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1210. We Need Christ and the Gospel

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
March 18, 2022 7:00 pm

1210. We Need Christ and the Gospel

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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March 18, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Pearson Johnson, a seminary professor at Bob Jones University, will conclude the series titled “Developing a Healthy Mind” with a message titled, “We Need Christ and the Gospel.”

The post 1210. We Need Christ and the Gospel appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. His intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything so he established daily chapel services. Today, that tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University Chapel platform. Today on The Daily Platform, we're finishing a short series on developing a healthy mind.

Today's speaker is Dr. Pearson Johnson, a seminary professor at Bob Jones University. Certainly the tragedy of suicide has touched many of our lives. We feel it deeply.

We grieve continuously. If you've been touched by suicide in your life, certainly our prayers and our hearts are with you regularly and I know that's a difficult struggle. You most of all know why we need to focus our attention, affections on one another and encouragement of one another when it comes to the deep and dark struggles that many people face. We're coming to the end of National Suicide Prevention Month and certainly this is a month when mental health professionals, advocates, prevention organizers, survivors, allies, and community members unite to promote suicide prevention awareness. I'm very thankful in God's common grace he has gifted and in some way led many people, believers and unbelievers alike, to be involved in this kind of effort to prevent suicide, to advocate for those who are struggling, to speak with them and certainly I don't want it to go without saying that if you're here struggling with suicidal thoughts and really deeply in despair, then there are people around here that want to help you. They want to talk to you. As a matter of fact, you look at our student care office, we're there, but you should be able to look around you and that's going to be the focus of what I want to challenge you with today.

Look around you. People are here to help you and you are here to help others as well, but there's certainly a suicide prevention lifeline you can call anytime if you want to speak with someone. That's 1-800-273-TALK. I often get the question of how do I approach a conversation with regards to suicide and I went through a training section. It was about a two month training period, Living Works Faith, it was called, on how to help people struggling with suicide. I certainly felt I needed more equipment in doing that, to be better prepared to do that, but Living Works has a very simple model and I just want to give you a couple of things, a couple of ways to frame a discussion. If you have people in your life, you notice they're struggling, they're having a hard time. Sometimes our tendency can be to, well I want to leave them to someone else to help, but really our tendency needs to be exactly the opposite. I want to move toward someone that is struggling in difficulty and I want to help them.

And here's one model, the task model, it's just an acrostic, it's relatively simple. T stands for tune in, that is you want to be aware of those who are around you, focus on their needs, notice when something is off about them, when they're going off by themselves, maybe isolating themselves from relationships they've had before, tune in to what's going on around you. The second letter in that acrostic is ask. Be willing to ask questions of people. Ask questions like, are you struggling with suicidal thoughts?

Are you thinking about harming yourself? Are you facing hopeless circumstances? What can I do to help you? How can I help you get connected with someone?

Ask questions. Our tendency again is often to say if I talk about suicide or ask a straightforward question like that, it might actually lead someone toward further action in that way and statistics have proven that it's actually the opposite is true. Asking and talking about what someone is feeling and struggling with actually leads them to get help and opens up doors of communication and we need to be a part of that certainly in our community and in our families as well. The third one is, third letter is ask.

State straightforwardly. Being willing to tell someone that thinking about suicide or thinking about harming themselves is a serious matter, it's not something to be dismissed as something that when you've trusted me enough to let me know how you're struggling I take that seriously and I want to help you deal with that. I want to move toward you, not away from you, to walk alongside of you and the fourth thing is connect to others and I'll get into this more in the rest of the message but certainly we sometimes feel insufficient, we're unqualified and inexperienced to deal with some of the more desperate things of life and yet we can be a part of helping someone especially when it comes to connecting them with resources, people that may have more training and experience and understanding and so connecting them to someone else doesn't mean leaving them alone but it means going alongside of them, going with them to connect them to help.

I think that's a very helpful and pretty simple model to think through and it might help you frame a discussion if you're caught in the moment of seeing someone who's really struggling. Another one, another campaign which I won't spend a lot of time on is be the one two, this is, these again are secular campaigns but be the one two, that is we always think someone else is going to provide the help. You see an accident on the side of the road, you think someone else might go to help them or you see someone struggling, someone else might help them out but we need to be the one to provide help on the front lines, be the one to move toward the person and distress the person that is struggling and so let's be committed to that kind of thinking.

I want to be the one to help. It's like the man who fell among thieves, he saw the religious leader go alongside of them and someone else that should have helped go along but who actually moved to help? The Samaritan. The Samaritan saw the man in front of him and said I'm going to do what I can to help. That's the kind of way we should be thinking and one thing about this model, they add a couple of things like keep them safe and be there and follow up to the other model. That is a person's presence is very much a part of helping someone through a time where they may be struggling and so you need to be present at the front end, during the process of getting help and also in follow up and showing support to those who are seeking help.

And there's another campaign called Seize the Awkward. This is more of a social media campaign but this is in dealing with mental health issues more generally but being willing to ask the questions that might put you in an awkward position but yet also puts you in a place where you can help someone and there's a few examples. There are questions you could ask people. We have a talk for a while. How are you doing? Are you okay? You don't seem like yourself lately.

I'm here for you. I'm concerned about you, would like to know what's up so I can help you and so really seizing the opportunity to move towards someone again to ask questions and to help them. These are great campaigns. They're excellent resources for our culture in general as far as they go. They motivate all of us to get involved in each other's lives in such a way that we notice when someone's not doing well. This kind of involvement also opens the door for us to admit that we're not doing well.

Right? If we can create a culture and I know we already have this culture in a sense but if we can further cultivate a culture where we're willing to open up to one another then we will be willing to open up to someone else when we need help as well. It's okay to not be okay. It should be something that we think regularly.

It's okay to struggle. It's okay to sometimes face darkness and it's okay to sometimes face hopelessness and we need to be able to share and trust one another enough to move into one another's lives to provide help that we need. We're thankful for what takes place in our culture as I think an aspect of God's common grace where people still don't actually follow their own worldview.

They borrow from a biblical worldview and say it's good for us to be in community and move toward one another to help. But we as Christians we have much more to offer than just awareness, just awkwardness, just presence. We have more to offer because we have Jesus Christ.

We have the power of the Holy Spirit and we have the Word of God that is available and accessible for us to move and help one another. Certainly we have Jesus Christ and we know we need and we have Christ in the Gospel. Isn't it such a blessing that when we face the deepest and darkest most despairing moments of life we know we have Christ? As we sang, in Christ alone my hope is found. In Christ alone my hope is ultimately found. There is no other hope but Jesus Christ. We have Christ. We have the Gospel. And in a world that is cursed and broken and ravaged by sin, both within us and outside of us, we have a Savior whose atonement is sufficient to meet all of our needs. We have a God that showed His love toward us even as He looked and saw that while we were yet sinners He sent His Son Christ to die for us. The experience of love we face from God and the atonement we have in Christ are not dependent on our deserving of it.

Quite the opposite. They are necessary because we need it desperately. We need Christ. We need the Gospel. We have a Savior who has redeemed us and is redeeming us and through the experiences and ravages of sin in this culture and in this world and sometimes in our own lives, we have a hope to look forward to final redemption when Christ makes all things right.

Aren't you looking forward to that time when all things are made right? What we face now so causes us to long for that day and yet God in His sovereign providence has caused us to remain where we are for now and part of that reason is the mission He's called us to, to spread the Gospel to people that have no hope and the other part of that mission is to spread the Word of God to those who are growing to be built up like Jesus Christ. We need Christ in the Gospel. Another favorite song of mine is this one, Christ Will Hold Me Fast. I'm so thankful that my hope is not dependent on my ability to grasp truth and to grasp Christ but it's dependent on His ability to hold me fast. This has become an excellent song. When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast.

When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast. What a blessing we have, Jesus Christ. But we also need and we have the Word and the Spirit. We believe that the Word of God has what we need for life and godliness, that God's Word provides hope and healing that God gives us and gives to His people through His Word. We're very thankful for that and I think the sufficiency of God's Word is something we need to hold onto and believe but sometimes when we talk about the sufficiency of God's Word that's not really enough. God's Word is not just sufficient, it's actually essential. Imagine living life without God's revelation, we would be lost.

We would be wandering in darkness as a lost and dying world is described, groping about if per chance I might find God. We're setting up an altar to all the gods that we can make up in our minds and also one to an unknown God who we're not sure even exists. But we have God's Word, it is essential to us and so we're so thankful that we have the Word and the Spirit and as we move toward one another, to help one another, when we encounter suffering and despair in our lives and in our relationships, we have the power of God's Word and the Holy Spirit in our fingertips. Don't sell short the power of God's Word to change our perspectives, to change our lives, to bring us through the darkest of moments and darkest of times. 2 Corinthians 10 verses 3-6 says, for though we walk in the flesh, and that includes everything that we bear in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare, the weapons of our warfare, and I think that's primarily the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses or strongholds. We're destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God and we take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and I read that from the New American Standard. I think that's such a powerful verse to talk about the power of God's Word to break down strongholds that are holding us in castles of despair, fastened by iron bars in the prison of the castle. We're so thankful that we have God's Word. It is essential to us. You might think God has given us Christ, a sufficient Savior. He's given us the Word, the essential revelation that we have. Is that not enough? Can I go off in the woods and live just me and my Bible and God and be okay?

You know what? God in His wisdom has decided to add a third element to what we really need and that is we need each other. We don't only need Christ, we don't only need the Word and the Spirit, but we also need one another. We need one another speaking the Gospel, fighting alongside of us, using the Word and the Spirit to do battle against the despair that we often face. We need each other when it comes to the issues of suicidal thinking and depression and despair and hopelessness.

We often say, man, we need to leave this to the professionals. And I'm very thankful, again I will say I'm thankful in God's common grace that He gives us medical professionals, psychiatric professionals, people with experience in dealing with specific issues like trauma, people that have a lot of experience dealing with grief. I'm very thankful for people, both believers and unbelievers that God in His common grace has granted to us and our culture.

We're very thankful for what God has done. He's given us many good professionals and I think we do need to get help when we need it. I know when people come to my office, if they're struggling suddenly with depression, especially if things have changed, we want to get them medical testing. We want to get them to talk to a doctor and see what's going on in their body and that so often is related to what's going on in the emotions, in the mind, in the spirit. And so we're so thankful for the things that are available and we always have to be willing to engage in walking the wisdom tightrope when it comes to seeking medical help. Again, another question I get very regularly, what about medications for depression? And I say you need to walk in wisdom when it comes to things like medications. Don't throw them out.

Don't put all your hope in them. Walk the wisdom tightrope. That comes from an article written by Michael Emmlett. He's a medical doctor, also a biblical counselor. He says we need to seek to relieve suffering whenever we're able. Suffering itself does not breed righteousness. But we also have to recognize as believers, sometimes God allows us to go through suffering to teach us and train us and purify us.

You see that there's two sides to that of the wisdom tightrope. Medications, thankfully, are a result of God's common grace and should be used with thanksgiving. We should be so glad God has placed us in a modern day where we have so much available to us when it comes to medical help in so many forms, so many medications, so many procedures. I know I came down with cancer a few years ago and maybe a year before that is when it started. But I know that when I went to the doctor, I was like, I don't know what to think about getting diagnosed with cancer. And he said if you would have got diagnosed with this cancer just 20 years ago, your chance of survival would be very low. But now your chance of survival is actually very high.

I'm so thankful for medical advances that allowed me to have a good chance of survival and I'm still here to thank the Lord. Too much suffering can be hazardous to our spiritual growth. We certainly don't want to be down and despairing because of the suffering, but too little suffering can also be hazardous to our spiritual growth.

That's part of this tightrope as well. God does teach us and train us through our suffering. Charles Spurgeon said, faith without trial is like a diamond that is uncut, whose brilliance is never seen. And maybe you've heard the quote as well that in the darkest of nights, the stars shine most brightly.

And I think those things are true. We want to understand that sometimes we've got to make use of what God has provided in our culture. But don't put all of your hope in that.

Don't put all of your hope in that. As a good friend said, sometimes we need something to dry up the tears so we can see more clearly how we should move forward by God's grace. Very thankful for that kind of wisdom. We're given professionals. We're given pastors and teachers. Certainly God has given us teachers. Ephesians 4, 11 and 12 said, He gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the perfecting or maturing of the saints for the work of ministries.

Pastors are called to watch over our souls as those who must give an account, so we should get help from our pastors and teachers as well. But God has also given us peers, people that are around us that surround us that play a vital role in our spiritual growth. I think it's true that Romans 15 says this, that we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not only please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For whatever was written before time was written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. We have hope through the scriptures. God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded toward one another. We're given the scriptures but Paul immediately says we're brought together in a one another kind of relationship within the local church that we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God even the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wherefore receive one another as Christ also receives us to the glory of God. And at the end of Romans 15 he says the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace and believing that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. And I myself am persuaded of you brother that you are full of goodness filled with all knowledge and able to admonish one another. Paul wanted to make the point that we are given the gospel of hope, we're given the Spirit and the Word that gives us hope, but we're given one another to infuse hope into one another's lives. Paul says you are full of goodness filled with all knowledge and able to help one another.

And I want to say to each one of you here today, you are full of goodness. You have the Holy Spirit within you. You're filled with knowledge, you're well taught, you have the scriptures before you.

And you also are able to help. You've been equipped by the Holy Spirit to help. I believe everyone here has a Spirit given specialty to use in helping those that are around you.

Paul says in Ephesians 4, speak the truth in love you may grow up into him in all things which is the head, even Christ from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies according to the effectual working in the measure of every part makes the increase of the body into the building up of itself in love. You know the Holy Spirit has gifted every one of us to provide something that every other one of us needs to grow up to be like Jesus Christ. So as we face difficult circumstances, as we face difficult relationships and despairing thoughts, understand that God is placed around you, people that are gifted by his Holy Spirit to minister to you. And you need to understand God has gifted you for ministry to those who are around you that need you.

You have a Spirit gifted specialty and I want to finish by giving you just a simple model of how can you be involved in helping others. The first thing is help by prayer. You know so often, prayer, share and care, so often prayer, one of the major problems we face is worrying about what we can do for someone while forgetting what God can do through us for someone. Let's be depending on God to make a difference in others life and do that through prayer. The second thing is share, share the Gospel, share what God is teaching you.

You're a fellow sojourner through this life, a fellow sufferer, someone who is also experiencing difficulty who needs to grow. God teaches us in humility to minister to others and that's why I didn't give you a specific, this is how you help someone dealing with suicidal thoughts. Share this verse, this verse, this verse and this verse because I think God most effectively ministers through us that His most effective ministry does not come from a set of proof texts that address our problems but a series of contexts in the course of our relationship. God will use you in the midst of what He's dealing with you about to help those that are around you very specifically.

God in His sovereign providence of goodness can arrange those kind of conversations. I know we still feel insufficient but God has called us to minister to one another. Dietrich Bonhoeffer who stood up against the Nazis in Germany said this, the most experienced psychologist or observer of human nature knows infinitely less of the human heart than the simplest Christian who lives beneath the cross of Jesus Christ.

I think those were words of wisdom. And finally we want to care for one another. Be prepared when you minister to others to have your love stretched. Be prepared that people working through depression and despair, they need people around them they can trust and sometimes trust is built over the course of circumstances and time. Staying with people when they're hurting, it takes time, it's difficult, it might not be what we want to do but it's what God has called us to do in many circumstances. Connecting people to further help is part of walking alongside of them. It doesn't mean you have to provide all the help they need but you can be a part of providing all of the help that they need. Following up with them as they receive help from others is vital.

Showing that you are committed to them through the long haul of the struggles that they face. Remember, if you feel like you don't have the ability, remember you're not their Savior. Christ is the Savior. You're not the source of wisdom.

The word of God is the source of wisdom. But God says in His providence that you are necessary. You are a fellow sufferer who is specifically gifted to minister to other people in the body of Christ. And so we're so thankful for your ministry, your care for one another. I'm thankful for all of you. Thankful for your commitment to helping.

Let's move and be a force that makes a difference in one another's lives. Let's pray. Father, thank you for this time we can have. God, Holy Spirit, thank you for gifting each of these believers that are in front of me for ministry to one another. Lord, I pray that you would be near to those who are broken-hearted, those who are distressed in spirit. But God, I pray part of that nearness would be that you send us into their lives, that you help us to encourage one another as we struggle for fellow travelers in this broken world. And God, I pray that you help us to be infused with hope that comes through the Gospel and Spirit. We praise things in Jesus' name.

Amen. You've been listening to a message preached by Dr. Pearson Johnson, a seminary professor at Bob Jones University. I'd like to thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. I hope that you've enjoyed it. I hope it's been a blessing and an encouragement to you.

We're living in very unusual times. This is just such a crucial time for all of us as believers to walk closely with the Lord. So I hope you'll take the opportunity to follow us up on these other things that we have at and find out what it is that God is doing in through the ministry of Bob Jones University with our 2,500 students who are coming here to get a biblical worldview and see life from God's lenses and then go out with an accredited first-class education and go out into the world and make an impact for Jesus Christ in the workplace, as they go out and serve in local churches, not only here in the United States, but our students are globally in-demand Christ-centered servants who are trying to serve the Lord throughout the world for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So thank you again for listening. Encourage your friends to listen and to be nourished and strengthened through God's Word. God bless you. Join us again next time as we'll hear more messages preached from Bob Jones University Chapel Services here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-20 20:18:39 / 2023-05-20 20:28:57 / 10

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