SBTS chapel live blog: Russell D. Moore – Genesis 25:19-34; Hebrews 12:15-17

Communications Staff — October 15, 2009

Preacher: Russell D. Moore

Text/title: Genesis 25:19-34; Hebrews 12:15-17 -Blood Soup: Why the Culture of Craving is Wrecking your Life, your Church, and our Mission – and How Jesus can turn it Around.”

Moore began by presenting the “life cycle” of someone in a Southern Baptist church in his generation: birth; Vacation Bible School, where you raise your hand and profess faith in Christ; high school, where you become wild and rebellious, indeed, where such wildness is almost expected; college, where the wildness only increases; then, finally, you settle down, get married and, if you don’t get divorced, you become a deacon, maybe even chairman of the deacons.

In this “life cycle” the Gospel is seen as the last step after you have exhausted your wildness and rebellion, after you gotten it out of your system. Sort of like a Catholic on Fat Tuesday before Lent.

The only problem is, Moore said he couldn’t find this life cycle in the book of Acts. But he does see it in the life of Esau.

In Esau devouring a mess of potage for an inheritance, there is a warning for Christians. There is a warning, and there is also a message: the Gospel is good news.

Wrestling for who you are

Esau reaches a point of despair when reality does not match his identity as a hunter. He comes in hungry. Losing his sense of identity, losing his sense of who he is, Esau does something in a few minutes that would then define him for the rest of his life.

Esau becomes defined by the sin that destroyed him. I wonder how many of you know a past mentor, who, when you speak of them now, say, “he is the one who committed adultery,” “He is the one who embezzled money,” “She is the one who I used to trust, but who made public everything I told her.”

Esau became known as the one who ate the red stew, the one who are the blood soup.

If you do not see the person and work of Christ as the center of your identity, so that you say, “I am crucified with Christ, I am hidden in Christ,” then whatever alternative identity you have will come to destroy you.

You and I are living in a world and a culture where everybody we see has a craving to be somebody. Most people connect their craving, their identity, to something they do. Some of them want it on a global sense, while others want it on a local level.

Esau’s lack of self-control leads him to no longer see who he is and it leads him to blood soup.

Wrestling for what you want

The red stew was nothing that would ordinarily be tempting to you. But when you are starving, demoralized and discouraged, when you come up after a lifetime of Isaac training you to be a hunger, he is defined by his father’s appetites, which become his own appetites, and what was not compelling is now compelling. It is compelling not because it is significant, but because it seems to be so insignificant. Esau thought he could just eat the stew, go home and hunt the next day.

Satan does the same thing. He will put you in a situation where a thousand small decisions can suddenly lead to one decision, one situation, that could wreck your life.

You are being trained in all kinds of little acts right now, so that one day, after a lifetime of learning to like it and not get caught, whether that is an appetite of eating and eating and eating, or sleeping and sleeping and sleeping or not working hard at Hebrew so that you one day work hard in ministry, so that you will one day turn around and wonder, “What did I do?”

Our Lord Jesus did not offer Himself up on the cross in a nanosecond. He was trained in obedience. There were many times when He went away to pray, when He pleaded with the Father. He was learning how to want, what must be wanted.

And yet we live in a culture where so many people are wanting what they don’t want to want. And there are so many evangelicals who are teaching people to get what they want and get the Gospel to. We are giving people more and more curriculum, more and more shellacked plaques with Bible verses: we are giving them a Gospel of their appetites. We should not be surprised when their appetites destroy them.

It will not be hyper-Calvinism that destroys the SBC. It will be hyper-capitalism that destroys the SBC. When we are in families have a craving to be normal and economically viable we are walking in a way of Esau that will destroy us. You can give a child a pleasant and cartoon-like Christianity that does not give your child the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Just don’t be surprised when your child grows up to live a cartoonish life.

Seeing the despair of Esau ought to remind us just how good the good news of the Gospel is. When people are trapped in the horror of their cravings, you can tell them, “You don’t have to keep living that way.” You can say, “Jesus drank the blood soup for you.” You can tell them “Jesus gave up His inheritance and went the cross for you.” And you can tell them “You can give up your cravings because Jesus gave Himself for you.”

Do we have compassion for those we are seeing all around us, who, though they seem so joyful, have blood soup smeared on their face? Do we have the desire to be self-controlled and embrace the freedom we have in Christ, embrace the inheritance we have in Christ? Do we have the desire to embrace this freedom and share it with others in a world where it is always Mardi Gras and Easter never comes?

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