|Warren Dunes State Park, in Michigan, on Lake Michigan|
Last evening I spoke at Linden Avenue Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio, on "Breaking the Bondage of Addiction." I began by sharing my own freedon from alcohol and drugs that came when, at age 21, I surrendered my life to Jesus. I think of this often, and it remains foundational in my enduring commitment to Christ and his Kingdom.
Then I asked if there were any persons in the room who could give one-sentence testimonies that used this form: "I was once addicted to ______________, but Christ set me free." At least 20 persons stood up and shared. These testimonies were amazing. More than one person said this: "For 15 years I was a crack cocaine addict. In desperation I reached out to Christ. He set me free. I haven't used drugs for 10 years." I LOVE hearing stories like this! This, to me, is the heart of what the Gospel is all about. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is a redemptive Movement, not a molasses-moving-inert Institution, that brings the love and power of Christ into the kingdom of darkness and rescues people.
Then I preached out of Romans 6:8-15, giving what I called an explanatory theology; viz., an explanation of what's going on when an addict comes to Christ.
After the message we called people who wanted more freedom from addiction forward, and prayed for them.
The message I gace last evening was a form of the message I gave at Redeemer on April 22. You can listen to that message here.