Florence—”Jesus isn’t 50 percent grace and 50 percent truth. He’s 100 percent grace and 100 percent truth. Both tracks are needed,” an evangelist and senior vice president for spiritual development at Liberty University told Kentucky Baptist pastors.
“In Christian ministry, we need grace and truth if we really are going to be like our great model, our Savior, Jesus Christ,” David Nasser explained during the Kentucky Baptist Pastor’s Conference on Nov. 14.
The central theme of “Grace and Truth” was proclaimed by a strong lineup of speakers at the traditional get-together for pastors on the eve of the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting.
Nasser focused on the fact that John 6:35—where Jesus shares that He is the Bread of Life—comes after Jesus feeds the masses.
Nasser pointed out that Jesus, the greatest preacher ever, finds 15,000 hungry people and He doesn’t preach. Instead, He says, “They’re hungry; let’s feed them.”
“Because of this, they go looking for Him again. That’s when we run into John 6:35.,” Nasser said. “Jesus gives the undeniable truth of the gospel: ’I am the Bread of Life. Everything else is nothing except me. I am everything you’ve been wanting.
“Jesus puts that truth at the back end, but He earns the right to speak that to them by just loving very unthankful, unloving people,” he emphasized.
Jesus, Nasser said, “wraps the gospel in a fish sandwich.”
Nasser shared a story of a maid at a hotel receiving the gospel only after church members showed her compassion.
He also told about Liberty University hosting a blood drive in honor of the Orlando nightclub shooting victims. “The enemy of truth is tolerance, but the best friend of truth is grace,” he said.
God never called us to walk away from truth because when we walk away from truth we walk away from Christ who is Truth, Nasser added.
He urged Kentucky Baptists to show “grace and truth, the way of Jesus teaming up with the word of Jesus.”
“The kingdom of light has to invade the kingdom of darkness, and we can only do that successfully when we, as churches, and we, as individual followers of Jesus Christ, are filled with grace and truth,” said Bill Langley, pastors’ conference president and senior pastor of Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown.
Langley said only 3 percent of evangelical churches are reaching people identified as lost, while others are experiencing growth through changes in membership, or as he called it, “swapping sheep in the pen.”
Kenny Rager, newly elected first vice president of the KBC and pastor of Life Community Church in Owensboro, encouraged fellow pastors to “keep on preaching” about Jesus even when people defiantly plug their ears to the truth.
Rager urged pastors to train their people and be sure they have tools and a good understanding of doctrine. Be sure they are not going to say “weird stuff,” he said.
“Keep your eyes open to culture, preach Jesus, and be a champion for poor in your community,” he said.
Eric Geiger, a vice president of Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville, Tenn., said the pastor’s job is to equip church members to care for the needs of others and to share the gospel.
“Your ultimate joy should be found in the fact that your name is written in heaven,” he challenged. “If you rejoice more in what God’s doing through you than what He’s doing in you, then ministry has become your idol.”
Curtis Woods, associate executive director of the KBC, said pastors need to be certain they’re spiritually healthy personally so that they can be effective in their ministries.
“We must respond rightly to the truth in order to truly experience His grace,” Woods said.
He added, “There is absolutely no way that we can be the men and women God is calling us to be without truly accepting His holiness.”
Mel McGowan, co-founder of PlainJoe Studios in Corona, Calif., shared his journey from being a part of Disney’s kingdom to God’s kingdom and how churches can use storytelling principals in church architecture.
“There are people who are dying; they are hungry; they are wired for the connection that we as a church can offer,” McGowan said. “Let’s tear down those walls even as we are designing new ones.” (WR)
Robin Cornetet of the KBC Communications team contributed to this article.