Published: 7 years ago


Many of you asked about this weekend’s Tim Keller quote in the sermon. And by “Many of you” I mean “No one in particular, but by golly it was a blog worthy quote so I’m putting it up anyway.”

Our campus pastors and venue pastors were preaching out of Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17. One of my points was that as believers, we struggle with the tension between being in the world vs. of the world vs. out of the world. Keller suggests there’s another option found in the text. The following is paraphrased from his 1999 sermon titled The Lord Praying for Mission. (thanks to my buddy Raudel for the tip)

My commentary is [bracketed] – don’t blame Yoda…um…Keller for that.

There’s a balance in being IN the world vs. OF the world vs. OUT of the world. We seek to do exactly what Jesus prayed we wouldn’t do. We either look just like our environment [we’re secret agent Christians who blend in, we don’t want to rock the boat, we don’t want to risk our promotion, we don’t want to ruin a friendship] or we remove ourselves completely from our environment [we buy a bunch of denim jumpers and we listen to K-Love and we only eat at Chick Fil A on Tuesday mornings from 9 to 11 because that’s when the lowest population of pagans will show up there and we don’t want to get pagan cooties.]

We’re too much assimilated to the world or too much afraid or disdainful of world. In this passage, Jesus doesn’t say IN the world (that’s too passive for the believer) or OUT of the world (that’s too overreactive of the believer), he says INTO the world. What does it mean to be INTO? That means that we are deeply engaged with people who differ radically from you in terms of beliefs. People with whom you’re in over your head, people whom you love, but not people whom you’re seduced by. People OUT of the world are afraid. People IN the world are assimilated and seduced. People INTO the world are deeply engaged but utterly unattracted to it.

Now that I’ve quoted Keller in a sermon, maybe he’ll write the foreword to my next book.

One Comment.
  1. Zack says:


    It was pretty cool when Keller was a guest on Focus On The Family a few months ago. It was a little bit of a conversation between “Mr. Missional” and “Mr. Guard Your Kids From The Filthy Pegan Cooty Carriers”

    In case you’re interested:

    Part 1 :{548C5026-15FF-4CE1-928C-487CE3B2039D}

    Part 2 (more focussed on this topic) :{D96BEA5B-1E93-4FE1-B7E3-12510CCDA09C}

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