by Lauren Crane
In his opening address of the semester, Southeastern President Daniel Akin taught on the vision of the exalted Lamb of God, seen in the book of Revelation and the life of Lisu missionary James Fraser.
On September 1, Akin gave his first chapel address of the semester, speaking out of the text of Revelation 5:8-10. This text, coupled with the life of 20th century missionary James Fraser, shows the importance of prayer in redeeming the nations, as well as in understanding that it is the blood of Christ alone that can purchase salvation for all people. Akin also said this passage is a reminder of the responsibility of Christ’s followers -- his“priests” – to share the gospel with the nations.
Before Fraser served as a missionary to the Lisu people of China, he was an accomplished pianist and engineering honor student who felt God’s call to minister to God’s people. At the time, half of the world’s population had yet to hear clearly and accurately the message of the gospel.
“God sent him to reach these people, so that ‘God would be glorified by even one witness to His name amid the perishing thousands,’” Akin said, quoting Fraser.
Fraser, who once wrote “Solid, lasting missionary work is done on our knees ,” was a great man of prayer, Akin said. It was such prayers for the nations that are seen in Revelation 5:8.
“The goldenbowls of incense in verse eight are the prayers of the saints,” Akin said. “The prayers offered for the salvation of the nations is the kind of praying that pleases our God. If this is so, then even Christians at home can do as much for foreign missions as those actually on the field!”
Fraser had this steadfast commitment to prayer, understanding the importance of laying all before the throne, Akin said. “Nothing will come to fruition apart from God and with the intercessory prayer of his people.”
This intercessory prayer is a direct assault on the powers of the devil, Akin said. “The aim of Satanic power is to cut off communication with God.” Fraser, Akin said, believed prayer was “a kind of bugle-call for the hosts of heaven to come down and fight for me against the powers of darkness.”
Akin said, “The prayers of the saints contribute to the redeeming of the nations. God hears those prayers. They are not wasted.”
The passage in Revelation also demonstrates that the blood of Christ has purchased the salvation of the nations, Akin said. In verse nine, the text reads, “Because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” This concept of blood was not and is not a popular topic, Akin said, but it is vital to Christian theology.
“Redeemed by his blood! Not a happy thought among liberal theologians,” he said. “It is nothing more than foolishness to those who are perishing. A dead Galilean Jew nailed to a cross, bleeding all over the place, is the means whereby God redeems the nations?”
Although there is even a growing number of evangelicals who hesitate to preach the blood of Christ as redemption for the nations, Akin said he is thankful James Fraser was not a man who shirked this vital doctrine.
“The ground of the cross is what brought me light,” Fraser wrote.
The passage also teaches that those who are redeemed by the blood of the cross serve as priests in reaching the nations.
“Priests represent God to man and man to God. We have direct access to God, and we are divinely designed representatives of the King to the world,” Akin said. “James Fraser was a marvelous priest of God to man. Without question the keys were a life immersed in prayer, fasting and other spiritual disciplines. Just one month before his untimely death at the age of 52 he wrote, ‘I often think that it is the very, very few who are prepared, by rigorous self-discipline (not a very popular thing nowadays), for a lifetime of great usefulness.’
“Service as a kingdom of priests in the drama of redemption is not always easy. It can be discouraging and even depressing. But, it will be fruitful and rewarding if we will persevere and stay at it,” Akin said.
Fraser persevered at it, and eventually began to see the fruit of his time spent with the Lisu people. Although Fraser labored for five years before “the breakthrough” happened with the Lisu people, once it occurred, it made an eternal impact for that people group. Within four months, Akin said 600 Lisu representing 129 families had turned to Christ. By 1918, ten years into Fraser’s 30 years of work, 60,000 believers had been baptized. Today, only 71 years after Fraser’s death, there are an estimated 300,000 Lisu believers.
Akin said it was Fraser’s example of humility, servant spirit and dependence on God that made him so useful to the exalted lamb of God, and it is an example worth following.
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.