April 29, 2014 | by: 0 Comments|
Brothers & Sisters,
The past two weeks, I’ve shared some reflections on my time at the Together for the Gospel conference (T4G). This week I’ll finish up sharing those reflections as well as sharing some of my reflections on my time at a small pastor’s fellowship following the conference. So far I’ve mentioned the talks given by Thabiti Anyabwile, Matt Chandler, Mark Dever, Kevin, DeYoung, Ligon Duncan, John MacArthur, and Albert Mohler. Now, let wrap things up with highlights and lessons from the talks given by John Piper and David Platt, along with a few other reflections.
John Piper endeavored to show from Romans 9 how God’s unconditional election of sinners was a comfort to Paul in his evangelism. With so many of Paul’s Jewish brethren rejecting Jesus Christ, Paul was filled with sorrow, but the truth that God had planned to save some Jews (Paul included), was a great comfort to Paul. God’s election even encouraged Paul to pray and plead and persuade his Jewish brethren to believe, and so it should be for us and all the lost around us. We should tell our lost friends and family members that we love them, and tell them that we want them to join us in glory. We should look them in the eyes and with earnest sincerity plead with them on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God.
David Platt preached a powerful sermon on why we should plead with God in prayer for the salvation of the lost. Our prayerlessness for the lost may reveal a sense of self-sufficiency in our evangelism. The truth is that we need God to work if any sinners are going to be saved. We need to more desperately plead before the throne of grace that God would save our friends and family members. We have no hope apart from seeing the fruit of conversion apart from God’s saving work.
Before each session there was a video testimony which either recounted how someone came to faith in Christ, or how a faithful Christian is endeavoring to call a sinner to faith in Christ. Two things stood out to me from these testimonies. The first was a comment that one brother in Christ made, somewhat offhandedly in the video. He said that we shouldn’t love evangelism, but that we should love people. That kind of approach will help us to avoid arguments, and maintain our relationships even if our friends and family don’t believe. Each testimony of conversion also concluded in a similar way. Someone said, “My name is [John] I am a Christian today because someone brought the gospel to me, be unashamed.” May the Lord grant to us a greater boldness for the gospel. May we be unashamed.
If this good teaching and gospel encouragement wasn’t enough, I had the joy of spending the time at T4G taking in this good content with Eric, Sam, and Kevin. It was fun to sing praise to God, talk, and pray with these brothers. My time at T4G was enriched by their fellowship and insight. It is my hope and prayer that more brothers and sisters would consider coming in a few years’ time.
Following T4G, I slipped off to a small meeting of likeminded pastors. We spent time hearing about what God is doing in our churches, praying for one another, and giving each other counsel. It was at this meeting that I got to hear even more testimonies of God’s grace in what he is doing to bring more people to faith in churches much like ours. Perhaps the most valuable time though was spent in conversation with a fellow pastor who has perhaps gone through the most difficult year of his life. I was heartbroken for the brother. A few years ago he went to help revitalize a local church. He told me and others that he went to help that church because he thought that they needed him (and they do!), but what he discovered over this past year was how much he needed them. He needed them to love him and care for him, and by God’s grace they did just that. This conversation was encouraging not only because I heard of how one local church was so generously and graciously caring for their pastor, but also because I feel like I have been generously and graciously cared for by you. I know that should I encounter great difficulty like my friend has, I would be able to turn to the members of our congregation and be sure to receive care and encouragement.
Thanks again for pouring into me as your pastor in sending me to conferences and meetings like these. I’m encouraged, refreshed, and spurred on in ministering the Word of Jesus Christ.
In the living Christ,
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