KANSAS CITY – Missouri Baptist Convention President Wesley Hammond challenged messengers at the annual meeting here to live up to the high calling of God and to choose the “Holy Way” as they go back to their churches.
Hammond, who pastors First Baptist Church, Paris, brought the challenge from Isa. 35:8 during the opening session Oct. 28. In that passage Isaiah writes:
“A road will be there and a way; it will be called the Holy Way. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for the one who walks the path. Even the fool will not go astray.”
“We’re supposed to be holy because God is holy,” Hammond said. “God never lowers His standard to the level of broken people; He always raises broken people to the level of His standards.”
Hammond said this way is not any ordinary way, but is anointed and uniquely Godly.
“It’s talking about much more thansimply moral purity or our obedience or behavior,” he said.
Hammond said the Holy Way stands in stark contrast to man’s way, which though chosen with the best of intentions, falls short of the righteous mark God desires. He compared it to David desiring to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem in I Chronicles. Instead of carrying the Ark on poles the way God instructed earlier in the Old Testament, the workers tried to do the right thing their own way and placed it on an ox cart. When an ox stumbled, the Ark began to fall. Trying to keep it from touching the ground, Uzza reached out his hand to steady it but God struck him dead for touching the Ark.
“Even though David had good intentions, God was angry, David was indignant and Uzza was dead,” Hammond said. He wanted to seek after God. He wanted to bring the Ark so that God would lead them in all their endeavors. But they were just a little out of sync with God.
“When God looks at His people, He demands, He desires that they walk with Him in faithfulness, truth and integrity. If we have good intentions but get out of sync with Him, sometimes it can be very costly.”
For Missouri Baptists, Hammond said they can only follow the Holy way with repentance and holding themselves to the highest standards.
“Sometimes I wonder why the Church appears to be weak today,” Hammond said. “I wonder if it might have anything to do with the fact that sometimes we allow things to come between us and God that we’re not willing to make right. We’re not walking along the Holy Way. It’s there whether or not we want to admit it.”
Hammond said his favorite part of that passage is the conclusion that says even a fool will not stray from it.
“The most basic person on this planet will not go wrong when they walk with God in faithfulness and truth,” he said.
“Missouri Baptists, I don’t think we can get right with God in five minutes, but I do believe we can begin the process that says ‘Here am I, Lord; use me; send me; cleanse me.’”
Koonce earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University in 2005.