God was very gracious this past week. I am not the only person to say that this was the best of all the Together 4 the Gospel conferences. All 9 plenary sessions are worth watching or listening to. I thought Ligon Duncan’s sermon on 1 Kings 19 was the best, and that Kevin DeYoung’s sermon was the most important. Most will remember David Platt’s as one of the most memorable sermons on missions ever delivered. You should at least watch the video from the 10-15 minute mark to hear one of the great truths of Scripture explained, along with one of the best illustrations to boot.
I also spent the rest of the week at the Immanuel Network Conference hosted by Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. It was a great weekend studying prayer and revival with Dr. Michael Haykin of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. But it was most refreshing and encouraging to be reunited with the saints there. You must listen to Ryan Fullerton sermons as often as you can. I can only count it a marvelous blessing to be connected to that church, while at the same time having the privilege of pastoring Kailua Baptist Church.
I do not think the Bible ever says that. What I mean is there are no examples of evangelists preaching the gospel, in which they tell unbelievers “Jesus died for you.” I have said this before to unbelievers. Many great preachers say this to crowds in which there are unbelievers present. I do think God saves through all kinds of preaching, but I do not believe this to be the most faithful way to evangelize the lost.
Why preach the gospel in a way that the Bible never does? You might say, ‘what harm does it do?’ I asked first, “why preach the gospel in a way that the Bible never does?” You might say, ‘well 1 John says he died for the sins of the whole world.’ I say, “why not say that, then?” Why not preach the gospel the way the Bible does?
And do you realize that when you say “Jesus died for you” to a non-Christian, you are applying the benefits of the gospel to someone who does not yet believe the gospel? “Jesus died for you” is a message to the believer! It is the message we Christians need to hear every day. Jesus loved me and gave himself for me. Because of his death in my place, now I have forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, eternal right standing with God, eternal joy! But for our unbelieving friends and family, the message is “Jesus came into this world to save sinners. IF YOU REPENT AND BELIEVE, you will be saved.” That is a good message to hear if you are stuck in your sins, and that seems to be the way the message is consistently brought forth, and that seems to be the message God uses to awaken dead hearts to life in Christ.
Let’s not apply redemption to human beings before the Holy Spirit does.