As Franklin Graham spoke to Liberty University’s 50th graduating class on May 12th, he challenged them to be bold and strong—and to live out their faith.
“The world wants you to sit down and shut up,” said Franklin Graham. “No, don’t you do that. I want you to stand up, to shout out, to lift up your voice, to lift up the truth, to live for Jesus Christ.
“Class of ’23, live your life for Him.”
The president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse shared how his college career got off to a rough start, but that he finally got his degree six years later.
“Now while many of you are graduating with honors, my mother says I graduated with relief,” said Franklin Graham, drawing a good chuckle from students and their families.
He also shared his personal connection to the university, which was founded in 1971 and has more than 130,000 undergrad, graduate, and doctoral students on the roll.
“All of my children attended Liberty,” Franklin Graham said. His three sons, Edward, Will, and Roy all met their future wives while there.
“I thank God for the women my sons married,” he said, “that they met right here.”
Whatever the future holds—ministry, the mission field, a corporate job, or other plans, the evangelist talked about what grads might encounter.
The world is changing, Franklin Graham said. “It has changed so much since the time you set foot on this campus just a few years ago. … The increase in violence, the moral decline.
“We’re just in a freefall. Why is that? Because we’ve turned our back on God and His truth.”
He compared these times with the days of Noah in Genesis 6, where God saw how wicked mankind had become and was sorry He had created humanity.
“He was grieved in His heart,” said Franklin Graham. “… I can’t help but think that the heart of God is grieved as He looks at our world today.”
“So what do we do?” he continued. “We’re to be that beacon of light, that city on a hill, standing for the Word of God and His truth in a culture of confusion and lies.”
A major theme of his message was about truth—something many people think is relative and want to define for themselves. Franklin Graham pointed students to the Bible, to help them point others to Jesus Christ.
“The Gospel is the only hope for a dying world,” said Franklin Graham. “… To stand for truth, you have to know God’s Word.
“As you go out with this new chapter of life, make sure you take the Word of God and read it, believe it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it.”
As the night sky darkened, graduates heard one last challenge before leaving campus.
“Eight billion people … need God’s truth, the truth of the Gospel,” said Franklin Graham.
“My prayer is that … the class of ’23 will be known as the class that stood for truth in a world overflowing with wickedness, deception, and lies,” he said.
“I hope you’ll go forth today as His champions for Christ. May God bless each and every one of you.”