2013 – A 45-a Conventie a Bisericilor Penticostale din SUA si Canada – ‘Pasiune Pentru Slujire’ va fi in Phoenix, Arizona

A 45-a Conventie a Bisericilor Pneticostale 2013VEZI si

CONVENTIA 2013

A 45-a Conventie a Bisericilor Penticostale

Phoenix, Arizona 2013

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(1) Predicile de la CONVENTIA 2012

(2) Linkul de la CONVENTIA 2012 la Seattle

(3) Linkul de la CONVENTIA 2011 la Chicago

Urmatoarea Conventie va avea loc la

Biserica Happy Valley, Phoenix Arizona, Pastor Cornel Avram.

Florin Cimpean si Luigi Mitoi – Pentru timp limitat vizionati predicile de Vineri si Sambata seara – A 44-a Conventie a Bisericilor Penticostale SUA si Canada la Seattle 2012

SAMBATA SEARA

Florin Cimpean

Luigi Mitoi

VINERI SEARA

Nelu Filip

Ezechiel Suciu

God’s Glory in Hiding Sin – Proverbs 25:2

God’s Glory in Hiding Sin

A sermon (No. 2838) intended for reading on Lord’s Day, July 5th 1903,

delivered by C. H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington,

on Lord’s Day evening, July 15th, 1877.

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” — Proverbs 25:2.

The translation of our text, if it had been more literal, would have run thus, “It is the glory of God to cover a matter, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.” For the sake of variety in language our translators sometimes gave two different interpretations to the same word; and though that makes the verbiage more smooth, it is generally a great mistake and apt to mislead us. The word “conceal” is just the same word that we get in the passage, “Blessed is he …. whose sin is covered.” So the text runs thus — I will give it to you again that I may further impress it upon you — “It is the glory of God to cover a matter, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.”

First of all I will give you the common interpretation which is given to these words, and the topic which is suggested to most minds thereby, namely that it is God’s glory to conceal much of the great truth which concerns himself and his dealings with the sons of men. “Clouds and darkness are round about him.” It is his glory that he is not seen, his glory that he is concealed; while as for kings, it is their honor “to search out a matter.” This is the general interpretation which almost every expositor gives of this passage, but I am not able wholly to agree with it. However, I will speak upon it for little while.

It is certain that such an explanation as this would have to be taken in a limited sense, for it cannot absolutely and without qualification be the glory of God to conceal a thing; for if so, he might have concealed everything from us. It is evidently for his glory that some things should be revealed, or else why has he revealed them? He might have dwelt for ever in that wondrous solitude in which we suppose he did dwell before he commenced the work of creation. We know not what he was doing in that eternity — of which it is difficult if not impossible for us to conceive — when there was no creation, when not a single star had begun to shine, nor an angel had fled through space on rapid wing. If it were God’s glory to be absolutely concealed, it seems to me that he would have remained alone in the thick darkness that surrounded him, for he would not have wanted to have a single creature to know his love, to realize his power, or to contemplate his wisdom. It is at once obvious that if this is the true and correct interpretation, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing,” it must be taken in a very limited sense. If it had been his glory to conceal everything, he would have continued to conceal it; but as far as I can see his manifested glory is his glory. The glory of God is not so much to conceal as to reveal himself to those whom he prepares to receive the revelation.

There are many things which it would not be for God’s glory to conceal. You could not say of everything, “It is the glory of God to conceal this.” Take, for instance his righteous law, would it have been for his glory to have left our race utterly ignorant of it? I cannot conceive of such a thing. And then his matchless redemption he has revealed to us in many wonderful ways. Would he have taken all the pains that he has done to reveal himself in Christ Jesus if it had been for his glory to conceal himself in that respect? Would he bid us go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature if it could be for his glory to conceal that? No, it is high treason against the majesty of heaven for any man to obscure the blessed revelation of God in Christ Jesus. I am afraid that all of us preachers of the Word do that in some measure by reason of our infirmity; but God forbid that we should ever wilfully keep back a single ray of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!

There are many great and glorious truths which do not need that God should conceal them. If we do not perceive them probably it is because it is not necessary that they should be concealed, for their own inherent glory is their concealment. If I were to take for instance the mysterious doctrine of the eternal filiation of the Lord Jesus Christ, or the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son — these wondrous truths need not be concealed from us, because they are in themselves such deep mysteries that however clearly there may be revealed to us it is not possible for us to understand them. Even the grand doctrine of the Trinity, which is so plainly set forth in the Scriptures — the Trinity in the Unity of the Godhead — need not be concealed; as indeed it has not been, yet we cannot comprehend it. God need not seek out any method of concealment, for if he were to unveil his face among us the glory would be too bright to be beheld. Go and stand, O mortal man, and gaze upon the sun at mid-day! Canst thou do it? Would not thine eyes be thereby blinded? Yet the sun is only one of the myriads of servants in the courts of God; then what must the face of the King himself be? It needs not that he should veil it; his own glory is surely veil enough unto itself. Our minds are finite, contracted, limited. There were certain men who called themselves “Encyclopaedists”, because they fancied that they knew everything; yet they knew nothing perfectly, and many of them broke down together in their attempt to learn even all that might be known by men. But as for God himself, who can possibly comprehend him? The archangel who standeth nearest to his august presence must veil his face with his wings, for even he is not able to gaze upon the glory of that excessive light. It does not seem to me to be so great a truth that it is the glory of God to conceal as that his very glory doth conceal itself, not by being concealed, but by being so exceedingly unveiled. The glory itself blindeth, for the finite mind of man is not able to gaze thereon.

Yet the truth which our English Version seeks to convey to us may be accepted without hesitation if we regard it thus: if God has concealed anything, it is God’s glory to conceal it, and it is right that it should be hidden. If God has not told us any truth, it is for his glory not to tell it to us. Perhaps we have as much reason to bless the Lord for what is not in the Bible as for what is there; and what he has not revealed may be as much for our benefit, and certainly is as much for his glory, as what he has revealed. For instance, if he does not tell us all about himself and the mystery of his person, do we want to know it? Can we not believe in him and love him all the better because we do not understand him? Surely a God whom we could understand would be no God. We delight in being out of our depth — in finding waters to swim in where understanding with its little plumline finds no bottom, but where love with a restful spirit finds perfect peace. Doubtless there is a glory in the Lord not revealing himself so far as the past or present is concerned.

As to the future, it is no doubt for the glory of God that he has not revealed to us all concerning the history of this world. It may be all in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation. Some friends think it is, and it may be; but this I venture to say, there is no man who understands it, and I do not think any men will understand it until the Word shall explain itself; and then possibly, when history becomes the commentary upon the prophecy, we shall wonder that we did not see it. Yet we cannot do so at present. It is to the glory of God and to thine own profiting that thou dost not know what will happen to thee on the morrow. Thou knowest not what afflictions may await thee, nor when thou shalt die; it is well for thee that thou dost not know. If it had been for God’s glory that thou shouldst read thy history from its first page to its last and be able to foretell every event in thine own life story, or in the history of the nations of the earth, God would have revealed it to thee; but be thou content not to know what God doth not tell thee, and say in thy spirit, “Let it be so; for in some things it is the glory of God to conceal a thing.”

Still, I think that this is not the teaching of the text. I conceive that it has quite another meaning which I will try to give you.You know that in a proverb like this with a “but” in the middle there is what we call a antithesis, or an expression of opposites. The text does not run thus, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to publish a thing.” That is not what is said here; it is quite a different sentence which is not an antithesis at all. Then again, the antithesis is not complete, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter,” for it is not so much the business of kings to search out matters that refer to wisdom, as it is the business of wise men to do so. If there are doctrines that are not known to us because God conceals them, it is the business of wise men to search them out, and not so much the business of kings to do so. Neither can we read the passage thus, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings to make things plain,” because the third verse of the chapter does not agree with this rendering. Solomon did not think that it was to the honor of kings to make things plain. He was a believer in diplomacy, for he says “The heaven for height and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.” He could not therefore have intended to convey that meaning.

Now let me give you what I think is the true meaning of the passage. What is the business of kings? Why are they set up above their fellow-men? What is their honor? Why, it is the honor of kings to search out matters that concern the administration of justice, to bring prisoners before their bar, laying bare their crimes and convicting them of they are guilty. It is the glory of God to cover a matter, that matter being sin; but it is the honor of kings to search that matter out and bring the guilty one to justice. You know that we think less and less of our police if they are not able to discover criminals. It has sometimes happened that justice misses its mark. Perhaps there is an attempt made to get a certain important witness out of the way, or to suborn another, or to suppress some testimony that might be brought against the accused persons. It is never to the honor of kings when that is done. When for instance a murder has been committed and the criminal cannot be traced, it is not to the credit of the governing powers that it should be so; and though it must be so sometimes — for no human government can be perfect in its detective forces — yet it is not to the honor of “the powers that be.” It is to the honor of kings that they search matters out till they bring home the guilt to the proper individual. Nor is it to the honor of kings if they give their verdict and sentence at first sight according to prejudice. It is their honor to search out a matter — to hear both sides of the case. The magistrate who sits in the king’s name is bound to enquire thoroughly into the matter brought before him, and at last to adjudicate as justice demands. This is sometimes very difficult, but it is to the honor of kings and their representatives when they attempt it. Now to God such a thing as this is impossible. Nothing is concealed from him; the whole universe is but one great prison for those who offend against him and he can find them at any time that he pleases, and he can execute his just sentence upon them without a moment’s delay. He needs no witnesses, he need not summon this person or that who has seen a certain deed done, for the transgression has been committed in his own sight. His glory is that he covers the matter; and as it is the glory of God to cover the matter, it is also the honor of kings to search the matter out; that matter in each case being the breach of law. I am persuaded that this is the meaning of the text. Even if it were not, it is a grand truth of Scripture well worthy of our meditation.

So we shall dwell upon it thus. First, it is the glory of God to cover sin. Secondly, this is a great encouragement to penitent sinners; and thirdly, it ought to be a great stimulus to saints.

I. First, it is the glory of God to cover sin.
This is the expression which is commonly used in Scripture to describe the putting away of sin and forgiving it. God covers the very thing which the magistrate searches out — the guilt, the breach of his law, the aggravations, the multiplied repetitions of sin, the base motives, the many excuses and deceits with which sin is sought to be extenuated — all this God covers. Hear this and be astonished, O ye sinners: God can cover all your sins no matter how black they are, or how many, or how deep their dye, he can cover them all!

“This in his grand prerogative,
And none can in this honor share.”

But he can do it, glory be to his blessed name!
He can cover the sin which is known and confessed. He never covers the sin which is unconfessed. When a man will not acknowledge himself to be guilty, he stands convicted of his rebellious refusal to take his proper position before the Lord. But if thou dost stand, O sinner, and confess thy guilt; if thou sayest O rebel, “There is no doubt about the matter; I own that I am guilty,” it is the glory of God that he can cover that sin which no other can cover, and which thine own conscience will not permit thee to conceal! He can cover the transgression of that man whose mouth is stopped by the consciousness of his guilt. O glorious act of divine grace, that sin and transgression can be covered — covered though it be confessed and acknowledged, and covered because it is confessed and acknowledged!

The glory of this truth lies in the fact that God can do this justly through the work of Jesus. To cover up sin, why, standing as it does alone and without any qualification, it might seem to be a dreadful thing for God to do; but he can do it righteously. Without the slightest violation of his law, without endangering the stability of his kingdom, he can forgive and cover up all manner of sin and blasphemy so that it shall never be seen again. Do you ask me how this can be done? The answer lies in the great substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God steps down from his eternal throne when man must be punished for his sin, and he says “I will bear the punishment; lay it all on me.” And that he might bear it, Jesus took upon himself the form of a man and dwelt among men; and at last upon the accursed tree he bore the guilt of man. It was a wondrous recompense which he made to his own law by being himself punished in the stead of the offender. Now, beneath the whole heavens, there can be none who can justly object to the covering of sin by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That singular, that remarkable, that unique transaction of the Just suffering for the unjust that he might bring us to God, has enabled God to cover our sin and to do it justly.

Further, he can do this without exacting any sort of compensation from the offender. Marvellous is this truth — too marvellous for some to believe. The Romish Church teaches us that we must do penance if our sin is to be forgiven. There must be so many lashes for the bare back, or so long abstention from food, beside purgatorial pains to be inflicted after death, and I know not what beside. Ay, but this is the glory of God — that he can cover all this sin now upon the spot, without any price being paid by the sinner, or any suffering being endured by him. He has but to come and confess his sin and accept the divine covering; namely, the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, and the whole of it shall be covered once for all.

It is the glory of God that he can do all this without any injury to the person who is forgiven. It sometimes happens that if a man has offended you and you forgive him again and again, he may thereby become hardened in his sin; but the Lord’s sweet way of covering sin is one which always melts and changes the heart. Sin is never so heartily hated as when it is covered by the blood of Christ. No man does ever thoroughly loathe sin till he has seen it put away in Christ; but when he has seen Jesus put it way by his own griefs and death, then he really hates the sin that made the Redeemer mourn and nailed him to the tree. It is the glory of God that he can cover sin in such a fashion as this, so as not to injure the offender whom he forgives.

And he can do it without causing any injury to the rest of mankind. There is no man who is any the worse because his fellow-man is saved. The example of saved souls is never injurious. There are some I know who can twist the truth till they find in it an excuse for sin; but the truth that God is able to forgive the grossest sin — nay more — that he has forgiven it in the case of many, and has pressed them to his bosom as his own dear children, has done no injury but much helpful service to the morals of mankind. Go where you will and read the story of the prodigal son — on board ship among rough sailors, or away there in the barracks amongst wild soldiery, or go into the worst slums of London and read to fallen women that wondrous story of God’s pardoning love, and see if it will do them any injury. You know that it will not. On the contrary it conveys to them a message of hope which helps to lift them up from that black despair which is one of the strongest chains by which the devil can hold lost souls in captivity. I am not at all afraid of the effect of preaching that it is the glory of God to blot out sin, for he put his Son between himself and the sinner, as we sometimes sing —

“Christ and then the sinner see,
Look through Jesus’s wounds on me.

The greatest blessing of Him, dear friends, that when God covers sin he does it so effectually that it never appears any more. He declares that he casts it into the depths of the sea. He says that as far as the east is from the west so far does he remove it from us. He even goes the length of saying “The iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none.” So far as anything can be annihilated, that is what will happen to the Lord’s people. You know that the work of the Messiah was “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness;” and that is the work of which he said, “It is finished.” Then it is finished, there is an end of it; that is the glorious way in which the Lord covers sin, and it is his peculiar glory that he is continually doing this. Kings may search out matters, and they ought to do so or government will not be safe; but it is to the honor of God to forgive sin.

II. Now secondly to make a practical use of this doctrine, this should be very great encouragement to those who are seeking mercy at God’s hands.
Beloved friend, do you wish to have your sin forgiven? Then do not attempt to cover it yourself, for it is the glory of God to cover that matter, so do not try to rob him of his glory. If you could have covered your sin there would have been no need for a Redeemer. Do not attempt to excuse or extenuate your guilt, but make a clean breast of it. You are sinner, therefore say that you are a sinner. In all your approaches to God seeking mercy at his hands, come in your true colors. Do not even plead your own repentance or your tears or your feelings. Plead as David did, “For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity: for it is great.” Call your sin great as it really is. Never try to make it out to be little. You know that if you were wounded on a battlefield and a surgeon came where you were, you would not say to him “Oh, I have very little the matter with me!” Oh no! I warrant you that you would cry as loudly as you could, “Doctor, do bind up my gaping wounds lest I die!” You know that in such a case you would make the most of it, and you would act wisely in doing so; and it is never wise for a sinner to make himself out to be a little sinner. It is the glory of God to cover sin so do not you attempt to do it. I say again, lay it all bare before him, and ask him to cover it with the atoning sacrifice of his dear Son.

Now, poor sinner, I pray the Holy Spirit to enable thee to give God glory at this moment by believing that he can cover sin. When the conscience is thoroughly awakened it seems impossible that sin should ever be covered. The convicted sinner says, “My sin, my sin, I always see it; can it ever be hidden from the sight of God?” Canst thou not believe that God in Christ can cover thy sin? Glorify God, O son, glorify God, O daughter, by believing that he can do so! Do not limit his mercy by thinking that he cannot pardon thee, for he has forgiven so many that assuredly there is proof enough that he can pass by iniquity, transgression, and sin, and remember not the guilt of those who trust his Son. If thou believest that, give glory to God now by believing that he is willing to pass by thy sin. Every man is willing to do that which honors himself, and it is inconceivable that God should be reluctant to do that which glorifies himself. So as it is for his glory to cover it, he must be willing to cover it; therefore may the Holy Spirit help thee now to believe that he can and will cover thy sin! There is Christ on the cross; look to him with the eye of faith and take him to be thine own Savior. Christ on the cross is nothing to you until you trust in him, but it glorifies Christ when a poor guilty sinner cries to him, “Purge me with hyssop.” You know what the use of the hyssop was. They took a bunch of it and dipped it in the blood of the sacrifice, and those who were sprinkled with it were made ceremonially clean. David prayed “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow;” and that is the prayer for you to present. You believe that if God were to wash another man in the blood of Jesus he would become whiter than snow, but canst thou not believe it for thyself? May the blessed Spirit take away thine unbelief, dear heart! Canst thou not believe that he can wash thee and make thee whiter than snow? He will do it in a moment if thou dost but trust him, rely upon him, and receive his dear Son to be thy salvation. This is the true covering of sin. Oh, how the Hebrews loved that word “covering.” Noah’s ark was pitched within and without with pitch: that was its covering. So everything under the Mosaic law had its covering; and God has a way of covering sin, and covering the sinner too, within and without, till all his sin is gone, and he that believeth on the Lord Jesus Christ may know at once that his transgression is forgiven, his sin is covered.

“But,” someone asks, “am I to do nothing?” Nothing but “believe in him that justifieth the ungodly.” If you do that you will begin to do something more directly afterwards, for you will love God for having pardoned you and you will say, “I am not my own now for I am bought with a price; and therefore I will live to his glory.” But in order to get thy sin forgiven thou hast nothing to do except to

“Cast thy deadly doing down,
Down at Jesus’ feet;
Stand in him, in him alone,
Gloriously complete;”

“for he that believeth on him is not condemned.” “He that believeth in him is justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Oh what an encouragement this ought to be to all sinners who are seeking the Savior!
III. Now lastly, this grand doctrine ought to be a great stimulus to the people of God.
First it should excite you to glorify God in having covered your sin. Do not go and talk to everybody about what you used to be before conversion as I have known some do. They will almost glory in what they were. I have more than a little hesitation about what is sometimes said by converted burglars, and men of that sort. I am glad they are converted but I wish there would not talk so much about that which is covered. Let it be covered.
Still, never be backward to glorify God for having covered your sin. Speak of it with delicacy and modesty; but if the grace of God has saved you tell all men of it and do not let people imagine that God has done only a small thing for you. When he saved you it was the grandest thing he could do for you. Do you not think so? Well then, tell the story of it.

“Tell it unto sincere, tell,
I am — I am — out of hell.”

And what is more I never shall go there, but shall see God’s face with acceptance in heaven. Tell this to sinners while you live; and when you get to heaven make the streets of glory to ring with the tidings of the almighty grace that covered all your sin.
The next thing for you Christian people to do, now that you know that God can cover sin, is to aim at the covering of the sins of your friends and neighbors by leading them to the Savior. To see sin should always be a tearful sight to you. As soon as ever you see it breathe the prayer, “Lord, cover it.” Do you live where you can hardly lie in your bed at night without hearing mounds of ribaldry and blasphemy? Then the moment you hear them say, “Lord, cover that sin.” Do you see, in the streets, foul transgression that makes you blush? Never see it without saying “Lord, cover that sin.” If we were in a right state of heart this would be our habit; every sin that we noticed in ourselves or in others — in our children or our servants or our neighbors or that we read of in the newspapers, would make us pray “Lord, cover that sin.” So always be telling others about the covering of sin by Christ’s precious blood. Show them what a perfect covering it is. You know that the Lord spoke through Isaiah of “a covering which is narrower than that a man can wrap himself in it.” But the atoning sacrifice of Christ is a covering which will cover all sin, and cover the sinner from head to foot; therefore tell others about it with all your might.

And once more, you who have proved the power of this covering, imitate the Lord in forgetting the sins of those who repent. If ever they offend you, let that atonement which satisfied God for sin also satisfy you, and say, “Though this man has offended me, I ask no atonement at his hands, because Christ’s atonement is to my soul the satisfaction for every sin against me as well as against God.” Never harbor any resentment for a single moment, beloved. Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Do you think that Christ’s blood and righteousness are not sufficient to cover those unkind words of your brother, or that ungenerous action of your sin, or that slanderous speech of your neighbor? Go and put all offenses against yourself where God has put all offenses against himself. It is a dreadful thing to hear a man talking about God having forgiven him ten thousand talents and then to see him take his brother by the throat, saying “Pay me what thou owest.” Our Lord Jesus Christ said “If ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespass.” This spirit of forgiveness would keep us always in a state of love, and this is exactly what the Lord Jesus aims at. “It is the glory of God to cover a matter.” Then do you cover matters too. I know some people who always like to be poking into any filth there is. They keep a long stick and stir it up, and they seem to be quite pleased with the sweet perfume. Let it alone, brother, let it alone. “Oh but you do not know how they have offended me!” No, and I do not want to know; but I am quite sure that they have not offended you as much as you have offended God, and yet he has forgiven you. Then do you forgive them. The less said in such matters, the sooner are they mended. Solomon wisely says “Where no wood is there the fire goeth out.” Blessed are they who always act as firemen, throwing cold water upon every spark of dissension or ill-will that they see. It is the glory of God to cover it up, so do you also cover it up with the spirit of love and the mantle of gentleness; and, above all, with the reflection that the precious blood of Christ that made peace between you and God, has also made peace between you and all mankind. And now for love of Christ, if they smite you on the one cheek you should turn the other also; if they will have your cloak, for love of Jesus let them have your coat also sooner than live in the spirit of perpetual contention and strife. May God enable you to act thus, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

The Search for Joy and the Supremacy of God in the Gospel

Watch the first John Piper message – In the throne Room given at the Gospel Coalition for Women 2012 Conference here:

The Search for Joy and the Supremacy of God in the Gospel

photo from http://christianpost.com

The Gospel is the great work of God, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, by which He removes every obstacle to your everlasting, all satisfying  joy in His glory and in which He displays most beautifully that glory, for your enjoyment. He removes and destroys everything that makes your happiness fail and He displays everything that makes your happiness full. So, I plead with you: Give your self to this. Make this your life long quest.

The Search for Joy and the Supremacy of God in the Gospel from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

  1. The ‘by which’ He removes every obstacle to your everlasting and all satisfying joy in His glory.
  2. And the second one will be: And, ‘in which’ He becomes the display and the object of that very glory and your joy in Him.

So, the Gospel is the work of God by which through Jesus Christ He removes every single obstacle to your everlasting and all satisfying pleasure. I’ve written down 7 of those obstacles so that you get a feel for how magnificent this removal is, and I hope as I walk through these, you will find your self leaping inside. That you are no longer locked up to joylessness because of these 7 things. They are obliterated by the blood of Jesus:

  1. The wrath of God– is the greatest obstacle to your joy in the universe, and it has been removed in the blood of Jesus. Romans 5:9: ‘Since we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.’ Galatians 3:13: ‘Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.’ That’s God’s curse; the law doesn’t do anything. It’s just there doing what God appoints for it to do and it curses us, and it curses us because nobody has fulfilled it. And so, Jesus steps in between, at God’s appointment and He absorbs the entire curse that God has put on us because of the law and His wrath is over. We call that propitiation. Romans 3:25: ‘God put Christ forward (God did this, don’t ever think of Jesus and God at odds here) as a propitiation by His blood.’ That means He propitiated His wrath. He satisfied His justice. So, once the greatest obstacle in our lives, namely, „we can’t be happy in God’s glory- He’s angry at us” is over. And all the omnipotence that once flowed into the punishment that we deserved, now flows only, only in mercy towards His children in Jesus Christ. That obstacle is over because of the Gospel.
  2. We were alienated and far away from Him. Ephesians 2:13: ‘In Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.’ Romans 5:10: ‘(We call this reconciliation) While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.’ So, not only is wrath removed, our distance, way, way, far away in our alienation, He’s brought us near. Wrath removed – distance overcome.
  3. In the Gospel He removes the obstacle of real guilt, real sin in our lives. Ephesians 1:7: ‘In Him we have redemption, through His blood the forgiveness of our sins. 1 Peter 2:24: ‘Christ bore our sins in His body.’ Isaiah 53:6: ‘God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ The guilt and the burden of sin cannot be an obstacle to our joy. It’s on Jesus. If we let it become an obstacle we dishonor the blood, we say it’s inadequate. It’s not inadequate, it is totally adequate and the sin is not a problem anymore, for our everlasting joy in Him. That obstacle has been removed.
  4. The absence of righteousness in my life. Not only do I have real guilt apart from Jesus and real sin, I don’t have any righteousness to commend me to a holy God. None is righteous, no not one. Romans 3:10. And so, what did God do?  2 Corinthians 5:21: ‘For our sake, God made Him to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.’ In Him, you are righteous, perfect. Romans 5:19: ‘As by one man’s disobedience (that’s Adam) the many were made sinners.’ We were counted as sinners because we were in Adam. ‘So, by one man’s obedience, the many will be constituted righteous.’ As we were counted sinners in Adam, we are counted righteous in Christ. This is called justification. ‘Therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God’. The obstacle of the absence of righteousness, the absence of inadequacy, the absence of perfection in my life is not an obstacle to my everlasting pleasures at His right hand forevermore.
  5. I am going to die and so are you. Hebrews 9:27: ‘It is appointed to man once to die and after that judgment.’ So, it’s gonna be over. Will it be over? It won’t be over! Not for those who are in Christ. My joy – so small, in the beginning stages now, won’t be over. What does the Gospel do to that? Romans 8:11: ‘If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies through the spirit that dwells in you.’ You will not die. ‘I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in Me, though he die, yet he shall live and he who lives and believes in me will never die.’ Your joy in Jesus, small as it is now never stops.
  6. Spiritual deadness in my soul is no longer an obstacle to my everlasting, all satisfying happiness in Jesus. My spiritual deadness, your spiritual deadness, deadness to glory, deadness to beauty, deadness to Christ, deadness to everything holy and good and right and satisfying from heaven began a long time before we died. We were born dead. So, how can a lifeless, dead, insensitive, hard heart that only loves what kills, have everlasting joy. Because Christ died in order for this to happen. Ephesians 2:4: ‘God, being rich in mercy, out of the great love (oh, I love that phrase, it is the only place it occurs in the Bible) with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive, in Christ Jesus.’ ‘By grace you have been saved’, which links it with the Gospel. You’re not dead anymore, which means you have tastebuds on your soul’s tongue and  they were made to lick the lollipop of the Gospel. (laughter  as John Piper says: A lousy illustration, just came to my mind just then. Stay to your manuscript) You get the idea. Before they were dead and you licked sin and it was so good. Right? You licked sin and it totally had your tongue. And then, something happened called ‘the new birth’, new creation and the taste buds changed. They came alive to glory. And so, your deadness is not an obstacle anymore.
  7. Satan hates your joy. The great accuser, what happened at the Gospel to Satan? What happened at the cross to Satan? Two passages- Colossians 2:15: ‘Christ disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame triumphing over them in Him.’ Or in it, the cross- two possible translations. When Christ died, he stripped Satan of his armor., meaning- the only lethal weapon Satan has in his hand against you is the weapon of the accusation of unforgiven sin. If he can get you there, you’re damned. If Satan can go before the bar of God and say, „Her sins aren’t forgiven, she’s mine”, you ARE his. But, if at the cross, every sin was covered, his mouth is shut. He has no weapon anymore. Oh he can…, I like to say to the kids in our church, „He can gum you, but his fangs are gone!”. And they remember that. And the other text is Hebrews 2:14: ‘Through death He destroyed him who has the power of death, that is the devil.

There are no obstacles anymore that can stop your everlasting joy in Jesus. Now here’s the question: If you have experienced

  • propitiation- wrath gone.
  • Reconciliation- you’re near.
  • Redemption- sin’s forgiven.
  • Justification- a righteousness in Christ, that’s His, counted for you.
  • Promise of resurrection after death.
  • New birth so that your taste buds are alive.
  • The defeat of Satan.

If you have experienced that, have you experienced the Gospel? Have you experienced the greatest good, that makes the Gospel good and makes all of those things good, which they are not in themselves. And the answer is- yes, you have, if you realize none of those things, those 7 triumphs over the obstacles to your joy, none of those 7 is good news, except as removing obstacles to something else.

  • Removing God’s wrath is not the goal of the Gospel, it’s a means.
  • Drawing near to God is not the goal of the Gospel, it’s a means.
  • The forgiveness of your sins is not the goal of the Gospel, it’s a means.
  • Being counted righteous in Christ is not the goal of the Gospel, it’s a means.
  • Rising from the dead is not the goal of the Gospel, it’s a means.
  • Having new spiritual tastebuds is not the goal of the Gospel, it’s a means.
  • The defeat of Satan is not the goal of the Gospel, it’s a means.

TO WHAT???

What makes the Gospel the Gospel? What makes the good news, ultimately, finally, supremely, all satisfyingly good? We haven’t even got there yet. We haven’t said it. If I have offended Noelle, my wife, and I need forgiveness, and I ask for it, why should I want it? Forgiveness is one of those 7 means by which the Lord overcomes the obstacles to our joy. So, this is one illustration, you could do it with all 7. So, here now we have a human paradigm or parable of that. So, I’ve offended her. I’ve said something ugly. I need forgiveness. Why? Why should I want it? Why should you want to be forgiven by God. The answer to that question makes all the difference in the world whether you are believing the Gospel. The answer is not: I don’t want to have a guilty conscience when I go to church. It’s embarrassing. It’s inconsistent. It’s contradictory. I don’t want to have a guilty conscience at work, it makes me uncomfortable. Bad answer.

Or, „Maybe if we get this thing cleared up, there’ll be a dinner when I get back”. Bad answer. That’s why a lot of people want the forgiveness of God. Hell is hot, heaven’s cool, that’s better. Better dinner. I’ll use any butler that can get me there. „I need to be a good example for the church, to be a good husband, telling the story how I confessed and got it right.” „Woo, pastor’s a good husband”. Wrong answer. There’s only one right answer, „I want my wife back! I want her back! There’s stuff in the way, I want her.” That’s the reason I want forgiveness. And, if I want it for any other reason, she is dishonored and so is God.

This is why it is so crucial to realize that after all those 7 removal of obstacles, realize we haven’t said the ultimate goal of the Gospel yet, which is- to enjoy  Him, savor Him, prize Him, be satisfied in Him, embrace Him, walk with Him. It’s about Him and all that He is for us in here (points to heart).

Back to the definition. Maybe the definition will start making more sense now. Here’s my definition of the Gospel: The Gospel is the work of God in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, by which He removes every obstacle between me and my, you and your – everlasting, all satisfying pleasure in the glory of God, in Jesus. And, I said, in which in that very removal, He displays the glory that gives us the greatest happiness. What makes the Gospel „the Gospel’ is not ultimately the removal  of obstacles, but rather, the joy that we have in Jesus in the beautiful display of His glory in the removal of the obstacles.

Christ did not just make our joy possible, by the Gospel. He became the supreme object of our joy, in the Gospel. Let me say that again: Christ, in dying for us, did not simply make our joy possible; He died to become the supreme object of our joy in the Gospel and here is my key text: 2 Corinthians 4:4-6: ‘in whose (the case of the unbelievers) case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “ Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.’  Satan doesn’t want you to see, with the eyes of your heart, the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ. I cannot, I don’t think, exaggerate the impact of that little phrase on my thinking about God, the Gospel, life, marriage, church, everything. The Gospel  of the glory of Christ- which I take it means: In His death and resurrection, He has secured my everlasting enjoyment of His glory and He has displayed in His most beautiful form His glory. It’s called the Gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God. (Read verse 6) The Gospel is designed to be the point at which the eyes of our heart see the glory of Christ and not just see it. The devil sees it, but he doesn’t really see what it is. He doesn’t see how beautiful and attractive  and all satisfying it happens to be when you got tastebuds by new birth. You see it and you savor it, meaning embrace it, love it, delight in it, be satisfied by it, to the end that the world might be shown. See, savor, show. That’s our little trilogy at Bethlehem. It’s about seeing Him, savoring Him, and showing the world that He is supremely valuable, which means it’s probably gonna make you do some wild and crazy wonderful things which the world will be puzzled about.

A key text on that last point about savoring and showing- Ephesians 1:5-6: ‘God predestined us in love for adoption through Jesus Christ, (there’s the Gospel) according to the purpose of His will, unto the praise of the glory of His grace.’ The praise of the glory of His praise. He died for you so you’d praise His grace. Died so you’d praise. So He reveals it, He removes every obstacle to it and now, your life long vision is: I will pursue that praising. And, nobody praises what he doesn’t enjoy. That’s called hypocrisy. And therefore, the goal is that you be satisfied in Him. So the design of the Gospel, it’s ultimate goal is that we see and savor the glory of Christ in the Gospel, that we show His worth by how much we treasure Him, that we display His beauty by how much we delight in it and that the preciousness of our Savior be shown by how much He satisfies our soul- which leads to this practical, life altering conclusion.

The life that drinks deeply at the well of the Gospel; the life that drinks most deeply at the well of the Gospel  and the life that displays the worth of Christ most clearly, and the life that glorifies the work of God’s grace most fully is a life of unremitting pursuit of happiness in Jesus and not in the world. If that’s true, the christian life becomes a life long quest to make Jesus the lifeblood of all your pleasure. Don’t have any pleasures outside of Jesus. If there’ a good thing in marriage. If there’s a good thing in children, if there’s a good thing in a sunset, if there’s a good thing in art or music, I will enjoy it because of Jesus. It will be for Him, it will be from Him, it will be through Him and it will not compete with Him. Not on my life it won’t. I will cut off my hand, lest anything compete with my affections as an idol with Jesus.

I’d like to stress this- the pursuit of your joy is commanded by the Bible. „Rejoice in the Lord and again I say rejoice”. The nature of faith beckons you to pursue your joy. Jesus said in John 6:35: ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger. Whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’ So, believing is a coming to Jesus for the thirsting satisfaction, the hungering satisfaction of your soul. That’s what faith is. Faith is the embracing of Jesus, as the bread satisfies your soul, the water that satisfies the thirst that is coming us again and again. No more quest, He’s the one.

The nature of evil pushes you to this quest. „My people committed 2 evils (Jeremiah 2) They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters and have hewn out (dug out) for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water. What’s that? That’s insane. And the whole world is doing it. Don’t join them! Don’t forsake the fountain of living water, you glorify the water by getting down on your face and drinking to your heart’s contentment, lifting up your face saying, „Ahh,” that’s worship . Saying it’s a nice fountain while drinking from the river of the valley is not worship. So, evil is defined in the Bible as the forsaking of your joy in God and, trying to find it anywhere else. That’s a wonderful definition of evil.

The nature of conversion pushes you in this direction. The kingdom of heaven is like a man who found a treasure hidden in a field and in his joy he covered over and went and sold everything he had and bought that field. That’s the shortest parable in Jesus’ teaching. What’s the point? When the King arrives, He’s the treasure. And if you see, suddenly, „I could have this! I could have Him!” And I’ve got all this clamoring, clawing joys in my life that are trying to drag me away in another direction, I will sell them all and the world will think I am crazy. They might even call it „you’re hating”. You’re not. Conversion is – finding Jesus so valuable, you would have Him at the cost of  anything.

Two more comments: ‘You can’t love each other and your husbands and your children and your friends and your enemies, unless you are finding your joy in Jesus. Listen to this word to the Corinthians about the Macedonians: We want you to know about the  grace of God that’s been poured out on the churches of Macedonia, for, in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty overflow with a flow of liberality on their part.’ So, where did their love come from? It didn’t come from the removal of affliction, that’s intense. It didn’t come from the removal of poverty, that’s extreme. Where did it come from? The grace of God came down and their abundance of joy in affliction and in poverty overflowed. Do you want to be an overflowing person? Biblically, there’s only one way to overflow with Christ exalting love for others: Be filled with happiness in Jesus. Happiness that may cost you your life or meaning you stay in a marriage, or raise a disabled child, or go to the hardest place on the planet to serve others. The pathway of Christ is not an easy path. It’s just a happy one.

Lastly, I have a ‘rose’ story. Does it really glorify God to pursue your joy? I’d stake my life on that, it’s almost done and that’s what I’ve said for almost 40 years. So, it’s our anniversary. December 21st it will be 44 years. I ring the doorbell after work, which I never do, of course and she comes to the door and is surprised that I rang the doorbell, looks at me kind of funny and I pull the flowers and I say, „Happy anniversary Noelle”. „They’re beautiful”, she says, „Why did you?” And I say, „It’s my duty”. What’s wrong with that answer? Duty is a good thing. Ask a soldier, ask a marine.

It’s the wrong answer. Why is it the wrong answer? „I did my duty. I read the book, I know how you’re supposed to be. I know how you do marriage”. The right answer: Ring the doorbell, she comes to the door, looks funny, „Happy anniversary Noelle”, „Aww… they’re beautiful Johnny, why did you?” „It makes me happy. There’s nothing I’d rather do than spend this evening with you so I’ve made arrangements for Talitha to be where she needs to be and we’re going out. That’s the right answer. And, not in a thousand years would she ever say, „Nothing makes you happier, all you ever think about is you, you, you.” Now, why would she never say that? Because she knows that when I’m satisfied in her, she’s glorified. She knows that, she feels that. And so does God. The ultimate reason for why you pursue your everlasting, all satisfying joy in Jesus is because it makes much of Him, like nothing else.

So, I close with my definition again: The Gospel is the great work of God, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, by which He removes every obstacle to your everlasting, all satisfying  joy in His glory and in which He displays most beautifully that glory, for your enjoyment. He removes and destroys everything that makes your happiness fail and He displays everything that makes your happiness full. So, I plead with you: Give your self to this. Make this your life long quest. Cut off your hand if you have to. Do not rest until you find yourself sweetly, deeply resting in the all satisfying grace and glory of our Lord Jesus.

from John Piper at http://www.desiringGod.org

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