LAKELAND— “How can we turn barriers into bridges?” David Uth asked in the closing sermon of the 2021 Florida Baptist State Convention annual meeting at Lakes Church.
Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, focused his message on Philippians 1:12-21 in which Paul turns his imprisonment into an opportunity for him to share Christ and other believers are encouraged to preach the gospel boldly.
“Paul was literally chained…and he used his circumstance as a bridge to share the gospel with the guards,” said Uth. “Our chains can also be turned to bridges.” Chains, he said, for believers today can be criticism, health issues, pandemics and the like.
For the church COVID-19 was a barrier that turned into a bridge to reach people virtually, people who might not otherwise have ever stepped into a church. When Uth underwent brain surgery, his health went from being a barrier to being a bridge when he used the four hours of awake surgery as an opportunity to share John 3:16 and Psalm 23 with the doctors and nurses operating on him.
The way to turn barriers into gospel bridges is to pray and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
“The early church had nothing except the power of the Holy Spirit, and they changed the world. It is not by might or power but by the Spirit of God,” Uth stated.
Finally, barriers are knocked down to build bridges when believers remember their purpose.
“Paul never forgot his purpose. To him to live was Christ and to die was gain,” Uth explained.
Uth asked the messengers and visitors that packed the Lakes Church worship center to fill that blank for themselves. “What do you live for? Family, status?”
“Whether we live or die, may Christ be magnified.”