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2017 Baccalaureate, June 1, 2017 - Jeremiah 29:10-14

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Posted: Friday, June 2nd, 2017 by Pastor Westgate

Jeremiah is not talking to you. You are not going into Babylon. You live in America. You might never go to Iraq. If you do, you won’t be there 70 years. Our school isn’t Jerusalem anyways. Your fortunes might be pretty good, as you look ahead to a new school, a new life, perhaps a job not too far off. You’re imagining how you might make an impact on your school, your town, everyone around you.

Jeremiah is talking to you. You are going into Babylon. Babylon is not just a physical place. The New Testament uses that name to describe the wicked world. Which world is that? The world that hates Christ and those who belong to Him. That’s the whole world: anyone who doesn’t believe The Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s not good. You’re leaving the shelter of Redeemer Lutheran School. You’re going out into a world that teaches you marriage or gender isn’t what God says it is, a world that praises death and hates life, a world that calls good bad and bad good, a world that denies God created it. You’re going out into a world that does not want to confess its sins to God and be forgiven.

Today you’re on top of the world. You think you’ll be more than capable to overcome the world. Don’t think that way. Be on your guard lest you fall. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. He will seek to devour you. It’s not as hard as you think. Why? Because your sinful flesh is more than happy to go along with Satan. He will try to get you to think: “Oh, this stuff we were taught is bad feels so good it must be good.” “Everyone else thinks it’s OK; how can so many be wrong?” “We must go forward! Let’s follow this new idea. God won’t care. He just wants us to love everybody!”

Then you will not be on top of the world. You will be hell’s prey. You do not want to be hell’s prey. You do not want the roaring lion to feed on you. You do not want the serpent to fatally bite you. What is the antidote? How can you stand firm against wickedness and sin? Christ alone is your foundation, The Rock that keeps you faithful to His Word.

The most important thing this school can ever do might not be what you thought it was. Did you think it was to get you ready for the next grade, to get you ready for high school, to get you ready for college, perhaps for that scholarship or grant you need to pay your bills? Did you think it was just another babysitter?

But is that what Redeemer Lutheran School is all about? Absolutely not. Math and science, history and English are not the main courses here. God’s Word is what RLS is about. It was established by this congregation to take out into the area God’s pure and holy Word. That’s the most important thing here at Redeemer. Not your classes or teachers, not your friends or classmates, not the pastors or the administrator. God’s Word is the most important.

Why? Because a Christian school is the only school in the world where you’ll learn about God. You have learned Who He is, what He desires, and what He has done. You’ve learned from His brutal honesty that we are not good people. We are poor, miserable sinners who are held captive to sin, death, and Satan. Our flesh is always ready to fall for the wickedness and sin the world, the devil, and our own sinful flesh propose to us. Because of our sins, God has every right to condemn us to eternity in hell. But He chose to save us. He sent His Son from heaven to earth. He took on our flesh in The Virgin’s womb. He grew up and went to synagogue school. He preached throughout the land. More importantly He never sinned. He went on to die on The Cross, bearing all your sins in His Body. Then He rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and there He lives and reigns unto all eternity.

What does this mean for you? It means He was punished for all the sins you’ve committed during your life, at home and at school, at work and at play. Now there’s no more punishment left for you. Your sins are forgiven. Eternal life is yours.

Now you leave RLS. You are a dear child of your heavenly Father. You want to live like it. You want to give Him a good name. You want to make Him look good. So be faithful to what we’ve taught you. If your friends or your flesh want you to do something that will make you feel good now but horrible later, just say “No.” If your teachers contradict or mock The Bible, don’t listen. Remember Christ died for you. Therefore He will never lie to you in His Word. He tells you there only what is good for you and right.

He is faithful. Remain faithful to Him. Don’t think you’ll do it with your own power. Christ gives the strength. You believe in Him, so you have His Spirit. His Spirit has led you to trust Him. He will work in you. How? He works through His Word. Take His Word, The Scriptures, with you to college and wherever you go in life. They will remind you how God wants you to live. They will remind you what He has done for you. So read it every day. Don’t let it go. Don’t let Him go. He died for you. There’s nothing more important than the forgiveness of sins and eternal life He won for you. You find these things in His Word. His Gospel delivers them to you.

The Lord has plans for you. I don’t know what they are. I don’t know what your welfare will be or your future. I don’t know if you’ll be rich and famous or poor and lowly or somewhere in between. I don’t know if you’ll ever be on campus again either. But this I know. God wants your future and your hope to be this: eternal life with Christ. This is a firm hope that is sure, more sure than any of the hopes you’ve ever had about your high school or college career. For your Ascended Lord Jesus died to give it to you. He was rich. We were poor. By His Death and Resurrection He makes us eternally rich.

Categories: Pastor Westgate's Sermons

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