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Expulsive Power

The love of God, and the love of the world, are two affections, not merely in a state of rivalship, but in a state of enmity, and that so irreconcilable that they can not dwell together in the same bosom. [It is impossible] for the heart, by any innate elasticity of its own, to cast the world away from it… the only way to dispossess it of an old affection is by the expulsive power of a new one.”
– “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection”, a sermon by Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847)

These sentences are so pregnant with the truth many churches need to heed today. Being at a seeker-targeted church we’ve had more than our share of criticism that fellowships of our ilk water down the truth and distance people from true transformation because teaching is predicated on giving people what they want to hear…which is usually not the biblical Gospel. Unfortunately, I think those who’ve painted seeker-targeted churches with such broad strokes have missed at more than what they’ve hit – but that’s grist for another mill.

With that being said, I believe our pastor-teachers try very hard to make sure we aren’t giving our people the “new law” of moralism or trying to paint for them a Christianity which is simply a God-approved upgrade in the American Dream. On the contrary, we vigorously aim to hit the Gospel-mark. We have no choice! I’ve seen the emptiness of Dr. Phil-esque approaches churches take to life change. I’ve watched how people will sizzle with excitement of learning three practical ways to change only to fizzle mere weeks later when there is no power behind their ephemeral, consumer-crippled motivations. Thus we call upon all to discover a power which can give a man a new love and new loves. We exhort all to turn to the expulsive power of the Gospel.

So I thank God for recently running across the soul-mending words of the old Scottish divine Thomas Chalmers. They are a good reminder that for those who find themselves hard pressed with worldly infirmities, there is no true medicine which can be found but in Christ’s Gospel-provisions. They are also a shot across the bow to all pastors who seek to take others down other paths hewn by the hands of men when only one road to real, expulsive power life change can be found.

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

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