Rainer warns students against falling into Satan’s traps
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, introduced Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, expressing thankfulness for Rainer’s friendship and ministry as the founding dean of the seminary’s Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth.
“It was very clear to me that God had created one man for that job, and his name was Thom Rainer,” Mohler said. “It was a great joy when Thom Rainer came, and the growth and development of that school under his leadership was remarkable. The lengthened shadow of his legacy here continues. ... He is also a dear friend.”
Rainer, a two time Southern Seminary graduate, preached from 1 Timothy 3:7, warning students about the traps that Satan sets for all Christians, and especially ministers of the gospel.
“No one puts a trap up accidentally,” Rainer said. “Satan is setting intentional traps for you now.”
He described five characteristics of these traps: Traps are powerful, intentional, they aim at a person’s vulnerability, they catch you unaware and they bring sudden and sometimes perilous consequences to a Christian’s life.
Rainer told students about a season in his life when ministry and education took precedence over his family. He said that he realized this problem when his five year old son had not seen him in several weeks because of work and ministry. He said that this was a turning point. Rainer warned students to heed this passage and not fall into the same sin.
“Please don’t think that you’re invincible,” Rainer said. “Don’t think it can’t happen to you because it’s those who say ‘never’ who end up in the trap. We don’t have to fall into the trap, but we need to know that we can,” he said.
Rainer closed the sermon with a final warning for students to walk closely with God in order to prevent a fall.
“Please, for the sake of the glory of God, stay close to him because the devil is waiting to devour.”
Before his sermon, Rainer reflected on his early ministry at Southern Seminary when Mohler first became president.
“What took place in the early and mid-90s for several years was convictional leadership at its best,” Rainer said, referring to Mohler’s stewardship of the institution through theological transition. “What took place at Southern Seminary many said could not be done. And because God worked through a man named Albert Mohler, this school turned around as the denomination began to turn. I was an eyewitness to that history and I saw that convictional leadership. I saw it then and I see it now.”
Earlier this year, Southern Seminary named Rainer as its distinguished alumnus of the year during the school’s alumni luncheon at the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas.
Audio and video of the sermon are available at sbts.edu/resources.