We're Grrrrreat!!!

A good friend of mine said of getting to hear D. A. Carson preach, something like this:

"If I have kids, and they grow up to be theologians, and they know that I got to hear D. A. Carson preach...they'll be impressed."

Well, I have kids, and I hope they grow up to be theologians (personally if not professionally) and one of them - my son - had the great opportunity to hear Dr. Carson preach a few weeks ago at our church's mission conference. We got to hear him two more times the following Lord's Day, when he preached two great sermons on Revelation 4 & 5.

I know, I know...my son is only five, and he probably won't remember this, and he certainly doesn't appreciate the great privilege he has to hear this man in person, but none the less, he got to hear him. And after briefing him during the drive home, I think he actually retained some of the sermon!

Carson preached a sermon called "What Makes You Great?" from this text in Matthew:

Matthew 11:1-19

When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, “ ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, “ ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”

His outline:

The Discouraged Baptist - vs. 2-6
The Defended Baptist - vs. 7-11
The Eclipsed Baptist - vs. 12-19

Carson spoke of the misconception John the Baptist had of the Christ, expecting Him to come with vengeance and fork and fire (cf.
Matthew 3:1-12) and not fully understanding His mission to give His life as a sacrifice for many (For those who thought of John 3:29 "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!", Dr. Carson explained that even this verse uses a non-propitiatory Greek term for "takes away"). Knowing this helps us understand John's confusion in Matthew 3:3. This Christ wasn't living up to the expectation of John's expectation of "the Christ".

The Lord then sends mesengers back to John with partial portions of Isaiah's prophecy...purposely leaving out the parts about wrath and vengeance - but knowing - as Carson suggests - that the baptist will "fill in the blanks" (compare the justice & mercy described in Isaiah 29 & 35) and recall the complete ministry & purpose of Christ.

Well, I'll leave the rest for Dr. Carson - he preaches it much better than I can retell it. Click here for a free download of the sermon "What Makes You Great" (You'll have to do a quick search by name or sermon title. Also listen to his sermons on Revelation 4 & 5). Or, to purchase other D.A. Carson sermons & lectures, click here.

1 comment:

pilgrim said...

I've heard DA Carson speak at a conference and heard him preach in a service.
All I could say to him afterwards was, "Thanks"-
I was too busy meditating on what he had opened up from God's Word and shown me of Christ.