(Introduction: Mark Dever, Senior Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church)
Jesus ain’t talkin’ ’bout Twitter, when he says, “follow me.”
But i was once a fair weather fan pretending to, so please follow this testimony.
I used to say, “I love God!” But was unrepentantly living for myself,
Yes, I was the lukewarm, the one who professed Christianity,
But was living on the fast track to hell; my story — yes — I am here to tell
because for as long as I can remember:
I sang church songs with no passion as I went through Christian actions,
Which meant church on Sundays and prayer only when something bad happens,
And as long as my good deeds report card said D+ I was content with passing,
And it showed in my actions:
I had no qualms lifting my hands and loving songs that worshiped money, sex, and getting low, getting high, selling rocks and snorting blow. I got drunker and drunk and, “oops — I forgot what happened.” And though the last drink made me happy, the happiness wasn’t lasting.
But I was too prideful to lift my hands and my voice for the one who spread his hands and cried out for me, when he was nailed to my roman tree.
But my life didn’t change as I heard this — I felt like it was the same, old story.
So I just followed rules, which became tools I twisted to build my own personal, convenient Jesus,
I used the Bible like a buffet — picking and choosing its pieces:
“Mmm — OK, this part doesn’t work for me, but this one does.”
So I wouldn’t have sex, but I did anything but,
I treated sin as a phase of life we by ourselves could grow out of,
I said, “it’s not that bad, man, I’m just having a little fun, and I got to get it out of my system just like everyone.”
But Ephesians 2:1 shows the problem was never just a fifth in my hand or a girl in my bed;
Check the reference and you’ll see that the problem of humanity is that we are dead.
Yes, I was dead in my sin.
Like Eve falling in the garden, I traded God’s loving affection for Satan’s deception,
Right in my own eyes, I denied that God is the faithful husband and his Church, his people comprise the whoring bride.
Yes, we are living proof that sin has broken people and has saturated human nature,
Putting a painful divorce between creation and its glorious maker.
God is life! Our sin separates us from him. And for this God clearly says that death is the fair punishment.
But like Adam hiding in his leaves, I knew this in my heart but I was ashamed,
Caught in a legalistic mess, hoping if I gave my very best I myself would be saved,
But it was clear I couldn’t save myself. It was clear something had to change.
In steps husband. God relentlessly showed me that he still wanted me even though I was worthless.
Harder than a cracked fire hydrant, he poured out grace when I clearly didn’t deserve it.
But God in his justice is perfect — so the penalty for my sin had to be paid.
But instead of killing me, the husband came to earth as Jesus; the bride he came to save.
He lived perfectly so on him the sins of all mankind could be laid,
And out of love, not fear, Jesus cried, “Abba, Daddy!” And to the point of that cross he obeyed.
And there is powerful certification proving our debt was paid:
Three days later the resurrection, resurrected; the husband came up out of the grave.
And now because I have freely been given faith in this grace, the Father sees that Jesus paid it all for me.
And nothing can change this — not my mistakes tomorrow, not my sins today, not my filthy history.
Yes, I used to say, “I love God!” but was unrepentantly living for myself,
I was that Lukewarm whore living on the fast track to hell.
I know it sounds harsh, so I guess this is why we say truth hurts,
But before we get grace we got to get humility first,
If you missed the story let me go ahead and make it clear to your ears ’cause I’m praying that you hear —
Bad news: We can’t save ourselves, but there’s good news the Holy Spirit opens eyes to see,
And though the cost is heavy, it’ll change your whole life as you repent and truly believe,
That God offers amazing grace, saving wretches like me — for the praise of his name and for the sake of his glory.
Performed in the Spring of 2013 at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Photograph by Leah Makin via Flickr Creative Commons.