Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Three Dollars Worth of Gospel

I always recommend to pastors that they purchase all of Don Carson’s little paperback expositions because I think they are some of the best expositional material available. They are models of exegesis, application, and preaching in general.

I just came back across this following quote from Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians . This is piercing application. I am cut to the quick. I know the approach to life he is satirizing not simply by looking out at others but by looking within. I need to hear this word again. And, how we need this word in our churches! All too easily we warp the gospel into a way for securing the ‘good life’ for ourselves.
“I would like to buy about three dollars worth of gospel, please. Not too much – just enough to make me happy, but not so much that I get addicted. I don’t want so much gospel that I learn to really hate covetousness and lust. I certainly don’t want so much that I start to love my enemies, cherish self-denial, and contemplate missionary service in some alien culture. I want ecstasy, not repentance; I want transcendence, not transformation. I would like to be cherished by some nice, forgiving, broad-minded people, but I myself don’t want to love those from different races – especially if they smell. I would like enough gospel to make my family
secure and my children well behaved, but not so much that I find my ambitions redirected or my giving too greatly enlarged. I would like about three dollars worth of the gospel, please.” (pp. 12-13)

Brothers, we must preach this searching point. Many will be entirely content for us to “do our sermon”, but when you begin to press the call of the gospel to shape our lives, rebuke our sin, calling for repentance many will rebel. But without this we have failed to discharge our ministries (Col 4:17). Without this we are mere hirelings awaiting rebuke from the Master on the final day. There is no discount version of the Gospel. It is all or nothing. Let us wield the searching sword of the Spirit (Heb 4:12) as those who have first been pierced by it.


Jeff Lash said...

The timing of this post is priceless. The Lord has been challenging me with this very notion. How far am I willing to go for the gospel? Do I really desire the gospel to invade every aspect of my life? Do I have faith enough to live out the words of scripture? Piercing indeed.

Matthew Henry said...


Thanks for the post, good read and good admonition. Also want to say "HI." I hope you remember me when we met and you helped me understand the SBC better when I moved to Kenosha. I am still here. I have been watching you over the years from afar and give thanks to the Lord for where He is leading you. Keep the faith and fight for it.

Ray Van Neste said...

Hey Matthew!
Thanks for commenting. It is great to hear from you, and I'm glad to hear you are still there.
We saw there was flooding in Racine. How are thigns in Kenosha?

Matthew Henry said...

Glad you remember me, I have only fond memories of our few times we talked.

Flooding here as well, but minor damage (unless your one of those who got nailed).

j razz said...

Ray, there is a song called Two Dollars by Mark Williams on his cd called Journal of a Recovering Skeptic. You should give it a listen as it says exactly what your post says, save for the 2/3 dollar discrepancy.

j razz