Speaker: Kevin DeYoung
Text: 1 Corinthians 15:10
Title: Spirit-Powered, Gospel-Driven, Faith-Fueled Effort
This was a man whose books I have read, reviewed and respected and so I was expecting much as he came to speak to us. Maybe this expectation was heightened by the introduction from the front as the man in whose hands is the “future of the faith for the next generation”. A tad difficult to follow that intro!
His beginning was strong:
Ultimately, there are only two categories of people: those who will see the Lord and those who will not.
He was quick to point out that we are what we are only by the grace of God. He showed how Paul worked “very hard” in ministry but at the same time held in tension that all his accomplishments belonged to God. So, how do we (a) work hard and at the same time (b) show forth God’s grace?
- We must be Spirit powered (1 Pt. 1v2). In Eph. 2v16 we read that we have power in our inner being that comes from the same Spirit who was there at creation. In other words, defeatist Christians who say they lack this power dishonour Christ who was raised from the dead by it! Alongside this, God is light and he will expose sin in our lives (Jn. 16). In Jn.16v14 we are reminded that the Spirit draws attention to Christ and not just to our sin. (note: at this point he seemed a bit muddled and I was unsure of the connection and/or logic of drawing these two subpoints together).
- We must be gospel driven. Good deeds are an act of gratitude for what God has done in our lives.
- We must be faith fuelled. We are justified by faith, not sanctified by it. Faith plays a role in the pursuit of holiness, but it is the fight of faith, which is an ongoing, lifetime battle. That one day we will claim our future reward should motivate our faith and our drive toward holiness.
- We must make an effort. This effort toward holiness is, of course, driven by the Holy Spirit. But we are called to it nonetheless (Ro. 8v13; Col. 3v5; 1 Tim. 6v12; Lk. 13v24; 1 Cor. 9Vv24-27; Phil. 3Vv12-14). 2 Peter 1v5 reminds us “to make every effort”. The great thing about this toil and effort, according to DeYoung is that it is “divinely enabled” (I really liked that phrase!).
We toil and work with HIS energy but we must ensure that this is not the same thing as being a “workaholic”. This is a great danger in church planting, particularly in the early days. We are trying to make contacts, establish links, lead and inspire people, build a core and a thousand other things and yet these things can be detrimental to our spiritual lives, marriages and health.
The problem in ministry is not often “hard work” but “foolish work”. We must work just as hard at “resting”, having “days off” and being with our family and friends. It often takes more effort to “work less”.
In our teaching we must be careful to teach that salvation is all of grace BUT also they MUST obey the Word of God. Again, having a chaotic lifestyle and being abused as a child does not let people off the hook. Remember, the gospel leads to law keeping. The Bible insists that we obey the Word of God.
Encouraging people to pursue holiness is not adding to the gospel. again, the Law is intrinsically tied to the good news. we don;t become believers and then move away from the Law.
Holiness does not come apart from trusting in Christ but nor does salvation in Him put an end to
Wise words with multiple applications for our ministries.