Summary: Part 5 of 5 part series on the life of a disciple. This message is evangelistic & teaches evangelism.
LIVING ABOVE THE FRAY
Part 5: Sharing What We’ve Learned
This past Sunday afternoon, after Katrina had already made a mess of South Florida, Gladys and I watched the news as the killer storm made it’s way across the Gulf, with its eye focused on the gulf coast. We, along with many of you and countless millions of others across the country, watched with the sadness and concern of storm- taught experience as pictures of traffic-clogged interstates played across the screen.
Even after the mayor had ordered the people to evacuate, as the storm continued to bear down on the city, we watched as reporters made their way down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, and stopped in bar after bar that was still open. I still remember Gladys calling to me and saying, “Gene, come listen to this.” The reporter had just interviewed a man and asked him why he remained behind, why he wasn’t evacuating?” The man sitting at the bar answered, “They have warned us and tried to scare us many times before, and it has always been a false alarm. I’m not leaving.”
Gladys said, “Gene, that’s just like what the Bible says.” In 2 Peter 3 we read “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’”
Many in the city would not believe the storm was coming and so did not flee. Some were too wrapped up in their drink to flee. Since the storm, we have been shocked by news of the looting, raping, and shooting that has taken place.
Now, when American Baptists first split into Northern Baptists and Southern Baptists, the Southern Baptists’ first missionaries were appointed to serve in 3 locations. We appointed missionaries to serve in Africa, among former slaves that had returned to that continent, we appointed missionaries to serve among the American Indians, and our other missionaries were appointed to serve in New Orleans. In the early 1900’s, Southern Baptists built a seminary in New Orleans, later renamed New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In the 2002-2003 school year, they trained nearly 1,900 preachers, missionaries, and music leaders at that school.
Imagine that! We have had missionaries in that city for over 100 years. At last count, we had nearly 1900 people in the city studying to be preachers, teachers, and missionaries; and yet to a certain extent, New Orleans continues to be a moral cesspool. Why? Why has the city continued that way?
I believe there are a number of reasons. First, there will always be people who choose not to accept the Gospel. Jesus Himself was cursed as He died. Second, I believe darkness attracts darkness. For some lost in sin, an immoral city like New Orleans, or San Francisco, or Los Vegas, serves as a magnet to their lusts and passions. So, there is a constant influx of lost people attracted to such places. But, I believe there is another reason, a reason many of us ignore. I believe many of us have forgotten the assignment Jesus gave us.