SPRINGFIELD – Executive Director John Yeats challenged Missouri Baptists to stand firm on the solid ground of the gospel in a message concluding the first day of the MBC Annual Meeting, Oct 22.
Building on the meeting’s theme of “Steady,” taken from Exodus 17:8-16, Yeats reminded messengers that Aaron and Hur, who held up Moses’ hands during a fierce battle, required solid ground to carry out their task.
In a similar way, followers of Jesus must stand on the solid rock of Jesus and His finished work on the cross in order to fulfill their calling.
“If you find yourself in a place of ministry where you sense you are stuck in the muddy clay, then consider afresh that the Lord is your solid rock,” said Yeats. “Let’s agree that it is the gospel that changes lives, not all the popular propositions that want to attach themselves to the church.”
Yeats reminded messengers what the gospel is not: (1) merely a desperate cry, or foxhole thinking; (2) performance; (3) Bible knowledge; (4) health and wealth; (5) consumerism; (6) a religious contract. “These are gospels of human invention,” he said.
Citing disciple-making pastor and teacher Bill Hull, Yeats said “the true gospel consists of four rock-solid, biblical declarations, followed by three responses.”
The four declarations are:
(1) The kingdom of God is here. “The rights and privileges of a citizen of the kingdom are available only to those who have acknowledged Jesus as Lord.”
(2) Jesus is the King. “When we make our churches our little organizational kingdoms, we have rebelled against the King.”
(3) Jesus died on the cross for us. “I deserve to die for my sin in rebellion to my king. But God so loved me that He gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross of Calvary.”
(4) Jesus was buried and bodily rose from the grave and lives today. “His resurrection brings out every ounce of our praise for the one whose name is Jesus.”
These declarations demand a three-fold response, said Yeats. First, we must repent. “There is no salvation apart from a repentant heart.”
Second, Yeats said we must believe – not merely offering mental assent to the facts about the historical Jesus, but placing our trust completely in Him.
Third, he said we must follow Jesus in all things.
“This is the solid ground of the gospel that will transform lives, marriages, and communities. It must be the core of who we are as Southern Baptists.”