Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jesus is the Rose!: Matt Chandler on Imputation

From Matt Chandler's book Explicit Gospel:
The preacher took the stage, and disaster ensued. I don't know how else to describe the sermon. There was very little Bible in it. He gave us a lot of statistics about STDs. There was a lot, "you don't want syphilis, do you?" and, "It's all fun and games until you have herpes on your lip." And in the middle of all this moralistic fearmongering, his big illustration was to take out a single red rose. He smelled the rose dramatically on stage, caressed its petals, and talked about how beautiful this rose was and how it had been fresh cut that day. In fact, he said, it was such a beautiful rose that he wanted all of us to see and smell it. So he threw the rose out into the crowd, and he encouraged everyone to pass it around.... As he neared the end of his message, he asked for the rose back. And, of course, when he got it back in his hands, it was broken and drooping, and the petals were falling off. He held up this now-ugly rose for all to see. And his big finish was this: "Now who in the world would want this? Who would want this rose now? Would you be proud of this rose? Is this rose lovely?" His words and his tone were merciless.

I was such and idiot, because during all that, I'd been praying that Kim was listening. I was praying that Kim would really hear what the preacher was saying about this dirty rose. But there was no real climax to the message. His essential message, which was supposed to represent Jesus's message to a world of sinners, was this: "Hey, don't be a dirty rose."

He then explains:

This approach was dramatically effective in producing shame but not really effective in producing hope. On the way home, Kim was quiet, even though we talked about the concert and what had gone on. I asked her on multiple occasions if everything was okay, if she was all right, and what she thought of the message. Throughout our drive she was quiet, which wasn't like her, but I just thought, naively, that maybe the Holy Spirit was convicting her and that we'd talk about it later and she would tell me she was a new creation.

Kim continued to act strangely around me for a while. About a week or two later, Kim didn't show up for class. She didn't show up for class for a week. I called and left several messages but couldn't get hold of her. After about three weeks, I began to get nervous. I wondered if she had dropped out of school. She had a dark past, and I wondered if she had fallen back into some of her old habits. Then I got a phone call from a woman who claimed to be Kim's mum. Kim had been in an accident and had been in the hospital right across the street from the university. So I hung up the phone with her mum, and I walked over to her hospital room. She was all bandaged up, and her face was still swollen. She had fallen out of a car that was going 70 MPH and had struck her head on the concrete and fractured her skull. The swelling wasn't so extensive as to cause long-term damage, but it did cause enough damage to keep her hospitalized for several weeks.

In the middle of our conversation, seemingly out of nowhere, she asked me, "Do you think I'm a dirty rose?" My heart sank inside of me, and I began to explain to her that the whole weight of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that Jesus wants the rose! It's Jesus's desire to save, redeem, and restore the dirty rose.
Chandler included this same parable in a sermon. Here's a clip of it.

Jesus is the rose. Praise God.

For more:
We are Supernaturalits First: What John 1 Has to Say About Creation
"Explicit Gospel": A Sermon Preached by Matt Chandler
Matt Chandler on the Idol of March Madness
Colossians 1:13-23: A Sermon Preached by Matt Chandler
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