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Archives

Augustinian Delight In Reformed Theology & Worship

”We need to rethink our Reformed view of salvation so that every limb and every branch in the tree is coursing with the sap of Augustinian delight.

”We need to make plain that total depravity is not just badness, but blindness to beauty and deadness to joy; and unconditional election means that the completeness of our joy in Jesus was planned for us before we ever existed; and that limited atonement is the assurance that indestructible joy in God is infallibly secured or us by the blood of the covenant; and irresistible grace is the commitment and power of God’s love to make sure we don’t hold on to suicidal pleasures, and to set us free by the sovereign power of superior delights; and that the perseverance of the saints is the almighty work of God to keep us, through all affliction and suffering, for an inheritance of pleasures and God’s right hand forever.

”This note of sovereign, triumphant joy is a missing element in too much Reformed theology and Reformed worship….Can we say the following with Augustine?

’How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose…You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place…O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation (Confessions, IX, 1).’

”Or are we in bondage to the pleasures of this world so that, for all our talk about the glory of God, we love television and food and sleep and sex and money and human praise just like everybody else?”

John Piper
Taste & See
pp. 73-74

Keywords: Piper

Absence of hospitality is a fearful thing

"'A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another' (Jn 13:34-35).' Love distinguishes believers because the unbeliever is basically incapable of loving anyone but himself; selfishness, unconcern, and indifference are the thing that characterize him. His chief desire is to preserve his own peace and quiet and not be put out or inconvenienced by anyone else. But when a man is saved, his heart is changed from one that worships itself and its own convenience (and comfort) into one that worships God and loves Him and His children. Because of this, the absence of hospitality is a fearful thing. If there is no concern for hospitality, there is no love for God's people. When there is no love for God's people, there is no love for Him."
Steve Wilkins
Face to Face: Meditations on Friendship and Hospitality
p. 112

Sweet Judgment

D.A. Carson, commenting on Ezekiel's response to God's prophecy of judgment in Ezekiel 3:3, "Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey":
Even though the message Ezekiel conveyed was full of judgment and lament, even though he explained the sins of Jerusalem to the exilic community and predicted the catastrophic fall of city and temple alike, Ezekiel was to be so aligned with God’s perspective that he found God’s words sweet. However hard the message, God’s words of judgment, if they really are God’s words, Ezekiel will find sweeter than all of the words of the received opinion of self-justifying sinners.
D.A. Carson
For the Love of God, vol 1
December 19

O that my heart would be so aligned with God's heart that even a message of destruction or one that means the end of all of my worldy comforts and pleasures, if it is God's Words, would be sweet.

Catch Men When You Preach

"He it is that brings sinners into the net which ministers spread; and if he be not with them to drive the fish into the net, they may toil all night, and day too, and catch nothing...[the men/fish that you are trying to catch] may see the bait, and play about it as pleasant, but this is not enough to catch them...

"Be concerned then, in the first place, O my soul, for the presence of God in ordinances, and for His power that will make a change among people (Ps 110:3)...When thou studiest, send up ejaculations to thy Lord for it. When thou writest a sermon, or dost ruminate on it, then say to God, 'Lord this will be altogether weak without thy power accompanying it'...

"Acknowledge thine own weakness and uselessness without it, and cry incessantly for it, that the Lord may drive the fish into the net, when thou art spreading it out...

"What an honourable thing is it to be fishers of men! How great an honour shouldst thou esteem it, to be a catcher of souls! We are workers together with God, says the apostle."
Thomas Boston
The Art of Manfishing
pp. 27-29

Patterson on Prayer, chapter 1

Quotes from chapter 1 of Ben Patterson's Deepening Your Conversation with God.
When the excitement died down enough for them to ask the question, his disciples said, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” Jesus’ answer is as devastating as it is brief. He said, “This kind can come out only by prayer. ( Mark 9:29 ). They had to pray to drive the demon out! What on earth were they doing before Jesus walked up? Whatever it was, clearly they weren’t praying. They were trying to cast out demons without prayer!...Churches can run without prayer. Whole denominations can run without prayer. The question is: Is what they’re doing worth doing if they can do it without prayer? I don’t think so...Do we really believe that programs and committees and ecclesiastical exertions and pronouncements are going to change that? Jesus doesn’t...Only by prayer."

"The pastor who claims to be too busy to pray is really a lazy person. In busyness, he or she is procrastinating, avoiding the real work of prayer."

"Perhaps one reason God delays his answers to our prayers is because he knows we need to be with him far more than we need the things we ask of him. I include myself among those who have prayed for years for someone or something with no apparent answer or resolution. But we can say that as we prayed long and hard, we found something we may not have been looking for when we began to pray, something better than the thing we asked of God. We found his incomparable presence. The praying can often be greater than the things we pray for."

Ben Patterson
Deepening Your Conversation With God

Do More Than Just Pray

“You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed.”
A.J. Gordon as cited in
Ben Patterson
Deepening Your Conversation With God
Chapter 1

Excellencies So Diverse

To Edwards' sermon on Revelation 5:5-6, "The Excellency of Christ" in which Edwards pointed out that the unique glory of Christ was that such diverse excellencies (lion and lamb) unite in him. These excellencies are so diverse that they "would have seemed to us utterly incompatible in the same subject," Piper responds

Keep reading...

Keywords: Piper

Gospel's Purpose Not to Get People to Heaven, but to God

”Why is the gospel, which has justification by faith at its heart, good news? Now this question is seldom asked, because being forgiven our sins and being acquitted in court for capital crimes and being counted righteous before a holy God is so manifestly a happy situation that it seems impertinent to ask, ‘why is it good news?’

 

”But I believe we must emphatically ask this question. For the answer to it is infinitely important. Every person should be required to answer the question, ‘Why is it good news to you that yours sins are forgiven?’ ‘Why is it good news to you that you stand righteous in the courtroom of the Judge of the universe?’ The reason this must be asked is that there are seemingly biblical answers that totally ignore the gift of God himself. A person may answer, ‘Being forgiven is good news because I don’t want to go to hell.’ Or a person may answer, ‘Being forgiven is good news because a guilty conscience is a horrible thing, and I get great relief when I believe my sins are forgiven.’ Or a person may answer, ‘I want to go to heaven.’ But then we must ask why they want to go to heaven. They might answer, ‘Because the alternative is painful.’ Or ‘Because my deceased wife is there.’ Or ‘Because there will be a new heaven and a new earth where justice and beauty will finally be everywhere.’

 

”…All that is true. So what’s wrong with those answers? What’s wrong with them is that they do not treat God as the final and highest good of the gospel. They do not express a supreme desire to be with God. God was not even mentioned. Only his gifts were mentioned. These gifts are precious. But they are not God. And they are not the gospel if God himself is not cherished as the supreme gift of the gospel. That is, if God is not treasured as the ultimate gift of the gospel, none of his gifts will be gospel, good news. And if God is treasured as the supremely valuable gift of the gospel, then all the other lesser gifts will be enjoyed as well.

 

”…Propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, imputation, sanctification, liberation, healing, heaven – none of these is good news except for one reason: they bring us to God for our everlasting enjoyment of him. If we believe all these things have happened to us, but do not embrace them for the sake of getting to God, they have not happened to us. Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God.”

John Piper
God Is the Gospel
pp. 44-47
-Audio introduction to God is the Gospel can be found here
-PDF of introduction and first chapter here

Keywords: Piper