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Christians face critical moment in what they believe, Elliff says

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–There is a time in everyone’s life when he must prove what he believes, according to former Southern Baptist Convention president Tom Elliff, and that time is now.
Elliff, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Del City, Okla., told students at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary that the time has come for them to decide what they will preach. Speaking at the seminary’s Oct. 7 world missions chapel service, Elliff told students it is not enough to know religious things.
“Have you pled the blood? Do you know him?” Elliff asked. “It is not enough to impress the people in this room or in your church. They don’t get a vote. Have you pled the blood?”
It is not uncommon to meet people who do not know Jesus as their Savior, Elliff conceded. However, he said, it is also very common to meet people who are active in their churches who have not “pled the blood.”
Elliff asked if the students have pictured the blood. “The ordinances are a picture,” he said, referring to baptism and the Lord’s Supper. “They should come at the end of intense heart searching. This picture keeps our fellowship pure. When we partake in the ordinances, we should be reminded of what sin cost. Do you prize the blood that was shed for you?”
Students were then asked if they will preach the blood. Elliff said that they could learn to preach without “preaching the blood.” There are preachers that preach around it, but never really preach about the atonement sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, he explained.
“I know preachers who say I’ll only preach in a large auditorium. Will you preach it standing alone under a tree?” he asked. “The real issue here is not where you preach, but will you preach the blood?”
Some of the best examples of “preaching the blood” were experienced firsthand by Elliff while serving as a missionary in Zimbabwe. One area of the country experienced heavy artillery fire and many people were being killed, he recalled. However, this area also seemed to be responding to the gospel, he added. At a meeting in which it was decided to reopen the church, the question arose as to who would go dodge the bullets.
Elliff said a young man who suffered from polio stood up and volunteered to go if they would supply a bicycle. Three weeks later, Elliff returned with the bike only to find the young man wondering what had taken so long.
Not waiting for the bike, he had begun walking to the town every Wednesday morning and returning at night. He walked back to the town on Saturday and returned that night.
“I asked him, ‘Didn’t you know that a Salvation Army missionary was killed just yesterday and a few days before that others were killed also?’” Elliff said.
The young man replied, “If God stopped the mouths of the lions, he can stop the muzzles of the guns. Preacher, let’s go baptize. There are many waiting for you.”
If you are “preaching the blood,” you don’t worry about dying on the side of the road, Elliff said. “This young man proved what he believed. The time has come for you,” he told the students, asking, “Do you believe it? If you do — prove it!”