I’m at Glorieta for National Collegiate Week. Michael Kelley is the Bible study leader for the mornings, and David Platt is the teacher during the evenings. Both brought the Word of God with conviction and authority today. The gathered crowd of 1500+ collegians and ministers were visibly moved by the messages.
Kelley spoke from Mark 11.12-24. It’s the passage where Jesus curses the fig tree as he’s heading into Jerusalem during the last week of his life. Mark makes a point to separate the fig tree account with the story of Jesus driving out the money changers from the temple.
The picture is of Jesus expecting to find something of substance, something of benefit, something to indicate fruitfulness, but He found nothing. Kelley asked if we and our churches have any substance, or if there are just leaves there – leaves that give a false impression of life and fruitfulness but which conceal our spiritual barrenness.
Platt spoke from Luke 9.51-62 about four pictures of Jesus and our response to Him. In each instance in these verses, people approached Jesus, wanting to follow Him, and in each case Jesus indicated that either they were not suitable or they could not. It’s definitely a “hard” passage.
Platt spoke powerfully and with great conviction. He asked us whether we, like the people mentioned in the passage, were using Jesus as a means to an end. “I’ll accept Him so that ________.” (fill in the blank) Platt pointed out how ludicrous it is to even conceive that we “accept” Jesus. Rather, it is the other way around, and His acceptance of us is based only on His grace and our faith.
For those who have “accepted” Jesus and used Him as a “ticket” to heaven, peace, better life, etc., Platt had strong words of caution that indicate that true faith may not be present.
Platt said God is the giver of the gospel; that Jesus is the gift of the gospel; and that Jesus is the goal of the gospel. We pursue Christ not to get _________, but rather to get Christ. He is the end of search.
Jesus doesn’t “need” us, Platt warned, and any thought or attempt at motivating people to serve God because God needs help is blasphemous. He is perfectly able to work without our help. We should be thankful that He chooses to use us in His grace. This perspective prevents our pride and false religion from being established.
In closing, Day 1 yielded some powerful teaching and many intimate conversations with friends and ministers.