Davidson focuses on worth of soul
CAPE GIRARDEAU – “I don’t like preachers. I don’t like churches. And to be truthful, I don’t like you.”
So said a 76-year old man named Earl, cussing three words out of every five spoken.
Earl was talking to Gerald Davidson, recently retired pastor of First Baptist, Arnold, who had stopped by his home to share the good news of Jesus with him. Within a few weeks of the initial encounter, both Earl and his wife were converted to Christ through Davidson’s witness.
A few weeks later when a baptism service was about to begin, Earl leaned in and hugged Davidson and expressed his love for Jesus and for the preacher who led him to Christ. Not too long after the baptism, Davidson stood behind a pulpit and preached a funeral sermon for Earl. The man who had stated his dislike for preachers was now in glory.
Davidson told this poignant story as an ending to his convention sermon at the Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting in Cape Girardeau. The message centered on Luke 14, a text showing Jesus concern for the soul of a man whom he healed.
Davidson asked Missouri Baptists to consider the question, “What is the value of a soul?”
The Pharisees were not concerned about answering such a question. Instead, “They were far more concerned about their political image and their political desires and agenda than a man’s soul.”
“Missouri Baptists, we must become soul-conscious” Davidson said. “I am convinced that we will never see the value of a soul until we see it through the eyes of the Father.” The value of a soul should be considered in relationship to the death of God’s son on the cross.
The world may not respond to the message of God’s grace. In Luke 14 we read Jesus’ parable where many people gave phony excuses as to why they could not come to the feast.
But how should we respond to such a vision of the worth of a soul, especially in view of the possibility of rejection? Again, referring to Luke 14, Davidson said “We must go out, go quickly, go into the highways and hedges – compelling them to come in.”
This is exactly what we as Missouri Baptists must be involved in.
A final question Davidson posed is – “What are the rewards for winning a lost soul?” He said that in addition to helping the person access to God in heaven, the one who shares the gospel will find eternal reward from the only one who really matters – the Father Himself.
“I’m not looking for an award from Missouri Baptists. My reward will come from One who really, really counts – that is the reward from God.”
“Missouri Baptists, consider the worth of a soul, go forth with the good news of Jesus Christ, and keep your eyes on Jesus till the end.”
“I have studied and read a lot of books on how to win friends and influence people. Today, I’m not here trying to win friends. But, I do hope that I do not lose friends. And I hope that I will not turn friends off. I spent more time thinking about this message, having known for a year that I was going to be the convention speaker, than any other message I believe that I have prepared in my entire life, because I have some things that are heavy upon my heart.”
“God, the Father, saw His son become sin and He loved the world enough that He let His Son die in our stead. And so you see, you and I need to begin to see the world as God sees the world. We need to see souls through the eyes of the Father.”
“Let me tell you the immediate reward of winning a soul to Jesus Christ means a person who was headed for the devil’s hell, lost and undone, being in an eternal hell for time without end has been delivered. No longer will he be going there. Now he will be headed for heaven.”
“Let’s you and I join our hearts and our lives together and say, ‘God, we are going to get [on with] the business of reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God bless you. I love you. So does Jesus. Let’s do His work.”