I am giving a brief sermon charge to our High School graduates this Sunday. Actually, this year we will only be honoring one student (last year it was four).
We are gathered here tonight to praise God for the infinite grace that has been displayed in your life!
We want to congratulate you on all your accomplishments; We want to thank you for your faithfulness to this Church and to our youth group in particular; & tonight as your teen pastor, I’d like to briefly encourage you from Holy Scripture as you prepare to leave home and begin an exciting journey at Grace College.
I think the best way I can accomplish this goal is by looking at the various roles you have (or will soon have) and discover what God’s Word has to say about each of these important responsibilities:
This is my personal charge to you that I trust will reflect God’s priorities (not merely my opinions)….
I. First and foremost you are a child of God:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourself lest anyone should boast.” (Eph 2:8) God graciously saved you and I know you’ve dedicated your life to His service! You are a Christian, a disciple of Christ’s.
It has been a privilege to see you “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” You’ve been blessed with a remarkable memory and a sharp mind. Your passion for reading books and learning is exemplary; Your creative use of your imagination is a wonderful endowment…
–>Continue to use these gifts for God’s glory! (1 Peter 4:10ff)
With that said:
1) Never allow yourself to think you’ve somehow arrived.
Philippians 3:12 says, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Keep on pressing on!
2) Avoid comparing your spiritual walk with others; Rather focus your attention on the Author and the Perfecter of your faith.
Christ-likeness is the standard and our objective (1 Peter 1:14-16). Also remember the inspired words of Paul in 1 Thess 4:10, “But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more…”
“Excel still more” in your faith
From my own personal experience, I know that Christian college students are especially vulnerable to spiritual pride… After all the Apostle Paul said, “that knowledge (alone) puffeth up.”
3) Continue then to grow in humility, gentleness, and grace as you no doubt will grow in knowledge, understanding, and theological wit… (See C.J. Mahaney’s book Humility: True Greatness)
4) I encourage you to seek wise counsel from godly dorm friends, your RD, and your parents; BUT ONLY after you’ve 1st asked God for wisdom and direction.
Proverbs 3:5-6 remind us to, Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
If, and when problems arise in your life, make sure that first you take everything to the Lord.
It’s a great blessing being able to attend a solid Christian college. I encourage you to take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Learn all you can from your new Christian friends, your Christian professors, and your RAs.
5) Constantly remind yourself though that with great privilege, comes great stewardship.
Jesus said to “whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48)
6) As a child of God don’t forget how important daily bible devotions are to your spiritual growth.
It’s easy to dry up even when you’re in the right place-
Don’t neglect the Bible! For it was the Word of God that made you wise unto salvation and it is the sacred Scriptures that will sanctify your very soul (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
1 Peter 2:2 says, “like new born infants LONG for the pure milk of the Word that by It, you may grow in respect to your salvation.”
Pray that your love for Jesus Christ will deepen as a result of these times!!
7) One last thing: Don’t let anyone tell you that Bible classes, chapel, dorm devotions, and parachurch ministries can usurp the central role of the local Church!
The Scriptures are clear that Christ’s bride has a unique place in God’s Kingdom program. The local church is the visible representation of the body of Christ! Make it a priority to plug yourself into a biblical church! One where you can be feed, discipled, and cared for; One where you can use your spiritual gifts & talents for the edification of the local church and the glory of God!
If you do these things I truly believe you will grow into the Proverbs 31 women that all of us desire you to become!
Never forget, you are first and foremost a child of God!
II. Second, you still are your parent’s daughter:
Like most Christian college students I’m guessing you are still very much financially dependent on your parents?!?
That of course means that you’re still obligated to obey and honor them as Ephesians 6:1-3 says; Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
When you’re up at night eating ice-cream, painting toe nails, or maybe just cramming for a chemistry quiz take a moment to stop and thank God for giving you Christian parents. Try and find a free moment every week (or so) to call your mom. Take a minute or two to send your dad a post-card reminding him how much you love and miss him; & if you have any free time don’t forget to send an email to your lonely siblings, esp. your older brother!