I had the overdue pleasure of catching up with Bryan Chapell at the Desiring God Conference in Minneapolis, MN. Bryan was the President and homiletics prof. of Covenant Theological Seminary for many years – I have not seen Bryan since I graduated in 1996. John Piper invited him to speak to the pastors this year – what a blessing. To take a trip down memory lane, I took my nearly 20 yr old seminary t-shirt for a photo-op with Bryan.
Bryan is a hero of the faith for me because of his love for Christ and his gospel. Bryan’s book, Christ Centered Preaching, is a standard textbook in seminaries across America – this book demonstrates his love for pastors, teaching us how to preach Christ. This is partly what drew me to CTS. I am so thankful for this man.
A pic with two of the six men who attended the conference with me. And of course, one of my greatest heroes of the faith – John Piper. As always, this year’s conference did not disappoint. Worshipful and majestic singing; passionate, expository Christ Centered Preaching from Romans 1, 5, and 6; refreshing fellowship; renewed love for Christ and his Church; and with the theme of the conference, a deeper understanding of our sin so that we may know how abundant God’s grace is to us through our Lord Jesus Christ.
One take away from the conference.
Lust is not so much an addiction – it’s the result of a trading down for a smaller treasure. If you were sitting at your computer at the height of your temptation, and you were about to click open that porn site, would you still click it open if someone genuinely offered you One Million Dollars not to? Tax free, unmarked, not stolen – $1,000,000 to turn away from porn at that moment? Would you take your hand of the mouse and take the money? Or,
If ISIS stormed your home, and holding a sword to the throat of your loved one, threatening to sever her head, saying, “If you look at that porn site I will remove her head” – would you feel your Lust as an Un-conquerable Addiction, or would you take your hand away to spare the life of your friend?
The reason why so many of our sins run wild is not so much because they are addictions, but rather a flawed belief system based upon what is most valuable. You would take the money and turn away because you value money more than porn at that moment. You would save the life of your friend because you valued her more than lust, at that moment. What was once an “addiction” is now understood as a treasuring of something more valuable to you than lust. Is this biblical?
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 says this:
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you abstain from sexual immorality (that is, all forms of sexual activity outside of a married man and woman relationship); that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.”
Do you see it? You control lust by knowing God. If you knew how pleasurable and satisfying and valuable it is to know the Lord, you would turn away from a lesser pleasure, like lust. It’s a matter of what you know and what you believe. Do you believe that if you turned away from clicking on the porn, that the life of your friend would be worth it? Yes or No? Likewise – Do you believe that if you turned away from clicking on the porn, that the knowing of who God is for you in that moment would be worth it? Yes or No? Which means, the more you grow in your knowledge of who God is for you in Jesus Christ, the power of your addictions become impotent compared with the exquisite pleasure of knowing Christ. The way to kill sin is to know a superior pleasure – The Crucified and Risen Lord!