Iron on Iron | Saturday | Brody Holloway
How do we stay faithful to the Lord and keep from drifting away? In today’s culture, there’s a massive push away from the Gospel. Progressive Christianity rejects the doctrines that the early Christians died to preserve. Hebrews 1 reminds us of the Savior we serve and the authority He holds over this world.
Jesus is the creator, high priest, and final prophet. He is the exact representation of God’s glory. He isn’t just a reflection of the Lord, but the very image of God.
Hebrews 2 warns believers against forgetting who Jesus is. We must pay close attention to the Gospel. The Word of God will shape who we are and how we see God. There are no passive pictures of what pursuing personal holiness looks like. Never start the drift, remember why you’re laboring.
- Hebrews 2
- Hebrews 3:12
- Hebrews 5:11
- Hebrews 10:25
- James 5:19-20
Well, good morning everybody got to see you all. I wanna welcome you. I wasn’t here last night, I know you’ve been hopefully, properly welcomed, but it’s good to see you. My name is Brody, I’m one of the founders and the lead pastor here at SWO. I wanna give you a couple of disclaimers this morning before we dive in. The first one is, that several of us here are Baptist, and so I couldn’t help last night thinking about how funny it was when I heard Jamie’s stuff from last night this morning, Baptist people, for those of you that are Methodist, Presbyterian, non-denom, we Baptist, we’re kinda like cross-fitters or UGA fans we can’t help telling you that that’s who we are, like Clemson fans, Dallas Cowboys fans, you gotta wear the shirt or say something, gotta let you know, so just excuse us. After this session, one of my closest friends and partners in ministry, Steve Brooks, is gonna be sharing in the next session, and Steve is the student pastor at Hillside Methodist Church in Woodstock, Georgia.
And as far as I know, the longest-tenured student pastor that I’ve ever… That I’ve ever known. Steve, how long have you been there? 24 years, one post as a student pastor, so I’m excited for you all to hear from him just so that you don’t… So you get… For some of you, some fresh air in your lungs as far as the perception or the perspective on student ministry, that some of us are gonna do this for life. I don’t wanna do something else when I grow up, you know what I’m saying? And so I’m excited for you to hear from from Steve. Also, I couldn’t help but think about the contrast between Jamie’s credentials last night, and most of our credentials. He was using that word PhD. Is that a word? Is that an acrostic? Multiple PhDs. I have titles. Some people call me the space cowboy, some people call me the gangster of love. And I’m sure some of you have titles too, but what I appreciate so much about Jamie… First off, that dude would come here with what’s happening down there right now, he flew here yesterday, was in town for two and half hours, drove back to Atlanta, flew home because of the hurricane.
Jamie is a kind of guy that if I had to go talk to really intellectual academics, I would wanna just kind of stand behind him and be like, this is my guy, you know, but you could also go get a cheeseburger with him and talk about a ball game, and I just appreciate that. I think that that’s what we need, is that connectivity between an appreciation for and in a pursuit of theological excellence, academic faithfulness, but also the real dirty work of shepherding. I was talking to a pastor this week, he called me, he texted me… A new pastor, he’s been in student ministry for 15 years. He’s a student minister for like a decade, and he’s [0:03:25.1] ____ pastor, and he just became lead pastor at a church. It’s a big rural church, so as a country church, it’s a large country church, which some of you guys are from, that type of church, and it’s like when you get in a church like that in the rural South or Midwest, you guys know you end up with a lot of families. A lot of times, we’ll call those family churches, you got just like two, three generations of several families, and they tend to…
A lot of times, they’ve got a lot of pull, a lot of influence, and this guy he’s not a local dude, and he’s like, “Man, I’m struggling,” and he’s talking about… He’s talking about this situation where there’s like a grand dad, a dad and a daughter who’s an adult, and there’s been some past abuse that they’re trying to navigate and everybody’s in the church, and it’s a messy, messy, messy situation. Some of us have been in the situations where someone… You’re trying to navigate some abuse that has happened, how do we counsel, how do we… Is there legal repercussion? What do we do with this? So this guy’s just stressing out. He’s been at the church like six weeks, and then now he’s dealing with this, and I said, you know, you’ve seen those pictures, the shepherd motif is all throughout scripture, the shepherd motif is beautiful, but a lot of times the shepherd motif when you look at how it’s portrayed in paintings or artwork, you’ve got like a shepherd who typically is very, very cleanly dressed, and he’s got a staff, and then there’s usually like a little green patch of clover, and there’s like a brook that’s running by and the sheep are very cooperative.
They seem to be content and happy. They like the shepherd, they love him, he’s taking care… They trust him. They’re just chilling in the clover. Life is good. I said, buddy, let me tell you something, right now, you’re up to your rear end in sheep poop and you’re trying to vaccinate parasites, and that’s what shepherding really looks like, amen? Like most days, that’s what it looks like. And so I wanna talk to you this morning about how do we… How do we stay faithful and keep from drifting. How do we keep from drifting, how do we… Because I’ll be honest with you, and now going on three decades of student ministry, I’ve seen a whole lot of people walk away from the faith and not come back, walk away not only from ministry, but from the Gospel and not come back. So I wanna talk to you this morning for just a few minutes from Hebrews Chapter 2 about the drift. So let’s go to Hebrews Chapter 2. Now, I did a variation of this talk with our staff this summer, and it was so well-received and it was… I think it had a lot of impact.
So I’ve re-worked the talk that I did with our 140-ish summer staff and full-time folks this summer, and I think it’s gonna be helpful for where we are ministering in the midst of a major progressive push against traditional or orthodox Christianity. What we’re seeing right now in the church is a massive push away from the Gospel, away from the centrality of Jesus in all things that we’re called to do, and there’s this push towards a new progressive form of Christianity, which is not really Christianity. You can’t hang a word like progressive onto the front of Christianity in a social construct, and that actually be what true Christianity, what the Gospel is.
And I was doing some research in preparing this on shifts in currents in the ocean, you remember that scene in Cast Away with Tom Hanks where he’s befriended Wilson, the volleyball. You remember this, that’s his best buddy, and there’s a point where he falls off the raft and Wilson drifts one way and he can’t get to him, and Wilson leaves forever. You’re like right there in the ocean and then one minute they’re there, the next minute they’re gone. So I did a little research on what do ocean currents look like, and I found a really interesting story, two stories, but one that’s really funny, and it was called… The title of this was called The rubber duck spill, and it was a cargo ship coming out of China with a container of 28,000 rubber ducks that they lost overboard, so this container falls overboard, 28,000 rubber ducks. A researcher decided to track the ducks, and they literally found the ducks in The Bering Strait along Russia and Alaska, and they found ducks in the South Pacific, and so somehow in one place in one ocean, the currents pushed those things literally all over the planet.
Another story that I read was where in 2019, an explorer named Victor Vescovo went 35,000 feet into the bottom of the Challenger Deep, which is the southern end of the Pacific ocean’s Mariana trench. He had multiple trips seven mile deep to the ocean floor, seven miles deep to the ocean floor and on one of those trips spent four hours at the deepest point. Four hours at the deepest point on planet Earth. He discovered four new species that he believes could offer clues about the origins of life on Earth. We kind of already know about the origins of life on Earth but okay, we’ll work with him. But he also observed a plastic bag and candy wrappers at the deepest point on planet Earth, the drift has taken Skittles to the Mariana trench. And so, I wanna talk then about this fact that over the past few years, a scary and sobering thing has happened that I’ve never seen in my life. I believe that this has happened in history. Oftentimes, we even read about it in the New Testament, but never before in my life in ministry have I seen it at this rate, and it is a shift and a push not towards humanism, not towards true secularism, not towards the new atheism or agnosticism.
It’s a push towards what’s being labeled as a new brand of Christianity, a progressive brand of Christianity, the problem is, this brand of Christianity rejects the pillar foundational doctrines that the early founders died to preserve. Hebrews 2:1 says this, Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, so he says “Therefore,” because he’s looking back at… The author of Hebrews is looking back at Hebrews Chapter 1, the writer of Hebrews will often do this. And we as teachers should learn from it, he turns from the exposition and theological discourse of Chapter 1 to exhortation in Chapter 2, so he says, based on this theological truth, based on this expository exposition of the person and work of who Jesus is, therefore let me exhort you to something great. Let me warn you of something that we need to be warned against, he’s saying that based on the rich theology that we unpack in Hebrews Chapter 1, there is an appropriate reaction, this is kind of like when a professor… I don’t know if you had…
You sat in a class where the professor was kind of dry, he wasn’t a really good communicator and you’re sitting there and you start to drift off, or maybe you’re a teacher and you’ve had this happen, a school teacher and your students are not connected, and then the professor will say, now, this material we’re getting ready to cover is going to be included on the exam, and all of a sudden everybody’s like, perks up, start writing, start typing, they get zeroed in. It’s like, that’s the word that the professor or the teacher will give to bring some fresh focus back to the lecture, the author of our text is introducing us to one of the warning passages of the Book of Hebrews, it’s like he’s saying, listen up, this is serious, this is a warning and he’s gonna give five of these warnings, and based on what he’s told us about Jesus in Chapter 1, he enters into the warning.
7 Things That Are Theologically Critical For How We See Jesus
So let’s consider real quick what he’s just talked about in Chapter 1, based on the truth outlined in Chapter 1, he’s told us about seven things that theologically are critical for how we see Jesus, if we get these seven things right, we won’t begin the drift, which often the first phase of the drift is to lose focus on the true person and work of who Jesus is. Jesus becomes the ultimate social justice warrior, or Jesus becomes the ultimate peacekeeper, peace-giver, or the other extreme that might push us more in towards like legalism would be Jesus becomes the righteous judge, but the righteous judge only if we’re not careful we’ll see only the deity of Jesus or only the humanity of Jesus and we’ll drift into one direction or the other, but particularly the warning here is a drift towards a progressive or rejection of the Gospel.
First, he tells us in Hebrews 1 that Jesus is the Final Prophet through whom God has spoken. You see that in Hebrews 1:2, and these last days, He has spoken to us by His son, whom he appointed the heir of all things. So He’s the heir of all things. Then he says that Jesus is the Creator through whom God has spoken in Chapter 1, Verse 2, Through whom he also created the world. In Verse 3, he says, He’s the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature. So Jesus is the exact representation of God’s glory. When we think of the reflection of God’s glory in our lives, it’s not the same as what it is in Jesus’ life, so you and I have an opportunity to think about this in a visual way. If you think of… Okay, this is what Jesus’ reflection of, or representation rather, of the glory of God is not like, it’s not like the sun, the earth, the moon and when we see the moon and it’s lit up, it’s not really that the light is coming from the moon, right? Where is the light coming from? It’s coming from the sun, okay, so the moon is reflecting to us the light of the sun. That is not…
So Jesus is not a reflection or a deflection of the glory of God. It’s not like the glory of God is here, and then Jesus comes here and that glory kind of shines on Jesus, and then to us. The Bible says in Colossians 1 that He is the image of the invisible God. So Jesus is not a reflection of God’s glory, He is the intensity of God’s glory revealed in human form. Think of it as the sun being the glory of God and the intense energetic radiating heat and energy and rays that come from the sun, that’s what Jesus is. He is from the Father, and He comes to us to bring the glory of God in that way, he’s not a reflection that we’re looking at, but he is the representation or the radiance of God, the exact imprint of who He is. He goes on and he says… In Chapter 1 that Jesus is the upholder of all things, He upholds all things by the word of His power. Jesus is the priest, number six, who has provided purification for all things. How did he do this? He did it at the cross.
The cross provided me with the only way to be saved, therefore, it’s the only message of salvation to a dying world. The cross shows me my need for a savior because it reveals my sin, the cross provided the answer to all of God’s promises, we surrender to the power of the cross, and we proclaim the victory of the cross because of the cross, Jesus is seated in victory at the right hand of the Father. It’s why Paul would write to the Colossians, Him, we proclaim. Jesus, it’s all about Jesus. And last, the seventh thing that Hebrews 1 teaches us is that Jesus is the King of kings who has sat down at the place of honor at the right hand of the Father. And all of that in the first four verses of Hebrews Chapter 1 and then the rest of that Chapter, he reflects on the repercussions of who this Jesus is, so now with that reality, so therefore, in Verse 1 of Chapter 2, therefore based on this picture of Jesus, he says, we need to be warned. This first thing in Chapter 2 Verse 1, this first line is the big idea for the message, we must pay closer attention to what we’ve heard. For some of us, theological training in a formal capacity was a decade or two ago.
And so we need to be reminded to pay closer attention now. For some of us, we’ve not even entered into that, and we’ve got some awesome folks in the back back there that I hope you get to go talk to exhibiting for opportunities to pursue higher academic theological learning and training. But here’s the thing, we have to pay closer attention to Jesus every single day. It’s easy to read and learn about the Bible in an informative way. It’s easy to have emotional appeal during corporate worship and think about these two things that we often separate, if I’m faithful to open the Scripture and read the word of God this morning, I read the last Chapter of Second Timothy, and it’s… When you read those final words of Paul or the final words of Peter, it’s so heavy when Paul says to Timothy, I’m… This is it. The end is near. I’m getting ready to leave this world. Listen to what I’m saying, and he goes through a list of people and he says, there’s a guy named Demas who used to be faithful, he’s forsaken me for this present world. Every one of us in this room, if you’ve been in student ministry or ministry of any capacity for any period of time, you have seen the devastating effects of a drift that we’re witnessing y’all before our eyes like we’ve never before seen in history.
People are drifting away, they’re walking away, people that have come up under your student ministry, under our student ministry who have served… Listen, four years. Four years removed, 2017 Snowbird summer staff, I’m looking at the picture that we’ve got on the wall in the student pastor lounge, and in the middle of that picture, in the circle that I can make my fingers go around like this, are six people who served in leadership in this ministry, three of whom are now in same-sex lifestyles, the other three of whom have walked completely away from the Gospel and have abandoned the Gospel and professed that they never were Christians to begin with. Four years ago, they were ministering to your students. I heard this week about a couple who I stood before God and man, and they entered into a covenant with the Lord, and they’ve called it quits. Those types of things, if you’re not careful, make you feel like a failure in ministry. What did I do wrong? Why did those six people walk away in 2017… Or since 2017. And we could trace it back. Last night, I went to my son’s football game down near Atlanta, over towards Gainesville, we’re driving back, we made the mistake of coming over Suches mountain by Vogel State Park, if you’ve ever been that way, you’ve never been back that way.
It’s like a one and done kind of trip. And so I’m in a 15-passenger transit Snowbird van with 11 people in the car, and it’s like, “Okay, I hope nobody barfs at midnight coming over this thing.” And we go through a little community called Suches, Georgia. Suches, Georgia is literally, you blink, you miss it, K-12 public school with about 40 people in it. We had a girl from that school that served faithfully on this staff, and I remember after about five years, she left service at Snowbird and started to work a secular job in the community and stayed connected for a while, then she started to drift away from the fellowship of this community. And I remember going to her because I had heard she was entering into a same-sex relationship, and I remember taking a James 5 approach and pleading with her to come back from her sin and warning her, and she basically said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and she walked away.
How does this happen? Why are we seeing this happen? Well, it’s because it’s easy to read and learn about the Bible in an informative way to get excited about theology, to get excited about devotional habits, and it’s easy to get excited about corporate worship and with the Spirit’s moving to get caught up and swept up and even raise my hands, but the reality is, I have to pay closer attention to these seven things about who Jesus is, or else I’ll lose my way. ‘Cause if it’s not about Jesus and it’s not about these seven realities that He is the King of Kings, that He is seated at the right hand of God, that God did in Philippians 2, therefore, God has highly exalted Him, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, that He’s Lord.
If I don’t remember that he’s the one that upholds and sustains my ministry, if I don’t remember that he is the author of my faith and the perfector of my faith, if I don’t fix my eyes on Jesus, the danger of me drifting is great, but so is the danger that the students that I’m leading will graduate and walk straight into the halls of academia and look back at what they perceive under the influence of secular professors as an antiquated ancient religion that has no current progressive application. We gotta keep our eyes on Jesus. It’s critical that we grow in our knowledge of the Scripture, but that we also submit to what we learn and strive to understand, the word of God will shape who I am and how I see God. But as we enter into the warning, we are being challenged to consider and examine deeply the person and work of Jesus. We’re to be reminded of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. We’re to look to the cross, the tomb, the throne, the kingdom, the work of Jesus is finished and complete, and he’s provided salvation. We have to keep our eyes fixed on him. And then he goes into the warning.
Here’s what’s gonna happen, second part of Verse 1, lest we drift away from it. I like to tell our staff here that no one ever drifts toward holiness. No one ever drifts towards holiness. The Scripture will use graphic terminology. The terminology is a man putting his hand on the plow. The terminology is a man entering into the arena of combat sports. The terminology is a man entering into combat with a sword in his hand. There are no passive general pictures of what the pursuit of holiness looks like. Paul writes to Timothy, preached on this at this conference about three years ago and he says, “But you O man of God, flee these things. Take hold of righteousness, godliness, holiness, fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of these things that are gonna sustain you, these things that Christ has given us, because you don’t drift toward holiness. The drift is always away from intimacy with Christ. It’s a fight to stay focused. It’s a fight to stay faithful. It’s a fight to stay free from the demands and the pull of society and culture.” So let’s consider the causes, patterns and effect of drifting. In our last few minutes, I wanna give you five things. First, there’s the drift itself.
How does that start? It starts when we don’t heed the warning of Verse 1. We stop paying close attention to the word of God, we stop paying close attention to our personal pursuit of holiness, we stop paying close attention to the person and work of Jesus, and we become careless. There’s a constant pressure, a current, left unaddressed, I will drift. Constant current. You ever… We were at the beach a couple of weeks ago, and we went out on the coast for three, four days, and I’m out playing one morning, stupid… I’m not a beach guy. I’m a mountain, dude, and I wanna be a mountain dude for life, and have been, I’m gonna always be a mountain dude. So about once every three years, alright, let’s go, let’s go fight the sand and the rash thing right here, you know what I’m talking about, and the salt and the chapping of the face. And so I go out like at 7:30, 8 o’clock in the morning, me and my eight-year-old, who’s the youngest of my five kids, we go out, we’ll go play, nobody’s on the beach yet, we start playing. You start up here, and all of sudden you look up and you’re like six condo complexes down. How did that happen? He’s like, “How’d this happen? The waves are going this way.” I was like, “I don’t know, bro. I’m not a marine. I don’t know. I just know somehow we were there and now we’re here. Let’s walk back up there.” Right?
What happens is you’re not paying attention, but the drift is this constant, what feels like gentle pressure, but a constant application of pressure will always push you when you’re in a non-gravitational state. So if my feet are removed from a foundational position and gravity is no longer having its full effect, then I’m able to drift. I’m able to drift. The gravity of orthodoxy and theological faithfulness along with a pursuit of holiness and intimacy and worship is what will keep me from the drift. Left unaddressed, I will drift. Number two, when we drift, that always leads to doubt. It always leads to doubt. So here’s a warning sign, if in your life and ministry personally or when you’re ministering to a student, but this morning, I really wanna examine personally, when you begin to doubt things that you have always held fast to and been willing to fight for, you’re in the drift. Hebrews 3:12 says this: Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.”
We begin to compromise and avoid the Word of God. We compromise with our time, we compromise with our affections, we fix our eyes on the things of this world, and it could be ministry idolatry or ministry busyness, but doubt always accompanies right on the heels of the drift. The third thing that happens is we dull. We dull. We drift, we doubt, we dull. Hebrews 5:11 says this: “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” We become callous. We abandon the Word of God in our dullness. And what happens as a result is the fourth thing, which is we drop out. We drop out. We drift, we doubt, we dull, we drop out. We cut off fellowship and relationship with people we know who will hold us accountable to the word. The effect of this is very broad and all encompassing. See this happen where you’ll have that student that begins to not come around, avoid your text, they won’t enter into a conversation with you, you’re a burden for them, but they’re not interested. There’s a kid that used to be dialed in, they used to be focused, they maybe were even a leader in your student ministry, they were a staff member at Snowbird, they were an intern in our Leadership Institute, and all of a sudden they’re avoiding your calls and texts, they’re dropping out. Hebrews 10:25 says, “We’re not to neglect to meet together as the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
That’s why there’s such a need for the emphasis placed on the corporate gathering. We don’t come together because that’s where we meet Jesus on Sunday morning or Wednesday night, we come together because that’s where we receive corporate fellowship, community exhortation. We sharpen one another, we love one another, we together with one another, worship the Lord, and there’s strength in that. The effect of doubting and dullness is that we drop out and ultimately, and sadly, we’ve all experienced this in student ministry, the fifth thing, and the final thing is this leads to defiance. We see students become angry at the word, angry at those who represent it. You become no longer a friend, a pastor, a shepherd, a co-laborer. You become the enemy and they become defiant. I’ve seen this happen so often. But what I wanna challenge us with this morning is, these are not only applicable to students, but they’re applicable to us. Because I know many, many, many student pastors, former student pastors who’ve gone through this process, and so we gotta be warned. Conclusion will give an application, how do we respond?
Six Ways To Not Drift
I’ll give you six things in the last seven minutes here. Number one, never start the drift. Never start the drift. Pay close attention to Jesus. Never start the drift. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Those six, seven things in Chapter 1, focus on those things. You focus on those things, you won’t get… You won’t let your frustration with your senior pastor dictate your joy, your focus, your purpose, your drive in ministry. You won’t get discouraged… You’ll get discouraged, but you won’t get discouraged in a way that it robs you of your joy when you’re dealing with parents that won’t get onboard. ‘Cause let’s be honest, a lot of times, our biggest hurdles in student ministry is parents, parents who are professing Christians.
I almost feel like I can work with a kid better whose parents are meth-ed out or pursuing the American dream, or agnostic or atheistic, but it’s the pseudo-religious cultural Christianity that says… I get a call often from someone who will say, “My daughter came to your camp and now she wants to be a missionary, and we… She had a scholarship, a full ride to Vanderbilt. She was gonna do pre-med and go into the medical field.” And you try to talk through, “Well, she should still go to Vanderbilt, because medical missions is a huge platform for the Gospel.” And you try to help navigate, then you realize, oh, it’s not about that she’s not gonna become a doctor. It’s about that she’s not gonna become an American doctor, pursuing the American dream, that really becomes the vicarious component of your self-worth as a dad. It’s not really about her being a doctor, is it, man? It’s about you being able to say, “My daughter works at Emory or the Mayo Clinic, or the ER.” Something not sexy about saying, “My daughter works with refugee women who have suffered the brutal, horrific embarrassment of female circumcision in sub-Sahara or South Sudan, and she labors there as a medical missionary, scraping to get by, fighting parasites and terrorists.”
What’s the biggest hurdle when it comes to that? Parents. Parents. And you know what the danger for us with that is? Discouragement. Listen to me, listen to me, brothers and sisters, you may be frustrated, you are not allowed to be discouraged. You may be frustrated, you are not allowed to be discouraged. Because when we fix our eyes on Jesus, everything comes into focus, and we remember what we’re doing this for, we remember why we have responded to this call, because we are laboring for a prize that will not tarnish or perish, that is never gonna fade away. We are working towards a kingdom that Christ has called us to help build, and there’s no place for discouragement. You’ll be frustrated, you can be frustrated, but you can fight frustration. Discouragement will zap the joy out of you. It’ll cause you to question your calling. It’ll cause you to question why you’re doing what you’re doing, in a negative way. So pay close attention to Jesus, never start the drift.
Maintain an intentional and aggressive submission to the Scripture, the have-you of the word of God, the sufficiency of Scripture, the authority of scripture, the inerrancy of Scripture, we have to hold the have-you of the Word of God. If our ministries are built on anything that have to be built on the person and work of Jesus, but foundational to that is the authority and sufficiency of the Word of God. Maintain an aggressive and intentional submission to the Scripture. Number three, gospel ministry and work must inform and drive social and societal work. Let me read that again. Gospel ministry and gospel work must inform and drive social and societal work. Are we to be socially active? Yes. Are we to engage society? Yes. Are we to in our student ministries tackle hot cultural topics? Yes.
But those topics and the way we tackle them have to be informed by the Gospel and the authority of Scripture. If we get this confused, we will be driven by humanistic causes and compelled by secular convictions. Number four, keep yourself surrounded by godly people. In general, be involved in the local church, and in particular, submit to strong, intimate, godly relationships with people of the same sex, even if you can only find one or two people, and even if they’re not in your demographic, surround yourself with godly people. Godly people. Number five, authority and submission are God’s strategy for each of us. Who and what are you submitting to? What authority in your life do you submit to? If nothing else, the Scripture is clear, when Paul writes to Colossians and he says, “Submit to one another.” What and who are we submitting to? When pastoral leadership or when you’re a small group leader, it’s easy to get focused on the leading component and forget that we’re to submit to authority in our lives and submit to God’s strategy for us. And last, number six, James 5:19-20. Let me read that to you. It’s two verses. “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
Let’s never tire of intervening in the lives of others. Don’t be worried about, “But they’re gonna think I’m too pushy, they’re gonna think… I don’t wanna be pushy. I don’t wanna push them away.” They’re drifting, yo. They’re gone. The drift turns into whitewater rapids. You ain’t pushing anything. Your job is not to worry about not pushing. Your job, if you… You… When we stand before the Lord, he’s never gonna say “You know what, you were too pushy with that kid.” I just don’t think that’s gonna happen, man. But I think a lot of people are gonna stand before the Lord and he’s gonna go, “Why didn’t you go after her? Why didn’t you pursue him? When you saw him drift, why didn’t you warn him with hard, heavy Scriptural warnings?” “Turn back, your soul is at stake.” “But I got saved, I’m good.” “Turn back, your soul is at stake.” So we deliver the warning. We do it in love and conviction, and the warning is not coming from me, it’s not coming from you, it’s coming from Scripture. We gotta have ministries of intervention that last beyond the student sitting in our seats and our chairs on Wednesday night. About two years ago, when a young lady lived with us for about a year and a half, and she went with the I&B to the mission field as a journeyman, did two years in a hard place, man, I mean, hard soul, grinding out Gospel work.
She came home bitter, frustrated, resenting some things because of poor leadership on the field. She moved to Denver. She settled into a community out there, and pretty quick, was half involved in a progressive church, progressive Christianity that’s… It shouldn’t be new to you, if it is, we can talk about that. But it’s this… This drift began to pull her into this other vein of religious activity called progressive Christianity, so she starts to walk down that path, then we find out that she’s living with a woman who has left her husband because they are now roommates and best friends, but we’ve heard that there’s a romantic relationship. My wife drives to Atlanta that day, boards a flight that day, flies to Denver that day, Ubers that day, is waiting at the Starbucks when that girl gets off work and walks out. Now, you’re talking about a shock, and she says, “I’m here to intervene on behalf of your soul because I love you, and because 13 months in our house and three years under our ministry was not a one and done thing for life. I love you and I care about you. Turn back. Turn back.” And all through the night, they talked. In the next morning, little Ubered back to the airport, caught a flight back to Atlanta, in less than 20 hours, she drove from here to Atlanta, flew in and flew back to intervene and plead.
And you know what, sadly, that girl walked away, ’cause that’s the way the story ends a lot of times. It’d be awesome if I could say that she fell on her knees and cried out to God because of that intervention. Y’all, we are ministering the way Jesus ministered, and that is that the way is narrow, but intervention is absolutely our responsibility, so let’s be faithful.
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