Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Christian Unity p22
By the way, this was a whole sermon from Lloyd-Jones on Ephesians 4:1, just on the very first word. "Therefore" Only the Doctor could do that.
Thoughts on the way toward a radical encounter with God
The title of this book will make you pick it up and look at it, if nothing else, but the way that Summit Church Pastor JD Greear tackles a difficult topic will be the reason you stay with it to the end.
In the book, Greear relays his own difficulties in growing up in his particular brand of evangelicalism. That is to say, one that practices extended altar calls, revivalism, and stresses personal moment of conversion. This is a strand I am familiar with having grown up in it and now pastoring in a section of the country where that view is most prevalent.
Right from the beginning though, he makes his premise clear
In Acts 6 there is a complaint that arises in the early church. Murmuring is coming from the Hellenistic widows, saying they are being ignored in favor of the Jewish widows. The 12 disciples act quickly and decisively, calling on the church to appoint 7 men, full of the Holy Ghost and of a good report to attend to this matter.
I recently finshed a book called "Christ and the Media", which is a series of 3 lectures given by Malcom Muggeridge. Muggeridge was a brilliant journalist and TV personality in England and for the BBC in the 20th century. The lectures were over the role that TV specifically plays in the shaping of culture and society, and of our values. The lectures were given in 1976, but like most timely words, they still stand true in our time today. I wondered what Muggeridge would say could he see our society now, and the effect that media and the internet play in our daily lives.
“Mr. President, Mr. President!” Three voices spoke almost as one. “Mr. President, do I have the floor?”
The president’s gavel hammered vigorously. “The Chair recognizes Brother Stealey.”
“Mr. President, we must settle this evolution issue at once,” Clarence Stealey said. “Let the messengers to this annual session of the Southern Baptist Convention vote now. It’s the most pressing matter before us in 1925. Brother Burts’s money report can come later.”
“Mr. President!” shouted Bronson Ray taking advantage of Stealey’s pause, “the editor from Oklahoma may think other matters are more important than money. But that’s because he doesn’t have the foreign missionaries looking to him for their salaries. He doesn’t have debts piling higher every month and precious little money coming in to pay them. I tell you we are in a bad way. This Convention must do something before it leaves Memphis...”
The gavel beat out an insistent interruption.
“Gentleman, Gentleman!” said President McDaniel. “Let’s get on with the order of business. Brother Charles Burts has been standing here for ten minutes now to give his report. We shall hear him now.”
Burts eyes moved over the big room, and then back to the paper in his hand. He read slowly, his voice lifting slightly as he accented certain words and phrases. His was the first annual report of the Future Program Commission, of which he was general director. The report set forth and named the new unified budget of the denomination.
“From the adoption of this report it shall be known as the Cooperative Program,” read Burts.
The report was adopted in routine fashion by messengers anxious to get on with debate on evolution. With that action, the the Cooperative Program was launched May 13, 1925 at the Southern Baptist Convention in Memphis, TN.
The Cooperative Program was almost overlooked in the beginning. State papers were concerned with debts and debate. Few messengers paid attention to it or caught its significance.
Our Cooperative Program By W. E. Grindstaff, Sunday School Training Course material 1965 Published by Convention Press
Such humble beginnings for something that most Baptist’s would be quick to praise now. Something that seems to be an indispensable part of Baptist life is less than 100 years old and got off to a slow start, as Grindstaff later discusses in his book. Grindstaff served as pastor of several churches in Oklahoma after attending OBU, and later served the BGCO and was director of Cooperative Program Promotion with the Stewardship Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, so this is an area he is well familiar with. There were several failed attempts at funding the work of Southern Baptist before this, such as the Judson Memorial Fund, and the many pleas made by agencies to churches every week across the country. Until the Conventions agencies paid off most of their outstanding debts with the “Hundred Thousand Club” from 1933-1943, the CP was slow in getting going.
Once it finally started rolling, it was a great plan that funded untold salvations, missionaries, block parties, and baptisms, among other things. Much has been made of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Reports, none of which I desire to rehash here. But as I read this book, by a man commissioned by the Southern Baptist Convention to write a training course to educate all Southern Baptists on the Cooperative Program, I was struck at the time it took them to reach the conclusion of the CP, and the time , again and again, it took to fine tune it. I know that we have now reached that time again, but I hope we don’t forget that there will not be monumental changes that take place in a few weeks in Orlando. It could start us down that path, but history tells we are at no guarantee to end up where we think we will. Obstacles arise, new ideas come forth, and we must do the best to continue to push the gospel, to our neighbors and the nations.
This story, and the book, reminds me that this will be a long process. There is no guarantee that the task force will get this right the first time. I want to get it right the first time as much as anyone, but this process of changing the way things are done, restructuring, and reorganizing, and refocusing must be done. We must take a big picture approach and trust that God is in control, and trust the men set in place to make these decisions. Each church ultimately decides what happens with the CP, and each pastor in the SBC gets to make a decision about whether or not to push the changes, or accept the old way, or go for something completely different.
I for one am glad for the CP, the work it has done, and the work it will do. I trust the messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention to make choices to continue to honor God in all areas of finances.
The church is the living family of the living God and as such cannot be a static institution, doting on it's past traditions. It must be a vital, aggressive, spiritual organism assaulting all the deeply entrenched evils of earth in the name of God.
This is from Studies in Timothy by C.A. Trentham. This was a book put out by the SS Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in the 40's and 50's. These books were used for training union purposes, and offer a great glimpse into the thought life of the SBC during that time.
This could have been written yesterday, but instead is 50 years old. "There is no new idea under the sun" Seems like I have read that somewhere...
This sounds like it might be from Ed Stetzers latest book, but I found it in Studies in Acts by William Fallis, which was put out by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1947. Southern Baptists had a leg up on being missional, according to this.
"Missionary work cannot be done in a vacuum- simply because the lost don't live in a vacuum. They have their own ideas about God and man, their own attitudes towards them. Whether they live in exclusive Heather Heights, or on an Indian reservation, whether they teach in a European University or farm in the African bush, they have some kind of religious inclination, some kind of world outlook.
The missionary on the foreign field and the soul winner in the local home church must become acquainted with the religion and world outlook of those whom they would win to Christ. Until the soul winner becomes somewhat familiar with the thought world of the lost person, he'll not have much success in bringing him to a saving faith in Christ. Christians who are committed to world missions, therefore, must be willing and able to encounter - as in a conflict- pagan culture and sin."
Although I am not so sure about the idea of relating it to conflict when we encounter culture, it is sound advice for all of us today.
One of the most interesting things about Easter to me is the times that scripture doesn't say much about. Imagine the disciples despair on the days between the death and his resurrection. They had followed this man around for years, hearing him talk about the coming kingdom, how he could destroy the temple and build it back. They saw Lazarus come hoping out of the grave. And then just like that it was over. They didn't get what Christ was about. They still didn't after he came back.
As Jesus is about to ascend into heaven, they ask if now is the time he will restore his kingdom. They were still looking for a mighty conqueror to come and set them free from the Romans. Then it hit me. That is what Jewish history was all about. Mighty men of war, valor, and stature, who set Israel free from bondage.
Abraham chased down the Amalekites to resuce Lot, and defeated them. He was a man of great wealth and stature, and a man of war. Moses led the Israelites out of the bondage of the great Pharoh, and defeated his great army. David killed the giant. Joshua conquered people after people as he led them into the Promised Land. Samson went through Philistines like straws. Gideon, Caleb, Othniel, and others.
Even some of the prophets got into the act. They boldy stood up to kings, called bears out of the woods, called down fire from heaven, and made the clouds dry up with their prayers.
Then there was Jesus. No home, no army. No mighty men like David had. Just a ragtag group of disciples and followers, who didn't understand him at all. Jesus was the antithesis of what they thought the Saviour would be like. They thought he would be a mighty warrior like all the others in the history of Israel. They thought he came to set them free from the Romans.
That is one reason people still have trouble with Jesus today. He is the antithesis of what the world think he should be. No great education, no great might. Couldn't even same himself from the cross. Scandalous. The Cross is a stumbling block to many, and Jesus is also. He is the opposite of everything the world says that he should be.
I hope that we can run to him, turn to him, follow him. Even when the world calls us foolish for following someone like that, I hope we still run to him.
Lately I have been reading through Exodus. My reading for today was Exodus 22. Exodus is really exciting in the beginning, with the burning bush, plagues, Angels of Death, and all that is going on. The Ten Commandments are given in Exodus 20, and then Moses starts in on some of the law given to him by God. Some might call it boring, particularly chapter 22, which starts off with an admonition about what to do if a man is caught stealing an ox, and moves on to grazing animals, borrowed animals, and so on.
But then right in the middle of all of that is Exodus 22:21-27
This is a repost of a short story from 2003. I remembered it as I was rehashing some of these same themes in my life again. Hope you like it.
"Go here", the man said, pointing at my map. "This will give you what you need." I had been looking for this place forever, and finally I knew I was on my way to the right place. I picked up my belongings and headed down the road. Boy was I tired. I had been on the road a long time. I had never wanted anything so bad in my life. I was tired, extremely weary, but my pace picked up as my excitement did about reaching the end of my journey. My heart began to burn within me as saw the place on the horizon. I had talked to many people, young and old about this place. I read stories of men and women of old who had been there. I sat in seminars and sermons that promised to show me the way. I had searched kind of half-heartedly for a while. Finally, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I left everything I owned, packed up what I could carry, and went on my way. I had been to the cities, teeming with people. Lots of them were on their journey also. I bonded with many of them. I had been in the middle of the forest, where the only light I had was the moon. I had been on top of the mountains, where it was cold and desolate. There was more than one occasion I thought I would not make it out alive. But here I was. I dropped some more of my belongings that were slowing me down on the way. The closer I got, the less I found I needed to carry.
There I stood at the door. Not what I had expected. Maybe that's why it took me so long to find it. Not much to look at. I was expecting a grand palace. But this was not. Not too small. Not too extravagant. Just enough room, it seemed, for everything to fit. And there it said over the door, CONTENTMENT. Yes, this is what I had searched for.
The door was small, it was clear I would have to leave what I still had in my hands to make it through. I pushed open the door. It acted like it had not been opened in a long time. I had to force it open with my shoulder. The door swung open and my eyes took a moment to adjust to the light. There were some people in there, all talking with each other. The chairs did not look comfortable, the floor was dirt, and the air was kind of musty. But I had never seen happier people in my life. Most of them were dressed in rags dirtier than mine, but they did not care. I recognized some of them. There was the couple that could not bear children from my old church. There was the woman who had lost her husband on the mission field. There was the man who God had called away from the woman he loved to the people who were lost. I was tad confused and nervous as I approached the man sitting behind the desk.
"Excuse me", I managed to get out. He turned to face me and his eyes pierced to my soul. His eyes were so kind, like they saw everything about me but did not care.
"Can I help you?" he replied.
"Is this contentment?" I asked, kind of ashamed to look at him.
"Yes" he replied. "It's not what you thought, is it? It never is." "But here with me, you will find everything you need."
I was told I would find it when I searched for with all my heart. I had given everything for it. And this was it? My indignation began to grow. Was this it? I had bled and cried for this? I nearly lost my life for this? I was tempted to give up on it and run back out the door, down the road. Maybe I could still find some of the things I had given up for this. Maybe I could get my life together. Maybe it was not too late.
He must have sensed my fear and frustration. "Child," he said. "You are free to run out that door and reclaim the things that you gave up to enter in. But please, let me help you. You came all this way. Let me heal your wounds from the journey. Let me help you."
Something in his eyes compelled me to stay. We went in the back and he bandaged up my wounds. He helped to ease my pain. I could have talked to him forever. I poured out my heart to him, and he healed the wounds of my heart also. I talked to him and to the others in the room. I did not know where my next meal would come from, or even if there would be one. I did not know if I was warm or cold. All we had to sleep on was the floor. But I did not care, I just wanted to be there with him, for I knew he had it all I under control. I did not want to ever leave. Sometimes I thought about my old life, but it just made me sick. But hearing his voice as he taught us, made me forget about it.
People came through the door, every now and then. Some stayed. Some ran back out the door. My heart would hurt for them. It still does. To think that there are people out there that do not know this joy. It pained my soul. We did everything we could to let the outside know what joy they could know, but they just did not believe it.
I never found what I was looking for. I found something better. I found something more fulfilling. I found something far beyond my wildest dreams. My prayer is that my old life will continue to make me sick. That I will despise it. That I will simply trust in him who provides all my needs. I love you, Jesus. Everything I need comes from you. If I sleep in my car, if I don't have a job. All I need is you. All I need is you.
Jeremiah 29:13 "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
I'm at the Oklahoma Youth Ministry Forum, where Jerrod Jones is the featured speaker. He was talking about Jesus and his prayer life, and made the comment that when Jesus was tempted with sin, as we know he was, he turned to prayer. Scripture is clear that Jesus was tempted in every way like we are (Hebrews 4:15). His point was that when we are tempted many of us run to accountability partners or others to help us through, not a bad thing, but when we do that more than turn to God in prayer, that is obviously not good.
Now scripture is clear that accountability is a good thing.
As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22
And scripture is also clear that we are to imitate Christ.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:5
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:15
And on and on I could go with those.
But it seems like when we see Jesus in scriptures making an important decision, calling His disciples, or facing temptation in the desert, or other things, he always turns to God in prayer. In fact, we never see Jesus seeking counsel from other men. I suppose that is the disconnect between being the God-Man, as Jarrod Jones suggested when I posed this question to him.
I just wander why if we are to follow Jesus as our example, we never see him doing these things, seeking accountability or counsel. I guess God the Father and the Holy Spirit serve as those things for him. And why would Jesus seek advice from stupid men, and the disciples proved over and over to be. I am not sure I would want their advice, prior to the filling of the Holy Spirit.
I am not really saying anything definitively one way or the other, just something I had never thought about before.
I am always perusing used book stores every where I go for things that interest me. A nerdy hobby, but mine nonetheless. I came across this book somewhere, I don't remember where. It peaked my interest as it was a book about revival, by Southern Baptists. In fact, it quotes Dr. E.M Dodd, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, as comparing it to the Welsh Revival, and other famous revivals through out history. It was put out by the Home Mission Board, of the Southern Baptist Convention, in 1971. It is account by fomer missionary to China Dr. C.L. Culpepper. He recounts the tale of the revival that spread through China in the 1930's. Amazing stories of God at work. Dr. Culpepper was challenged by a Miss Monsen, a "Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran", whatever that means, as they prayed for his wife's eyesight, even at the Culpeppers hesitance, as "prayer for healing seemed unorthodox for Baptist people." There are varying accounts of this revival from different perspectives, as it was not one claimed only by Baptists, but by the Lutherans, Methodists, and generally anyone else involved.
You can hear Dr. Culpepper share his testimony himself, at Sermon Index. There are varying accounts of this revival from different perspectives, Such as here or here . It was not one claimed only by Baptists, but by the Lutherans, Methodists, and generally anyone else involved. I have a few other excerpts below.
A missionary wrote, "We have experienced a revival during the past week that would never have believed possible. I heard confessions of sin until my ears and heart hurt as I thought of them. My own heart was deeply convicted, and I was brought so low that I would have despaired if I hadn't had the blessed hope in Christ." A report from other regions as the revival spread.
"From this group I baptized 89 on one occasion. At another church I baptized 203 at one time. From that time on we had to baptize 20 or 30 every month.
One of the most amazing results of the revival was that it did what the word "revival" implies. It revived spiritually dead churches. Many church in China had stopped holding worship services, and others met only when the missionaries had time to visit them. Following the revival they began meeting regularly, and most of them even had prayer meetings during the week. When no preacher was available, laymen led the services.
My heart has been renewed by reading these accounts, I hope you take the time to listen to the account. It is about 50 minutes long but very much worth it.
I have been reading through Daniel as part of M'Cheyne Bible Reading Plan, and was doing some reading in Matthew Henry's Commentary about the prophecies concerning the 70 weeks, and the controversy that surrounds all of it, start dates, stop dates, etc. I came across this quote that I thought quite summed it up. What is amazing is that no matter how much I read on a subject, there is still more to do.
The learned Mr. Poole, in his Latin Synopsis, has a vast and most elaborate collection of what has been said, pro and con, concerning the different beginnings of these weeks, with which the learned may entertain themselves.
As I was reading in Life of Christ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, he made a point about John saying in 1 John that to say anything else besides Jesus Christ was the God-Man who died on the cross and rose from the grave is a lie. John was able to say this because he was there. He saw Jesus on the cross, he saw Thomas reach his fingers into his wounds in the upper room.
This idea really set me off in a good way. The New Testament was written by men who had been there and seen it all. A fact that we obviously all know but doesn't always register. When John wrote his letters to the church in 1,2, and3 John he was so passionate because of the reality that Christ was to him. That is why his words echo with such boldness in 1 John 2:22
Logos, maker of the best Bible software available, is now just giving away bibles. They have several great and limited edition bibles they are giving away if you enter the contest. Make sure and go and check it out. See the quote below!
Logos Bible Software is celebrating the launch of their new online Bible by giving away 72 ultra-premium print Bibles at a rate of 12 per month for six months. The Bible giveaway is being held at Bible.Logos.com and you can get up to five different entries each month! After you enter, be sure to check out Logos and see how it can revolutionize your Bible study.
I watched with interest yesterday the reaction after the sentencing of Bernard Madoff, the man who bilked people out of billions of dollars in the greatest pyramid scheme in history.
I want to make it clear that I am in no way condoning the acts he committed or anything like that. What a way to start a essay! I heard and saw lots of people condemming him, saying the 150 year sentence he recieved was not enough. Many of the people who fell prey to his theft spoke about their feelings at his conviction. Some of them were personal family friends of the Madoff's and almost all of them lost most if not all of their retirement savings. He is the greatest thief in the history of the world, and he deserved the sentence he got.
My point in all of this is how quick we are to rank peoples sins. Madoff makes me feel better about myself because of how big and awful his sin was. My sins never affect that many people, never cost families their retirement, and never are reported on CNN. However, scripture is clear that all have sinned, that sin is sin, and is an offense to God no matter how great or small.
My sins seem less to me than Madoffs, although I am certain that words I have spoken to people can devestate their life just as badly as losing their retirement could have. My small sins can have just as great as impact. We are all jacked up, however some of us are in ways that everyone can see, like Madoff, or Jon and Kate Gosselin. Most of us are messed up in ways that only the closest to us can see and are impacted by.
I pray for myself that my heart is broken by my sin no matter how great or small, that anything that pushes me away from God hurts me as much as it hurts God. Don't let yourself get caught up in comparing yourself with the public people around you. The only standard we have to live up to is God's.
I just finished the book "Inside A Cutter's Mind" by Jerusha Clark with Dr. Earl Henslin. This book is sub-titled "Understanding and Helping Those Who Self Injure", and I think that pretty much sums up the main ideas of the book.
As someone who works with students and people in all types and walks of life, self injury is something that has come up in counseling and has a all sorts of stereotypes surrounding it, some of which are true, and some of which are false.
This book seeks to take you into the minds of people who do self injure, and strives to give you a glimpse of the choices they make that lead them down this path. It goes into great detail medically speaking, concerning hormones, brain scans and the such. To be honest, I could have done without that part, as I just did not find it all that interesting, but it did lay the foundation for the fact that this is not just a made up problems, and can be a physical as well as a mental issue.
The book also seeks to walk you as a pastor or loved one of a person who self injures through some steps that you can take to help them this situation, and some signs to recognize when you need to hand things off to someone more equipped through education or experience to handle the situation.
I think it is an excellent book, a quick easy read, and should be read by pastors in particular, and is a helpful resource to check back into. It can also be a helpful book for those loved ones of those who self injure, giving them a glimpse into a world they might have trouble understanding. The book is biblically centered and speaks often of Christs redemption on the cross as a necessary help for working through these issues.
Below are few quotes I pulled out.
For many, self-harm acts as the "slap" that distracts them from the overwhelming circumstances and ferocious thoughts and emotions that threaten to spin them completely out of control.
Most self harmers don't want to kill themselves but something in themselves-pain, fear, anger, feelings of worthlessness, and so on.
Psycotherapist Jerilyn Robinson, who works at the S.A.F.E. Alternatives inpatient clinic in Illinois reports that her clients are as likely to have smothering parents as neglectful or abusive ones.
Relationships-not rules-hold lives together.
...childhood trauma is very likely the biggest indicator of future mental illness, even more than being born with two schizophrenic parents.
They exist in the perpetual and unpredictable fear both of being found out and never being found out.
This is a great book. Make sure and pick it up.
Well, tell me pastors, teachers, preachers and so on, do you think this is true?
"...as a man goes on preaching this gospel, he finds he has to work more and more. In the early days of Christian ministry I was given sermons, but now I have to work harder, and it is like that in the Christian life." Martyn Lloyd-Jones
This is only part of the quote, but I am not taking it out of context. The idea being that the more you preach and teach, it gets harder instead of easier. That the gospel demands more of you, more of your thoughts, time, efforts and study.
Give me your thoughts!
So it is quite inevitable in the matter of fellowship like this that though in a logical sense we persist in dividing up the aspect of fellowship into the two sides--Godward and manward--they are constantly intermixed and intermingled, because it is a sharing together, it is an intersection of the one upon the other. In other words, fellowship is never mechanical, but always something organic and vital.
Quite the statement, one echoed in many books and blogs today. Except that this was preached by Martyn Lloyd-Jones over 60 years ago. You should read every book you can find by him.
Life in Christ, Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Everyone wants to speak of Jesus as the model of community. He lived and breathed and ate with the disciples. How community must be present in order for true discipleship. Very true. Very convicting.
However, if you keep reading in the gospels, you see that at the end of the 2-3 years, most of the disciples are not what you might be proud of. One denied him three times, to the point of swearing. Another one didn’t believe he rose from the grave, even though he had repeatedly prophesied that he would. Not to mention the one who betrayed him for a few dollars.
But after Jesus left, and the Holy Spirit came, these same men exploded. Why is that? What is the lesson here?
Even when it seems like they don’t get it, even when you know they don’t get it. Keep teaching.
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted." (Matthew 28:16-17, ESV)
They saw him at the resurrection. But some doubted. THEY SAW HIM. But still some doubted. Even after Jesus telling them he would rise from the dead. Even after they saw him. They still didn’t get it.
Now, easy for Jesus to do, you might say. He knew the outcome. He knew that Peter would get it eventually. He knew what would happen in the early church. But he also knew that some would never get it. That some would walk away from his feet, because what he taught was a hard teaching. Knew that Judas would betray him. Still he taught, ate with, walked with, lived with them. He called Judas to be a disciple even when he knew what the outcome would be. The fact of the matter is that we don’t know how a person will respond, but we must keep doing what God has called us to do.
2.The choice is theirs not ours
Anyone who has poured out their heart to God in prayer, given everything they had within them to a person, teaching them about God, just to watch them walk away, knows the pain of this reality. I believe pastors feel this pain about every week. Additionally, any parent who has strived so hard to raise their children correctly, in the way that they should go, only to see them follow the desires of the flesh, knows this pain also. I think we can see this pain, hear it in his voice as Jesus interacts with Judas in the last days.
The truth is that there is no magic key, no secret formula, to get someone to follow God. That is not the way God made us. It is a choice. And the choice is all ours.
3.Holy Spirit makes the difference
Before you say “duh”, let’s think this through. We know that the choice still remains to the individual. I believe part of discipleship is presenting a person with the information they need to make the right choice. When I can show a student the reality of God’s greatness, the majesty of His glory, I believe that sticks with them. Even when we think it doesn’t. I’m not saying we remember every word of every sermon we’ve heard, but a part of it sticks with us. Then when the Holy Spirit comes, those things are ignited like kindling. Part of my job as a pastor is not to convince or persuade, but to provide the kindling for the Holy Spirit to ignite. So when we are faced with that choice that we all make, the choice is harder to make.
And not just salvation either. When temptation arises, I desire for them to know the truth about Christ, and about sin. That Christ is the only one who can satisfy. In order to choose temptation, I want them to have to walk past Christ and his truth and beauty. I want to make the choice for them as difficult as I can. I think that is part of what discipleship is. Making the choice more difficult. Not by wise or persuasive words, but by showing them Christ, the majesty and the glory. Not by just telling them how to live the Christian life, but why. Because Christ is worth it.
"The church has been doing that for many years, she has turned to what has been called the 'social gospel', and we have constantly heard about the social application of the gospel. General statements are made about life, addresses are delivered by archbishops and they are always recorded in the press, but still the situation continues. And according to the Bible, it must continue. What right have we to expect christian behavior from a world that does not believe in Christ. Why should the world apply Christian principles? Does it believe in Christ, does it acknowledge Him to be who He is? Does it accept Him as Savior?
Indeed, I do not hesitate to say that according to the New Testament it is rank heresy to recommend Christian behavior to people who are not Christian. They are incapable of it! Before people can live the Christian life, they must be made a new creation; if they cannot keep the moral law and the Ten Commandments, the ancient law given to the children of Israel, how can they live according to the Sermon on the Mount? How can they follow Christ? It is ridiculous! That is not our message, that is not what the church must say."
Martyn Lloyd-Jones Life in Christ: Studies in 1 John
So, what do you think. If you carry this to it's conclusions, it could call for some very different things that what we have been used to in Evangelicalism. Could this stance be used to advocate not standing against gay marriage, abortion, slavery, murder, public corruption, and on and on?
In perusing some old video of an major event I attended, I caught a glimpse of me in the crowd. Young nineteen year old Luke. Skinny Luke. I remember him well. As I was thinking about that, I thought about the path I had taken to get where I am today. And how young me had no idea about the trials he would face. I wondered what I would say to young me, to help set him (me) straight, and avoid some problems. Here is what I came up with.
The road less traveled is less traveled for a reason. It's not a good road.
Not everyone is out to get you.
You really can find satisfaction in God.
Everyone is capable of change, but must people won't.
So what would you tell yourself at nineteen? What lessons do you wish you had learned earlier in life?