It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself (2 Corinthians 4:13-14).
These words penned by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth were running through my mind as I watched the online Moore Theological College Distance Graduation this week. In a COVID season characterised by a lack of stability and consistency, these words ring true and provide a backbone for the Christian man and woman like nothing else. For these words aren’t just true of the Apostle Paul and his fellow gospel workers around AD55, but relevant to every Christian at present. These words provide a purpose for life, stability and identity in life, and an assurance of where our lives are going. These words are of central importance. We who believe in the Lord Jesus are saved, and we speak this good news of God’s salvation because of the resurrection and eternal life that awaits us.
And knowing that the gospel changes everything, it is so encouraging to see how many students are wanting to continue to drink deeply from the Scriptures and grow in their love and knowledge of God. Hearing the stories of our distance graduates should cause us to stop and give thanks to our great God. We should give thanks because our distance graduates aren’t studying for merely intellectual knowledge, they are studying to know the Bible better, and therefore to confidently proclaim Jesus to those around them.
Jamie Telfer, Academic Administrator with the Distance team at Moore and who prayed at the distance graduation, says of the interactions she has had with our graduating students: “they are an amazing group of people that are genuinely thankful for and eager to learn from God’s word.”
Our distance graduates are located all over Sydney, all over Australia and all over the world. They have different educational backgrounds, work in different fields, are at different life stages and serve in a variety of churches. And all of them have unique opportunities to speak of the life that Jesus brings, to people of varying ages, socioeconomic status’, religious backgrounds and cultural persuasions. And so, we give thanks to God, who has softened their hearts to believe the gospel, and has put it on their hearts to proclaim that same gospel to those around them.
Dr Chris Thomson, who is the Director of Distance at Moore, addressed the graduating students in his Bible talk on Colossians 2, saying “Your desire to grow in your faith and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is a great encouragement to all of us here at Moore College.” Dr Thomson noted that “the goal of all Paul’s hard work is the same as our goal here at Moore College,” namely that the Colossian believers “may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2-3). Thus “Paul’s ministry, like ours, is to proclaim Christ and Christ alone.”
Just as the Scriptures encourage us to give thanks, we are also encouraged to pray. We should be praying for the distance graduates of the College, that they would continue to preach the gospel of our crucified Lord boldly. Pray that the study they have done through distance education would bear fruit of the sake of winning many for Jesus and his kingdom. And being reminded of what these graduates have done and where they are hoping to serve Jesus, let us remind ourselves to pray ceaselessly that the Lord of the harvest might raise up more and more workers for the harvest (Matthew 9:38). And pray that the Lord might put it on the hearts of many to consider theological education, whether that be in the form of the Preliminary Theological Certificate, or one of our suite of more advanced courses offered here at Moore. For there are so many in the world who need to hear stable, loving, life-giving message of salvation in Christ alone. And that is surely the work of every Christian, to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9b)