John Piper – The Life of the Mind and the Love of Man

John Piper speaks to new BCS students, making an argument from the Bible that thinking with right reason is a God ordained means to loving others.

The Life of the Mind and the Love of Man from Bethlehem College and Seminary on Vimeo.

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John Piper – Are You Good Enough for Grace?

Watch the full message, “Are You Worthy of Jesus?” athttp://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/are-you-worthy-of-jesus

John Piper – Three Steps to Stop Wasting Your Life

Photo credit revolutionflame.com

John Piper explains Proverbs 3:5-6. From desiringGod.org

Every day, you and I will be tempted to waste the precious life God has given us. The book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom to help us navigate these daily pressures and impulses. Proverbs 3:5–6 — two of the most popular verses in the Bible — offer three steps for experiencing as much of God’s grace as possible today.

Step 1: Bank your life on the promises of God.

Step 2: Refuse to be self-reliant.

Step 3: At every turn, turn to God.

In this three-minute video, John Piper continues his series, in partnership with YouVersion, through the Bible’s ten most-highlighted passages. With these verses, he wants you to avoid wasting your life by staying in the path of God’s grace and purpose for you.

Three Steps to Stop Wasting Your Life from Desiring God on Vimeo.

John Piper – Responding to God according to His word

Responding to God According to His Word from Desiring God on Vimeo.

John Piper – Raspuns la “Un Cuvant Comun” (scris de musulmani) si Documentului de la Universitatea Yale (raspunsul crestinilor)

Photo credit www.yale.edu

Citeste documentul musulmanilor aici  – A Common Word (Un Cuvant Comun)

Citeste raspunsul Universitatii Yale, semnat de mai multi lideri Crestini (dar, nu de John Piper si Al Mohler) – “A Common Word” Christian Response (Un Cuvant Comun – Raspunsul Crestinilor)

Traducere Agnus Dei: Raspunsul lui John Piper, din 18 Noiembrie 2009:

Sunt deacord cu a doua propozitie din documentul “Un Cuvant Comun”, care spune in felul urmator: ,,Fara pace si justitie intre cele doua comunitati religioase (musulmani si crestini), nu poate exista o pace semnificativa in lume.” Eu prin aceasta inteleg ca este vorba despre un comportament national, social si personal, dar nu si exprimarea sentimentelor, sau exprimarea ideilor. Si, totodata sunt deacord cu propozitia din ultimul paragraf, care spune: ,,Deci, sa nu lasam ca diferentele noastre sa produca ura si cearta intre noi.” Acestea sunt dorinte enorme pe care le impartasesc si eu.

Piper s response to A Common WordIn Ioan 18:36 Isus a zis, de fapt El a renuntat la sabie, ca fiind o strategie pentru ucenicii sai, ca o modalitate de a avansa imparatia. El a zis: ,,Daca ar fi Imparatia Mea din lumea aceasta, slujitorii Mei s’ar fi luptat ca sa nu fiu dat in mainile Iudeilor; dar acum, Imparatia Mea nu este de aici.” Si, prin urmare, crestinii ar trebui sa lucreze impreuna cu oameni cu vederi religioase foarte radical diferite, cu scopul de a cauta modalitati pentru a evita violenta nejustificata. Ei ar trebui sa caute impreuna sa pastreze libertatea de inchinare religioasa, intrunirea religioasa, si proclamarea publica a religiei. Crestinii ar trebui sa renunte la folosirea fortei fizice atat prin violenta ilegala cat si prin pedeapsa legala care are ca scop limitarea expresiei religioase pasnice, ne coercitive, inchinarea sau discursul persuasiv religios.

Dar, centrul acestei chemari “Un Cuvant Comun” este defectuos. Aceasta chemare isi propune sa ofere un  fundament pentru fiecare dialog interconfesional din viitor. La pagina 15 scrie: ,,Fie ca acest fundament comun sa fie baza viitoarelor noastre intruniri interconfesionale, pentru ca acest fundament comun cuprinde toata Legea si Proorocii.” Matei 22.

Care este asadar chemarea centrala a cuvantului comun?

Fraza: ,,Un Cuvant Comun Intre Noi”, este luata din Koran. Citandu-l pe Dumnezeu, spune: ,,Oh oameni ai scripturii (evrei si crestini), veniti la un cuvant comun intre noi si voi, ca sa nu ne inchinam la nimeni, decat lui Dumnezeu.”

Acest citat este important deoarece arata clar ca chemarea centrala “A Cuvantului Comun” nu este ca noi suntem deacord ca monoteisti pe principiile formale de dragoste pentru Dumnezeu (oricare este El), si dragostea fata de aproapele nostru (oricare este el). Aceasta ar putea fi adevarat. Dar  ceea ce citatul din Koran face clar este ca chemarea centrala din ” Un Cuvant Comun” este aceea ca crestinii si musulmanii de fapt iubesc pe acelasi Dumnezeu. Cu alte cuvinte, cand am citit “Un Cuvant Comun” intrebarea mea a fost: Este disertatia ca oficial religiile noastre sunt similare? Voi pune-ti o mare importanta pe dragostea de Dumnezeu si de aproapele nostru. Noi punem o mare importanta pe dragostea de Dumnezeu si aproapele nostru. Acestea sunt structural si formal similare, si noi putem sa fim deacord in aceasta privinta.

Sau aceasta inseamna ca: Noi avem o dragoste pentru Dumnezeu, si voi aveti o dragoste pentru Dumnezeu. Ca dragostea comuna pentru un Dumnezeu comun, este temelia. Aceasta din urma este ceea ce documentul insemneaza. Sunt alte doua motive pentru a crede aceasta. Paragraful, care urmeaza imediat acestuia pe care l-am citat, identifica aceasta chemare din Koran cu o porunca mare din Biblie. Ele spun: ,,Este clar, ca inchinandu-te nimanui decat numai lui Dumnezeu se relata cu a fi devotat in totalitate lui Dumnezeu, si deci la prima si cea mai mare porunca. Astfel, noi suntem chemati sa stam impreuna, pe un fundament comun de o singura inchinare la Dumnezeu, un singur devotament fata de Dumnezeu si o singura dragoste pentru Dumnezeu.” A treia proba de evidenta din “Un Cuvant Comun”. Citeaza Koranul in felul urmator: ,,Sa ziceti, oh musulmanilor, noi credem in Dumnezeu, si in ceea ce Moise si Isus au primit. Si, daca ei cred in felul in care voi credeti, atunci ei sunt indrumati drept. Dar daca ei se intorc de la aceasta, atunci ei sunt in schisma si Dumnezeu iti va fi deajuns impotriva lor.”

Problema principala cu raspunsul Universitatii Yale

Asadar, este clar ca fundamentul comun prezentat in “Un Cuvant Comun” nu este o similaritate formala intre doua religii monoteiste, dar de fapt, o dragoste impartasita comun pentru un singur Dumnezeu. Inainte ca sa prezint ce este eronant in aceasta, principala problema cu raspunsul Universitatii Yale, care inca nu a fost adresat, este ca (universitatea) este deacord cu ea. Acestea sunt principalele probleme. Eu nu am nici un fel de obiectiuni la ceea ce ei adreseaza. Am cinci, dar toate acestea sunt de forme diferite. Si aceasta este cea mai principala, si propozitia cheie este gasita in sectiunea “Sarcina Ce Ne Sta In Fata”, si este scrisa in felul urmator – acesta este acum raspunsul lui Yale la “Un Cuvant Comun”: Noi trebuie sa lucram impreuna din rasputeri pentru a transforma relatiile dintre comunitatile noastre si dintre natiunile noastre, ca ele sa reflecte cu adevarat “dragostea noastra comuna pentru un singur Dumnezeu si a unuia fata de celalalt”. Aceasta este cea mai problematica propozitie din acest document.

Este clar ca din fraza “dragostea noastra comuna pentru un singur Dumnezeu” ca cei ce au scris aceasta sau ca s-au exprimat gresit – care este putin probabil din moment ce prea multe alte semne distinctive din acest document ne indruma inspre aceasta directie, sau ca ei sunt in agreanta cu “Un Cuvant Comun” si fundamentul comun de dialog Musulman- Crestin, nu este o similaritate formala in religiile noastre, dar de fapt, o dragoste impartasita pentru un Dumnezeu adevarat si pentru aproapele nostru.

Greseala din Fundamentul Comun propus in documentul Un Cuvant Comun si acceptat prin raspunsul Universitatii Yale, arata deslusit ca Isus nu exista

Opinia mea ar fi ca aceasta absenta intr-un astfel de fundament comun trebuie facut explicit, nu de dragul de a distruge acest dialog, sau de a submina pacea. Dar, din partea crestinismului, pentru a fi deschisi (sinceri), cinstiti, credinciosi public, inaltand pe Christos, un dialog care sa pastreze increderea, si pentru o pace durabila care sa fie bazata pe adevar. Isus a zis: ,,Stiu ca n’aveti in voi dragoste de Dumnezeu. Eu am venit in Numele Tatalui Meu, si nu Ma primiti; daca va veni un altul, in numele lui insus, pe acela il veti primi.” Deci, atunci cand Isus a zis,  “Ma primiti”, El zice sa-L primiti pentru cine este El cu adevarat – ‘Cel divin, eternul Fiu al lui Dumnezeu, care isi da viata pentru oile Sale; si o ia inapoi in trei zile.’ Daca o persoana nu-L primeste in felul acesta, Isus spune ca aceasta persoana nu-L iubeste pe Dumnezeu. Isus a spus deasemenea: ,,Tatal nici nu judeca pe nimeni, ci toata judecata a dat-o Fiului, pentru ca toti sa cinsteasca pe Fiul cum cinstesc pe Tatal. Cine nu cinsteste pe Fiul, nu cinsteste pe Tatal, care L-a trimes.” Si cand Isus a zis “cinsteste pe Fiul” El zice sa Il onoram pe El pentru cine El este cu adevarat – ‘Cel divin, eternul Fiu al lui Dumnezeu, care isi da viata pentru oile Sale; si o ia inapoi in trei zile.’

O persoana care nu-L cinsteste pe Isus in felul acesta, nu-L cinsteste pe Dumnezeu. Isus a zis: ,,Voi nu ma cunoasteti nici pe Mine, nici pe Tatal Meu. Daca M’ati cunoaste pe Mine, ati cunoaste si pe Tatal Meu.” Cand Isus spune ‘daca M-ati cunoaste’, inseamna “sa ma cunoasteti pe Mine pentru cine sunt Eu cu adevarat”. Deci, persoana care nu-L cunoaste pe Isus ca fiind Cel divin, etern, crucificat, Fiul lui Dumnezeu inviat din morti, nu-L cunoaste pe Dumnezeu. Din punct de vedere istoric musulmanii nu-L cunosc pe Isus, nu-L cinstesc pe Isus si nu-L primesc pe Isus pentru cine El este cu adevarat: Cel divin, eternul Fiu al lui Dumnezeu, care si-a dat viata pentru toti pacatosii prin moartea Sa pe cruce, si care apoi a inviat din morti. Si, orisicine crede in El sa primeasca mantuirea. Deci, Isus spune ca musulmanii nu-L cunosc pe Dumnezeu, nu-L cinstesc pe Dumnezeu, si nu-L iubesc pe Dumnezeu. Atat de ofensator cat este lucrul acesta, dar Isus a spus-o celor mai saturati oameni religiosi ai Bibliei, cu disciplina rituala, celor mai constienti oameni religiosi de prezenta lui Dumnezeu, din timpul Sau.

Asadar, chemarea centrala din “Un Cuvant Comun”, impartasita de raspunsul lui Yale, este profund eronata, cu alte cuvinte ea nu exista. Eu cred, prin urmare, ca exista o cale mai buna de a merge inainte, intre crestini si musulmani. In special, ma gandesc la scolarii biblici, nu cei ce fug la moara, cei obisnuiti, cei de la o intalnire evanghelistica, cei de peste drum de biserica mea, unde sunt mii de musulmani somali, vecini de-ai mei. Ma gandesc la scolari si cleri scriind documente unul celuilalt si care stiu deja ceea ce ceilalti cred, in general.

Din partea crestina, aceasta va fi cinstita, credinciosi bibilei, Christos ca punct central, preamarind pe Christos, dialog care sa pastreze adevarul, daca punem aceste lucruri la masa de discutie. Nici intr-un fel sa ne impingem unul pe altul deoparte, ci sa vorbim in baza celor mai dureroase diferente. Eu cred din toata inima mea, caci ca pacatosi iertati, care ne datoram viata prin harul lui Dumnezeu cu care ne-a rascumparat, noi crestinii putem privi cu dragoste si bunavointa si cu o compasiune blanda din adancul inimii, in ochii musulmanilor si sa le zicem: ,, Eu nu cred ca il cunoasteti pe Dumnezeu, eu nu cred ca il cinstiti pe Dumnezeu, eu nu cred ca il iubiti pe Dumnezeu. Si sper ca in timpul conversatiei noastre, frumustea lui Christos va fi vazuta mai clar, pentru cine este El cu adevarat. Si daca am fi amenintati in aceasta sala chiar acum, de crestini sau musulmani, eu as spera sa mor pentru acesti oameni. Nu sa-i imping in fata mea, ci sa stau nemiscat in fata lor. Cu alte cuvinte, cred ca este posibil ca sa vorbim in felul acesta cu afectiune, cu dorinta din inima, si totusi sa spun ceea ce am spus. Eu nu cred ca oamenii care il resping pe Christos, in principiu, sa nu-L primeasca pentru cine El este,  nu este pentru a nu-L cunoaste pe Dumnezeu, nu pentru a nu-L cinsti pe Dumnezeu, nu pentru a nu-L  iubi pe Dumnezeu.

Asa ca evit limbajul ca noi ne inchinam la Dumnezei diferiti. Eu vreau numai sa spun ceea ce Isus a spus aici. Daca dragostea noastra pentru Dumnezeu este ca sa fie vorbita, fiind centrul discutiei noastre, cred ca atunci ea trebuie  sa vina din 1Ioan 4:10-11 – ,,Si dragostea sta nu in faptul ca noi am iubit pe Dumnezeu, ci in faptul ca El ne-a iubit pe noi, si a trimes pe Fiul Sau ca jertfa de ispasire pentru pacatele noastre.” Aceasta este cea mai esentiala definitie de dragoste crestina divina. Si urmatorul verset este: ,,Prea iubitilor, daca astfel ne-a iubit Dumnezeu pe noi, trebuie sa ne iubim si noi unii pe altii.” Aceasta este baza mea pentru a ma apropia de musulmani. Dragostea lui Dumnezeu pe care ei nu o cunosc, este chiar dragostea lui Dumnezeu care ma face sa ma duc la masa de discutie.

Citeste documental musulmanilor aici  – A Common Word

Citeste raspunsul Universitatii Yale, semnat de mai multi lideri Crestini (dar, nu de John Piper si Al Mohler) – “A Common Word” Christian Response

NEW: Video of John Piper’s & Al Mohler’s response, on November 18, 2009-

ENGLISH:

 

John Piper:

I agree with the second sentence in ‘A Common Word’. which goes like this: “Without peace and justice between these two religious communities – Moslems and Christians- there can be no meaningful peace in the world.” I take that to be a national, social, and personal behaviors, not to expressed feelings, expressed ideas. And, I agree with the sentence in the last paragraph in the document, that says: “So, let our  differences not cause hatred or strife between us.” Those are massive longings and I share them.

In John 18:36 Jesus said, actually He renounced the sword, as a strategy for his disciples, as a way of advancing the kingdom. He said, “If my kingdom were of this world, my disciples would be fighting. My kingdom is not of this world.” and, therefore, christians should work together with people of very radically different views religiously, in order to seek ways to avoid unjust violence. They should seek together to preserve freedom of religious worship, religious assembly, religious public proclamation. Christians should renounce the use of physical force either through illegal violence or legal punishment aimed at restricting peaceful, non coercive religious expression, religious worship or persuasive religious speech.

But, the central summons of ‘A Common Word’ is flawed. This summons aims to provide a foundation for all future interfaith dialogue. Page 15 says, “Let this common ground be the basis for future interfaith dialogue between us, for our common ground is that upon which hangs all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22.

So, what is the central summons of a common word?

The phrase “A Common Word Between Us” is taken from the Koran. Quoting God, it says, “Oh people of the scripture, (Jews and christians) come to a common word between us and you, that we shall worship  none but God.”

The quotation is important because it makes clear that the central summons of ‘A Common Word’ is not that we agree as monotheists on the formal principles of love to God (whoever He is) and love to neighbor (whoever he is). That may be true. But, what the quotation from the Koran makes clear is that the central summons of ‘A Common Word’ is that christians and Moslems actually love the same God. In other words, when I read ‘A Common Word’, my question was: Is the thesis that formally our religions are similar? You put a lot of importance in love for God and neighbor. We put a lot of importance in love for God and neighbor. Those are structurally and formally similar, and we can meet on that basis.

Or, does it mean: We have a love for God and you have a love for God. That common love for that common God is the foundation. It’s the latter (that) the document means. There are 2 other reasons for believing that. The paragraph, following the one I just quoted, identifies this summons in the koran with a great commandment in the Bible. They say, “Clearly, also worshipping none but God relates to being totally devoted to God, and hence, to the first and greatest commandment. Thus, we are summoned to stand together, on the common ground of one worship of God, one devotion to God, and one love for God.” A third piece of evidence from “A Common Word”. It quotes the Koran, as follows: “Say, oh Moslems, we believe in God, and that which Moses and Jesus received. And, if they believe in the like of that which ye believe, then they are rightly guided. But, if they turn away, then they are in schism, and God will suffice thee against them.”

The main problem with the Yale response

So, its clear that the common ground, held out in ‘A Common Word’, is not a formal similarity in the two monotheistic religions, but, an actual shared love for the one God. Before I turn to what’s flawed about that, the main problem with the Yale response, which has not been addressed, is that it agrees with that. That’s the main problems. I don’t have any objections to what they address. I’ve got five, but, they’re different form all of those. And this is the main one, and the key sentence is found in the section ‘The Task Before Us’, and goes like this-this is now the Yale response to ‘A Common Word': “We need to work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations so that they genuinely reflect ‘our common love for God and of one another’.” That’s the most problematic sentence in the document.

It’s clear from the phrase ‘our common love for God’, that those who wrote this, either misspoke- which is unlikely, since too many other traits in the document point in this direction, or that they agree with ‘A Common Word’ and the common ground for Moslem-Christian dialogue is not a formal similarity in our religions, but, in fact, a shared love for one true God and for our neighbor.

The flaw in the Common Ground, proposed in A Common Word, and embraced by the Yale response is that Jesus makes clear it does not exist.

My contention would be that this absence of such a common ground must be made explicit, not for the sake of destroying dialogue, or undermining peace. But, from a christian side, for the sake of forthright, honest, publicly faithful, Christ exalting, trust preserving dialogue, and for truth based durable peace. Jesus said, “I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in the Father’s name and you do not receive Me. If another comes in in his own name, you will receive him.” So, when Jesus says ‘receive Him’, He means ‘receive Him for who He really is- the divine, eternal Son of God who lays down His life for His sheep; takes it up again in three days’. If a person does not receive Him in this way, Jesus says that person does not love God. Jesus also said, “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” And when He says ‘honor the Son’, He means ‘honor Him for who He really is’- ‘the divine, eternal Son of God who lays down His life for His sheep; takes it up again in three days’.

The person who does not honor Jesus in this way, does not honor God. Jesus said, “You know neither Me, nor my Father. If you knew Me, you would know My Father.” When Jesus says “if you knew Me”, He means “know Me for who I really am”. So, the person who does not know Jesus as the divine, eternal, crucified, risen Son of God does not know God. Historically, Moslems do not know Jesus, honor Jesus or receive Jesus for who He really is: The divine, eternal Son of God, who laid down His life on the cross for sinners, and rose again form the dead. So, whoever believes in Him would be saved. Therefore, Jesus says Moslems do not know God, they do not honor God, and they do not love God. As offensive as this is, Jesus said it to the most Bible saturated, ritually disciplined, God aware religious people of His day.

Therefore, the central summons of ‘A Common Word’ shared by the Yale response is deeply flawed, namely it doesn’t exist. I believe, therefore, there is a better way forward between christians and moslems. Especially, I am thinking scholars. Not your run of the mill, average, evangelistic encounter, across the street from my church, where there are thousands of Somali moslems, as my neighbors. I’m thinking of scholars and clergy writing documents for each other and who know what each other already thinks, by and large.

From the christian side, it will be honest, biblically faithful, Christ centered, Christ exalting, truth preserving dialogue, if we put these things on the table. Not in any way to push each other apart, but, to talk in basis of the most painful differences. I believe with all my heart, that as forgiven sinners, who owe our lives to God bought grace, we christians can look with love, and good will, and even tender hearted compassion into the eyes of moslems and say, “I don’t believe you know God, I don’t believe you honor God, I don’t believe you love God. And I hope that through our conversation, the beauty of Christ will be more clearly seen, for who He really is. And, if we were threatened in this room right now, by christian or moslem, I would hope that I would die for these men. Not push them in front of me, but, stand in front of them. In other words, I think it’s possible to talk this way with affection, heart felt longings, and still say what I just said. I don’t think people who reject Jesus, in principle, not to receive Him for who He is, is not to know God, not to honor God, not to love God.

So I’m avoiding the language that we worship different Gods. I’m just trying to say what Jesus said here. If our love for God is to be spoken of as central, I think it has to come from 1 John4:10-11- In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. That is the most essential definition of christian divine love. And the next verse is: If God so loved us, we ought to love one another. That’s my basis for moving towards moslems. The very love of God that they don’t share is the love of God that moves me to the table. (15:00)

 

John Piper – Sinner Come Home!

John Piper TFG2014

John Piper – Together for the Gospel 2014

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Notice those two things: My heart is aching and my prayers are rising. “My heart’s desire’, that’s one level, and ‘my prayer to God’, that’s my verbal level- is that they may be saved. I’m gonna close with an illustration of the weaving together of these things, that has helped me enormously, not make stupid mistakes, about the doctrine of unconditional election. My father was an evangelist. Sixty years he heralded a beautiful Gospel. I heard it preached dozens of times. He was a traveling mini-Billy Graham. And he had crusades and tent meetings in the early days. And he had his 500, where Billy Graham had his 50,000. I would go with my dad and listen to him plead for sinners. He had a spectacular gift of evangelism and he was faithful to it to the very end. What an amazing life he led.

He was very traditional. He gave invitations at the end. And they sang songs. They sang, as often as any,

‘Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me,
See, at the portholes, He’s waiting and watching
Watching for you and for me.

Come home, come home
You who are weary, come home.
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling, “Oh, sinner, come home!”

Can a calvinist sing that? “Calling, watching, waiting..” I have heard young people mock that song. Not too may, recently; we got a little more nuance today. But, I have heard people mock that song, old people: “The sovereign Christ, risen from the dead, omnipotent of the human heart, NEVER merely calls and waits, and watches, for goodness sakes!” To which I respond, “Where did you hear the word ‘merely’? Did I say ‘merely’? Did we sing ‘merely’? I love precision.

Now, let’s finish the picture. The song has begun. There’s 300 people in the room. My dad has walked out of the pulpit, where he’s delivered  a beautiful, glorious Gospel message, and he’s standing at the front,  as close as I am, now, to you with these 300 people. And he’s got his arms out, and regularly, no show, there were tears in his eyes. He looked right up at people, “Would you come? Would you step out? Come! He will have you.” And you felt everything in your body say: He’s standing in the place of Jesus, inviting people to come.

About 10 rows back there’s a mom with her college age son. He’s an out and out unbeliever and hates being here. But mom asked him and to make her happy, he came along. And, my dad says, “Every eye closed, every head bowed,” we mock this, right? “every saint, praying.” Alright. Jesus is standing at the front, at the portal, calling, waiting, watching. Having been lifted up as the triumphant Christ of the Gospel. Here’s a mom, and she’s praying. What does she pray? He’s standing right here (next to his mom) eager to be out of this place. And she’s praying, “Oh God, please pour out your Holy Spirit on my son. I beg of you, take out the heart of stone; put in a heart of flesh. Open his eyes, break him. Destroy him, have him. Take him. Come. Come, save him, God. Come.”

And, God, the Holy Spirit, opens his eyes, and he sees the risen, waiting, calling Christ as irresistibly beautiful. And he says, “Excuse me, mom,” and he falls into the arms of my father, as if in the arms of Jesus.

Will you be those arms? I beseech you, on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to Christ!” Yes, God is sovereign. God Almighty, through His own unconditional election, through the crucified risen, waiting, watching Christ, through the tears, the praying, the preaching, and through the all conquering Holy Spirit, God saves sinners!

desiringgod.org/conference-messages/persuading-pleading-and-predestination-human-means-in-the-miracle-of-conversion
desiringgod.org

Sinner, Come Home from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Palm Sunday 2/3 – He (Jesus) set His face to go to Jerusalem!

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

from Desiring God. You can listen to the audio for this John Piper sermon here.

Luke 9:51-56

Luke describes the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem at the beginning of that last week of his earthly life:

As he was drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! (Luke 19:37, 38)

Palm Sunday: Today and To Come

There is no doubt what was in the disciples’ minds. This was the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy given centuries earlier:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. (Zechariah 9:9, 10)

The long-awaited Messiah had come, the king of Israel, and not just of Israel but of all the earth. Jerusalem would be his capital city. From here he would rule the world in peace and righteousness. What a day this was! How their hearts must have pounded in their chests! And must not their hands have been sweaty like warriors in readiness just before the bugle sounds the battle! How would he do it? Would he whip up the enthusiastic crowds and storm the Roman praetorium—a people’s revolution? Or would he call down fire from heaven to consume the enemies of God? Would any of his followers be lost in the struggle? The tension of the moment must have been tremendous!

The Pharisees had a double reason for wanting this kind of welcome silenced. On the one hand, this Jesus was a threat to their authority, and they envied his popularity (Mark 15:10). On the other hand, they feared a Roman backlash to all this seditious talk of another king (John 11:48). Therefore they say to Jesus, “‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’ But he answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out!”‘ (Luke 19:39, 40). No, he will not rebuke them for this. Not now. The hour has come. The authority of the Pharisees is done for. If the Romans come, they come. He will not silence the truth any longer. To be sure the disciples’ understanding of Jesus’ kingship at this point is flawed. But hastening events will correct that soon enough. In essence they are correct. Jesus is the king of Israel, and the kingdom he is inaugurating will bring peace to all the nations and spread from sea to sea. The book of Revelation pictures the final fulfillment of Palm Sunday in the age to come like this:

I looked and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9, 10)

The entry into Jerusalem with waving palms (John 12:13) was a short-lived preview of the eternal Palm Sunday to come. It needed to be said. If the disciples hadn’t said it, the rocks would have.

I like to think of all our worship in this age as rehearsal for the age to come. One day we, who by God’s grace have been faithful to the Lord, are going to stand with innumerable millions of believers from Bangladesh, Poland, Egypt, Australia, Iceland, Cameroon, Ecuador, Burma, Borneo, Japan, and thousands of tribes and peoples and languages purified by Christ, with palms of praise in our hand. And when we raise them in salute to Christ, he will see an almost endless field of green, shimmering with life and pulsating with praise. And then like the sound of a thousand Russian choruses, we will sing our song of salvation, while the mighty Christ, with heartfelt love, looks out over those whom he bought with his own blood.

Had Jesus taken his throne on that first day of palms, none of us would ever be robed in white or waving palms of praise in the age to come. There had to be the cross, and that is what the disciples had not yet understood. Back in Luke 9, as Jesus prepared to set out for Jerusalem from Galilee, he tried to explain this to his disciples. In verse 22 he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” And in verse 44 he told them, “Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men.” But verse 45 tells us, “They did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them that they should not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.” Therefore, their understanding of Jesus’ last journey to Jerusalem was flawed. They saw him as a king moving in to take control. And he was. But they could not grasp that the victory Jesus would win in Jerusalem over sin and Satan and death and all the enemies of righteousness and joy—that this victory would be won through his own horrible suffering and death; and that the kingdom which they thought would be established immediately (Luke 19:11) would, in fact, be thousands of years in coming. And their misunderstanding of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem results in a misunderstanding of the meaning of discipleship. This is why this is important for us to see, lest we make the same mistake.

Jesus’ Resolution to Die

In Luke 9:51–56 we learn how not to understand Palm Sunday. Let’s look at it together. “When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” To set his face towards Jerusalem meant something very different for Jesus than it did for the disciples. You can see the visions of greatness that danced in their heads in verse 46: “An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.” Jerusalem and glory were just around the corner. O what it would mean when Jesus took the throne! But Jesus had another vision in his head. One wonders how he carried it all alone and so long. Here’s what Jerusalem meant for Jesus: “I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem”(Luke 13:33). Jerusalem meant one thing for Jesus: certain death. Nor was he under any illusions of a quick and heroic death. He predicted in Luke 18:31f., “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon; they will scourge him and kill him.” When Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem, he set his face to die.

Remember, when you think of Jesus’ resolution to die, that he had a nature like ours. He shrunk back from pain like we do. He would have enjoyed marriage and children and grandchildren and a long life and esteem in the community. He had a mother and brothers and sisters. He had special places in the mountains. To turn his back on all this and set his face towards vicious whipping and beating and spitting and mocking and crucifixion was not easy. It was hard. O how we need to use our imagination to put ourselves back into his place and feel what he felt. I don’t know of any other way for us to begin to know how much he loved us. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

If we were to look at Jesus’ death merely as a result of a betrayer’s deceit and the Sanhedrin’s envy and Pilate’s spinelessness and the soldiers’ nails and spear, it might seem very involuntary. And the benefit of salvation that comes to us who believe from this death might be viewed as God’s way of making a virtue out of a necessity. But once you read Luke 9:51 all such thoughts vanish. Jesus was not accidentally entangled in a web of injustice. The saving benefits of his death for sinners were not an afterthought. God planned it all out of infinite love to sinners like us and appointed a time. Jesus, who was the very embodiment of his Father’s love for sinners, saw that the time had come and set his face to fulfill his mission: to die in Jerusalem for our sake. “No one takes my life from me (he said), but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18).

Jesus’ Journey Is Our Journey

So Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, and it says in the text that “he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him because his face was set toward Jerusalem.” It doesn’t really matter whether this rejection is just because Jesus and his companions are Jews and Samaritans hate Jews, or whether the rejection is a more personal rejection of Jesus as the Messiah on his way to reign in Jerusalem. What matters for the story is simply that Jesus is already being rejected, and then the focus shifts to the disciples’ response, specifically the response of James and John.

James and John ask Jesus, “Lord, do you want us to bid fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (verse 54). Jesus had already named these brothers “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). Here we get a glimpse of why. I take this passage very personally because my father named me after one of these sons of thunder. And I think I probably would have said what John did here: “Jesus, we are on the way to victory. Nothing can stop us now. Let the fire fall! Let the judgment begin! O, how Jerusalem will tremble when they see us coming!” Jesus turns, the text says, and rebuked them (verse 55). And they simply went to another town.

Now what does this mean? It means, first of all, that a mistaken view of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem can lead to a mistaken view of discipleship. If Jesus had come to execute judgment and take up an earthly rule, then it would make sense for the sons of thunder to begin the judgment when the final siege of the Holy City starts. But if Jesus had come not to judge but to save, then a radically different form of discipleship is in order. Here is a question put to every believer by this text: does discipleship mean deploying God’s missiles against the enemy in righteous indignation? Or does discipleship mean following him on the Calvary road which leads to suffering and death? The answer of the whole New Testament is this: the surprise about Jesus the Messiah is that he came to live a life of sacrificial, dying service before he comes a second time to reign in glory. And the surprise about discipleship is that it demands a life of sacrificial, dying service before we can reign with Christ in glory.

What James and John had to learn—what we all must learn—is that Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem is our journey, and if he set his face to go there and die, we must set our face to die with him. One might be tempted to reason in just the opposite way: that since Jesus suffered so much and died in our place, therefore, we are free to go straight to the head of the class, as it were, and skip all the exams. He suffered so we could have comfort. He died so we could live. He bore abuse so we could be esteemed. He gave up the treasures of heaven so we could lay up treasures on earth. He brought the kingdom and paid for our entrance and now we live in it with all its earthly privileges. But all this is not biblical reasoning. It goes against the plain teaching in this very context. Luke 9:23, 24 reads: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.” When Jesus set his face to walk the Calvary road, he was not merely taking our place; he was setting our pattern. He is substitute and pacesetter. If we seek to secure our life through returning evil for evil or surrounding ourselves with luxury in the face of human need, we will lose our life. We can save our life only if we follow Christ on the Calvary road. Jesus died to save us from the power and punishment of sin, not from the suffering and sacrifices of simplicity for love’s sake.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

John Piper’s plea to Pastors in light of Pastor David Yonggi Cho’s Conviction for Embezzling $12M

You can listen to John Piper’s commentary in this 9 minute podcast-

Story via The Christian Post

When asked about the conviction of David Yonggi Cho, founder of world’s largest Pentecostal congregation in South Korea, for embezzling $12 million from his church, popular pastor John Piper took the opportunity to warn pastors in the U.S. who might “love money,” in a recent message.

“With every public dishonoring of Christ, every public dishonoring of His Word and His Gospel, and His Church, it makes me angry and it makes me sorrowful,” said Piper in a recent episode of Ask Pastor John.

Yonggi Cho who pastors Yoido Full Gospel Church and oversees a network of churches numbering 800,000, was found guilty by a South Korean court for committing breach of trust and corruption amounting to $12 million, according to Yonhap News Agency. He received a suspended sentence of three years in prison with a five year probation and was ordered to pay a penalty of $4.7 million by Seoul Central District Court on Feb. 20.

One of Cho’s sons, Hee-jun, who serves as secretary general of Yeongsan Christian Cultural Center and was a former chairman of Next Media, was sentenced to three years in prison.

“My response to this is really not to pile on any additional condemnation … but rather to try to respond for the rest of us in a way that tries to prevent these kinds of things,” said Piper.

“I want pastors to keep watch on themselves. I have five pleas to pastors. My hope is that pastors will listen this and take this 68-year-old pastor’s heart-aching that we not bring this kind of reproach on the name of Christ,” he continued. He then listed five precautions pastors should take to avoid the sinful seduction of money.

  • 1. Kill every desire to be rich and get rich
  • 2. Pastors, if you see your income starting to grow, set a governor on it
  • 3. Be totally transparent with your fellow elders about your sources of income
  • 4. Live simply to show that your treasure is in heaven and not on earth
  • 5. Put in place a leadership structure of a plurality of elders

Read the entire article here – The Christian Post

John Piper – Passion 2014 – A Radical Revelation of the Cross: The Sovereignty of God and the Sacrifice of Jesus

http://www.desiringgod.org/ VIDEO by Desiring God

‘God hates human pride’

photo credit www.picstopin.com

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Let Him Who Boasts Boast in the Lord!

You can read this sermon or listen to the audio on the Desiring God website.

Hatred as the Echo of Love

I hope you will agree with me this morning that in order to love deeply, there are things you must deeply hate. You could think of examples yourself. To love children deeply you must hate any mistreatment or neglect that destroys them. If you love clear-headed kindness and respect, you have to hate alcoholism and drug addiction. If you love freedom, you have to hate slavery and totalitarianism.

The reason I start with this observation is because I am about to tell you something God hates, and I know that the word hate by itself has a negative and unattractive ring to it. But I want you to realize from the very outset that God’s hatred is the reflex of his love.

The only reason anybody should hate anything is because it replaces or ruins something beautiful and wonderful. Hatred should always stand in the service of love. If you hate anything, it should be because you love something more. So when I tell you that God hates something, I want you to hear that hatred as the echo of his love. He hates what he hates because it replaces or ruins something beautiful.

God Hates Human Pride

More than anything else in the world, God hates human pride.

  • Proverbs 6:16–17 says, “There are six things which the Lord hates, seven which are an abomination to him . . . ” and the first one mentioned is “haughty eyes.”
  • In Psalm 101:5 David speaks for God and says, “The man of haughty looks and arrogant heart I will not endure.”
  • Proverbs 16:5, “Every one who is arrogant is an abomination to the Lord.”
  • Isaiah 2:11, “The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the pride of men shall be humbled; and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.”
  • Jeremiah 50:31, “Behold, I am against you, O proud one, says the Lord God of hosts; for your day has come, the time when I will punish you.”
  • Jesus said in Luke 16:15, “What is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
  • And in Acts 12:23 it says that an angel of the Lord struck Herod so that he was eaten with worms and died because when he received applause from the people, he did not give God the glory but took it for himself.

Pride as the Root Problem in the Corinthian Church

God hates human pride. And this is the root problem in the church at Corinth. Let’s take a quick survey of the letters to Corinth to see if this is so, and also to see just what pride is. Ask these two questions as we go: is pride the root problem at Corinth, and what actually is pride?

Is Pride the Root Problem at Corinth?

  • 1 Corinthians 1:29—”so that no human being might boast in the presence of God . . . “
  • 1 Corinthians 1:31—”Therefore, as it is written, ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'”
  • 1 Corinthians 3:7—”So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
  • 1 Corinthians 3:21—”So let no one boast of men.”
  • 1 Corinthians 4:6 (at the end)—” . . . that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.” The end of verse 7—”If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?”
  • 1 Corinthians 4:18—”Some are arrogant as though I were not coming to you.”
  • 1 Corinthians 5:2—”And you are arrogant!”
  • 1 Corinthians 8:1—”Knowledge puffs up, love builds up.”
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4—”Love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.”
  • 2 Corinthians 1:9—Hardship comes even up to the brink of death, “but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”
  • 2 Corinthians 3:5—”Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our sufficiency is from God.”
  • 2 Corinthians 4:7—”But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9—”I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ might rest upon me.”

It is not hard to see that the root problem in the church at Corinth is pride. And it is not hard to see either what that pride is.

What Is Pride?

  • It is boasting in self and not the Lord.
  • It is taking credit ourselves for what God alone can do.
  • It is relying on self and not God.
  • It is feeling sufficiency in our own strength and not in God’s.
  • It is the disinclination to admit that we are mere earthen vessels so that another gets the glory.
  • It is the unwillingness to admit weaknesses that may accent the power of Christ.

What God Loves That Makes Him Hate Pride

What’s the beautiful thing that is replaced or ruined by pride? What does God love so much that he must hate pride with all his might? The answer is plain from all these texts.

  • He loves the heart that boasts in the Lord.
  • He loves the heart that gives him credit for what he alone can do.
  • He loves the heart that relies on his power.
  • He loves the heart that wants him to get the glory in all things and that wants the power of his Son to shine in our weakness.

And if you have caught on to the essence of Christian Hedonism, you will know that when God delights in this, he delights in the deepest, most satisfying human experience possible. Because:

  • We were made to boast in God.
  • We were made to give him credit for all good.
  • We were made to rely on his power.
  • We were made to magnify his glory and his all sufficiency in our weakness.

This is the source of all ultimate joy and satisfaction. If God were to delight in anything less than our boasting in him, he would be an idolater and he would be a killjoy. Pride diverts our capacity for exultation from the galaxies of God’s glory to the gutters of our puny achievements. It is a decorated dead end street.

Therefore, God hates pride. And we should hate in ourselves what God hates in us, and wield the sword of the Spirit as best we can to slay this dragon in our souls.

Five Steps in Paul’s Combat Against Pride

So what I want to do is take you with me through Paul’s thought process in 1 Corinthians 1:18–31. It comes to a climax in verse 31 with the words, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” So really what we are asking is, How does Paul guide a person from being proud and self-reliant into being a person who exults in God and not self?

May that happen for all of us this morning as we follow the Word of God.

I see at least five steps in Paul’s thought in these verses. Let’s look at them one at a time not necessarily in the order he wrote them but from the most basic premise to his final conclusion.

1. Recognize What We All Want to Boast In

The first step is the basic fact of experience that humans want something to boast in, but not God.

Verse 22: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom.”

“Signs” are the display of power and “wisdom” is the display of intelligence. So the underlying point is: some people get their strokes through power and others get their strokes through intelligence. It might be your own power or intelligence, or it might belong to someone you can associate with (as was the case here in Corinth).

It might be a World Series ball team in your city that you boast about, or it might be your alma mater, or the company you work for, or a friend, or even a religion, or a church. Pride can boast in itself directly or it can boast in itself indirectly by association. So two absolutely incompetent ballplayers may brag about the ball team in their city as though they had anything to do with making the team good.

I think God created man with a deep desire to boast in something great, but sin came into the world and made every one of us hate to boast in God. So we seek for displays of power and displays of intelligence and we make these our gods. It might be the power of a tractor pull, or a rocket booster, or a motorcycle, or biceps that look like grapefruits, or (if you are a woman) the power of a shapely figure. Or it might be an A-average in school, or an advanced degree, or a published article, or a merit scholarship, or investment savvy, or the ability to win at Trivial Pursuit.

The Greeks craved eloquent displays of intelligence and the Jews wanted amazing displays of power. One man says, Show me something great with your mind, and another says, Show me something great with your body. But no one ever says (apart from the Spirit; 1 Corinthians 12:3), Show me God. Sin has blinded us.

2. Affirm God’s Superiority Over All Else

So the second step in Paul’s thought is to affirm what everyone denies, namely, the superiority of God over all the power and wisdom of the world.

Verse 25: “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

In other words it is a great tragedy when your quest for power and wisdom stops short of God. Because God is a treasure of power and a treasure of wisdom infinitely greater than any of the things that excite you in this world.

Paul wants to stamp this truth on us so deeply that he risks some dangerous language about God, doesn’t he? He says that when God is as foolish as he can be, he is still smarter than all the wisdom of men. And when God is as weak as he can be, he is still stronger than all the power that man can unleash.

When God stoops to hold a child on his lap, he also holds the subatomic particles of that child’s flesh in existence by the power of his thought. And when he stooped to let himself be mocked and beaten and crucified and stabbed, he destroyed the power of Satan over his people, he covered the sins of millions of sinners, and he vindicated the glory of his name.

How foolish for us to seek wisdom and power in the world and not in God when the weakness of God is stronger than any power in the world and the foolishness of God is wiser than any wisdom in the world!

3. Describe How God Deals with Human Pride

So the third step in Paul’s thought is to describe how God deals with man’s love for human intelligence and power. It is stated in verse 19 and in verse 21.

  • Verse 19: “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.'”
  • Verse 21: “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.”

He Blockades the Way of Self-Reliance and Pride

Here’s the way I would put this in my own words: In his wisdom God decided to blockade all the roads that men are building to heaven by their own power and intelligence, and to put in their place one narrow gate and one hard road, namely, the Calvary road and the gate of the cross.

There are two ways that God destroys the wisdom of the wise and frustrates the cleverness of the clever.

  1. He blockades their self-reliant quest for God—that’s what the first half of verse 21 means: “In the wisdom of God the world did not know God through wisdom.”
  2. He preaches Christ crucified as the only way to God. This destroys the wisdom of the wise and frustrates the cleverness of the clever because it is so humiliating to cast yourself on the accomplishments of a bloody redeemer.

Look at verse 30: “He [God] is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”

He Opens Only One Way to Glory: the Cross

You can easily see why the cross is the end of the line for human pride. Picture a well-respected American businessman, a banker, lawyer, doctor, well dressed, well groomed, being taken out the gate of the city to the garbage dump and being stood in front of a post with a naked man hanging by the nails driven through his wrists, covered with blood, gasping for his last breaths, and being told, “This, sir, is wisdom and righteousness and holiness and redemption. Will you kneel down here and cast yourself on him for mercy?”

In other words God has chosen a way of salvation that devastates human pride. “That! You want me to bow down before that! You think I need that! Don’t you see how I am dressed! Have you seen the car I drive! Don’t you know where I work! Don’t you know how much money I make! And you think I need that heap of bloody flesh! What do you think I am, a dog? A worm?”

“We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (verse 23). “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing” (verse 18).

So in his wisdom God cuts off the way of pride and frustrates man’s reliance on human power and human wisdom. And then he opens a way to glory and to God that proud man cannot stand, namely, the way of the cross.

Why? Is it because he hates man? No. It is because he hates pride. When God blockades the road of pride, he blockades the road to destruction. And when he routes you onto the Calvary Road of brokenness and humility and faith, he routes you to glory and to God—and in the presence of God is fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:11).

4. Explains God’s General Choice of People

Therefore the fourth step in Paul’s thought here is a kind of warning: there are not many powerful or shrewd people who respond to the saving word of the cross.

Verse 20: “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

Verse 26–28: “Consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are.”

In other words not only has God blockaded the pathways of pride and opened the way of the cross, but he is also opening the hearts of many foolish and weak and low and despised people along with a few upper class people, in order to put to shame those who boast in power and wisdom and class and achievement.

Why? This brings us to our last step.

5. Declares the Purpose of God in Acting Thusly

It is stated negatively in verse 29 and positively in verse 31.

  • Verse 29: “So that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
  • Verse 31: “Therefore, as it is written, ‘Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord.'”

The purpose of God in the creation of man and the salvation of sinners is that we might boast in HIM. This is God’s will for you this morning. God is speaking in these words very clearly. And what he is saying is this: turn this very moment from all boasting in your self. Don’t seek your pleasure any more in your own wisdom, or your own strength, or your own looks, or your own achievements. Look to Christ crucified and see what becomes of it all.

Paul said in Galatians 6:14, “Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

So I call you to come to Christ and die this morning—and to live. And the promise of God is this: there is no greater life, no greater joy than to boast in him!

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Topics for Conversation When a Man and a Woman Are Considering Marriage by John Piper

Photo credit www.areadewasa.com

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from DesiringGod.org

In each of these sections one item could be added that I have not listed, namely, How do you handle and live with differences? How do you decide what can remain differences without jeopardizing the relationship? So as you deal with each subheading, include that in the discussion.

Theology

  • What do you believe about . . . everything?
  • Perhaps read through the Desiring God Affirmation of Faith to see where each other is on various biblical doctrines.
  • Discover how you form your views. What is the reasoning-believing process? How do you handle the Bible?

Worship and Devotion

  • How important is corporate worship? Other participation in church life?
  • How important is it to be part of a small accountability/support group?
  • What is the importance of music in life and worship?
  • What are your daily personal devotional practices? Prayer, reading, meditation, memorization.
  • What would our family devotions look like? Who leads out in this?
  • Are we doing this now in an appropriate way: praying together about our lives and future, reading the Bible together?

Husband and Wife

  • What is the meaning of headship and submission in the Bible and in our marriage?
  • What are expectations about situations where one of you might be alone with someone of the opposite sex?
  • How are tasks shared in the home: cleaning, cooking, washing dishes, yard work, car upkeep, repairs, shopping for food, and household stuff?
  • What are the expectations for togetherness?
  • What is an ideal non-special evening?
  • How do you understand who and how often sex is initiated?
  • Who does the checkbook—or are there two?

Children

  • If and when, should we have children? Why?
  • How many?
  • How far apart?
  • Would we consider adoption?
  • What are the standards of behavior?
  • What are the appropriate ways to discipline them? How many strikes before they’re . . . whatever?
  • What are the expectations of time spent with them and when they go to bed?
  • What signs of affection will you show them?
  • What about school? Home school? Christian school? Public school?

Lifestyle

  • Own a home or not? Why?
  • What kind of neighborhood? Why?
  • How many cars? New? Used?
  • View of money in general. How much to the church?
  • How do you make money decisions?
  • Where will you buy clothes: Department store? Savers? In between? Why?

Entertainment

  • How much money should we spend on entertainment?
  • How often should we eat out? Where?
  • What kind of vacations are appropriate and helpful for us?
  • How many toys? Snowmobile, boat, cabin?
  • Should we have a television? Where? What is fitting to watch? How much?
  • What are the criteria for Movies and theater and video/DVD? What will our guidelines be for the kids?

Conflict

  • What makes you angry?
  • How do you handle your frustration or anger?
  • Who should bring up an issue that is bothersome?
  • What if we disagree both about what should be done, AND whether it is serious?
  • Will we go to bed angry at each other?
  • What is our view of getting help from friends or counselors?

Work

  • Who is the main breadwinner?
  • Should the wife work outside the home? Before kids? With kids at home? After kids?
  • What are your views of daycare for children?
  • What determines where you will locate? Job? Whose job? Church? Family?

Friends

  • Is it good to do things with friends but without fiancé, or without spouse?
  • What will you do if one of you really likes to hang out with so and so and the other doesn’t?

Health and Sickness

  • Do you have, or have you had any, sicknesses or physical problems that could affect our relationship? (Allergies, cancer, eating disorders, venereal disease, etc.)
  • Do you believe in divine healing and how would prayer relate to medical attention?
  • How do you think about exercise and healthy eating?
  • Do you have any habits that adversely affect health?

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Union with Christ – Topic for the next Desiring God Conference Feb. 3-5 in Minneapolis, or watch livestream

Desiring God 2014 Conference for Pastors
February 3–5, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Plenary Speakers: John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, Michael Horton

More information at the event page.

Union with Christ.

Whether this doctrine is an old friend or one you haven’t heard much about, it will be greatly enriching to give three days to basking in the theology and everyday implications with Michael Horton, Sinclair Ferguson, and John Piper. (Full schedule below.)

Whether or not it’s a live option for you to join us, we invite you into the 2-minute video below, narrated by John Piper. Our prayer is that you might pick up something fresh about this important doctrine and be inspired for a lifetime of diving deeper into its bottomless sea.

Source http://www.desiringgod.org

John Piper – audio SERMONS on Youtube from the 1980’s

PiperDesiring God Ministries has formatted more than a dozen John Piper audio sermons into videos and has uploaded them on their Youtube channel in the last few months. The channel is: theJohnPiperchannel (you can subscribe at the link and see future uploads in your Youtube account’s subscription feed). My guess is that Desiring God will slowly upload all of John Piper’s old audio sermons to Youtube in the same manner, as Youtube is the easiest and fastest way to reach millions of people. We look forward to having this vast John Piper library online and easily accesible to Christians and non-Christians alike!

Here is the feed – https://www.youtube.com/user/theJohnPiperchannel/

Here are just a couple of the dozens of videos recently uploaded form John Piper’s early years:

How to Argue with God

August 24, 1980 |by John Piper | Scripture: Psalms 143

Don’t let your sinfulness hinder your prayers. Run into the arms of God and fill his ear with arguments that aim for His honor.

Jesus Vs. the Occult

July 26, 1981 |by John Piper | Scripture: Deuteronomy 18:9–12

Jesus is God’s fullest revelation and the source of all the knowledge and power that is good for us to have.
-uploaded in HD at http://www.TunesToTube.com

John Piper, D A Carson, David Platt, Matt Chandler, messages from the CROSS Conference Dec 26-30, 2013

John Piper Cross ConferenceQuotes are from DesiringGod.org and VIDEOS and descriptions are from the Cross Conference website – http://crosscon.com Photos are from the videos.

John Piper

The Chief End of Missions: The Supremacy of God
in the Joy of All Peoples (Main Session I)

“The chief end of missions is the supremacy of God in the joy of all peoples.” These two ends are of an identical essence, totally and completely inseparable, for the only gladness that lasts is a gladness in the glory of God. This reality frees us from choosing either the glory of God or compassion for the lost as the primary desire for missions.

Some quotes from John Piper at the Cross Conference:

  • “There are a thousand needs in the world, and none of them compares to the global need for the gospel.”
  • “I am not a missionary, but I have wanted my life to count for the unreached peoples of the world.”
  • “God aims to look valuable in the world, and that happens when we treasure him above all else.”
  • “If you remove enjoyment of God from faith in God, it ceases to be faith.”
  • “We will not let you choose between being a lover of God and his sovereignty and being a lover of lost people.”
  • “One day America and all its presidents will be a footnote in history, but the kingdom of Jesus will never end.”
  • “God is on the move to rescue people from misery to everlasting happiness, which can only be found in him.”
  • “If you don’t know God as beautiful and satisfying, you don’t know him.”
  • “Jesus came at Christmas to bring glory to God and satisfaction to sinners everywhere.”

Other John Piper quotes from the breakout sessions:

  • “You ought to marry someone who’s willing to go anywhere for God. If they’re not, they’re out.”
  • “You don’t need to see the fruit of your life for there to be real, lasting, exponential fruit.’
  • “Don’t let your personality keep you from missions. God gave it to you and has a place for you to use it for his glory.”
  • “The Great Commission will not get done if we’re not ready to risk our lives and the lives of our family.”
  • “God doesn’t waste anything for those who are yielded to him.”
  • “Bitterness about your parents’ brokenness will kill you. Be the grace-filled end of generational sin in your family.”
  • “Do not be more devoted to your own brain than you are to the Bible.”
  • “God is not worn out running the galaxy. He’s not taxed at all guiding every dust particle all the time.”
  • “All your money is God’s, not just 10%.”
  • “I challenge everyone who hasn’t yet to memorize Romans 8 in 2014. It is useful for everything everywhere all the time.”

D A Carson

“The Church as the Means and the Goal of Missions”

D A CarsonD.A. Carson preaches on the social dimensions of both sin and the gospel. Sin doesn’t just send you to Hell, and the gospel doesn’t just save your soul. Each has necessary social, personal, and horizontal ramifications, culminating in the existence of and a commitment to the church, the bride of Christ, for it is in the church where the love of God is made known and reflected to the nations.

  • “Sin corrupts even our good deeds. We injure our shoulder trying to pat ourselves on the back.”
  • “The gospel overturns everything sin does.”
  • “The greatest aphrodisiac in marriage is kindness.”
  • “Tragically, we buy the lie that the gospel is only for the unconverted.”
  • “The very love of God is fleshed out in our local churches.”

David Platt

Mobilizing God’s Army for the Great Commission

David PlattTo close CROSS 2013, David Platt delivers a clarion call to all Christians, imploring them to consider what their obedience to the Great Commission looks like. For many, it will be as stateside senders; for some, it will be as lifelong goers; for others, it will be as offerings poured out en route to give the gospel to yet-to-be-reached peoples. In every scenario — in going and sending and even in dying — God is achieving His incontrovertible purpose: the supremacy of the glory of God in the Christ-exalting joy of all peoples.

Some quotes from David Platt at the Cross Conference:

  • “I’m asking every single person listening to this message to lay a blank check before God, open to go wherever he leads.”
  • “Ask, could my gifts, education, career, or experience be used to spread the gospel where it’s needed most?”
  • “What if the word of God was enough to inspire passionate worship among his people?”
  • “Saved people this side of heaven owe the gospel to lost people this side of hell.”
  • “There are no innocent unreached people in the world. Their knowledge of God is only enough to damn them to hell.”
  • “Our God is worthy of the worship of 6,000 more people groups.”
  • “If you can trust God to save you for eternity, you can trust him to lead you for a lifetime.”
  • “Do not underestimate what God can do when the church is sending and workers are going to people who need the gospel.”

Matt Chandler

Matt Chandler

The Life Worth Living for Christ
Is a Life Worth Losing

Matt Chandler unpacks the life of the apostle Paul as proof positive that there’s no such thing as a person beyond God’s saving mercy. In fact, his post-conversion commitment to evangelism and, even more, his Christ-exalting fearlessness in the midst suffering depicts the truth of his words in Philippians 1:21: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” May the same be said of all God’s people, that a better day is coming where we will receive our reward and see — finally — our treasured King face to face.

Some quotes from Matt Chandler at the Cross Conference

  • “When we join God in his plan for his global glory, we get to be a part of the cosmic take-your-kid-to-work day.”
  • “There isn’t a violent soul on the planet that God might not save and transform for himself.”
  • “Every missionary I know is extraordinarily ordinary. Everything they do, they do by the grace of God.”
  • “When God saves you, he doesn’t do it because you gave him permission. He did it because he’s God.”
  • “Comfort is the god of our generation, so suffering is seen as a problem to be solved, and not a providence from God.”
  • “Why do we try so hard to make Jesus cool?! He doesn’t need a makeover.”
  • “When we see the bankruptcy, slavery, and vanity of everything else, we can finally say, ‘To die is gain.’”
  • “Nobody dies early.”
  • “In 10,000 years you will not regret anything you didn’t have or do in this life.”
  • “Until Christ is our treasure, any other motivation we have to suffer for him is a fool’s errand.”

You can watch the other messages here – http://crosscon.com/

The Cross Conference is a new Missions Conference for Students. You can find out more about them here – http://crosscon.com/about/

Photo credit theGospelCoalition.org

Creştinismul nu este doar o religie, este Vestea Bună

Photo credit bible-chat.ne
 Luca 2:8-14  –  Vestea buna 

8 În ţinutul acela erau nişte păstori, cari stăteau afară în cîmp, şi făceau de strajă noaptea împrejurul turmei lor.
9 Şi iată că un înger al Domnului s’a înfăţişat înaintea lor, şi slava Domnului a strălucit împrejurul lor. Ei s’au înfricoşat foarte tare.
10 Dar îngerul le -a zis: ,,Nu vă temeţi: căci vă aduc o veste bună, care va fi o mare bucurie pentru tot norodul:
11 astăzi în cetatea lui David, vi s’a născut un Mîntuitor, care este Hristos, Domnul.
12 Iată semnul, după care -L veţi cunoaşte: veţi găsi un prunc înfăşat în scutece şi culcat într’o iesle.“
13 Şi deodată, împreună cu îngerul s’a unit o mulţime de oaste cerească, lăudînd pe Dumnezeu, şi zicînd:
14 ,,Slavă lui Dumnezeu în locurile prea înalte, şi pace pe pămînt între oamenii plăcuţi Lui.“

John Piper:

Cred că există, în religie, un „element” care le spune oamenilor cum trebuie să trăiască, dar acest element nu este omul. Este Dumnezeu care le spune oamenilor cum să facă voia Lui.

Creştinismul nu este numai o religie. Este în primul rând o veste. Este vestea cea bună.

Este ca şi când am fi în război, într-un lagăr de concentrare, şi, dintr-odată, auzim la radioul clandestin că trupele aliate au aterizat la doar câţiva km de noi. Înfrâng totul în calea lor şi sunt cât pe ce să ajungă la poartă să o deschidă. Şi, după ce ai trăit întreaga viaţă în acest lagăr, urmează să fii eliberat.

Aceasta este creştinismul. Este vestea că Dumnezeu a trimis trupele de eliberare pe pământ, adică pe Iisus Hristos, şi cu multă luptă l-a învins pe duşmanul nostru diavolul, a deschis porţile lagărului de concentrare şi ne-a urat „Bun venit acasă!”. Iar apoi adăugăm frumoasa imagine a unui mire cu mireasa lui şi ne dăm seama că acesta nu este doar un soldat care ne eliberează şi ne trimite acasă să facem ce vrem. El este soţul tău, cum ar s-ar zice, înainte să fii separată de el ani în şir, iar tu eşti soţia lui, cea care ai stat în lagărul de concentrare atâta timp. Şi când porţile sunt deschise, El stă de partea cealaltă, iar sentimentele trăite sunt imense.

Aşa că, atunci când mă gândesc la ceea ce lipseşte din imaginea omului de rând despre Creştinism, vreau să arăt faptul că moartea lui Isus Hristos pentru păcatele noastre a adus atâta libertate, iar prin această libertate ni s-a oferit posibilitatea să ne reunim cu Cel din care am fost făcuţi.

Sper doar ca, prin slujirea mea şi cu voinţa lui Dumnezeu, să înlăturăm acele păreri false despre ceea ce este Creştinismul şi să ajutăm oamenii să vadă frumuseţea a ceea ce este în realitate.

SURSA: http://ro.desiringgod.org

Invatatorul american crestin Ronnie Smith, impuscat si omorat in Bengazi

Ronnie Smith si sotia Anita – poza din ziua nuntii lor, 2003. Anita si baietelul lor Hosea, 2 ani, s-au reintors din Libya in Sua deja. Ei aveau de asteptat doar cateva zile, pana la sosirea lui Ronnie Smith, ca sa sarbatoreasca nasterea Domnului cu familia si rudeniile sale. Dar, nu a fost sa fie asa. (Photo credit austin.culturemap.com)

via the Christian Post and CNN Traducere Blogul Agnus Dei

Invatatorul american Ronnie Smith, care a fost impuscat si omorat joi in Bengazi, s-a bazat pe  credinta sa in Isus Christos in timpul in care  lucra in Libia si a decis sa se mute in acea natiune tulburata, dupa ce a ascultat la un mesaj al pastorului John Piper, potrivit rapoartelor.

,,Vreau sa ma duc unde nimeni nu poate gasi o biserica daca  ar vrea sa o caute, unde nimeni nu are acces la Evanghelie,” a spus Smith, un nativ din Texas, intr-un video inainte de a se muta in Libia. Acest video a fost postat pe site-ul bisericii sale de origine, conform statiei de televiziune CNN.

Smith a servit ca diacon in biserica din care facea parte si preda chimie la Scoala Internationala din Bengazi, a fost omorat de persoane inarmate care calatoreau intr-un Jeep negru in timp ce el alerga pe afara in dimineata zilei de joi. Acesti teroristi sunt suspectati a fi militanti islamici. Smith, care avea 33 de ani, este supravietuit de sotia sa Anita si fiul sau Osea, au fost constienti de pericolul de a lucra in Libia, dar credinta lui in Dumnezeu i-a dat tarie. ,,Indiferent ce se intimpla, eu accept”, a spus membrilor bisericii in acel video, dupa cum a fost citat de canalul de stiri CBS. ,,Aceasta mie imi da pacea si eu sunt ok  cu aceasta.” ,,Aceasta nu o poate lua nimeni  de la mine indiferent ce se intampla” a spus Smith despre credinta lui crestina.

Photo credit CBS via Daily Mail UK

Smith a stat in Libia timp de aproximativ un an si jumatate inainte de a fi ucis. Anita si Osea sau intors in Texas, dar Smith a ramas acolo ca sa-si ajute elevii la examenul de la jumatatea  perioadei.

,,Am fost crescut in biserica de cand eram copil mic”, a scris Smith in site-ul bisericii despre viata sa de crestin.

Conform relatarii lui Dave Barett, pastor la Austin Stone Community Church, cea mai mare dorinta a lui Smith a fost pentru pace si prosperitate in Libia ,,si pentru ca oamenii din Libia sa aiba bucuria ca sa-l cunoasca pe Dumnezeu prin Christos.”

Smith a fost de asemenea inspirat de misiunea lui Piper, Desiring God.

Piper a reactionat si el la auzul acestei stiri. ,,Ronnie nu este prima persoana care a murit facand ceea ce i-am incurajat sa faca. Si nu va fi ultima. Daca as fi crezut ca moartea este cel mai rau lucru care i se poate intampla cuiva, as fi fost coplesit de regret… Dar punctul principal al vietii lui Ronnie este ca exista ceva care este si mai rau decat moartea. Asa ca el a fost dispus sa-si puna la risc viata pentru a salva pe altii de la ceva ce este cu mult mai rau.”

U.S. officials are still trying to determine who is responsible for the murder of American teacher Ronnie Smith, in Libya. Smith, 33, was shot and killed while jogging down a Benghazi street.

VIDEO from CBS This Morning

John Piper – Why did God forbid one tree?

Of the many trees in the Garden, God banned Adam and Eve from eating from one — just one (Genesis 2:16–17, 3:1–3, 11). Why?

You can listen to the full episode here:

John Piper recently gave the question some fresh thinking, which he shares in today’s episode of Ask Pastor John:

The function of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is to make sure that the pleasures of all the other trees in the garden are supremely pleasures in God.

The command went like this: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’” (Genesis 2:16–17).

So what was God saying in prohibiting the eating of one tree out of a million trees? He was saying, “I have given you life. I have given you a world full of pleasure, pleasures of taste and sight and sound and smell and feel and nourishment. Only one tree is forbidden to you. And the point of that prohibition is to preserve the pleasures of the world, because if you eat of that one you will be saying to me, ‘I’m smarter than you. I am more authoritative that you. I am wiser than you are. I think I can care for myself better than you care for me. You are not a very good Father. And so I am going to reject you.’ So don’t eat from the tree, because you will be rejecting me and all my good gifts and all my wisdom and all my care. Instead, keep on submitting to my will. Keep on affirming my wisdom. Keep on being thankful for my generosity. Keep on trusting me as a Father and keep on eating these trees as a way of enjoying me. There are 10,000 trees, every imaginable fruit. Just go eat. Be thankful. I have given them to you and see them as expressions of my goodness and savor them that way.”

And Satan comes along, and he takes that arrangement and says, “Hey, Eve, the meaning of that arrangement is: God is selfish. God is stingy. He is a skinflint.” So he took the prohibition of one suicidal tree and treated it as a prohibition of everything.

So the issue of the tree is this: Will we keep looking to God as the giver and lover and treasure of this garden so that all our eating is thanking and all our savoring is a savoring of God? Will we keep on experiencing every one of these tastes as a tasting of something like what God is, and in that sense a tasting of God? Will we keep on enjoying God in the enjoying of the trees?

That is what the forbidden tree was there to test.

I think a lot of people try to set that up as merely arbitrary: Will man obey? Or will he not obey? And they don’t put it in the context of his fatherly care and all the goods that he has given. I don’t think it is arbitrary like that.

It was a warning. “If you choose independence instead of God-dependence, you will lose the pleasure of the garden and God with it.”

“If you keep trusting me and enjoying me as your greatest delight and highest treasure, you will have this garden and I will be the pleasure of all your pleasures.”

The forbidding one tree is a way of securing that the pleasures of all the other trees in the garden are supremely pleasures in God.

Ask Pastor John is a daily podcast series of 3–8 minute conversations released each weekday at 10:30am (EST) through the DG Facebook and Twitter feeds. You can tune in to the new episodes through the free Ask Pastor John mobile app for iPhone and Android. We’re currently hosting all the recordings on SoundCloud, a website making it easy to listen to several of the podcasts in one sitting. They’re also archived on the DG website and syndicated in iTunes. To submit a question to Pastor John please include your first name, hometown, and question in an email to AskPastorJohn AT desiringGod DOT org.

By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

John Piper – Advice to the newly married (audio) and Sexual Relations in Marriage (video)

bride and groomIn a recent “Ask Pastor John” episode, John Piper gave Christ-centered advice to newly-wed husbands. The renowned Christian author and former pastor relayed key guidance that he would have given a younger version of himself when entering into the life-long covenant with his wife, Noel. “Behold the mystery of this amazing, God-wrought union,” he would have said.

Piper reminded listeners that Mark 10:9 calls marriage an act of God which joins man and wife together – it is not a man-made union. Marriage was instituted long before Christ had come into the world, and was created by God to point to His Son’s future redemptive work on the cross. While many may look at Jesus’ covenant with His bride, the church, and describe marriage as it relates to Christ, Piper says that it should be the other way around; God used the picture of marriage to hint at a future relationship for Christ and His church. Marriage came first so that the body of believers could better understand their intimate, covenanted relationship with Christ – one that is given to them by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:1-9).

A “bottomless ocean of wisdom” is found when a husband loves his wife like Christ loves the church – “You love her to make her lovely,” Piper said. Though we are sinners saved by His grace, Jesus loves His redeemed people and helps us to become more holy as we fix our eyes on Him. We are sanctified more and more as we journey with our God, eternally clothed in Christ’s righteousness. “You don’t love her merely because she is lovely – she’s not going to be as 20-something lovely at 70-something, so you had better love her into loveliness,” said Piper. He also advised husbands to draw their strength to love their wives well from Christ’s love for them.

The former pastor also encouraged husbands to bring hope and strength to their families, welling up in them from the power of Christ. He warned against idolatry – viewing their wives or their children as their means to find happiness. He also steered husbands away from returning hurt for hurt in an argument – “a soft answer may restore her soul,” he said, paraphrasing Proverbs 15:1.

In closing, Piper encouraged married couples to savor the intimacy and friendship that is unique to marriage; ultimately, though, he wants to remind newly-weds marriage is a “parable” which points to Christ. Source: http://www.gospelherald.com PHOTOGRAPH by http://rebekahwestover.blogspot.com

Click here for the link to the AUDIO

And here is another great resource from John Piper, theJohnPiperchannel:

Marital sex is a great joy that also proves to be a fearsome weapon against our ancient foe.
-uploaded in HD at http://www.TunesToTube.com

Sexual Relations in Marriage

February 15, 1981 by John Piper

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