The charge has been made recently that many young Southern Baptists do not fully appreciate Southern Baptist heritage. In our zeal to adapt and push toward the future many of us have neglected, forgotten, or even criticized the past. Of the great Baptist forebears the younger generation needs to know, Robert Greene Lee is at the top of the list. He is truly a giant upon whose shoulders we stand. One of the last of the great orators, R.G. Lee’s ministry was marked by great passion from the pulpit and evangelistic zeal.
RG Lee (1886-1978) was born in a log cabin to poor sharecroppers in South Carolina on November 11, 1886. Lee was a hardworking, blue collar Southern Baptist. He worked on the Panama Canal at the age of 21. He delivered newspapers at 4 AM every morning walking his eight mile route in order to pay his way through Furman University, while also pastoring a little country church up in the Mountains in order to pay school bills. The church paid him 50$ a year for one sermon a month. Throughout his ministry Lee pastored churches in South Carolina, Louisiana (FBC New Orleans, adding over 1,000 new members in his four years), and Tennessee (Bellevue Baptist Church, which grew to over 10,000 members in his 33 years). He served three terms as president of the SBC and four terms as president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Not only was he a gifted preacher, but he was a brilliant scholar. Early in his ministry he served as the chair of the Latin department at Furman University, and later in life he turned down presidencies at Union University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
But first and foremost, RG Lee was a preacher. In fact, he was a bold and dynamic preacher. An exceptional orator, Lee repackaged the old era oratorical skills and applied them to his modern hearers. What is more, he commanded attention. People would listen spellbound for more than an hour. Here are 10 of our favorite sermons from Dr. Lee online and completely free:
In this sermon Lee lists several reasons why he loves Jesus including the opportunity to pray in his name and the fact that Jesus has forgiven all of his sins.
A sermon about what kind of men the Bible says we should be and the church should produce.
How Calvary reveals the full measure of God’s hatred for sin and the full measure of God’s love for sinners.
Dr. Lee lays out Thinking and behavior that are unthinkable in our lives in view of the cross.
Ministering in a day like ours when the Bible was questioned, Lee called his people to submit to the inerrancy and the authority of the Bible and what it means for our lives.
The beauty of heaven, what will be there, and how we can get there.
Dr. Lee walks through Christ’s seven sayings on the cross, applying them directly to the lives of his hearers.
Without taking away from the power and importance of the first seven sermons, these last three are far and away “must-listens.”
Lee combines Philippians 2 and John 3 to talk about the supremacy of Christ above all things, combining deep theology with passion as he declares Christ’s supremacy.
Dr. Lee’s enduring and powerful sermon about Christ’s invitation that whosoever comes will find rest and salvation in him.
10) “Payday Someday”
“Payday Someday” is arguably the greatest American sermon in the twentieth century. When R. G. Lee pastored the First Baptist Church of Edgefield, South Carolina, he gave a devotional during a prayer meeting called “Payday Someday.” A deacon told him afterwards that he had some pretty good material and needed to work on it some. Lee did! He ended up preaching Payday more than 1,200 times!
Lee is perhaps the greatest Southern Baptist preacher of all time. Let us honor the past and take time to learn from and be impacted by these 10 great sermons and the man who influenced a generation of preachers.