Baltimore | Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter brought messengers to their feet preaching Tuesday night from Psalm 80:18-19, calling on Southern Baptists to repent and call on God for revival.
“It’s a challenging time in the life of America, because just like Israel in Psalm 80, America has sinned against God,” shared Luter. “America is rapidly turning into a pagan nation. We’ve lowered our morals. We’ve lowered our standards.”
Luter said evidence of America’s depravity is seen in how the nation regards openly homosexual athletes as heroes rather than celebrating truly heroic people — like soldiers, EMTs, policemen and IMB missionaries. He boldly declared the celebration of homosexuality is just one of many manifestations of sin in America.
“I’m convinced if things are going to change in our nation there must be a spiritual revival in our nation there must be a spiritual awakening in America … There must be a spiritual revival that starts in the church. It must start with the people of God, it must start with prayer,” he said.
There is still hope. “We have a great and glorious opportunity to turn around America if we accept the challenge of the Great Commission,” he declared.
For God to send renewal and revival to our churches in America we must do three things, said Luter:
1. There must be repentance. We must ask God’s forgiveness for not making evangelism a priority.
“We have the answer,” Luter said. “We must share the Gospel of our savior Jesus Christ. Only the Gospel can transform lives…We’ve forgotten how much power there is in the Gospel to transform lives.”
“You and I were changed when we heard the Gospel of the Good News of Jesus Christ…That same Gospel can change the lives of the men, women, boys, and girls in our cities.”
He urged Southern Baptists to “stand flat-footed and preach the Word of God…Not any gimmicks, not any games…just give them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
2. There must be remorse. We must tell everyone, it doesn’t matter who they are or what they look like, Luter said.
“If they are not coming to us we must go to them,” he challenged. “That’s what Jesus meant when He gave us the Great Commission…If you are born again. If you are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, then you are qualified.”
His voice growing louder he cried, “Please forgive us for not sharing the Great Commission…O God we repent! O God we are remorseful!”
3. There will be revival. “If we repent, if we show remorse, there will be revival,” Luter said, just as God promised in Psalm 80.
“Brother and sisters of the SBC, we can longer ignore these reports [of declining baptisms]… Brothers and sisters, we are losing a generation. We can no longer be at ease while people around us are dying and going to hell!”
Luter shared his “heart’s desire these last two years [as SBC President] has been that God will bring revival and renew us.”
Messengers stood on their feet and shouted choruses of “Amen” as Luter proclaimed, “I’m going to tell it all around Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
“In the name of Jesus we have the victory. In the name of Jesus — Satan you have to flee! Southern Baptists who can stand before us when we call on that great Name? That Name is Jesus!”
He asked messengers to cry out, “Lord send the revival! Lord send the revival! Lord send the revival!”
Then, he told them, “Now, point to yourself and say, ‘Let it begin with me! Let it begin with me! Let it begin with me!’”
The messengers responded standing and shouting, “Let it begin with me,” as Luter finished his last message as President of the Southern Baptist Convention.
By Lisa Sergent, director of communications for the Illinois Baptist State Association