Jesus Finds Wrecked People

An exerpt from Mark Driscoll’s recent sermon, Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son, from Luke 7:11-17. The edited transcript follows:

Jesus finds wrecked people.

That’s what he does. That’s our Jesus. God comes to earth as the man Jesus Christ, and he goes looking for absolutely wrecked people, people on the worst day of their whole life.

Luke says it this way: “He went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out.” Do you feel that?

Read these lines, “The only son of his mother, and,” what? “She was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had,” what? “Compassion on her.” Compassion on her.

This is a devastating day.

This is a wrecked woman. [Read more...]

The Kingdom is About Jesus

A challenging excerpt from Mark Driscoll’s sermon, The Beatitudes, Part 1 from Luke 6:17-36. Watch the video or read the transcript below:

The kingdom of God is not about getting. That’s what Jesus is saying. It’s not about getting wealth. It’s not about getting power. It’s not about getting comfort. It’s not about getting fame. And the kingdom of God is not about doing. It’s not what you do so that God will be pleased with you.

The kingdom ultimately is about being.

It’s about being in relationship with God.

And there are two ways that some will teach you to work out the counterculture kingdom ethic of Jesus.

One is absolute nonsense, religious garbage that arouses anger as I travel throughout this land, and I see Muslims, Jews, and Jack Christians who are religious, worshiping places, worshiping people, identifying themselves by their performance, and their power, and their prestige, and their prosperity. This is no holy land! This is a very unholy land! This is among the most unholy lands on the nation of the earth! The idolatry is steep and deep!

It’s just like the days when Jesus went to the temple, and absolutely was filled with fury. There is a righteous anger in the heart of God over those who would pilgrimage here, and cut in line for food, and steal, and cheat, and download porno in their hotel, and flirt with others, and follow ridiculous religious rituals, and then talk about the holy land. It’s not about the holy land. It’s about the holy king, and the holy kingdom, and repentant people by grace being connected to him, and being conformed to him.

The kingdom is not about going somewhere, but about belonging to Someone.

And so for us, it is never a place, it is a person, and the center of our faith is Jesus. [Read more...]

The Default Mode of the Human Heart

A thought-provoking clip from Mark Driscoll’s recent sermon Jesus the Sabbath Lord:

At Mars Hill, I wrote this down, I think the campuses that are most susceptible to religion and to legalism are the Federal Way Campus, the Olympia Campus, the West Seattle Campus, the Bellevue Campus, the Lake City Campus, the Shoreline Campus, and the Albuquerque Campus ‘cause it’s steeped, that whole city is, in Catholicism. I’ll go on record and say it. Legalism and religion are real threats to the health and well-being of those campuses.

Now for Ballard, Downtown, and the UW Campuses, the real threat and risk is reverse legalism. “Oh, they don’t drink? We’re gonna drink. Oh, they don’t smoke? We’ll smoke a pack a day to show our freedom in Christ.” Right? “Oh, they tithe, we’re not gonna tithe. That’s how free in Christ we are. Oh, they serve, well, we’re not any of that kind of works theology, we have a nap theology. We sleep like Calvinists. We don’t do anything, Jesus said, ‘It’s finished.’ So we’re done. Oh, they read their Bible every day, oh, that’s a lot.

Yeah, we don’t have a list like that, yeah, we’re not legalists. We don’t read the Bible at all. Don’t want to get all religious, read a book or pray or serve or care or give. We’re free in Christ. Anybody see my pants? I go to the Ballard campus,” right? We can be total reverse legalists. “Oh, that church doesn’t use instruments, we got a punk band, yee-haw, thank you, Jesus,” right?

And we can just be reverse legalists, and we could appoint ourselves as judges. We could judge all the religious people, and we could condemn them, and we could feel holier than they are because they’re trying so hard, and we don’t do anything. [Read more...]

Learning vs. Criticism

A thought-provoking clip from Mark Driscoll’s recent sermon, Jesus the Sabbath Lord:

The Bible said, “No working on the Sabbath,” so the religious people came along and they made a number of rules, one of which was you’re only allowed to do emergency medical care on the Sabbath, and they had a whole list of rules for what defined emergency care—a baby being born or a traumatic accident. Religious people worked this way as well. They worked through something called “the fear of man.” Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man is a trap or a snare.”

They like to make a scene in public, that’s why they’ll swarm to a blog, swarm to a Facebook, swarm to a Twitter account, swarm to a church, swarm to a church meeting, swarm to a dinner at someone’s home.

Swarm you at work, swarm you as family members at the holidays. They swarm, and they’re always looking for an audience to pressure you, back down, compromise, be quiet. Do you want to get stung some more? Then tap out, give up, give in. So they’re always picking a fight with Jesus where there’s a crowd, and here it’s on the Sabbath, a Saturday, in the synagogue in front of an audience.

And it says they came not to listen to Jesus, but to find fault with him.

Let me say this—you need to examine your own heart.

When you listen to me, another preacher, teacher, radio, podcast, read a book, are you listening, are you reading? First asking, “Okay God, teach me. I want to be humble. I want to learn. Secondly, “Show me my sins, my faults, my flaws, my failures so I can grow.” Thirdly, “Show me things I can help other people with as a good friend.” Fourthly, “If there’s anything wrong or askew or really dangerous here, show me that so I don’t get led into error.”

But don’t start with, “If I disagree, they’re wrong, I’m right and I’m here as God to judge.” [Read more...]

Too Staggering a Claim to Remain Neutral

“If Jesus is dead, then Christianity is dead. If Jesus is alive, then Christianity is alive,” write Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears in their latest, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (p. 279).

In support of the release of Doctrine, Crossway has released two sample chapters including a 24-page chapter on the Resurrection of Jesus:

Apart from the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no savior, no salvation, no forgiveness of sin, and no hope of resurrected eternal life. Apart from the resurrection, Jesus is reduced to yet another good but dead man and therefore is of no considerable help to us in this life or at its end. Plainly stated, without the resurrection of Jesus, the few billion people today who worship Jesus as God are gullible; their hope for a resurrection life after this life is the hope of silly fools who trust in a dead man to give them life. Subsequently, the doctrine of Jesus’ resurrection is, without question, profoundly significant and worthy of the most careful consideration and examination.

Driscoll & Breshears, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe, p. 279

“Apart from the resurrection. . . people today who worship Jesus as God are gullible.” It’s a harsh truth. Is it one we’ve taken time to consider?

Around this time of year is when the TV specials and magazine articles begin appearing in an attempt to debunk Jesus & the resurrection. “Maybe Jesus didn’t really die on the cross,” they say. “Maybe he only looked like he did.”

Maybe everyone who claimed to see Jesus hallucinated.

Maybe the whole thing is a bunch of gobbledygook cobbled together from various mythologies. After all, at the time, everyone’s god had come back from the dead… right? [Read more...]

The Incarnation: Jesus is Like Us and Unlike Us

Continuing to look at some clips relating to an essential doctrine of the Christian faith, from Mark Driscoll’s latest sermon series, Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God:

The Incarnation of Jesus.

Enjoy the teaching above and share some of your thoughts on this subject in the comments.

Edited transcript follows:

Jesus is like us. This is how it changes our life. Hebrews 4:15-16 says, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Jesus is like us. John Stott, a great British theologian once said, “In a world filled with suffering and pain, I could not fathom worshiping a God who was immune to it.” See, in other religions, the concept of God is that he is transcendent. He is far away. The life of sin and sinners on the earth is just a mess and it’s uncomfortable and it’s painful and deplorable so maybe God will send an angel or he’ll drop some commands but he’s certainly not going to come down and get involved.

The story of the incarnation is that he did. His name is Jesus. [Read more...]

The Incarnation: A Secondary Issue?

Continuing to look at some clips relating to an essential doctrine of the Christian faith, from Mark Driscoll’s latest sermon series, Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God:

The Incarnation of Jesus.

Enjoy the teaching above and share some of your thoughts on this subject in the comments.

Edited transcript follows:

… Is the incarnation of Jesus a secondary issue? Some in church history have argued that it should be. In our day, even some well-known pastors and Bible teachers, not good ones, have said that it is a secondary issue. It’s primary. We believe at Mars Hill there are closed-handed primary issues that all Christians need to believe to be Christians, there are open-handed issues that we can discuss and debate but we need not divide over. This issue goes in the closed hand. Some say, “Why?” Some would ask, “What do we lose? Well, maybe Jesus’ mom wasn’t a virgin.”

Well, number one, the Bible is not true if that’s the case. It keeps saying that the virgin would be with child. Gabriel says that Mary was a virgin. Mary says that she was a virgin. The Bible is not true.

Number two, it would mean that Scripture is unfulfilled. We’re still waiting for the virgin to give birth to the messiah in Bethlehem and our sins aren’t forgiven.

Number three, it means Jesus’ mother is a lying tramp. That she was running around on Joseph or she was messing around with Joseph and she concocted this crazy idea that now billions of people believe and actually call Christmas and we should get rid of all of that.

And number four, it would mean that Jesus is just a normal guy. It’s not the virgin birth of Immanuel, God with us, in fulfillment of Scripture. It’s two teenagers messing around, one getting pregnant and then creating a crazy story. It changes everything.

It changes everything.

The Incarnation: Did a Person Become God?

Continuing to look at some clips relating to an essential doctrine of the Christian faith, from Mark Driscoll’s latest sermon series, Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God:

The Incarnation of Jesus.

Enjoy the teaching above and share some of your thoughts on this subject in the comments.

Edited transcript follows:

Some will ask, so with Jesus, did a person become God? That’s a very common question. The answer is no. There’s a difference between a person becoming God and God becoming a human being. In fact, a great difference.

Now, the first lie that was told to our first parents in Genesis was that they could be God. And so any religion that teaches you you can be God-Mormonism teaches you that. Hinduism and many Eastern religions say that through karma and cosmic progress you can pay off your karmic debt so that you are one with the divine. That is another way of saying that you become one with that which is divine. You’re in effect divine. You’re godlike. [Read more...]

The Incarnation: The What Now?

I’ve been really enjoying Mark Driscoll’s latest sermon series, Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the Man Who is God. It’s been a very challenging series thus far—and very beneficial as well. So, I thought it’d be fun over the next couple weeks or so to go through some clips relating to an essential doctrine of the Christian faith:

The Incarnation of Jesus.

What is it? Is it important? What difference does it make?

These are really important questions to answer and worthy of serious consideration.

Enjoy the teaching above and share some of your thoughts on this subject in the comments.

Edited transcript follows: [Read more...]

Around the Interweb (02/07)

Preacher-Idolatry and the Promise of “All Things”

From David Murray, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan:

What do you do if people start idolizing you or your preaching? “I wouldn’t mind some of that!” you retort. Well, okay, maybe it won’t happen to many of us on a large scale. And most of us have the opposite problem. But, if even one person starts to “follow” you or your sermons excessively (and that can happen in the smallest of congregations), how should you respond?

The Apostle Paul’s answer to preacher-idolatry was, “All things are yours” (1 Cor. 3:21). I was first stunned by this verse 17 years ago when Don Carson lectured on 1 Corinthians 1-3 at the Free Church College in Edinburgh. It began a revolution in my worldview that continues to expand and develop to this day. All things are mine! It’s almost unbelievable, isn’t it? I think Paul knew that too. That’s why in the next verse he expands and underlines it. “Whether Paul or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours.” No wriggle room there is there. He covers everything. But why does Paul introduce this huge truth here? He is primarily addressing the Corinthian problem of idolizing preachers…

Read the whole article.

In other news

This month’s free book at ChristianAudio.com: Religions Saves by Mark Driscoll. Use the download code FEB2010 when purchasing.

Albert Mohler: Hijacking the Brain — How Pornography Works

Tim Challies: On Endorsements

A video update from Matt Chandler on his ongoing battle with brain cancer

An update from Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, on his cancer battle. Michael’s income ran out in January and his health insurance runs out this month. If you feel led to help with his ongoing medical expenses, you can donate here.

In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts

A review of Angels by David Jeremiah

No Gospel, No Purpose – A review of The Gospel-Driven Life by Michael Horton

On Suffering Well and the Wasted Life

Fear the Boom and Bust

Charles Spurgeon on the wretchedness of pride

If I'm the Hope, That's Not Good News

This is a great clip featuring Mark Driscoll from his sermon, Christ the Lord (transcript follows):

Which leads us to Christianity. Why I tell you this is I don’t want you to interject Jesus into a false ideology. See, some people are so familiar with this birth story of Jesus and the nativity set on the mantel over the fireplace of their home, that they have this prevailing worldview that they just stick Jesus in. And he’s Christ the Lord, like the angel said. And Christianity is this- and this is where Christianity is different.

Christianity is not a world religion. It’s the truth. It’s about Jesus.

And the story is that God is Creator. He’s eternally existing. He is a spirit being, that he is the Creator who made the physical world. The heavens and the earth, all that is. And God made us male and female in his image and likeness, with dignity, value, and worth. And God spoke to us in relationship and he gave us moral commands to obey so that we might enjoy life. And instead, we chose death. We chose to follow Satan rather than God, to choose death over life, lies over truth. And traded intimacy with God, for hiding from God. And because of our sin, creation was affected. And everything is stained and marred by sin. [Read more...]

"Who Will Help the Church?" Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald in Haiti

When I first heard about Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald hopping a plane to Haiti, honestly, I had mixed feelings. I greatly respect both men and love the fact that they want to help the church… but I found myself asking, “Aren’t other organizations doing this?”

As I’ve been thinking about it and (inconsistently) praying, I suspect the answer is… not exactly.

From ChurchesHelpingChurches.com:

Churches Helping Churches was created to address the immediate and long-term needs of churches when disaster befalls a country, region, city, or people in the spirit of Galatians 6:10—“…let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Our help complements the initial waves of humanitarian aid that pour into a country in the wake of a disaster. Many countries have relied on networks of local churches to be a primary conduit for the flow of health care, humanitarian aid, and even education. Rebuilding churches is a means of restoring infrastructure in a country through which aid can flow into local communities which so desperately need it.

Both throughout history and following specific tragedies it is often the local church that cares for widows, orphans, and the poor. It is the church who performs the funerals, grief counseling and spiritual follow up with families of victims. Rebuilding local churches helps address the practical and spiritual needs of a country, one person, one neighborhood, and one community at a time.

When the magnitude of a catastrophe can be described as “biblical,” it is the local church that reminds people that another biblical concept is even more powerful: hope in Jesus Christ.

Looking at their mission is really encouraging. They’re not trying to reinvent the wheel in terms of aid. There are other organizations that do a brilliant job of that.

They’re not trying to do community development. There are other organizations that are fantastic at it.

They’re not trying to do people development. Again, there are others who already do it well.

Their goal is to love the Church so that the Church can be a blessing to the nations.

That’s a pretty great mission.

I’m interested in seeing how this develops.

How about you?

Moralizing: How to Destroy Scripture and Cultivate Pride

I really appreciated this clip from Mark Driscoll’s sermon, The Birth of John the Baptizer, and felt it would be valuable to share today:


What could tend to happen when we do character studies of the Bible is we pick someone in the Bible and we look at their life and we say, “Okay, what are the good things they did? What are the bad things they did? Okay, I don’t want to do the bad things, I want to do the good things,” and the result is something called moralizing.

Moralizing absolutely destroys Scripture. You don’t even need to be a Christian to moralize Scripture. You can have any religion, ideology, philosophy or theology, and moralize Scripture.

It’s one of the great errors of Bible teachers and that is, “Don’t do the bad things, do the good things, now go.” The way that John was able to become the greatest man who ever lived was not by moralizing, but by the Holy Spirit. You see that? As we study John from here and you look at this man’s amazing life, and the legacy that he has, and the fruit of his ministry, it’s not, “Well, I need to do what John did.” No, you need to be filled by the Holy Spirit like John was.

You need to be empowered and transformed by the Holy Spirit like John was.

Through faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in you so that you can live a life under the control and power of the Holy Spirit like John did. Otherwise, it’s just nothing but a list of dos and don’ts. If you think you did well, you’re proud, and if not, you’re despairing. On neither account does moralizing lead to humble joy.

John was filled with the Holy Spirit, that’s how he did it.

There is no secret.

God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.

God’s power enables us to be who we cannot be and do what we cannot do because it’s God power.