Thursday, February 28, 2008

a little late

I was busy yesterday evening so I didn't have a chance to check this over and post it. So, I'm doing it over my lunch hour (after holding my nephew for 10 minutes or so.)

Recently, there have been lots of things springing up in the church that I perceive as good things. There is a study going on discussing Mark Dever's The Gospel and Personal Evangelism that is sparking some great conversation and action.

There are several women who are now holding an outreach Bible study at a (for the most part) retired apartment complex here in Rochester. That makes my heart sing. (It would sing more if some dudes would step up to the plate, least we are talking about Jesus.)

There is a swell of people wanting strong discipleship from the leaders of the church. There are youth getting excited about missions abroad. There are new folks coming to church every week. There are two baptisms in the next month.

These are great things. I'm excited for them.

And then, I hear that at the book study on Dever's book there was a lengthy discussion that went on concerning who is really saved. Now, the discussion came about because the book warns against emotional responses to the Gospel instead of heartfelt and true repentance and is good to know that there is a difference and to do our best to guard against it. lead to some folks saying that you basically have to be perfect in order to be saved. You have to lead the "sermon on the mount" life or you don't have saving faith. Hold the phone...Put down the fish. Did you hear that? That is absurd. Ridiculous. And a great insult and de-glorification of the great salvation offered through Christ on the cross.

Thankfully a friend of mine (I am not in the study because I work with the youth) stopped things and said. "HOLD UP! Are you insinuating that unless you live a perfect life that you are not saved? Are you serious?! Let me lay it down John Piper style. We are saved because of Jesus substitutionary death on the cross and we are renewed to life by the same Spirit that resurrected Him from the grave. That is the "blazing center" of the Gospel. That is what we are talking about here. The center. The middle. The most important thing. We are talking about evangelizing and you are talking about the effects of sanctification and whether or not you can tell someone is saved. That is absurd. Jesus saves and then we live holy. Living holy means nothing without the cross and that is what we are to be doing...evangelizing the good news of the death of Jesus."

Whew. I am glad that he was there. I am also glad that through God's providence I am preaching on sanctification this Sunday. Oh Lord, let me speak openly and honestly and through the power of your Spirit so that these wretched thoughts will be cast out from among our midst.


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