“We are very pleased to be able to pass along this challenging word from Dr. D. Clair Davis. Dr. Davis is Emeritus Professor of Church History at Westminster Seminary (and the father of our own Marc and Erik Davis). He was part of New Life from its earliest days and will be the preacher for our Missions Sunday on March 16. We welcome his wisdom and will welcome his word from our pulpit.” – Steve Smallman
Isn’t it wonderful to have your own home? In the suburbs too, with some space between you and the next house? Where you can do what you want to do without anyone else making a fuss? There’s too much conformity everywhere else, but at home it’s your life.
The internet helps too if you want privacy, and who doesn’t? Going to the adult toy store was always creepy, with religious weirdos outside handing out tracts. Online nobody knows what you’re watching, if you do it right not even your spouse. Seminary students do that too, so it’s no big deal. Remember when there was about one movie a year that Christians thought you could see, and you conformed? Now anything goes, privacy is wonderful.
On the other hand, you belong to Jesus, body and soul. He bought you with his blood, his precious blood. He set you free from sin and death, and he meant what he did. The Bible is full of talk about repentance, knowing where your heart is going and working hard to change it, calling on the Holy Spirit to make it happen.
The old revival meetings did it this way: take off a week to do it right, in between crops. Start off Monday through Wednesday to be clear about the Lord and his holiness, and his law. Wake up hard to see yourself the way God does, in all your idolatries and rebellion, and what you deserve. That brought a lot of weeping inside that clear wakeup call. Where is my hope, there isn’t any is there? Then it was high time for the gospel, and the joy of knowing that Jesus paid it all, for me too.
That was powerful and emotional, maybe a bit programmed. But it was clear, there’s no hope for you at all without your repentance. Don’t even think about running to Jesus without running away from Satan. Jesus is Savior but Lord too. I honor all that but think our picture could be even bigger. That wonderful Romans 2:4, Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance, gives us even more, doesn’t it? How can I think of treating my Jesus that way, putting up my idols in his place, and not caring that I do?
So there we are, living in a secular culture that values privacy much more than love for our kind Jesus, and we’re enjoying it. Call it borderline indifference? Our acceptance of online porn and totally anti-Christian movies is bad enough, but our deafening silence on homosexuality is worse. Our culture has shut our mouths and our hearts. Of course we have to get after all the other sins too, especially our own. Our self-centeredness and talking more than we listen we have to deal with, right away. They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, if we open our mouths we’ll probably go to jail for hate-crimes. Yes, legalism is a danger, but I doubt that’s the issue for us right now.
To me it looks like we’re caving to the unbelief all around us, not caring much about the Lord’s holiness and our calling to mirror it and proclaim it.
We have to start with ourselves. That’s what revival always is, it starts with us first. My friend and mentor Jack Miller always started with himself. As he called us to repentance he told us about his own unbelief and indifference, and we all knew we weren’t on the brink of the bad rap on fundamentalism.
Of course those fundies were confused and confusing. ‘Bobbed hair’ on women isn’t rebellion, Jesus made real wine at Cana to help out with the wedding, being against all divorce just isn’t biblical, etc. etc. We can do better, but why would we want to do worse?
How should we start? Let the preachers do a Jack Miller and tell us about their own sins and then turn to ours. Let’s find our accountability partners and work hard together to confess our sins and vigorously ask for the Holy Spirit to work in us. In my world CCEF counseling has helped so much. Let’s get the right mix of law and gospel in our hearts. Let’s turn back to the Lord. Is that threatening? Do you believe the Lord answers prayer? There’s one prayer that he always hears: for the sake of the glory of your Beloved Son Jesus, show me my sin, right now. Then you can move to the next one: Father, I claim the power of your resurrected Jesus, work in me and change my heart, kill my idols.
Our online porn stats just have to go way down, our addiction to movies with the wrong agenda too (help us, movie reviewers in our magazines). Then, within the setting of the kind gospel, we can be prophetic and clear about homosexuality and abortion—and most likely go to jail. (That will help us understand our brothers and sisters around the world who routinely go to jail and worse for Jesus).
I’m a grace-boy. I’ve taught church history and once was asked to summarize it all. It wasn’t that hard: we learn how easy it is to forget about Jesus, is what I said. But Jesus is not only Savior but Lord too, isn’t he? We’re forgetting that right now, aren’t we?