CABOT – The word “now” presents “the question of urgency,” Gary Hollingsworth, senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, told messengers and guests during the convention sermon Wednesday during the final session of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Annual Meeting held at First Baptist Church, Cabot.
Hollingsworth preached from 1 Peter 4:7-11 and addressed the conference theme of Now.
Though many things in life are not known for sure, Hollingsworth said the text in 1 Peter 4 gives a “sure event that is coming” – Jesus’ return – and Christians should “live in light of this imminent reality.”
“I wonder, How would our life change if we truly lived on the edge of urgency in light of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ?” Hollingsworth asked.
Christians’ belief that Christ will return at any time should impact how they live and how they “do” church, Hollingsworth added, and shared four things that can be learned from the text in light of Christ’s imminent return.
First, addressing verse 7, Hollingsworth said it suggests “now is the time to pray like you’ve never prayed before.”
Second, verses 8-9 tells us that “now is the time to love like we have never loved.” He said this includes loving fellow Christians.
Third, addressing verse 10, Hollingsworth said that “now is the time to serve like we have never served.”
Finally, verse 11 tells us “now is the time to preach like we have never preached,” he said, adding he believes the verse is a call for every Christian to fulfill the Great Commission and be witnesses – but since many in attendance were pastors – he wanted to remind them of the urgency and to preach with the anointing of God.
“Oh, dear brother, ... we are privileged,” Hollingsworth said. “We don’t preach because we’re gifted. We don’t preach because we’re talented. We don’t preach because we’re educated. We don’t preach because we’re popular. We preach because we’re called. And if you’re not called, then don’t preach, but if you’re called – don’t do anything but preach.”