Golden Gate Seminary's Winter Commencement 2014

"God is sending you into a difficult world," Jeff Iorg explained to the 75 graduates at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's winter commencement ceremony. He continued, "But don't be dismayed, because He did the same thing to Jesus."

During his charge, Iorg preached from the second chapter of Luke. "When the president of the country arrives in a city, the airport is closed, the roads are shut down, and the hotels are secured and prepared," Iorg said during the Dec. 12 ceremony held at Dominican University in San Rafael, Calif. "Jesus did not enter our world with a reception like that."

The world Jesus entered was one of political turmoil, confused priorities and spiritual indifference. "Herod ordered the murder of infants. There was no space at an inn for a woman about to give birth. A number of Old Testament prophecies pointed to Christ's birth and only a small number of people were able to recognize it," Iorg said.

"The world God is sending you into is similar in many ways," Iorg said. "The world you are entering is full of political turmoil, represented by ISIS, South American dictatorships, and the actions of Russia's government in Ukraine. A world in which athletes and entertainers make millions of dollars and even churches have descended into materialism is a confused world. We very well may have gone beyond spiritual indifference in our world to spiritual opposition.

"God didn't make a mistake in sending Jesus into the world, and He isn't making a mistake by sending you into this broken world."

Iorg's instructions to the graduates were to apply the Gospel in their own lives, in their communities, and in their churches. "True transformation requires people who live as if God is real," Iorg said. He continued, "I receive emails from time to time from a graduate who pastors a church in a small town in central California. He told me he was sure of one thing in ministry: sharing the Gospel in the community is very important. Today, nearly a hundred students walk across the street from the local high school every Wednesday night for a meal and a Gospel presentation. Lives are being transformed."

Iorg also shared a story about the church he planted in Oregon. It recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. "This church started with 4 families and is now up to 900 members. It has grown because the members are committed to living out the Gospel in the community."

Iorg ended his message by telling the graduates to "do these things and make a change in the world. It will be challenging, but it needs you desperately."

Pastor Jae Myung Shin was awarded the William O. Crews Leadership award, the Seminary's highest honor for students.

Tyler Sanders is coordinator of communications for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.