Fernando Ortega – Corporate Worship from the Desiring God Conference September 28, 2012

OFFICIAL WEBSITE   http://www.fernandoortega.com/ (photo via Christian Post)

Video from the 2012 Act The Miracle Desiring God Conference is up and we will be posting the conference messages here. Meanwhile, here is Fernando Ortega speaking and singing several songs  at the conference.

See the full resource: desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/corporate-worship

Corporate Worship (Fernando Ortega) from Desiring God on Vimeo.

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Ed Welch – Desiring God National Conference – Act the Miracle

Ed Welch: How does the brain impose limits on the body and on what we can do, especially the brain that’s been popularized and that’s been cared for by modern psychiatry? Modern psychiatry is an interesting phenomenon. A generation ago they were the lampooned stewarts of the psychiatric asylums. But today, psychiatry, culturally is our hope for the real hard issues of life. From the blitzkriegs of mania to the simple things like low level boredom. And there might even be the possibility that there will be  a designer drug out, available for you that will make you better than good. Isn’t that nice.

Psychiatry is of course not the problem we are trying to address this morning. The problem is us. And here’s the problem. I think it’s a very important one at this particular moment. We have partitioned modern psychiatry from the scriptures. As far as we can tell, scripture does not speak to modern psychiatry, which is a little unfortunate because psychiatry owns essentially all the real hard stuff. There’s been a partition, I see it probably every day. Those who live with a particular psychiatric label. When they go to church, and they do go to church, the sermons are irrelevant to their particular experience.


Although the brain offers these limitations on us, the brain essentially, fundamentally offers no limitation on our sanctification, and that is essential. Consider it this way. Sanctification is more about the direction that we are traveling than the distance we have traveled. There is awfully good news for us. There is not a sense in scripture that you should be at this place, at this particular time. It’s where are we oriented? Are we oriented toward the face of Christ or away from Him? That is the goal in sanctification. And there are no brain limitations that can turn us away from Jesus, as we would expect.

… If you must have some kind of new psychiatric information in order to minister effectively , then we start butting against the sufficiency of scripture… And where else does scripture not speak?

Ed Welch covers the

stalwarts of (all) ministry- (1) To know a person and (2) to be known by the scripture. We walk along with another person- to know them and then to say, „Ok now, what does God say to us now?”

He talks about what are these psychiatric diagnosis?

Essentially everything that’s hard in life has a psychiatric diagnosis. The emotional ups and downs of life that seem to be disconnected from the events of life. We all have emotional ups and downs in life  and our emotions sort of freely float from one place to another, but there are some problems that people experience where they can feel very up or very down and it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the circumstances around them. That would be one of the seemingly complex experiences we’re seeking to tear away this partition and draw under the authority of scripture.

All things anxiety. All things fearful. Excessive-compulsive problems. Panic Attacks. These are some of the problems. The burgeoning addictions of modern society. The chaotic thinking of someone who has delusional interpretations of the world, someone who has hallucinations. These are some of the features that we wanna consider, that presently seem to be owned by a camp outside of scripture.

The assumption is modern psychiatry is fairly simple. There are biological causes and prominently- biological solutions. So therefore, why should you even bother with such things? We don’t deal so much with biological solutions, we are people who deal with matters of the heart.

The second question is: Do we actually have psychiatric disorders? Surprisingly, of all these things in life, in modern psychiatry today, none of them actually have a clear biological marker where you can take a blood test or any other kind of physical test to tell you you have that particular problem…


Two tasks: 1- To know someone and 2- then to allow scripture to take what we’ve heard and possess it in such a way that it infuses it with hope and purpose and sanctification.

Restoring Broken People and

the Limits of Life in the Body

Russell Moore – on Corporate Sanctification from the Desiring God National Conference September 2012

More Conference videos-

Text 1 Corinthians 4:14- 6:9 The apostle Paul writes, as he is carried by the Spirit to the church at Corinth.

1I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then,be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

Chapter 5  Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival,not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Chapter 6.  Lawsuits Against Believers

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Some notes from the message:

Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

Part of the obstacle you and I face, when it comes to holiness, when it comes to being sanctified is that we don’t know what normal looks like. We live in a fallen universe; we have grown up in a fallen universe. We live, as Isaiah tells us, among a people of unclean lips, even as we are a people of unclean lips. And in the middle of all of that, what can seem to be normal to me can simply be my own pattern of sin. What seems to be regular and the default, simply can be the fact that I am living around people who have similar sorts of slaveries and bondages to sin, and to Satan and to the curse, and to death. And what the Gospel of Jesus Christ does is to break through this bizarre, unusual, unnatural kind of life that we are living, with a new normal that Jesus defines as the kingdom of God.

And this kingdom, Jesus says to His apostles, isn’t just some generic category and it isn’t just something that waits for us in the next thousand or million, or billion years. This kingdom, Jesus says, shows up in the assemblies. At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus speaks of the coming of the kingdom, of the keys of the kingdom. And He says this kingdom is going to advance, this kingdom is going to be invincible, the gates of hell will not stand against it, the powers of Satan will not overcome it and He says this kingdom is going to be seen in the reality that „I will build My church. I will assemble My people together. There is no kingdom, the Bible tells us, where there is not a people, there is no rain, where there is not an empire of those to be reigned over. And Jesus says, „In the middle of this fallen world, you will see what the apostle Paul says to the church at Ephesus is a sign of the manifold wisdom of God. A sign to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Where God has appointed Jesus to reign and to rule over His church as a head with a body, as a king over a kingdom.

And, while the whole world, the scripture says, lies under the sway of the wicked one, while there is a god of this age, a prince of the power of this air, in these local assemblies and in these gatherings, we see a sign of the reign of Christ. That’s why Paul’s letter here, to the church at Corinth is so significant. He is talking to a group of people who are living out the beginning stages of the reality  that Jesus promised at Caesarea Philippi. The building and the gathering of this church, of this kingdom colony and what is happening here is of absolute significance to our sanctification.

Our problem, typically is that we think of sanctification as primarily an individual thing. How often do I read my Bible? How often do I pray? How often do I meditate on the things of God? How often do I sing and give praise to God? And, all of those things are significant, and all of those things are important. But, we too often neglect that all of that is only true because we are part of the body of Christ, we are part of His church and the theme of this meeting is so critically important: Act the miracle- God’s work AND our work. Not just my work. Not just your work, but, our work in the sanctification process.

I want you to notice several things about what Paul is pointing out here to this church at Corinth.

(1) The role of proclamation

The role of proclamation in the corporate nature of sanctification. Paul writes to this church at Corinth, a church which is troubled, a church that has people within it who are talking, he says, arrogantly. They are talking as if they are already kings. And he says, „I have demonstrated who I am. I have demonstrated the apostleship that I carry, I have demonstrated the commission that I have from the Lord Jesus Christ. I have sent to you Timothy, I have sent to you the word of the Gospel, I have shown you my life. I have given you every reason and every way to imitate it.” „But,” he says, „There are those who are still speaking with arrogance, there are still those who are opposing this kind of apostolic authority”. And he says, „I want to see what they’ve got. I’m going to be coming to you very soon and we will see these people who are talking , if what they have is just talk. Because the kingdom of God is not a matter of just talk. The kingdom of God is a matter of power.”

Now, you look at that, it sounds at first blush as though Paul is threatening some kind of physical encounter. „We’re going to see whether or not you have talk, or you have power.”  As though the apostle Paul is going to show up and say, „Ok, you’ve got your arrogant talk; deal with my heat ray vision. Deal with my levitating power to swoop you out of your chairs and send you out  into the streets.” But, no, no, no, no. Paul says, „I’m going to come to you and come to you with what? With words! With talk, with a spirit of gentleness, or with a spirit of discipline. But he is still dealing with words. The contrast is not between words and a lack of words. It’s between empty, idle, meaningless talk and authority.

I will come to you with power. And what is the power? The power is the proclamation that is coming, bearing the authority and the spirit and the presence of Christ.  He says, „When you’re gathered together in Jesus’ name, in Jesus’ power and my spirit is there with you. As you are reading this letter, there is a power that comes with these words, the kind of power that you see at Caesarea Philippi. Jesus turns to His disciples in Matthew 16 and says, „Who do people say that I am?” That’s a very ‘low threshold’ kind of question. A very non threatening sort of question. „Well some people say John the Baptist, some people say Elijah.” These are just words. They’re going out there and they’re not doing anything. They’re not affecting anything.

But, Jesus  turns when Simon Peter, by the Spirit, confesses ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’, Jesus turns to this man and Simon the fisherman and He names him. Now, that is authority. There’s a kind of audacity when Jesus stands and names him speaking, „You are Peter, you are rock.” And what’s even more audacious is it doesn’t seem to be true. It’s not true at all. This is the least rock like person, just a few verses down Jesus is going to name him again, Satan. He’s going to be the one that when Jesus is arrested, leaves. And in the middle of it he says all kinds of stupid things at inappropriate times. But Jesus names him rock. Foundation. Stone. Of My church. And then, what does Jesus by His spirit, and by His word do? He makes him live up to his name.

„Peter, do you love Me? Feed my sheep.” The voice of Jesus sent out and working in the life of Peter, takes a name that seems as ridiculous as naming an elderly barren man father of many nations. But He makes the name true by the power of His transforming word. Paul assumes that the apostolic authority that he carries, that the proclamation of this Spirit inspired word brings with it  the authority of Jesus Himself. When you and I gather together and hear the word of God as it is rightly preached, we are hearing an ambassadorial plea that has been sent down from our Lord Jesus Himself, so that, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5 „We are speaking, pleading with you as though Christ Himself were pleading through us be reconciled to God. When you are rightly proclaiming the word of God, there ought to be a northern Galilean accent in there.

People ought to hear a familiar voice that first calls them out of darkness. And, whenever Jesus begins speaking, everywhere that we see Jesus speak, things start happening. Demons start shrieking. They see that their power is being broken. That is what is happening when we gather together and hear the word preached. That’s what happens when we admonish one another and teach one another. That’s what’s happening when we sing and teach one another with Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. That’s not just information that  is being downloadedThat’s expository exorcism. The power of Jesus’s voice residing in His church, under the authority of the word of God and reflecting upon the authority of the word of God breaks through those patterns of deception that keep us form seeing the glory of the light of God reflected in the face of Jesus Christ.

It’s not just an information download. It’s not just principles for living. When we teach one another and when we preach to one another, and when we sing to one another, and when we rebuke one another, and when we admonish one another, and when we do so, not on the basis of our own authority, but on the basis of the word of God. There is a power, power pact, wonder working power in that proclamation that creates and forms exactly what Jesus says. This is why the Bible is written to the whole church. The Bible isn’t written in bits and pieces for people in particular life situations. Sometimes that single woman, who has never been married and will never be married, doesn’t sense any calling to be married, can come to our congregation and say, „Eh, I don’t feel comfortable here. Why do I need to be in a sermon on marriage?” Because Ephesians 5 wasn’t just written to the married couples at the church at Ephesus. It’s written to the church at Ephesus, and the church at large because you single woman in this congregation are accountable, not only for your own life for your sanctification, but, to teach and to admonish and to hold accountable those marriages within the church.

Why do I need a sermon series on parenting when I’m an 88 year old man with no children? (Or)  I’ve been widowed for years, there’s no prospect for children out there. Because you are to hold accountable, and to teach and to encourage, and to rebuke the whole church when it comes to parenting. You are a kingdom of priests, under the proclamation of the word of God, that creates and brings about our sanctification and holiness.

(2) The role of discipline

Paul, immediately after he talks about this power, in contrast to the talk about his coming behind his words, starts talking about a situation of scandal. He says, „There is a man in your midst who is unrepentantly sinning against God and the problem is that you’re doing nothing. He begins to speak to them about that kingdom authority, and that kingdom responsibility for discipline. Exactly what Jesus said, when He said at Caesarea Philippi, „I am giving to you the keys of the kingdom.” Now, one of the things that irritates me, when it comes to the way we talk, and when I say ‘we’, I mean me as well as anybody else, we mean church discipline. He’s under church discipline. We mean excommunication. Someone who is under church discipline is someone who has been voted out of the fellowship of the church.

We are ALL under church discipline! Discipline is simply not excommunication. As a matter of fact, excommunication is actually the end of church discipline. I have now been handed over to Satan. Discipline is just not in scripture that final phase of the lack of repentance. Discipline is every step along the way, starting with the definition of who’s who.  He says, „There is sexual immorality among you. Who’s you? The church of God at Corinth, called out and sanctified by the spirit and by the blood of Christ. It is the authority that Jesus has given to His church dependent and derivative upon His word to mark out and to identify who are those who are qualified to be called brother and called sister, based upon the criteria of repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

When the church baptizes and marks out its boundaries. When the church receives into its membership, into its structure of accountability, that church is defining the boundaries of discipline. This is not the world, out there in the chaotic anarchy that is the rule of Satan. This is the church. This is where Jesus, right now is actively ruling. And we, on the basis of what Jesus has said to us declare, „You are my brother. You are my sister. You have been received by Christ.” Now, I don’t have personal authority to define that. And we don’t have individual, congregational authority to define that. The king of the kingdom has defined who are those who are received by God. We, when we speak rightly and when we speak on the basis of what Jesus has given us, we are declaring in the voice of Jesus, „You are one of the brothers. You are one of the sisters.” That is a powerful, powerful responsibility.

Your vote on receiving a new member into your congregation is more significant in the long term than for your vote for who will be the next president of the United States. When the congregation says, „We receive you as brother,” and when the congregation refuses to deal with an issue that would seem to show a lack of repentance, that congregation is speaking for Jesus in a place that congregation has no authority and no mandate to speak. You see these empty suit, toothy preachers on CNN, who get on talking about this very light and fluffy Gospel, who start to become very nervous when the host says, „Well, what about Moslems, and what about HIndus, and what about atheists, do they go to hell?” You see that guy, the grin starts to get frozen, and he starts to get really uncomfortable and he says, „Well, for me I think Jesus is the best way and…” there’s just a reluctance to say what the scripture has said so clearly about the way of salvation through Jesus Christ.

It’s easy for us to look at that and say, „That’s pathetic,” and yet, that’s what many of us do. We have people in our congregations, that we are saying, by the fact that we list them as brother and sister, and we treat them as brother and sister without a life of faith and of gathering together and of repenting of sin. We are saying, „Jesus says you are our brother,” when you have no warrant to say that. You might as well go door to door, simply saying to everyone who opens the door, „I’ll see you in heaven.” The membership of the church and the accountability of the church is the discipline of the church.

Now, you only have the authority in the church to discipline where Jesus has given that authority in His word. We don’t discipline one another and excommunicate one another  because we disagree over home schooling and public schooling, or whether we ought to celebrate Halloween. But where the scripture says this is a lack of repentance and a lack of obedience. And Jesus says, „Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. What Paul says happens is not just when that unrepentant person, going through all that process of „Be reconciled, repent. Be reconciled. Repent.”  When that person refuses  to repent and that church hands that person over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that is not just clearing out a membership roll. That is not punishing that person and saying: We don’t want your kind around here. That is the voice of Jesus saying, „I am turning you over to the power of Satan. If he turns,” Jesus says, „you have received your brother.” Why? „My sheep hear My voice  and they follow Me.”  Only difference between Peter weeping in the arms of Jesus and Judas tangled up in his own intestines in a potter’s field is the kind of repentance the voice of Jesus brings

Acting the Miracle Together: Corporate Dynamics in Christian Sanctification – Desiring God Conference 2012

The discipline of the congregation spurs us to holiness, not only because we deal with lack of repentance and lack of faith among us, but also because this discipline and this accountability changes us. Notice what Paul says, „You ought to be mourning. You ought to be crying. You are arrogant that you don’t even notice this. And why don’t you notice this? Because you don’t know where you are.” He says, ‘I don’t want you to be with the swindlers, and the sexually immoral people, and I’m not talking about those out in the world. I’m not trying to have some premature rapture here.” He says, „I am talking about those within the accountability of the church.”

We tend to get that completely reversed. „Let’s express our outrage with everything that’s going on out there!” And we ignore what is happening among us. The discipline and the accountability of the church changes your affections, it changes your mission, it changes the way you see people and it drives you towards holiness, and it drives you toward love. Why? Because the presence of Jesus is in your midst by His word and by His spirit.

(3) The economy of the church

Paul also talks about the economy of the church, the structure and the life that is being lived within the church. He says, „Your problem is not only that you are tolerating this kind of behavior, the problem is also that you’re fighting with one another, and you’re struggling with one another and you’re doing it by taking one another to court. He says, „This ought to shame you. You ought to be embarrassed about this.

These bickerings and these divisions that are between you and they ought to shame you even more so that you are taking it to those that have no standing in the church. Why? Because the gifts that Jesus is giving to the body are not simply, or means at all simply of personal self actualization. They are given for the building up of the body  and they are a sign of spiritual warfare. Jesus has taken captivity captive. When Jesus gifts His church, He is prepping His church, He is staffing up His church for a future kingdom that is to come.

We have all these spiritual gifts inventories. We spend so much time worrying: What’s my spiritual gift? I’m not saying those things are not of some value. But, the main issue is not whether or not you know what your spiritual gift is. It’s whether or not, in the life of the church your spiritual gift is operative and functioning and building up the body of Christ. It’s not your gift. It belongs to the body.

Paul says, „Is there nobody wise enough among you to decide these disputes? Paul says, ‘The problem is, when you go to the outside,” which doesn’t have to be in a formal law court, you can do that in the court of public opinion on the internet. „When you go to those who have no standing within the church, you are already defeated.” Why? Don’t you know that you will judge angels? Don’t you know that you will rule the world?

Jesus gifts the church because He is showing you in little things. He is training you in little areas of authority to rule over many things. „To rule and to reign with Me,” He says. Your life within the body of the church is just an internship for the eschaton. Why are these people bickering and fighting with one another? Why do they think that their agenda matters so much? It is because they are not looking to their next trillion years. They think this, and this only is where I am going to be able to carry out my little place of power and my little place of authority and so, I don’t care about anything beyond that. Paul says, „You are going to judge angels, you are going to rule over the entire universe and when you come together and you argue and you bicker and when you go out to the pagan world and say, „We need you to help us to discern God’s good from evil, right from wrong,” you are declaring the incompetence of Jesus to rule over his kingdom within His church. (42:50)

Paul says, ‘You have the mind of Christ. You have everything that is necessary for godliness and within this congregation, part of the way that Jesus sanctifies you is by putting you together with people where you are exercising wisdom and you are exercising gifts and you are being trained in some way for a greater and more majestic responsibility later on.

So, who cares right now if somebody has defrauded you? Why not rather be defrauded for the sake of the mission that  you have waiting for you? You’re sanctified as you are giving and as you are serving for the upbuilding of the body because you see the big picture of what’s happening.

Often the kinds of squabbles and bickerings that we have over worship and particularly over music have everything to do with what the apostle is talking about here. I assume that the issue is my personal sanctification in the now. What does it take to speak to me, so I can close my eyes and pretend like it’s me and Jesus in the congregation and have a foretaste of heaven? The problem is that is NOT a foretaste of heaven. It’s not just you and Jesus. It turns out you don’t come to the garden alone (as in the song), which is a disappointment for me…(pun intended) You are teaching one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. You are doing warfare with one another against the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. And you are preparing yourselves, through the worship of God’s people for a new era and a new creation. You are giving yourself over for the new sanctification of someone else.

(4) The corporate aspect of testimony

He says,”Don’t you know the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? The arena culture that God has called us to in our sanctification is an arena that is much bigger than a sports stadium or a political convention. He says, „Remember who you are, don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The power of Christ together breaks through deception of the Satanic powers. The way it’s easy for me to identify your sin, but in my case, there are always reasons. I don’t see it, I am guarded against it. „Do you not know that the unrighteous..” and he lists out what that means: the swindlers, the adulterers, the fornicators, the homosexuals, the thieves will not inherit the kingdom of God. He breaks the deception that is said form the very beginning, „You will not surely die.”

But, that is not the only power that the word given to the church breaks. It beaks that other power of Satan, which is accusation. Not only- „Don’t you know the unrighteous won’t inherit the kingdom of God,” but, it makes the division here, not between the swindlers, the idolaters, the sexual immoral and the regular people. No, no, no, no, no. It’s between the swindlers, the idolaters, the fornicators, the homosexuals, and the swindlers, the fornicators, the adulterers, the homosexuals who have been crucified. „Such were some of you, but you were washed, you were cleansed, you were forgiven.” Being together in the fellowship of the church and  learning to bear with one another’s sins and repentances, and grievances, and weak points, points me to the reality of my own standing before God. Not as some neutral, normal person, but, as a sinner who deserves to hear only, „Depart from Me you worker of iniquity.” Such were some of you, but, the blood of Jesus cleanses.

The gathering of the church together is a sign to the principalities not that this is a sinless people, but that this is a sinless people who can no longer bear accusation because of the reign of Jesus through through His crucifixion and through His resurrection from the dead.

We don’t come together as those who are former sinners. We don’t come together as those who are regular people, or as people who have a difference with the people out there in the world, we come together as the crucified. And when we join in worship, we are joining with an already existing worship service in the heavenly places. We’re just a satellite campus. What we need to remember is that every single Lord’s Day when we gather together we are joining, by the eyes of faith, with a number that no man can number- A church that is awesome, as an army with banners. We are part of a huge, global ,transgenerational movement: the old, restful, and resurrected. And we stand there with them, confessing: „We were lost, but You were slain, and with your blood, You have purchased a church that has the power to transform, that has the power to recalibrate, and that has the power to rebuke.” Because that is the voice of Christ and it gives us a way out of our self sufficiency. If Jesus is able to build this church and the gates of hell cannot stop it, then Jesus is gonna build His church.

Kevin DeYoung – Incentives for Acting the Miracle from Desiring God Conference September 28-30, 2012

source: By John Piper. ©2012 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

View/Read John Piper’s Conference messages here-

  1. John Piper – Putting Sanctification in Its Place – Part 1 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28-30, 2012
  2. John Piper – Future Grace, the Word of the Cross, and the Purifying Power of God’s Promises – Part 2 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28-30, 2012

Some great points from Kevin DeYoung’s message (see full transcript below): God has a vision of holiness. As we would grow to share in this holiness that belongs to God, that we are in Christ and now we start to look like Christ. So those are the commands. But, what does Paul do, and what does God do by the Holy Spirit, through Paul to get us from here to there? There is holiness- put away, anger, malice, immorality. Put on love, patience, gentleness. What does he do to get us from here- we don’t have those things and we’re more sinful than we think, and we’re less gracious than we realize and he wants to get us over here. Well, he doesn’t just give a long list of commands; he gives motivation. He gives theology. If you don’t care about theology, you don’t care about holiness. Because, what God does is to give the Colossians lots of theology to stir them up to this new kind of life.

He says in verse 1 – „You have been raised with Christ, so seek the things that are above, with Christ seated at the throne above. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”. You see the motivation? Set your mind on heavenly things. Why? Because you have been raised form the grave with Christ, you have been raised in His ascension, so that you now are seated in the heavenly places with Christ.

  • So, here’s the logic: If you reside in heaven now with Christ, why are you making choices as if you lived in hell?
  • Your placement with Christ is a motivation for your progress in Christ likeness.
  • And God will say .. to you, „Do you know where you are?” You’re seated with Christ. You’ve been raised with Him where He is. Shouldn’t where you are make a difference to what you’re like?
  • You have to picture Christ on the cross and see Him hanging there not only for the penalty of your sin, but FROM the power of that sin
  • Some people have a very hard time understanding that threats and warnings in Scripture are there for our sanctification.
  • „Shouldn’t we be emphasizing God’s grace? Isn’t it all of grace?” And I say, „Yes! And what makes you think the warning of God’s wrath is not His grace to you?”

Kevin DeYoung (my full transcript):

One of the aims of this message is to correct a problem. The problem is this: Believing, preaching, praying, counseling, and self diagnosing as if there were only one proper motivation for holiness.

That’s a problem not always stated explicitly. It sometimes seeps into our bloodstream and how we do ministry, or how we speak to others, or to ourselves. And, if proper is too strong a word, we might say ‘best, deepest, pious, truest, ultimate motivation. Is there only one? My concern is that as we try to help people on their journey to sanctification, we not unnecessarily limit ourselves. I fear that we often remove some of the tools from our sanctification tool belt, or we set aside some of the weapons of our warfare. Or that we flatten the promises and commands and warnings of scripture, so that we no longer say all that the Bible allows us to say and would have us say.

I think of it like this: Jesus is our great physician. And, as any good doctor, He knows how to write different prescriptions for different illnesses. Jesus knows what we need, He has many doses at His disposal. God knows personalities and sins and situations. And so He is gracious to come at us with all sorts of truth, from all sorts of angles to make us more like Christ. Jesus has many medicines for our motivations. Good doctors can give lots of different prescriptions and what I fear is that we may get locked in a ‘one size fits all’ approach to our growth in godliness. And we may even stumble upon a true, good, biblical motivation. But, if we make it the only one, we will be short circuiting our sanctification.

Sanctification at the micro level

Let me give you a few short examples:

  1. Duty. Luke 17:10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” Eclesiastes 12:13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. We do have a duty, something that is required of us before God. We owe Him our obedience. He is God, we are not. So, duty’s not bad. But, it’s far from the normal way in which God speaks of His commandments. He doesn’t just come our way and say, „I’m the Lord, your God, so you’d better do it!” Think of what He says in the 10 commandments, „I am the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt,” don’t miss that part. Before He gives us a list; God doesn’t just give us a bald list of commands, „Here you go, top 10 commands, for Christians, there it is”. He starts by saying, „I am the Lord your god, your God… I brought you out of Egypt…Do not worship anything or anyone else”. He’ll say, „Don’t bow down to graven images.” Why? „Because I am a jealous God and I visit iniquity, visit the sin in the third and fourth generation and I show steadfast love to thousands of generations.” „Do not take the name of the Lord, your God in vain. Observe the Sabbath day,”  and in Exodus ‘observe the 7th day’ because God rested on the 7th day. Deuteronomy says, „Take a beak, give your people a break because you were slaves once too, so don’t be treating your servants like they’re slaves. Honor your mother and father, that it may go well with you.” So, God comes at us, not just with a list of commandments, but with many reasons for those commandments.
  2. Gratitude. Romans 12:1 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. I believe he is hearkening back to all of the promises in Romans 1 through 11, all of the massive truth there, in view of those realities in in gratitude for them. Ephesians 5:4- Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, gratitude helps to squeeze  out what is mean and bitter and nasty. So, whatever problems you may have, if you’re an angry person, one of your problems is gratitude problem. But, gratitude by itself is not enough. It can quickly turn into s debtor’s ethic. i.e. All this has been given to me by God, so the rest of my life I’m trying to prove how thankful I am. Or, there is a tendency, with gratitude as your only motivation that you only look backwards at what has happened. So duty is fine, gratitude is good, but not by themselves as the only motivation.
  3. Justification. It is gloriously true that we are accepted before God because of the work of Christ alone, the benefits of which we receive through faith alone, by grace alone. That ought to be our sweet song and confession at all times. And, this is a MAJOR motivation for holiness. If we are accepted by God, we don’t have to live for the approval of others. If there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, then we don’t have to fear the disappointment of others. So there’s no doubt that justification is fuel for our sanctification. But, it is not the only kind of fuel we can put in the tank. If we only remind people of our acceptance before God, we will flatten the contours of Scripture and we will be poor physicians of souls.

James 4:1- What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? James is saying, „Because you have now come to grips with your acceptance.” He says, „But, you’re covetous, you’re selfish, you want things that you don’t have, you’re demanding, you’re in love with the world. You’re envious”. That’s what’s going on with your heart right now.

The problem is that we fall into this risk of thinking that there is just one need, there is just one motivation. It’s the same problem, but on a different level that some of christian psychology fell into- assuming a universal needs theory. Sin is always an expression of unbelief. But, there are lots of God’s promises I can be disbelieving at any moment: His promise to accept me in Christ, His promise to judge the wicked or His promise to come again, or His promise to give me an inheritance, or His promise to turn everything to my good. To remind each other of justification is never a wrong answer, it is a precious remedy. But, it is not the only one that we need and it is not the only one that Scripture offers.

Colossians 3– We see in this chapter and we see in so many chapters the multiplicity of biblical motivations for holiness. The first part of the chapter, verses 1 through 17 give a macro level view of how God motivates us. It deals with general commands, general principles. And then, the last part of the chapter- the household code, verses 18 and following, gives us the micro level view where you zero in on the family and day to day life and see how God gives specific motivations for specific commands.

At the macro level– first thing to notice is that this passage is full of imperatives. Paul wants the Colossians to live a certain way. He doesn’t assume that just by telling them the good news of the Gospel, that it will happen. He goes on to tell them what it should look like. He wants them to grow in sanctification. So look at the commands here:

  • verse 2 Set your minds on things that are above
  • verse 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you. That means immorality, impurity, evil desire, idolatry, covetousness
  • verse 8 put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
  • verse 9 Do not lie
  • verse 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness,humility, meekness, and patience
  • verse 15 let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
  • verse 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
  • verse 17 do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God

The whole passage is a long series of statements with imperatival force. God has a vision of holiness. As we would grow to share in this holiness that belongs to God, that we are in Christ and now we start to look like Christ. So those are the commands. But, what does Paul do, and what does God do by the Holy Spirit, through Paul to get us from here to there? There is holiness- put away, anger, malice, immorality. Put on love, patience, gentleness. What does he do to get us from here- we don’t have those things and we’re more sinful than we think, and we’re less gracious than we realize and he wants to get us over here. Well, he doesn’t just give a long list of commands; he gives motivation. He gives theology. If you don’t care about theology, you don’t care about holiness. Because, what God does is to give the Colossians lots of theology to stir them up to this new kind of life. (20:11 minute mark)

  1. You’ve been raised up – He says in verse 1 – „You have been raised with Christ, so seek the things that are above, with Christ seated at the throne above. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”. You see the motivation? Set your mind on heavenly things. Why? Because you have been raised form the grave with Christ, you have been raised in His ascension, so that you now are seated in the heavenly places with Christ.  So, here’s the logic: If you reside in heaven now with Christ, why are you making choices as if you lived in hell? Your placement with Christ is a motivation for your progress in Christ likeness. He wants to remind the Colossians, „Do you know where you are this morning? And God will say that to you, „Do you know where you are?” You’re seated with Christ. You’ve been raised with Him where He is. Shouldn’t where you are make a difference what you’re like? 
  2. You’ve died – Then in verse 3 he says, „You’ve died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God to turn from your past and sin and your unrighetousness„. You have to do more than just turn the page. People say you have to turn over a new leaf. No, you have to consider your old self dead, buried. You have to picture Christ on the cross and see Him hanging there not only for the penalty of your sin, but FROM the power of that sin. And you have to see, hanging up there on that cross with Christ is the ‘you’ that was into drugs, and the you that manipulated people, and the you that was angry all the time and the you that was filled with bitterness, and the you that lived from sensuality to sensuality. That you is dead. You died.
  3. Consider what you will become – You see now, verse 4 „When Christ, who is your life appears, you will also appear with Him in glory”. So, this motivation is working in the opposite direction. Instead of considering what you once were and how you are dead, now, you consider what you will become.  What you will be like when your Christ comes and you appear with Him in glory. There’s a better you that you’re getting to. That’s why, as you’ve heard last night, sanctification and glorification are all of a piece- the process of making you perfectly glorified, fit for heaven, for all eternity is under way now. And so, Paul motivates by saying, „Think of who you will be when Christ appears. Think of whom you will be, that man, that woman, that child, without sin, without all of the anger and the bitterness that you have now. Now, think of that you”. Isn’t that what we do when we have a goal in life. 1 John 3:2 „Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared. But, we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him because we shall see Him as He is”. 
  4. Consider God’s wrath – Here is a different kind of motivation, he tells them to put away these earthly desires and in verse 6 he says, „On account of these, the wrath of God is coming”. Some people have a very hard time understanding that threats and warnings in Scripture are there for our sanctification. You try to piece together, „I thought we have eternal security and God’s gonna keep us and He’s going to preserve us, to the end”. That’s wonderfully, absolutely true. And how do you think He preserves the elect to the end? By warning them of what will happen if they did not. In God’s people, these warnings stir up something in their hearts so that says, „Oh Lord, You would be just to judge and keep me in the love of God, even as You keep me in the love of God”. The warnings are God’s means of preserving the saints. Sometimes, in an effort to be Gospel centered we shy away from the warnings in Scripture. Some of you may desperately need to hear about your new identity in Christ, you need to hear how much God loves you in Jesus and there may be others of you that you need to hear, „Look, the way you are living right now, and the stuff that you are into right now, this is why the wrath of God is coming. Coming for people who do things like those you are living for. His wrath will be poured out on the earth for the things you think are no big deal. Some people need the literal hell scared out of them. But you say, „Shouldn’t we be emphasizing God’s grace? Isn’t it all of grace?” And I say, „Yes! And what makes you think the warning of God’s wrath is not His grace to you?” If you are not giving to yourself, or to your friends or to your people all of the grace that God has for you. If you are not warning them of what God will do, and what He will pour out upon those who are found to be unrighteous and unbelieving.
  5. You are a new creation in Christ. Paul goes on in verse 9 & 10 to describe the reality as a new creation in Christ.
  6. Christ is in all of you. In verse 11, „that’s why you are to bear with one another and love one another, and maintain unity with one another„.
  7. Consider your identity as God’s chosen ones, holy. Don’t pass by that verse 12. Pay attention to what God calls us: Chosen ones, holy, beloved. There’s a difference in how a coach can talk to a player. That’s how I picture God, pulling us in and saying, „Listen, my chosen ones, my holy ones, my beloved ones…” Don’t you know this parents, how a father can pull aside his son and those identity words can make all the difference? You can bark out commands to your son or you can say, „Look, you are my son and I love you with all of my heart. And you are my special boy and you are special, smart and I am so proud of you. And you will always be my child and I will always be your daddy, but, we gotta talk about some of the things you’re doing.” That’ll get their attention. God comes at you and He doesn’t just yell out commands. He says, „My chosen ones. I chose you before the foundation of the world. You had nothing good in you that I should choose you, but, in order to set my affection on you, that you might be my treasured possession, I chose you. I count you holy in Christ  and you are beloved to me.
  8. verse 13, Paul says, „We’ve been forgiven, so we ought to forgive. verse 14 „consider what love does, it binds things together in harmony. verse 15 „consider you are one body, so therefore be at peace”.

Do you see the multiplicity of motivations coming from a dozen different angles to get us from here to there? To move one itty, bitty degree of glory to the next? God doesn’t just say, „Here’s the list and just do it”. He says, „Let me tell you all the reasons why”. Here’s a simpler way of looking at what God did. Step back and think for a moment here at what God is doing in Colossians. He basically does three things:

  1. He tells them what was- you died, you were raised, you’re not your old self
  2. He tells them what is- you’re in heaven, you’re in Christ, you’re a new creation, you’re one body
  3. and He tells them what will be- the wrath of God is coming, and Christ is coming, and the glorious appearing is coming, and an inheritance is coming

(transcript from first half of the video) What follows – Sanctification at macro level from Colossians text.

Related articles from the same conference

Related articles by Kevin DeYoung and others

John Piper – Future Grace, the Word of the Cross, and the Purifying Power of God’s Promises – Part 2 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28, 2012

See Part 1 here – John Piper – Putting Sanctification in Its Place – Part 1 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28, 2012

See the full resource: desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/act-the-miracle-future-grace-the-word-of-the-cross-and-the-purifying-power-of-god-s-promises

For complete transcript click on link above. Here are some points from the message:

  • A Divine Miracle in Us. God is wholly engaged in bringing your life and this world to its appointed destiny of holiness. And this full engagement of God in the process of your sanctification is no limitation on yourengagement, but is in fact it’s the creation of your engagement. He works the miracle of sanctification; you act the miracle. He produces it; you perform it. And if you don’t use your will to act the miracle, there is no miracle. God’s sovereign enablement of holiness does not contradict the act of duty, it creates it.

–When God fills you with compassion, it is you who exercise your will to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and visit the prison and take in the refugee.

–When God gives you merciful humility, it is you who turn the other cheek.

–When God inclines your heart to his word, it is you who get out of bed early in the morning to read your Bible.

–When God gives you the courage and love, it is you who share Christ with your neighbor.

–When God makes his glory more satisfying than lust, it’s you who turns away from pornography.

–When God gives you a sweet satisfaction in your future reward, you are the one who blesses your enemies and does not curse them.

Act the Miracle: Future Grace, the Word of the Cross, and the Purifying Power of God’s Promises (John Piper) from Desiring God on Vimeo.

John Piper – Putting Sanctification in Its Place – Part 1 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28, 2012

John Piper from „Acting The Miracle” Desiring God 2012 Coference that took place on September 28th 2012.

In this first plenary session, John Piper first defines sanctification:

The English word “sanctify” or “sanctification” is built on the Latin word sanctus which means “holy.” We don’t have a way of turning the adjective “holy” into a verb in English. The world “holify” does not exist. But in the language of the New Testament, the adjective “holy” (hagioscan be made into a verb (hagiazō), which means “to make holy” or to “treat as holy.” And that same adjective for “holy” (hagios) can be made into three different nouns (hagiosmoshagiōsunēhagiotēs) which sometimes mean “the condition of being holy” (“holiness”) or “the process of becoming holy”—which would be “holification” if such a word existed, but since it doesn’t, we use “sanctification.”

Now I don’t expect you to remember all that. Here’s the crucial point: Any time you read in the New Testament any form of the word “sanctify,” you know you are reading about holiness. So a conference on sanctification is a conference on being or becoming holy. And the reason I use the terms “being or becoming” holy is that the New Testament refers to our holiness in both of those senses—a condition of being holy, or a process of becoming holy

He points out that the NT speaks to both the process of becoming holy as well as to the condition of being holy:

Both the condition of being holy and the process of becoming holy are prominent in the New Testament. Neither is minimized. The most obvious way to see the prominence of the Christian condition or state of holiness is to see that Paul calls Christians “saints” 40 times in his 13 letters. …So the picture is that God calls us, and unites us by faith to Christ, so that “in Christ Jesus,” we are holy, sanctified, and the name that we get therefore is “saints” or “holy ones.”

He also shows how holiness is a God given trait:

Christians are holy and must become holy. We have the seed of God’s likeness—God’s holiness—imparted to us when we are born again, and we must grow into that likeness—that holiness—to show who our Father really is.

You can read the entire transcript here- http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/prelude-to-acting-the-miracle-putting-sanctification-in-its-place

Prelude to Acting the Miracle:

Putting Sanctification in Its Place


Prelude to Acting the Miracle: Putting Sanctification in Its Place (John Piper) from Desiring God on Vimeo.

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