Monday, June 1, 2009

A Testimony Much Like Mine

When I scan my Christian pilgrimage, I can quickly identify the three most significant high points. The first is my conversion. God saved me when I was twenty years old. The second is the evening God's Spirit opened my eyes to see the implications of the doctrines of Grace. It felt as though I had been saved a second time. The third occurred a few years ago when I enrolled in a class at Westminster Seminary taught by Dr. Edmund Clowney. It was entitled, 'Preaching Christ form the Old Testament.'

Admittedly, I began the class with my resistance level turned up to full capacity. 'Never preach Christ if He is not specifically mentioned in the Text from which you are preaching,' I had always heard. And yet for three hours each day Dr. Clowney showed us, from both exegetical and theological perspectives, how the Old Testament ruthlessly point to Jesus Christ. Each day I left class saying to my roommate, 'I love Jesus more today than I have ever before loved Him.' Without sounding hopelessly sentimental, it was something akin to an Emmaus road experience. Each day my heart would burn.

Equally unexpected, however, was the deep humility that accompanied this fresh experience of joy. After the second or third day into class a painful realization broke open in my consciousness: though I had been preaching the Bible expositionally for eleven years, I had altogether missed the Spirit-intended purpose for the first two-thirds of it! Even more to the point was the lingering memory of a recently concluded twelve-part series on the book of Nehemiah. As diligently as I tried I failed to recollect one occasion of speaking about Jesus Christ during those twelve weeks of preaching, save for the mention of His name in my closing prayer at the conclusion of the sermon. And the haunting question which forcibly impressed itself upon my mind was this: how can I ask for the Holy Spirit's power in preaching when I am completely out of step with the Holy Spirit's purpose in His Word?


Brad said...

Who is this fellow?

Anonymous said...

wow! this reinforces what i'd already sensed God was trying to tell me - that i need to be more compassionate and patient with those who don't yet get it. after all, He has allowed me to be in the right church at the right time...and i did nothing to earn or deserve it. i don't say lightly that i believe i've been incredibly blessed.