Al Mohler – Hebrews 12

English: Al Mohler, President of Southern Bapt...

Expositors Summit 2012: General Session 6

 

Expositors Summit 2012: General Session 6 from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

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?

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