Thursday, April 12, 2012

T4G 2012 - Day 2

In many conferences that I have attended in the past, the second day is the let-down day. Things start well and end well, but the middle usually seems to be the time that is lacking. But not here. Not yesterday. Not at T4G. The day was like most days with general preaching sessions, panel discussions, and more time spent in the bookstore. Let me simply share about the general preaching sessions. 

General Session 04 - Will Your Gospel Transform a Terrorist by Thabiti Anyabwile.
I do not know why, but was not looking forward to the session by Thabiti like I was by some of the other main speakers. But the guy is a rock-solid Bible expositor. His main point, taken from First Timothy 1:12-17, was that the greatest hindrance to the gospel is the lack of confidence by Christians in the gospel. Do we really think that the gospel could come in and change the hardest of individuals? Do we really believe that it could change the terrorist, the one that we shrink away from in fear? Do we really believe that the gospel can change them?

By looking at Paul's conversion, he adequately showed the power of the gospel. Paul was a murderer. That was his profession. His conversion shows us that the gospel can and does reach the worst of sinners. Towards the end of his message, he gave 9 Marks of a Gospel-Confident Ministry. If we had confidence in the gospel, we would . . .
  1. Position ourselves around the worst of sinners, looking for gospel opportunities.
  2. Share the gospel slowly and clearly with those sinners.
  3. Redirect our fears from man to God.
  4. Preach the gospel in every sermon we preach (obviously, he was primarily directing his message to preachers).
  5. Be careful with new converts and evangelism methods. His point is that just because God saves someone some particular way, it doesn't mean that's the only way God saves them (method, not message)
  6. Study the gospel in deeper and more varied ways.
  7. Preach to open eyes, not just to transfer information.
  8. Ask ourselves, 'Is my confidence in myself or in the power of the gospel itself?' This means are we trusting in delivery and stories or in the message itself.
  9. Faithfully rely upon the power of God to change people.
In the end, I was deeply moved and helped by this message. It once again reaffirmed to me the power of the gospel and challenged me to trust it. Each day. Each sermon. Each encounter. Trust in the power of the gospel.

General Session 05 - Spirit-Powered, Gospel-Driven, Faith-Fueled Effort by Kevin DeYoung
I have read several books by DeYoung and have enjoyed his intellectual, yet simplistic take on many deep issues. That is I was looking forward to hearing him speak for the first time. His message started in First Corinthians 15:10, which says, "But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that was in me." His point in this message was that the grace of God should move us to more effort (or work) for the Christian, not less.

His message to the pastors was to work harder. Not necessarily more, but smarter and harder. We shouldn't be scared to call our people to personal holiness. And we shouldn't rely upon the grace of God as some sort of excuse for not working toward our own holiness. He emphasized that a pursuit of holiness does not happen without trusting and trusting does not happen without trying.

General Session 06 - Divine Sovereignty: The Fuel of Death-Defying Missions by David Platt
There have only been a few times in my life when I was moved by a sermon like I was last night by the words of God through the voice of David Platt. After the message, it was like a bomb had been dropped in the arena. It was powerful. When Albert Mohler introduced Platt, he said that the puritans would say that he had unction. Spirit-empowered anointing. And that is what happened. Thousands of men and women moved by the Spirit at one time through his message.

His message was, well, radical. Not like his book. But he unpacked Revelation 5 and said that it is our view of God's sovereignty that will fuel death-defying pursuits of global missions in our churches. He began by giving a few preliminary comments. First, local ministry and missions is totally necessary. Second, global missions has been tragically neglected by the church. The fact is there are over two billion unreached people; 6,000 unreached people groups. Third, pastors have the privilege and responsibility to lead the way in global missions. As he unpacked Revelation 5, he began by sharing Four Theological Truths.



After that, he ended with Four Implications of These Truths. First, as pastors, we should lead our churches to pray confidently for the spread of global missions. I feel as though I have done a poor job at this. I have not led my family or our church in helpful ways. I have some ideas of how to remedy this. Second, as pastors, we should lead our churches to give sacrificially to the spread of the gospel to global missions. He emphasized that $.05 of every $100 of a Christian is given to global missions. That's not enough. Third, as pastors, we should lead our people to go intentionally to unreached people. Fourth, as pastors, we should lead our people to die willingly for the spread of the gospel for the sake of all people. They are unreached for a reason. It is dangerous and certainly will result in suffering.

Please listen to this message! I am also sure that within a day or so, the video might be up on the t4g website. Maybe watch it when it is posted. I can't emphasize enough how this was one of those sermons that the Spirit of God is going to use for the spread of His gospel throughout the world. 

Conclusion
One of the main things I took away from today is that I am encouraged by the future of the Christian church. I trust that God is going to do what God wants to have done. But he has raised up some godly, young, gospel-powered men who are going to lead our generation. I am so thankful for that. But I also know that they could be gone in a minute. I was overwhelmed at God's sovereignty and His own love for the gospel in all things. I can't wait for today as we have Ligon Duncan, John Piper and Matt Chandler left to speak. May God be glorified in my life today as I listen and learn God's truths from their lips. 

1 comment:

  1. So glad for Platt's cry out for global missions! It is one of my heart's cries as well! Can't wait to be gripped by those truths once again! Thanks for sharing brother. I am praying that this time would continue to give you fuel for you ministry!

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