WARNER ROBINS – Royce Hulett, pastor of Oakland Baptist Church in Hazlehurst, preached the Missionary Sermon on Monday evening at the 197th Annual Meeting of the Georgia Baptist Convention. His text was Matthew 28:16-20 and his sermon title was “A Renewed Commitment to the Great Commission.”
Hulett began his sermon by talking about the mother who asked her young son to take out the trash and he responded by saying, “I ain’t going to do it.”
The mother was concerned that he refused to take out the trash, but equally concerned that he used the word “ain’t” which she considered very poor English.
She decided to give him a lesson in English grammar and said, “Now, son I want you to listen to me. First person singular is ‘I am not going.’ Second person singular is, ‘you are not going;’ and third person singular is ‘he is not going.’ Do you understand that?”
The lad responded. “Yeah, I get it. It sounds like there ain’t nobody going.”
Hulett indicated that Georgia Baptists are “not on the go with the gospel.” His sermon beautifully reinforced the theme that seemed to permeate the annual session of the GBC meeting.
“First, the Son commands us to do it,” Hulett declared. “Jesus ministered to every need he encountered. He died and paid the supreme sacrifice by shedding His blood for our redemption. He rose victoriously from the dead. After His resurrection He met with his disciples on a mountain in Galilee to give them their marching orders.”
Hulett explained that those marching orders have become known as the Great Commission, and declared, “Those marching orders are just a relevant today as they were when they were first given by Jesus to His disciples. In the original language the text suggests that we are to spread the gospel as a matter of course – that wherever we go we are to share the good news of Christ’s saving grace.
“Secondly, the Holy Spirit empowers us to do it.” Hulett illustrated this point by relating a witnessing experience he had when visiting in a certain home. He recalled, “When I got to the home, I stopped my car and prayed, ‘God I need you;’ and I asked God to empower me for the task I was about to undertake.”
He went into the home for the purpose of witnessing to a certain man who had been resistant to the Gospel, but when he arrived to talk to the man, his heart was open to hearing what the Oakland pastor had to say.
Hulett said, “I started to walk the man down the Roman Road, by using the plan of salvation outlined in Paul’s epistle to the church at Rome. I started by quoting Romans 3: 23: ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.’
“Before I got to the next verse I was going to share, the man’s wife came into the room and said, ‘I need to hear what you are saying, too.’ So, I went back to Romans 3:23 and started over, sharing the Gospel with both the man and his wife.
“As I got back into my gospel presentation the couple’s daughter came into the room and said, ‘I need to hear what you are sharing with my parents.’ So, I went back to Romans 3:23 and started all over again. That day there were three people who heard my gospel witness and each one prayed to receive Christ into their hearts. Only the Holy Spirit could do that.
“Finally,” Hulett proclaimed, “God, our heavenly Father, expects us to do it. One day we will stand before Him and will be required to give an account of how well we fulfilled His Great Commission.
The pastor from Hazlehurst illustrated his point by telling a story about Dwight Eisenhower. He commented, “During his presidency Mr. Eisenhower flew to Denver and learned that a little six-year-old boy, Paul Haley, was dying of terminal cancer. He also learned that the boy’s number one wish was to meet the President of the United States.
“While in Denver Eisenhower decided to go see Paul Haley. He had his driver to take him early one morning to the address where the young boy lived. So, on a certain morning a black limousine with presidential flags flying on the fenders pulled up outside the modest Haley home, and a grey, balding gentleman walked to the door and knocked.
“Donald Haley, Paul’s father, came to the door and just stood there, astonished and speechless, by the surprise visit of the most powerful man in the world. Paul soon ran to see the visitor and recognized that the man standing at their door was the President of the United States.
President Eisenhower greeted the little boy and with his father’s permission, escorted Paul to his limousine and took him for a ride. Paul had gotten his number one wish granted.
Later someone asked Donald what he thought when the President came to his front door. He responded, “I had no idea who was on the other side of the door and when I saw the President I was embarrassed and ashamed. I was barefoot, dressed in a pair of faded blue jeans, a dirty shirt and had a full day’s growth of beard on my face. I was absolutely ashamed.”
Hulett concluded, “The day is coming when we will have to stand before the Lord at the judgement seat of Christ. I trust you will have no reason to be ashamed. We must continue to let the main thing be the main thing – obeying the Great Commission and spreading the gospel everywhere.”