Meroo Christian conference center, west of Sydney.
Last year we were leaving in a hurry because of concerns about bush fires.
This year it’s been superb.
Time to go home.
The third and final day of Planters & Pastors consisted of two sessions, so we were done by 1.00pm
The first session was Keller’s concluding address, this time on Grace Renewal Dynamics, and the second contained a Q & A, some thankyous and a final ‘charge’ by Keller.
I’m very conscious of preached messages that fail to root applications and imperatives in what Jesus has done for us.
This was helpful in encouraging me to think more clearly about how what Jesus has done for us specifically meets various reasons or impulses for not doing what he would have us do.
It’s goes beyond, ‘instead of running on the you fuel, now you can run on the Jesus fuel’, and brings out the theme of seeing people ‘changed in their seats’ as you demonstrate how what Jesus has done overwhelms and frees us from what inhibits and bring us into particular freedom.
Very helpful, I don’t know these notes demonstrate that well.
Some more general thoughts next week.
On Grace Renewal Dynamics
Keller opened with characterisations from Augustine, Luther and Calvin.
Augustine: anything you love more than God you will crush it with your expectations and it will break your heart. Eg marriage. If wife more important than God, anger and guilt will mount from expectations that will damage the relationship.
Martin Luther: When God says you shall have no other gods before me, he means you must believe in justification by faith alone.
Calvin: you can’t turn faith into a defacto work.
Look at Romans 1-3. Romans 1 paganism/relativistic way; Romans 2 obedience/legalistic way.
Contrast Gospel with both moralism and relativism.
Moralism and legalism are not poles with Gospel in the middle, Gospel is polar with the other two.
Dick Lucas – sermon on the mount. Jesus contrasts two ways to live, both are doing the same actions, the motives and expectations are different. It’s not about doing, it’s about why.
In gospels two groups, one gets the Gospel. The ones who know it’s about repentance for why they were doing what they were doing.
Both sons love the father’s things. They are both alienated from the father. One claims before death, the other waiting.
The older brother is angry. An ongoing condition. Failed elder brother syndrome: trying to same themselves by works but can’t live up to their own standards.
Applications need to grounded in what Jesus has done for you.
Go into the heart. Why do we fail to share gospel? What people think about us is too important. Who cares what the peasants think about you when you have the love of the King?
Does our preaching feed/nurture elder brothers and failed elder brothers or bring change to them?
You have to become a model yourself.
You’re not angry, chief repenter in the congregation, open to different people,
Nurture – don’t create a two tiered church, those you think are Christian enough and those who you think are not, wait for them to tell you.
Three basic ideas in preaching
1. Preach Christ as the way to obey every command.
‘if you understand the Gospel you will be generous – fear and pride inhibit.’ Only safe in God, only status in God. Never just hit will, always go to heart and show how deeper grasp on Jesus brings freedom and change.
2. Preach Christ as the resolution of every cultural narrative.
In Christ you get a meaning suffering can’t take away. Christianity gives an identity that can’t crush you. Christianity gives you an identity not based on performance so diversity flourishes. Christianity through contemplation gives love, not tranquillity. Christianity gives a view of sex that doesn’t lead to loneliness. Christianity acknowledges how discontented you are. Take a place where the culture is weak, and where culture can’t fill, and shows how Christ does. Christians have a sense of justice that is consistent and doesn’t turn them into oppressors.
3. Preach Christ as the climax of every biblical theme.
(How many biblical themes are there really? Don Carson knows.) Covenant, king, marriage, promise, etc.
Here’s his final devotion. Given to a room full of people desiring great things for the Gospel in Australia.
Martin Lloyd-Jones – quotes Luke 10:20 at the end of life, when asked about being ‘on the shelf’.
The universal call to mission.
Who are the 72 who returned with joy? 12 sent out, then 72 sent out same charge.
Why 72 (or 70)? Equals the table of nations. Sending out the whole church.
We’re all in mission.
God never calls people in to bless them without sending them out to be a blessing.
Abram. Isaiah 6. Peter fishers of men.
They come back, demons submit to Jesus’ name. It works.
Satan falls, power given, don’t rejoice in this.
What’s wrong with being excited? Nothing especially. Rather Jesus is talking about the boast. The ritual boast. (Keller hasn’t seen a haka, I think) The foundation for your confidence.
Where is the confidence? That our name is in the Lamb’s book of life.
That never wasn’t. Here’s what I rejoice in, my name is already there.
Your name is written over the heart of Jesus. Like the high priest’s ephod.
You can be on the shelf.
You can have a bad year.
Or so much more.
Moses sought forgiveness for the people on the basis of his own name being blotted out.
Jesus is the ultimate Moses. He was blotted out so that our names are written in heaven.
That brings security circumstance can’t erase.
Some grabs from yesterday.
Contextualisation: Bringing the changeless message of the Gospel to address the particular cultural situation of the audience.
Sermon introductions: ‘Open up your Bibles to …’ is also a contextualised approach to a felt need of an audience.
No one presentation can transcend all cultures.
What steps do we take to locate/stay in touch with the context of our locality?
On marriage and ministry (in conversation from Kathy and Tim Keller):
If you have an unhealthy marriage, how can you have a healthy ministry? The Gospel of Christ is clouded if it’s not being exercised at home.
Ministry marriages fall apart: how does it happen? – getting busy for the Lord, getting hollow in life. Something comes along to fill the hole.
Over the long journey sexual chemistry will not be consistent.
Friendship can be. It needs to be continually renewed and remembered.
Culture tells us when you lose sight of it you move on.
Every relationship gets old.
You have to learn to reinvigorate and renew them.
Put new meaning in the physical and non-physical aspects of relationships.
Possible quote of the day: ‘Sometimes it’s just meat and potatoes sex.’ (from Kathy Keller)
Missional conversation: not about changing the topic to the Gospel, but bringing the Gospel to bear on every topic.
Just a brief note as we prepare for day two.
As they say in the classics ‘he wrote the book.’
The ground covered in Keller’s talks yesterday focussed on the latter content of Center Church.
Of interest were:
His observations on institutions and movements and their differences, strengths and limitations.
Gospel work needs the best of both: the structure and accountability of an institution and the focus and flexibility of a movement.
Revival being a time when sleepy Christians awake, where nominal Christians become born-again (and know it), and when unbelievers come along to see and hear what’s happening (and get impacted by the Gospel).
The imperative for different denominations to retain their strengths and distinctives, but be open to learning from the strengths of others without defensiveness.
The need to pastor and lead in a way that helps people be Christians all the time, not just on weekends and evenings.
How evangelism, integration of faith and work, deeds of justice and mercy need to be integrated into gathered church life and discipleship. Helping Christians think about how their work places and vocations can be kingdom work.
The recognition that institutions can lose their first love and come to exist for their own sake, and that movements can lose their first love and come to exist for the sake of those they once sought to impact for the Gospel.
The fact that Jesus is raised from the grave, and that truth defines our identity, not our desires, relationships, or the way we’re perceived by others.
CitytoCity Australia (@CitytoCityAu) advise that the hashtag for the Pastors and Planters Consultation is #citytocityau.
So, for responses and summaries far more concise than I can provide check it out if you’re on Twitter.
Gary Millar, principal of the Presbyterian Queensland Theological College features in a brief interview at the Gospel Coalition which highlights Deuteronomy as The Ultimate Sermon For Preachers, which is a theme he will explore as his contribution to next year’s Gospel Coaltion National Conference.
I wonder how many volunteers there are among QTC students to carry his baggage on the trip?