Southern Baptists becoming ‘Jesus People,’ reaching all people for Christ is Akin’s vision

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by Lauren Crane

Daniel Akin dreams of a mighty response of Southern Baptists at the Southern Baptist Convention in which God’s people rally together for the advancement of the Great Commission.

In a sermon based on the text of Romans 15:14-21, given during the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention, Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., broadcasted a vision he has for the unanimous coming together of Southern Baptists to pursue a Great Commission resurgence, reaching people of every tribe, tongue and nation.

Speaking on President Johnny Hunt’s words that the SBC “is not breathing healthy,” Akin said he dreams about the coming together of the Southern Baptist Convention to reach God’s people around the world. He said that just as Paul reminded the Roman church what the mission was, so he desired to remind Southern Baptists of what their focus needs to be.

Akin said he desires that Southern Baptists would take a look at the numbers and be reminded of the fact that there are 1.6 billion people who have never heard the name of Christ, and there are 3.4 billion who have limited access to the gospel message.

“I believe Southern Baptists find that unacceptable. We find that to be a challenge that we must pick up and move forward with,” Akin said. “We must focus on the nations.”

This focusing on the nations must be preceded by a radical return to Jesus Christ, Akin said. “We must return to our first love. If we get that right, all of the other axioms of a Great Commission Resurgence will fall into place. I have a prayer that Southern Baptists will become known as ‘Jesus People.’ I pray that when people see us, they can’t help but think ‘There go the people in love with Jesus.’

“I believe becoming a Christ-centered people will inspire us, embolden us and humble us. It will remind us that God does not need Southern Baptists, but Southern Baptists desperately need the Lord Jesus.”

Reminding ourselves that we are nothing apart from Christ comes with having a correct understanding of the gospel message, a truth that Akin said many “Christians” fail to understand.

“What is the gospel? You say everyone understands what the gospel means, and I would have to respectfully disagree,” he said. “The church is awash in people who don’t understand the gospel.

“The person who has Jesus plus nothing, actually has everything,” Akin said. “In contrast, the person who has everything minus Jesus actually has nothing. That is the gospel.”

Out of a right understanding of the gospel will come a right preaching of the gospel, especially to those who have never heard it, Akin said. Using the example of the Apostle Paul, who moved from areas where there was a gospel witness to areas where there was none, Akin said the reality that, this year alone, over 20 million people worldwide have no access to the gospel message should motivate more Southern Baptists to give and to go to those unreached people.

He places much of this blame at the feet of Southern Baptist men who, Akin says, are often more concerned with their own comfort than the souls of those who are perishing.

“What are we not doing to inspire our sons to dream about giving their life to the nations and put their lives on the line for Jesus?” Akin asked. He added that even though more men and women desire to take the gospel to the nations than ever before, the International Mission Board recently released a statement that there simply is not enough money being given to finance them. “It breaks my heart that people want to go, but we don’t have the funds to send them. I pray it challenges our people to do whatever it takes to get the gospel to the whole world.”

On August 25, Akin said he will issue a challenge to students at Southeastern Seminary by offering the opportunity to give to a Lottie Moon Christmas offering in August.

“I am not going to tell our students to look for a home assignment because of a shortage of funds. I am going to tell them to look for a movement of God to get the necessary funds to get them to the fields,” Akin said. This is part of his dream, he said. He longs for the day when Southern Baptists on the national and local levels pledge to do all they can to see a new day in the convention.

“We want our nation and all nations to hear the message of God. We ask that God would grant us this opportunity,” Akin said. “You can count me in for a Great Commission Resurgence advance. My call is to get obedient and really do something great for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

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