Session 17: Kevin DeYoung
Note: Throughout the week, as we liveblog the general sessions, we will be using a time-stamp method. This will give readers an approximate sense of key statements that were made throughout the session, as well as allowing them to trace the flow of the argument. (Also, if readers want to listen to any key moments by downloading the audio, these time-stamps will make it easier to track down certain statements in the audio file.) However, what follows is not intended to be a full or exact transcript of what was said.
4:30: Dr. Clayton Erb began this session leading the men in a singing of Luther’s classic hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.
4:36: Kevin DeYoung: It is great pleasure to be with you. You all are being gorged . . . with information. I hope you have room for a little bit more. It is a pleasure to preach from behind this hallowed pulpit . . . this hallowed retractable pulpit. I will return to my congregation and tell them of its wonders.
4:38: If you were enter into our house, and visit a room we call our “Sun Room” (sort of a mythical room in Michigan—the sun room), you’d find a special brown couch that I put together with nothing but wordless instructions and an Allen wrench. Yes, it’s an Ikea couch.
Ikea clearly does not believe in any sort of verbal, plenary inspiration, for they do not use words. I foolishly began this project around 10:00 p.m. with nothing more than Scandinavian pencil drawings. Around about 1:00 in the morning, I was faced with the question of whether or not I would deviate from the instructions. After wrestling with this decision, I finally included that the manual was in error. I felt the color return to my face, and that I—as the man of the house—could put together this couch. While the instructions were largely true, and very helpful, they were not without error.
I wonder—is the Bible like that for you? Largely helpful, mostly true, but not completely without error.
4:43: Is it only reliable most of the time? Must we confirm that every word of every verse of every chapter without error?
Follow along as I read from Matthew 5:17-19 . . .
First, we will look at Christ and the Bible.
When he is referring to “the Law” or “the Prophets,” He is speaking about all of Scripture, and since He understands His Bible, His Scripture, His Word, we can rightly assume that the words He spoke rightly apply to both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
He says clearly, “I have not come to abolish.” This is the same term Jesus uses when speaking of destroying the Temple. The general sense of the word is to demolish or destroy. He is saying that He has not come to destroy or diminish in any way the Word of God. If you want a Messiah who plays fast and loose with the Scripture, you’ll have to find someone other than Jesus.
4:48: What about all the things in the Old Testament (Diet, Sacrificial System, etc) that we no longer do? How do we make sense of that?
We make sense of it with the word “fulfill.” Just to give you a sense for how this word is used:
- Matthew 1:22: refers to the fulfillment of predictive prophecy
- Matthew 2:15: refers to Jesus’ embodiment of the history of Israel
- Elsewhere it refers to obedience to Scripture
Fulfillment is about bringing Scripture to its climax, to its completion. Jesus fill out/up Scripture, accomplishes its intended meaning. He puts into color what previously was black and white. What was shadow now is substance.
4:54: Jesus takes it up a notch, “Truly I say to you . . .” That’s the Hebrew version of “Yo Yo Listen up!” That’s as hip as I get.
The yod is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Jesus says, “not even the smallest part of my Word will pass away.” Then the tittle. It’s the small hook on the edge of a letter—just the smallest stroke. Not even the smallest particle of a letter will pass away. None of it! Jesus said, “I did not come to set aside any of those little specs!”
Does the best stuff you preach on Sunday come from the smallest detail of the text? Or is the best stuff you do from the pulpit when you drift from the text? Is your best stuff when you’re going farthest from the text, or from your closest attention to the text? Is your best stuff coming from your careful attention to all the tiny yods and specs from the text?
Hopefully you’re driving your people to the text, and they’re looking for every jot and tittle.
5:02: The Christ who undermines the authority of the Scripture is a Christ of our own invention. If you’re worshipping a Christ who, in any way, undermines the Scripture, you’re worshipping a god of your own invention.
Second, The Christian and the Bible
It is not hip to mess around with Scripture. It is not cool. Jesus does not think you’re relevant. He thinks you’re least in the Kingdom of heaven. This is not Kingdom living.
5:07: Them He steps it up in Matthew 5:20. When Jesus says your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, He’s not saying you need to accomplish more deeds. He’s saying as my disciple, you must have more than a perfunctory righteousness. Legalism is a false religion, and we must fight against it, but what we often mean by legalism is someone who is more serious about holiness than me. The Law cannot save, but that does not mean that Jesus was against the law. He takes seriously all of His word, and we must take it seriously as well.
3 Points of Application:
We set aside nothing in the Bible because of Christ.
- Jesus did nothing to marginalize Leviticus, and we must not either. We must teach them as they were intended and understand them in context. We must never say, “That’s Leviticus and we don’t care about that. Every command, even those difficult to understand, has something we can learn from it.” Every thing in Scripture is for us, even if it is filled in Christ and has an application different to us.
We view everything in the Bible in light of Christ.
We ask ourselves: How does this point to Jesus? How does this prepare the way for Jesus? How does Jesus want me to live this out? How will Jesus help me live this out? Let us not think we are more clever than Jesus. The Spirit will never contradict the Bible. The word will never be contradicted by the Word made flesh. Both are enduring and unchanging, and both cannot be defeated or destroyed.
We defend the Bible so we can preach Christ.
- When you go back from here—after hearing all these great sermons—and preaching is still hard, you still struggle with the difficulty of preaching with authority . . . will you preach Christ? If you preach without authority, no one will mind, especially the Devil. But if you preach with authority, some will be enraged. Some of you will face suffering. Some will struggle in a small church, while other churches continue to grow. That does not mean you cannot preach with authority. Jesus preached as one with authority. So should you! We must proclaim Christ. We are not the Christ, but we can read the same book He read, the same book His Spirit inspired. The Bible does not call us to be academics (Scribes) or lawyers (Pharisees), but to be heralds—proclaiming Christ!
5:24: Don’t preach your stories, your studies, or your commentaries. Use all that, so you might more adequately preach Christ. Don’t preach of the gospel. Actually preach the gospel. Preach Christ, knowing that the one who came with all authority did not come to give away the authority of the smallest pen-stroke. When you return home, confident of the inerrancy of Scripture, proclaim with utmost authority the God of the inerrant Word. Preach this Word, lift up Christ, and leave the rest to God.
5:26: Let’s pray . . .