News Articles

Christians should ‘wake up, clean up,’ Okla. exec says

DEL CITY, Okla. (BP)–Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony Jordan thanked Oklahoma Baptists for “being a people of unity” Nov. 15 in his annual address to state convention messengers, while at the same time vigorously challenging the church to “wake up, clean up, dress up and light up.”

Jordan also lauded state Baptists for their support of the Cooperative Program and for voting Nov. 2 against the expansion of gambling in the state. Oklahoma voters OK’d a state lottery, although Baptist churches stood against it.

“Thank you for taking your stand. Some of you, as I, feel very disappointed at what happened on Election Day in regard to gambling in this state,” Jordan said. “But, I’m very convinced that God did not call us to win, he called us to stand, so thank you for being a people who stood with us in the face of enormous opposition.”

Citing Romans 13:11-14, Jordan said Paul’s message to the church in Rome is a message that still rings true 2,000 years later.

“This is a contemporary message to us, because everything Paul deals with in this chapter also tells us it’s time to wake up from our stupor,” Jordan said. “It’s time for the church to wake up, to clean up, to dress up and to light up.”

The church’s “moment in history” is passing away, Jordan said.

“These last days are ours to take the message of the Kingdom into the world; to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ — His love, His grace, His mercy — into a world of darkness and shine His glorious light,” he said. “So the message to the church is simply this, ‘Wake up because the present day is passing away.’

“Many of the people in our world live ignorant of the reality that, one day, every one of us will stand before a holy God and give account.”

Jordan asserted out that Paul says it’s time for the church to “clean up.”

“I’m a man of flesh, and I struggle with sin just like other people do; and so do you,” Jordan stressed. “Paul says to the church of Jesus Christ, ‘It’s time for you to clean up, to lay aside every sin that so easily besets us, as the writer of Hebrews said.

“We sit in darkness because we love the darkness rather than the light, because our deeds are evil. Now, if we were only talking about people outside the church, we could relax. But that’s not who Paul is writing to. Paul is writing to the church. He’s telling the church it has a responsibility to clean up so it can walk circumspectly before God.

“As I have read in history, no spiritual awakening has ever occurred that has not brought the church to its knees and under a deep and abiding conviction over sin … that is in the church.

“Until the church cleans up, it’s difficult for God to send a spiritual awakening that will rock the very foundations of this nation and, hopefully, the foundations of the world.”

Jordan bemoaned the fact that many Christians are living a duplicitous lifestyle. He referenced data that shows more than half of people who attend church regularly are involved in internet pornography.

“Many people in the church are given away to a sensual lifestyle,” Jordan pointed out. “In fact, we have discovered that young people in the church are just as sexually active as young people outside the church.”

He added that “sexual sin is not just the deacons and the church members, but is also a part of the failure of, and brokenness in, the ministry. Paul tells us it’s time to clean up, and it’s time to put it aside.”

To help battle the problem of internet pornography, Jordan announced that he soon will appoint a task force of pastors and other ministry leaders to help both church members and ministry staff “come to a place of cleansing and wholeness and purity.”

Jordan also stressed that it’s time for Baptists to clean up relational sin.

“One of the sins that plagues our churches today is the sin of strife,” he said, adding that many churches live in turmoil. “We ought to stand with one another, and start churches intentionally, not through dissension.”

Paul tells believers to spread the act differently — or “light up”, as Jordan put it.

“When you put on the whole armor of God, you’re putting on Jesus. When you go out into that filthy, dirty world that wants to destroy you, remember you’re not fighting flesh and blood, it’s demons of Hell trying to defeat you, but when you dress up with Jesus, nobody is going to defeat you.”

“We just need to dress up in the armor of light. We should have a glow about us.”

Finally, Jordan said Oklahoma Baptists need to shine the light of Jesus in Oklahoma and to the ends of the Earth.

“It is time we get back on the business that is still the main business … the mission of the church is to go into all the world and make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!” he said to applause.

“For the past five years, we have been down in baptisms. We are challenging Oklahoma churches to double their baptisms in 2005. You say it is not humanly possible to do that. I would say you’re exactly right, so who wants what humans can do anyway? I want what the Spirit of the living God can accomplish through us.”

Jordan urged Southern Baptists to renew a focus on church planting and individual stewardship.

“It should be an embarrassment to us that Baptists give an average of 2 percent of their income to the church,” he said.

    About the Author

  • Bob Nigh