Today was a wonderful day hearing the word of God. There was such a hush over the crowd as the proclamation of the gospel was shared with all of us today from Pastor Steve Lawson and C.J. Mahaney. My favorite message so far was the meaty sermon by Steve Lawson! (You can download all messages in mp3 format for free at Resolved.org) The theme of this conference is SIN, and that is exactly what we talked about today was we continued in the study of the Scriptures about how to dread sin and be devoted to God. Here are some notes from today.
Blessed Bankruptcy - Matthew 5:3
The number one thing that keeps us from the pursuit of the glory of God is sin. The utmost and ultimate goal in life is to bring glory to God. Everything we do out to be to the glory of God. Jonathan Edwards understood this and that is why he wrote the the Resolutions; to be a reminder to him for the rest of his life to remember not to hinder the glory of God. Jonathan Edwards understood that he was not blessed with gifts but blessed by the glory of God. He waged war against all sin so that God would not lose any glory that Jonathan Edwards was ought to give. Wow!
The Great Depression in 1929 crashed the stock market and collapsed the economy for a decade. However, there is a "Greater Depression" that happened; it happened in the garden when Adam sinned against God, losing all his stock, all his goodness, all his riches with God becoming completely depraved, and ever since then man has and is completely worthless and total separated from God because of his sin.
There is no greater place in all of Scripture to find the apex of for true blessedness than in the beatitudes. Blessedness always starts with brokenness. It is said that the beatitudes are attitudes that ought to be. There are 8 of them. The first 4 are the requirements of someone who wants to be in the kingdom of heaven. The last 4 are evidences of some who is in the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus proclaims His great sermon on the mount by starting in Matthew 5:1-2 announcing that these beatitudes are the requirements to be in His kingdom. There are 5 things to notice about the first beatitude.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)
1.Priority - All beatitudes rely and rest upon this first and most important fundamental truth of scripture. You must have a poor spirit of total brokenness and depravity. As A.W. Pink wisely said, "To be poor in spirit is to realize that I have nothing, am nothing, and can do nothing, and have need of all things. Poverty of spirit is evident in a person when he is brought into the dust before God to acknowledge his utter helplessness."
2. Promise - The promise is the blessing of heaven and the dwelling in His kingdom. We will never mourn, be meek, thirst and hunger for righteousness, be merciful, be pure in heart, be persecuted for righteousness sake and for Christ's name if we are not not poor in spirit. But when we are poor in spirit and have this awareness and acknowledgment, we will mourn, be meek, thirst and hunger for righteousness, be merciful, be pure in heart, and will definitely be persecuted for righteousness sake and Christ's name. We will receive by the promise of God's grace these things: Gladness now and Glorification later; Happiness now and Heaven later; Joy now and Justification later. In order to receive the "Blessedness of Christ in the first beatitude you must declare all bankruptcy on earth to receive all the riches of heaven and God's grace.
3. Paradox - The beatitude is not upside down like the world would like to believe (how can someone be poor in spirit money wise?) but it truly right side up. Jesus is teaching us the truth that has been flipped by the destructiveness of Satan since the garden. Jesus is proving to us that what the world commends, he certainly condemns. He is saying that it is not about being rich and full of religiosity and self righteousness but to be in His kingdom you need to be empty, poor, and can do nothing to favor God. It not where religion reaches up to God to help him, but where God reaches down to man who is in desperate need of a Savior that He acts upon. This is so contrary to the world and how they think. We need to think the way Jesus radically taught.
4. Picture - Jesus is saying in this beatitude that those who are blessed are the ones who are in true denial of themselves of being anything worthy. (read Luke 18:9-14 for picture of the Pharisee who is self righteous vs. the tax collector who pitied himself)
5. Pronouncement - The favor of God's grace in all the blessings of the kingdom of heaven are give to the one who is poor in spirit. We need to be poor in spirit every single day, looking into the mirror of morality which is the word of God. We need to see the wretched reflection of ourselves as the sinner and the wonderful declaration that we are saved by grace through faith!
If we confess our spiritual bankruptcy to God, He will give us everlasting riches according to His grace.
"Who Is At Work?"
There are two things working in your life. You and God. That is it, that is all that can work and will ever work.
1. Our part (Philippians 2:12)
Only God 's power can make us able to conquer sinful disobedient living. It is by nature that we think and do sin, however we have a major role in working out our own salvation. Our part it to work out our salvation in our lives as indwelling sin lingers and progressive sanctification is desired.
There are two things we have to do: Action and Attitude
A. Action (work out your salvation) - Work out our salvation means to stir what God has already placed in our lives to ultimately glorify Him and sanctify us.
B. Attitude (with fear and trembling) - With fear and trembling means to have a humble awareness and attentiveness of the loving Father in heaven, knowing your accountable to Him in our faithfulness and obedience through reverence. Growing in holiness requires human responsibility and deligence!!!
"God works in us, with us, not against us or without us." - John Owen
2. God's Part (Philippians 2:13)
God does two things for us, he wills and works all things for his good pleasure.
A. God works - He is powerfully working specifically in us through the Holy Spirit to grow us into His image through all things, and accomplish His will and plan for our joy.
B. God wills - He is sovereignly present in our lives to bring Him glory and build His kingdom for his good pleasure.
These messages have been great! I have been on my laptop in my hotel room relaxing with the ac on full blast, enjoying the Lord, reviewing my notes and sharing them with all of you online, and fellowshiping with my brother KC.
The next two days are going to be blistering for my fingers because I KNOW I will be taking insane notes. John MacArthur and John Piper double wammy. Should be great. Blessings everyone!