Right now, I’m in Palm Springs and it’s been averaging over 110 degrees each day. There would have to be a pretty good reason why I would subject myself to that kind of heat. This weekend I’ve come out to Palm Springs with students from our college group to be fed at the Resolved Conference. It’s a college conference put on by Grace Community Church in the spirit of the resolutions of Jonathan Edwards. I have wanted to go in the past, but never had the opportunity due to schooling. This year, though, I resolved to go.
The speakers are John MacArthur, John Piper (my plane friend), CJ Mahaney, Steve Lawson, Randy Alcorn, and Rick Holland. The theme this year is “Heaven and Hell”. It sort of feels like you are trying to continually take a sip from a fire hydrant. It’s coming fast, furious, and powerfully. All you can do is try to process a small amount and leave encouraged and fed. I realize that there are many who read this who desire to be here, so with you in mind, I thought I would provide a summary of each message.
The first evening was kicked off by Rick Holland who spoke on the topic of death. Obviously, that isn’t really a message that sells and attracts the right kind of attention. Our culture does everything we can to avoid dwelling on the subject of death, from being reminded of the immanent nature of it, to being confronted with those that that find themselves on death’s threshold. Holland traced Edwards’ own thoughts on death and his commitment to constantly remind himself of his own frailty and every possible way he could die.
The point on focusing on your own death is because if you are ready to die, you will then know how to live. If you are at peace with where you are going, then you will know how you should act in the present. The text that Holland chose was Hebrews 9:27-28, and he set out to point out the three most important facts of life.
The first fact is that death is unavoidable. It comes to everyone. Other than two men (Elijah and Enoch) every single person has died. We are the only ones in creation who have not died, but we will soon enough join the rest of humanity. Our time to pass is appointed. We are passively involved in the end of our lives. We can think that we will last 70-80 years on earth, but no one is guaranteed that. Death exists to communicate the seriousness of sin, to convince us of the true penalty of our rebellion against God. No one can deny the reality of death.
The second most important fact of life is that judgment is certain. All will stand before a holy, righteous, and just God who will judge. Not only is death a reality, but so is Hell. Hell exists for those that are condemned at the judgment that is certain. Hell is such an unpopular subject to speak and dwell on, but it cannot be avoided. R.C. Sproul said “If you think of Hell rightly, you’ll get saved or go mad.”
The third and final fact of life is that salvation is possible. Were the first two points left alone, the future would seem bleak. But the great news is that salvation is possible for those that face an eternal death apart from God. For those that are saved, they should be characterized by eagerly awaiting and anticipating Christ’s return. We generally fail in this world because we find our hearts longing more for the present world than the future world. The believer is to long for the future fulfillment of salvation in such a way that it demands a life that lives for that world alone.
More sessions to come!