WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Revelation 5:8-10 and the life of 20th-century missionary James Fraser show the importance of prayer in redeeming the nations and how the blood of Christ alone purchases salvation for all people, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin said in his opening address of the semester Sept. 1.
Before Fraser served as a missionary in China to the Lisu people, he was an accomplished pianist and engineering honors student who felt God’s call to minister to God’s people. At the time, Akin noted, half of the world’s population had yet to hear clearly the Gospel.
Fraser yearned that “God would be glorified by even one witness to His name amid the perishing thousands,” Akin recounted, pointing out that such prayers for the nations are seen in Revelation 5:8.
“The golden bowls of incense in verse eight are the prayers of the saints,” Akin said. “The prayers offered for the salvation of the nations is the kind of praying that pleases our God. If this is so, then even Christians at home can do as much for foreign missions as those actually on the field.”
Regarding the blood of Christ purchasing the salvation of the nations, Akin cited Rev. 5:9: “Because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
“Redeemed by his blood! Not a happy thought among liberal theologians,” Akin said. “It is nothing more than foolishness to those who are perishing. A dead Galilean Jew nailed to a cross, bleeding all over the place, is the means whereby God redeems the nations?”
Although this concept of blood has never been a popular topic, Akin said Fraser was not a man who shirked this vital doctrine, quoting the missionary as saying, “The ground of the cross is what brought me light.”
The passage also teaches that those who are redeemed by the blood of the cross serve as priests in reaching the nations, Akin said.
“Priests represent God to man and man to God. We have direct access to God, and we are divinely designed representatives of the King to the world,” Akin said. “James Fraser was a marvelous priest of God to man. Without question the keys were a life immersed in prayer, fasting and other spiritual disciplines. Just one month before his untimely death at the age of 52 he wrote, ‘I often think that it is the very, very few who are prepared, by rigorous self-discipline (not a very popular thing nowadays), for a lifetime of great usefulness.’
“Service as a kingdom of priests in the drama of redemption is not always easy,” Akin said. “It can be discouraging and even depressing. But it will be fruitful and rewarding if we will persevere and stay at it.”
Fraser persevered at it, Akin said, and eventually began to see the fruit of his witness to the Lisu people. Although Fraser labored for five years before a breakthrough, once it occurred, it made an eternal impact among the Lisu people. Within four months, Akin said 600 Lisu representing 129 families had turned to Christ. By 1918, 10 years into Fraser’s 30 years of work, 60,000 believers had been baptized. Today, only 71 years after Fraser’s death, there are an estimated 300,000 Lisu believers.
VA. EXEC WARNS OF ‘SMALL DEGREE OF ERROR’ — The importance of one degree of error is not only relevant for airplanes and golf ball trajectories but for believers as well, Jeff Ginn, executive director of Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, said in a Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary chapel Sept. 3.
“A small degree of error can lead to disaster later. God doesn’t want us … even one degree off the path He leads us on,” Ginn said in a message drawn from 2 Timothy 2:22-26 on “coordinates” for staying straight on God’s path.
“Many of you are early in your ministry at your ‘launch pad,'” Ginn said. “It’s critical you set your course off of the three coordinates” seen in the examples of a sprinter, a servant and a soldier.
Concerning the runner, Ginn said the Apostle Paul advises Timothy to flee, or run from, the evil desires of youth. “I’m not convinced ‘of youth’ is the best translation. It could also be translated as ‘inferior’ or ‘base passions,’ Ginn said, noting, “The temptations we face are not solely for the young among us.”
Believers also should run toward certain things, such as righteousness, faith, love and peace — and do so in fellowship with others, Ginn said. “We must run from, run after and run with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart,” he said.
Concerning the servant, Ginn noted, “Remember, we belong to the Lord…. There are those who you’ll come into contact with who will want your allegiance, and in subtle ways, you will be tempted to negotiate your allegiance.” To maintain one’s allegiance to the Lord, Ginn counseled, “I want to urge all of us, as Paul urged, to be gentle, even if the issue is weighty. Pastors and church leaders, you’ll set the standard for how people treat one another.”
Concerning the soldier, Ginn said, “We have an adversary. We don’t have to wonder if there will be opposition — there will be. Our opposition is Satan, and he has taken people captive to do his will.
“That’s what missions is all about — taking the Gospel to people who are captives, so they can be set free,” Ginn said.
Reported by Lauren Crane of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.