World impact must start with discipleship at home, Akin says

Communications Staff — June 18, 2003

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Winning the world to Christ starts with men discipling their wives and children in the home, said Danny Akin, dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in a sermon at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention Tuesday.

“A Christian man surrendered to the lordship of Christ will be a different man. He will be the leader of his family who knows, loves and obeys the Bible,” Akin said. “He will be man who loves his wife and blesses his children. He will be a man who believes that winning the world to Christ starts in the home.”

Akin made these remarks during a “Kingdom Challenge” at the annual convention. Kingdom Challenges were short sermons during which leaders exhorted messengers on the theme of God’s Kingdom.

Preaching from Ephesians 5:25-6:4, Akin highlighted two commands for godly men in the context of their families.

First, husbands must love their wives.

“God is not asking. God is not suggesting. God commands a husband, ‘You love your wife,’” Akin said. “This is to be the consistent and constant activity of your life.”

Love for one’s wife should not be primarily a matter of emotional attachment, he said. Rather, it should model Christ’s willful sacrifice when He gave His life for the church.

“I recognize that in this passage there is an emotional aspect to the love that Paul talks about, but primarily Paul has in mind the volitional component of love—that love which is a choice, a decision, an act of your will. It’s not, ‘I love her if she’s lovely.’ It’s not, ‘I love her because she does certain things.’ But rather, I choose to love her even during those times when she is not lovely,” he said.

A husband’s love for his wife, Akin added, should also encourage her to become more like Christ.

“You are to sanctify your wife, setting her apart that she might become holy and that she might become pure and that she might grow to be more like Christ,” he said. “I want to say to you this afternoon, gentlemen, if there’s anyone that you disciple in your life, you ought to begin with your wife and then with your children.

“If there is anyone who is impacted by your life to become more like Christ, it will be your wife and your kids.”

Men should take several specific steps to ensure that they love their wives as the Scriptures command, Akin said. These steps include avoiding material in the media with sexual content and never being alone with a woman other than one’s wife.

Second, fathers must bless their children. For a father to bless his children, he must teach them to obey God, Akin said.

“We should help our children understand that our expectation for them is obedience, not disobedience,” he said. “Obey your parents. How? In the Lord, unto the Lord. Why? Because this is right.”

A father’s blessing to his children must also include encouragement to be godly, Akin said. Part of a man’s unique leadership responsibility in the home includes encouraging and shepherding his children, he said.

“Gentlemen, it is again a reminder that you and I are called to the leadership assignment in the home,” he said. “And gentlemen, every single one of us in this auditorium today will someday stand before God, and we will give an account for how well we shepherded, how well we pastored our flock at home.”

Children are so attentive to their fathers, Akin added, that a father’s every word and action can be an encouragement in his child’s Christian walk.

Focusing on the Kingdom of God necessitates a man focusing on living a godly life with his family, Akin said. A man committed to loving his wife and blessing his children will take an important step toward impacting the world for Christ.

“Gentlemen, being a man of God does indeed mean that when it comes to winning the world for Christ, I’m going to make sure I start where I need to start,” he said. “I’m going to start with my home.”

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