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Be ‘Stand-Outs’ for gospel, pastor tells laity

GREEN LAKE, Wis. (BP)–If Southern Baptist laypeople are going to magnify God’s kingdom in their lives and through their churches, they will have to become “stand-outs for the gospel,” Frank Lewis, pastor of First Baptist Church, Nashville, Tenn., said.

Lewis spoke on the leadership of the laity during the Kingdom@Work Church Leadership Development event held June 25-29 at Green Lake Conference Center, Green Lake, Wis.

From Romans 16, Lewis cited the list of “Who’s Who” mentioned by Paul.

“These people were stand-outs. They were slaves; they were the upper echelon; they were the merchants; they were in all positions and stations in life,” Lewis said. “Paul didn’t differentiate between them for what they were. All were workers who had a part in advancing the work of Christ.”

Saying there is a whole world who needs to see that Christians love each other, Lewis told the group, “We have to have relationships with other believers.”

However, he cautioned, “we have to avoid those people who think that ‘everyone else is a nobody and I’m the only one who is a somebody.’ The Bible tells us to avoid these people.”

Lewis described the biblical Samson as “physically strong, but emotionally, spiritually and morally weak. He didn’t have strong character.”

While character is a matter of clean living and moral living, Lewis said it’s more. “God has something to say about character.”

The Bible provides four conclusions about holiness, Lewis said:

–God expects his people to be holy.

–Holiness is a matter of the heart.

–There are blessings for a life characterized by holiness.

–There are consequences for a life that is lived with little regard for holiness.

Lewis also listed five steps a Christians can take to strengthen their commitment to personal holiness:

–Recognize their poverty.

–Become broken.

–Embrace Christ-likeness.

–Improve their spiritual diet.

–Get in spiritual shape.

“Our greatest temptation is the over stimulation of our senses and the underdevelopment of our Christ-like character,” he said.

Even when all the right things are done and a spiritual leader knows he is doing what God has asked, there will always be challenges, Lewis said.

“Instead of quitting, remember your calling,” he said. “Choose your battles wisely. And, this is so important, keep your eyes on the people God loves.

“Remember, it’s always too soon to quit.”

The Kingdom@Work pilot event was held at Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wis., June 25-29, 2001. Approximately 500 people from 16 states attended the event.

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