Sanchez evokes past, exhorts SBTC pastors to stay faithful at 20th anniversary annual meeting
November 14th, 2018 / By: Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent / comments
At 20th anniversary meeting, Sanchez exhorts SBTC pastors to stay faithful
By Jane Rodgers
KINGWOOD Southern Baptists of Texas Convention President Juan Sanchez, pastor of Austin’s High Pointe Baptist Church, challenged messengers to the SBTC’s 2018 annual meeting to remember its faithful past and to endure to the finish. Sanchez drew from 2 Timothy 2:8-13 in his address to some 1,300 pastors, messengers and guests assembled during the opening session Nov. 12 at Second Baptist Church Houston’s North Campus in Kingwood.
Reminding the audience of the SBTC’s 20th anniversary, Sanchez said he was “overwhelmed by God’s grace in this moment.” As many stood and applauded those in attendance who were part of SBTC’s founding in 1998, Sanchez referred to the meeting’s theme, “Entrusted,” announcing, “We who are younger want to build on the good foundation that you have laid and are entrusting to us.”
Sanchez recalled his own early days in ministry, when at one difficult point he asked the Lord to “release” him from the ministry he was serving. God’s answer was no.
“Ministry is hard, but we don’t have to walk it alone,” said Sanchez, noting that young pastors must learn from the experience and wisdom of those who have gone before and upon whose shoulders they stand.
Turning to his text—Paul’s message to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:8-13—Sanchez explained that the apostle at times felt abandoned, yet he offered wise counsel to his younger protégé to continue the fight and run the race so that Timothy might also “gain a crown of righteousness.”
Sanchez identified four sources of encouragement that Paul gave Timothy for perseverance, explaining that all Christians should heed these words because “every single one of us must endure faithfully to the end.”
To remain faithful, Paul first urged Timothy to “remember Jesus Christ.” Sanchez noted that the apostle emphasized Jesus’ humanity in the text by calling him “Jesus Christ”—instead of Paul’s more common “Christ Jesus”—and described Jesus as the “offspring of David” and “risen from the dead.”
By stressing the humanity of Jesus—who, as Sanchez noted, forsook the “wealth and glory of heaven” to assume human flesh, born of a virgin, lying in a humble manger, helpless in his “human nature” while “upholding the universe” with his divine nature—Paul reminds believers that their identify is in Christ.
To his fellow pastors, Sanchez urged, “When you are criticized, remember he was crucified.”
Timothy was also encouraged to remember Paul’s ministry and to neither be afraid nor ashamed of the apostle’s imprisonment, Sanchez said. “God’s Word is not imprisoned” or “bound,” he added.
Referencing the end of Colossians and the beginning of Philippians, Sanchez exhorted pastors to labor with a long-term view, confident that “God’s Word will do its work.”
“Hell cannot stop the church,” Sanchez said. In fact, everything that “Satan throws at the church only serves to cause the church to grow.”
Citing verses 11-12, Sanchez asked the audience to likewise remember their “union with Christ.”
“If we endure, we will also reign with him,” he said, reminding messengers that Paul was willing to suffer so that unbelievers might come to faith.
“If you are not willing to suffer so that unbelieving people might come to faith in Jesus Christ, go find something else to do,” Sanchez told pastors while reminding the audience that Christians are new creations, with the Holy Spirit as the “down payment” of an eternal inheritance.
“We are in the place of the firstborn son who inherits everything,” he added. Even so, ministry is neither easy nor comfortable but is instead “war” against powers and principalities.
The church ordinance of baptism, Sanchez noted, portrays that “by faith we have been united with Christ in his death, his burial and his resurrection to walk in a new life.”
Finally, Paul urged Timothy to endure to the end because of God’s coming judgment.
“There will be some who leave us because they are not of us,” Sanchez said, referencing Matthew 10 and explaining that God, like any loving father, “gives us warnings” to help us stay the course.
Calling bivocational pastors and pastors of smaller churches “heroes” because they often carry the burdens of ministry alone, Sanchez called on all pastors to continue to preach the Word faithfully.