Take Christ to the nations, speakers urge during SBTS Great Commission Week

Communications Staff — April 25, 2006

Several hundred seminary students and faculty expressed a commitment to minister anywhere God calls them during the culminating chapel service of Great Commission Week April 13 at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Responding to a sermon by Al Jackson, pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn, Ala., the students and faculty stood to their feet, indicating that they will say with the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, “Here am I. Send me,” should God call them to ministry in a difficult region of the world.

The seminary also recognized 94 students and faculty members who are either being deployed as full-time missionaries or participating in short-term mission trips.

“Are you available to go?” Jackson asked. “Isaiah was. Are you? Have you experienced God’s holy presence? Are you broken by the sinfulness of your own heart? Have you been cleansed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and are you walking day-by-day and moment-by-moment in personal holiness?

“Then you’re in a position to hear the voice of God saying, ‘Who will I send?’ There’s really only one proper response: ‘Here am I, Lord. Send me.’”

Speaking at Great Commission Week along with Jackson were Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Tom Elliff, senior vice president for spiritual nurture and church relations at the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Jackson told students that it is necessary to experience God’s holy presence and be cleansed from sin before they can answer the call to Christian service.

“Who will go?” Jackson said. “Will you go? Will you say to the Lord Jesus, ‘Yes, yes, yes?’”

Mohler said that when Christians share the Gospel, they should do it without fear and without compromise.

“There is no fear in the ministry because it’s not about us, and it’s not about our power, and it’s not about our effectiveness, and it’s not about our eloquence,” he said. “It’s not about us. It’s about Christ. And there is no fear in preaching Christ. There is no fear in the Gospel ministry because it is not our ability that is in question.”

Preaching from 1 Timothy 1, Mohler warned ministers to guard the teaching of the Gospel. Rather than following the popular pattern of preaching a new message, ministers must stick with the sound words taught in the Bible, he said.

“Following requires humility,” he said. “Follow the pattern of sound words.”

Theologians who argue that they have discovered a new truth or a way of reinterpreting the Gospel for modern culture demonstrate a lack of humility and a wrong way of doing ministry, he said.

“We dare not believe that that argument should be any more plausible today than it would have been when Paul was writing to Timothy,” Mohler said. “We dare not allow ourselves the conceit that we live in such a changed intellectual climate and such a changed cultural situation that what Paul would prevent Timothy from doing, we now have license to do.”

When believers take the true Gospel to the world, they will have no cause for shame, Mohler said.

“There is no shame in the Gospel,” he said. “But God is ashamed of those who are ashamed of the Gospel.”

Preaching from 2 Kings 7, Elliff explained that there are three types of Christians: sitters, getters, and tellers. Sitters do not take any action to advance the Gospel or their own relationships with Jesus, while getters soak up spiritual information but fail to act on that information, he said. Tellers share the good news of Jesus with others.

All Christians have an obligation to be tellers, Elliff said.

“Silence is sinful,” he said. “It’s a sin to know that help is available and not to share it. It’s a sin to know that eternal life is available and not to share it.”

In order to be tellers, believers must resolve to take the Gospel to those who need to hear it, Elliff said.

“Our Lord has said we are to go and tell,” he said. “What a shame if the unfolding months and years, even of your career as a student or as a faculty member here, are spent as a sitter or a getter but not a goer and a teller.

“This is a day of good news. We can’t hold our news. Come, let’s go and let’s tell.”

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