Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fight Club

I know I’m a dork, but I don’t care. I really enjoy listening to sermons. It is worship to God for me to hear, believe, and apply the absolute truths of Scripture explained by passionate, articulate, bold people. When you get exposed to that type of teaching, it’s hard to get enough. One subject leads you to the next, one teacher leads you to the next, and before you know it you have enough messages to listen to for the rest of your life. It’s great!

I love my iPod and XM Radio and CDs and all the rest, but my time in the car is best used listening to Godly men articulate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Does that make me a dork? If you think so, you should try it yourself, and if God gives you the gift of careful listening, ten bucks says you’ll be hooked.

I’ve posted to the right on this blog that the three most influential pastors in my life and theology so far have been John Piper, Tim Keller, and Andy Stanley. When they preach, Piper pleads with me, Keller reasons with me, and Stanley relates to me in a way that is effective. And knowing these three introduces me to countless others who in a similar but also unique way help me navigate the battle of the Christian life and offer a mentorship of the Word that even though impersonal, is important. I desire for you to have the same navigation and mentorship that not every small group leader or small town pastor can offer. Small group leaders and other pastors are crucial and anointed, and I am in no way saying ditch your church and just listen to sermons online. That would be wrong and contrary to what I believe about the importance of the local church. But in addition to this, I believe the benefit we can gain from listening to and reading gifted teachers from around the globe, dead and alive, is immeasurable.

So with that said here is a sermon that as I burned to a CD and labeled before placing in my car for my trek home from work, I thought to myself, “this CD was blank; and now it could contain an anointed word from the God of the universe for my life and encouragement. Isn’t that cool?” And it pretty much did. It was from the New Attitude Conference 2008 last month.

John Piper – Fighting for Faith with God’s Word

I know not everyone has the time or the interest to listen to sermons on the way home from work (or anytime for that matter). This one is 65 minutes long. But I do have time and interest and I have a blog and you expect to read something on here, so I feel truly called to write about it and encourage you also to seek Christ-centered and Gospel-centered teaching that is helpful, powerful, and relevant to anything that is going on in your life. It beats Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, or Mike and Mike in the morning, who talk about things that may be entertaining or seem important for a time, but are things that will eventually pass away without significance into the abyss of eternity.

Here’s my summary of this message: memorize Scripture. The fight of faith is a fight to treasure Christ above all things, and the Bible is a sword to defend from the arrows that come at us and threaten this in the form of anxiety, despair, lust, greed, complacency, materialism, etc. The devil prowls around like a lion seeking someone to devour. Be on your guard against him, arm yourself with the sword of the Spirit and fight for joy by trusting and acting on the promises of God, and you will be eternally happy.

The Christian life is a fight club; not against each other but against our own sin, the corruptions of the world, and the principalities and powers of this present darkness who would desire to distract us from the Light using mud pies in the slum, when we are offered a holiday at the sea (C.S. Lewis). First rule of fight club is we have to talk about fight club; the importance of it in the Christian life, the danger of not engaging in the battle, and the weapons needed for it, namely the Word of God. We don’t want our brothers and sisters to get knocked down without a fight and face the eternal consequences – we want to live like Hebrews 10 and for more than just middle-class American prosperity, which by itself is a monstrosity both to those who we could be helping, and to ourselves who were created for so much more.

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