By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector
SEVIERVILLE — “It’s later than you think, but it’s not too late,” declared Roc Collins, president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention at the TBC annual meeting. The meeting was held as part of the Nov. 13-17 Summit here.
“We believe Jesus is coming and because we believe He is coming we want to tell somebody who doesn’t know He is coming. I don’t understand what has happened to us that we seem to have lost our fervor. Friend, it’s later than you think. …
“We’ve become satisfied in too many of our churches, satisfied. We have no burden for a lost world. We don’t care if people die and go to hell,” Collins proclaimed in his president’s address. He spoke from Romans 13:11-12.
He noted that of the six million people in Tennessee, about three million claim to know Christ. “How many Tennesseans are not going to be going with us (in heaven)?” he asked.
Yet Tennessee Baptists deny that lost people are all around them, he continued. “Well preacher not over here … . Maybe somewhere else in Tennessee but not over here,” stated Collins, who is pastor, Indian Springs Baptist Church, Kingsport.
Collins said a friend of his reported that he finds “more and more elect the more” he witnesses to folks. … “Our major concern ought to be for souls that if you believe God’s already elected them bless your heart go find them. If you don’t believe He’s already elected them bless your heart go find them.
“We will waste our time on nonessential, secondary arguments of theological nature … . Tennessee Baptists we’re not here to have a theological conversation; we’re here to understand that there’s only one means of salvation, His name is Jesus, and you and I have been called and commissioned to go and tell Tennessee and the world that Jesus saves,” he exclaimed. The crowd stood and applauded.
From Romans 13, he noted that darkness connoting sin is discussed. “Let me tell you what really bothers me — we have too much of the world in the church that has made our churches dark. And if that weren’t bad enough, we’ve got a lot of churches, yes Tennessee Baptist churches, that are okay with that,” he explained.
Sin should be put aside to prepare for battle, he noted. “You’re going to hinder what the Lord’s wanting to do in your life, in the lives of your church, and yes, even in the Tennessee Baptist Convention,” stated Collins.
“When we have 90 percent of Southern Baptist churches that are not producing anything, it’s later than you think church. What’s it going to take?” he implored.
“We’ve bought into the lies of the enemy in the world but we’ve also bought into those lies in the church,” Collins observed. “We have the most insignificant, non-eternal discussions in the church of Jesus Christ imaginable. God is not concerned with so much of what we do.”
Romans 13 also teaches that Jesus will return to complete the salvation of Christians.
“I don’t know that I can point to all the events that will precede His return but I can tell you I feel in my spirit that He is on the way soon and very soon.
“It’s later than you think.”
Collins noted that people come year after year to this meeting where they experience spiritual adrenaline or guilt “but it seems to wear off before you … fill out the Annual Church Profile next year,” he noted.
“It’s later than you think. …
“It’s high time we repent, turn our back on our sin, and say I’m not living that way anymore. …
“It’s time to go fight. Now, that’s nothing new for Baptists. … We know how to fight. I’m telling you what, we can mix it up with the best of them. The problem is the best of them is in the church and we’ve been mixing it up with each other. Just get over it friend,” he recommended.
“We don’t have time to fight each other. We’ve got to take the fight to the right enemy, and you my brother, you my sister are not my enemy. … Our battle is not with flesh and blood but with the powers and principalities of darkness. … We’ve got to get in the right fight. …
“It’s later than you think, but it’s not too late,” Collins declared.
Just ask Abraham, Moses, Job, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Peter, the lady caught in adultery, Bartimaeus, Jairus, or John if it was too late for God to act, he suggested.
Or ask Baptist Collegiate Ministries directors, Vacation Bible School workers, Baptist conference center/camp workers, or Randy C. Davis, executive director of the TBC, who has challenged Tennessee Baptists to baptize 50,000 people a year, Collins continued.
“We’ve got to get an urgency like we’ve never had before. We’ve got to rally together tonight. We’ve got to decide we’re going to win Tennessee, whatever it takes. It doesn’t matter what it takes, we’re going to win Tennessee for Jesus’ sake,” he proclaimed.
The devil thought he had stopped Jesus when He was crucified and began whispering to the followers of Jesus that it was over and too late, described Collins.
Yet it was not too late. Jesus arose and gave the Great Commission — “Go, baptize, and disciple; go, baptize, and disciple; go, baptize, and disciple,” Collins repeated as the crowd joined in.
“It’s later than you think, but it’s not too late. …
“And let’s go until Jesus comes.”