May 08, 2017
Onward We Go: 3 Encouragements from Russell Moore
Rudy Hartmann shares three encouragements for collegiate leaders gleaned from Russell Moore‘s comments on the future of the church.
Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Russell Moore speak into the lives leaders at Cornerstone Church and from all around the Salt Network. He spoke with precision and clarity on several of the ethical and controversial issues of our day – it was truly logic on fire.
As he closed, Pastor Jeff Dodge asked if Russell Moore would give some encouragement to leaders who were focused on leading and planting churches in a college/university context. Though his comments in full are worth listening to (catch the audio here), I have boiled down his statements to three key takeaways for those of us who are practitioners in the collegiate context. My desire and hope in sharing this is that you would be deeply encouraged to press on as the work of the Gospel continues on your campus.
1. Don’t be intimidated.
Our generation can smell fear on the breath of those who are unsure of the weighty glory of the Gospel in their telling and sharing of it. Truth shared in empathy never need be paired with a sense of intimidation. The reality of God simply being able is as much encouragement as we need to rest more fully in His ability than our own – and in so doing, attempt ambitions, lofty things for His glory on the college campus. Remember – we need not add anything to the Gospel to make it powerful. The Gospel brings its own power with it. We need not operate in intimidation.
2. Clear the brush to get to the Main Issue
The Gospel and the Word of God is unashamedly offensive against sin. We need not share it in a way that would exemplify anything else – but we share it as those who have, ourselves, been convicted of sin. One thing I am sure that everyone does is this – sin. Christians included. So we clear the brush and get to the main issue of the Gospel of Jesus by presenting the Gospel in a way that communicates our need for it as well. The cloud of the image of the “Perfect Christian” is a fallacy. The only one who was ever perfect was Christ, and we rest as recipients of His perfection – so we clear the brush away as we present the Gospel to those around us in a way that does not elevate us above them in our need for it.
3. You have what you need in order to do it.
You are a recipient of the grace of God poured out on sinners. You do not, by any means, deserve this gift that you have in Christ. It is as if you were a small child living on the street who stole bread and were caught, the brought before the court of the king to be whipped and the King called out for silence, took of his robe, covered you with himself, took your lashes, and then called you a son, a prince, and an heir of the inheritance He has as King. This is what our Savior has purchased for us – this Zoe, this Life Eternal in Him that we might know Him, be sure of HIM, and be assured that we will spend eternity with Him. This is what we know and this is what you share – the good news of Jesus. That is all you need to be able to do all God has called you to do. He has gifted you to be the best you for the Kingdom – be faithful where you’ve fallen, remind yourself of the Gospel, and commit to go out with nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.
Now, this is the part where, when I read articles, I often skim and skip down to the bottom. I hate that I do that. I implore you not to do so as you read, in full and slowly, this selection of text from one of Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth, in light of reading what is above. Again, my hope is that you would ben filled with courage and move forward in the Gospel work to which God has uniquely called and placed you in.
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Don’t be intimidated.
Clear the brush to get to the Main Issue.
You have what you need in order to do it.
And so, onward we go.