Refocus on preeminence of Christ, Brunson urges
Todd Deaton, Western Recorder
June 17, 2010

Refocus on preeminence of Christ, Brunson urges

Refocus on preeminence of Christ, Brunson urges
Todd Deaton, Western Recorder
June 17, 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida

pastor Mac Brunson urged Southern Baptists to refocus on the preeminence of

Jesus Christ.

“I’m afraid that in our

convention and across the ministry today, we are far better preachers at

battling one another, than we are at battling our enemy,” Satan, Mac Brunson,

pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., said in the annual

convention sermon, delivered to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting

in Orlando, Fla.

Basing his message on John

3, Brunson exhorted Southern Baptist ministers to proclaim the preeminence of

Jesus Christ in their lives and preaching and in relying on God’s resources.

Observing that Jesus’

disciples had become jealous and agitated with John the Baptist, who was also baptizing

in the Jordon River, Brunson asserted that it was “all because they had begun

to focus on themselves, instead of the preeminence of Jesus Christ.”

Brunson noted a study

conducted years ago by former seminary professor Ken Chafin found a high rate

of bitterness and resentment among pastors then. “That’s what was happening

with the disciples,” Brunson explained, noting that Chafin’s survey found three

common attitudes: they tended toward being negative, were highly competitive

and didn’t like other preachers.

Recalling a recent

conversation with a leading evangelist, Brunson said that the preacher charged

that on Monday mornings at associational offices, the average pastor would

rather hear that a fellow pastor had to resign than to hear that the Spirit of

God had fallen upon his congregation and many were being saved.

BP photo by Bill Bangham

Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville Fla., gives the convention message during the morning session June 16 of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Fla.

“There is something

happening among pastors today that absolutely has the watching world astounded,

the devil laughing, and our Almighty God grieving,” he asserted.

To rectify this condition,

Brunson emphasized a need for preachers to recognize that any success they have

in the ministry is because God gave it.

“I am saved solely because

of God’s grace. I have received his salvation,” he said, reminding preachers

that “any church growth you have is an act of the sovereign God. You receive


Calling the people of his

congregation “a gift from God” that he has received only because of God’s

goodness, he asked, “Do you realize, pastor, you are a gift to that

congregation … (and) that congregation is a gift to you?

“Now, some may want to

exchange gifts,” he quipped. “But that’s a different sermon for another time.”

He reminded pastors they are

first servants, referring to 1 Corinthians 3. “If you have been ordained to the

gospel ministry, let me let you in on something, you’re just a preacher,” he


“You may be a denominational official, … but you’re just a

preacher. You may have degrees hanging down your walls like curtains in a

mansion, but you’re just a preacher. And, there’s nothing better in all the

world than that.”

Brunson also underscored a

need for ministers to have a proper perspective of their position, pointing out

John the Baptist understood that Jesus was the bridegroom, and he was “just the

best man, a friend of the bridegroom.”

Drawing out the comparison,

Brunson observed that the best man customarily brings the bride down the aisle

and places her hand in the groom’s hand. Like John, he explained, ministers

must realize that all they are called to do is “put their hands in the

nail-scared hands.”

“That’s what will bring joy

in your ministry,” he said.

Finally, in emphasizing the

preeminence of God’s resources, Brunson observed that the passage speaks of “an

actual hell where people are going to go,” but it also declares: “We have a

Savior who has everything necessary in those nail-scared hands to save this

world. That must be our focus.”

Do Southern Baptists ever

stop and hear the cries of those who are lost and “on a fast train to an

eternal hell?” he wondered.

Retelling a story about a

church near Dachau, a concentration camp in Germany, which decided to sing

louder to drown out the whistles of passing trains and cries of thousands of

Jews heading for death camps, Brunson lamented, “Sometimes we get so religious,

we shut out the voice of not only the Holy Spirit, but also the cries of lost.

“We don’t need just a

resurgence or a revival. We have got to get back and refocus on preeminence of

Jesus Christ,” Brunson concluded.