Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


T4G: Two Weeks Later

I'm a student at Boyce College. What many don't realize is that Boyce College is the undergraduate school for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, flagship seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention. That being the case, I have many opportunities and advantages inherent to my status as a Boyce student that others would give body parts for.

Being able to go to Together For the Gospel is no small quantity in that equation.

The conference did wonders for my soul. I think that in this case, the how is not as important as the what. What I mean by that is this: the Lord could have stirred my soul in any number of ways that week, yet He chose that particular gathering of believers to saturate my soul in the fuel of His preached Word and light it on fire with the white-hot zeal of His Spirit. And oh, how good of Him, how merciful of Him to do that!

I still feel quite overwhelmed by all that I saw and experienced, and believe me, there was a lot to soak in. Yet the soaking wasn't to be found in the names or faces of the people who were there; at least, not ultimately. I firmly believe that if every aspect of the conference had not been bathed in prayer, the effort of men would have been far less fruitful, if not entirely fruitless. To think otherwise is blind and prideful. To that effect, what was ultimately seen was not the effort of men, but a breathtaking display of the glory of God.

One of John Piper's well-known terms is "expository exultation." Essentially, that refers to exposing the truth of God's glory in His Word in such a way that we exult in that truth. Dr. Piper pointed us toward 2 Corinthians 3 & 4 in illustrating this, exhorting us to behold God's glory by hearing His Word being preached. My entire experience at the conference was such that I was constantly being pointed toward the glory of God as seen in the face of Jesus Christ. What more could I, a wretched sinner, hope to behold? What is more, do I lack anything in beholding Christ? No, I do not. What more, what less, therefore, shall be my aim?

Two weeks later, that's the impression I'm left with. There was much that was said, and still more that must be reviewed over and over again in order to be better understood, but for now I'm still pondering a particular handful of the truths and challenges set before us.

Mark Dever said of our preaching that we are often told we must live up to what we preach. If that were a qualification, who could stand? No, the preacher must preach better than he lives! This, of course, was not an excuse to live a life not bent on glorying in the precious Lamb of God. Rather, this exhortation was given as an encouragement to the frail and feeble pastor who is ceaselessly beset by his own sin, his own weak and weary flesh. Indeed, it was given to all of us, who know all too well the shame of turning away from our Lord in the very hour of need. When Dr. Dever gave that little bit of encouragement, I remember hearing the sighs of agreement echoing in the ballroom. I thought to myself, "This is a group of men who knows all to well the failures of ministry. But this is also a group that wants desperately to preach as we ought to live, and live as we ought to preach."

Ligon Duncan read through 2 Samuel 23:8 - 39, the passage detailing David's mighty men. He spoke of the three that went to obtain water from Bethlehem for David, and how upon receiving the freely and lovingly given water, David poured out the water. He said that David did such an apparently ungrateful act in humble recognition that he was not worthy of such covenant fidelity! Yet it was not David's acknowlegdment that caused my eyes to flow with tears, but rather the sheer frailty of this man after God's own heart. After Dr. Duncan read verse 39 aloud, he asked us, "Did you know that Uriah the Hittite was one of David's mighty men?" Wow. It's one thing to feel the hatred of a stranger, even more to be subject to the jealousy of a rival or acquaintance. But to be betrayed by one to whom you have devoted your life in covenant fidelity? *Sigh* I thought about David's sin with Bathsheba, and then his murder of Uriah, I didn't feel the least bit inclined to point the finger at David. Rather, I thought of the ways that God is still faithful to me, despite my lack of faithfulness to Him. Still more, I look forward to seeing the ways I'll see the lovingkindnesses of King Jesus fleshed out in my life.

I could go on for a while still, but I won't. I'll spare you, and save it for another day ;) For now, I pray you'll ponder the glories that we, even now, might behold in the face of Jesus Christ.

posted by Bolo | 11:43 PM
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