Second Corinthians 4:16 begins with the word so or therefore — same word — and verse 17 begins with the word for or because. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory.” What’s another word for so? “Therefore.” What’s another word for for? “Because.”
You use them every day. You know how they work. “I’m hungry, so I’m going to go have lunch.” “I’m hungry, therefore I’m going to have lunch.” So my hunger is the reason for — the ground of — why I’m going to have lunch. And so I connect these with therefore when the reason comes before the action. But if you took the action, and put it in front of the ground, the cause, or the reason, you don’t use the word therefore anymore. You use the word because. “I’m going to have lunch because I’m hungry.” So, when the reason for your action comes first, you follow that reason with therefore.
“What churches need is preaching and teaching that deals with the words of the text.”
Now you might be thinking, “That’s weird. I did not come to Chicago for a grammar lesson. I didn’t come to Chicago to be taught elementary logic, so get on with the meat. This tastes like gristle. I didn’t like grammar.”
Why do you think they invited me to come here to the Legacy Conference? I am not cool. I don’t talk cool. I don’t dress cool. And moreover, I don’t care at all about being cool. So, I’m looking around thinking, “What am I doing here?” And I think I know. I don’t even know if the people who asked me to come know why they asked me to come, but I think I know why they did.
Here’s why: I think they asked me to come because for about forty years, I’ve been poking around in the becauses and the therefores of the Bible, and telling everybody I can the glories that I see underneath the therefores and underneath the becauses. That’s all I do. That’s my life. So if you get uppity with me about your grammar lesson, I say you don’t have to take it. But it’s my life. It’s the way I see the world. It’s the way I see God. It’s a window. I’m in a dark room, and the becauses and the therefores in the Bible are the light of my life. They are the secret of renewal every day. That’s what I want to show you.
I think what churches need, what discipling needs, is for preaching and teaching that deals with the words of the text and tells people why those words are there. That’s what I think the world needs. In fact, the Legacy Movement is not mainly about entertainment. It’s not even mainly about rescuing the perishing. It’s about rescuing them all the way into discipleship, all the way into full-blown, mature, strong, independent churchmen and churchwomen who can lead for Jesus.
You know how I define those people? You haven’t gotten people there yet until they can detect the becauses and the therefores of the paragraphs of the Bible and dig under them and find the treasures for their life, so they don’t have to be dependent on you to show it to them. You haven’t finished the job of discipling until a person can open his Bible, spot that word so at the beginning of verse 16, and know, “It must be in verses 7–15 where the secret is found. I’m going to go there and I’m going to find it. Then I’m going to teach some kids what I saw.”
That’s all I’ve been doing. And this disciple would notice the for or the because at the beginning of verse 17 and would say, “Oh, verse 17 must have some more of the secret in it, and I’m going to find it. I’m going to write it down and I’m going to tell somebody what I saw.”
“God inspired a book — not a video.”
That’s what discipleship is. If you don’t think it’s that grammatical, you don’t get it. You don’t get the fact that God inspired a book — not a video. He inspired a book, and the book is made up of sentences, and paragraphs, and words, and they’re connected in certain ways so that they have meaning, from God Almighty, into the brains of human beings. He could have done it another way, but he did it this way. We’re stuck with having to teach our kids to read. I think the main reason you teach kids how to read is so that they can have the Book for themselves, so that they don’t have to be dependent on anybody else.
I don’t know what you try to do when you sit down with a disciple, but if I were sitting with a guy for a year, and wanted him to be independent of me — and strong, and durable, unshakable like a tree planted by streams of water, that does not get knocked over when the winds come — I’d point to becauses and therefores. That’s what I would do. And I’d make him see them, and I’d make him explain why it’s there. “Show me. Show me what’s behind that therefore. Show me what’s behind that because. If you can’t show me, we’re not done because you have to get that for yourself because you will get blown over without it. You will lose heart if you don’t know why so is that the beginning of 2 Corinthians 4:16 and why for is at the beginning of 2 Corinthians 4:17.”
You don’t have the secret yet for how not to lose heart. They’re not there for nothing. They’re inspired. Words are inspired by God Almighty, and they carry a ton of meaning.
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