Mark Dever’s T4G 2012 Message

False Conversions: The Suicide of the Church

Why should you as a pastor be concerned about the archaic doctrines of the church?

My text is 1 Timothy 4:16.

Pastors, could it be that many of hearers and even some of our members are not saved?

Some might ask what is the problem of false conversions? Being to afraid of them could cause us to be too cautious, right? Doesn’t the bible tell us this is inevitable in ministry?

1. The Plan

God has an overarching purpose to bring glory to himself through a people. When God called Abram he called him so that all people’s of the earth will be blessed.

Psalm 22 – All the families of the earth will bow down and worship him.

It is God’s plan to make himself and name known among all the nations.

Malachi 1 – My name will be great among the nations.

How does God bring this about?

Through the lion of Judah and the lamb who was slain. He will do this through Jesus Christ.

This is what we see in Revelation 4 & 5.

More specifically God does this through the church of Jesus Christ. This should not surprise us. This is the way God works. He calls a people for his name. His people is the means for God to bring his name glory from Genesis to Revelation.

Pastor what you are about may be much bigger than what you think you are about.

2. The Problem

God’s people rebelled against him and worshipped other God. God’s name is blasphemed among you (Romans 2:24).

God’s people brought shame instead of glory for his name.

Non-Christians hate that message. You preach this and you will get a quick test of how your church is doing spiritually because Christians love that message.

We see this in Matthew 5 where Jesus tells us to do good deeds so they will praise God in heaven.

So the way our church members act reflects the glory of his name.

So false conversions are a problem.

1. It is a problem for the person who is unconverted.

2. It is a problem for the church’s health.

3. It is a problem for the church’s witness to the nations.

4. It is a problem for the name of the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 1:13 when there are divisions he asks “Is Christ divided?” That is because our division reflects poorly of Christ.

We are not to slander God’s name and lie to the world about who God is. And all of that is going on when our churches are full of unconverted people.

3. The Source of the Problem

a. Teachers

Have you ever noticed how often the New Testament warns about false teachers?

Our role as pastors is so important!

That is why James 3:1 says not everyone should be teachers.

Is the fruit of the Holy Spirit evident in your church?

b. Doctrine

We need to know that teaching false things are so disastrous.

5 Doctrines We Must Be Clear About:

1. God’s Judgment Is Coming – Avoiding hell is one step away from denying it.

2. We Should Be Judged By God – WE are depraved. WE deserve judgement. All people have a natural disposition against God.

3. Our Only Hope Is In Christ – We must be clear on the person and work of Christ. Any denial of the bodily resurrection is a denial of Christ. Without this we cannot have a truly Christian church. When we get this right we will offend and attract the right people in our church.

4. We Do Not See The Fullness of Our Salvation In This Life – Any authentic version of Christianity includes waiting for Christ’s return. Even the most carnal Christians want to better the lives but that is not the same thing as repentance toward God. How is it that people around the world gather when they know they can die for it? We do not live for this life!

5. We Can Deceive Ourselves – We think we are the expert of our lives.

Have you taught the people you have baptized this year these things?

Think what this does to your church. If you want to ensure your successor is a false teacher then let in a host of false converts into your membership.

c. Life

Here are 3 errors about our lives:

1. To Present A Church Without Holiness – Both in the individual lives and the entire church.

2. To Present A Church Without Suffering – True preaching calls people to suffer. Have you preached through 1 Peter lately? Is your church a happy club or a joyful people who are suffering? NO CROSS, NO CROWN!

3. To Present A Church Without Love – Does love mark your church? It is a distinguishing mark of a true Christian. The world is in desperate need of churches full of true Christians with true love for God and one another.

Here are 3 summary encouragements:

1. Always Be Evangelizing

2. Always Be Shepherding Sheep

3. Always Remember the Account You Are To Give To God

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2 Comments

Filed under 9 Marks, Pastoral Ministry, T4G 2012, The Church, The Gospel

2 responses to “Mark Dever’s T4G 2012 Message

  1. Phil, thanks for posting. Couldn’t get there this year, and haven’t had a chance to listen, but am encouraged and edified by your notes so far.

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