Tag Archives: John Piper

sacrifice clearer than worship and prayer

The extent of our sacrifice coupled with the depth of our joy displays the worth we put on the reward of God. Loss and suffering, joyfully accepted for the kingdom of God, show the supremacy of God’s glory more clearly in the world than all worship and prayer.

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 232


do we not know what true worship is?

For thousands of people and pastors, however, the event of worship on Sunday morning (that is, the worship service) is conceived of as a means to accomplish something other than worship. We “worship” to raise money; we “worship” to attract crowds; we “worship” to heal human hurts; we “worship” to recruit workers; we “worship” to improve church morale. We “worship” to give talented musicians an opportunity to fulfill their calling; we “worship” to teach our children the way of righteousness; we “worship” to help marriages stay together; we “worship” to evangelize the lost among us; we “worship” to motivate people for service projects; we “worship” to give our churches a family feeling, and so on.

If we are not careful, when we speak of aiming at these things “through worship,” we bear witness that we do not know what true worship is.

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 228-229


satisfaction for people’s aching hearts

An implication of saying that the essence of worship is satisfaction in God is that worship becomes radically God-centered. Nothing makes God more supreme and more central than when people are utterly persuaded that nothing-not money or prestige or leisure or family or job or health or sports or toys or friends or ministry-is going to bring satisfaction to their aching hearts besides God. This conviction breeds a people who go hard after God on Sunday morning (or any other time).They are not confused about why they are there. They do not see songs and prayers and sermons as mere traditions or mere duties. They see them as means of getting to God or God getting to them for more of his fullness.

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 228


the ultimate outrage

Missions exists because worship doesn’t. The ultimate issue addressed by missions is that God’s glory is dishonored among the peoples of the world. When Paul brought his indictment of his own people to a climax in Romans 2:24, he said, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” That is the ultimate problem in the world. That is the ultimate outrage.

The glory of God is not honored.
The holiness of God is not reverenced.
The greatness of God is not admired.
The power of God is not praised.
The truth of God is not sought.
The wisdom of God is not esteemed.
The beauty of God is not treasured.
The goodness of God is not savored.
The faithfulness of God is not trusted.
The commandments of God are not obeyed.
The justice of God is not respected.
The wrath of God is not feared.
The grace of God is not cherished.
The presence of God is not prized.
The person of God is not loved.

The infinite, all-glorious Creator of the universe, by whom and for whom all things exist-who holds every person’s life in being at every moment (Acts 17:25)-is disregarded, disbelieved, disobeyed, and dishonored among the peoples of the world. That is the ultimate reason for missions.

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 206


the greatest and best

God had respect to himself, as his highest end [or goal], in this work [of creation]; because he is worthy in himself to be so, being infinitely the greatest and best of beings. All things else, with regard to worthiness, importance, and excellence, are perfectly as nothing in comparison [to] him.

Jonathan Edwards, The End for Which God Created the World, p. 140
quoted by John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 204


three rights that define worship

Worship is right affections in the heart toward God, rooted in right thoughts in the head about God, becoming visible in right actions of the body reflecting God.


honoring Christ in death

How do we honor Christ in death?

Paul tells us in [Philippians 1:21.] He says in sum, ” I expect and hope to honor Christ in my body in death . . . for to me to die is gain.” In other words, if i can experience death as gain, my death will honor Christ. We can see here how Paul’s mind is working. The honor and all-satisfying worth of Christ is reflected in my dying to the degree that in my soul I am not begrudging the loss of all my earthly things and relations but am counting Christ as so superior that death is all gain. The assumption – which he makes clear in verse 23 – is that death means a closer intimacy with Christ. In verse 23, he says, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” So the reason death is gain is that it brings a better experience of Christ. The exegetical conclusion then is that savoring Christ above all that we lose in death magnifies the worth of Christ. The degree to which we are satisfied in him as we die is the degree to which he is honored as we die. He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him – in life and death.

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 226


taking the gospel home

One of the unlikeliest men to attend the Itinerant Evangelist’s Conference in Amsterdam sponsored by the Billy Graham Association was a Masai Warrior named Joseph. But his story won him a hearing with Dr. Graham himself. The story is told by Michael Card.Image result for masai warriors

One day Joseph, who was walking along one of these hot, dirty African roads, met someone who shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with him. Then and there he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. The power of the Spirit began transforming his life; he was filled with such excitement and joy that the first thing he wanted to do was return to his own village and share that same Good News with the members of his local tribe.

Joseph began going from door-to-door, telling everyone he met about the Cross of Jesus and the salvation it offered, expecting to see their faces light up the way his had. To his amazement the villagers not only didn’t care, they became violent. The men of the village seized him and held him to the ground while the women beat him with strands of barbed wire. He was dragged from the village and left to die alone in the bush.

Joseph somehow managed to crawl to a waterhole, and there, after days of passing in and out of consciousness, found the strength to get up. He wondered about the hostile reception he had received from people he had known all his life. He decided he must have left something out or told the story of Jesus incorrectly. After rehearsing the message he had first heard, he decided to go back and share his faith once more.

Joseph limped into the circle of huts and began to proclaim Jesus. “He died for you, so that you might find forgiveness and come to know the living God,” he pleaded. Again he was grabbed by the men of the village and held while the women beat him, reopening wounds that had just begun to heal. Once more they dragged him unconscious from the village and left him to die.

To have survived the first beating was truly remarkable. To live through the second was a miracle.  Again, days later, Joseph awoke in the wilderness, bruised, scarred–and determined to go back.

He returned to the small village and this time, they attacked him before he had a chance to open his mouth. As they flogged him for the third and probably last time, he again spoke to them of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Before he passed out, the last thing he saw was that the women who were beating him began to weep.

This time he awoke in his own bed. The ones who had so severely beaten him were now trying to save his life and nurse him back to health. The entire village had come to Christ.

 

Michael Card, Wounded in the House of Friends, Virtue

Quoted by John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad!, p 93-94

 


blistering message

[J. Oswald Sanders] told the story of an indigenous missionary who walked barefoot from village to village preaching the gospel in India. After a long day of many miles and much discouragement, he came to a certain village and tried to speak the gospel but was spurned. So he went to the edge of the village dejected and lay down under a tree and slept from exhaustion.

When he awoke, the whole town was gathered to hear him. The head man of the village explained that they had looked him over while he was sleeping. When they saw his blistered feet, they concluded that he must be a holy man and that they had been evil to reject him. They were sorry and wanted to hear the message for which he was willing to suffer so much to bring them.

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 92-93


preparation for suffering

What shall we do with these tortures? Will we be able to bear them? If I do not bear them I put in prison another fifty or sixty men whom I know, because that is what the Communists wish from me, to betray those around me. And here comes the great need for the role of preparation for suffering which must start now. It is too difficult to prepare yourself for it when the Communists have put you in prison.

I remember my last Confirmation class before I left Romania. I took a group of ten to fifteen boys and girls on a Sunday morning, not to a church, but to the zoo. Before the cage of lions I told them, “Your forefathers in faith were thrown before such wild beasts for their faith. Know that you also will have to suffer. You will not be thrown before lions, but you will have to do with men who would be much worse than lions. Decide here and now if you wish to pledge allegiance to Christ.” They had tears in their eyes when they said yes.

We have to make the preparation now, before we are imprisoned. In prison you lose everything. You are undressed and given a prisoner’s suit. No more nice furniture, nice carpets, or nice curtains. You do not have a wife any more and you do not have your children. You do not have your library and you never see a flower. Nothing of what makes life pleasant remains. Nobody resists who has not renounced the pleasures of life beforehand.

Richard Wurmbrand, Preparing the Underground Church

Quoted by John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad!, p 79