Love for the Lord propels love for the lost, emphasis of 2018 GO Conference
Lauren Pratt | February 21, 2018
While many pathways exist in pursuing God’s call to reach all nations with the gospel, a foundational love for God, his Word and his church are what lead us into a deeper love for a lost world. These were the topics that were addressed to 708 students and young adults at this year’s fourth GO Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) Feb. 16-17.
The main speakers for this year’s conference included D.A. Horton, lead pastor of Reach Fellowship in Long Beach, California; Danny Akin, president of SEBTS; Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; and Tony Merida, pastor of teaching and vision at Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Horton began Friday night’s session with a sermon on how to grow in love for the Lord, drawing from Luke 7:36-50. Realizing the weight of sin brings a greater understanding of God’s grace, which in turn, creates a deeper love for God, Horton explained.
“Experiencing the forgiveness of our sins should lead us to more meaningful expressions of love for our Lord,” said Horton.
Horton illustrated how a deeper a love for God can propel believers into a deeper love for the lost by sharing about significant grief that he experienced over the loss of an unsaved relative. He challenged attendees to love God “not just here but everywhere that we go” and that sharing Christ with others is an expression of love for him.
Preaching from 2 Timothy 3:10-17, Akin spoke Saturday morning on why believers should love God’s Word. He also encouraged believers that God’s divinely inspired Scripture leads them closer to Christ and their preparation for ministry.
“We show what we believe about the Bible by the way we love the Bible,” said Akin.
He explained that when believers grow in their love and knowledge of God’s Word, they are better prepared to face persecution and false teaching.
“If we are indeed serious about our walk with Christ…you are going to face opposition, you are going to be persecuted, said Akin.
Moore preached from 1 Corinthians 4:14-6:11 on loving the church, explaining that we do this because God’s family, his presence and his reminder of grace through Jesus are present there.
“We love the church because we love Jesus,” said Moore.
People find ways to identify themselves as better than others in Scripture and today, Moore indicated. However, the church represents a message that nullifies this type of pride.
“The gospel comes in and tears all that down,” said Moore.
Merida closed out the conference with his sermon on loving the lost, noting the importance of how we speak, what we speak and why we speak the gospel. The awe of Jesus, not obligation, is what motivates believers to share the gospel, he explained.
“Guilt won’t ultimately motivate us for the long haul, but grace will,” he said.
A sacrificial witness should be displayed to the lost, Merida said, referencing the story of the jailor who came to Christ through Paul and Silas in Acts 16.
“When you bear the witness of Jesus sacrificially, it has a persuasion of its own,” said Merida. “It’s altogether powerful.”
Along with the main teaching, breakout sessions were held Saturday afternoon, including topics such as how to talk to LGBTQ friends about Christ and how to engage immigrant neighbors and classmates with the gospel.
Josh Via, pastor of Journey Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, led worship for this year’s conference.
To watch the GO Conference sessions, click here.
To view pictures from the GO Conference, click here.