Calvary Road Baptist Church

“ON BEING AN APPEALING CHRISTIAN” Part 2

 

Taking up where we left off last week concerning being an appealing Christian, let me quickly restate the first five ingredients in the recipe of a legitimate biblical appeal. What is required is, first, a right standing with the person you are making an appeal to. Next, the appeal must have the proper basis. Third, the appeal must be made at the right time. Fourth, you must communicate the right information. Fifth, you must display the right attitude.

Are there any questions related to these first five requirements to present an appeal for someone to make a new decision, based upon new information or information not previously considered? Would you like me to quickly review the first five points before continuing on

The first is the right standing. Is your relationship with the person you are making the appeal to a right relationship, properly maintained? Recognize that so much of life is related to good will, and that without that other person’s good will the likelihood of a successful appeal is slight.

The second is the right basis for an appeal. Asking your boss to do something for you that clearly violates company policy is an appeal that does not have the right basis. The right basis is typically present when your appeal seeks to persuade a person to do what the Bible already commands him to do, or to persuade him to do what company policy already grants him authority to do. A right basis for an appeal never exists when the appeal is to do something illegal, immoral, or unethical.

The third ingredient exists when the appeal is made at the right time. Pleading with your husband as he walks up the steps to the courthouse to file for divorce is not the right time. Running up to your dad to ask for permission five minutes before the deadline is not the right time. It is very likely that the right time has passed. Interrupting someone is typically not the right time. Interfering with his meals, his sleep, his family time, and generally making a nuisance of yourself hardly persuades the person in authority that you have his best interests in mind.

Fourth, communicate the right information. This goes to honesty and integrity. If the person you are appealing to investigates the basis for your appeal, will he discover facts and details that you should have made known to him when you appealed to him? Did you conceal things from him that he feels he has a need to know? That is what is meant by the right information.

Fifth, you must display the right attitude. You never display the right attitude unless your appeal, if successful, works out best for that other person. You have no right to appeal to another person if that appeal benefits you but not him. Appeals are never appropriate if they are not in the long-term best interest of the person being appealed to.

Let me state the last two ingredients before moving on to the power of an appeal.

 

Sixth, when stating your appeal you must use the right words

 

Right words and right attitudes are closely linked together, but it is important to realize that they are not exactly the same. You can have the right attitude and still be foolish in your choice of words, just as it is possible to have a lousy attitude but at the same time be clever enough to carefully select the most effective words. This is because every human being has preconceived notions, prejudices, and preferences. Bosses, parents, spouses, as well as spiritual leaders are no different in that respect. For that reason, careful selection of your words when making an appeal can effectively move through and around the emotional and mental obstacles that every person has in his mind. “Mr. Jones? Can I talk to you about the stupid rule you just instituted?” Be as humble as you want, that choice of words will shoot your appeal down every time.

Here is an example of the wrong way to make an appeal and a right way to make an appeal: Imagine a teen finds the activities for young people at his church less than stimulating. The truly selfish and carnal kid will say loud enough for everyone to hear, “This is boring. I’m never coming to another one of these.” Of course, God is not pleased for the other young people, and whoever may be visiting, to hear that foolish remark. Of course, the jerk teen will justify the comment by saying, “Well, that’s just how I feel.” However, very few people really care how that kind of teen feels about anything.

One step in the right direction, but still short of the mark, is the kid who walks up to the adult in charge and says, “Brother Jones? This activity is really a drag. Can we do something interesting for a change?” How helpful is that remark for poor brother Jones, who is doing the very best he can in the face of a church full of parents who will not touch a youth activity with a ten-foot pole? That teen really knows how to encourage a guy who is giving the best he has.

However, a spiritual teen, who knows how to make an appeal and gives some thought to the careful selection of words, and who may be just as bored as the other kids, will approach the matter entirely differently. Not willing to shoot her mouth off and harm the prospects of getting the visitors back ever again, and concerned enough about others so as not wanting to hurt brother Jones’ feelings, listen to what a kid with some wisdom would say: “Brother Jones? I really appreciate you taking the time to set up this activity for us. I know you could do other things with your time. Can I help out a little bit by helping you organize and come up with activities we might do in the future?”

Guess what? If she uses a little finesse and wisdom, that teen gets to have exactly the kind of activities she wants to have from that point on. See how important words are for negotiating through obstacles without bruising egos and hurting feelings?

 

Finally, you must display the right response

 

We examined a number of passages, which clearly revealed the will of God with respect to government, work, home, and church. God’s will for us clearly is submission. Submission whenever possible is a wonderful demonstration of faith in God, trusting Him to control things you cannot control. With that in mind, what do you imagine God’s will to be should the person in authority reject your appeal, or even deny you the opportunity make an appeal? Is God pleased for you to pout and fume, or to vent your spleen when the boss, or the pastor, or the husband, or the parent says “No”? If you are appealing to you wife about something, does she have to consider your request? Is God glorified and pleased when His child meekly and humbly accepts the decision of the person in authority? Remember, that decision could very well be a decision to not even allow the appeal to be made in the first place. “Dad, can I ask you a question?” “Not right now, son. I’m busy.”

A right response is terribly important for this reason: Sometimes a person in authority will not decide based upon the merits of the appeal. The boss will not say “Yes” when “Yes” is the only logical decision. Why? Because he wants to see how you will react when he says “No.” Sometimes your wife will say “No” just to see if you will then bully her to get your way.

How many times have I seen both parents with their kids, and husbands with their wives, do this? Especially with an unsaved husband dealing with his believing wife. What an opportunity to show your faith in Christ. However, the opportunity is missed if you pout and act childish, whatever your chronological age happens to be.

Your right response, then, is the follow through of the right attitude you should embrace leading up to the appeal. Seven ingredients, seven particulars, in a Biblical appeal. Right standing, right basis, right timing, right information, right attitude, right words, and a right response.

Next, comes Biblical examples of the power of an appeal to influence someone in authority. Not manipulate, mind you, for manipulation is persuading someone to do what is best for you. Appealing, on the other hand, is persuading someone to do what is best for him and you. That will be next week, Lord willing.

 

How do you think a man like Daniel, who was brilliant and sophisticated, could possibly put up with the foolishness and the stupidity he faced every day in the court of Nebuchadnezzar and then in the court of Belshazzar? First the one and then the other were oriental despots, possessing the absolute right of life and death over their subjects. Are you completely at such a man’s mercy? Yes and no. With wisdom and discretion, Daniel and others in such positions could exercise great influence in the lives of such powerful men. Such is the case whenever someone finds himself or herself subordinate to someone else.

For most of history, men have wielded great authority in their homes, over their wives, and over their children. Are wives and children without hope of relief? Of course not. Even the most powerful personality can be profoundly influenced by the wise and discreet use of a well thought out, well timed, and worded appeal.

The problem we face these days, however, so much of it I believe being due to the effects of militant feminism, has to do with women who were not taught by their mothers to influence their husbands without undermining them. If mom does not know how to appeal to her husband, it is almost certain her children will not learn how to appeal to their father. The result, of course, is that the next generation of both men and women are helpless to spiritually influence people they cannot control.

This is what we are left to deal with in our crumbling society. Oh, my friends, how much better we would get along with each other if we knew how to appeal to one another. After all, are we not supposed to submit one to another? Ephesians 5.21 reads, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Thankfully, appeals can be made to others while you are submitting to them.

Husbands, you need to learn how to appeal to your wives. It goes without saying that wives who are unable to appeal to their husbands cripple themselves and their children. Children would be far less likely to be provoked to wrath by their fathers if they possessed the skills learned from their mothers how to appeal to their fathers.

Sadly, that set of skills and attitudes is mostly missing from Christians and churches these days. How much better off we would all be if we had the wisdom and discretion to make appeals and to allow those around us to make appeals to us?

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org