WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–A person’s “last words” are meant to make a lasting impression, and that is especially true for the last words of Jesus, graduates of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern were told during spring commencement exercises May 20.
During two separate graduation ceremonies, 189 students were awarded degrees from the two schools. This spring’s graduates hailed from 21 states and eight foreign countries. They earned associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
During the graduation services Southeastern’s president, Daniel Akin, urged the graduates to live for Christ, focusing on the final marching orders of Jesus Christ to his followers.
“These students will leave today to go out to various places of service that God has designated for them. As they go, let us remember the final marching orders of King Jesus,” Akin said.
He referred to Matthew 28:18-20 in which Jesus said, “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.”
“These are the last recorded words of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Akin said. “By their very nature, ‘last words’ are meant to make a lasting impression.”
Akin recounted the final words of famous men and women, noting that in every case, the last words of a person are meant to be lasting words. “These words of Jesus inform us of his passion and our divine assignment,” Akin said. “He was of keen mind and he knew exactly what he wanted to tell us to do until the end of the age.”
Jesus’ final words spoke of His power and the authority Christ had to accomplish the Great Commission. Akin said: “Notice it says ‘all authority.’ God’s people will never lack God’s supply, and I don’t care where you go — you go on His authority and with His promise of His power to complete this work in your life.”
Christ’s power is given to His people in order to fulfill His command, found in verse 20, Akin added: “To make disciples devoted followers of Jesus, is the imperative. We are to go, we are to baptize and we are to teach.”
The practical application is that there is “no need to ask God if we should go to the 6,898 unreached people groups and the 2.8 billion who have never heard the name of Jesus,” Akin said.
“He has made it clear — we should go. All that matters in life is that we please God and obey King Jesus,” Akin said. “We don’t need to pray about it — we need to go to the unreached. Some of you will go to the unreached overseas. Some of you will go to the underserved areas of North America and to the dead churches of our country and make them missionary outposts.”
Graduates can go to unreached areas with complete confidence in Christ’s promise that He will be with us until the end of the age, Akin added.
“There’s lots of talk about the end of the age right now. There’s nothing in Scripture though that says Jesus couldn’t come back today,” Akin said. “What He tells us is He’ll be faithful to us till the end.”
Akin shared the Gospel with the gathered friends and families, urging the men and women to recognize, not only God’s love for them, but the graduates’ love for them.
“Every one of them said they would trade their diploma for knowledge that you trusted Christ today for your salvation,” Akin said. “Yesterday we prayed for you, for those who don’t know Christ. He longs to have a relationship with every one of you.”
Compiled by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary staff.