In the first session, the speaker was Joshua Harris. You may know Josh from his book, "I kissed Dating Goodbye" and the follow-up, "Boy Meets Girl". Amazingly enough, Josh was the speaker I have known of for the longest amount of time, since his dating book was very popular when I first started college. I have long respected his God-centered stand, but it wasn't until about a year ago that I realized he was now the senior pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg. C.J. Mahaney primed him young to take over the church and he seems to have moved into the position well.
He was, by far, very easy to listen to. He was hip and relevant, funny and sincere. I felt like he was most comfortable addressing this age group, but I am sure he does fine with the older crowd, too!
The theme of the weekend is always "Humble Orthodoxy" with an emphasis this year on Discernment. Josh introduced the topic by stating the importance of having discernment and the fact that you can't live humble orthodoxy unless you can separate the good from the bad. So really, discernment is a matter of life and death!
I laughed when he started expounding on the idea by suggesting that if only we had warning labels on music, tv and movies, even other Christian books. Like if we went to the local Christian book store and picked up a bestseller and found on the inside of the beautiful jacket, "This book has about 80% of great Scriptural truths. They will help you live by the Spirit's control and will cause you to grow in grace. However, there is still about 20% of errant theology that may very well lead you astray from true worship of God. This 20% can be found in chapters 2, 11, and 13." Wouldn't that be great? Unfortunately, we all know it doesn't work that way, so we are left with a need to be discerning.
Then from Romans 12 he outlined what it takes to be discerning:
1. It requires resistance. "Do not be conformed to this world . . ." This can sound easy when you are in a group of 3,000 people who want to honor God, but it gets a bit harder when you are back in your school or workplace and all of a sudden you look like a geek for not doing all your friends do. I loved the line he said, "When rock stars are non-conformists, it is cool. When Christians are non-conformists, we look like idiots."
2. It requires renewal. We can't live discerning lives without renewing our mind on a daily basis with God's Word. It can be hard work, but we have to constantly be reviewing what we know to be true to counteract what the world would have us believe.
3. It requires action. We can't sit back and just say we are discerning, we must act accordingly.
4. It requires the gospel. I love that this is a recurring theme with Sovereign Grace Ministries. We cannot be discerning without first realizing how it was even made possible, by the cross of Christ. Discernment should make us more humble because we realize that it is only by the work of Christ that we can have new eyes and new hearts to see and savor that which is right and good and to reject what is wrong.
One tidbit that I took away from this message was the idea that we need to proclaim this truth not as people who are right but as people who have been rescued. There is a true humility that comes with the gospel. And for me, I realize this is something on which I need to work. Too often I champion truth as an arrogant person. I so sincerely desire to be humble and meek in my walk with Christ that this message was an important one for me to hear.
Once again, remember that you can download all the sermons for free from the Sovereign Grace website.
I'll post again soon on Mark Dever's message.