LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Newly elected Kentucky Baptist Convention President Tim Searcy challenged church leaders Monday to always keep preaching the gospel their primary focus, because, he said, all else pales in comparison.
“The cry of the prophets was ‘Thus says the Lord.’ Our message today should be the same,” Searcy told the Kentucky Baptist Mission Board, which is made up largely of pastors from across the state. “If someone says to us, ‘great sermon,’ be careful. We should be able to respond, ‘It’s just Bible.’ If there is something in that sermon that I can take credit for, it shouldn’t be in the sermon.”
Searcy based his sermon on John 3:22-26, the passage in which John the Baptist told his followers “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
“This passage gives us invaluable information about how pastors and religious leaders should relate to Jesus,” Searcy said.
John the Baptist was quick to point out that he was not the Messiah, but that he was sent ahead of Him. He told church leaders not to play Messiah.
“As witnesses for Christ in evangelism it is good to remember that we are not God,” he said. “We do not judge others; that is God the Father’s job. We do not convict or convince people; that is God the Spirit’s job. We certainly cannot save anyone; that is God the Son’s job. We simply witness to what God has done for us and what He can do for them. If you find yourself playing God, be careful. In recovery, we use the phrase, ‘Let go and let God.’ Let God do what only He can do.”
Searcy told of the conversation that R.G. Lee, the great pastor of Bellevue Baptist in Memphis, Tennessee, had with a drunk who came to him on the street and told him: “Dr. Lee, I’m one of your converts.” Lee’s answer was: “You certainly must be for you are obviously not the Lord’s.”
Searcy also told members of the Mission Board that they must not lose sight of the fact that the church belongs to Christ.
“Don’t get me wrong; I love the church, but it can only be platonic relationship,” he said. “That intimate relationship between the bride and the groom is reserved for the church and Jesus who gave His life for her. Indeed, I am a part of the bride. If you find yourself loving the church so much that it becomes difficult to preach what Jesus is telling you to preach for fear it might hurt feelings, be careful. It is His church, not yours.”
When he was teaching, Searcy said he used to tell Bible college and seminary students to be careful of the vain habit that seems to overtake pastors, thinking that they have knowledge of all things.
“They have never plumbed, but now they are a plumber,” he said. “They have never managed money, but now they are a CPA. They have never even played basketball, but now they can coach. The Christian leader’s personal ideas are earthly and are spoken in earthly terms. They are not God’s. In Seminary classes I would sometimes hear too much of ‘I think’ or ‘I believe’ so I would interject, ‘Who cares what you think; what does the Bible say?’ If you find yourself using phrases such as ‘I think’ or ‘I believe,’ be careful. These should be weeded out.”
Searcy challenged Mission Board members to preach only the gospel of Christ.
“If you find yourself overly interested in things that have no relationship to the gospel, be careful,” he said. “All else should pale in comparison to the good news of Jesus Christ. If we are to be successful in decreasing so that Christ can increase it is most completely done in surrendering all to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”