Russell Moore taught on John 21:18-23 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) on Feb. 6, calling students to follow Christ and accept the freedom from fear that God offers.
For almost a year, Moore has served as the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
Moore earned his master of divinity in biblical studies from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and his doctor of philosophy in systematic theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Moore spoke of Southeastern as a place of rejuvenation where lifelong relationships are formed. He acknowledged SEBTS’ deep understanding that “ministry is warfare” and eagerness to win the lost to Christ.
The message began with Moore reviewing what he would say to himself a decade ago. He shared that his biggest worries of the past are no longer a major concern.
“What is it that I am wasting so much time in my life thinking about and pondering that will not matter at all in the future?” Moore said. He warned, “A kind of paralysis can come over you in ministry … by looking forward or backward.”
Moore recognized that many of those in the room are still unclear of their calling. “What does it mean to carry out the will of Christ when there is fear?” he said.
In the life of Peter, Jesus is constantly calling him to be a faithful follower despite trials. “This isn’t a word only for Peter,” Moore said. “[This is] a word of freedom to not constantly manage your life plan.”
Often the world will say that one must live in the present, but Jesus offers a different kind of freedom. In Christ, the worst thing that can happen is to be crucified and the best thing is being raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God the Father in Christ. For the believer, this has already occurred and it is a “terrifying and liberating thing.”
“The fear that we can have in serving Christ can lead us not only to the wasted energy of worry and trying to manage and plan out our own lives,” he said. “It can also lead us to waste the energy of envy.”
Moore reminded the audience that God is sovereign over one’s life. He encouraged others to live a life of service instead of holding onto a specific “life plan.”
Just as Peter had to face his fears as a disciple, Christians today must do so as well. “Stop looking back, forward or around,” Moore said. “Stop looking at all, and listen to that northern Galilean accent out there ahead of you in the darkness that will not tell you your future, that will not give you the guarantees you want, but simply says ‘Follow Me.’”
To view this message online, please click here.
To view photos from chapel, please click here.
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.