The last session on Sunday was taught by C.J. Mahaney. I have read a few of his books and have been blessed eternally by the ministry of his wife and daughters over at Girltalk, but I never had the opportunity to hear him speak, so I was really excited.
First of all, my impression of him can be summed up in one word and one of his book titles: humility. He started the evening session off with an extended honouring of the conference hosts, Josh Harris and Eric Simmons. He was gracious, humble and sincere. And funny! As Al Mohler commented earlier in the day, "If you ever hear someone say, 'Lighten up, CJ,' you know the end is near!" He is a godly man who is a perfect example that Godliness is not only displayed as serious.
His topic was on idols. He commented multiple times that he was only preaching to us what he has learned and benefited from other speakers and writers. But he was passionate about the topic. He loved the topic and you can tell that it has changed his life.
He started out by saying, "Idolatry is the most frequently discussed and most frequently condemned subject in the Bible" and listed a whole bunch of passages to make his point (see Ex.20:1-2, Rom. 1:21,25, I Thes. 1:9, I Cor. 10:13-14, Col. 3:5). He defined idolatry as any substitute for God, including good gifts from God that we desire more than Him. We have to be able to discern our idols, which are evidences of the remaining sin in us. He exhorted us to use Scripture, the Holy Spirit and the church (i.e. preaching of the word and friends) to help us identify and root out our idols.
He then parked on 2 sources of idolatry: The test of prosperity and the test of adversity. Both can cause us to focus on our circumstances instead of God. He then gave a list of x-ray questions that we can use in searching our hearts for idols (can be found here). I am already familiar with this list of questions from our Bible Study on How People Change by Paul Tripp. It is an excellent tool.
He ended the sermon with 3 signposts of grace in a believer's life: fruit in identifying idols, growth in Godliness, and growth in gratefulness to God and His gift of the Cross.
We missed CJ's last session on Tuesday morning, as well as Eric Simmon's sermon on Monday morning. So I only have the 2 sessions with Piper to post on. It might take me a few days to adequately write what I learned from Piper's sessions, so the last post in this series may be delayed. I will most likely post on other topics before, so don't think I am done!