“Mary loved church, but her sister didn’t.
Mary said, ‘Let’s play church.’ ‘All right,’ said her sister, ‘but let’s play I’m absent.’
Too many do.But the Living Bible says, ‘Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do.’
Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a car. But if you’re a Christian, you’ll love God’s house and God’s Book.
You’ll read up, pray up, and never give up or shut up until the cause of Christ is built up.
Too many church members hear without heeding, read without responding, profess without practicing, and confess without changing.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to be faithful in our church attendance, fervent in our praying, fearless in our witnessing, and forceful in our resisting the tempter. This we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.” 
What is a saint?
“A young boy about nine years old went with his parents to Europe one summer. Part of their tour was visiting the great old cathedrals of the past. As he would visit cathedral after cathedral he saw the massive stained glass portraits of the disciples and of other saints. He was so impressed as he stood in these great empty halls looking through the beautiful stained glass windows. Upon return, when asked by his Sunday School teacher, what about the great churches of Europe did he like the most, and what was his definition of a saint, he thought for a moment and he said, ‘I loved the sense of awesomeness and the hugeness of who God must be. And what is a saint?’ And as his mind went back to those massive beautiful stained glass windows, he said, ‘A saint is a man the light shines through.’”
“People are like stained glass windows
They sparkle and shine when the sun’s out.
When the darkness sets in,
their true beauty is revealed
only if there is light within.”—Anonymous
Adrian Rogers said, “As the night grows darker, the saints grow brighter.”
Stained glass is a work of art . . . examples can be found at Bell Stained Glass Company at the Loop in Mobile, Alabama.
David the psalmist writes, “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and heart” (Psalm 26:2). These are the words of “a man after [God’s] own heart, who will do all [His] will” (Acts 13:22).
I. A Saint welcomes accountability to God.
“Examine me, O Lord. . .”(Psalm 26:2a), in essence David says, “My life’s an open book.”
While sinners avoid accountability, saints welcome it. Saints realize “. . .there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account”(Hebrews 4:13). They realize that one day we must give account to the Lord as Paul writes.
Adam and Eve attempted to evade accountability in the Garden of Eden in their cover up. Adam attempted to pass the buck of responsibility related to his sin. Moses recounts this story in Genesis chapter three, where we read,
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?’
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’
Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’
Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’
And the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’
The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’
So the LORD God said to the serpent:
‘Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.’
To the woman He said:
‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.’
Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“ Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.’
And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’— therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:1-24).
II. A Saint seeks approval from God.
There are some “approval addicts” in the world today. We often read about “pleasers” in a negative light. Dr. Kevin Lehman wrote a book titled Pleasers.
Do you remember the popular song called “Garden Party” that states, “But it’s all right now, I’ve learned my lesson well. ‘You see, you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself’”?
A Christian came along and modified the lyrics to read, “You can’t please everyone so you’ve got to please the Lord.”
However, we must remember there is a difference between those who are concerned with “eyeservice as men-pleasers” as we read in Ephesians 6:5-7 which says, “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,” also in Colossians 3:22-23 we read, “Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”
Jesus said, “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29).
Matthew cites Isaiah who prophesied of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust” (Matthew 12:18-21).
Matthew also records the following event of Jesus’ transfiguration, “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5)
Bob Hartman shares the following in his once popular song titled “Godpleaser”, “So many voices telling me which way to go
So many choices from those who think they know
There’s a way that seems right to a man but it only brings him death
I wanna go the way that leads to life till I draw my dying breath
Don’t wanna be a man pleaser, I wanna be a God pleaser
I just want to have the wisdom to discern the two apart
Don’t wanna be a man pleaser, I wanna be a God pleaser
I just want to do the things that please the father’s heart. . .”
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”, as the writer of the book of Hebrews states in chapter 11 and verse six.
In the words of the Irish hymn,
“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise;
Be thou my inheritance now and always.
Be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of Heaven, my treasure thou art.”
In 2 Timothy 2:15 we read, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
AWANA (an acronym for an international evangelical nonprofit organization founded in 1950, is A Workman Approved Not Ashamed based on 2 Timothy 2:15), which was also the theme verse for my alma mater, Greystone Christian School in Mobile, Alabama.
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were “good men” doing “good things” without God. Jesus warned them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). They found themselves accepted by man but rejected by God.
Paul, a former Pharisee, writes in 2 Corinthians 5:8-11, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.”
Jesus shares the following in the “Parable of the Talents”, “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” (Matthew 25:20-23)
Dr. Les Hughes wrote a book titled, The Sound of God’s Applause.
A sinner seeks the approval of man. For example, the Pharisees have a “manward religion” but lack a “Godward relationship”.
III. A Saint requests arraignment by God.
An “arraignment is a formal reading of a criminal.” complaint in the presence of the defendant to inform him of the charges against him. In response to arraignment, the accused is expected to enter a plea. Acceptable pleas vary among jurisdictions, but they generally include ‘guilty’, ‘not guilty’, and the peremptory pleas (or pleas in bar) setting out reasons why a trial cannot proceed. Pleas of ‘nolo contendere’ (no contest) and the ‘Alford plea’ are allowed in some circumstances.
Amos R. Wells shares the following in his Through the Bible Meditations on Psalm 26—My Judge, “I have walked in my integrity; judge me, O God! For I have trusted in Thy integrity. I have washed my hands in innocency; judge me, O God! For I have washed them in the blood from Thy altar. I will walk in my integrity; judge me, O God! For I have been redeemed from my unrighteousness.”
Notice David’s request in Psalm 62 verse 1, “Vindicate me, O LORD, For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the LORD; I shall not slip.”
David’s also requests in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; / Try me, and know my anxieties; / And see if there is any wicked way in me, / And lead me in the way everlasting.”
Dr. J. Edwin Orr set those words to music in a powerful song of revival titled “Search Me, O God”:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.
Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender Lord – in me abide.”
William R. Newell explains, “‘Children of men’ is a wider term than Jews. Furthermore, Romans 3:9, which begins this great arraignment, includes both Jews and Greeks as being ‘all under sin.’ This, therefore, is a world-wide indictment.”
D. Stuart Briscoe shares the following in a message titled “Call of a Leader”: “In Psalms 26:2, David petitions, ‘Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.’ In other words, we want God to test our hearts to see if we are really genuine.”
Psalm 26:2c says, “Try my mind and heart.” Notice the psalmist also declares, “I hate the double-minded” literally “divided in heart and mind” (Psalms 119:113).
Paul says, “if we would judge ourselves we would not be judged.”
Paul also writes in Romans 14:10, “ For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”
The saint wants to judge himself before “the judgment seat of Christ”, because he knows that he needs God’s help. Just because our conscience does not bother us, does not mean we are truly right with God. The saint wants to be right with God. Jeremiah warns, “The heart is deceitful above all things, / And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
“The LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7).
“Saints want to know the worst so they might become the best.” —Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, 03/07/09.
Herbert Lockyer shares the following in Daily Promises, “This triad of requests expresses David’s desire for every phase of his life to be in harmony with God’s will.”
John G. Butler shares the following on Psalm 26 – Saintliness. Here are the marks of a saint. •Welcome: is not afraid of judgment. •Walk: in honesty. •Ward: no associating with the wicked. •Worship: loves God’s house. •Wish: not to share sinners’ fate.” 
“There were two evil brothers who were rich and used their money to hide their ways from the public eye. They even attended the same church and looked to be perfect Christians.
Then, their pastor retired, and a new one was hired. Not only could he see right through the brothers’ deception, but he also spoke well and true, and the church started to swell in numbers. A fundraising campaign was started to build a new assembly.
All of the sudden, one of the brothers died. The surviving brother sought out the new pastor the day before the funeral and handed him a check for the amount needed to finish paying for the new building.
‘I have only one condition,’ he said. ‘At his funeral, you must say my brother was a saint.’ The pastor gave his word and deposited the check.
The next day, at the funeral, the pastor did not hold back. ‘He was an evil man,’ he said. ‘He cheated on his wife and abused his family.’ He went on in this vein for a small time, and the surviving brother was clearly fuming in his seat.
‘But,’ the pastor concluded, ‘compared to his brother, he was a saint!’”
Others receive the designation “saint” by a process called canonization or by a church vote. I don’t want to be considered a saint merely by comparison or by consensus. I want to be a saint period, based entirely on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Be a saint!
In a similar way, God says, “Be holy, for I am holy”. We read in 1 Peter 1:15-17, “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy” / And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.”
We can no more become a “saint” by our own merits than we can become “holy” on our own merits. It is only by the grace of God that you become a saint!
“To dwell above with saints we love,
That will be grace and glory.
To live below with saints we know,
That’s another story!”
“The atheist who spent a few days with the saintly Fenelon said: ‘If I stay here much longer I shall become a Christian in spite of myself.’ Fenelon had used no word of controversy or even of solicitation. It was the quiet, convincing argument of a holy life that led to the remark.”
If you do not know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord you can pray a prayer like this:
Dear God, I know that I am a sinner, in thought, in word, and in deed. I am a sinner by nature and a sinner by choice. I believe that Jesus died on the cross
for the forgiveness of my sin and that he rose from the grave on the third day. I ask Jesus to take over my life and to be my Savior, my Lord, and my King. Thank you for giving me the forgiveness of my sin and everlasting life. Amen.
 Guido Garden Library “Let’s Play Church” Read Psalm 26, [p.14] Available from: http://library.guidogardens.com/redir.asp?sessionid=ca2D1VeidRNghBGlw9nrFaW3y&login=yes Accessed: 03/09/09.
 “What is a Saint?”, Available from: http://wesley.nnu.edu/wesleyctr/books/1801-1900/HDM1876.PDF Accessed: 03/09/09.
 Adrian Rogers, “How to Have a Spirit-Filled Life” (Ephesians 5:18) Available from: http://www.bellevue.org/templates/cusbellevue1103/details.asp?id=1360&PID=33051Accessed: 0/309/09.
 Available from: http://www.amazon.com/Pleasers-Dr-Kevin-Leman/dp/0800731255 Accessed: 03/09/09.
 Available from: http://www.metrolyrics.com/godpleaser-lyrics-petra.html Accessed: 03/10/09.
 “Be Thou My Vision” (Anon. Irish 18th century, tr. Mary Byrne, 1880-1931, versified Eleanor Hull 1830 – 1935).
 Available from: http://www.bestwebbuys.com/The_Sound_of_God’s_Applause-ISBN_9780805418231.html?isrc=b-search Accessed: 03/09/09.
 Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arraignment Accessed: 03/07/09.
 Amos R. Wells, Through the Bible Meditations, Psalm 1-57 (1908) Available from: http://www.hefirstlovedus.com/hefirstlovedus/Psalms_1_thru_57 Accessed: 03/09/09.
 William R. Newell, Romans: Verse-By-Verse , p. 80.
 D. Stuart Briscoe, “Call of a Leader” (Psalm 26:2) (04/06/68) Guido Garden Library, Available from: http://library.guidogardens.com/redir.asp?sessionid=ca2D1VeidRNghBGlw9nrFaW3y&login=yes Accessed: 03/09/09.
 Herbert Lockyer, Daily Promises (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984), Dec. 17 Reading.
 John G. Butler, Butler’s Daily Bible Reading (1) Synopsis, Psalm 26, http://www.wordsearchbible.com/catalog/search.php?searchterm=John%20G.%20Butler.
 “The Evil Brothers” Posted July 10, 2006 8:00 AM, Available from: http://www.jumbojoke.com/the_evil_brothers.html Accessed: 02/10/09
 Available from: http://www.e-steeple.com/PDF/8690.pdf Accessed: 03/10/09
 “How Fenlon Shined” Topical Illustrations, Available from: http://wesley.nnu.edu/wesleyctr/books/1801-1900/HDM1876.PDF Accessed: 03/09/09
Pastor at First Baptist Church, Spanish Fort, AL
Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey is pastor of First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama where he has served since 2004. Kirksey was called to the ministry after high school graduation in 1979 and has been a pastor for over twenty five years. He has served churches in Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina.
Latest posts by Franklin L. Kirksey (see all)