From the June 24 sermon “Jesus Gives Life,” preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll:
The Christian life is an amazing, supernatural life. You can’t get it from the church, or baptism, or Christian parents. It only comes from Jesus. It’s Jesus’ life coming into yours and radically transforming your whole life. When you receive the Spirit you get a new nature, new desires, and new power. You cannot live the Christian life apart from the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
The Difference between a Christian and a Non-Christian
Here’s the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian: A non-Christian can appreciate and admire the life of Jesus, but they can’t experience and enjoy his power. Do you get that? For a Christian we can enjoy and experience the power of Jesus not just in his life, but unleashed in our life. And Jesus says, “When the Holy Spirit comes, he comes powerfully.” He utterly changes people. [. . .]
Jesus is alive. The Holy Spirit is powerful. The Holy Spirit is glad to indwell you, to transform you, to empower you, to enable you to love Jesus, to live like Jesus, to be a new person as a Christian and a member of the church. But some people are not connected to Jesus through repentance, and faith, and the Holy Spirit. All of that power is available to them, but they don’t avail themselves to it.
For those of you who are non-Christians, you cannot live the Christian life apart from the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit. For those of you who are Christians, when you’re tempted, and tried, and troubled, here’s what I want you to do: Invite the Holy Spirit to empower you. Believe that he is with you. Believe that he is for you. Believe that what Jesus has for your future is possible through his presence and power.
It’s All, Only, and Always about Jesus
Christianity starts with a sermon. I personally love this. Okay. Personally, I think this is awesome.
The church is what happens when the Bible is preached, and the Holy Spirit comes, and people are connected to Jesus. The result is the church. But it’s always back to the preaching of the Word of God, the repentance of sin, the power of the Spirit, the life of Jesus. The result is a bunch of people called Christians who are on mission together as the family of God, the church. Christianity starts with a sermon. It’s why we still have preaching today. We believe that God works through the Scriptures. That the Holy Spirit wrote the Scriptures, that he empowers preachers and teachers to proclaim them, and he opens understanding to receive them. [. . .]
Let me say this too, as long as I’m preaching, you’re going to hear about Jesus. Mars Hill Church, from day one when we were flat broke, homeless, and poor, we were talking about Jesus.
And though many things will change, one thing will never change, the Book will be open and Jesus will be proclaimed, by the grace of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, at Mars Hill Church.
God Has a Definite Plan
What was done to Jesus was the worst evil in the history of the world, the murder of God. What was done by Jesus was the greatest good in the history of the world, glorifying the Father and saving a multitude. It is all part of God’s foreknowing, sovereign, definite plan.
Now, let me say for you what this means practically. Don’t freak out. Because there will be times in your life where you feel like God doesn’t have a plan, and it’s all chaos, and out of control. And as a result you’ll struggle because you want to know the future. “What is going to happen? How do I plan? How do I prepare? How do I brace myself for what seems to be nothing but trauma coming my way?”
Here’s the truth, God has a definite plan. God knows what tomorrow has for you. And he will not tell you his definite plan. And he may not tell you of your tomorrow. And for those of you who question his definite plan and you want to have the foreknowledge that he has, you’re going to destroy yourself with worry, and grief, and anxiety, and stress.
I’m not saying that you live irresponsibly, and you don’t plan, and prepare, and pray. But I’m saying, at the end of the day, there’s only one who is sovereign and he loves you. And he’s got it under control.
Here’s what happens: sometimes Christians want to try to manipulate God to avoid suffering. Jesus endured suffering, and with Jesus we can endure suffering. And the truth is that Christians don’t avoid all suffering, but with Jesus we can endure any suffering.
God has a definite plan. He knows the future and your future. And it doesn’t matter what sin you commit, or others commit against you, he will use it for good. [. . .]
For some of you, the hardest, most difficult, arduous parts of your life, the painful, traumatic, grievous parts of your life, you may not see until you see him face to face. You may not understand the definite plan until this life is done.
But know this, God is good, God is sovereign, God is bigger than sin. He uses evil for good, though he’s not the author of it, he’s the ruler over it. He has a definite plan, he knows the future, and you can trust him.