Great Commission a guiding passage for life and ministry, Akin charges graduates

Living out the Great Commission in life and ministry was the theme of this spring’s graduation ceremony at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS).

“You all know that this was the banner under which you entered Southeastern Seminary, and this will also be the banner under which you graduate,” said SEBTS President Danny Akin.

On May 11, 244 graduates received their diplomas from SEBTS. Of those graduates, 195 students are graduating from the seminary, while the other 49 are from The College at Southeastern.

“The prayer of this faculty is that every one of you, without exception, will be a Great Commission graduate who will spend the rest of your life being a Great Commission Christian,” said Akin.

Akin challenged graduates with three ways that the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 should guide a Christian’s life and ministry.

First, Christians are to acknowledge Christ power, Akin said, noting verse 18 in which the phrase “all” is written four times, referencing God’s sovereignty in all things.

“You do not go alone, but you go with him, and you go with his power,” said Akin.

Akin quoted Hudson Taylor, a well-known missionary to China, who said, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”

Second, Christians are to obey Christ’s plan, which is to “make disciples,” found in verse 19.

“He commands us to go. He commands us to baptize. He commands us to teach. And that is the means whereby we are capable of making disciples,” said Akin.

Christians should not doubt if they are called to go and make disciples but how. Akin explained that the biblical mandate for this call is clear in the Great Commission passage.

“You don’t need to pray about whether or not you should go. That’s settled,” said Akin. “He has commanded you to go. The simple response on your part is, ‘Where Lord?’”

To emphasize this point further, Akin urged graduates to consider the 3.14 billion people in the world who still need the gospel and do not have access to it.

Akin reminded graduates of missionaries like John Keith Falconer, C.T. Studd and David Livingstone, who all died and were buried in their places of service.

“Sympathy is no substitute for action,” Akin quoted Livingstone, a missionary to Africa in the 1800s.

Thirdly, Akin said Christians are to trust in Christ’s promise, as Jesus states to his disciples in verse 20.

This promise, Akin explained, is for all Christians that Jesus will be with them until the end.

Again, quoting Taylor, missionary and founder of the China Inland Mission, Akin said, “God isn’t looking for people of great faith but for individuals ready to follow Him.” 

“As you graduate today, my simple prayer for each of you is simply this: the will of God: nothing less, nothing more and nothing else,” said Akin, concluding his address.

To view photos of graduation, click here.

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