by Michael McEwen
On December 16, 132 students graduated from Southeastern – twenty-five graduates from the College at Southeastern, eighty-two students in the Seminary, eleven from the Master of Theology program, and fourteen in the program of doctoral studies.
Speaking before the graduates and their families, Daniel Akin communicated that God has given the greatest gift and that gift is his Son. Reading from 2 Corinthians 9:15, Akin commented, “Paul has given us a wonderful verse in this passage, reminding us that our God is the greatest gift-giver of all.”
Addressing the chapel attendees, Akin said, “Graduates, parents and friends, I pray this morning that this verse would be life-changing for everyone here.”
Again reading from 2 Corinthians 9:15, Akin commented on the season of Christmas and its tradition of giving and receiving gifts. Connecting Paul’s letter to the season of giving, Akin said, “We as Christians give because God first gave. The principle is simple. God did not give just any gift, but Christ himself.”
Wanting to truly express an important point, Akin directed his attention to the graduating class and said, “If I were to leave you any wisdom today Southeastern class of 2011, it would be to continuously give yourselves over to the Lord in all that you do.”
Taking a moment to discuss the God Christians give thanks, Akin said, “In our giving, we give thanks to God, and not just any god; not the god of Pantheism, the god of Deism, or the gods of Polytheism. There is only one God,” exclaimed Akin, “and that is the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the God who so loved the world that gave his only begotten Son. This is the loving God, the giving God, the holy God, the forgiving God, the merciful God, and the sovereign God. This Father is a good and great Father.”
Rhetorically questioning to what or to whom Paul’s word ‘indescribable’ refers, Akin concluded that it likely references God’s salvation, his mercy and Christ himself. “Christ, indeed, is the gift who keeps on giving. And we are to treasure this gift from God in his mercy and salvation.”
Concluding his message, Akin challenged the Fall 2011 graduates to never forget the gift of Christ, and to be a people who are always offering the salvific gift wherever God leads them because “there is something marvelous and unique about this gift,” said Akin. “This is a gift you get to keep as well as give it away. In fact, the more you give it away, the more precious it becomes.”
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.