Hunt: Help us share
the Gospel with everyone
By Brian Koonce
February 7, 2006
SPRINGFIELD – Perhaps the most widely recognized speaker at this year’s Missouri Baptist Convention State Evangelism Conference, Johnny Hunt, encouraged those attending to preach the Gospel to everyone, regardless of any division or hostility they may encounter.
“I believe the Gospel still works,” he said. “It’s amazing how God honors the preaching of the Gospel. When it is preached with power and conviction, the results are exciting.”
The pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., preached from Acts 13, recounting the ministry of Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles, and their hunger to hear though the Jews rejected the Gospel. In the words of Hunt, the Gentiles couldn’t wait to hear “next Sunday’s sermon.”
“The Gentiles were so excited they wanted to hear it again,” he said. “What would cause these people of the first century to get so excited they wanted to hear the same sermon the next Sabbath? What could cause such a stir?”
Hunt said it was because for the first time, the Gospel went from a message just for the Jews, to one that encompassed all of mankind, both the Jew and the Gentile.
“No longer was the Gospel a message of exclusiveness, it was a message of whosoever will,” he said. “They had just been told they could come to God not through a religious system, but through a righteous person. They had a mindset that any delay in spreading the news would be disastrous.”
Hunt said modern Christians should take a cue from those first-generation Gentile Christians.
“We need to do what we’re going to do now,” he said.
While it still “works,” it can be divisive, too, as the Jews in Acts 13 found out.
“The Gospel confronts sinners with judgment, and exposes guilt and shame. Sometimes people are rather passionate in their rejection,” Hunt said.
Hostility, too, can be an end result of evangelism.
“Peter’s sermons led to the persecution of the apostles,” he said, “and Stephen’s sermons led to hostility and eventually his death.”
“The Jews were hostile to the message Paul preached and they rejected it,” Hunt continued.
Hunt cautioned Missouri Baptists to not make the same mistake as the Jews, thinking the Gospel was only for a certain crowd.
“Their church was full, but it was not full of people like them,” he said. “As a result, they were angry.”
Hunt said that he sees this often when he is called upon to recommend pastors to churches.
“They all say they want a pastor who will help their church grow,” he said, “but when the church starts growing and reaching out to the people around it, ‘Houston, we have a problem.’ People want to see their churches full, but not with ‘Gentiles.’ God help us get back to preaching and sharing the Gospel with everyone. God forbid that I spend the rest of my life not spreading the Word.”