Erickson encourages Southwestern Seminary students to love people with God’s wisdom

Ashley Allen
| Sep 1, 2021

Drew Erickson, lead pastor of Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, encouraged Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary students, faculty, and staff to be “ministers of the Gospel that speak with affection toward the church and their people and not critique and condemnation” during the school’s August 31 chapel service.

Preaching about King Solomon’s request for God to give him wisdom in 1 Kings 3:5-10, Erickson, a 2008 Master of Divinity graduate of the seminary and current Ph.D. student, told the gathered assembly that wisdom is “something we have to continue to work at.”

Noting the youth and immaturity of Solomon when God asked what He could give him, Erickson observed God’s people were at the heart of Solomon’s response.

“He speaks about them with affirmation [and] encouragement,” Erickson said. “He understands that the people God has put into his area and his life, that he rules and reigns over as the king, as the intermediary … between God and them, they were God’s people and not his.”

Reminding the congregation that God has called believers to “a ministry of reconciliation with people,” Erickson told the audience God has not called them to causes, tribes, or positions, but to people.

Erickson said serving people means helping believers “understand what God’s Word says in truth and to pray that the Lord would help us nurture their walks with God and to shepherd them and to confront them, [and] to exhort them to love.”

In making modern day application, Erickson reminded the audience they are not “called to be kings over our people, but we are called to be servants over them” because they are God’s people.

“When Solomon asks for this wisdom, it’s not just in the context of caring and nurturing,” Erikson said. “It’s also a notion that he would be a king that rules and … leads with a sense of justice and a sense of purpose and a sense of principle and commitment” because of Solomon’s desire “to be a just ruler over them.”

Using Solomon’s example from 1 Kings 3, Erickson encouraged attendees to approach the Lord in a posture of humility “recognizing who we are and who He is [and] that He never turns His back on those who ask Him for help.”

Recalling Solomon’s acknowledgment of God’s greatness and steadfastness to Solomon’s father, David, Erickson walked attendees through examples of God’s greatness and steadfastness through the life and ministry of Christ, Paul and his missionary journeys, and Christians who were burned at the stake at the hands of Nero. 

“God has always been great and He has always been steadfast through the ages,” Erickson preached. “I can say with certainty that the Kingdom of God, despite what others may tell you elsewhere, is not in danger and it is not at stake … He has always been true to His Word and His promises and His character.”

Erickson concluded his chapel message by exhorting attendees to reach the 3.4 billion people worldwide who have little or no access to the Gospel of Christ.

“He is equipping some of you to go to those hard places, to the uttermost parts of the world, and to proclaim the wondrous mysteries of Christ to them,” Erickson said. “Show them wisdom is embodied in a person. His name is Jesus.”

In his introduction of Erickson, President Adam W. Greenway recognized the “longstanding relationship of mutual blessing” between Travis Avenue Baptist Church and the seminary. Greenway, who is a member of the church along with his family, noted previous Southwestern Seminary presidents, including Robert E. Naylor, Russell H. Dilday, and Kenneth S. Hemphill, were also members of Travis Avenue during their seminary presidencies. Naylor served on the seminary board of trustees, including board chairman, while pastor of the church immediately prior to serving as president of the seminary.

The entire message may be viewed here.

Chapel is held every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 10 a.m. (CT) in MacGorman Chapel on the campus of Southwestern Seminary. Chapel may be viewed live at swbts.edu/live.