ST. LOUIS (BP)–Southern Baptist ministers should not view the recent episodes of sexual immorality within the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church with amusement but should examine themselves carefully lest they fall captive to the same sins, Bobby Welch told a June 9 worship service sponsored by the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists.
Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, Fla., and founder of the popular FAITH evangelism program, warned pastors, evangelists and laypeople alike of the subtle and insidious nature of sexual sin.
“We shouldn’t enjoy this Catholic mess too much,” he said. “We’re waiting on the other shoe to drop, and when it does, don’t be surprised if there is more and more within our ranks,” Welch said.
Welch used the illustration of Adam and Eve and the fruit of which they partook in the Garden of Eden in direct disobedience to God that resulted in the fall of mankind.
“How much did they eat?” he said, taking a bite from an apple. “The whole fruit? Part of the fruit? No. This much: one bite. You get into known sin a little at a time. It may start with a joke, a look, a touch, and then Satan has you. Adam and Eve just ate one bite and I fear this is where some of you may be right now.”
Welch preached from 2 Samuel 11, the story of David’s adulterous liaison with Bathsheba. From the great king’s example, Welch pointed out that sin typically does not remain hidden. When it becomes public it brings misery to a both a minister’s church and family, he said, and even worse, it casts aspersion on the gospel and the kingdom of God.
Welch admonished those gathered to be cautious when they are traveling and recommended that ministers refrain from counseling the opposite sex. This will not give temptation the opportunity to take root, he said.
Benny Jackson, staff evangelist at Kirby Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., preached the worship service’s first sermon, noting that said a fundamental biblical understanding of sin is missing from much of what passes itself off as contemporary Christianity.
“We call adultery an affair, we call stealing creative bookkeeping, we call lying a smart lawyer, we call killing expediency, but God calls it sin,” Jackson said. “We want to see unbelief as scholarly and intelligent but God just calls it unbelief, and this is the worst sin of all.”
Jackson called for Christians to stop joking about sin and to begin viewing it through the same lens that God sees it as revealed in Scripture. Many even in the church are close to the truth but, like the soldiers who nailed Christ to the cross, still manage to miss the saving truth of the Son of God, he said.
“Every time you look at a cross you need to remember how much God hates sin,” Jackson said. “When we start by seeing that, then we see how beautiful the love of God is even when men were trying to kill his Son.”
Likewise, Welch urged ministers to look to the cross daily as a means of grace in overcoming sin.
“We’ll never be perfect while we live on this earth, and we know that,” Welch said. “But we need to look to God to help us gain victory over indwelling sin and temptation. We can do that through him and this is what he expects of us.”