May 29, 2012 by
Greater Than We Can Imagine (from The Gathering)
Mighty Fortress (from From Age to Age)
God Over All (from Looked Upon)
Bob exhorted us: It’s not true that music is required in our worship of God. Listen to Psalm 40:9-10:
“I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation. Behold I have not restrained my lips. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart. I have spoken of your faithfulness and salvation. I have not concealed your steadfast love and faithfulness in the great congregation.”
You don’t need a big band to proclaim the greatness of God. You can declare it. That’s what churches have been doing for thousands of years. So, we’re going to declare the Apostles’ Creed with as much passion as we were just singing with:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, deed, and buried; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
All these truths have been made possible by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the glorious One.
Glorious Christ (from From Age to Age)
Now Why This Fear (from The Gathering)
Before the Throne of God Above (from Songs for the Cross Centered Life)
The Power of the Cross (from Keith and Kristyn Getty)
Nathan reviewed Christ and Culture Revisited by D.A. Carson:
“Whenever Carson weighs in on a topic, you do well to listen up. So, what is the question of Christ and Culture? Outside the confines of your church there is a world of human endeavor which is exhilarating and exciting, a world of people discovering things in technology, making beautiful art, etc. and you think “That is good!” But everything that fallen human beings do is warped by their sin. People are pursuing these God-given activities in rebellion of God. How can I be a Christian and participate in these endeavors? The answer from Abraham Kuyper: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!'" But that’s still so general. How do you get specifics? Well, there are three things you need to do to find the answer to this question: 1) buy this book, 2) take very good notes on this message coming up, 3) and register for The Clash!”
C.J. honored Josh Patterson: He has accompanied Matt on this trip. This represents their friendship and their functional relationship. Josh is one of the lead pastors at the Village Church. I have been able to study this man. So much of what Matt is able to do is because of all that Josh does.
C.J. introduced Matt Chandler: Matt leads the Village Church, which numbers around 11,000 people. His preaching gift is pronounced in measure. But neither of those are the reasons I’ve invited him. I’m grateful for all God is doing in and through the Village church, but I would have invited Matt if the Village was 200 people. Matt is theologically driven and theologically discerning. He is Gospel-centered. He has written a book titled The Explicit Gospel. I have invited him to this conference because he loves the local church and because he’s committed to church planting. He is now the president of the Acts 29. I have sat at his dinner table watched how he has related to his wife and kids and I have loved what I’ve seen. It’s a pure joy to have him here tonight.
MESSAGE | Matt Chandler “Church and Culture” | Matthew 5
I want you to know I was on the losing end of the series of basketball games. However, C.J. put the teams together. This was the first time in my life experience when an open gym basketball game was arranged and teams were decided by the oldest guy in the room. But C.J. didn’t score a basket on me. Instead, he put Ian McConnell on me, who I believe played on the NBA, and we lost.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16
These verse are very popular verses when we get to talking about our interaction with the world. I want to take out of your minds pretty incessant ideas that might be in your head already about these verses, so let’s look at Matthew 5:10-12:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
There is an insidious lie that we can present the message of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to our culture in some way that they will think He’s cool. If you are able to do that you no longer have the Jesus of the Bible, but a Jesus that you have created.
My fear is that we will sacrifice orthodoxy for relevance. I believe in removing every offense except the cross of Jesus Christ. Having said that, I will not mock the world’s shortcomings. They are blinded, just like I was.
Christians are now painted in the media as something they’re not—as the bigots, persecutors, idiots. And that’s not stopping anytime soon. In spite of this reality of sheep among wolves, Jesus tells us to go. After the haunting text of verses 10-12, Jesus gives us verses 13-16. Definition of “culture”, that which is considered, by in large, excellent in arts and in manners. Or in other words, that which is considered excellent and that which is considered good manners in the area you live.
Bible commentaries take different attributes of salt and apply them to you. But I would simplify it to: being salt in the earth is an act of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. As a disciple of Christ, you are motivated by the reality that God is the just, righteous Judge who has declared you holy and justified and calls you His child. This reality leads to a pursuit of the Father that transforms our lives. My concern is that in lots of places there’s a type of cultural Christianity that acknowledges what is right but is not transformed by it at all. There’s no Christian practice, submission to authority, and no acknowledgement of the centrality of the Word of God. I sometimes wonder if we, in cultural Christianity, even believe this message.
Five reasons we don’t see the type of transformation we long to see:
1. An overemphasis on width rather than depth.
It appears that there’s an insatiable appetite for more and more information that we have no intention of applying to our lives. What’s happened to us that so many of us have become collectors of information?
One of the great joys of my life has been getting to know the heart of my wife, and not just facts about my wife.
I have a pervasive fear that so many of you know about Jesus, but don’t actually know Him. You know Jesus like you know some faces on People Magazine. You simply like him, like what He says, and know facts about Him.
2. A strong lack of community
On any given week I need encouragement and rebuke. Most of us don’t handle either one of those well because no one truly knows us.
Encouragement and rebuke work beautifully where you’re known well and where you’re safe. Without encouragement and rebuke, few of us grow into all that we should be.
Deep, authentic fellowship is difficult because we must be willing to expose the nastiness within us.
It’s easy for us to know everyone and no one simultaneously. It’s easy to project all of our strengths and none of our weaknesses.
If we’re going to become salt, we need to walk in a community of faith that’s very serious about the pursuit of Christ.
Now, I know I didn’t just blow your mind with that point. You know you need community. But if that’s true of you are you also walking in that, cultivating that, and taking the point to be the weak one?
3. Lack of submission to authority
So many people treat the church like an ecclesiological buffet. You go to church in different places for different reasons, but you don’t belong to a church.
The church is a really messy, beautiful thing. You will never find a perfect one, and if you do, you will have shown up and ruined it.
I’m gonna speak to you, 20-25 year olds: You are your own authority and you are inadequate as your own authority. You talk about life with your peers, but you will look back on those conversations and think you were morons.
How does God protect us from our limited view of life? He gives us elders in the church! You must believe that when God commands men to be your shepherds He is protecting you.
So many of you are floating from church to church and don’t put down roots in a church where there are men who are for the Word of God and are for you.
4. Over-emphasis on light
The great thing about the Great Commission is what it actually says. Jesus says, “Go into all nations, baptizing them to make DISCIPLES” – not converts. We’re after those who obey what He commands.
When you set your goals on converts and not disciples, all sorts of God-belittling absurdity follows. You justify unbiblical means to get a guy who says “Yeah, I’ll take Jesus.”
It is good and right, but light without salt is bland, obnoxious, and not life-changing at all.
5. The Collision: culture of speed vs. the slow uphill crawl of sanctification
We want things instantaneously. We’re not far off from The Jetsons. We have popcorn buttons on microwaves. We have all of the information of the world on our phones!!
The problem is that this culture of speed collides with the usually slow nature of sanctification. This collision makes many tap out before they’ve even started to walk.
Spiritual growth is like watching your kids grow. You can’t see their growth, but you can measure it. Likewise, sanctification is hard to feel but easy to measure. Have you ever been in a conversation when you start to counsel someone and you’re surprising yourself with what you’re saying? Those little baby steps of obedience are being fleshed out into your soul to stir up another brother into love and good deeds.
It’s tempting to get into these niche theologies, promises of steroid shots, to help you get holy faster. But you were never promised to get there quickly you were just promised that Jesus will get you there. You’re gonna get banged up along the way, but He’ll get you there. One day at a time.
Most of my days following Jesus Christ are not sensational. I wrestle with my flesh. I have to work with wicked things in my heart. I have to ask for grace one moment at a time. Today has been hundreds of acts of obedience. And my plan is to do that day after day after day for the rest of my life until the day I die. And then I get to rest.
When salt gets put on the backdrop on the darkness of this world, it shines brightly. Light is not just the proclamation of the Gospel, though it is the proclamation of the Gospel.
Here’s what I know: Psalm 139 “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
God has knit you together:
- your unformed substance (your personality, drive, natural aptitudes, inclinations) – God did that.
- your frame (loud voice, tall, energetic, etc) – God did that.
- the boundaries and times of our habitation – God did that.
All these things about you, God designed so that men might seek God and find Him.
God has uniquely wired and uniquely placed us in all the domains of society in order to engage the gospel message and be light in a dark world. We are not responsible the direction where culture goes, we simply take a stand and be salt and light and take a beating for it at times. But we know we will be redeemed and saved.
Here’s where we are confident as we engage culture: unless something spectacularly powerful happens it will begin to look more and more like we are losing – but we are not losing. You must resist the urge to cool. You must. What does that get you?
Work where you are in your life knowing that God has placed you there to make known the glory of Jesus Christ.
I’m well aware of mortality. I can eat spinach and work cardio, but I know how it ends. I die!
See every area of your life this way. This is what you’ve been wired, gifted, and placed to do. Isn’t that exciting?! There’s no place where you are that you should be bored with. God’s work is all around us all the time! If you just go to work and go home, doesn’t that rob you and rob them?
May God embolden you for the task. And may you believe that He’s a God who saves. He doesn’t need you to be awesome and to keep that going. Just open your mouth. For you to be fearless is in itself a witness, even if you’re afraid. Be light and salt in the world around you.
Question: Where are you in rebellion against God’s revealed will for you to be salt and light? Think through sins of omission and sins of commission.
I think it would be wise to anticipate the return home and the opportunities that await. Let’s break down into groups of 2-4 and ask God for mercy in the form of compassion, boldness, and appropriate humility to communicate the Gospel.
All I Have Is Christ (from The Gathering)