Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Two preachers, one Gospel

I've listened to two sermons since Sunday.  And below is a two minute segment from each.  In length they differ by a mere second or two.  And yet perhaps you can see how they are different from each other in other ways.  Two pastors, both devoted to the call of the great commission and feeding Christ's sheep, both addressing the issue of us being too filled up with ourselves.  What do you come away with?

 Audio (2 min)

Now I've been speaking to believers this morning. I want to say, in closing, a word to any unbelievers in our midst. And I want to say straight up... that God wants to fill you with His glory and greatness. Did you hear me? My dear unbelieving friends, are you listening to me... God wants to fill you with His glory and greatness. But there's a problem right now. The problem is there's no room for Him because you're all filled up with yourself. In fact that's why you worship yourself ... because you're filled up with yourself. And naturally, given that that's whom you're beholding, that's who you worship.

Now I was once filled up with myself, so I'm not looking at you over my spectacles, wagging the finger. We're sinners. We need a savior, but if you want to be filled up with God, you've got to repent of this gross self idolatry. You've got to stop being filled up with yourself. Empty yourself, as the Lord Jesus Christ did, and let God fill you with His glory, with His greatness, with His power, with His dominion. Let Him fill you with His holiness, with His justice, with His love. Let Him fill you with salvation. He'll do it. He'll do it.


 Audio (2 min)

And so, the great reversal that Jesus speaks of finally comes to rest in the glorious gospel.  Because the greatest reversal of all is that He takes people like you and like me, the lukewarm folks tepidly existing in the middle, and He exchanges our sin for His righteousness.  He takes upon himself the brokenness of our lives, and on the cross He dies for our sin and He gives us the merits of His love and mercy and goodness and forgiveness.  That's the great exchange that matters. 

So we must end where we always must end in the proclaiming of God's word.  We must always point out how it exposes us for what we are.  And we see that the way of God is not really our way.  But that is precisely why He came in His Son.  Because, (as we stood in the threshold here of worship this morning and confessed), we are in bondage to this way of being in the world.  We cannot *not* do it.  I'm stuck in me.  And I confess that.  And then the glorious word comes ... In the name of Christ a great exchange has taken place.   He's taken that old broken you that's so full of yourself you can't see straight, and He said, "I'll take that one, you take Jesus." And everything that is His is now yours.

The great exchange of the gospel is that God has given Himself completely to us in Christ.  Holding nothing back.  Exchanging our broken lives and broken world for the promise of a new life, and a new world, and a new creation.