WAKE FOREST, NC (May 22, 2009) - In a Binkley Chapel ceremony Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern celebrated the commencement of the spring 2009 semester by conferring degrees on 210 graduates.
The graduates, who hail from 20 states and six foreign countries, celebrated their graduation exercises on Friday, May 22, as they earned certificates, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
Southeastern president Danny Akin gave the charge to the graduates, teaching out of Philippians 1:21, which he calls “the heartbeat of my life and the joy of my existence, on my best days.”
The verse, which the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi while he was imprisoned, says, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
“Regardless of the future, in life or in death, it is all about Jesus,” Akin said. Calling this the ultimate win-win scenario, Akin said his prayer for the graduates and the gathered family and friends would be that it would be the win-win situation of their own lives and death.
“My prayer is that you will live for Christ the way God intended, and when you die, it will not be to an enemy that you go, but to a friend.
“‘Death is not my enemy,’ Paul was saying. ‘It’s my friend, my escort into the very presence of Jesus,’” Akin said.
“What will be the driving engine in your life?” Akin asked. He said that in this passage, Paul gives insights into a life worth living, including recognizing that for Paul, Christ was life and death. “All of us must make a personal decision as to what makes life worth living.” This decision, Akin said, will determine what is the motivating force in life.
“It’s a practical thing. Life is not just marking time and punching a clock. It’s a practical philosophy. Real life has a purpose and it is about Jesus. He is the one who said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. He’s either right or wrong. If he’s the King of Kings and God raised him from the dead, then he is right.”
Akin said that for Paul, it was all about one person – Christ. “He died for you, was raised for you and has the right to dictate every area of your life.”
Quoting Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, leader of the Moravian Brethren, Akin said,
“I have but one enthusiasm. It is Christ and only Christ.” This enthusiasm for Christ alone is what drove both Zinzendorf and the Apostle Paul. “Paul had one ambition: that whether in life or death, he would bring glory to God.”
“Listen to me. Death is inevitable. You will die. If Jesus tarries his coming, it is a fact that you and I will die. We can cheat many things, but we cannot cheat death.
“Living for anything other than Christ would mean to die is loss. If you say, ‘For me to live is money,’ then to die is to leave it all behind. ‘For me to live is power,’ then to die is to be eternally impotent.”
Akin said when Christ is life, then life is gain and death is gain. “It’s a win-win scenario. Life is Christ and death is even more of Christ, with the second being even better with even more of Jesus.”
In speaking to the gathered friends and families of the graduates, Akin said, “I will challenge you to have the ultimate win-win scenario and accept Christ as your savior. If to live is anything other than Jesus for you, you made a bad decision and to die is eternal torment. It is the ultimate lose-lose situation.”