Archive for the ‘John Piper’ Category

Steven J. Cole, in a sermon on Genesis 17, recalled an episode from the ministry of John Piper that emphasizes the need for us to vastly increase our vision of God.

Piper preached a sermon on Isaiah 6 focusing on the greatness of God. Although he would normally attempt to make application from any text he preached, this time he didn’t. He simply lifted up and exalted God’s greatness. Unknown to him, a young family had just discovered that their child was being sexually abused by a relative. They heard his sermon on Isaiah 6 that day.

Piper wrote that many advisers of preachers would have said, “Pastor Piper, can’t you see that your people are hurting? Can’t you come down out of the heavens and get practical? Don’t you realize what kind of people sit in front of you on Sunday?”  Some weeks later the husband of the young family told him, “John, these have been the hardest months of our lives. Do you know what has gotten me through? The vision of the greatness of God’s holiness that you gave the first week in January. It has been the rock we could stand on.”

“The greatness and glory of God are relevant. It does not matter if surveys turn up a list of perceived needs that does not include the supreme greatness of the sovereign God of grace. That is the deepest need. Our people are starving for God.” (The Supremacy of God in Preaching [Baker], pp. 10-11.)


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Tough and Tender

John Newton, the former slave trader saved by the amazing grace of God, is the example of the pastor I want to be, especially during controversy – tough and tender. Read John Piper’s article here.

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I first read Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist in 1989, three years after it was first published, in my first year of seminary. John Piper’s book caused in me what some call a “paradigm shift.” The idea that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him was, and remains, a life-changing thought.

The revised edition, which was published this year, is even better than the original. It contains a new preface, a study guide, and a new chapter entitled, “Suffering: The Sacrifice of Christian Hedonism” which is excellent. Piper has also made some changes and revisions throughout the book.

Even after twenty-five years, the truths Piper presents hold up under the scrutiny of Scripture. I have to admit it took me awhile to accept Piper’s “Christian Hedonism” because I didn’t like the name or the association with a non-Christian philosophy. Over time, I became convinced that the chief end of man is to glorify by enjoying Him forever is indeed the teaching of God’s Word.

I was intrigued by the idea presented in the added chapter that gluttony may be the sinful alternative to the truth of the resurrection of the body and the afterlife. It’s a good point worth thinking about.

The Revised Edition of Desiring God will stand the test of time, thereby making it a classic just like the original.

Check it out here.

Multnomah Waterbrook sent me a free copy of this book to review.

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John Piper published an outstanding article called “Don’t Waste Your Cancer” after he was diagnosed with a form of  it several years ago. David Powlinson, a Christian counselor, has added his own comments which make the article even more outstanding. It’s a must-read.

The word “cancer” has been heard recently by a number of people I’m familiar with (some more, some less). Good theology and thinking on this subject is absolutely critical. Please read this article.

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Number 5-4Here are five good books on why Jesus Christ died and what His death accomplished.

  1. The Passion of Jesus Christ: Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper. Packed with more truth per-square-inch than just about any other.
  2. The Cross of Christ by John R.W. Stott. A classic theological treatment of the subject.
  3. Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray. The first five chapters deal specifically with the death of Jesus.
  4. The Great Exchange by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington. Comprehensive Biblical study of the atonement. Very well done.
  5. The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul. A readable introduction.

Tolle lege! (which interpreted means, “Take up and read!”)

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Tim Russert’s death got me thinking about gratitude.

Russert was always thankful and grateful when he spoke about his own life. Gratitude seemed to characterize him.

Gratitude is, or should be, a huge part of the Christian life. We find gratitude and thankfulness all throughout the Bible. Faithful Jews in the Old Testament were commanded to give thanks to God and to make thank offerings. Many of the Psalms are lyrical examples of gratitude. The New Testament is no less filled with gratitude and grateful believers. It’s a theme that runs through the entire Word of God.

What is gratitude? John Piper has defined it in the following way:

So gratitude is more than delighting in a gift. It is a feeling of happiness directed toward a person for giving you something good. It is a happiness that comes not merely from the gift, but from the act of giving. Gratitude is a happy feeling you have about a giver because of his giving something good to you or doing something good for you. (From the sermon “Grace, Gratitude, and the Glory of God” – Nov. 26, 1981)

Piper also makes the important point that gratitude is especially felt when the gift is undeserved and unearned – when it’s grace, in other words.

Luke 17:11-19 is a classic example of gratitude, and by contrast, ingratitude.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.” When they saw him, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

The immediate context of Luke’s Gospel (16:1-17:19) deals with a number of the sayings and teachings of Jesus dealing with wealth, power, money, service, and humility. One of the main undercurrents of what Jesus taught is that the Jews shouldn’t presume any of God’s blessings – they’re not automatic – and they should be grateful for what He had given them.

The cleansing of the ten lepers illustrates the points Jesus was making. The Samaritan showed thankfulness and expressed his gratitude, which was proper, while the other nine – equally healed – may have felt grateful but never expressed it.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. 5:18-20)

(To be continued)

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The reformation21 blog has posted a great video called “The Gospel in Six Minutes” featuring Pastor John Piper. You can check it out here.

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