By Brian Hobbs & Chris Doyle
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Oklahoma pastor Stephen Rummage proclaimed the power and promises Christians have in Jesus Christ “because of the cross” in the annual sermon at the Southern Baptist Convention today (June 12).
Every person “is on one side of the cross or the other — the lost side or the saved side,” Rummage emphasized.
“If you are on the lost side, God loves you and wants to save you,” said Rummage, pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. “If you are on the saved side, God has given you a sacred trust and message to proclaim.”
Underscoring the apostle Paul’s teaching in Colossians 2, Rummage highlighted what God accomplished through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
“Because of the cross, God has forgiven our trespasses. Because of the cross, God has cancelled our sin debt. Because of the cross, God has conquered our adversary,” he said.
Rummage recounted a story from a Billy Graham crusade in which relatively few responded to the invitation one night. A businessman and friend of Graham pointed out that he had failed to preach the cross. The next night, heeding the advice he had received, Graham preached on the blood of Jesus and His cross and scores of people made professions of faith.
“When we preach Christ crucified and risen, there’s a built-in power to it,” Rummage said.
“Southern Baptists are always in progress. There are areas in which we have failed that we need to make right. If we fail in reaching this generation with the message of the cross — no matter what else we have gotten right — we have failed,” he said.
Rummage emphasized standing for the matters of highest importance.
“For Jesus, Calvary was a hill worth dying on. For us, it is a hill worth living on. It is a hill worth proclaiming,” he said.
Rummage became the 10th Oklahoma pastor to deliver the convention sermon at the SBC annual meeting, joining S.J. Porter (1922), T.L. Holcomb (1934), W.R. White (1940), J.W. Storer (1946), Hershel Hobbs (1957), Grady Cothen (1970), Warren Hultgren (1976), Tom Elliff (1991) and Bobby Boyles (1994).
Rummage was named Quail Springs’ pastor in January after serving more than nine years as pastor at Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla. He also has served as president of the Florida Baptist State Convention and chairman of the SBC Executive Committee. B&R