SHERWOOD – “I preached at this conference for the first time in 1996. It must have been sufficient because this is the second time I’ve preached at the conference,” said Emil Turner to laughs and applause, a lighthearted start to a challenging message at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) 2013 State Conference on Evangelism and Church Growth.
The former ABSC executive director preached from Romans 5.
“I am preaching a message to evangelists, not an evangelistic message. Romans 5:8 says it all,” said Turner.
A lot of people die for causes but only Christ died to bring salvation, said Turner, adding, “I have an enormous amount of respect for Lottie Moon – don’t get me wrong, but (even) Lottie Moon died for a cause. Jesus didn’t die for a cause. Jesus died for you!”
“If there is a sin of our age, it is that we have lost the mystery of the gospel. You must rekindle that mystery to your congregations. The mystery of our gospel is overwhelming, and it calls for the deepest humility,” said Turner.
“Jesus didn’t die for you because you had great potential, He died for you because you would have busted hell wide open if He didn’t!”
Turner added, “God would send you to hell on your best day. … Christ died for us while we were still sinners.”
“You have heard about the ‘Sinner’s Prayer;’ I want to talk to you about the ‘preacher’s prayer,’” he said.
Turner went on to recite the prayer: “‘Lord, on my best day, the worst dope fiend in Arkansas doesn’t deserve hell any more than I do.’”
“The good news is that there is great security in Christ. You don’t always have to do everything exactly right, and there is tremendous security in that,” said Turner.
Turner closed with a phrase he commonly used as ABSC executive director: “Keep loving and keep preaching that more people would go to heaven and less people would go to hell.”