Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold (Prov. 3:13–15; NIV).
As we wrap up our discussion and analysis of the survey that we did of 200 different Christian colleges, as we put the final comments on our analysis of higher education today, both of us, Ken and Greg, want to share our hearts with you, the students and future leaders of the Church in the world.
In this book we have dissected a lot of numbers, pointed a lot of fingers, and come to some pretty scary conclusions about what’s happening on campuses today. But truly, this book isn’t about college presidents and professors; this book is really all about you, the college student.
Whether you’re headed to college in the next couple of years or are currently enrolled, we want you to know that the reason we have taken up this issue at all is because we believe that you are worth it. Your hearts and minds are worth defending. But in all honesty, we can only do that to a certain extent, and now, even your parents will be limited in their ability and availability for keeping watch over your souls. During the college years, the responsibility for your spiritual well-being rests increasingly with you, not with anyone else. The college years are tremendously exciting. It’s really hard to overestimate the impact that they will have on the rest of your life. During college you are likely to solidify your core beliefs and worldview. It’s possible that you will meet and choose a lifelong spouse. And although God will direct you throughout the course of your whole life, it’s quite likely that during college you’ll also discover your purpose and mission — God’s obvious leading in your life for your future. And on top of that, you’re probably going to have a blast doing it!
Satan is strategically using subtle compromise as one of his most powerful weapons to degrade the authority of Scripture and undermine the faith of the next generation.
At the same time, as parents and leaders, we need to confess that we are leaving you with a world and a Church that has been seriously compromised. A frightening percentage of your peers are leaving their traditional church. Many are leaving their faith. Many will walk away from Christian devotion no matter what kind of school they go to. The truth is this: you are walking into a spiritual battle. It may not seem like it, but it’s true. Satan is strategically using subtle compromise as one of his most powerful weapons to degrade the authority of Scripture and undermine the faith of the next generation.
In other parts of the world, the battle is much more graphic. In China, for example, claiming to be Christian is a life or death decision. The book The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun shares the remarkable story of Christians in China who have developed home churches and in their devotion and commitment to Christ have watched the power of God explode and thousands become Christian.1 He and his fellow believers have suffered greatly but remained enthusiastic and faithful in spite of it. They are part of a movement called “Back to Jerusalem.” It is a missionary movement, and they are winning thousands to Christ as they retrace the Silk Road from China back to Jerusalem, sharing the gospel as they go. As he says in his book, they are an army of brokenhearted Chinese men and women who have already been through years of hardship and deprivation for the sake of the gospel. In worldly terms, they have nothing and appear unimpressive. But in the spiritual realm they are mighty warriors for Jesus Christ.
They have also started a college where students receive training in the following subjects:
- How to suffer and die for the Lord. We examine what the Bible says about suffering and look at how the Lord’s people have laid down their lives throughout history for the advance of the gospel.
- How to witness for the Lord. We teach how to witness under any circumstances . . . on the bus or trains, in the back of a police van or on our way to be executed.
- How to escape for the Lord. Sometimes we need to be in prison to witness and sometimes we know the devil sends us to prison to try to stop our message and it becomes our job to set ourselves free.
This is not exactly the curriculum of a normal or average college or seminary! But then again, there is nothing average or normal about pursuing a life of devotion to God at this level. The point is this: God is calling from our midst a group of students who in days ahead will pursue such a life of uncommon commitment and it will only be by wisdom that the Lord will allow any of us into such a life of significance.
The way we see our Western culture moving away from a Christian perspective before our very eyes (and we believe increasing compromise in churches, colleges, etc., has contributed greatly to this), we may even be in for a time of persecution in countries where there has been much freedom in regard to the proclamation of the gospel. Maybe such persecution will cleanse and strengthen the Church?
No one can lead you into this level of intimacy with God.
No matter where you go to school, we want to finish up this book by sharing with you a handful of principles that we firmly believe will help you to not only survive your college experience, but thrive through it all and maximize this opportunity for all it’s worth, that you might become some of those who share such an “uncommon commitment” and experience “such a life of significance.”
1. Treasure Christ above all things
If you’re going into a Christian college, it’s important that you are aware of one of the responses that we didn’t get to, Q2: “What does it mean to be a Christian institution?” This was an open-ended question; the presidents, vice presidents, and professors said whatever came to their minds first, so this list reflects their priorities:
|The Bible guides us:||36.9%|
|We teach the Bible as literally true:||27.6%|
|We require Christian behavior:||16.0%|
|We don’t allow secular teaching:||10.6%|
Think about this for a minute — 91 percent of the answers were about the Bible and behavior and the teaching — and we are all for that. These are all good answers, but what’s missing? Jesus. Hardly anybody mentioned Christ or even the gospel! It seems obvious to us that the most important thing that should distinguish a Christian institution is Jesus Christ Himself — that a college or university that claims the name of Christ should prioritize, above all things, Him and what He has done.
This is just to say that even though you may be going to a Christian college, it’s really still just an institution with a Christian name attached. It will be up to you and you alone to prioritize Jesus Christ in your life and in your education and in your future ministry. No one else can do that for you. In order to survive and thrive through the college years, the first and most important thing that we can encourage you to do is to have the same attitude that the Apostle Paul showed in Philippians 3:8–9:
I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ.
No one can lead you into this level of intimacy with God. The handholding is over. It’s your choice now. When you make Christ the priority, understanding He is the Word, you will then make sure you take His Word as it should be taken — as the revealed Word of the Creator God, who knows everything (Col. 2:3), who never tells a lie (Heb. 6:18), and who has always been there (Rev. 22:13). This will help you to not take the words of fallible man and reinterpret the clear teaching of the Word of God.
The compromising of God’s Word at Christian colleges is really an attack on Christ.
Let us explain. When church leaders reinterpret Genesis for instance, we insist this is an undermining of the authority of the Word, in spite of some scholars’ sincere intentions to the contrary. It is what we call “The Genesis 3” attack (i.e., creating doubt in regard to God’s Word and asking “Did God really say?”) and it ultimately undermines the authority of the Scripture. Although such beliefs as those above don’t affect the scholars’ salvation as such, they do have a great influence on the students and other Christians these professors influence.
Many young people in our churches are already doubting and disbelieving God’s Word. The result? At least two-thirds of children raised in theologically conservative churches now walk away from the church (or even the Christian faith altogether).
Do you realize how serious such compromise really is? Consider the following truths:
- We can only know the Father through the Son (Matt. 11:27).
- We know the Son (Jesus Christ) through the Word (Rom. 10:14–17).
- Jesus is the Word (John 1:1–3).
Then consider these verses:
Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9).
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15).
Here are two more verses that help show the connection between the Word and the Son of God:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds (Heb. 1:1–2; NKJV).
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made (John 1:1–3; NKJV).
Since Jesus is God, then God’s Word (the Old and New Testaments of the Bible) is Jesus Christ’s Word. Christ said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matt. 24:35 ). He also declared, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” ( John 8:31; NKJV; see also John 5:24, 8:37, and Rev. 3:8). And Jesus clearly demonstrated that He accepted Genesis 1–11 as true literal history.
What’s the bottom line?
When Christian leaders deliberately reinterpret God’s Word on the basis of man’s fallible ideas (taken from outside the Bible), not only are they undermining the Word of God, they are actually (though unwittingly) conducting an attack on the Son of God! This is very serious. Yes, when you compromise the Word of God, it is also an attack on the Son of God whose Word it is.
May God help each of us to cling to — and tremble before — His Word (Josh. 1:6–9; Isa. 66:1–2). And may He help us not to follow the teachings that compromise His Word and thereby (even unknowingly) attack His Son.
And this should be a reminder to all of us. We all fall short somewhere (Rom. 3:23) and when we are confronted with the Word of God, we need to humble ourselves, and trust what the Bible teaches in context and correct ourselves (2 Tim. 3:16–17). We need to let go of any pride and be still and know God is God. We need to lay our trust in Him in every area — all of us. For those compromising professors, they have no excuse not to trust the Word of God regarding creation, so the rebuke of this book should be met with wisdom that comes from God:
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you (Prov. 9:8; NKJV).
2. Experience the living Word
No matter where you go to school, it is vitally important to have a steady intake of truth from God’s Word. Not only this, but it is vital to understand that God’s Word is to be the foundation for all of your thinking in every area. Ken’s father reminded him of this in many ways — here are a couple of examples he taught:
Study Bibles: Always remember when reading a study Bible (or a commentary), that the notes are not inspired like the text (Scripture), but the text (Scripture) is the commentary on the notes!
When something in God’s Word seems to contradict what fallible man is saying (maybe a scientist or theologian, etc.), then you do two things:
- You first of all go to the text and make sure you are taking it according to the genre and context — if you are sure that you are taking it as it is meant to be taken and there is still a conflict, then:
- You don’t change (reinterpret) God’s Word to fit with what fallible man is saying — you stand upon God’s Word and continue to research and seek answers. Remember, only God knows everything — always put God’s Word first.
But please understand that you must have an intimate, personal relationship with God’s living Word, and not just take it second hand through other people’s teaching, or through daily chapel services. We are all called as students of His Word and way. Proverbs 3:13–15 says:
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her (NIV).
Of this you can be sure. If you do not want to do your own thinking, there are plenty of people who will do it for you. In fact, that characterizes more people than not who are so undiscriminating about what they allow into their minds. Thinking Christianly is hard work. The easy way out is to let others inform you about how you should think. That’s when it could really be said, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” We have found over the years that so many students will just believe what the professor says because he or she is such a nice person. This should not be the case. As the Scripture states in 2 Timothy 2:15, you should “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
The very meaning and quality of your life is at stake when it comes to what worldview you will use to consider the truth claims you will be exposed to.
The very meaning and quality of your life is at stake when it comes to what worldview you will use to consider the truth claims you will be exposed to. The only way to be a consistent Christian and build a consistent Christian worldview is to build all your thinking on God’s Word — beginning in Genesis. Never take man’s fallible ideas and add them to God’s Word — never reinterpret the clear teaching of God’s Word to fit with man’s fallible word.
The purpose and meaning of Christian higher education has never been any better described than in these verses from Proverbs 1:1–7:
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young — let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance — for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline (NIV).
And, Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
That is an important perspective because it is biblical, but important, too, for living in what is called the information age. Knowledge is increasing and we are being offered more and more information. You would think people would be getting smarter. In fact, if knowledge is doubling every three years, as some say, you would think it would not be too long before we, as very smart human beings, would be able to possess the virtues and qualities that would make our world a much better place. You would think by now there would be fewer wars than in the past, and that humankind would, at the very least, be able to see the futility of wars waged. You would think there would be less crime, less hunger, less suffering, stronger families, more integrity, responsible governments, more peace and tranquility, and less disease. Yet, on the contrary, the opposite is clearly the case, and it seems to be going from bad to worse — at least here in the United States.
Don’t be surprised when this happens — we need to learn the lesson God teaches us in His Word. Romans 1:18 tells us that “God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” The reason so many atheist bloggers and secular media reporters react so negatively and write so furiously against Bible-upholding ministries like Answers in Genesis is because they know in their hearts that there is a God — and they actively suppress that. What we are observing is the outworking of this active suppression. God’s Word is being illustrated before our eyes on this matter.
Also, remember that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9; NKJV). There is “none who understands; none who seeks after God” (Rom. 3:11; NKJV). Proverbs 1:29 reminds us that these people “hated knowledge.”
And don’t be surprised when certain religious leaders oppose those who stand for the truth of God’s Word. The prophets of old spoke about this — when Jesus walked on earth as the “God-man,” He had to deal with the religious leaders of the day.
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Matt. 7:15).
Their shepherds have led them astray (Jer. 50:6).
So be advised that listening to lectures, reading text books, writing papers, exploring research, completing assignments, attending class, and all the things that are virtues of the collegiate academic experience are no guarantee that you will become smarter. The increase in knowledge must go hand in hand with the pursuit of wisdom — placing God’s Word first! Wisdom is knowledge being applied. It is seeing life through God’s eyes, through God’s perspective. Wisdom means thinking God’s thoughts after Him. It is the ability to have insight and discretion. It is having a discerning spirit.
Wisdom leads us to do what is right, being righteous, which is simply that — doing right in the eyes of God. It is being just and fair. Wisdom means we value the life God has given us and value the lives of others. Wisdom guides us in our plans for the future and places confidence in our hearts that everything is in control of the One who is greater than ourselves and that He wants the absolute best for us in every way. It is wisdom that teaches us to “fear” the Lord in the sense, not that we are afraid of Him, but that we revere Him and honor Him and live Coram Deo — which means before the face of God and under His authority. Instructing students in the pursuit of wisdom is in fact the moral imperative of a Christian college. It is the moral imperative for this institution.
We tell you on the basis of the truth of the Word of God that seeking after wisdom, putting God and His Word first, is the greatest blessing known to man, and ignoring it will lead to your ultimate destruction. But you must first know that your Father in heaven wishes to bless you today and give victory in the face of any issue of life. Listen to these words from Provers 2:1–11:
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding — indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair — every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you (NIV).
Proverbs 3:1–8 reads:
My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones (NIV).
Think of it: You are promised victory when you honor God’s Word. You will be protected, for God Himself will become a shield for you. He guards you and guides you and protects you. You will find a long, productive, and prosperous life. You will be full of love and faithfulness. You will find favor and have a good name and reputation with both God and men and you will enjoy good health, being nourished by the very hand of God. Who could possibly promise so much and make good on all that is promised besides God? No one! What a blessing these words are. They are life and light, they are sustenance and prosperity. They are promised by God the Father, delivered in Jesus Christ His Son, and reserved for all who believe in the Holy Spirit.
Will you, to your own peril, reject the promises of God? Consider these words from Proverbs 1:20–33:
Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech: “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you — when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruits of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm” (NIV).
If you are in Christ, God is for you today and willing and more than able to bless you beyond your wildest imagination. He alone is able to heal all your hurts, to forgive all your sin. He alone has written a personal plan for your life. He knows you and calls you by name. You can belong to Him. You can seek Him and find Him, for He is as near as your very breath. One of the greatest blessings of wisdom is that it alone will open the door for you to a life of significance — something that God puts in the hearts of the creatures He loves. We are destined for a life of purpose — a life that will glorify our Creator. It is a life of joy and enthusiasm.
But it is a life different from what many typically expect. It is not necessarily a life full of the trappings of our culture. It may or may not include vast resources of financial or physical assets; it is rather a life of significance available to those who through wisdom seek what only God can give.
But it all starts when you jump in and pursue the living Word of God on your own. Again, this is something that no one else can do for you. You may or may not sit under gifted spiritual teachers during college, but nothing, nothing, can be a substitute for the time that you will spend in the Word of God yourself, experiencing its wisdom and power as the truth sets you free to be all that God created you to be.
3. Church and para-church involvement
The Christian life was not designed to be lived alone. Repeatedly, God describes us as a body that works together and encourages each other for His purposes. No matter where you go, we feel that it is imperative to surviving and thriving in the college years to find committed fellowship under the guidance of spiritual leaders who both know and apply the authority of God.
It is vital that you find a local church where the Word of God is preached and the members live in light of that teaching as the body of Christ.
Many students will find this in a local church where the Body of Christ is alive and well, and where the truth of the Word is lived out naturally. It is vital that you find a local church where the Word of God is preached and the members live in light of that teaching as the body of Christ. You may also find support on campus in a para-church ministry (but beware — many of them compromise in the same way we have seen from the research we have detailed in this book). On both Christian and secular campuses, these parachurch organizations can be spiritual lifesavers, and often times they are the training and equipping stations that can ignite you for a lifelong strategic mission. Sadly, there are those that do more harm than good because they do not stand on God’s Word as they should — you will need to be discerning and judge what they believe and teach against the authority of God’s Word. No matter where you go to school, supplement your academic education with dynamic fellowship, teaching, and worship experiences. We all need that. That’s how God created us! It is simply an essential.
4. Prepare for battle
The surveys that were conducted by America’s Research Group for this book clearly showed that the biblical worldview is under attack by secular influences within the Christian colleges. These enemies of faith have, to a certain degree, succeeded in infiltrating and influencing Christian institutions. We are in a battle with the world’s system. You must prepare yourself, no matter where you go. Listen again to what’s at stake. These kinds of quotes should awaken us and call us to action:
Dr. Richard Dawkins: “Faith is one of the world’s great evils . . . it is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly . . . it seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness.”2
Dr. Steven Weinberg: “If scientists can destroy the influence of religion on young people, then I think it may be the most important contribution we can make.”3
Richard Rorty: Secular professors should “arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own.”4
5. Keep your guard up wherever you go
Students, even if you think you’re going into a conservative Christian educational institution, our research has proven that you need to be wary and enter with a healthy skepticism of what will be taught. Your commitment to the Bible as your authority means that you must check everything that you are taught by anyone by comparing it to the truth of Scripture.
Don’t let your guard down by letting anything except the Bible become your final authority. Hopefully you’ll meet many committed and caring professors along the way, but they are not your source of truth. Just because your parents endorsed you going to this school does not mean that your teachers know best. In many situations liberal professors are more personable than staunch conservatives who come across as closed-minded and impersonal. (That’s not always the case, just a generalization here.) If you allow their position and personality to justify their theology (which may be seriously compromised), you’re setting yourself up for problems. Truth is determined by the Word, not by someone’s social skills. Keep your guard up, and protect your soul by the truth of Scripture.
6. Have a mission
The last message that we have from the Apostle Paul is 2 Timothy, written as final advice to his close friend and young disciple. Consider this challenge from 2 Timothy 2:22:
Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
If you want to survive and thrive, having a clear mission is not an option. It’s imperative. The account of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel is a clear warning: Anyone who is not engaging in the battle as they should becomes an easy target for sin and compromise. God has designed you to go for it! During college you have an unprecedented opportunity to allow the Lord to work through you to minister somewhere in some specific way. Pursue this with brothers and sisters in the Lord who share your passion. It’s the best way to flee from the lusts and the lies of the world that seek to bring you down.
7. Plan on victory
A few years ago, Warner University experienced the fury and devastation of four killer hurricanes. The school had damages of $3 million. In Florida, losses totaled $42 billion. But what was experienced in Florida in the summer of 2004 is overshadowed by overwhelming power and destruction of the events of December 26, 2004, when a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck 100 miles from the western coast of Sumatra Island. It was the strongest quake in the world since 1964. It was the fourth-strongest quake since recording began in 1899. This slippage of the tectonic plates caused a tsunami that traveled 500 miles an hour and made landfall in several locations with catastrophic devastation. The earthquake that caused the tsunami was calculated as having the power of 23 atomic bombs, the like of which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was a power so great that seismologists detected the earth literally shaking on its axis. These natural disasters revealed just how fragile the world really is, and is an illustration of how the kingdom of this world is shaking at its very foundations. This earthly kingdom will pass away and it will be far more dramatic than the most recent earthquake and tsunami. According to 2 Peter 3:10:
The heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
We understand why Jesus said we should not love the kingdom of this world. It is passing away in the physical sense and in the spiritual sense too. If we are feeling any consolation or any confidence in being part of this world we are missing the point of the message of the gospel.
Jesus explained to us that the kingdom of this world promotes and encourages everything that God is against. The earthly kingdom is full of pride, jealousy, hatred, malice, murder, and deceit. It promotes everything that is unwholesome and ungodly. Those who oppose God and everything He stands for lead it. And so as it says in 1 John 2:15–17:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever (NIV).
God will eventually judge the kingdom of this world and expose its darkness by turning on His light. And this light is Jesus. And He is shining on the world to expose our evil deeds. Everything about the ways of the earthly kingdom God will destroy. And not just the earth, but all the spiritual wickedness and unrighteousness that goes with it. It is one thing to honestly struggle with our persistent sin . . . God is for that person, not against him or her . . . but He is dead set against us when we sin, acting like we do so with impunity and never understanding the need we have for the Savior.
God will eventually judge the kingdom of this world and expose its darkness by turning on His light.
God plays no games on this account. He has offered full forgiveness and mercy by the sacrifice for sin, taking the responsibility for our salvation on Himself alone. He requires us only to repent of our sin and believe in His name to enter the eternal kingdom. He is justified in destroying those who sin against Him and reject this offer of salvation. We must realize God is under no obligation to save anyone. He does so only as He exhibits His own nature and character. Consider the sobering words of Hebrews 2:1–3:
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such great salvation? (NIV).
The signs are all around us that the shaking of the kingdom of this world is imminent. As college students, you must choose for yourselves whether you will become a servant to this worldly kingdom or choose the Kingdom of God. Staying connected to this world means living in fear instead of knowing peace. It is remaining as a slave to sin instead of being set free. It is being lost instead of rescued.
To refuse Him is to wallow in that tormenting guilt instead of knowing forgiveness and grace. Instead, God is offering you right now the choice to be part of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. It is the eternal Kingdom of God, and Jesus said it is with you and shall be in you. It is the kingdom of peace and righteousness and holiness. It is the kingdom of victory and power. It is the kingdom of deliverance. It is the kingdom of life and light. And it cannot be shaken. And of His Kingdom there shall be no end. Hebrews 12:25–29 reads:
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire (NKJV).
Consider this quote from Malcolm Muggeridge.
We look back upon history and what do we see, empires rising and falling, revolutions and counter-revolutions, wealth accumulated and wealth disbursed. Shakespeare has spoken of the rise and fall of the great ones. I look back upon my own fellow countrymen, once upon a time dominating a quarter of the world, most of them convinced of the words of what is still a popular song, that the God who made the mighty shall make them mightier yet. I heard a crazed Austrian announce to the world the establishment of a Reich that would last a thousand years. I’ve seen an Italian clown saying he was going to stop and restart the calendar with his own ascension to power. I met a murderous Georgian Brigand in the Kremlin acclaimed by the intellectual elite of the world as wiser than Solomon, more humane than Marcus Aralias, more enlightened than a shoker, all in one lifetime, all gone. Gone with the wind. England, part of a tiny island off the coast of Europe, threatened with dismemberment and even bankruptcy, Hitler and Mussolini dead, remembered only in infamy. Stalin a forbidden name in the regime he helped found and dominate for some three decades, all in one lifetime, all in one lifetime, gone. Still behind the debris of these self-styled Solomon supermen and imperial diplomatist, stands the gigantic figure of one person because of whom, by whom, in whom, and through whom mankind might still have hope, the person of Jesus Christ. And He has given a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and of this kingdom there shall be no end.5
Our charge to you as students, therefore, is to not be afraid. Be strong and courageous for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Consider these words from Haggai 2:6–7:
For thus says the Lord of hosts, “Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory” (NKJV).
There is no way we will lose the war. The heavens and earth shake, but we are receiving a kingdom that will not be shaken. We are the ultimate survivors and victors. We need not be discouraged or be in despair. We may falter and exhibit our frailties, but Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matt. 16:18).
And so, with all that has been said and done in this book, we have little left to say, and nothing left to do but to release you, as students and future leaders and servants of the Church, into the hands of God. You’re entering institutions of higher learning that to one degree or another are already compromised. You’re stepping across the threshold into a fallen world, and this is where God calls you to be — to be in this world, yet not of it. The battles will be many, but we believe that you can do more than just survive; we believe that you can thrive as you grow in intimacy with God in Christ like you have never, never experienced before. And we firmly believe that you are part of the Kingdom that cannot be shaken, even as the fallen world around you proceeds from bad to worse.
Would you allow us to leave you with this one final blessing?
May the Lord bless you, and keep you and cause his face to shine upon you. May his peace, which surpasses all comprehension, guard your hearts and your minds in the knowledge of Christ Jesus, always. In any and every circumstance may you know the secret of contentment: You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, yet apart from Him, you can do nothing. May the truth of His living Word, and the reality of His Spirit within you, be your ultimate authority in all things. As you learn and grow in knowledge, may your hearts and minds be receptive to the life-giving truths of Scripture, which is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. By God’s grace and mercy, may you know the truth. And may the truth set you free. Amen.