Adams Lectures emphasize preaching with faith and hope in view

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) welcomed Andy Davis to the pulpit for the Adams Lecture Series Feb. 9-11. Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina, spoke on the importance of preaching for the faith and hope of one’s hearers.

Davis introduced his lecture with a scene from John Bunyan’s allegory of the Christian journey, “Pilgrim’s Progress.” The imagery captured the essence of how Christ continues to keep the fire of grace burning in our hearts while Satan seeks to quench that fire of faith through temptations and accusations. Using this analogy, Davis discussed how the ministry of God’s Word feeds the souls of its hearers and keeps our faith burning. 

“We need to realize time is short for our hearers and the central work of God is the salvation of souls, said Davis. “That’s what preaching is all about.” 

Davis also explained that faith is how believers see spiritual realities. One way this occurs is through pastors helping their people see Jesus and the reality that he is seated at the right hand of God interceding for his people. Because Jesus will always pray according to God’s will, his intercessory prayer for us will always succeed. 

In Thursday’s lecture, Davis focused on renewing biblical hope in the hearts of God’s people. A biblical hope focuses on the eternal and unfailing glory of God and serves as a testimony to the lost. Referencing Hebrews 10:32-36, Davis highlighted how the writer reminded the Hebrew Christians of their unwavering hope in God in the past and to continue in that hope in the present. For the Christian, we have a heavenly hope in the future and a present hope to endure in suffering that is different from the world. 

“Hope in heaven is a powerful force in world evangelization,” said Davis. “It gives witnesses the courage to stand firm in persecution and give their persecutors a vision of fearlessness of people who are not afraid to lose in this world, not afraid to die in this world. They have a better and eternal hope.” 

Davis also spoke at a PhD colloquium lunch, focusing his talk on how to battle discouragement in pastoral ministry. He walked through biblical and historical examples of those who battled discouragement yet entrusted themselves to the Lord. Jesus serves as a primary example of this as our suffering servant, Davis noted. Regardless of the variety of reasons to become discouraged in ministry, he encouraged attendees to resolve that they will fight against the schemes of the enemy to discourage and defeat them. 

“The kingdom of God cannot fail. Don’t listen to Satan’s lies,” said Davis. 

The Adams Lecture Series honors the contribution to Christian ministry of Theodore F. Adams, who taught at SEBTS for over 10 years. The Adams Lectures bring outstanding theologians to Southeastern’s campus each spring to deliver two lectures on a subject of interest to the Christian community.   

Click here to view the Adams Lecture Series in full.

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