Continuing on with my assessment of T4G 2018, I come to the final day of the conference, and specifically to Ligon Duncan and Thabiti Anyabwile. If you’re interested, here are my thoughts towards Mark Dever and H. B. Charles, Jr., David Platt and Matt Chandler, and Kevin DeYoung and Dr. Al Mohler.
Ligon Duncan is such a gift to the Church. Having attended every conference, I must say that Duncan’s sermons never cease to be anything but life-altering. The sermon that he preached on Elijah absolutely blew me away. His one on Numbers left me wanting more. Up until this year, I would have argued that those were the best sermons of the conferences since its inception. This sermon, however, is hands-down the best sermon to ever be preached at Together for the Gospel, and I would venture to say one of the best sermons I have ever heard. The four brothers who plan this conference (Dever, Mohler, Duncan, and Mahaney) should have had a quick meeting and just ended it then and there (not that the rest of the sermons were bad; not in the least).
Ligon Duncan began this wonderful word from the Lord by explaining that legalists don’t understand the law, and antinomians don’t understand grace. He then took us to Genesis 1:27-28 and showed that the commandment was a blessing, and the blessing was in the commandment. Thus, there is grace in obedience. From there, it was on! Taking us to Genesis 3, then 17, to Exodus 19, Leviticus 19. Each one building upon the previous, showing that God is gracious and so he gives his law. He wants us to enjoy his love which can only be done by obedience to his law. In this, we are to look like God in our personal, familial, congregational, and social lives. When he reached the story of the rich young ruler, he showed that money had become his god. “Your God is standing here telling you to give it away, and you can’t.” With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
But it was when he got to the Good Samaritan that hearts were broken and lives were changed. Until this time I was mesmerized by everything that he was saying, but at this point I became crushed and yet hopeful. His observance that the moral law was more important than the ceremonial law (in reference to the Priest and Levite walking on the other side of the half-dead man), and that they should have helped and loved their neighbor rather than worry about being ceremonially unclean, struck hard at root of legalism. It is not a matter, of course, who our neighbor is , but rather us being the neighbor to everyone. Will we love everyone? Some of his final words punctuated the sermon. Jesus “got treated as our enemy, but in laying down his life, He treated his enemy as his friend.”
Moving on to Thabiti Anyabwile’s sermon: I like this guy. What I particularly like about him is that he seems to have good days and bad days. That’s not a slam on him. It is nice to see a celebrity pastor preach an average sermon. Ninety-nine point nine percent of my sermons are average. However, this years sermon was good, very good. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an entire sermon out of Jude before. But I must say Anyabwile delivered. I loved his observation that “any Christian bad at remembering is going to be a bad Christian.” One must remember in order to live holy. “Claiming to be saved without following Jesus is demonic nonsense.”
His proclamation that obedience is God’s love language and that our obedience is how we show our love for God, goes right along with Jesus’ own words in John 15-17. Along with the unity that Jesus prayed for, we see that “the most anti-worldly thing we can do in church together is pray together.” Amen to that!
Thabiti Anyabwile did not leave us in despair at all, for he reminded us, “God is more committed to your holiness than you may feel right now and that’s good news.”
I would absolutely recommend listening to both these sermons. It will do your soul good. But what do you think? How did Duncan’s or Anyabwile’s sermons affect you? I’d love to know. Give me a response below.
I do not claim that each quote is a 100% accurate. I listened and took notes as best I could, so the quote could be a bit different, but the essence is the same I promise.