If these walls could speak, what would the walls of Alumni Chapel say?
On Friday, December 2 this chapel will be filled with graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The men and women receiving earned degrees from this institution will be dispatched around the world for gospel ministry. With this I think it’s safe to assume the walls of Alumni Chapel are resounding with the following truths:
- “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20). Because Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, go to every corner of the globe and make followers of the King! Indeed, the One with all authority is with you. Therefore fear not what may await you in any given field. Your ambition (and priviledge) is to teach the people the glorious gospel of salvation and watch the Lord of the harvest give the increase. He will surely do it. You go and be faithful!
- “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:1-5). This charge you have from the Lord: preach the word of God in all its contours and edges and particulars. Do not shrink back from declaring to people anything that is profitable. Of course there will be times when the word of God is not desired or revered. But this does not change your job description. You keep preaching even when it requires suffering in fulfillment of your ministry.
- “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). Some of you are young in the world’s eye. Do not let anyone look down on you because of your age. By the grace of God expect more from yourself than the world would expect from someone your age. Be a leader in all that you do and say. May the fruit of the Spirit be so abundant in your life and your doctrine so pure that age is not what people see in you, but Christ.
- “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (Phil. 3:17-19). Behold the fate of all those who are not in Christ! Know that by making themselves enemies of the Lord their end is certain destruction. Who can stand on the day of God’s wrath? No one. Therefore you must not grow cold to this reality, but with tears lay down your lives for the lost.
- “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Phil. 3:20-21). Remember that your true citizenship is not of this world–you’re just passing through on your way to the Celestial City. Therefore long for the City of God! And let this longing wean you from this world and all its fleeting pleasures. May your life and ministry smell of heaven and be saturated with a foretaste of the glory yet to come for all God’s people. May your words and deeds display an authentic and compelling restlessness with this world as you worshipfully anticipate the next.
Praying for our graduates, trusting they will go out from the walls of Alumni Chapel firmly established in the truth of the gospel, empowered by the Spirit, and eager to serve faithfully wherever the Lord leads. May God be glorified in the class of 2016 both now and forever! Amen.