In 2007, David Platt preached a sermon series titled Abide. Abiding in Christ is the starting point for the Christian life; everything else is simply an overflow of our relationship with Jesus. The first message in the series was on Matthew 11:28-30, in which Jesus said to his disciples,
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Over the course of the sermon, he explains Christianity in its most elemental terms:
We give up all we have to Jesus–the full weight of our complete and utter inability to obey God.
Jesus gives up all He has to us–pardon for our sins and power to obey God.
In describing our "contribution" in this divine exchange, Platt leads us through a thought experiment to shine a light on how easily we tend toward legalistic thinking:
Scenario 1: Your alarm clock goes off in the morning and you wake up immediately because you know you have got quiet time ahead of you. And so you get out of bed and you go and you spend some time in prayer and you spend some time in the Word, and things are going well from the very beginning of your day. You are off to work from there. It seems like everywhere you go you have got things planned out. The presence of God is so real in your life. Things are going well. You are walking with Him, living in communion with Him, and you get to the end of your day, and on your way home you have the opportunity to share the gospel with somebody else.
Scenario 2: The alarm clock goes off the in the morning and you hit it about 6 or 7 times. Snooze, snooze, snooze until there is not chance you are having a quiet time – the morning is anything but quiet for you. You get up, rush, get ready, and you are off to work, and everything is disorganized. Nothing is working out the way it was supposed to. You are going throughout your day and you don’t have anything planned and the presence of God seems anywhere but near your life at this point. It is nowhere close. You are running through, trying to get things done. Finally you get to the end of an exhaustive day–some of you have been there this week – you get to the end of your day and you head home, and on your way home you have the opportunity to share the gospel with someone.
Now with those two scenarios, here is the question that I want to ask you. In which of these scenarios do you think God is more likely to bless you in leading that person to Christ? Our tendency is, the majority of us would say, “Definitely the first scenario.” But why do we even think that? Here is why we even think that. Because we really believe that God blessing our lives is somehow based on our performance during the day.
Why would God be more likely to bless here than there? And our answer might be because over here (scenario 1), I was walking with Him. Over here (scenario 2), I just wouldn’t feel worthy. I have ignored Him all day. I wouldn’t be where I need to be spiritually in order to be ready for that, so He probably wouldn’t use me as much. That is uncovering the hidden truth at the core of our Christianity. We have got to weed out this idea that God’s blessing is based on our performance. It is not. It is not based on our performance. God’s blessing in either one of these scenarios is based on His grace and nothing else. It is not based on what you and I have to bring to the table. The whole point of Christianity is: the best that we bring to the table is still not good enough.
To listen to the entire sermon, "The Disciple's Identity – Part 1: You in Christ," click here.