2019 Annual Meeting Paul Chitwood

International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood speaks during the Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 22) session of the 2019 Baptist Convention of New Mexico Annual Meeting at Central Baptist Church, Clovis.

CLOVIS (BNM) - Paul Chitwood, president of the International Mission Board spoke during the Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 22) session of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico's 2019 Annual Meeting at Central Baptist Church, Clovis.

He said, “Baptists are my favorite people in the world. They have a desire to work together, and they make a commitment to carry it forward.” Then, he called them to embrace Gospel "urgency."

Chitwood shared that overseas baptisms have increased by 6,000 over the last year and by 7,000 over the year before. In 1845, when the IMB was formed, Southern Baptists considered taking the Gospel to the nations to be a “sacred task, one sacred effort,” he said. Then, expressing the urgency of the Gospel, Chitwood read Revelation 22:20-21.

Chitwood told how he grew up in a small, rough mountain town where “mountain preaching” was passionate about the return of Jesus. He said he struggles to hear that passion in preaching today.

Pointing out that Christ’s return is mentioned four times in the final chapter of Revelation, Chitwood explained that the passage communicates urgency. But, he questioned, what is the attitude when people today hear that Christ is coming soon? Some may say, “Yeah, that’s good. But you don’t mean right now, do you? I have things to do and places to go,” he suggested. Then he asked, "Where is the urgency in those answers?"

Chitwood described how Revelation 19:6-8 announces that the marriage of the Lamb has come and the Bride has made herself ready. He asked messengers to imagine a wedding at which all the bride’s attendants are in place, flowers adorn the stage, the groom and his attendants are awaiting the arrival of the bride and the music has begun. But, the bride and her father are having a discussion in the doorway in which the bride says there will be a wedding but “just not today." Imagine she says, "Go tell everyone thank you, but just not today.” Why would such a  thing happen? Is it because other loves are competing? This is a fairy tale scene but sets an example for the church as the Bride of Christ, he said.

In Revelation, the Lord says that Christ is coming soon, Chitwood noted. His coming is imminent and exclusive. Revelation 22:11 says, “Let the evil doer still do evil, the filthy still be filthy, the righteous still to do right, and the holy still be holy.” Christ is coming only for those who have repented and who are His, he explained. The opportunity to repent will be gone, and the filthy will remain filthy. Today, Chitwood said, 155,252 people died, and many of them went to a Christ-less hell, separated from God and in eternal agony and sorrow.

"God has left us here because He wants others in heaven," Chitwood challenged messengers. Associations, churches and conventions need to preach the Gospel with urgency - because His coming is imminent, and that is good. In fact, he said, that is a promise.

In closing, Chitwood shared that his mother left his father with three little children when he was two years old. His father raised them by himself, he said. "Visitation times were difficult because the children didn’t want to go," Chitwood admitted. He said his father told them, “It’ll be okay. Just do what I say, and I’ll come get you.” His father didn’t lie, Chitwood said; he always came to get them. The Lord promised, “If you will go and do what I told you, I’ll come get you. It’s not your job to save but to share. You can do it. I’ll come get you. Pick up your cross and carry it another day. I’ll come get you,” Chitwood said.

“Let’s get on with it. It’s urgent.”

Editor's note: Listen to Paul Chitwood's full sermon at listen.bcnm.com.

Editor's note: This article was updated on Nov. 7, 2019 to include the time and location of Chitwood's message.

Karen Pilgreen is a volunteer writer for the Baptist New Mexican.

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