ST. CARL – In his address to the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) annual meeting here Oct. 24, MBC Executive Director John Yeats called for holiness among Missouri Baptists and urged them to consider our world’s lostness and reject the corrupting influences of a world system which Satan rules.
“The Lord has done great things through the ministries of Southern Baptists and through our respective state conventions,” he said. “But there is a great danger of corrupting what God has created by turning to the ways of the world instead of redoubling the mission of our cooperative work.”
Yeats noted polls showing that Christians engage in worldly conduct that the Bible exposes as sin, and as such they are often indistinguishable from those who do not know Christ. These are, he said, “destructive behaviors inappropriate for the king’s children.”
What is needed is a new commitment to the disciplines of time alone with God in prayer and a deep study of His Word, he said. This will need time. There is no “magic formula” for holiness. Even so, we must avoid a dry and lifeless Christianity that focuses more on “the practice of the Christian life than on the person of the Christian life.”
Yeats quotes Hebrews 12:14, where the author urges his readers to “seek peace and holiness with all—without them none shall see the Lord.”
Additionally, Yeats pointed out that God requires all believers to engage in three activities:
First, to cultivate a lifestyle of holiness. He commands us to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
Second, to regard ourselves as “dead to sin” (Romans 6:11). “It means we refuse to go back to our previous lifestyle,” Yeats said.
Third, conforming to the image of Christ. “This is perhaps the most important lesson we can learn as followers of Christ,” he said. “God’s greatest desire for his people is that we be holy – conformed in the image of his Son Jesus.”
Yeats said that God helps us in our weakness by giving us His Holy Spirit, who reveals Christ’s mind about our conduct: “As we respond to Him through repentance and faith, He enables us to have a living testimony of His will for one who is lost to be and dying world.”
In concluding his message, Yeats called on Missouri Baptists to stand up for Christ’s victory over Satan, sin, and death. “We are privileged to stand as victors who do not condone malice,” he said. “Together we are demonstrating to the lost world the testimony of changed lives. We must be holy because our God is holy.”