Prior to his historic “We shall fight them on the beaches” speech by Winston Churchill on June 4, 1940, all of Britain, Europe, the United States—indeed Hitler himself—expected the British to make a negotiated peace with the Nazis.
With that historic address, Churchill rallied his fellow countrymen to fight, going on to defeat the evil Nazi foe against all odds. Though not an explicitly Christian speech, Churchill does mention God in his remarks. This event also proves that God can use moving words to advance an important cause.
To that end, at the 2015 Oklahoma State Evangelism Conference (SEC) Jan. 26-27 at Del City, First Southern, participants will hear challenging sermons about tackling another looming task: to take the Gospel to the entire state, nation and the world.
The event will provide resources and motivation, as we hear from evangelist Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham), author Jim Cymbala and others. We understand that this key event, with its fellowship, encouragement and equipping, is one part of what motivates us.
The very love of God and abiding presence of the Holy Spirit is what daily spurs us to share Jesus with a world in need. We also feel motivated by the promises of Heaven for those who believe and dread of Hell for those who disbelieve.
The horrors of Hell are real and motivate us to share the life-saving Gospel. In what is called the most famous sermon ever preached in America, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” theologian Jonathan Edwards vividly and unforgettably described Hell.
On July 7, 1841, Edwards said, “O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in! It is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath that you are held over in the hand of that God whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of Divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it and burn it asunder. . . . It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity.”
Contrasted to the terror of Hell, the glories of Heaven are the ultimate motivation to share the Gospel. In his worthy book, Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis describe at least five promises from the Scriptures that Heaven holds for those whose names are in the Book of Life. They are these: 1) we shall be with Christ; 2) we shall be like Him; 3) we shall have “glory”; 4) we shall, in some sense, be feasting; and 5) we shall have some official role or position within the New Heaven and New Earth.
And so with moving words from Edwards and Lewis, we are reminded of the high stakes of our charge to share the Gospel.
After Churchill’s famous speech, newspapers too rallied, carrying a photo of Churchill looking like a bulldog with a caption that said simply, “Go to it!” In the days leading up to the SEC and after, perhaps Oklahoma Baptists will feel that same motivation to spread the Gospel like never before. Perhaps we, too, will go to it!
*Photo credit: Solodov Alexey / Shutterstock.com