One of our stated purposes for this blog is to encourage preachers. I can’t think of a better way to encourage men who preach (especially young men) than to share with them information and sermons from preachers who have given their life to the proclamation of the Gospel. Under the heading “Preacher’s Notes,” you will find a number of articles about great preachers as well as actual sermons they have preached. We are indebted to each of these men who have agreed to help us encourage preachers. In this post we are highlighting brother Jerrie Barber who has been a friend and great source of encouragement for many years.
Jerrie Barber was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and raised in Centerville, Tennessee. During his early years his parents had many preachers in their homes. These preachers influenced and encourage Jerrie to preach. Ward Mayberry who preached in Jerrie’s home congregation on a part-time basis also influenced him in a powerful way.
Brother Jerrie entered Freed Hardeman University in 1963. He received the A.A. Degree as well as a third year Bible certificate from FHU. He then attended David Lipscomb University and graduated with a B.A. in Bible in 1967.
In addition to these degrees brother Jerrie has also been involved in numerous classes, seminars, and special studies. He stated, “Some of my best learning experiences have bee three different weeks I have spent in isolation for intensive study alone.”
During his High School years Brother Jerrie begin preaching for various churches in Hickman, Tennessee. Some of these congregations were: Shipp’s Bend, Lower Sulphur, Wolf Creek, Little Rock, Beaverdam Springs.
During his years at FHU he preached for Brush Creek and Farmers Valley in Perry County; Northside, Corinth, Mississippi; Yorkville, Tennessee; Doris Chapel, Trenton, Tennessee. While a student at David Lipscomb brother Jerrie preached for the church in Wrigley, Tennessee.
Some of brother Jerrie’s favorite preachers during those early years were Garland Elkins, Carmack Skelton, D. Ellis Walker, and Tom Holland.
On August 18, 1964 brother Jerrie married Gail Champion. The Barber’s have two children, Jerrie Wayne Barber, II who is married to Terri, and Christi Parsons who is married to Brian. The Barbers are blessed to have six Grandchildren.
In addition to the previous mentioned congregations brother Jerrie has preached for the following churches: Yorkville, Tennessee; Madisonville, Kentucky, Central in Dalton, Georgia; West Nashville Heights, Nashville, Tennessee; Berry’s Chapel, Franklin, Tennessee.
In more recent years he has served as Interim Preacher for churches is Eddyville, Kentucky; Hendersonville, Tennessee; and Cookeville, Tennessee (Collegeside).
Here are some questions we asked brother Jerrie about preaching and his responses to the questions.
Why do you believe preaching is so important in our day?
“It is still God’s power to salvation. God’s work is alive and active. I have seen and continue to see it make a difference in people’s lives.”
Please share a couple of pieces of advice you would give young preachers about the preparation of sermons?
“Cultivate sermons long and often. People often ask, ‘How long does it take you to get up a sermon?’ Often I can honestly say, ‘Ten years.’ I have kept files of sermon ideas since 1964. A few years ago, I started going through the paper files and notes and transferred the best ones to the hard drive on my computer. I found they grew better there after being planted than in my files. I could often add an illustration or scripture or insight as I occasionally opened the files and “cultivated” them.
I like to preach what I practice instead of practice what I preach. Several times I have learned or been taught a new principle from the Bible. After practicing that for a few months or a few years and finding it true and useful, preaching about it was easy.”
Please share some advice you would give young preachers about the delivery of sermons?
Get over imitating other preachers as soon as you can and find out how you communicate best. Some do well with manuscripts, some with some notes, and some without notes. I prefer the choice of using all three at times. I try to use the best one for the particular message.
I found a lot of practice in the pulpit was helpful to me in my early days. I don’t do that any more. I spend about the same amount of time in immediate preparation before each sermon. Now, rather than memorizing what I am going to say, I try to forget everything else for the moment. I have found I need to get up four hours before I speak on Sunday morning for immediate preparation, shave, shower, and breakfast. That is an early alarm when the first service is at 7:30 as in a recent interim work I did. But I find it still works. Sunday afternoon naps are very helpful. Mark 6: 30-32, 45, 46 are good scriptures to substantiate that observation.
Please share any special honors you have received or any special facts about yourself that you believe might encourage young preachers?
“The greatest honor I am receiving now is the opportunity to do what I have been preparing to do for more than a decade: interim ministry. Gail and I are in our third interim work. We live in a community and work with a church that is between preachers. I sign a contract that I will not consider or be considered as the next full-time preacher. We teach classes and minister. I preach and conduct training classes. I work with the staff. I help the church start with self-examination before they start examining preachers. I coach them about the search process, keeping a wastebasket handy to discard any information that is not helpful. This is work about which we had talked, dreamed, and prepared. It is delightful to work with Christians in different localities. We stay there for a time and leave knowing that they and we have grown by our work together.
I think preachers should prepare early in their ministry (emotionally, spiritually, and financially) for their exit from full time work. Every preacher is going to leave his present work by termination, resigning, death, disability, or the second coming of Jesus. I read that the best time to retire is before your employer gets ready for you to retire. Some preachers hold meetings. Some write. Some serve as elders. Some retire to farming, golfing, or another activity and minister in ways other than pulpit preaching. My observation is that it is better on the preacher and the church when the preacher initiates the transition by planning what he will do, if the Lord wills.”
The following was a series of sermons preached at the Hendersonville congregation while brother Jerrie served as the Interim Preacher. You can read more from him and about him at:
Forgiveness and Forgetting
Something that I need to do and have done for me.
Mark Twain once described forgiveness as “the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
Let’s look at some principles today that will help us to grow in this area of Christian character.
A. Dishonesty often hinders forgiveness on both the part of the offended and the offender.
1. People at times may find themselves deceiving or trying to deceive:
a. Themselves. 1 John 1:8
b. God. 1 John 1:10; Acts 5:3,4
c. Others. Ephesians 4:25
2. God wants me to be honest with Him and with others. Psalm 51:6
B. Honesty is essential in all parts of forgiveness.
1. It begins with a real desire for a knowledge of truth about myself.
Psalm 139:23,24; 2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Corinthians 10:12; Matthew 5:8
2. It continues with being honest with others, both in
a. Confession of sins against others.
(1) “Oh, I didn’t mean that. Can’t you take a joke?” - or
(2) “Yes. I see that I hurt you. I’m sorry.”
b. Confrontation of hurts others have inflicted, either intentionally or unintentionally on me.
(1) “No. There’s nothing wrong. I’m alright” (When there is really something wrong), or
(2) “Yes. You may not have thought, but what you did really hurt.”
(3) A confession with an “if” is not a confession.
(a) “If I have hurt you, then I am sorry.”
(b) “You did offend me.”
(c) “If Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then I believe it,” is not a confession of Christ.
3. Therefore, I want to be truthful – inside out – about my relationship with God, myself, and others.
a. I look for the truth about my actions and intentions inside my heart. Psalm 51:6
b. I am committed to express the truth to others.
(1) Accurately. Matthew 5:37
(2) At the best time. John 16:12
(3) In the best way. Colossians 4:6; Ephesians 4:29
A. I need to feel and express humility by not reading the other person’s mind and assuming that he knows what he needs to know to participate in the forgiveness process. Matthew 5:3
B. Other people cannot read my mind; therefore, I want to be sure I tell them what is standing between us. 1 Corinthians 2:11
1. I may not know I have hurt you unless you tell me; you may not know you have hurt me unless I tell you. Proverbs 27:5,6,17
2. Good people many times are not aware of the hurt they have caused until they are told. 2 Samuel 12:1-9
a. At least nine months had passed since David’s sin with Bathsheba.
b. The child had already been born. 2 Samuel 11:26,27;
2 Samuel 12:14
C. I cannot read your mind; therefore, I will not know you are sorry and have repented unless you tell me; I cannot expect you to know I am sorry, why I am sorry, and the kind of sorrow I have unless I tell you. 2 Corinthians 7:10
1. Some people substitute “good deeds” for expressing godly sorrow.
Ecclesiastes 7:16; Proverbs 25:16
a. Acting extra friendly, nice, sweet.
b. Baking cakes and pies.
c. Invitations to meals.
d. Other gifts.
2. God’s plan is when someone is sorry, say it, confess it; then we will know what our actions mean. James 5:16; 1 John 1:9
III. FORGIVING EACH OTHER AND ACCEPTING FORGIVENESS IS A PROCESS THAT MAY TAKE CONSIDERABLE TIME.
A. Growing in faith is a process. Mark 9:17-29; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-8;
1 Thessalonians 3:9,10
B. Growing in forgiveness is a process.
1. All “good Christians” do not forgive at the first indication of repentance. Acts 9:26-28
2. One of the things that keeps us from forgiving at all is thinking we have to forgive all at once.
3. All Christians will not forgive at the same rate.
a. Misunderstanding and fear are the seeds of strife. Mark 9:30-33
b. These, along with guilt, often fertilize conflict which is watered by ignoring it. Mark 9:34; Luke 22:24
c. Different people are able to deal with fear, guilt, conflict, and truth (which is the opposite of misunderstanding) at different levels and at different speeds.
C. Forgiveness is more like growing a tree that turning on a light.
D. The forgiver or the forgivee may need to talk about the sin more than once before the process is complete.
1. I may need to see another’s sin before I see mine. 2 Samuel 12:1-6
2. It is when I see how I am like other sinners that I see the pain that I have inflicted and want to do something about it. 2 Samuel 12:7-13
3. David not only talked about it to Nathan, but wrote about it. Psalm 51
a. He confesses his sin over and over.
b. He asks for forgiveness repeatedly.
c. There are at least twenty-one petitions dealing with these issues.
E. I am to be involved in the process whether I am the offended or offender.
1. Offender. Matthew 5:23-26
a. Go to the one you have hurt.
b. Talk to him or her as soon as you realize you have offended.
c. Be aware of how important reconciliation is; it has priority over worship.
d. Do everything you can to settle the issue even if the time is late and it seems out of your hands. Luke 12:58,59
2. Offended. Matthew 18:15-17
a. Go to try to get your relationship repaired with your brother, not just to check off the requirements. Psalm 51:6
b. Use care in selecting the “one or two more”.
(1) State why you want to involve someone else: “We are not making the progress in getting this settled that I would like to see us make. Would it be helpful to get another person to assist us?”
(2) “Whom do you suggest?”
(3) “I trust brother... . How do you feel about him?”
(4) “Would you call one and I will call the other?”
(5) “Would it be good for us not to tell our story until we meet so that neither of the others will come with only one side of the story?”
(6) “Can we spend whatever time is necessary to help us work through this problem even though it may take more than one meeting?”
c. My attitude can help.
(1) Realize that although I may be innocent in this case, I have not always been and will not always be. Romans 3:23
(2) Therefore, I come - not as one who has never sinned trying to get a sinner straightened out - but as one who has sinned and will sin coming to a brother in the way and spirit with which I want to be treated. Galatians 6:1; Matthew 7:12; Luke 18:9-14
d. Even though I am the “innocent party,” I want to try to learn something from each hurt that will help me in the next similar situation.
(1) If I can see nothing that I could change, there is helplessness and hopelessness.
(a) I am completely at the mercy of others.
(b) I have been hurt; there is nothing that I contributed to it; there is nothing I can do differently.
(c) Therefore, if these or other people want to hurt me again, I am defenseless; I am at their mercy.
(2) But the tribulations that Paul experienced changed him and left him with hope. Romans 5:1-5; Hebrews 12:5-11
(3) James made a similar observation and tells us to pray to get the wisdom that we need to deal with the trials that come.
(a) Which can be met with joy.
(b) Which produce patience.
(c) Which brings maturity. James 1:2-5
IV. WHAT DOES FORGETTING HAVE TO DO WITH FORGIVING?
A. If I can still remember a hurt, does that mean that I have not forgiven?
B. God forgives, and states that “I will remember their sin no more” yet He can and does recall the details of the transgression. Jeremiah 31:34
1. David was forgiven. 2 Samuel 12:13; Psalm 32:1-5
2. Yet at least forty years later God would inspire a prophet to write about the details. 2 Samuel 11,12
3. Saul of Tarsus was forgiven of his sins against Christ. Acts 22:16
4. God the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to record the sins that he committed at least thirty years after his sins had been forgiven. Acts 7,8,9
5. Paul referred to his sins thirty years after they had been forgiven and yet this does not mean that he had not been forgiven.
a. Paul remembered his past sins and their seriousness.
1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13; Philippians 3:6
b. Yet he saw the guilt for these sins as in the past, forgiven, and no longer charged against him. 1 Timothy 1:13; 1 Corinthians 15:10
C. The forgetting that God does and expects us to do is the process of not holding the person in debt for the hurt caused and the sin committed. Romans 4:7,8
1. When a sin is forgiven by us or by God it means that the sin is no longer charged to that person’s account by the one who has forgiven.
a. The word used is an accounting term.
(1) Thayer, p. 379: “1 to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over; hence a. to take into account, to make account of; metaph. to pass to one’s account, to impute”.
(2) Arndt and Gingrich, p. 476,477: “put on someone’s account, charge to someone”.
b. Therefore, the word does not have to do with recalling the event but whether the act is still charged against the account.
2. Suppose we buy medicine from a drug store on credit and pay our bill once a month.
a. At the end of the year, the store sends us a complete record of our transactions including the dates, prescription numbers, and prices of all that we have bought during the year.
b. The bill is paid.
c. There is nothing against our account.
d. We do not owe anything.
e. We are not in debt.
f. Yet there is a full record of each transaction in the record books or computer of the store.
D. How can I know when I have forgiven another person?
1. When the person is a penitent brother or sister who wants to be forgiven.
a. It is not when I can no longer recall the event; God does not even do that.
b. It is when I no longer charge that person with the offense.
c. It is when the wall is being removed that was between us.
d. It is when I no longer wish hurt to that person.
e. It is when I do not feel a knot in my stomach when I see or think about the offender.
f. It is when I do not make a special effort to avoid the person.
2. When it is a person who has no regret and does not want forgiveness.
a. When I no longer think about the person constantly.
b. When I cease trying and thinking how to “get even.”
c. When I am no longer dominated by the thoughts and feelings of malice, fear, and vengeance toward the offender.
V. WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE?
A. This sounds like a lot of pain and work.
B. Why should I go to this much effort and experience further pain to forgive someone who has already caused me hurt?
C. These are good questions:
1. How much does it cost? Luke 14:25-33
2. How much is it worth – what do I get from it? Matthew 19:27
D. I need to do it to be right with God and others. Matthew 6:14,15
1. God has already forgiven me much more than I will ever be asked to forgive others. Matthew 18:21-35
2. Therefore, being honest with myself and God (Psalm 51:6), if I fail to forgive the comparative “small” sins of my brother, I will have doubts that God can and will forgive my “big” sins.
a. Some say there are no small and large sins.
b. However, in this parable, there are $15,000,000.00 sins and $15.00 sins.
(1) Some kinds of fornication that are more shocking than others. 1 Corinthians 5:1
(2) Some matters of the law that are weightier, more important. Matthew 23:23
(3) Some sins are the size of a speck of sawdust and some are the size of a log. Matthew 7:3-5
(a) Sawdust and logs are made of the same thing: wood; but one is bigger than the other.
(b) All sins are wrong and hurt God; but some are bigger than others.
E. If I fail and/or refuse to forgive the sins of my brother, hopefully I will have feelings of guilt and shame coming to him or others for forgiveness.
1. I know that I am being unfair and inconsistent, asking him to do something for me which I have decided not to do for him or others.
2. If my supposed forgiveness is not from the heart (Matthew 18:35), I will not experience true forgiveness from others.
a. I will probably assume that their forgiveness is only outward as mine has been.
b. Although they have said they forgive me, they are probably just saying that to get me to leave them alone so they can have nothing else to do with me, or worse, to further hurt me – as I have done to them.
3. And if that is the only forgiveness that I have given to others and have experienced from others, I cannot imagine that God will do differently.
A. But God says something different. Psalm 103:12; Acts 2:38
B. Which brings us back to the beginning.
1. Forgiveness is a process of growth.
2. Forgiveness is related to faith. Mark 9:23,24
a. Can I really believe that God can and will forgive me? – “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
b. Do I really believe that I can and will forgive others, even those who have inflicted tremendous pain? – “Lord, I forgive; help my lack of forgiveness and help me grow in this area of grace and mercy.” James 2:13; Matthew 5:7
Jerrie W. Barber
Dear Father in Heaven, we give You thanks for the people you place in Your world and in our lives. We are thankful for men like brother Jerrie who have given their life to the proclamation of Your Word. We are thankful for the lives he has influenced for good and for those he continues to influence. We thank You for his example and his encouragement to younger preachers. We pray that You would bless him with health and more time to serve You and to encourage us. In the Name of our Savior we pray, Amen.