Bowling Green — Jerry Vines urged Kentucky Baptist ministers to share the gospel with persistence and tears in his sermon at the 2014 Pastors’ Conference.
Vines, pastor-emeritus of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla., was the final of six speakers at the event held at Living Hope Baptist Church in Bowling Green.
In his message, Vines lived up to his reputation for combining expositional preaching with deft humor. His primary text was his life verse, Psalm 126:6: “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Vines drew a comparison between the farmer of Psalm 126 and the Christian of today, believing that the “picture of a farmer sowing seed in the field is a perfect picture of an evangelist.”His message centered on four similarities between the two: going, weeping, sowing and reaping.
Believers need to go after the lost, he said. “Somewhere along the way, we got the idea that we just need to put up a sign (that reads) ‘come on in, you lucky sinners,'” the 77-year-old Baptist statesman reminded.
Instead, Christians are to go and share the message of Christ through tears-an under emphasized but necessary part of the evangelism process. As the farmer of Psalm 126:6 was “dropping the seed from his hand, a tear is dropping from his eye,” Vines pictured. “Here is a man who is so consumed in what he is doing and it is moving him to tears.”
Similarly, believers should weep for the lost, he said. Vines recalled that Jesus wept before Lazarus’ tomb, outside the city of Jerusalem, and over sin in Gethsemane.
“If Jesus shed his tears … don’t you think maybe we could shed a little tear for somebody? It’s been a long time since I saw people get on their faces and weep over the lost,” Vines lamented.
“May God give us tears again!” he pleaded. Quoting Charles Spurgeon, Vines added, “Those who would be winners of souls must first be weepers of souls.”
Vines encouraged attenders to sow with an increasing awareness of the power of the gospel. He compared the gospel message to a small seed which can be easily disregarded by some. But this same seed, when it falls into a crack in a sidewalk, has strength to break concrete.
That is when sowing leads to reaping and rejoicing, Vines said, observing that churches that are filled with joy are the ones that are seeing conversions.
Vines concluded his message by inviting the pastors to recommit themselves to being the kind of witnesses Scripture calls them to be.
Vines has been a leading figure in the Southern Baptist Convention during his pastoral ministry, which spanned over 50 years. He served as president of the SBC from 1988 to 1989. He now oversees Jerry Vines Ministries, which seeks to provide biblically-focused teaching and preaching materials. (WR)
Rick Hardison, a freelance writer, is pastor of Great Crossing Baptist Church in Georgetown.