Late last week I bought one of my favorite pastor’s first book, The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler. He is the head elder and teaching pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, TX. Unlike another famous pastor in Texas (Joel Osteen) Matt teaches Biblical truth in a powerful and passionate way. I wanted to talk a little about what I have read so far. I am only a chapter in and I find the book very deep and causing me to think about God on another level. I think you should all go pick it up, Matt Chandler knows his stuff and the book has gotten great reviews.
The first chapter is titled “God” which is a pretty good title I believe. Matt goes into deep context through the Scriptures to define who God is. How big is he? How deep and wide is his power? What is he like? Through the chapter Matt keeps going back to what Paul says in Romans 11 “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and inscrutable his ways!” To which Matt goes into great discussion about this, How God know everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen in the entire history of the universe. How he the temperature of every star, the height of every mountain on every planet, and so on. He knows every micro and macro detail of all things, current, present, and future. Also how all these things and events have affected history and how they will do so in the future. What a crazy concept to wrap your mind around. Yes I believe God is all knowing, but to sit down and actually think he knows every atom and molecule ever in existence, and those not to exist yet. He knows their every movement, as well as every detail in my life and every other persons. It makes your head hurt just to think about that! This is all a part of “God’s Sovereign Knowing” and we have no room to question it, or judge how he operates in his divine mystery. “Trying to figure out God is like trying to catch a fish in the Pacific Ocean with an inch of dental floss. It is a foolish act predicated on a foolish overestimation of human intellect and ability. We don’t know everything about God, and never will thus we should be okay with that. If we could figure out God so easily, well I guess that wouldn’t really make him God.
Then we dive into the topic of “God’s Perfect Self-Sufficienct”. Romans 11:35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” Everything is God’s, we can’t pay our debt. Therefore God owes us nothing, but still gives us grace. Everything we make comes from something. Something someone else has already created or raw materials. God makes raw materials, and speaks things into existence. Everything on this earth is already his. At the same time, he does not need us! We often try to make deals with God, I have in my own life have done it often. “God if you do this, then I will do that. If you give me this, I will go do that.” How dumb are we? Acts 17:25 says “I’m not served by human hands as though I need anything.” He does not need us, and he owes us nothing. At the same time we have nothing to give him that he already does;t own. We have nothing to bargain, so stop trying to make deals with God. He can take your life as quickly as he gave it, commit to serving him for our ultimate purpose: God’s glory.
One quick thing, we are also quick to blame God. Question his ultimate sovereignty when things go according to his plan and no ours. Chandler has a great quote “We think to question God when bridges fall, but not to wonder at his grace that every bridge does not.” We focus too much on when bad things happen instead of all the good things he does! David Platt during Secret Church made a great point, saying what if all the bad things that happen to u are only .01% of what can happen. He is holding back 99.99% of what can happen to us, and using that .01% to teach us a lesson. Like he told Job, where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? How dare any of us question what God does, it’s ultimately blasphemous to God. So quit it! Bad things do not happen to good people, let’s get that clear. There has been one good person in the history of existence, and they crucified him.
“When we who call ourselves Christians realize how utterly self-sufficient God is all within himself- the three in one- the gift of Christ to us and for us becomes all the more astonishing” He owes us nothing.
The last subject is about “God’s Glorious Self-Regard.” I think this chapter is going to make some people made, but I pray they open their hearts to what Matt is saying. The key message. The Bible is not about us, it’s not a road map to life, it’s not to make us feel good, it is all about his glory! Yes the Bible teaches us many thing, it gives us laws to submit to and gives away to apply Christ to our lives. Ultimately it is for God’s glory. The earth isn’t spinning for our salvation, it’s for his glory. Everything that has and will exist is not for us, but us included and all that is for God’s glory. The Bible is for us, and not about us. It’s about “God who is deep in riches, God who is deep in wisdom, God who is deep in lovingkindness, and God who is deep in glory. Not us. This is the message of the Bible.” The further up you go in revealed thoughts of God, the clearer you see that God’s aim in creating the world was to display the value of his own glory.
The last part of the chapter was about worship, which can be a hot topic in many churches. People have many presences when it comes to worship, but the main question is; is it really worship? Or are you wanting with you are comfortable with, what is traditional and they way you have always done it? Are you crying out to God, or are you reading words on a screen or out of a hymnal. To me that was worship for years! I was reading words out of a book it meant nothing, it was so structured. Worship cannot be fit in to a time frame, it is a declaration that God is awesome and this is how you show it. I don’t know about you but I my display of worship is through 3 stanzas in a song (skipping the third if there are four of course). Maybe that is to you, and if so wonderful. My question though is, is the worship you have a complete cry to the glory of God? We are wired to worship. Look at our world, we worship celebrities and athletes. We stalk their twitters and personal lives. We stand in a line for 5 hours for a football game, and go to concerts. God wired us for worship, and to worship him alone. I know my style of worship is not everyone’s and I all never force it on anyone, and you shouldn’t force yours on anyone either. It’s time the church started being the church, being a unified body for the glory of God! Most of what I said was not in the chapter, I kind of ranted. It just makes me mad when people think their is only a particular way to worship, and that’s from both traditional and contemporary folk. Sure you can prefer one, but don’t discredit the other one because people do worship differently. As long as it is for his glory then we’re both getting the same message across.
This book is deep folks, I am sure you can tell. I will probably read this chapter again to get more out of it. I probably will not blog on every chapter like I did this one because my head is spinning with all that I took in. God is good, and God doesn’t need us. The good news is he wants us, and he chooses to make a way for us to know him. To know him deeper everyday and and to worship him everyday. Give God the glory today friends, it’s what we were made to do anyways. God bless!