Matt Chandler – Grace through the eyes of the Father (Luke 15)

ChandlerLuke 15 – This chapter is scandalous, it’s one of the things that gets Jesus killed. I don’t know about you, I don’t know your background, but, that was the part that never made sense to me about Jesus. We have Jesus healing diseases, raising people from the dead, and they killed Him for that? And so, for a long time I was really confused. Why are they killing Jesus? Luke 15 is one of those reasons, because what He is about to do in this text, is He is about to completely deconstruct this world, as they knew it, and, reconstruct the world as He created it. And, when that happens, people get confused and they get angry, and the power they thought they have, they realize they don’t have. And, when ways they have made themselves feel important are taken from them, and when you take from people their right to be their own god- their ‘perceived’ right to be their own god, they tend to get aggressive.

And, what’s about to happen, (and this is gonna be a lesson for some of you quickly), Jesus doesn’t just deconstruct, but He reconstructs. Now, let me tell you why that’s important. Because we’re young, and let me tell you what young people know. Young people can spot the problems with stuff. But they kind of stink at figuring out what to do about it. So, they’re really good at pointing out the errors of the generation behind them, or in front of them, but they don’t really know how to build anything to replace it. But, hear me. If you tear everything down and you don’t build anything in it’s place, everybody ends up homeless. This text is unbelievable and the key is in verses 1 & 2.

Matt Chandler – Jesus is enough!

And He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together. He is head of the body- the church. He is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in everything, He might be

  • preeminent
  • top
  • nothing above Him
  • nothing else to gain
  • nothing else to get

The goal, the end, what it’s all about is Jesus.

I’m gonna try to combat something here as hard as I can. Look at me:

  • following Jesus is not going to make you wealthy. 
  • following Jesus does not guarantee that you’re going to be healthy

The message of Scripture, and the Gospel of Christ is not that in following Him everything goes right, but that He is enough, no matter what happens. That’s the message of the Gospel, not that everything’s gonna be okay.

Every apostle in the Bible dies bad. They don’t just stumble in the street and get run over in a car. They get beheaded, they get crucified upside down. They get boiled in oil. They die poor, and they’re slaughtered. Spurgeon, the prince of preachers struggles with depression his whole life, and then dies. Christianity has been built and then carried through generations on the blood of men. Not on wealth! This is an absurd idea that would make Christ not preeminent- but, what He can give you. That is not Christianity, that is something entirely different.

Jesus is enough! He is enough! We pursue healing, maybe we get it, maybe we don’t. He’s enough if we don’t. Jesus is sufficient. Like in Acts, the apostles, they get arrested. And the court says, „If you don’t quit this preaching stuff, if you don’t quit talking about Jesus, we’re gonna beat you to death. And the response was simple: „Do what you think is right, as for us, we cannot help in speaking about what we have seen and heard. And they beat the mess out of them, and released them. ANd they did what? Rejoiced! I mean, they got beat nearly to death. This was the fruit of the Gospel in their lives. Beatings! And they left rejoicing!

This is not about what Jesus gets you. It’s just about Jesus!

  • preeminent
  • top of the chain
  • nothing else to want
  • nothing else to pursue


Matt Chandler preaching on Daystar

chandlerView more MATT CHANDLER sermons here

On the  Marcus and Joni Lamb program on 01.28.2013
Uploaded by DaystarTV

There are only 12 minutes in the video, even though the video shows 24 min, The last 12 min are blank.

Josh Patterson and Matt Chandler sit down with Jonathan Lamb and his wife Suzy Lamb in the Celebration Green Room on Daystar

The Green Room – Josh Patterson and Matt Chandler 01.28.2013

Matt Chandler – The Message – Making it Explicit

matt chandler

What we’ve been called to do is far more difficult than we think, because:

  • If you’re not a believer in Jesus Christ, if you are lost, the Bible says you are blind, that you are deaf, that your heart is hard. This is people being ignorant.
  • On top of that, you have what I would categorize- Religious lost people- People that speak our language, but don’t know our God. People who know the right phrases, they’ll have icehouses on their car, they’ll now our systems, they’ll wear our clothes, but, they don’t know our God. Even if  you try to rebel against where you’re from and you try to create a more pure version, in your eyes of what this is about, they will simply adapt your language and do the same thing they’ve been doing since Christ walked the earth. 

Because people caught in their sin, whether it expresses itself religiously or irreligiously, are dumb. And God takes you, and He takes me , dumb also, infuses inside us the Gospel message and sets us in the middle of dumb sheep… and they bite, and they’re constantly trying to get away. And, whatever romantic notion you have in your brain about what this is, I need to try and destroy it right now.

Our job, as undershepherds in the church of Christ is not in the middle with a well dispositioned ‘I love the mission’ sheep. Our job is on the borders. And on the borders they bite, on the borders they try to get away, on the borders they’re trying to help others get away, and on the borders it’s MESSY. It’s not clean, it’s not pretty. It is long, it is exhausting, no matter how large or small the size of your church is.

Confusion of what our message is and who Jesus Christ is, has always been there, even when Christ Himself was on earth. Let me show you some of this:

  1. The Pharisees and Scribes in Matthew 12:24 – Jesus is not only pronouncing that the kingdom of God is here, but He is also doing miracles and that is kind of a trump card on intellectual debate, isn’t it. If you’re debating ‘who’s from God?’ and one of you tells a dead guy, you’re not allowed to be dead (Jesus), and the dead guy comes back to life, you just won the argument. And so, Jesus is doing these miraculous signs and this is what the Pharisees and Scribes say about Him: „When the Pharisees heard it, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons that the man cast out demons.'” So, to the Pharisees and the Scribes, the ruling religious elite of the day, Jesus Christ was (to them) demonically possessed.
  2. Others on the street – If you remember the story, where Jesus gathers His disciples and asks, „Who do people say that I am?” And this is what the word on the street is- Matthew 16:13-14 „ When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” So, He’s asking His disciples who the other people on the street think that He is. And so, they go through this list. Now, what do all those people have in common (that Jesus is compared to)? They’re dead. So, the ruling religious party of the day say He has a demon. Word on the street is that He is some kind of reincarnated prophet, some sort of reincarnated ghost. And the, it just keeps on getting more confusing.
  3. His family – in Mark 3:20-21 – it says, „Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” So, the ruling religious party of the day says He has a demon. Word on the street is that He is some kind of reincarnated ghost. Now, his family thinks He is crazy.
  4. His disciples – Now, what about the disciples? The disciples are with Him all the time. That group has to get it right. And so, you have the arrest, the crucifixion, the resurrection and in Matthew 28:16-17, most people know the back half of this chapter, but, it’s these 2 verses that are compelling. „Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” Of the 11, some doubted. Now, think about that. You’ve got Christ crucified, risen, ascending into heaven and people are going, „Mm, I don’t know….” In the first century, when He’s there saying, „This is who I am,” there’s still all this confusion about who He is. And some of you, who know your Bible well, know that earlier He said, „Well, who do you say that I am?” to His disciples. And Peter answered, „You’re the Son of God.” But Peter – just as a general rule, if Jesus calls you the devil 5 verses later, you don’t get credit for that. If you nailed it, but then get called Satan by Christ, then you lost whatever points you got for nailing the quiz earlier.

So, there is this mass confusion about who Jesus Christ really is. In fact, in the Gospels, the only one that nails it when it comes to Jesus Christ are the demons. The demons are the only ones who nailed who Jesus Christ is when He was walking the earth: „We know who you are, the Holy one of God, You’ve come to destroy us before the appointed time.” I don’t know if you picked up on the lack of dualism in that. It’s not, „You’re here, let’s do it. Let’s fight to the end.” It’s, „Oh no, are you going to destroy us early? We know you’re going to destroy us, but we thought it was a couple of thousand years from now. Is it already that time? We weren’t paying attention. Why don’t you just throw us into the pigs?”

So there was this mass confusion about Jesus Christ, while Jesus Christ was actually here. Wouldn’t we be foolish to assume that there’s not great confusion even today? In fact, if you were to walk around and ask people, „Who is Jesus?” I think you would get all sort of answers. Some will call Him a great teacher- the ones that say He was a great teacher always makes alarms go off in my head, because He would be the only teacher that we would say is a great moral philosopher teacher, who we don’t like, nor believe any of His teachings.

By and large, you will get these junk drawers of who He is. For ex. I’m in Dallas, with a church on every corner, yet, that is no indicator of spiritual health or vibrancy. So that whole, „I don’t wanna plant a church, where there’s a church on every corner, I think that’s the wrong question altogether. And, in the middle of that, I can tell you: We lack in the city spiritual vibrancy. We got a lot of buildings, but not a lot of life transformation occurring. When I got to the VIllage (Matt Chandler’s church) in the conversations I had, I found out that some people were christians because- their parents were christians, or they were Texans, because they were baptized after kid camp, or because they were afraid they’d go to hell. So we found these people who were completely confused about what the Gospel of Jesus Christ was. As a matter of fact we found that we were baptizing a ton of people who went to church, had the testimony, but had no idea who Jesus Christ was. They grew up in church and really had no clue what the Gospel message actually was.

Published on Nov 14, 2012 thejourneystl 

From the November 2012 A29 bootcamp at The Journey, in St. Louis, Mo.

God’s people are prone to wander

If you pay attention to your Bible, this shouldn’t shock us at all. Not only were people confused about who Jesus was while He was here, but, even people who accepted later on Jesus for who He actually was, was prone to forget who He actually was and what our message actually was. God’s people are prone to wander. We are prone to leave the God we love.  We love, regardless of how many times it has failed us, the idea of our ability to better ourselves. We love taking it off Jesus and, „I’m gonna make this better, I’m gonna grow in this”. And apparently, every church in the New Testament struggled with that also because the apostle Paul, in particular, is going to pound into them the Gospel, over and over, and over again:

  1. Romans 1:13-15 – I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. Paul is talking to christians, and delayed because he is preaching the Gospel to people who already know it, people who already believe. The task that you and I have been given is to consistently and constantly, in every venue, and in every vein, bring people back to the understanding that our salvation, our hope, our sanctification is by the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone. And best practices are needed, and they are necessary. But, they will do nothing to transform the heart. I can give you 6 steps to romancing your wife’s heart. But, I can do nothing to have the Gospel of grace stir your heart towards your wife, so that you would love her as Christ loved the church. I can tell you to google romantic ideas for dates, and what a gift google is to men. But, I can’t in preaching, in teaching, in best practices give you a heart that loves your wife like Christ loved the church. I can’t do that. That’s God stuff.
  2. Galatians 1:6-9 – I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! There is only one Gospel, only one thing that can save us, only one thing that can sanctify us, only one thing that can carry us safely home. It’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s all you’ve got
  3. Galatians 2:20-3:6  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

    Faith or Works of the Law

    You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” If I can fix me, I can fix you, if we can fix other people (Because this has to move outside of you fixing you)… Here’s what I have learned about pastors: We completely get that we can’t fix us. What we don’t get is that we can’t fix others. What we believe is that we can fix others. The irony is you know you can’t fix you, yet you think you can fix others. Somehow, in your ignorant sinfulness, you’ve begun to buy into your ability to change other people. But, if you could do that, you nullify the grace of God and Christ will have died for nothing. You really think that God’s eggs are in your basket? God is not crossing His fingers hoping that I’m gonna be faithful. God saves. I don’t save. I’ve got no power. I’ve sat at the table with 2 different men and said it, and I’ve seen one man be confused by it and the other reborn by it. It is the Holy Spirit of God that granted life. I got no ability to change anyone, you’ve got no ability to change anyone. WHAT WE HAVE IS THE GOSPEL. So, regarding philosophy of ministry- I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to draw a crowd. But, just know: What you woo them with better have some substance. Cause lasers, smoke and trap doors, in the  end will do nothing to transform hearts. I don’t believe it’s difficult to draw a crowd. It’s impossible to transform hearts. You’d better feel that.

  4. Ephesians 1 & 2 – What’s that, but the Gospel at work? Philippians 1:12-17 with the apostle Paul is prison, saying, „If I’m free, or if I’m in prison, it just serves the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (21:00)

How you make the Gospel explicit

1 Corinthians 15 – verse 1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you,which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. So Paul, writing to the church in Corinth- and can we just agree that regardless how dysfunctional your church is, that Corinth wins? But, here’s the thing, I think, you have to keep in mind when it comes to the church in Corinth: Big things are happening. People are coming in, but, it is messy. And Paul says, „Remember brothers, the Gospel. That you heard it and that you were saved by it and now you’re standing in it”. Which means, we don’t move away from the Gospel, we stay anchored to it, both as our justification and our sanctification. He (Paul) carries it even farther than that. He says, „It carries us on unto the end, if we hold fast to what we believed at first.”

That needs some unpacking. That means we are held fast, standing in the Gospel ‘til the end, if we hold fast to what we first preached, which was ‘Christ, and Christ alone’.  You don’t get to add to Jesus. You don’t get to add to the regenerating, sanctifying work of Christ and be held fast! You’re putting weight on it and you’re putting weight on you that you’re not meant to carry. So, if we see, in the Bible, the reality that people are not smart, we’re part of dumb people. And God has created and given dumb people a message herald to dumb people. How do we make the Gospel explicit so that people can hear about Jesus and know Jesus?

It has been my experience that way too many people in evangelical churches know Jesus Christ like I know Troy Aikman. I know about him, but I don’t know him. They know some statistics about Him (Jesus), but, they don’t know Him. So, how are you and I, as proclaimers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and as leaders of churches going to make the Gospel explicit?

  1. The pulpit – In the pulpit, what needs to happen is: You’ve got to step out of your skin and step into the calling that God’s given you. Which means, the stage can’t be about you, it’s gotta be about the Gospel message. There’s one hero. It’s not you. There’s one person with the ability to save. It’s not you. One person who transforms, not you. You’ve got to step out of yourself and ‘all roads lead to Jesus’. You wanna talk about marriage? It leads to Jesus. You wanna talk about children? It leads to Jesus. You wanna talk about holiness? It leads to Jesus. You wanna talk about sex? It leads to Jesus. ALL ROADS LEAD TO CHRIST IN THE PULPIT. ALWAYS! That’s our message. That’s all we’ve got: The power of God unto salvation. The pulpit is the heralding of the good news of Jesus Christ.
  2. The children in the church– But, listen pastors, it can’t stop there. Let me ask you a question: What about preschool? You herald the Gospel in the pulpit and teach  morality to the kindergarteners. Here’s something that I find disappointing. As broken as, and you watched the political debates and the talk about education, as ignorant as the politicians in government say our students are, I find it interesting that the broken school systems think they can handle some advanced mathematics, some advanced science, but, we don’t think they can handle the attributes of God. So what’s it look like Pastor? You preaching the Gospel from the pulpit, but, morality in Sunday School, for the children?
  3. Your staff – What about staff culture? Your staff interactions, your team interactions reveal that you actually believe the Gospel. Let me ask you a question: Do the men and women around you, in your eyes, are they commodities that are there to meet your needs? Or, are they brothers and sisters in Christ? Sure, maybe you’re leading them and maybe you’re the chief under shepherd of the team around you that’s gonna serve. But, do you treat your team like commodities? Do they exist to serve your ends? Is there any concern in your heart, whatsoever, for them as Christians first? Any pastoral bones in your body towards your staff? 
  4. Church culture – A church that understands the Gospel celebrates. And, it celebrates in two ways. It celebrates above the shoulders. It worships in knowledge. Which means: It knows the attributes of God and the attributes of God stir up in our heart. Now, however, below the shoulders, the beauty of the God that we’ve seen, and that leads to worship. And that means that a church that has had the Gospel explicitly preached to them from preschool to puberty, into high school, into college, into adulthood, is a church that celebrates the beauty of God in worship.

There will come a day when we no longer need to exegete Scripture. In heaven, I won’t know in part, I’ll know in full and so will you, and so will all the people of God. But, you know what will never end? Informed, zealous, gut wrenched worship of our God. And when we explicitly proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, where we create and cultivate cultures where we believe and practice it you are not a tyrant in your church, nor unaccessible and unavailable. I mean to say, that you have been so moved by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that you have empathy, respect and love for the people that you’ve been called to shepherd. You’re gonna need it. You’re gonna need genuine empathy and genuine compassion, cause people are dumb and they’re gonna test you. They’re gonna test who you’re in this for. There are people who God has given into my care that honestly, I don’t like. So, what sustains us as men of God, what sustains us as those called to lead and shepherd people, who are dumb like us? The Gospel does. And it’s made evident, as we walk and pour ourselves out for others, as we explicitly make known our only hope, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, if the Gospel must be explicit, for genuine transformation to occur in the hearts and minds of our people, I would, if I were you, do an internal audit so see whether you believe it. And then, I would start really paying attention as to how that’s fleshing itself out on your team, and all those closest to you.

Hey, how’s the Gospel making itself evident in your marriage?

Do you just do things for your spouse so you can get in return? Because that’s not Gospel living. Gospel living says: You give, and then you give some more, and then you give some more. The irony to me, about marital difficulty among evangelicals is that we love God for loving us unconditionally, yet it seems like tyranny when He asks us to do that to our spouse. You wanna know how wicked you are? Watch how enticed your heart is to worship and make much of God, when it really sinks in that He loves you despite you. And watch how any expectation of you, loving your spouse like that, stir up in your heart feelings of injustice. How’s the Gospel working itself out in your marriage?

How quickly are you able to forgive?

How often do you feel like you have to defend yourself? How comfortable are you with other people getting praise on your team? What if you’re the leader behind the scenes, but, someone else is getting credit? How are you with that? What of someone’s not doing what you’re doing yet their growth starts to explode. Are you able to celebrate them? Or are tey your competition? These are all Gospel issues.

You’ve got to believe the Gospel yourself. I don’t think you’re gonna make it, if you don’t. And if you do, what have you won? Are you in this for the money? The fame? That’s all transient stuff. It all burns up. It’s safe to say that God’s not impressed with any of us. No, He is on it. He has just invited us to play. Oh, that you might feel the burden, of making clear to people who don’t see clearly what their only hope is. And I’m alright with you being haunted by it, losing some sleep over it. Working out your salvation with fear and trembling, wondering if you really do believe. Are you all in? Are you in rebellion, rather than in calling? My hope is simple: I hope we get a lot of church plants all over the world, that make much of JEsus Christ, tethered to the Word. And I wanna see people not only come to see Jesus Christ, but, mature in their relationship with Jesus Christ, until they multiply themselves, and multiply what’s next. But, in all things, might the name and the renown of Jesus Christ continue to grow and spread, and may His fame continue to cover the earth as the water covers the seas.

Have you ever thought about the reality that what God had promised Abraham in Genesis  12 and 15, we’re watching happen in our day? Has anybody picked up on how many Iranian pastors have been arrested lately? Pretty crazy, for a closed country with no christians, and for 6-7 pastors this year to be arrested. I mean, exploding in Africa, exploding in Asia, exploding in South America. I mean, this God promised in Genesis 12, and, you and I are watching it. And we’ve been invited to play.

Matt Chandler’s 2 minute Christmas message for 2012


Someone ( user Rob Jon )  excerpted Matt’s Christmas message for 2012 and posted it on youtube. The entire sermon will soon be posted to the church’s webiste –

The Jesus-Centered Church: An Interview with Matt Chandler

Tony interviews Matt Chandler about his new book Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church. Published on Nov 2, 2012 by 

Matt Chandler – The Message Acts 29 Boot Camp 2012

Matt Chandler address at an Acts 29 venue the day after he became President of Acts29, in place of Mark Driscoll, the former President of Acts29. In this message he discusses the fact that ‘God saves’.

Some brief highlights:

  • Unfortunately, for all of us in pastoral ministry, it’s not uncommon for us to fall into the rhythm of routine. And for all the majesty in the fact that God is taking dead people and making them alive, and using our fumbling and bumbling, and moronic brokenness to do that, ceases to leave us in tears and in awe. When all of a sudden the ministry is on our back, we fail and that’s when we shipwreck stuff. So, I want to get you to Romans 8 to get that weight off of you and get it on who it goes on to.
  • Romans 8 is a great chapter because there’s parts of the chapter that evangelicalism as a whole, loves verse 28, and they love 31 through 39, don’t they? The problem is both of those are held together by the verses they don’t like. And, I’m gonna spend my time on the verses they don’t like in the hopes that you can see how spectacular those verses actually are because here’s why I feel sad in my heart. Those verses that are so popular, get completely hollowed out by ignoring those verses in between.

Romans 8:28- And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. We love that one. Now look at where He goes next- For those whom He called He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be the firstborn from  among the brothers. Now, that’s where things get problematic.

  • You use either one of those and some people can lose their minds – and I wanna be straight- from some historically valid reasons.So, let’s not gloss over the idiocy that has surrounded a lot of reformed theology. Listen, our creed is not TULIP. Our creed is Christ! So, you wanna start arguing definitive atonement as a „this means you’re in” and „if you’re not, you’re out„, I think you’ve made a fool of yourself. Now, do I think you’re a fool if you believe definitive, limited atonement? Not at all. Do I think that’s the litmus test of faithfulness? NO. And to make it so is a weird stance. „You can only be my brother if you’re here”. Four (point calvinist)? Then we can’t have fellowship, brother. I mean, that’s just crazy, just calm down man.
  • Cause here’s my opinion: What I’ve learned at The Village (Matt’s church) is that people constrained under the weight of legalism, when they hear about liberty, if they’re not careful, they’ll run 140 miles an hour right into license (to do). So what happens, when you haven’t heard a lot of transcendence, and all of a sudden you hear „This is how big HE is. This is how massive and mighty He is, then, all of a sudden you spring out of the gate and anyone who doesn’t see how you see is a fool and an idiot and doesn’t really believe fully in christianity- EVEN THOUGH YOU JUST FOUND OUT! All of a sudden, you’re waving a flag that you’ve just found and it hadn’t been waving at all and all of a sudden it’s all that matters and I’m just pleading with you: Calm down. Are we reformed in our soteriology? Yes, because the Bible is. But, is that the gate of brotherhood in regards to the kingdom? No. No. Do not hear me saying I don’t think it’s important. At the Village Church our people get told, „This is what we believe about how God saves”. You need to know that so I’m not preaching a sermon 4 months from now and you go, „What????”
  • Matt talks about Foreknowledge and predestination starting at minute 14

„The Message” :: Matt Chandler :: 2012 Dallas Boot Camp from Acts 29 Network on Vimeo.

Matt Chandler – Holiness Part 4 – A Holy People

See Part 1 – Holiness

See Part 2 – Holiness – The Goodness of God

See Part 3 – Holiness – The „How” Matters

Listen to the audio here – Play Download:MP3
Read the notes from the entire sermon here-
Here’s a few paragraph excerpts from the sermon:
  • 1 Peter, chapter 2. We’re going to just walk through this phrase by phrase, so don’t panic. Me saying that probably has some of you panicking, but I promise, I don’t believe this week will go too long. Verse 9: „But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession…” Now if I were you, I’d underline that, because if you are a Christian, if you are a believer in Christ, this is your identity. This is who you are. So far this has said nothing of what you do but rather who you are, so that you and I, in Christ, are a chosen race. Now I love that first one as much as I love any of them. We are a chosen race. You have not just individuals but a race of people, and it’s a race that’s built across cultures and across colors. Are you following me? There’s a new chosen race, the church of Jesus Christ, the legitimate Israel of God, the chosen ones of God. Therefore, this race is made up of all tribes, all tongues, and all nations.
  • Then he doesn’t just say royalty. He says priesthood. So we are a royal priesthood. Not only do I belong to the chosen race, but I am also, you are also, in the royal priesthood, which means we have clear and constant access to God. Everything in our lives…everything (work, play, rest)…is done in worship to God, as we are priests of God. We could go to Romans 12 to show this. We could go all over the Bible to show that as a believer in Christ, we are a royal priesthood. We are God’s chosen race, and we live in the presence of God.
  • I think really a lot of us have legitimate issues because we don’t understand this and we’ve lost our respect for the presence of God. We don’t believe our lives are playing out in front of a holy God who sees all. The Bible is saying, „No, no, no. Your whole life is a life of worship, and if you are not living a life of worship in work, in play, in rest, in your hobbies, in your marriage, in your relationships with your kids, if that’s not worship to you, then you’re out of character of who you are, because who you are is a priest, a royal priest, in the chosen race of God’s people. My whole life is a life of worship. Your whole life is a life of worship. That doesn’t mean singing, but singing is a part of worship. It just doesn’t mean you’re always singing about your marriage, singing to your kids. These are not the same words. Worship and singing are not the same words. You can worship as you sing. You can sing worshipfully toward the Lord. But when I say the word worship, I’m not talking about singing, but rather talking about the reality of a heart that’s been captivated by God. That plays itself out in our relationships. That plays itself out in our workplaces. That plays out… We are a royal priesthood.
  • Then look where he goes next. „…a holy nation.” So again, I think one of the really difficult parts about preaching the Word of God in this day and age is individualism is so rampant that we’re very quick to get away from the us to the me. In all of these components, I love it because it’s bigger. You are a chosen race. That’s bigger than just you. It’s bigger than your blackness, bigger than your whiteness, bigger than your cultural backgrounds. It’s bigger than you as an individual and what makes up you as an individual. Then you are a royal priesthood. It didn’t say you are royal priest; it says you are a royal priesthood. So he is speaking not just to an individual, although it does have individual implications, but rather to a group of people. We are a holy nation. So let me explain this in a way I think might be helpful for us. That means the believers in Jesus Christ who love Jesus Christ and go to Fellowship Church are my countrymen. The believers in Jesus Christ who love Jesus Christ and go right down the street to Crossroads Bible, they are my countrymen.
  • My job description, what I’ve been called to do as this holy nation, a part of this chosen race, as royalty, as a priest, is to (now this is it; this is my job description) declare his excellencies. Then he breaks it down. His excellencies. What part of his excellencies, because that’s vast? That he has called us out of darkness and into light. So really, if we start to get high enough up on this whole four weeks and start to really look on it, you have a holy God who has made a way in Jesus Christ to make us holy, his love being the primary motivator toward that holiness, so he considers us his chosen race. He has decreed we are royalty in Jesus Christ. He has given us direct access to him.
  • We have a relationship with God. He is not some sort of ethereal thing in the sky. It’s not a checklist. It’s not a, „Do these things so I don’t get caught.” It is: I have a relationship with God. I am free to pray. I am free to engage. I’m free to walk. I’m free to stumble. I’m free to fail. I am considered by God as part of his own possession. He would consider me his own. God cries out over me. Mine? Me? Now I don’t know how that hits you, but I know what I’m guilty of. I know what’s in my heart. I know some of my motivations are tainted. I know these things about me, and yet God sits over my life and decrees, „This one is mine. This guy is mine”? I mean, do you know how many people are outside these walls right now who have no idea, have no interest, have no desire even to know who God is, have no real yearning to know about him at all? But not you, not me. Here we are, and God has stood over our lives and put the banner of great love flowing out of his mercy, by which (this was last week, right?) he extends to us faith to believe in the grace that we might become his workmanship and walk in the good works he prepared in advance for us to do. Our job is to just make much of his excellencies, primarily that he has called us out of darkness and into light.
  • It’s the greatest news in the universe because if God is for God, if God is about you being holy in Jesus Christ so that he might display his excellencies, so that you might herald his excellencies, so you might make much of his goodness and grace, that means the commands of God, then, are not about your begrudging submission, but the commands of God are actually about you walking in the fullness of life. So when God says, „Do these things,” God is not after your begrudging submission, because God is for God. So God wants you to walk in what’s going to bring you fullness of joy, not happiness all the time, but joy, so he might be made much of.

Related links


Matt Chandler – Holiness Part 3 – The „How” Matters

See Part 1 – Holiness

See Part 2 – Holiness – The Goodness of God

Listen to the audio here- Play Download:MP3

Read the notes from the entire sermon here-

Here’s a few paragraph excerpts from the sermon:

  • So far we’ve answered some pretty big questions. We’ve looked at the holiness of God, who he is, how different he is, what really his holiness is, and then last week we looked at God’s ferocious commitment to making us holy. (See parts 1 & 2). We’ve left some pretty big questions unanswered, and the primary question is how he goes about making us holy.
  • How you understand the process by which you become more and more like Jesus, more and more holy… The more you understand that process correctly, the greater life, freedom, and love for God you’ll have, and the more you misunderstand how that takes place, the more wearying and difficult the Christian life will be to you.  In this great exchange between God and you, the only thing you bring to the table is the sin that makes your salvation necessary. You don’t have the tools or the materials with which to build a house that’s holy. You don’t have them. So if you get away from the One who can build that holy house and try to build it yourself… What the Bible is going to repeatedly tell us is you can’t even make a shack of your own abilities and own efforts. So it’s very important for us to understand how we become holy, so we might walk in the fullness of joy that God has brought for us in our adoption as sons and daughters as he makes us a holy people.
  • The very good news is that God has decreed, chosen, predetermined we would become holy and blameless in his sight. We are going to have a positional holiness before God. We are going to be seen and viewed by God as a holy people. But he still doesn’t say really how he goes about that except that he accomplishes it in Jesus somehow. Ephesians 2:1-10 is going to unpack it more fully. So in Ephesians 2 now, starting in verse 1: „And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–-among whom we all..
  • Now there are some verses and some ideas in the Bible that seem to strain this idea. They put a lot of strain on it. Let me give you an example of just one. I never want to hide from these kind of verses. I actually want to show you how they would work into the gospel. Hebrews 12, verse 14 simply says, „Strive [struggle, work] for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Here’s what you have to start to do with texts like this. There are a lot like this, even like, „…train yourself for godliness…” You can get into all these texts that seem to put a lot of effort on you in order to become the holiness the Bible just clearly said is actually gifted to you by God alone in Christ. So how do you strive toward the holiness without which no one is going to see the Lord if holiness is a gift of grace through faith? How do you strive for something that’s a free gift? I think here’s how you answer that question in light of the gospel. Let me tell you how you strive for holiness, how you train yourself for godliness, how you pursue righteousness and avoid sinfulness under the banner of the gospel. Here’s how you strive: You strive by faith through grace. If that’s confusing to you let me make it simpler: Fix your eyes on Jesus.
  • So with unveiled faces, you and I now have our eyes fixed on Jesus. We are beholding the glory of the Lord Jesus, and in our beholding of the Lord Jesus we „…are being transformed into the same image…” What’s the image? The image of Jesus, the holiness of God, so that by beholding Jesus we are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Look at how this works so we can be patient. „…from one degree of glory to another.” I love that the Bible is so honest about this. As we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, as we see and savor Jesus, we are transformed from one degree of glory to the next.
  • So how should we fix our eyes on Jesus? Not only is he the founder of my faith, not only is he going to perfect my faith, but look at what in particular we are to look at. „…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Where are our eyes focused? Our eyes are focused on the founder and perfecter of our faith who, filled with joy, died our death and rose from the grave, showing that all of our sin has been paid for. Therefore, to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ is to pursue holiness and to avoid sin.
  • But what ends up happening to many of us is we take our eyes off of Jesus Christ and go, Okay, let me pursue Jesus Christ… I have my eyes off of him, but let me try to pursue him, and then let me try to avoid sin, and honestly, nine times out of ten we reverse those. Let me avoid sin and try to pursue him. But the Bible continually teaches it a completely different way. „Get your eyes on Jesus. Pursue Jesus. Chase after Jesus.” It’s the same thing over and over. I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this yet. I have one sermon. That’s it. One. We just come out of a different text every weekend to preach it. Because this is what we need to be reminded of over and over and over and over and over again, always. You don’t become holy by trying to become holy. You become holy by fixing your eyes on Jesus Christ, and his decree declared holiness over us because of his life, death, and resurrection. He is the founder and he is the perfecter of our faith who died our death and has risen from the grave to prove that he paid the bill in full and has victory over sin and death.
  • Well how do I fix my eyes on Jesus, Matt? How do I fix my eyes on him? How do I look, how do I gaze, how do I behold his glory? Well God has given you all sorts of things to help this. He has given you the Word of God. The Bible is there so you might see who Jesus is, what he’s like, the nature and character of God. He has given you Christian community. He has given you a place like this where we can just come together and we can make much of Jesus. We can talk about him. We can rally. We can celebrate with one another who Jesus is and what he has done. We get to sing to him and sing about him.

Related links

Matt Chandler – Holiness Part 2 – God’s Goodness

Read/Listen to Holiness Part 1 here

Holiness (2) God’s Goodness – Listen to the audio here- Play Download:MP3

Read the notes from the entire sermon here-

Here’s a few paragraph excerpts from the sermon:

  • So we said last week the topic of holiness and the idea of holiness is really fertile ground for doubt. The reason that’s true is the Bible is going to bear its weight on every area of your life. There is not any area of your life the Bible doesn’t explicitly or implicitly set a standard that God has for you over your life. The reality is when we hear or we understand or we feel the standard of God, which by the way is moral perfection, we’re always well underneath it, aren’t we? It’s a rare thing for us to ever hear what God has decreed, what God has commanded for our lives and have our response be, Nailed it! That just doesn’t happen very often. If you feel that way, most of the time you are hammering into the wrong wood.So what happens when the idea, when the topic of holiness comes up, is one of two things. Either we get this feeling we’re perpetually trying to climb this mountain and never really getting to the top and oftentimes sliding back down to where we began. So that’s where some of the doubt begins. Or we just don’t care. This feels impossible. Jesus isn’t working for me. And we bail. This idea of holiness becomes this really kind of fertile ground for paralyzing doubt to take root in our hearts.So when we talk about God’s holiness, we’re talking about his majesty. We very quickly defined that last week as an imposing grandeur. That to look upon God is to look upon something that is massive. Awe-inspiring, but at the same time imposing. So if you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, if you’ve ever been to a real ocean (not a fake one, but a real one), and you’ve stood and you’ve been a part of some sort of natural order in which you have felt small and you’ve felt a tinge of fear…not terror; just a tinge of fear.
  • So the way I try to explain it is if you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon and you have your toes on the edge, you’ve kind of looked over. That kind of queasy feeling in your gut, that kind of shudder that goes through you, that’s awe. That’s grandeur. That’s majesty.
  • So what you see consistently happening in the Bible is the Bible’s claim that any authority on earth governmentally, kings and authorities and powers, are given by God to people. Now that creates another problem for us, doesn’t it? This goes back to understanding that God is morally perfect in all he does. Because what do you do with dictators and rulers who ultimately are cruel and butcher their people and are responsible for genocide, because the Bible doesn’t say, „I put the good kings in place”? He says he puts all kings in place and that kings as they act out their rulership are simply working the providential plan of God. So how do you reconcile that? Here’s what I do. Here’s what I would do according to the Word of God: I’m stuck inside of time. Let me be frank. I was born in 1974. I read a lot of history. I am no expert. All I know is that God is morally perfect and that somehow outside of time, those men are working for God and that even then God is morally perfect and not evil in any way. And so just a side note. It’s been a while since I’ve said this, but I want to perpetually lay it before you, because some of you don’t like it. Some of you are like, Ah, it’s a copout. Some of you want to shake your fist at the heavens, but I want to kind of explain it.
  • Everyone in this room regardless of their belief is going to bring glory to God. It’s the purpose for which you exist. Some will bring glory to God by being trophies of God’s grace. Some of you are going to bring glory to God by rebelling against God and receiving God’s just judgment on your life. So even the most hardened man who wants to shake his fist at the heavens is simply bringing glory to God’s justice. So everyone brings glory to God. Even kings and rulers who rule in an evil, wicked way are accomplishing in God’s providence the purposes of God.
  • You have a piece where there’s a positional type of holiness where God views you as holy, but you have an external type of holiness here in Romans 8 (which is why we read it) where it says God in his Godness is not only giving you a positional holiness but is conforming you to the image of his Son, Jesus, the perfect One. So God in his Godness is not only giving us a positional holiness where he sees us as holy, but he is also actively transforming us into more and more and more morally upright, holy people. So here’s the big question…How does he do that? Because that’s important. So how does he go about doing that? Well, that’s next week.

Related links

Matt Chandler – Holiness Part 1 of 4

Coming up daily Parte 2,3 and 4.

Listen to the audio here-

Click on photo for The Village Church audio sermon (54 minutes)

Read the notes from the entire sermon here-

Where you start on the point of holiness, external, moral holiness is not you at all. It’s the wrong starting point. If we’re going to talk about holiness we’ll have to start with God.

  • Here’s what I’ll tell you. I don’t believe in any way that our faith is a blind faith, and I find nowhere in Scripture that God has asked us to detach our minds from how he reveals himself to be. But here’s also where I press on you. Don’t pretend like you’re not living in a grid of faith right now. Well, no. My reality is defined by science. Science has a great deal of faith involved in it. Now if you want to talk about boiling water, no. But if you want to talk about why we’re here, where we came from, it’s… The word in science for faith is theory. That’s faith in science: theory. „We can’t prove it, but we think this is how it works.”
  • We try to fill in the gap. We begin to try to get up to God’s standard. By the way, his standard is hopelessly impossible. „Be holy, because I am. Be like me.” The rest of the Bible is going to say, „You’re not like me, but be like me.” Then we get stuck in this climb and slide, climb and slide type of existence with the Lord.
  • Not only is God, in his holiness, majestic, but he is also pure and morally perfect. Now I just created a bit of a philosophical, theological train wreck. I don’t know if you spotted it, but let’s chat some about it. If God is pure and morally perfect, what do we do about the reality that such horrific things occur? If he is all-knowing and everywhere at once and all-knowledgeable, why doesn’t he stop it? How is him not stopping it just and morally pure? I mean, that’s hard, isn’t it? Do we agree that’s hard?
  • God hasn’t painted in the words of Scripture some alternate reality we’re not experiencing. Isn’t the Bible filled with famines, loss, murder, rape, incest, death, disease? It shouldn’t surprise us! Where is this coming from? God didn’t try to hide this. What we see happening in the Scriptures and one of the reasons I’m trying to constantly drive you to the Scriptures is that God is at work in the mess in ways we can’t fathom.
  • One of the big reasons I’d love for you to read your Bible more than you do is because you’ll see how messy it is. You’ll look at guys who God says, „I love this guy,” and you go, This guy? I mean, this guy is a bum. He loves that guy? He extends grace to that guy, gives mercy to that guy? Maybe there is a shot for me. Or when the day of trouble arrives, you won’t be caught off guard as if that just arrived. I mean, it’s also been. The world is a broken place. What we know about God is that everything he does is good and holy and perfect.

Related links

On spontaneous baptisms

An 11 minute discussion with Mark Dever, Matt Chandler and Darrin Patrick:


Should Baptism Be Spontaneous? from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

Matt Chandler – Gravity The Weight of Pastoring to the Knowledge of Christ

April 7,2006

photo form

More Matt Chandler Sermon messages here

At Dallas Theological Seminary from April 7,2006 att Chandler is the Pastor of The Village Church in Highland, Texas.

I want you to just take a walk with me through the life of Jesus and see some things, because I think if you see them as we walk through this, then maybe some of your broken places could get restored.

In Hebrews 2:16-17 it says  For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the[o]descendant of Abraham. 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, tomake propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

Abraham here means you and I. In ‘He had to be made like His brethren in all things’ we find out that Jesus was the firstborn of many brothers (you and me being the brethren) that He had to be made like his brethren in all things.

For me there was a disjoint in studying the life of Jesus. The cross of Christ, the purchasing, the propitiation for our sins and the difficulty of life in which He lived didn’t always seem to add up for me. It seems that Jesus could have been born into that manger, could have lived a normal life, a life that we’re reading here (in the Bible) not so normal. It is a life filled with betrayal, and pain, and death, and hardship, and longing, and aching. I mean, you name it, it’s an extremely difficult life and I find myself saying, „Why? Why so necessary for Him to suffer so much? Why so necessary for Him to hurt so much? Why so necessary for such darkness to be around the walkings of Jesus on earth? Could He not just be slaughtered on the cross and let us have our propitiation?

The text says that Jesus knew the gravity of hate, of loss, of betrayal, of being overwhelmed, of being exhausted and being taunted as you seek God…so when I get that phone call (of someone who died, etc) He sits there with me and says, „I know, I know”.  And that in that moment when betrayal happens, and I promise you (that) church folk are like piranha. If you look strong they’ll leave you alone, but if you have a limp they will eat you alive. At that moment when betrayal occurs and you feel so angry and frustrated He’s not in the heavens saying, „Yeah, we need to figure out that I’ve got this thing”. Instead He goes, „… I know… I know”. So I know that you and I have choices on the kind of people that we are and the kind of people that we’re becoming and I know that when gravity strikes the soul there’s the chance that bitterness and anger and hurt begin to reign in the soul and I know that because it happens all over in the Scriptures .

In Ruth you find Naomi saying, „Quit calling me Naomi, you call me Mara”, after the death of her husband and her sons, Mara (being) the Hebrew word for bitter. She began to be owned by her own sorrow. And then job’s wife, who in the middle of her husband’s great despair would say, „Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die, you fool”. I know there is this idea, there can become this pretense that happens- the gravity of the fallen world weighs heavily on our soul and there has to be this pretense that we’re ok. There has to be the gravity that the world has fallen upon us and so we bury it and the root of bitterness begins to take root. And my hope is that maybe the simple knowledge that He knows, maybe the simple knowledge that Jesus endured  difficulty and pain and hardship ‘for such a moment as this’, when you have loss, or anger, or maybe in your journey you’re frustrated because it seems in the dissecting of theology and theology becoming systematic for you, you somehow have lost your heart… that maybe in the gravity of these things we may not find ourselves running from Him, pretending, but to Him in honesty. As the Scriptures say, „He knows and is able to be faithful and merciful to His brothers”.

Matt Chandler – The Explicit Gospel


The Crossway simulcast from May in Orlando, Florida, compliments of Lifeway.

Explicit Gospel Simulcast – Orlando, FL from Crossway on Vimeo.

Matt Chandler Live Webcast Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm EDT

From Lifeway:

Join us as Matt Chandler discusses The Explicit Gospel, his take on the significance of the gospel—what it is and what it isn’t.


Do you truly understand the size and weight of the gospel and all that Christ has for you in His life, death, and resurrection? The gospel is much bigger than “I believe this so I’m saved.” The gospel bears weight on transforming our lives, increasing our joy, and changing how we see the world around us. Whether you are new to church, or you’ve been going for decades, you won’t want to miss this webcast as Matt Chandler shares the call to true Christianity – a call to know the gospel explicitly.

Featured Guests

Matt Chandler -SpeakerMatt Chandler serves as Lead Pastor of Teaching at The Village Church in Flower Mound, TX. He describes his eight-year tenure at The Village as a re-planting effort where he was involved in changing the theological and philosophical culture of the congregation. The church has witnessed a tremendous response growing from 160 people to over 10,000 including satellite campuses in Dallas and Denton. Alongside his current role as lead pastor, Matt is involved in church planting efforts both locally and internationally through The Village and various strategic partnerships. Prior to accepting the pastorate at The Village, Matt had a vibrant itinerant ministry for over 10 years where he spoke to thousands of people in America and abroad about the glory of God and beauty of Jesus. His greatest joy outside of Jesus is being married to Lauren and being a dad to their three children, Audrey, Reid and Norah.

Lifeway website – you can sign up for a reminder alert on this page.

Matt Chandler – Are you Godly?

Matt Chandler Sermon Page here.

Text is Hebrews 12, from the Exponential 2011 Conference.

It was my generation, we thought, discovered worship.

As if there’s never been worship in the history of the world until we stumbled unto the acoustic guitar. And all of a sudden, cold and dead worship is how our parents had done it and living worship is how we did it. Hey, I’m not judging… I was right there…. an organ???? what???? I mean, it was as though we looked at our fathers and claimed without claiming, that they didn’t do it (right worship) and now we are. And so, let’s just be careful. The only reason you even have this dream is that someone dreamed it before you.

Contextualization by John

John says, „In the beginning was the Logos, the word, several times in the Gospel of John. He is contextualizing the Gospel to Greek philosophy. It is important to note that he doesn’t sell out. He uses the Greek language to the Greeks. He explains that Jesus is the logos.

Contextualization by Paul

Watching Paul work is fascinating. Paul has these rhythms. He will walk into a Jewish temple and begin to contend for the Gospel, but he contextualizes it. In Acts 13:16-52 he is in a Jewish setting. He mentions Israel growing great in the land of Egypt, mentions that God puts up with them for 40 years in the desert; God destroying the 7 nations of Canaan. He mentions Judges, Samuel, the Prophets and he quotes Judges and the Psalms. All in that little text, to engage the Jewish men and women with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He contends and he contextualizes.

Paul never sells out to be seeker friendly, just like Peter on Pentecost when preaching, „This Jesus whom you killed”.

Paul will then engage in Athens. He’ll engage the pagans and here he doesn’t use the Jewish scriptures at all. He doesn’t quote the Torah… all of a sudden he starts quoting Atheneum poetry. He starts quoting other prophets. In fact, there is one thing that is hard for some to believe is that there is pagan literature in our scriptures. Paul quotes an Atheneum poet in verse 17 and he quotes a Cretian prophet in Titus. The apostle Paul is always contending and contextualizing the Gospel.

Ministry can be ‘messy

So, both Paul and John are planting churches, empowering churches, releasing men and women to do ministry in other ways and it’s important to know that it’s messy. It’s not clean.

See, a lot of criticism is birthed out of this idea that people have clean ministry. We’re all on a slippery slope. We’re all sinners. There isn’t any doctrine or any idea that isn’t also going to produce issues that need to be fixed. In mega church, big church growth movement, big things start out. Now what is happening? It’s our turn to play and we say, „OK there’s some things about that that went really well, there’s some things that need to be redeemed and there’s some things we are not doing.”  So, let’s kind of tweak it, let’s work with it. Let’s add to this, let’s take away, let’s stop doing, let’s start doing and you have to hear me, „This isn’t NEW! Look at me. It’s just our turn!”

So, don’t be the fool that points back at the past as some sort of erroneous, dark ages type of tom foolery. Don’t think like that because you just show your ignorance. You’re here today because Paul and John were faithful to contend for the Gospel and to contextualize the Gospel.

Lobbing grenades at the other camp

If you look in Acts 15, this is important to note: You have the big split: Paul and Barnabas splitting over John Mark. John Mark sold out the last time they went on the road and Paul’s not having it. But, Barnabas is real sweet; he’s full of mercy wanting Paul to give John Mark another chance. And so they split. One goes North, one goes West. And, because of that split,  because of that difference in philosophy (not theology, but philosophy), the Gospel actually spreads farther than it would have if they would have just stayed together. You have 2 teams instead of 1. So now, let me say this, as the Reformed guy in the room. We don’t always have to agree about everything. We need to quit judging one another on 5 minute sound bites on Youtube.

The scriptures are clear that there are wolves that need to be killed and even killed publicly. So, I am not hyper  gracing on you right now. Don’t hear me going farther than I am trying to go. It’s best to pick up the phone and go and find out completely. This is not a Reformed community issue. It’s an Evangelical  issue.

We have our camps. We are absolutely convinced that our camp is the one that’s doing it right and we caricaturize the other camp and lob grenades at them and cannibalize our brothers. It has got to stop.

And here’s what you can do. Engage, and, if you need to,  protect your people as to why it is biblically incorrect and extend grace to them because they are our brothers and sisters and then just be gracious because (we should be ) working together, even though we disagree. Ok, so we disagree. You do things I don’t like. They make me animated, but the same could be said about your thoughts about me. So, we gotta get past that and say, „Are we on the same team?” Do we believe in what historically is called „closed hand of theology”? If we do, then let’s get to work.

The measure of success

You have to be careful not to judge success the way unfortunately too many Evangelicals judge success. Size does not equate faithfulness. But, if you’re in tune with the Holy Spirit and obedient to the Holy Spirit, you should see growth. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Submit your life to the Father, be obedient to the word, proclaim the Gospel, it works. But look at verse 1 (Hebrews 12). Apparently, there are things that hinder us that are not necessarily sinful. „Let us lay aside these encumbrances, but, also the sin that so easily entangles”. That means some of you right now are being held back from all that God has from you and (it’s) not by morally sinful things. But, other things. Comfort is not a bad thing, unless… Safety is not a  bad thing, unless… I mean I could go on, money is not a bad thing… unless it owns you. Unless it has you. Those things aren’t wrong, but they can be hindrances. I don’t think TV is wrong, but it can be a hindrance. I don’t think food and sleep are wrong, but they can be a hindrance. I think we have been programmed to think: What are the bad sins? Let me make sure I’m not doing them instead of going- what are the hindrances that are robbing me of joy in Jesus Christ, robbing me of fulfilling all that He has for me and being all that he has called me to be in Jesus Christ. We think, „Hey, I’m not looking at porn, I’m doing great!”

Are you Godly?

So let me ask a question I haven’t heard anybody ask, „Are you Godly?” That’s a question that has to be answered. I don’t care if you’re talented. I don’t care if you’re a good communicator. Are you Godly? How’s your home? You love your wife? You love your children? You love your husband? How’s your home? Are you in the Word so you can have  more than just something to preach? Are you Godly… because sin will choke you out and publicly ridicule the name of our God. I’m not asking if you’re spotless; I know the answer to that question, but here’s what I’ve found (I just need to be straight with you here and I need to be clean before God when I leave here): Some of you in youth group, started figuring out that by saying the right things, and by being a Jesus cheerleader, much was made of you. People liked you, they wanted you to speak at things and they started paying you a little and you decided that this is what you’re made for. You thought you excel at this and you started playing the game and if we’re honest with one another- you’ve got secret sin in your life and this is all your fanatical effort; you know nothing of the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through and moving in ways that have everything to do with Him and nothing to do with you. That’s why you check twitter as much as you do, that’s why you weigh success and failure on every sermon. It’s because you don’t understand the Gospel and you don’t understand grace. I’m just gonna say it, „You might not be saved!”

So let’s pay attention to what hinders us and let’s be putting sin to death in our lives. The writer of Hebrews is telling us that „to run with endurance” means this isn’t easy. There’s a romanticism to all this that needs to go by the wayside.  You run with endurance the race marked out for you.

Looking to Jesus

Why? Because He is the founder of your faith and also the perfecter, which means the highest highs and the lowest lows of my life are God begotten moments meant to perfect what he began. Speaking of his cancer: You think God couldn’t have stopped it? He allowed it. Why? Because for whatever reason, a reason I will know one day, to keep me deeply tied to Him I needed to be wounded. So, discipline isn’t: You’ve done bad, let me whip you. Now that’s what we grew up with. Well some of you younger guys just had to go to the corner and think about it. The 35 and up, no. I needed this season of my life so I can continue to stay deeply tied to my Father. That’s why Paul got the thorn. Right? „To keep me from boasting.” That text does not say, „I was boasting, so …” that’s not what it says,”to keep me from…”

Was it quite the year for you? Your faith’s being perfected. Made a lot of mistakes? Yeah, the cross is gonna tell you  you’re gonna make a lot of mistakes. Gotta get back to the Gospel guys. When you get that self pity, you’re simply showing that you don’t know the Gospel. The glory of God is not that He uses you in your awesomeness; the glory of God is that He uses you in spite of how you are. God has made much of Himself in His messengers, but please do not celebrate the messengers. You can look to the messengers and emulate them, but at the end of the day, if you know your Bible, Moses dies. You need to focus on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, whom for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning His shame and He sat down at the right hand of the Father. I want to, as often as I can, drive you to the cross of Jesus Christ; drive you to get your confidence and power there. Driving to get your comfort there, because if you’re not getting it there, you’re gonna find it some other place.

You’re gonna find it in pornography. You don’t think I know statistically that a lot of you are addicted to porn in here? Men and women. You don’t think that I know some of your marriages are absolute train wrecks. You’re putting on this sweet face. No intimacy in the home. No friendship, no depth of relationship; you’re not leading your house. You know why? Because you’re not looking to the cross, cause when you’re looking at the cross it’s easy to say, „Sorry. I’m just an idiot. I need to get help here. I need to get someone to help me here. I don’t know why I do that. I don’t know why.” Some of you are addicted to porn cause you don’t understand the cross. You let shame begat shame instead of understanding that Christ paid it all. You’ve been set free to pursue Him.

The more you understand the cross, the more you understand that God is not in love with the future you. God’s not proud of you 10 years from now. It’s you now, or Christ died for nothing and we struggle with that, don’t we. Yet the Bible says, „While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. Has the cross scorned the shame?

Matt Chandler in the UK Part 1

My  Notes from Session 1:

I think it’s easy to celebrate conversions and people who come to Christ, but over the last 8 years in pastoral ministry, I think the Lord’s trained me that when we baptize people I want to clap and shout with the rest of my congregation, but, there’s always this something going on at the back of my mind, „Ok, we’ll see, because we’ve seen a lot of people come in and profess Christ and then within a few months, within half a year, they’re just gone. So, I’d like to talk to you about disciples that stick and what our roles in that is.

The good news is that I don’t have to pull a lot of leadership quotes from Winston Churchill because Jesus is gonna tell us, „This is how it works”.

Matthew 13:1-9 The Parable of the Sower

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  He who has ears,let him hear.”

vv 18-23 The Parable of the Sower Explained

18  “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Seed on the road

1) People have to particularly understand what you are saying. Sometimes (as Reformed or Charismatics) we begin to talk in a language that no one else is speaking. I am not a seeker sensitive guy, but I DO want to be a seeker friendly guy. I want to speak as if there are people among us who don’t know big theological words and don’t know Christian history and don’t maybe know Bible study. Terms such as justification,propitiation and repentance don’t translate into regular speak, so I still want to use these Biblical words, so I stop and just for a second, I explain them because if they don’t understand, then how can they respond?

2) God’s got to give them ears through the Holy Spirit so this brings me to the second truth in this text. There is not a methodology that is going to ensure that everyone in front of you is going to become a believer. If you don’t get that early on; that the Gospel is always going to reek of death to some, then you r possibility of selling out and watering down the Good News of Jesus Christ into something other than „Christ crucified and raised for our wicked hearts:; you’re going to get away from that and preach something other than that as Salvation. Every act of liberalism in Christians’ history has started in the attempt to make Christianity more popular than it was at the time.

In the United States in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s, there was a big battle in regards to liberalism and what had happened was that church attendance was kind of down, so this group showed up to say, „Let’s save the church”. They started saying that the real good news of the kingdom, or what the Gospel was „was taking care of the poor, and all kinds of people are loved” and all of a sudden there was the social gospel movement. It got people to come. If you say that people are intrinsically wicked and evil and that they are by their nature an object of God’s wrath, and that the only way for God to handle it justly is to kill you  forever, people aren’t going to come. And though God is a God of love, people think they can separate those 2 ideas. You can’t pull them apart. You can’t have the love of God without the wrath of God. The love of God is made visible, that we deserve in His justice, death.

So, you have to know early on that there’s not some methodology that everyone who comes into your church is gonna be saved and spirit filled. Some are gonna fall on the path, they’re not gonna get it.  Now you don’t have to like it. These kinds of verses push us into prayer and pleading with God for the hearts and souls of the people sitting in front of us. These are the kind of verses that make you understand that it’s not on you.

Doctrine matters

There’s this silly idea that doctrine is some sort of out moved, old school, dusty thing that has no relevance today. If you stand up and talk about God, you’re a theologian. You open up the  Bible and you talk about God, you’re doing theology. Doctrine matters because of what Jesus says in this text. The seed goes in the ground and it springs up and then one of two things happen- tribulation or persecution happens and because there’s no root, they’re scorched; they’re burned and they disappear. This means our people have to have a root.

I believe you have to constantly teach the nature and character of God over simply what you should be doing as regards to behavior. So, instead of, „This is how you should behave,” although I think there is a place for that; I think the mainstays of your sermon have to be, „This is who God is”.

vv 20-22 I want my people to know what God’s doing and how He’s been doing it. So I’ve taught about 40 times in 8 years on 2 texts in particular: Psalm 139  „We are fearfully and wonderfully made”, and this is not just a text for women. What he says in this text is 1)that He created us inwardly and externally. So He created our outward form. The 2) other part of that text says that He puts together our unseen substance, our personality. So, I want to teach our people that you have been wired a certain way; you’ve been gifted a certain way for a certain purpose. If you went to Acts 17 in what is the greatest sermon not preached by Jesus, in the Bible, Paul gets up and teaches in Athens and one of the things he says is that the time in which we live and the boundaries and habitation were set before we were. This means a couple of things 1)regardless of what your parents said; you weren’t a mistake. No one is an accident. And you are in the place-city, town that you are supposed to be. So, you are created specifically  (and Paul says that God had done that so that men might seek Him…though He is not far from any of them”.

So, what I want to unpack for my people over and over again is that „You have been uniquely wired and uniquely placed for the glory of God. So, if you’re a businessman and numbers just make sense to you, that’s a God given gift for the glory of God. I wanna encourage them for the domain of the society they are in. The pinnacle of godliness is not necessarily ministry. One of the things I love is for our businessmen, our government people, our people in education use their God given talents in those domains for the glory of God.

Secondly, I want to talk about generosity and open handedness almost every week. If you avoid talking about money you’re not teaching the full counsel of God. You have to be careful that you don’t react to abuses with silence. The Scriptures are clear: If you want to know what you really value, what you really love, what you really want; look at how you spend your money.

vv 22-23 „the case of the world and the deceitfulness of riches chokes the world and it proves unfruitful. As to what was sown on the good soil, this is the one that hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields it, in one case a hundred fold in another sixty and in another thirty”. There is an accumulative effect to all you do at your churches. One sermon doesn’t change everything. There is an accumulative effect to ministry. So, at the Village, from small groups to „Culture in theology”, to books that we hand out, to preaching, to worship, to social gatherings, there is an accumulative effect to all of that. All of that cultivates the soil. Every weekend I’m coming in and cultivating the soil. The key for you, as a leader, is to ask yourself, „What are we cultivating? What kind of soil have we prepared? ” What you are strong and what you are passionate about, the church will be strong and the church will be passionate about. And, where you are weak and lazy, the church will be weak and lazy. So there has to be at some level, some inspection of the ground and an introspection of your own heartWhat kind of soil are we cultivating? Is this the type of soil, that when a seed falls into it it can grow fruit that explodes ? Where you see lives transformed and continue to be transformed and then lives around them continue to be transformed and now you’ve got yourself a harvest. And, it’s not solely about the sermon.

Matt Chandler – Leadership Conference for Pastors in the UK Part 2

Matt Chandler at the Leadership Event in the UK. May 2010. Chandler begins by recounting his journey becoming pastor of Higland Village Church in Texas, a church that tried to implement a Willow Creek model and did that badly anyways.  He talks about the beginnings of the church and 2 of the things they tried to range right away was 1) making use of the Bible (practically no one was carrying or using their Bible) and 2) The way they did worship music (Apparently for a small church of approx. 40 people there were 12 people at the front leading elaborate worship productions. He talks about how they scrapped the Willow Creek model when he accepted the position and about his own challenge that his pastoral staff seemed to stop shepherding once the church got „big”. As Chandler puts it, his staff was telling people, „This is what we believe, if you don’t like it, go find another church.” He gathered his staff and asked of them to continue the „shepherding” in the same spirit as when they first started out because that is what the word of God models. Other points from the conference session with UK pastors from 2 Timothy  2:20-3:9:

  • „Flee youthful passions”. Sanctification does not happen only at conversion. It is a growing process. Most of you will be caught by pursuing a little too much sport, leisure and television.
  • „Pursue righteousness.” I’ve learned that guys are really good enough to deceive themselves.  Chandler is talking just about Pastors here. Pastors ca know so much from the Bible that they can very quickly justify wicked thoughts and feelings as if they don’t need to be dealt with. You need to be aware. You have these moments that God has given to you so that you might walk in repentance and draw nearer to Him, in them. You pursue righteousness by having the Holy Spirit reveal to you unrighteousness and the desire to put that unrighteousness to death.
  • Pursue faith. Kings-People who have great organizational skills should not run the church. The priests and the prophets run the church, with help from kings. When kings run the church, you are operating not from faith but for the bottom line (profit). From my own journey, I know that God will often ask you to jump off a cliff before He will give you a parachute. You have to hear from the Holy Spirit and walk out in faith.
  • „Pursue love”. Are you growing in your love for the saints? Are you able to rejoice with people who rejoice and mourn with people who mourn? Ever got caught thinking of someone who died, „Well the way he was going, it’s no surprise.” What a wicked way to think that he deserved that and I don’t. Are your people a nuisance to you? You should be pursuing constant growth of love for the people God has given you care of.
  • „Pursue peace”. Are you pursuing peace? Pursuing peace isn’t as peaceful as it sounds. Pursuing peace is seeing where there are issues and engaging it. By far, the biggest problem in pastoral ministry  is cowardice; men who are unwilling to have the conversations that need to be had.
  • You shouldn’t be doing all that pursuing by yourself. Run the risk of trusting others and not isolating yourselves as pastors. You need other people. You need people that can speak into your lives in two ways: 1) To encourage you and 2) To call you out. Are you pretending that you are the one man in Christendom that doesn’t need to be engaged over things in his life?  Nobody handles that well. All of us need it. So, if you build your church as if you’re the king and you can’t be questioned, you have simply set yourself up for a fall. Everyone should be able to respectfully engage you. We (Chandler) have a church of 8,000 across 3 campuses, and I can be questioned by anyone on my staff. Anyone on my staff can come into my office on Monday and Wednesday, knock on my door and say, „Hey Matt, can I ask a question? Can you explain why we do it this way, or that way?” When we roll out things to our churn, to our staff; we roll it out first in a draft form, allow them to push back and then roll out a revised document, once they’ve pushed back on it. We don’t tell them, „This is how things are gonna be around here”. We go, „According to the Scriptures, here’s how we’re going to implement what the Scriptures command,” and then they get to push back on it and then we get a better document. We want push back. We ask for it. And that’s  staff of 100.
  • „Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies for you know they breed quarrels”. I’ve done university settings with atheists and agnostics. I’ve done some of that and I am never getting into dumb arguments. So, in the end, I don’t want to argue silly things with our people. I’m just not going to do it and I am not going to get into these endless debates that have no end. Now, there are debates ending with me going one way and you going the other. But Paul says here in regards to shepherding, „If you’ve got a guy here who’s just ignorant or quarrelsome, just don’t, don’t…
  • „and the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone”. The man of God wields a scalpel, not a club. We are spiritual surgeons by trade. If your default is „war” you might need to go do something else, otherwise you will wound a lot of people God has given you authority over and in the end you are supposed to be kind and loving. You shepherd people with kindness. Even when you point out to people where they are wrong, you don’t do it aggressively. You do it in a way that is kind and compassionate and speaks to them the love of Christ. There are definitely situations, though, where that does not apply.
  • „able to teach”. One of the things we are finding out is that the people sitting in front of us don’t know as much as we think they know. So, they will disagree sometimes, without knowing why they disagree. Sometimes they think it just doesn’t sound right to them. So, instead of getting frustrated that they are challenging your theology, it just means it goes back to your teaching them. The reason they are confused is that they have not been taught well. The man of God must be able to teach. We must be able to unpack them the nature and character of God and we have to spot the arguments they’re hearing and teach around them.
  • „we have to patiently endure evil”. Sinners, when confronted on their sin, will almost always lash out at the people who have confronted their sin.  So, you have to patiently endure evil as a Pastor which means you are going to be attacked and accused of things that are not true. There are jabs and attacks that we have to endure as pastors. We are to patiently suffer evil, which means that I am not afraid of war. If there are things that have to be fought for, but I don’t relish them, I don’t look for them and I don’t go to war over something that can be cleared up over a cup of coffee. So, I AM NOT PREACHING A SERMON TO 8,000 PEOPLE TO TALK TO ONE GUY. Ok? I’m just going to coffee with the one guy.
  • Practical application to shepherding your people to truth:
  1. When someone is outside the bounds of truth I want to give them texts to read. I’m not going to resolve it over just one cup of coffee. It is my role (here) to shift what you believe theologically.  (it is one (role) of many). So I give them texts to go home and read and talk to them about later. And I give them some questions to look at as they study the Bible. You shepherd people to truth by using truth (Bible) to shepherd.
  2. Listen to people and don’t listen to respond. When people have an aversion to truth, it’s almost always because they are personally affected by that truth. If you will listen, you will find most of the time that doctrine is not the issue. There is some other issue. You can then minister to their heart and then you’ll find their aversion to the truth, not as strong.
  3. Don’t let yourself be a champion of a doctrine. Be a champion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that goes after the heart and not just after the mind. You need to listen to what’s going on in this person’s east that makes something that is beautiful and true sound ugly to them.
  4. Be patient. Progressive sanctification is a dirt path. It is not a super highway. People grow like your kids grow. You can stare at your kids 24/7 and never see them grow. Yet, one morning our kid comes downstairs and you wonder, „When did he get tall like that?” Progressive sanctification is a slow moving thing. It means you have to patiently walk with people. Some people for an extended period of time. I keep telling my people do keep digging in the Bible. Once they’re digging in the Bible, I am not worried anymore. So, patience and love and respect and kindness and not being quarrelsome. Some doctrines it took me years to like them. Some doctrines I believed before I liked them. There have been times that I have come across something in Scripture that I just went, „Aghh…” in my own heart in regards to where I was and B, then having to communicate that truth. One of my favorite things about preaching through the books of the Bible is that it will force your hand. It will make you preach the full counsel of God. There have been times I’ve known it was right, but I didn’t like it for a couple of years, and then had the Lord woken me up. So how dumb are you to go through that growth and then demand that everyone love it (instantly). So, you’ve got to keep in mind progressive sanctification. It’s progressive and it’s slow. Now that’s not always true (though). Every once in a while God gives you that gift of that one person that is immediately converted and just drinks it all in and just overnight becomes unreal. But most of the time it is a real slow process, that over years you start to really see fruit, life change and a passion for the Lord
  5. Last thing on practicality. You work diligently and passionately  concerning your own spiritual life. It’s easier to say hard things to people if your life is marked by humility, gentleness and submission to God. It is easier for people to hear hard things from you if they know they’re loved by you and they know you’ve been willing to do the same. Your people are going to mirror you to some extent. Now, that should terrify you in one way and push you into the Lord in another.

Uploaded on Vimeo by Jubilee Church in May 2010 300 Conference (Session 2)


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