Friday, August 17, 2007

Chasing Idols Away: A Masterpiece Sermon

The resource today is the New Attitude talk by pastor C. J. Mahaney. (Click the little play button next to the message entitled: "Discern Your Heart.") New Attitude is a conference held annually for Christian singles in Louisville, KY that attracts some of the best Christian speakers out there. Mohler, Dever, Piper--they all go. Anyway, the NA website contains the talks from this year's conference, and I want to encourage you to listen to C. J.'s talk. It is funny, enjoyable, and piercingly sharp. Don't skip this message because it sounds like it was given to a very young audience. It was given to a young audience, but this does not detract from its quality or its depth. Though topical due to its nature (a convention talk), it is a masterpiece of a sermon, because it is theological, understandable, and enjoyable. C. J. weaves stories, exposition, application, humor, and insight as well as anyone I have heard, and if you have found yourself struggling with idolatry recently, you will find his talk bracing. It's long, but it's terrific, and goes by very quickly.

Perhaps you find yourself guilty of a mistake I sometimes make. I assume that because I'm theologically educated, I don't need "basic" preaching. I don't need to hear the more elementary stuff. Well, I'm all for high-level preaching, for challenging theology and insightful exegesis, but I stand to benefit from an applicational sermon as much as anyone else. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that once we reach a certain level of Christian maturity, we don't need applicational preaching, and we can sustain ourselves solely through more theologically challenging preaching. That is bunk. I am to be chastised for my thinking. I need application. I need a good, searching meditation on idolatry. I haven't outgrown my sin--why should I think I have outgrown a meditation on sin? As long as we sin, we need good, solid, even basic preaching that condemns our sin and exalts God's holiness. I am not saying that I want simplistic preaching, of course; but simplistic and simple are two different things entirely. Most do not benefit from simplistic. All benefit from simple.

Whether you're a pastor or a layperson, a PhD or a freshman, you will richly benefit from this talk. Don't make the error I sometimes do. Don't ever think yourself above a simple exhortation. We never will be. We need such things very much. Click on the message, and chase your idols away this weekend.


Anonymous Danny Slavich said...

Owen, thanks for this link. I'm listening to it right now.

7:05 AM  

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