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Graham turns commencement into a moment of decision

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–As the 163 Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary graduates sat in Binkley Chapel May 26 dressed in their long black academic robes contemplating the long journey to commencement day, the graduation address delivered by Franklin Graham only exemplified and justified the heart of their theological training.

Through all the systematic theology classes, Greek quizzes and Hebrew exams, the only thing that really matters for these graduates is sharing God’s Gospel, and for their friends and family, it is knowing God’s Gospel.

“Now listen to me,” said Graham, leader of Samaritans Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian relief organization, “And to the friends and to the families who are here today, what do I mean by God’s Gospel?”
Graham began by declaring the state of all humans.

“The Bible teaches we’re all sinners,” he said. “We have all sinned against God. I am a sinner, the graduates are sinners, we are all sinners.”

In front of the over crowded chapel, Graham spoke about his own life.

“I am a sinner, but my sins have been forgiven,” he said. “They are not forgiven because I’m standing up here in this black robe on.”

As the congregation listened intently, Graham presented God’s Gospel.

“What is this Gospel we talk about, sing about, people write about?” He asked. “It is the good news that there is a God in heaven [and] He has provided a way for us to be with Him in heaven and that is through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.”

The Gospel is the Good News, expressed Graham.

Quoting John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave us His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” Graham pointed out that this is the Good News.

“This is the Gospel that God will forgive us,” said the evangelist. “He will cleanse us and receive us into His presence as if we never sinned.”

Jesus is the only way, truth and the life, [there is no other] way we can be saved, stated Graham.

“Jesus paid the debt of sin for us,” he said. “No one else in history has paid the debt of sin. Only the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Graham said that it is not possible to obtain forgiveness by earthly credentials while speaking of his own conversion experience.

“I am not going to be forgiven because of education or because my father is somebody, or because I belong to this or that church,” said Graham. “I am a sinner and I have been forgiven because when I was 22 years-old, I got down on my knees one night and I said to God, ‘I have sinned against you. I’m sorry. Forgive me and I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son.'”

Graham said it was then that he let Christ have control over his life.

“And I want you to know, for you the family who are here today,” said Graham, “I don’t know where you stand but there is no way you can stand before a Holy God except by coming through Jesus Christ…confessing your sins…listen to me…confessing your sins to God, acknowledging your sins to Him…and turn from your sins and to receive Christ into your heart and to your life. ”

Graham ended his address with an invitation to the family and friends to accept Christ as Savior.

“There’s no one that God will not forgive if you confess and by faith receive His Son into your heart,” he explained. “You can do that today where you sit. He set me free and He will do it for you, too.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: SOUTHEASTERN STUDENTS GRADUATE.

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  • Kelly Davis