Dominican pastor speaks in SBTS chapel about the cost of following Christ
Nunez, senior pastor of the International Baptist Church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, preached from Mark 6:14-29, a passage that reports on King Herod's beheading of John the Baptist, illustrating the cost of being faithful to the cause of Christ.
Before he preached, Nunez spoke about his background and ministry. He told about how he left the Dominican Republic to pursue a successful medical career in the United States before God called him to ministry and back to Latin America.
Nunez, the author of two books, Jesus: the Man that Challenged the World and Confronts Your Life and A Church After God’s Own Heart, said that he believes what is happening in the Dominican Republic is the “beginning of a reformation in Latin America.”
“God is doing something fresh in Latin America that perhaps you should be aware of and maybe even be a part of it,” he said. “And I suspect that is part of the reason that God has me here today.”
As a part of growing Spanish-language initiatives, Southern Seminary recently began live translation of chapel services and on-campus conferences into Spanish, for both in person and for online viewers.
Turning to his sermon, Nunez described John the Baptist from the Mark passage as an example of the cost of discipleship.
“What John the Baptist lived in private he preached in public. And we need God’s people like that today,” Nunez said, who is also the founding president of Wisdom and Integrity Ministries.
Nunez noted the power of God’s call on a man, illustrating this with John’s conviction about honoring God. He pointed out the power of resentment, which led to Herod’s daughter asking for the head of John the Baptist on a platter at her mother’s advising. Nunez said that people are blind to their sin because of resentment.
He talked about the power of integrity, citing Jesus’ crucifixion. Pilate and the people could not find fault with Jesus because of the way he lived his life in integrity.
He lastly talked about the power of sin in a person’s life. He said that the power of sin weakens a person’s sinful nature, which is what led to Herod not safeguarding John the Baptist even though he knew he was a righteous man.
Nunez said that John the Baptist was committed to the advancement of the truth even when it cost him his life. He pointed out that the prophet acted as a moral compass for the people around him who lived in sin because he didn’t compromise the truth.
He said that voices like John’s, who speak up for the truth, are not only important for the nations, but especially important for the church of God, citing William Wilberforce, who fought for 26 years to abolish slavery in England.
Nunez compared Herod and John the Baptist to Pilate and Christ. Pilate succumbed to the pressure of the people, which resulted in the crucifixion of Christ. Pilate had power, but no character, he said.
“Sin has a monumental influence on you and me. It has the potential to little by little make us into mere puppets of our impulses and desires. And that’s where Herod ended up,” Nunez said.
He closed his sermon by reading an anonymous letter from a pastor in Africa. The letter, written before the author was beheaded, emphasized that the high cost of following Christ.
Nunez hosts the For His Cause Conference, a gathering that ministers to thousands of Spanish- speaking people from many different countries. In the spring of 2013, Southern Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. spoke at the conference, and plans to return next year to speak again.
Audio and video from Nunez’s message, “The Cause of Christ has a Price,” are available at sbts.edu/resources.