The 259 students receiving degrees represented 34 states and five countries. Graduates included 38 students receiving associate's and bachelor's degrees from The College at Southeastern, the seminary's undergraduate school, and 18 receiving a master of arts in intercultural studies from the college.
"The world desperately needs radical transformation," Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., said at the May 16 ceremony in Binkley Chapel. "The Lord has commanded us to proclaim the only message there is for the transformation of human souls."
Davis' oldest daughter Jenny was among the graduates.
"Look back at all you have done ... as an offering to your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," Davis said.
He called graduating students to have grateful hearts and give God all the glory for their accomplishment, looking ahead to a life of fruitful service.
Davis earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from MIT. While working as an engineer, he earned his master of divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. In 1998, he graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a doctor of philosophy in church history. He is a visiting professor of historical theology at Southeastern.
The world will oppose efforts to advance God's Kingdom, Davis warned. "America is changing before our very eyes. It is less comfortable with the Christian faith than ever before in its history," he said.Preaching from 1 Corinthians 3, Davis said, "every human being faces two great threats" -- losing their soul and wasting their life, adding that avoiding those pitfalls requires believers to build their lives on the foundation that Jesus Christ has laid, he said.
"A foundation is something that is established and can't be moved," Davis said. "Every other foundation for life will be swept away by judgment."
Davis asked those in the audience if they were saved. "Have you fled to the cross?" he said. "Repent and believe in Jesus."
Davis said, "As you go forth in the world, preach the Gospel boldly. Jesus is the gold, silver and costly stones that we have to offer the world."
Each day "begins as straw and you can spin it into gold," Davis said. "Put the eternal God onto display.... Graduating class of 2014, don't waste your life on wood, hay and straw."
Mark Liederbach, vice president for student services and dean of students at Southeastern, honored the parents and spouses of graduates.
To watch Davis' message online, visit multimedia.sebts.edu/.
Ali Dixon is a news and information specialist at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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