“A heart of flesh is ferocious in giving more of what it has already been given in Jesus Christ. You see, if Jesus Christ is an inexhaustible well, then his believers in Christ are always walking in this strange kind of holy discontentment, wanting more and more of what we’re actually already enjoying. Gone is the indifference toward divine things. We have a tenderness of conscience, a tenderness toward sorrow and suffering, and a ferocious desire of more of what we already possess, not in a sinful, discontented way, but rather in a holy, righteous discontentment, the one that mirrors David when he cries out for more and more and more of the Lord.” Matt Chandler. [Sermon December 16, 2012. New hearts and lives]
“I continually want to lay before you that really in that moment where you blow it, you have this really beautiful opportunity to marvel at the gospel. When your heart goes to a place it shouldn’t, when your mind goes to a place it shouldn’t, when your external actions go to a place you know is forbidden, you have this opportunity to just marvel at the gospel. Just marvel at it. Marvel that you didn’t surprise God, like God didn’t see that one coming. You have this chance to just slow down and rest in, “He calls me holy. He calls me blameless. He calls me spotless. Even in this he delights in me.” Matt Chandler
“Look, you’re infinitely guilty, but Christ has made a way. Our hope as Christians isn’t in our embetterment but rather in Christ’s perfection. So you need to hear me say this to you right now. God is not in love with some future version of you. It’s not you ‘tomorrow’ that He loves and delights in. It’s not you when you ‘get your act together’. Listen, & if you believe that, you are a idolater. If you believe that Christ’s love for you is a ‘future love’ for you, then you dismiss the cross of Christ.
Have you ever thought of the cross this way: The cross of Christ is this glaring acknowledgment that we’re all screw ups. This glaring acknowledgment that you’re going to fall short and that I’m going to fall short, and I’m not going to measure up, and I’m never going to get to perfection like I need to get to perfection, & even if I could get to perfection, I’d have all that imperfection behind me.
Doesn’t the cross go, ‘Yeah, I know’?
Doesn’t the cross say, ‘Yeah, I’ve made provision. I’ve handled that’?
What follows are 20 quotes that caught my attention as I read Matt Chandler’s new book, The Explicit Gospel (Crossway, 2012):
“More often than not, we want him to have fairy wings and spread fairy dust and shine like a precious little star, dispensing nothing but good times on everyone, like some kind of hybrid of Tinker Bell and Aladdin’s Genie. But the God of the Bible, this God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, is a pillar of fire and a column of smoke.” (29)
“We carry an insidious prosperity gospel around in our dark, little, entitled hearts.” (31)
“Because a God who is ultimately most focused on his own glory will be about the business of restoring us, who are all broken images of him. His glory demands it. So we should be thankful for a self-sufficient God whose self-regard is glorious.” (32)
“The universe shudders in horror that we have this infinitely valuable, infinitely deep, infinitely rich, infinitely wise, infinitely loving God, and instead of pursuing him with steadfast passion and enthralled fury — instead of loving him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; instead of attributing to him glory and honor and praise and power and wisdom and strength — we just try to take his toys and run. It is still idolatry to want God for his benefits but not for himself.” (39–40)
“This avoidance of the difficult things of Scripture — of sinfulness and hell and God’s notable severity — is idolatrous and cowardly. If a man or a woman who teaches the Scriptures is afraid to explain to you the severity of God, they have betrayed you, and they love their ego more than they love you.” (41)
“If God is most concerned about his name’s sake, then hell ultimately exists because of the belittlement of God’s name, and, therefore, our response to the biblical reality of hell cannot, for our own safety, be the further belittlement of God’s name. Are you tracking with that? Someone who says hell cannot be real, or we can’t all deserve it even if it is real, because God is love is saying that the name and the renown and the glory of Christ aren’t that big of a deal.” (44–45)
“Heaven is not a place for those who are afraid of hell; it’s a place for those who love God. You can scare people into coming to your church, you can scare people into trying to be good, you can scare people into giving money, you can even scare them into walking down an aisle and praying a certain prayer, but you cannot scare people into loving God. You just can’t do it.” (49)
“The hard-won lesson I’ve learned in marriage, something I’m very grateful for knowing now, is that there are some things in my wife’s heart and some struggles she faces in life that I cannot fix. It doesn’t matter how romantic I am; it doesn’t matter how loving I am; it doesn’t matter how many flowers I send, or if I write her poetry, or if I clean the kitchen, or if I take the kids and let her go have girl time — I am powerless to fix Lauren. (And she’s powerless to fix me.) Doing all those things to minister to her are right and good, but there are things in my girl that I can’t fix, things that are between her and the Lord.” (66)
“If we confuse the gospel with response to the gospel, we will drift from what keeps the gospel on the ground, what makes it clear and personal, and the next thing you know, we will be doing a bunch of different things that actually obscure the gospel, not reveal it.” (83)
“He created the flavors! He created the colors. He created it all, and he did it all out of the overflow of his perfections. It’s not like he was thinking, ‘Oh, I’ve got some fajita flavoring over here. I know: let’s put it on the cow and the chicken.’ He created the avocado to have a certain flavor; he created the skirt steak, the fillet, and the tenderloin to have certain flavors. That was God’s doing. So every aspect of creation, from the largest galaxy to the tiniest burst of flavor in food or drink or seasoning, radiates the goodness of God.” (102)
“It is easy to see that you and I have been created to worship. We’re flat-out desperate for it. From sports fanaticism to celebrity tabloids to all the other strange sorts of voyeurisms now normative in our culture, we evidence that we were created to look at something beyond ourselves and marvel at it, desire it, like it with zeal, and love it with affection. Our thoughts, our desires, and our behaviors are always oriented around something, which means we are always worshiping — ascribing worth to — something. If it’s not God, we are engaging in idolatry. But either way, there is no way to turn the worship switch in our hearts off.” (103)
“No change of job, no increased income, no new home, no new electronic device, or no new spouse is going to make things better inside of you.” (118)
“The cross of Christ is first and centrally God’s means of reconciling sinful people to his sinless self. But it is bigger than that too. From the ground we see the cross as our bridge to God. From the air, the cross is our bridge to the restoration of all things. The cross of the battered Son of God is the battering ram through the blockade into Eden. It is our key into a better Eden, into the wonders of the new-covenant kingdom, of which the old was just a shadow. The cross is the linchpin in God’s plan to restore all creation. Is it any wonder, then, that the empty tomb opened out into a garden?” (142–143)
“No matter what our job is, we view it not as our purpose in life but rather as where God has sovereignly placed us for the purpose of making Christ known and his name great. If you are a teacher, if you are a politician, if you are a businessman, if you are in agriculture, if you are in construction, if you are in technology, if you are in the arts, then you should not be saying, ‘I need to find my life’s purpose in this work,’ but rather, ‘I need to bring God’s purpose to this work.’” (149)
“The reconciling gospel is always at the forefront of the church’s social action, because a full belly is not better than a reconciled soul.” (150)
“Engaging the city around us and ministering to its needs reveal to us the remaining bastions of sin in our lives, the areas we refuse to surrender to God.” (181)
“Once we remove the bloody atonement as satisfaction of God’s wrath for sin, the wheels really come off. Where the substitutionary atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross is preached and proclaimed, missions will not spin off to a liberal shell of a lifeless message but will stay true to what God has commanded the church to be in the Scriptures.” (198)
“The marker of those who understand the gospel of Jesus Christ is that, when they stumble and fall, when they screw up, they run to God and not from him, because they clearly understand that their acceptance before God is not predicated upon their behavior but on the righteous life of Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death.” (211)
“Grace-driven effort is violent. It is aggressive. The person who understands the gospel understands that, as a new creation, his spiritual nature is in opposition to sin now, and he seeks not just to weaken sin in his life but to outright destroy it. Out of love for Jesus, he wants sin starved to death, and he will hunt and pursue the death of every sin in his heart until he has achieved success. This is a very different pursuit than simply wanting to be good. It is the result of having transferred one’s affections to Jesus. When God’s love takes hold of us, it powerfully pushes out our own love for other gods and frees our love to flow back to him in true worship. And when we love God, we obey him. The moralist doesn’t operate that way. While true obedience is a result of love, moralistic legalism assumes it works the other way around, that love results from obedience.” (217–218)
“Church of Jesus, let us please be men and women who understand the difference between moralism and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s be careful to preach the dos and don’ts of Scripture in the shadow of the cross’s ‘Done!’” (221)
HT Desiring God
“The misconception is ultimately that God is all about us and He’s about me and the whole thing exists because of me, so God was lonely in the beginning. So what He did is He created me for fellowship, because who wouldn’t want to create a bunch of incompetent, non-loving, adulterous, idolatrous, disobedient children to call their own? And nobody’s going to say it that way but that’s what we’re saying.”
Another one of the many reasons I like Matt Chandler so much.
This video amazes me. From an excerpt from the sermon, “The Knowability of God” Preached at the Village Church in 2004.
The Village Church has released their first professional full-length album, which is a collection of original music that they sing and play at their services. The music is top-notch, and has been featured a few times in the paperthin hymn section of this blog. I really cannot recommend it strongly enough. You can get more information here.
“Ladies, how many bible studies are we going to do? I am just saying, can we maybe run some of the plays instead of just studying them? Men, how many bible studies we gonna do? How much you going to study before you start to play? I mean that’s what makes the thing so stupid down here. Everybody can talk it, nobody wants to engage anybody with it. Or at least very few of us do. Why? Well cause I have a lust issue. Well OK, submit to Christ, get in recovery, and live on mission. It will reveal all that stuff, it will be horrible, God will just rip it out of you and replace it with His grace and mercy, and it will be awesome in the end.
I mean if you’re waiting till you’re perfect to live life on mission you’re going to die without much mission. It’s coming! Do you get this? Do you get that 2000 years ago, in fact farther back than than He told Abram, “This is how it’s going down.” and it has stayed true to the line right up till now where a massive portion of Africa has become believers, a massive portion of China has become believers, South America blowing up with the gospel. The gospel is penetrating the world, do you know how this ends? With you and me in front of Him with the Kingdom of God, new heaven, new earth coming down, no more injustice, no more pain, no more sorrow, God’s redeemed, God’s elect, God’s Kingdom, Kingdom of God, established!
Now do you think anybody is going to give a trash how much money you have right now? How much comfort you have right now? Who’s cool and who’s not? Who drove what and who didn’t? Who was well liked in the neighborhood and who wasn’t? You think ANY of that is going to matter? No one will care! But a lot of people will be embarrassed.”