Today is a special day at First Baptist because we rejoice with our graduating High School and College seniors. You have worked hard and deserve the recognition you are receiving. In our sermon today, we encourage you to pursue knowledge, pleasure, and wealth. Set goals and enjoy life. Also, most importantly, make sure Christ is at the center of your life.
Pursue knowledge and make it your ambition to be a lifelong learner. But, as you pursue knowledge, do not neglect wisdom. Knowledge is good, but if not joined with wisdom it will lead to the sin of pride. In 1 Corinthians 8:1, the Apostle Paul responded to a situation in the Corinthian church where some people were boasting about their knowledge in an arrogant manner. Paul wrote to them that “this knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” It is good for us to gather facts and information but the end result of this knowledge should not be prideful boasting in oneself, but greater love for God and others (Matt 22:37-40). Knowledge must be rightly applied in good sense and wise decisions (i.e., wisdom).
Pursue pleasure. God has designed our bodies to enjoy many things and enjoy His good gifts. But, as you pursue pleasure, do not neglect self-control. Pleasure is good, but if not joined with self-control it will lead to the sin of lust. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 says “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.” In a culture that is infatuated with pleasure, God counsels His children to self-control. Something may feel good, but that does not mean it is good. God has designed our bodies to enjoy pleasure, but He also set clear boundaries for the enjoyment of pleasure. God gave us taste buds to enjoy the pleasure of food and also tells us that gluttony is sin. Sex is enjoyable, but do not forget that God has clearly stated that it is only to be enjoyed between one man and one woman who have joined together in marriage. Self-control is necessary for proper enjoyment of pleasure.
Pursue wealth. Get a job and make as much money as you are able. But, as you pursue wealth, do not neglect contentment. Wealth is good, but if not joined with contentment it will lead to the sin of greed. 1 Timothy 6:10 says that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” Notice that the Bible does not say that “money” is the root of all kinds of evils, but that the “love” of money is the root of all kinds of evils. The question to answer is: “What will I do with it once I have it?” Greed counsels you to hoard it or lavishly spend it. God counsels you to be content with what you have and invest it as a blessing to others
Set goals for yourself and strive to achieve them. For some of you it may mean becoming a CEO, policeman, teacher, etc. Goals are good, but remember that the primary goal of your life should be to glorify God with your life. Goals that do not originate with God will never satisfy. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 2:21: “sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it.” Here is a person who had a goal of accomplishing much, only to see it be handed to someone else once he died. A good goal can even lead to despair if it fails to factor in God. Godless goals are nothing more than storing up “treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Matt 6:19). But, goals that originate with God satisfy because they have eternal significance. They are like storing up “treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt 6:20).
Enjoy life. You do not have much time on this earth so enjoy the time you have been given. It is good and proper to enjoy life, but remember that life without Christ leads to death. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Those who believe in Christ shall have eternal life but those who do not shall perish and suffer the torments of the lake of fire. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
In conclusion, pursue knowledge, pleasure, and wealth. Set goals and enjoy life. These things are good as long as Christ is at the center of your life. Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Have you committed your life to Him and are you following Him? If you are not a Christian, speak with Pastor Jeremy or another Christian.