I was just privileged to be able to spend two wonderful days of worship and study at the Deeper Conference 2009 at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, GA. Last year the conference was great ,and this year was even better as the focus of every session this year was our awesome God and His attributes.
The theme of the conference this year was There is no god like our God! taken from Psalm 86:8-13, which reads:
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.Psalm 86:8-13
The conference began Friday afternoon with a message by Ray Comfort entitled The Eternality of God. In this message Ray talked about the fact that one in four of our college and university professors today are either atheists or agnostics, and that they are turning out zealous atheists like there is no tomorrow.
He showed that by focusing on the eternality of God we can confront these atheist with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He also talked about how we all have a sixth sense - common sense - and that if we don't abandon the use of this sixth sense we will see the proof of God's existance all around us; he used Romans 1:20-25 as his main text:
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Ray also reminded us that as Christians we need to keep our eyes focused clearly on the cross - especially when witnessing - because if we win the argument but fail to preach the cross we have failed.
The next speaker was Emeal "E.Z." Zwayne. E.Z. spoke on God of the Generations and reminded us that our primary responsibility as God's people is to make sure that we are instilling a love for and fear of God in our own children and grandchildren.
He talked about a recent trip that he took to Europe and the heartbreaking situation going on there as that continent has walked away from God and many of the great cathedrals that were once filled with praise and worship to our God have become something secular or abandoned altogether.
E.Z. then showed how we in the United States will face the same situation if we fail to pass our faith on to the next generations; he said:
The deterioration of the Christian family is the root cause of the deterioration of a nation.
And if we look around us we can see clearly that the Christian family, and our nation, is in decline.
E.Z. asked two questions:
- What are my children and grandchildren seeing in my life?
- Do we have a multi-generational vision for our family?
Then ended with this Scripture:
Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.Malachi 2:15
After a short break we then got to hear Pastor Johnny Hunt talk about The Forbearance of God. He talked about how when Jesus went to the cross He completely satisfied the wrath of God that we deserved; He became our propitiation - our sacrifice of atonement - and paid the price for all of the sins that had been committed by those Old Testament saints that we read about in the Bible that God - in His forbearance - had overlooked in anticipation of the cross.
But, God's forbearance didn't stop there; in His forbearance He also overlooked all of the sins that each one of us have committed before coming to Christ. He explained that it is because of God's forbearance that He did not utterly destroy us the second that we committed our first sin (as that is what we deserved) but instead He showed us mercy and waited patiently for us to repent and in faith believe.
Pastor Hunt then went on to warn us, however, that God's forbearance to sinners will not last forever; Jesus paid the price for the the sins of those who will repent and believe, but for those who refuse there will come a day when the cup of the wrath of God will be poured out on those who have not come to faith in Christ.
This was probably my favorite study of the conference and I will write a more in depth post on this one at a later date.
Mark Cahill followed Dr. Hunt with a message entitled The Holiness of God.
This was a very convicting message as Mark showed us how God is absolutely holy and we are not. He began this message by telling us that he felt completely inadequate to be bringing this message and that it would be at best a very poor representation of who God really is as we cannot even begin to comprehend the holiness of God.
In this message he explained that holiness demands justice, and that as a holy God, God cannot just overlook our sin - it must be paid for. He also showed us that we cannot set our own standard for right and wrong; the standard is complete perfection - the standard is absolute holiness (and the standard of holiness is God Himself).
but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
So what are we to do since we are not holy, God is holy, and we are commanded to be holy like He is holy? We are to repent of our sins and put our faith is the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is only as we exchange our sinfulness for His Righteousness that we will be holy as God is holy.
1 Peter 1:15-16
After a dinner break we were blessed with a message from Kirk Cameron entitled Keeping the Foundations Sure. In this message Kirk built upon what E.Z. and Mark had said by talking about the importance of living out our faith at home first before we try to preach to others.
He talked about the danger that each of us faces in our walk with God: we focus so much on reaching the lost world that we neglect the needs of those under our own roof and in our own families. He reminded me that my primary responsibility to God is to live out my Christian life:
- With Christ
- With my Wife
- With my son
- With the people of God
- Then with the lost
If I mess up this order I will not only be living in disobedience I risk loosing what is most important - my own family.
Finally on Friday night we were privileged to hear a message from Ravi Zacharias, one of the preeminent apologist of our time. Ravi's Friday night message was entitled The Veracity of God and in this message he asked and answered the question, is there a God?
He explained that this is a question that the atheist asks of the Christian thinking that in doing so they have made the move that cannot be countered, but the atheist is not the only one who gets to ask questions, he must also answer them himself.
Ravi then went on to explain that even the atheist believes in right and wrong, but that in order to have right and wrong there must be a moral law - a standard from which right and wrong are determined. And if there is a moral law there must also be a moral law giver, he said:
- If there is no moral law giver that transcends us then there is no moral law by which we must live.
- If there is no moral law giver then life has no meaning.
- If life has no meaning then there is no hope.
- In addition to life being meaningless, if I believe that there is no moral law giver and no moral law and I am wrong there is also no recovery. If you are wrong here the result is catastrophic (read eternity in hell).
Day one then ended with about 45 minutes of worship lead by Scott Krippayne.
Day two began where day one ended, with more worship lead by Scott Krippayne
The first speaker on Saturday morning was Todd Friel, host of the Wretched Radio TV shows. Todd, in his chaotic, hyperactive way took us though a two hour sermon on the Kindness of God (in just under an hour).
In this message Todd showed us that it is the kindness of God that leads us to true repentance. It was all I could do to keep up with him while trying to take notes, so here is what I got:
Romans 2:4 The kindness of God leads to repentance
Psalm 34:8 The Lord is kind
1 Peter 2:3 Give thanks - the Lord is kind
Luke 6:35 God is kind
God did not create the world to show His wrath, He created it to show His kindness.
Psalm 106:7 Remember the kindness of God
Romans 11:22 God shows kindness to the repentant but wrath to the ungodly
Ephesians 2:7 God's kindness to us is in Christ Jesus
Titus 3:4-5 We are saved because of God's kindness
Galatians 5:22 kindness and Goodness are both part of the fruit of the Spirit
Psalm 25:5 Good and upright in the Lord
Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good
- Fury is not in God
- God is not looking to demonstrate His wrath
- God gives us His strength
And that was just the introduction! This was another great sermon by Todd, and I highly recommend that you get it and listen to it if/when it is made available.
Todd was followed by Greg Koukl who gave a very in-depth talk on Evil, Suffering, and the Goodness of God. Dr. Koukl did an amazing job explaining that just because a person decides that there is no God they are still faced with the problem of evil in the world. And that more importantly, evil in the world is actually proof that there is a God.
This message built right on top of the foundation that Ravi laid on Friday night; Dr. Koukl explained that in order to have evil in the world you must have a standard by which to measure what is and is not evil. You cannot say that something is evil unless you have an absolute standard of what is good - and that standard is God. Good and evil are just relative terms compared to that standard.
He also explained that evil is not a thing, it is the absence of a thing. For example: a shadow is not a thing, it is merely the place where light is absent. In the same way evil is not a thing, it is the place where good is absent, and in order for good to be absent there must be good, and if there is good there must be God. Therefore the very existence of evil in our world is proof that there is a God.
After lunch we were treated to another message from Ravi Zacharias, who picked up where he ended the previous night, and built more on the message that we had just received from Greg Koukl.
In this session Dr. Zacharias talked about the importance of truth saying "The most valuable thing and most powerful weapon in the world is truth."
He went on to give a three stage argument that points to the existence of God:
- However the concrete physical is broken down it will always lead outside of itself for proof of its existence.
- No matter where you see intelligibility, you will always see a designer.
- The course of Human events - Historical, Social, Cultural - points to a designer.
- Jesus is the only one who explains the human condition in a way that corresponds to reality
- Jesus is the only one who provides a solution for my malady - it is only in the Christian faith that atonement is offered
- Jesus' claim that He would be raised bodily made the resurrection provable
This was a wonderful weekend and I can't wait until next year. I hope you can make it.