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Jackie Hill Perry urges students to fully embrace Christ with their lives at Convocation

Liberty University welcomed speaker and author Jackie Hill Perry to Convocation Wednesday morning to speak about the life-altering power of the Gospel and the importance of remaining true to God’s Word.

Jackie Hill Perry spoke about adhering to the true Gospel at Convocation. (Photo by Jessie Jordan)

Perry, who was introduced to the stage by her husband, Preston, began her message by sharing a few of the expressions that she heard growing up from her mother. One question she recalled often hearing as a child was “If all of your friends jump off of a cliff, would you jump too?” She then argued that many leaders in today’s churches are themselves “jumping off of cliffs” by embracing the immorality and self-worship of today’s culture and are bringing their congregations along with them.

“I’m here to tell you that just because everyone is acting crazy and just because everyone is jumping off the cliff, you don’t have to,” she said. “Because if you see the popularity of liars, the easy Christianity of the lukewarm, the synchronistic tone of the culture, the apathetic leadership of the weary; if you see that and envy it, you will want to jump. And if you do, for a short while, it will feel like you’re flying and you are free, but I can promise you, according to the Word, that it won’t be long before your body hits the ground.”

Teaching from 2 Timothy 4, Perry said that Paul called Timothy to preach the Word of God so that others may be saved. While she acknowledged that Creation provides humanity with the basic understanding that there is a God, Perry argued that only through the Bible and God’s divine revelation may people have a saving knowledge and relationship with the true Creator.

“The mountains might have a sermon, but it will never be as sufficient as the Scriptures, which give us all we need to know about God this side of Heaven,” she said. “If we want to know, love, see, understand, worship, and have context for and faith in God, we have to know God.”

Perry next addressed the issue of modern-day pastors and spiritual leaders who choose to dilute the truth of the Gospel by prioritizing the preaching of other lesser messages over the Word of God. She said that one reason why they do this is to appease the passions of their congregations and affirm their sinful desires.

“If you are out here with the intention of preaching a word, but not the Word, please sit down and go home,” she said. “If your word didn’t make me, then it certainly can’t save me. If we want to see revival happen in this generation, we don’t need new methods and we don’t need new words, we simply need to return to the means of grace that God has already promised to bless the faithful preaching of the Word.”

Perry stated that false teachers often preach errant views of Scripture and instead justify and promote ungodly lifestyles centered around a love of self, money, and pleasure. When they do so, people are deceived into thinking that lies such as the prosperity gospel, fornication, homosexuality, and pride are justifiable and acceptable to God.

To combat these falsehoods, Perry argued that Christians should confront those sins and rebuke them. This means not only teaching the truth, but also help sinners see their need for a Savior.

(Photo by Kendall Tidwell)

“We don’t preach to suit passions, we preach to passions,” she said. “Dealing with the issue of unsound teaching cannot happen primarily through intellectual instruction, as though the mind is the only thing that is corrupted. We must also apply truth to affections. It is absolutely necessary to preach to the mind. We’re here to instruct and train people in truth… But, as history will show you, you can know truth and still functionally believe a lie.”

While many people often think of these people as those outside of the church, Perry noted that many of those who are deceived consider themselves Christians and may even look like genuine believers to the outside world. Instead of having a true conversion and an authentic relationship with God, they merely use the Christian walk as a “fig leaf” to cover themselves while still secretly living in disobedience.

“It is only in Christ Jesus that you can be fully clothed,” she said. “It is only in Christ Jesus where your sin and your shame can be removed. The primary reason you even exist is to know Him. This God made you, and unlike you, He is not self-serving, but self-giving. He is self-giving to the extent that He came from Heaven to earth to show the way, from the earth to the cross, your debt to pay, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky. It’s by the power of the (Holy Spirit) that we don’t lift my name, or your name, or Liberty’s name, but lift His name on high.”

Perry concluded her message by urging believers to make sure that they have a proper understanding of Christ not only for their own benefit, but so that they may be effective evangelists. This stems from fully experiencing the love of Christ and in so doing no longer desire the passions of the world.

“When you’ve had Bread and the Living Water and the world offers you a lesser water and a lesser food, you won’t want it anymore because you are satisfied,” she said. “We are called as servants of the living God to preach the word and to preach to passions.”

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