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Rerun: Lost Lessons and Preserved Passions

This is worth re-posting. What is the thing those under your influence are most likely to remember, even when they’ve forgotten everything else you’ve said? (Originally posted on 8/15/07.)

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D A CarsonD.A. Carson’s Gospel Coalition message entitled “What is the Gospel?” is very good. Give it a listen.

What’s interesting is that the lesson that especially stuck with me precedes the meat of the message and has relatively little to do with its main topic. Listen to Dr. Carson, who knows a thing or two about teaching:

“[O]ur hearers inevitably are drawn to that about which we are most passionate. Every teacher knows that. My students are unlikely to learn all that I teach them. I’ve resigned myself to that for a long time. They’re most likely to learn what I’m excited about.”

With that in mind, I ask you, what are you passionate about, Pastor? Teacher? Parent? Is it what you want your students to remember above all else? Is it central to the Scriptures or peripheral? Is it worthy of the passion you’re giving it? Is it worthy to be the spiritual inheritance you pass on to the next generation and share with this one?

Carson continues, telling us exactly what he believes our passion should be:

“If the gospel is merely assumed while relatively peripheral issues ignite our passion, we will train a new generation to downplay the gospel and focus in on the peripheral. It is easy to sound prophetic from the margins. What is urgently needed is to be prophetic from the center. What is to be feared, in the famous words of T. S. Eliot, is that ‘the center does not hold.’ Moreover, if, in fact, we do focus on the gospel, and understand it aright, we shall soon see how this gospel rightly understood directs how to think about and what to do about a vast array of other kinds of issues.”

Give this matter some serious thought. What is the big idea which makes you tick, the one that will outlive you? Is it really that important? To cut to the chase, if it’s not the Person and Work of Christ, what is it?

We’d better choose wisely.

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3 Responses

  1. Chris,

    Good post! I see the Gospel centered focus in your hymns, and I rejoice. For many years, I was exposed to a style of Christianity that assumed the Gospel, but was more passionate about other things. Slowly, God brought me to understand the Gospel is the center of the Christian faith, indeed the very center of my life.

    I’m thankful that the Gospel is no longer “tacked on” at the end of other issues, nor reduced to a passionate plea to come to Christ, without first explaining clearly our need for Christ, and what Christ has done for sinners as a substutionary law keeper and judgment bearer. There is really NOTHING as exciting as the Gospel!

  2. Amen, Greg. Thank you for the encouragement. Eager to meet you face to face…hopefully soon!

  3. Love D. A. Carson. Great post. Thanks.

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