Five Little Foxes
Title: Five Little Foxes.
Text: Song of Solomon 2:15.
CIT: Little foxes tear up and ruin the vines.
Theme: Little sins, like little foxes tear up and ruin a Christians testimony.
Dr. W. A Criswell identifies the “Little Foxes” in our Scriptures as “problems and destroyers which would beset and attack the vine.” In Palestine, the keepers of the vineyards continually sought to withstand the destruction of the little foxes.
Let me give you an illustration of what I am saying here: How many of you have ever owned a puppy or a kitten? They are the cutest little things; they are so full of energy and playful. BUT, they are also the most destructive, pesky little darlings in the world. Amen! They eat up your shoes, go to the bathroom wherever they feel like it and usually that is not where you want them to. Amen! Only this morning I went outside to find my little Short-hair Pointer had chewed my mower pull rope into.
The little foxes in our story are the same way; they are so playful and full of energy, that they would actually rip apart a vineyard in short order if the owners didn’t keep a close watch and keep them chased away.
Just like those vineyard owners, we as Christians have the continual task of ridding ourselves of the “Little Foxes” in our lives that would destroy our testimony, our witness for Christ, and our fellowship with one another. These foxes are little sins that undermine all we do and all we believe. Yet, they are so tiny, so small, so minuscule we often let them live in our lives and pay little attention to them until its entirely too late. These “Little Foxes” like termites, eat away at the very foundations of who we are and what we are all about.
Right now you are probably asking yourselves, “I wonder what ‘Little Foxes’ or sins he is talking about.” What Little Foxes do we have in our lives that are ruining our testimony and even our fellowship with other believers. You might guess:
The “Little Fox” of temper. Did you know that temper is one of the finest things on the earth, when it is under control. A knife to be any good at all must be tempered. But, when a temper is out of control, it is uncomfortable to be around. This is not a little fox.
You might say, He probably means the “Little Fox” of telling a little white lie. Telling a lie is not a “Little Fox” either. Lying is not a small sin. For example, have you ever had someone pretend to tell you a “Lie?” NO of course not. When someone tells you a lie whether it was white or black, they were trying to deceive you. You see, all lies are black and no amount of white can change it.
I am reminded of a little girl who asked her mother which was worse, stealing or telling a lie. After thinking it over for a while, the mother answer, “Honey, I just don’t know. They are both so sinful, I don’t think we ought to do either one of them.” About twenty minutes later the little girl came back and announced: “Momma, I have been thinking it over and I think it’s a whole lot worse to tell a lie than to steal.” Her mother asked her why. She said, “Well, Momma, if you steal something you can always take it back unless you have eaten it. And, if you have eaten it, you can always pay for it. But, when you lie, its forever.” Lying is not a “Little Fox.”
What are these “Little Foxes?” The “Little Foxes” I want us to see tonight have entered into most of our lives and they are rocking the very foundations of your testimony and the church. There are at least five of these little critters I always find around. The first one is the “Little Fox” of:
I. By and Bye.
You know, by and bye I am going to be baptized; by and bye I am going to join the church; by and bye I am going to teach that Sunday School class, by and bye I will make a definite stand for Christ as work and at home; by and bye I will get serious about my Christian service; by and bye I will begin to tithe; by and bye I expect to be a real asset to my church and the community. By and bye.
This “Little Fox” not only affects Christians, it affects non-Christians as well. They say, by and bye I am going to get back into church; by and bye I am going to make Christ my Savior By and bye! One day.
Procrastination, putting something off, is the devil’s sucker punch. If Satan can get you to put something off for Jesus, he has won a victory in your life. My old daddy used to tell me when I wanted to put something off: “Son, weight was what broke the wagon down.” Don’t wait until its too late, get it done right now. The “Little Fox” of By and bye. Next, we find the “Little Fox” of:
II. I Can’t.
By the way, can anyone here tonight spell “I can’t” for me? I C-A-N-’-T. Have you ever noticed that I C-A-N-’-T spells what people are saying but it doesn’t spell what they mean. If we were to spell what they really mean, it would go I W-O-N-’-T!
I have found out that when I asked Janice to do something and she says “I CAN’T, what she is really saying, “I am not going to do that.”
Talented and gifted Christians when asked to perform some ministry in the church and serve the cause of Christ answer, “I CAN’T.” What most of them really mean is “I WON’T!” There is no place in the world where people readily admit their inferiority as in Christian service and ministry.
Non-Christians are also affected by this virus. You ask someone to turn to Christ and they answer, “Preacher, I just can’t.” What they are saying is “NO, I WON’T.” What they are saying is that if I accept Christ, I would have to be honest, I must forgive others, I must quit lying, I must quit running around on my wife or my husband, I must give this up or that up and I just can’t do it. What they are really saying is, “I won’t!”
Folks, there is nothing in this world worth anything that doesn’t cost you something. The “Little Fox” of “I can’t.” The third “Little Fox” is found in most churches, and it is the “Little Fox” of
III. There Is No Use Trying.
Have you ever heard someone say that? That kind of person is not going to get very far. I have had several church members who have said those words to me. In my first church, they were running 14 in Sunday School and 20 in worship service, yet there were people living all around that little church. I asked a couple of the folks there to go visiting with me, the first thing I heard, “Preacher, there is no use trying.” We have visited with these folks for twenty years and there is just no used trying to get them to come. Well, I went visiting on my own. My son and I would go out and visit, I would send little cards out to folks and even did a church mail out. Within seven months that little church was running seventy in Sunday School, eight people had accepted Christ and followed the Lord in baptism. “It is always worth a try when Jesus is involved.”
When Jesus came to earth, He didn’t look at the situation and say, “There is just use trying.” I am reminded of a shoe salesman. He was the best salesman the company had so they transferred him to Africa. He went nuts. He wrote a long lengthy letter to the home office. “I can’t sell any shoes, no one here wears shoes.” I am coming home.” Several months later they sent out another person who wrote back within minutes of his arrival, “Send more shoes, everyone here needs shoes.” The “Little Fox” of “there is no use trying.” The fourth “Little Fox” is the “Little Fox” of:
IV. I Forgot.
Many Christians have had their hearts torn out and their love stomped by those two little words, “I forgot.” I want to say this with as much love as I can in Christ, if some Christians forgot their business and forgot to apply themselves to their work, like they forget the business of the church or their Christian life, they would lose their jobs and their business wouldn’t last a week.
Many church members remind me of the little boy trying to define the word “memory” for his teacher. He said, “Teacher, memory is what we forget with.” We forget our Christian responsibilities, our Christian life, faster than we do anything else. Christians forget their immortal souls and their Christian responsibilities faster than they do their paycheck or their day off. How many of you have ever been hurt by the “Little Fox” of “I forgot?” The last little fox is:
V. I Don’t Care.
This “Little Fox” has brought on more disasters in the church and in the family than any other. What color do you want to paint this door? “Oh, I don’t care.” The truth is, if it isn’t white you might not ever come to church again. I mean everyone knows what color you want that door!
Someone asks you, “Would you sing special music for us this week?” “Oh, I don’t care.” Truth is, you have been practicing a special for four months and its been killing you that you haven’t been asked. “I don’t care.”
The preacher asks, “Would you like to visit with me this week?” Sure thing preacher. “What time do you want to go?” “Oh, I don’t care.” “O.K. I’ll pick you at 5:30.” You turn to your wife and say, “That preacher knows I don’t get off until 5 o’clock, he don’t care whether I eat anything or not. I’ll never get cleaned up, I guess he don’t care if I stink or look sloppy.” And you are mad at the preacher. Why? The Little Fox of “I don’t care.”
That “Little Fox” causes more problems around my house than any other one thing. It does. I come home at night and the first thing Janice asks me is, “What would you like for supper?” I answer immediately, “O, I don’t care.” She says, “Well, I think I’ll throw in a tuna casserole.” She has been married to me for forty some years, she ought to know I have been wanting pork chops and gravy all day and now she is going to cook me a tuna casserole. I get upset. Why? I don’t care.
Tonight, we need to be very honest with ourselves and with each other. We have had a good time with the five little foxes. But, these little foxes are destroying lives. We need to insure nothing separates us from God or hinders our fellowship with one another. It might be one of these “Little Foxes” or it might be something else, whatever it is, it needs to be taken care of right now, this very moment.
I have been talking to Christians tonight. In a moment we are going to be singing a song of invitation. It is your invitation to come and take care of business with God. Come and relieve yourself of that burden. Come and seek God’s help in taking care of the “Little Foxes” that are destroying your life.
You might need Christ, come.
FBC, Hughes 09/20/09