Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Three Things You Can't Learn in School - Adrian Rogers

Three Things You Can't Learn in School
by Adrian Rogers

[After a long break] students head back to school. I’m grateful for schools, but there are some things no teacher or professor can impart. When it comes to spiritual matters, on our own we can be stunningly ignorant.

But we are not left alone. We have Someone to teach us. Jesus said,

It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Of sin, because they believe not on Me;

Of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more;

Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

- John 16:7-11

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to convict (and convince) the world of three vital truths we'll never learn in school or anywhere else: sin, righteousness, and judgment.

The Truth Concerning Sin

You won’t hear this from your college professor, but in the words of that great theologian and cartoon character Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.

We don’t like to believe it, but man is a sinner. That’s Lesson #1 the Holy Spirit must teach us. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Man is a sinner for 3 basic reasons:

Because of what he is — Ephesians 2:3 says we are “by nature the children of wrath.” Notice it comes by our nature. We think we’re wicked and sinful because of what we do, but really we do what we do because of what we are by nature: sinners.

Because of what he does — If you’re still not convinced, let's talk about what we do. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10) We’ve been like this since Adam’s fall. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) We are sinners, and our thoughts and actions reveal it every day.

Because of what he has not done — But the most damning, horrible sin is not what we do, but rather what we don’t do: the sin of not believing on Jesus Christ. Jesus said concerning Himself, “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18)

Sin erects a barrier between us and a holy God. The Holy Spirit knows we must admit our sin. He does what we would never do for ourselves: convict us of our sin. But the Teacher is not done yet. There’s more.

The Truth Concerning Righteousness

The Holy Spirit also convicts us “of righteousness,” the righteousness of Christ, which completes our salvation.

Most people think “righteousness” comes by “being good.” But Paul said in Romans 10:3, “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Our righteousness counts for no more than “filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). We can’t depend on our own righteousness for salvation.

That’s why Jesus left His Father, took our sin upon Himself, and died in agony on the cross. He rose victorious over sin, death, hell, and the grave, and ascended to the Father to present His blood in the tabernacle in heaven. That's what He's talking about when He says, “I go to My Father.

Jesus bought our redemption with His own righteousness. We have none on our own. That’s Lesson #2 from the Holy Spirit.

The Truth Concerning Judgment

A third truth we’ll never learn in school is the condemnation of Satan. Some people — those who do not know God — appear to be waiting on the final outcome to see who’s going to win: God or Satan. But Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world.” (John 12:31) Did you notice the word “now”? John 16:11 says Satan is judged. Not will be. He already is. As much as he would like to hide it, Satan has already lost and is judged.

And like Satan, judgment awaits us if we die in our sin. Many have the idea that somehow God will be merciful even if they do not repent and receive His righteousness. This is a tragic assumption — and it is not true. The only way to escape judgment is through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

So you see, these three truths are vital. They are necessary for salvation. The Holy Spirit wants to teach them to you. Will you let Him?


Canyon's Note

Dear reader, may the Spirit convict you of sin, righteousness, and judgment and show you Jesus Christ, the only hope for mankind. May many of my former students, especially those who in love with the world have run off into the mire, hear these words and return to the Overshepherd and Saviour.

And beloved, unlike my brother Adrian, I implore you to flee from the schools that seek to silence the Holy Spirit in your hearts, to rather find the truth in homeschool, co-op school, and private Christian school, for Martin Luther put it best,
I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt. —Martin Luther

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Your Last Sermon

Beloved Christian reader, imagine with me for a moment that you are told you have one week to live. During this week your church has given you free reign to preach whatever you want, and they have promised to publish whatever you write, and to give utmost attention to everything you say in these final moments.

What would you convey?

The most important preaching lesson I learned in seminary was to preach every sermon with the fervency and effort as if it were your last. The truth is, we are all dying, we all have a limited number of words left to share with the world. Very truly, the last thing you said may be the capstone of your life. This post could be my last.

Apostles Paul and Peter met their ends in Rome in the mid AD60s, Paul beheaded and Peter crucified as insurrectionists. These two men saw their ends coming, they wrote,

Peter: I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me (2 Peter 1:13-14).
and
Paul: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus...For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come (2 Timothy 4:1,6).
These two men saw their end coming, and their final letters (2 Timothy, 2 Peter, and Hebrews), their capstone projects, have pointed believers and unbelievers towards the Living Christ for two-thousand years. They have strengthened the church and called lost sheep home. There is no reason at all that these men should be ashamed.

But, if we look back at their earlier letters, we see similarly that these letters are as edifying and useful and enduring. Everything they wrote was pointed at exalting Christ and pointing sinners away from unholiness and towards salvation, and in strengthening the church in the knowledge and hope that God is sovereign and gracious.

So I'm writing this short note to encourage you to make sure everything you say and/or write and/or preach is worthy of your last, that you would not be ashamed of it, that it would not be worthy of being thrown away. Any such message must necessarily include the message of the mystery of the cross. Tell people of the God who is righteous and merciful, who prepared history for one event, to satisfy his justice on a cross, and who demonstrates his love through offering his own Son in place of wretched and otherwise irredeemable sinners. Call your hearers to faith in Jesus Christ, to turn from their sin to the Living God, and to hope in him, and him alone.

And, let me take one quick moment to say that this does not need to only be in the context of revivalistic evangelistic gospel preaching, this ought be in the context of expository preaching, of revealing Christ in the Revelation of God, like he did, starting at the beginning, and showing himself to his followers (Luke 24:27). Jesus ought to be the foundation and the message of anything you say and do, else your idle words perish on Judgment Day.

And in all of this, remember that you are not working for men, but are serving the Lord Christ, so do everything in his name, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

And beloved, you probably have more than a week left to live, but you definitely have a limited number of weeks left. Make your sermons count, make your correspondence count, and make your life count, working in the full power of the Spirit of Christ who lives in you. Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last.