Living out the Great Commission in life and ministry was the theme of spring graduation at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS).
“You all know that this was the banner under which you entered Southeastern Seminary,” SEBTS President Danny Akin said, “and this will also be the banner under which you graduate.”
The Great Commission is “the banner under which you entered Southeastern Seminary,” Danny Akin tells 244 graduates, and it will be “the banner under which you graduate.”
On May 11, 244 graduates received their diplomas from SEBTS – 195 from the seminary and 49 from The College at Southeastern.
“The prayer of this faculty is that every one of you, without exception, will be a Great Commission graduate who will spend the rest of your life being a Great Commission Christian,” Akin said.
Akin challenged the graduates with three ways the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 should guide a Christian’s life and ministry.
First, Christians are to acknowledge Christ’s power, Akin said, noting verse 18 in which the phrase “all” is written four times, referencing God’s sovereignty in all things.
“You do not go alone, but you go with Him,” Akin said, “and you go with His power.”
Akin quoted Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China for 50-plus years at the time of his death in 1905, who said, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”
Second, Akin said Christians are to obey Christ’s plan, which is to “make disciples,” found in verse 19.
“He commands us to go. He commands us to baptize. He commands us to teach. And that is the means whereby we are capable of making disciples,” Akin said.
Christians should not doubt whether they are called to go and make disciples but how they should go, Akin said.
“You don’t need to pray about whether or not you should go. That’s settled,” he noted. “He has commanded you to go. The simple response on your part is, ‘Where Lord?’”
Akin urged graduates to consider the 3.14 billion people in the world who still need the gospel and do not have access to it, reminding the graduates of missionaries like John Keith Falconer, C.T. Studd and David Livingstone, who all died and were buried in their places of service.
“Sympathy is no substitute for action,” Akin quoted Livingstone, a missionary to Africa in the 1800s.
Third, Akin said Christians are to trust in Christ’s promise, as Jesus states to His disciples in verse 20.
This promise, he said, is for all Christians that Jesus will be with them until the end.
Again, quoting Hudson Taylor, Akin said, “God isn’t looking for people of great faith but for individuals ready to follow Him.”
“As you graduate today, my simple prayer for each of you is simply this: the will of God: nothing less, nothing more and nothing else,” Akin said.
To view photos of graduation, visit flickr.com/photos/southeastern/sets/72157694968753321.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Lauren Pratt is Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s news and information specialist.)