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The Premise of Tim Keller’s latest book, King’s Cross

As I flipped back through the marked-up pages of my copy of King’s Cross, by Tim Keller, I found one passage that described the Gospel and it’s relevance in an appropriately all-encompassing manner. In describing what King’s Cross is about, Keller pointed to

“the historical Christian premise that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection form the central event of cosmic and human history as well as the central organizing principle of our own lives. Said another way, the whole story of the world–and of how we fit into it–is most clearly understood through a careful, direct look at the story of Jesus. My purpose here is to show, through his words and actions, how beautifully his life makes sense of ours” (p. x).

Some notes:

  • “historical Christian premise” — this isn’t a new idea; the all-encompassing nature of Jesus is not ground-breaking
  • “the central event of cosmic and human history” — the proportion of what Jesus did isn’t limited to my personal life or even the whole of human history; the entire universe resounds with Jesus Christ’s sacrifice
  • “the central organizing principle” — I believe Keller is here referring to the Gospel; though, in good fashion, he does not refer to it as “the Gospel” until he has explained, in a later chapter, what that word means. It is refreshing to hear it described in a way that would be intelligible to outsiders. I might say a hundred times, “The Gospel changes everything,” and not one of those times would that make sense to someone who has a different meaning attached to the word Gospel. Communicating in various ways is a strength worth investing in

 

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Tim Keller Sermon Notes — Series: The Gospel, Hope, and the World — Sermon #5: Hope for your Work

Sermon preached on October 25, 2009.

The teaching is based on Titus 2:11-3:9.

Tim Keller preached this message. Dr. Keller is the Senior Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. He is also an author of the books Ministries of MercyThe Reason for God, Prodigal God, Counterfeit Gods, Gospel in LifeGenerous Justice, and King’s Cross.

Please note that these sermon notes are provided only to encourage, and that any or all parts of the notes may contain errors or omissions, due entirely to the note-taker. Full audio of the sermon may be found at the Redeemer Sermon Store.

Outline:

I. The passion of hope

II. The case study of hope

III. The reason we can have this hope

I. The passion (or force) of this hope (v. 13)

  • We are people who are eager to do good.
  • In the Scriptures, the Second Coming is never brought up to get us to speculate on the end–it’s to get you passionate about living now.
  • The Second Coming is to fill bad lives with good news
    • Passionate and compassionate Christians want the second coming
    • the second coming accomplishes two things: everyone knows him, and everyone is treated justly
  • “righteous” means to live justly in the world
    • the righteous are those willing to disadvantage themselves to advantage the community
  • the just person sees their resources as belonging to those around them; the unjust see them as MINE (vv. 3:1-2)
  • righteousness/uprightness is not just about ethical goodness; it’s about the common good as well.

II. The Case Study of Hope

  • At Redeemer, we believe it’s important to teach how to incorporate faith and work
  • If you’re a moralist, you’ll want to know exactly what it looks like to be a Christian artist or teacher
    • But not all things have exacts; some things have trajectories; in this case, being a Christian in your job will have a trajectory along the lines of A) Motivation, B) Proportion, and C) Consolation
  • A) Motivation: Why do you work and take the job that you have?
    • some people take jobs to make money, some to get emotional fulfillment
    • Yet, this passage (Titus 2:11-3:9) asks, “Is my work helping human beings to flourish in some way?”
    • Adam and Eve: a gardener isn’t someone who does or doesn’t touch; it’s someone who gets in the soil and takes raw material to give us something we need, physically or emotionally
    • Writers and actors take the raw material of human experience and create stories that teach or help people in some way
  • B) Proportion: “inordinate desires” v. 3:3
    • Most people don’t come to NYC to have a life; they come wanting to get a self (out of their work, most often)
    • It’s overwork when we don’t feel good about ourselves unless we’re accomplishing something
    • If it’s true that he saves us not because of what we’ve done, then we aren’t justified by work (what we do), but by grace (what he’s done)
      • this means that we don’t need to come to our jobs in search of a self
  • C) Consolation: Not idealism, not cynicism
    • Jesus Christ has given us a blessed hope
      • First, we know it’s not going to get perfect now
      • Yet, we work towards it, because we know it exists
    • E.g., “A Leaf by Niggle,” by J. R. R. Tolkein

III. Why do we have a right to see the Second Coming as a hope?

  • It sounds great to think of the end of death, genocide, rape, graft, etc.
    • If there’s no judgment day, what hope does the world have?
    • If there is a judgment day, what hope do we have?
  • What if all of your thoughts were broadcast around the world for a day–just a day?
      • You would die of shame
  • This is exactly how we are before God

2,000 years ago, a man who would have had no shame from such a broadcast–the God-man–took upon himself the judgment day that we deserve. Jesus entered the city not looking for a self, but to lose himself; in so doing, he purchased us an identity that cannot be shaken, so we no longer have to look to our jobs to give us who we are.

Definitions from Scott Sauls: “Discipline” and “Praise”

Here are two memorable definitions from Scott Sauls’ sermon on “David and Absalom” (posted earlier today):

Discipline:something you start even if you don’t feel like it

Praise: seeing what is truly valuable and treating it for the treasure that it is

A Definition of “Spiritual”

The term spiritual is thrown around a lot — from Brian McLaren’s upcoming “Naked Spirituality” to New Age philosophers to the Bible itself–and, to me, its often a word with so many different connotations that I find it intellectually useless. However, I was reading Edward Welch’s A.D.D.: Wandering Minds and Wired Bodies the other day, and I found a definition that seems helpful.

What does spiritual mean? It means that we are people who live before God in all aspects of our lives, and we are always making choices as to whether we will trust and obey our God or follow our own desires. This is true of every heart…

May your day today be one infused by this kind of spirituality; may we be aware of God’s presence and of the joy of obeying Him.