SBTS sends spring graduates out in the power of weakness

Communications Staff — May 15, 2009

Faithful ministers proclaim the Gospel as incompetents—‘frail children of dust’—so that the power of God can shine brightly as He works through them, R. Albert Mohler Jr., told graduates during the 203rd commencement Friday at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Preaching from 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 and the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, Mohler, Southern’s ninth president, reminded the class of 244 graduates that they are not up to the task of Gospel ministry, but God will work through their efforts to save sinners and to bring glory to Himself.

“Jesus Christ calls his ministers from the ranks of the incompetent, so that He will show his singular competence through them,” Mohler said. “He uses earthen vessels to demonstrate his own life in us. He confounds the wisdom of the wise by using the unworthy to demonstrate his worth.

“These graduates have followed the admonition of the Apostle Paul to Timothy. They have invested years of study so that they can present themselves to God as workers who need not be ashamed, who rightly handle the word of truth. [2 Timothy 2:15] They are scholars of the Word of God, trained theologians and teachers, gifted servants of the church. But the sole competency is that of God himself.

Mohler said the Lord’s Prayer establishes the priority of ministers: to see God’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” And, by admitting their need to be given “our daily bread,” all of God’s people, including ministers, are confirming their own dependence upon their Creator for all things, he said.

The words which conclude the Bible’s most famous prayer–“For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory”—well summarize the battle cry of ministry and discipleship, Mohler said.

“We send these graduates out as citizens, ministers, and viceregents of a kingdom that cannot be shaken,” Mohler said. “They go out as those whose destiny is secure in Christ as whose course is charted by King Jesus. They are the called, the sent, and the chosen. They are a race of whom the world is not worthy, who are themselves the unworthy made worthy in Christ and in Christ alone.

“They go out in power. Not the power of profession or the power of wealth. They may not look to the world like an intimidating militia, but they are the army of God –‘soldiers of Christ, in truth arrayed.’ They are the powerless made powerful in Christ; the weak through whom the Lord will show his strength. The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church they shall serve, and the forces of evil will flee their proclamation of the Gospel and the Word of God.”

Ministers perform their work while adorned in glory, but not in glory as the world typically defines it, Mohler said, but in the glory of the crucified, risen, ascended and reigning Christ. The glory of Christ is now invisible, but will be revealed at the end of the ages, Mohler said.

“They are vessels of clay who bear the glory of the incorruptible Christ, who show his wounds and bear his scars and will both live and die to the glory of God alone,” he said. “Death holds no sting and Satan holds no scepter to them.

“They will go out to preach and to teach and to tell a lost world about Jesus and his love,” he said. “They will push back against the darkness as the children of light. They will plant and water and sometimes reap, and their labor will never be in vain.”

To read the full text of Mohler’s address, please see:

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