LUTZ–In his final sermon as Florida Baptist State Convention president, Paul Purvis presented a “one-point challenge” to his fellow Florida Baptists: “Determine to live your life surrendered to the rule of the King right where you are every day.”
Preaching at the 2023 FBSC annual meeting at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Purvis acknowledged, “Sometimes life is hard. Often the world around me is filled with chaos and confusion. But in those moments, I’m still called to manifest the Kingdom of God.”
Purvis focused on Acts 28:17-31 as he interpreted the 2023 annual meeting theme Manifest: Kingdom Clarity Amidst Cultural Chaos.
Determine to live your life surrendered to the rule of the King right where you are every day.
“The last chapter of Acts is both an end and a beginning. It is the end of the account of the early church’s response to the life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ, but it marks the beginning of the response of the church throughout history, including our response today,” said Purvis, pastor of Mission Hill Church in Temple Terrace.
The Apostle Paul endured hardships of being arrested, shipwrecked and snakebit and being placed under house arrest chained to a Roman guard, Purvis pointed out.
“I’m sure Paul doesn’t feel good about his circumstances,” said Purvis, but from that setting, Paul wrote letters to Timothy, Titus and the Philippians, and he proclaimed the gospel boldly.
“God doesn’t allow our temporary discomfort to get in the way of the advancement of the gospel,” Purvis said, adding that God may be performing miracles in our most grueling moments.
The word “manifest,” Purvis explained, means to “display or show by one’s acts or appearance.”
Even as Paul manifested God’s kingdom, tracing how the entire Bible points to Jesus as the Messiah, believers today are God’s messengers. “God uses us to get His message out. He always has.
“So, what do we do? We keep talking about the kingdom wherever we are every day.”
Some believers today are hindered in speaking boldly about the kingdom of God, Purvis said. Believers are hindered because they want to “shine,” drawing attention to self. Other believers are hindered because they want to “recline,” with little accountability. Still others are hindered because they want to “whine,” getting “sidetracked on agendas.”
Purvis said, “Anything in our life or ministry that hinders us from manifesting God’s kingdom is not from Him, but it is from the world, the flesh or the devil.”
He reminded attendees, “You have a unique calling. Your church has a unique calling.”
The unique calling of each believer begins “right where you are every day. Right where you are is holy ground.”
Pastor Purvis concluded his message by asking three questions: “Does God want to use you to impact and proclaim His kingdom? Does God want to use your church to impact and proclaim His kingdom in greater ways than we can imagine? Does God want to use Florida Baptists to proclaim and advance His kingdom?”
The answer to each question, he said, is “Yes.”
“But it all begins when people like you and I stop looking for a change of location or a change in circumstance and start realizing that where we are is holy ground and commit to making a difference right where we are every day for the glory of God.”