The True Church Conference for years has been a source of great preaching and godly encouragement. Each year the men on the preaching schedule have not failed to put before conference attendees true spiritual meat.
This year was not an exception, but in the midst of powerfully gifted men and great preaching one seemed to stand out. This seems to have been the case in years past as well. Last year two sermons by Paul Washer rattled around in my heart and mind for weeks after the conference. This year it has been Dr. Voddie Baucham.
Voddie was supposed to preach at this conference three years ago, but a scheduling conflict kept him away. But when he arrived this year at the True Church Conference at Grace Life Church of the Shoals, he had a message for the Lord.
His topic was brokenness and here is what I gleaned from his sermon.
Brokenness is the off ramp on the road of repentance. It is the place we come to recognize that we are sorely and miserably insufficient and it is the only appropriate response to our sin.
But, our culture tragically believes that all discomfort is problematic and that there is truly no room for it in our lives. So we avoid brokenness, especially in the church.
Voddie would go on to point out the contemporary answer to the problem of sin, is not to see ourselves in light of the Biblical Gospel and call for brokenness, but to deny the truths of scripture and to re-create God in our own image.
He would go on to point out the ministry of Rob Bell as woefully inadequate to produce in us Biblical brokenness. Bell’s message, he would say, is to teach us that God is not mad at our sin. In fact, brokenness over sin is an Old Covenant distinctive and it has no place in the life of a believer in Christ.
Dr. Baucham would go on to speak about the rise in popularity of The Shack and the Godless ideas that it is promoting. He then summed up his introduction to say that these things negate an appropriate Biblical response to sin.
Our preacher then led us to Psalm 51, which is the expression of King David’s brokenness and repentance in light of his murder and adultery. The title of the sermon was announced, Brokenness is an Appropriate Response to Sin.
1. Brokenness is an appropriate response to sin because sin stains and mars our souls (Psalm 51:1-2)
David seems to be repeating himself as he says the same things about his sin. He used the terms blot out which is that same Hebrew word used to describe what God did during the flood to judge the world according to sin, to clear away the guilty and start again. This is what David was asking God to do, “Clear the slate, wash me clean for I am stained and I want to start fresh and new.”
David asks again to be washed by God thoroughly. This carries the image of clothes on a washboard, scrubbed over and over. this is what needs to occur in our hearts because of the stains of sin.
Then finally David asks to be cleansed which is a term for ceremonial cleansing so that he could be made ready for ceremonial use. David knew the severity of the stains of his sin in his life before a Holy God. We are like David and we bear “scar tissue” on account of our sin.
2. Brokenness is an appropriate response to sin because sin creates memories within us that stay with us (Psalm 51:3)
We don’t have spiritual amnesia, we know our sins and they burn vivid images in our minds. David says, “I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.”
God didn’t make us to forget things easily, and the memory of sin from the past should…
- Allow us to testify to the goodness of God in the present.
- Warn us against doing the same sin again in the future.
- Cause us to rejoice in our victories as we recognize growth
At this point Voddie began to paint the picture of his childhood as he grew up surrounded by gangs in Southern California. He spoke of going back to the streets where he grew up and seeing the familiar signs of his youth. He went back a few years ago to bury his father who had passed away, and in the midst of this he was reminded of the horrible sins that plagued his life before Christ.
Later that day he found himself weeping the corner, and thanking God for His glorious grace that had saved him from the depravity of his soul and set his feet upon the solid rock of Jesus. And through tears he proclaimed to us that brokenness came home to him in this visit to his past, and he stood before us this night to declare through tears, ” I am not who I ought to be, but praise God I an not who I was.”
3. Brokenness is an appropriate response to sin because our sin is an affront to a Holy God (Psalm 51:4-6)
David confessed the heart of the matter. He did not say that he had sinned against Urriah, or Bathsheba; but “against you and you only I have sinned.”
At this point, Dr. Baucham warned his hearers about the sissified and needy Jesus that is being preached today. He referred back to Rob Bell and The Shack as examples of the diminishing of the character of Christ that is occurring today in the name of preaching.
He warned us of this meek mild Jesus that is presented as a gentleman who never asserts his authority. He warned about the preaching that presents Jesus as a needy beggar who is longing to have what only man can give Him. He told us, “You can have that sissified, needy Jesus; I’ll take the Jesus of the Revelation.”
He turned to Revelation 19:11 and he began to read…
Revelation 19:11-16 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
He went on to say, in response to those who preach that God is not mad at your sin…
It amazes me that God would pour out His wrath on His own Son, and then let you slide. When we sin, we sin against the maker of Heaven and Earth…and brokenness is very appropriate.
4. Brokenness is an appropriate response to sin because sin is a hindrance to the true worship of God (Psalm 51:7-9)
In the church today we look upon men as consumers to be satisfied and we pattern our worship in order to please consumers. Why? Because apart from Brokenness we are incapable of true worship.
Isaiah 1:10-18 ear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. 12 “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? 13 Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations- I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. 18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
Dr. Voddie went on to say that, without brokenness over sin, all we have is appeasement for the tyrannical old man (Sin Nature). Only brokenness makes us ready to magnify the name of the Lord.
It’s when we come to the end of ourselves that we see the value of God and the goodness and worth of worship offered to Him. It is at the end of our brokenness that we see His matchless worth.
Dr. Voddie had this to say as he again warned us all of the dangers of today’s preaching…
You don’t see matchless worth in the sissified, needy Jesus that is being preached today. I don’t know about you…but I’ll take the Jesus on the white horse.”