut. The door will not stay open if you don’t go through. That is the Old Time Religion, and it’s good enough for me. What is the Old Time Religion?


The Old Time Religion is loud-voice religion. The jailer awakened out of sleep and seeing the prison doors open drew his sword, and was about to kill himself, supposing the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do thyself no harm for we are all here.”

Many times in scripture a loud voice is heard. In Acts 7 Stephen kneeled down when he was stoned and in a loud voice said, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” At the death of the Lord Jesus, He cried with a loud voice, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.”

As a young preacher I lived in a house and a back window looked across two backyards of my neighbors’ and pointed across the street at the High School building. In the winter during basketball season I had a loud speaker in the back window. When the game was over I raised the window, turned up the volume, and talked to the hundreds of people as they came out of the gym, “Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, you have just enjoyed a basketball game; I hope you enjoyed the basketball game; I hope your team won the basketball game; now remember to attend our services next Sunday and play ball with God.”

The gospel song says, “Give the winds a might voice Jesus saves Jesus saves.”  Like Paul in the jailhouse at Philippi nothing less than a loud voice will suffice.

There is one loud voice that we must comment on. In Revelation 14, John said that he saw an angel flying in mid-heaven having the everlasting gospel to proclaim to them that dwell on the earth, of every tongue and tribe and nation and he cried with a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory for the hour of His judgment has come.” In this electronic age the gospel is flying through the air from pole to pole everywhere. Look at the word evangelist. Take off the ev at the front and the ist at the end and all you have left is angel—Ev-angel-ist. Pray that the angel that flies through the air with the everlasting gospel will have a good flight, because when his job is done there is another angel flying after him and he cries, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great which made the nations drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

When the angel with the everlasting gospel had done his work all the false religions of the world will fall and great will be the fall thereof. And that is the Old Time Religion, and it’s good enough for me. What is the Old Time Religion?


The Old Time Religion is the light into eternity. When Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do thyself no harm”, the jailer called for lights. However, the Lord God heard him call for lights and considered that call for lights as a prayer. And God thought to Himself, “The jailer wants light: I will give him more light than he ever thought of having.”

The Apostle John tells us, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made through Him and without Him was not anything made that hath been made. In Him was life and the life was the light of men and the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not. There came a man sent from God whose name was John. He was not the light, but came to bear witness of the light.” Mohammed was not the light. Martin Luther was not the light, John Calvin was not the light, and Buddha was not the light. John the Baptist was not the light. Your preacher is not the light. The light is the light that lighteth every man coming into the world. Jesus is the only light that can get us out of the darkness of this world into the light of eternity. Paul tells us in Colossians that God has translated us from the darkness of this world into the Kingdom of the Son of His love.

When Jesus left Nazareth and made His headquarters at Capernaum, the scripture was fulfilled. The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light and to them that sat in the region and shadow of death to them did light spring up.

It is no exaggeration when we say that no matter how rich, sophisticated, what high position you may hold from President to the man who lives in a cardboard box under the bridge, unless you are covered with the blood of Christ, you are living in a darkness blacker than the darkness that fell on the land of Egypt; a darkness that can be felt. You are living in the suburbs of Hell. There is a gospel song that expresses the responsibility of the church,

There's a call comes ringing o’er the restless waves,

Send the light, send the light.

And a golden offering at the cross we lay

Send the light, send the light.

And that is the meaning of the Old Time Religion, and it’s good enough for me. What is the meaning of the Old Time Religion?


The Old Time Religion was the old time response to the gospel. The old time response to the gospel was when the gospel was preached about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and people under conviction cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” In that case they were told to, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” One man heard the gospel and cried out, “Behold here is water what doth hinder me to be baptized?”

But the jailer cried out, “What must I do to be saved?” before he even heard the gospel. How could he believe on Jesus when he had never heard of Him? The jailer had not heard Paul and Silas singing in the dark because he was asleep. The Lord had to send an earthquake to wake him up. And don’t forget this is the first time the gospel is being preached in Europe. He knew nothing about Jesus and had never heard of Him. Now what would you have said if someone told you to believe on somebody you never heard of? You would have said what the blind man said in John nine. Jesus asked him if he believed on the Son of God. The former blind man said, “And who is He, Lord, that I may believe?” Jesus said,  “I that speak unto thee am He.”

And that is evidently what the jailer said to Paul and Silas, “How can I believe on someone in whom I have not heard, and who is he, Paul and Silas, that I may believe on him? How shall I hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? Even as it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that bring good tidings of good things.” That is why the divine record says they preached the Word of God unto him with all that were in his house, and he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes and that showed he had repented. Then he was baptized he and all his straightway, and brought them up into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly with all his house having believed in God. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. When did he believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? His belief included hearing the Word, believing the Word, repenting of his sins, and being baptized having believed in God. The faith that saves is the faith that includes the whole gospel process; believing the Word that was preached, repenting and immersion for the remission of sins just like it was on the Day of Pentecost, and just like it was in all the conversions of the New Testament.

Baptism in not a work we do any more than raising your hand or walking down the aisle. It is the work of God. Colossians 2:12 says so, “Having been buried with Him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” That is the Old Time Religion; it’s good enough for me.