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Enjoying God as an End, Never a Means

February 27, 2008 2 comments

Just heard something that I hope I never forget because I believe it could be one of those statements that people describe as “when I heard that it changed the rest of my life.”

John Piper gave a talk on distinguishing the Gospel from false gospels and in the end he stressed that the goal of the Gospel is GOD! and nothing else. He went on to say that as preachers we MUST tell people this or….

they will become forgiven TV watchers who will never be able to break free of their idols.

This is a powerful statement. It is easy to be Christian but to not fully enjoy God as an end, rather than a means to something else. May that be increasingly less true of me!

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Categories: Faith, Piper

Who Is John Piper?

February 7, 2008 1 comment

John Piper is a man known for many things. He is a pastor, teacher, author and champion of all things relating to God’s glory and sovereignty. If you were around Bethel University a few years ago he was a man you either loved or hated in the midst of some serious doctrinal battles. However, before you close your mind’s book on John Piper you should take a couple minutes and read, from his own son’s pen, a little bit more of who John Piper is.

Check it out here.

Categories: Piper

Piper Quotes

December 30, 2007 Leave a comment

John Piper on the need to have a BIG view of a glorious, unfathomable God based on the truths of Scripture…

“A wimpy world view produces wimpy Christians. And wimpy Christians will not be able to stand in the last days.”

Also, Piper on the reality of sin’s horrific effects in the world…

“History is a conveyor belt of corpses.”

Categories: Piper

To Stand or Flee in the Face of Persecution

October 25, 2007 Leave a comment

Have you ever wondered what you would do in a situation where you faced persecution for your faith? As I think about the people around the world in places like Iraq, Sudan and Indonesia who daily die for their faith I wonder what I would do if I was in their place.

  • Would I flee the country?
  • Would I try to go underground?
  • Would I boldly stand and suffer?

John Piper has a short reflection on Matthew 10:16. In it he poses the questions above and quotes a thoughtful and heart-freeing response from a man named John Bunyan. I encourage you to reflect on what Bunyan writes,

In 1684, John Bunyan published a book called Seasonable Counsels, or Advice to Sufferers. In it, he addressed this question: When does a sufferer fly (from danger) and when does he stand (and suffer the danger)? Bunyan knew how to answer for himself. He had four children, one of them blind, and he chose to remain in prison for twelve years rather than promise not to preach the gospel. How does he answer the question for others? May we try to escape?

Thou mayest do in this as it is in thy heart. If it is in thy heart to fly, fly; if it be in thy heart to stand, stand. Anything but a denial of the truth. He that flies, has warrant to do so; he that stands, has warrant to do so. Yea, the same man may both fly and stand, as the call and working of God with his heart may be. Moses fled, Ex. 2:15; Moses stood, Heb. 11:27. David fled, 1 Sam. 19:12; David stood, 1 Sam. 24:8. Jeremiah fled, Jer. 37:11-12; Jeremiah stood, Jer. 38:17. Christ withdrew himself, Luke 19:10; Christ stood, John 18:1-8. Paul fled, 2 Cor. 11:33; Paul stood, Act 20:22-23. . . .

There are few rules in this case. The man himself is best able to judge concerning his present strength, and what weight this or that argument has upon his heart to stand or fly. . . . Do not fly out of a slavish fear, but rather because flying is an ordinance of God, opening a door for the escape of some, which door is opened by God’s providence, and the escape countenanced by God’s Word, Matt. 10:23. . . .

If, therefore, when thou hast fled, thou art taken, be not offended at God or man: not at God, for thou art his servant, thy life and thy all are his; not at man, for he is but God’s rod, and is ordained, in this, to do thee good. Hast thou escaped? Laugh. Art thou taken? Laugh. I mean, be pleased which [how]soever things shall go, for that the scales are still in God’s hand. (p. 726)

Categories: Piper, Quotes, Suffering

Why Did God Curse the Ground?

August 11, 2007 Leave a comment

Listened to a preacher yesterday who was talking, in part, about the atrocities and sufferings in the world. He raised the question, “Why, in Genesis 3, does God put a curse on the ground? It was the man who sinned, not the creation, so why is the earth punished?” (Read it here, v17)

Why did God subject the natural order to such futility because of the sin of human beings? The natural order did not sin. Humans sinned. But Paul said, “The creation was subjected to futility.” The creation was put in “bondage to corruption.” Why? God said, “Cursed be the ground because of you” (Genesis 3:17). But why? Why are there natural disasters in creation in response to moral failures in man? Why not just simple death for all the guilty offspring of Adam? Why this bloody kaleidoscope of horrific suffering century after century? Why so many children with heart-wrenching disabilities?

Interesting questions.

The preacher than gave his answer.

My answer is that God put the natural world under a curse so that the physical horrors we see around us in diseases and calamities would become vivid pictures of how horrible sin is. In other words, natural evil is a signpost pointing to the unspeakable horror of moral evil.

The sufferings of the world are used, in part, to awaken man’s heart to the reality and wretchedness of our sin in the eyes of God. The sickening we feel in our stomachs when we see – a bridge collapse, or a child born armless, or when a tornado/ earthquake/ avalanche flattens a town, or when thousands are slaughtered in genocide – that nauseous feeling is only a taste of the horrific nature of humanity’s sin against a holy God.

God disordered the natural world because of the disorder of the moral and spiritual world—that is, because of sin. In our present fallen condition, with our hearts so blinded to the exceeding wickedness of sin, we cannot see or feel how repugnant sin is. Hardly anyone in the world feels the abhorrent evil that our sin is. Almost no one is incensed or nauseated at the way they belittle the glory of God. But let their bodies be touched with pain, and God is called to give an account of himself. We are not upset at the way we injure his glory, but let him injury our little pinky finger and all our moral outrage is aroused. Which shows how self-exalting and God-dethroning we are.

These tragedies are necessary because, left alone, the human heart is not moved by its own sin. It is probably safe to guess that 99% of people go through their day troubles little by their spiritual imperfections. People generally are not moved to prostrate themselves in the evening and beg for God’s forgiveness. Our heart is too hard; it is so broken that it doesn’t even see the truth.

So the next time we are angered or sickened or disgusted or repulsed by something we should ask God to help us feel the same emotions for our fallen state before him. And we should be moved to praise that God, for and in spite of us, would humble himself, take on the form of a man, and be obedient to a humiliating and horrific death on a cross.

(read the manuscript or download the sermon here)

Categories: Piper, Quotes, Suffering

Video From the Bridge Collapse and Teaching From Piper on Suffering

The folks at Desiring God put some video footage from the scene of the bridge collapse together with a message from John Piper about why there is suffering in the world. A perspective to consider.

The audio is from the message “Where Is God.”

John Piper Reflects on the MN Bidge Collapse

August 2, 2007 1 comment

All the local news stations are reporting on the terrible tragedy that occurred in Minneapolis yesterday when the 35W bridge collapsed. This morning I read a blog post by John Piper that I would recommend to you. In it he recounts the conversation he has with is 11 year old daughter abut the accident before putting her to bed yesterday. I am struck and convicted after reading this by the way Piper always turns things (all things) back to Jesus.

O that all of the Twin Cities, in shock at this major calamity, would hear what Jesus has to say about it from Luke 13:1-5. People came to Jesus with heart-wrenching news about the slaughter of worshipers by Pilate. Here is what he said.

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Jesus implies that those who brought him this news thought he would say that those who died, deserved to die, and that those who didn’t die did not deserve to die. That is not what he said. He said, everyone deserves to die. And if you and I don’t repent, we too will perish. This is a stunning response. It only makes sense from a view of reality that is radically oriented on God.

All of us have sinned against God, not just against man. This is an outrage ten thousand times worse than the collapse of the 35W bridge. That any human is breathing at this minute on this planet is sheer mercy from God. God makes the sun rise and the rain fall on those who do not treasure him above all else. He causes the heart to beat and the lungs to work for millions of people who deserve his wrath. This is a view of reality that desperately needs to be taught in our churches, so that we are prepared for the calamities of the world.

The meaning of the collapse of this bridge is that John Piper is a sinner and should repent or forfeit his life forever. That means I should turn from the silly preoccupations of my life and focus my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on God and embrace Jesus Christ as my only hope for the forgiveness of my sins and for the hope of eternal life. That is God’s message in the collapse of this bridge. That is his most merciful message: there is still time to turn from sin and unbelief and destruction for those of us who live. If we could see the eternal calamity from which he is offering escape we would hear this as the most precious message in the world.