TEXT: Matthew 5:16
TOPIC: Love Loud—Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Pastor Bobby Earls, FBC, Center Point, Alabama
June 28, 2009
Once again this year, Penny and I want to thank you for allowing us to attend the annual Southern Baptist Convention. The 152th meeting of the SBC in its 164th year of existence took place this year at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
Penny and I had the privilege of attending both the Pastor’s Conference that began on Sunday, June 21st and the SBC Convention meeting that met on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 23-24.
On behalf of both of us, we once again want to thank you our church family here at FBCP for allowing us the privilege of representing our church at this year’s convention. The SBC annual meeting has been a very important part of our ministry and our lives down through the years. It seems we have been a part of almost every convention over the years known as the conservative resurgence and it means a great deal to us. So thank you for making that possible again this year.
The theme of this year’s convention was “Love Loud: Actions Speak Louder than Words.” Based upon our Lord Jesus Christ’s words from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:16,
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)
Instead of giving you an overview of the major reports of our institutions and agencies such as the IMB, NAMB, or LifeWay Christian Resources, I’ve chosen to give you my version of the major theme interpretations shared over the two day convention.
Before doing even that, I’m going to share a personal word of conviction about this year’s convention. I found myself riding a personal wave of emotion, a deep sense of burden, even conviction throughout the Pastor’s conference and the SBC convention over the four days. For instance, Sunday began with very moving and inspirational messages that I found challenging and encouraging.
But on Monday, I sensed a level of personal frustration and burden for Southern Baptists and even our own church ministry.
The first day of the convention on Tuesday brought a mixture of both joyful exuberance followed by yet another sense of burden and conviction.
The final day ended on an extremely high note as I was once again convicted but moved with such emotion for our NAMB missionaries and the work they carry on in the name of Southern Baptists. The best of the convention was the closing presentation by NAMB that sent me home on an extreme spiritual high.
I. LOVE LOUD THROUGH A GREAT COMMISSION RESURGENCE
Matthew 28:16-20 (NKJV)
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV)
37 Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
You might not think Southern Baptist would argue over the Great Commission but there were divergent and political differences regarding the proposed Great Commission Resurgence.
II. LOVE LOUD BY EMBRACING A KINGDOM MINDSET
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Mark 1:14-15 (NKJV)
14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Definition of the Kingdom of God--“God’s sovereign activity in the world resulting in people being right with God.”
III. LOVE LOUD IN EVANGELISM
John 3:1-3 (NKJV)
There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 4:7-15 (NKJV)
7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
The first exhibit area I went to was the NAMB. I had read about a new relational evangelism strategy being developed. I learned about this but was even more excited to learn about a new evangelism special event planned for next spring called “Across North America 2010.”
Read material found on page 6 of the Across North American 2010 Pastor/Church Preparation Guide.
IV. LOVE LOUD BY ENGAGING THE CULTURE
Luke 7:36-39 (NKJV)
36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
Acts 17:22-23 (NKJV)
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:
This is where much of my personal conviction and burden for our church and the churches of our Southern Baptist Convention comes in.
We are not being effective at engaging the culture of our day.
According to a Baptist Press article released just last week, if Southern Baptist continue to decline at our current rate, by 2050 we will be a denomination of some 7 million Southern Baptists compared to our current membership of 16 million.
11 % of churches are growing
23 % of churches reported 0 baptisms in 2008, that’s nearly 10, 000 churches
38 % of churches reported 1 – 5 baptisms in 2008
79 % of all SBC churches baptized 0 – 10 persons in 2008
80% of our churches are either declining in membership and attendance or plateaued.
What can we do? What should we do?