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.

God Does Not Repent Like a Man, John Piper

The Foreknowledge of God

Click to read about Saul's story

After Saul disobeys Samuel, God says, „I regret [= repent] that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands” (1 Samuel 15:11). Some have argued that since God „repents” of things he has done, therefore he could not have foreseen what was coming. Else why would he repent or regret, if he knew in advance the consequence of his decision? However, this is not a compelling argument against God’s foreknowledge. First of all, the argument assumes that God could not, or would not, lament over a state of affairs he himself chose to bring about. That not true to human experience; and more importantly, God’s heart is capable of complex combinations of emotions infinitely more remarkable that ours. He may well be capable of lamenting over something he chose to bring about.

Not only that, God may also be capable of looking back on the very act of bringing something about and lamenting that act in one regard, while affirming it as best in another regard. For example, if I spank my son for blatant disobedience and he runs away from home because I spanked him, I may feel some remorse over the spanking – not in the sense that I disapprove of what I did, but in the sense that I feel some sorrow that spanking was a necessary part of a wise way of dealing with this situation, and that it led to his running away. If I had it to do over again, I would still spank him. It was the right thing to do. Even knowing that one consequence would be alienation for a season, I approve the spanking, and at the same time regret the spanking. If such a combination of emotions can accompany my own decisions, it is not hard to imagine that God’s infinite mind may be capable of something similar.

Now the question is: Does the Bible teach that God laments some of his decisions in the sense that I have described above (which does not imply that He is ignorant of their future consequences), or does the Bible teach that God laments some of his decisions because he did not see what was coming?

The answer is given later in 1 Samuel 15. After God says in verse 11, „I repent that I have made Saul king,” Samuel says in verse 29, as if to clarify, „The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent” (KJV). The point of this verse seems to be that, even though there is a sense in which God does repent (verse 11), there is another sense in which he does not repent (verse 29). The difference would naturally be that God’s repentance happens in spite of perfect foreknowledge, while most human repentance happens because we lack foreknowledge. God’s way of „repenting” is unique to God: „God is not a man that he should repent” (the way a man repents in his ignorance of the future).

For God to say, „I feel sorrow that I made Saul king,” is not the same as saying, „I would not make him king if I had it to do over.” God is able to feel sorrow for an act in view of foreknown evil and pain, and yet go ahead and will to do it for wise reasons. And so later, when he looks back on the act, he can feel the sorrow for the act that was leading to the sad conditions, such as Saul’s disobedience.

Hence we have our precious fighter verse in Numbers 23:19 – „God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” I say it is precious, because here God’s commitment to his promises hangs on his not repenting like a man. In other words, God’s promises are not in jeopardy, because God can foresee all circumstances, he knows that nothing will occur that will cause him to take them back.

Resting in the confidence of God’s all-knowing promises,

Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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