Last weekend I preached our baccalaureate service. Here’s an abbreviated look at my message to the high school seniors and their friends and family.
Graduating from high school I thought I was 10 feet tall and bulletproof.
Nothing could stop me. Nothing could hold me down. Nothing could get in my way.
But just a few months into my freshman year of college … everything changed. My heart was broken. My college athletic scholarship didn’t pan out. My math abilities were sub par. My friends were nowhere to be seen. I was lost. I was confused.
I was no longer 10 feet tall and bulletproof. It was more like 2 feet tall and wounded.
I don’t mean to sound rude … but congratulations on finishing the easiest part for your life. You’ve spent the last 18 years under the watchful eye of parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, and school administrators. People provided you with food, clothes, shelter, support, encouragement, and an education. Things will now get much tougher. I hope you realize that you’re not 10 feet tall and bulletproof.
The real world is about to get real … real quick. How will you handle it?
Some of you will devote significant time to school.
Some of you will devote significant time to work.
Others to social life.
Others to not much of anything.
Yet, the preacher in me pleads with you. Among many options. Among many good options. There is the best option. It’s contained in the passage read for us this evening (John 15:1-8). I’d love to walk you through the entire passage but let’s spend just a few moments on one verse … John 15:5.
Apart from Jesus Christ you can do nothing.
Before you devote significant time to anyone or anything else … devote yourself to Jesus Christ. In case you don’t know Jesus allow me to introduce him to you.
The Bible describes Jesus as our …
- Advocate (1 John 2:1)
- Almighty (Rev. 1:8; Mt. 28:18)
- Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8; 22:13)
- Amen (Rev. 3:14)
- Atoning Sacrifice for our Sins (1 John 2:2)
- Author of Life (Acts 3:15)
- Author and Perfecter of our Faith (Heb. 12:2)
- Author of Salvation (Heb. 2:10)
- Beginning and End (Rev. 22:13)
- Blessed and only Ruler (1 Tim. 6:15)
- Bread of God (John 6:33)
- Bread of Life (John 6:35; 6:48)
- Capstone (Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7)
- Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)
- Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4)
- Christ (1 John 2:22)
- Creator (John 1:3)
- Deliverer (Rom. 11:26)
- Eternal Life (1 John 1:2; 5:20)
- Everlasting Father (Isa. 9:6)
- Gate (John 10:9)
- Faith and True Witness (Rev. 3:14)
- First and Last (Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13)
- Firstborn From the Dead (Rev. 1:5)
- God (John 1:1; 20:28; Heb. 1:8; Rom. 9:5; 2 Pet. 1:1;1 John 5:20; etc.)
- Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14)
- Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20)
- Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14)
- Head of the Church (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23)
- Heir of all things (Heb. 1:2)
- High Priest (Heb. 2:17)
- Holy and True (Rev. 3:7)
- Holy One (Acts 3:14)
- Hope (1 Tim. 1:1)
- Hope of Glory (Col. 1:27)
- Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
- Image of God (2 Cor. 4:4)
- King Eternal (1 Tim. 1:17)
- King of Israel (John 1:49)
- King of the Jews (Mt. 27:11)
- King of kings (1 Tim 6:15; Rev. 19:16)
- King of the Ages (Rev. 15:3)
- Lamb (Rev. 13:8)
- Lamb of God (John 1:29)
- Lamb Without Blemish (1 Pet. 1:19)
- Life (John 14:6; Col. 3:4)
- Light of the World (John 8:12)
- Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5)
- Living One (Rev. 1:18)
- Living Stone (1 Pet. 2:4)
- Lord (2 Pet. 2:20)
- Lord of All (Acts 10:36)
- Lord of Glory (1 Cor. 2:8)
- Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16)
- LORD our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6)
- Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 9:15)
- Mighty God (Isa. 9:6)
- Only Begotten Son of God (John 1:18; 1 John 4:9)
- Our Great God and Savior (Titus 2:13)
- Our Holiness (1 Cor. 1:30)
- Our Protection (2 Thess. 3:3)
- Our Redemption (1 Cor. 1:30)
- Our Righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30)
- Our Sacrificed Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7)
- Power of God (1 Cor. 1:24)
- Precious Cornerstone (1 Pet. 2:6)
- Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6)
- Prophet (Acts 3:22)
- Resurrection and Life (John 11:25)
- Righteous Branch (Jer. 23:5)
- Righteous One (Acts 7:52; 1 John 2:1)
- Rock (1 Cor. 10:4)
- Ruler of God’s Creation (Rev. 3:14)
- Ruler of the Kings of the Earth (Rev. 1:5)
- Savior (Eph. 5:23; Titus 1:4; 3:6; 2 Pet. 2:20)
- Son of David (Lk. 18:39)
- Son of God (John 1:49; Heb. 4:14)
- Son of Man (Mt. 8:20)
- Son of the Most High God (Lk. 1:32)
- Source of Eternal Salvation for all who obey him (Heb. 5:9)
- The One Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5)
- The Stone the builders rejected (Acts 4:11)
- True Bread (John 6:32)
- True Light (John 1:9)
- True Vine (John 15:1)
- Wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24)
- Wonderful Counselor (Isa. 9:6)
- Word (John 1:1)
- Word of God (Rev. 19:13)
- Way, Truth and the Life (John (14:6)
You are not 10 feet tall and bulletproof … apart from Jesus you can do nothing.
Here’s my three-fold advice to you tonight.
- Seek Jesus Christ everyday. You’ll find him.
- Surround yourself with people who seek Jesus. You’ll need them.
- Be flexible. The plan in your mind at this moment might not be what God has in store for you.
Or as John 15:5 puts it … I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.