This two-minute clip comes from a new message from John Piper, “Make War: The Pastor and His People in the Battle Against Sin.” The full message and all the audio and video from the 2015 Desiring God Conference for Pastors is available free of charge. http://desiringGod.org/conference-mes…
20 Mar 2015 Leave a comment
18 Feb 2015 1 Comment
Rugăciunea privată este importantă, chiar esențială, lucrul acesta este clar pentru creștin. Dar felul în care privim rugăciunea este o deschidere glorioasă pentru experiențele și rutina noastră, pentru șabloanele noastre și pentru diferitele sezoane ale vieții noastre. Pe măsură ce ne evaluăm (sau începem să) propriul ritm și propriile practici, uitați aici cinci sugestii pentru a vă îmbogăți rugăciunea privată.
1. Creați-vă propria odăiță.
Găsiți-vă un loc regular pentru rugăciunea în privat și dacă nu puteți găsi unul, faceți-vă unul. Poate fi un simplu birou liber sau un loc unde poți îngenunchia. Mulți au constatat că a te ruga lângă pat aduce mai multe roade decât a te ruga în pat. Poate poți găsi o cameră întreagă pentru tine sau să te cuibărești sub niște scări, un loc cu suficient spațiu pentru stat sau îngenunchiat și suficientă lumină pentru a citi sau chiar pentru a scrie. A avea propriul tău loc te va ajuta să fii regular în privința rugăciunii.
2. Începe cu Biblia.
Pentru că rugăciunea este o conversație pe care nu noi o începem, ci un răspuns la inițiativa și vorbirea lui Dumnezeu în Cuvântul Său, mulți dintre noi am învățat – împreună cu George Mueller – să începem cu Biblia. Mueller spune că timp de zece ani, el și-a început fiecare dimineață cu o încercare imediată, fierbinte și prelungită de a se ruga, doar pentru a învăța, în final, că rugăciunile sunt mai bogate și concentrate pe El atunci când vin ca un răspuns la Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu.
De atunci, Mueller a început cu o scurtă rugăciune cerându-I lui Dumnezeu ajutorul în timp ce citea, apoi mergea prima dată la Biblie și își deschidea urechea la ceea ce găsea în Cuvânt, prin meditație, transpunere, prin disciplina meditației, apoi ajungea la momentul rugăciunii private zilnice.
3. Adorați, mărturisiți, mulțumiți, cereți.
După ce ai citit și meditat din Biblie, înainte de a deschide porțile „liberei rugăciuni” – exprimând tot ceea ce avem în inimă – ar putea fi de folos să avem ceva la îndemână. William Law sfătuia în devoționalele sale pentru dimineața să „avem ceva fixat și ceva liber”. La fel este și cu rugăciunea privată.
Martin Luther recomanda să ne rugăm conform Rugăciunii Domnești, dar cu alte cuvinte în fiecare zi. O formă testată în timp ar fi urmptoarea: adorare, confesiune, mulțumire, implorare. În primul rând, adoră-L pe Dumnezeu cu laude pentru adevărul revelat în timpul citirii tale și a meditației la Scriptură, apoi confesează-ți propriile păcate, slăbiciuni și eșecuri, apoi mulțumește-I pentru har și milă, apoi, în final, imploră – adu cereri înaintea Lui – pentru tine, pentru familia ta, biserica ta și altele.
4. Divulgă-ți dorințele – și dezvoltă-le.
În primul rând, ceva stabilit și fix; acum, ceva liber. Aceasta este o „rugăciune liberă” în care ne rugăm ceea ce avem în inimă, spunem ceea ce ne împovărează și ne înspăimântă în acea zi sau în acel moment al vieții. În rugăciunea privată trebuie să fim onești cu Dumnezeu și cu noi înșine. Exprimă-ți inima Tatălui tău. El deja o știe, dar vrea să o audă de la tine. Acesta este un privilegiu de negrăit!
Dar pentru Dumnezeu, rugăciunea nu este doar un loc unde noi ne divulgăm inima, ci un loc unde ne și dezvoltăm dorințele. Acolo găsești puterea. Rugăciunea ne schimbă inimile ca nimic altceva. Poate în mod special când urmărim rugăciunile din Biblie, din Psalmi sau cele ale apostolului (ca în Efeseni1:17-21; 3:16-19; Filipeni 1:9-11; Coloseni 1:9-12) și multe altele ca exemple pentru a ne modela și a ne exprima dorințele în fața lui Dumnezeu.
5. Fă-o să fie mereu una nouă
Schimbă-ți rugăciunea cu ocazia Noului An sau a unei luni noi, a unui nou sezon din viața ta. Regular sau cu anumite ocazii, scrie anumite rugăciuni cu grijă (o fațetă de mare valoare a disciplinei păstrării unui jurmal), întârește-ți afecțiunile în rugăciune prin post sau ia o pauză din haosul vieții și retrage-te în liniște și singurătate.
Puține lucruri sunt cele care merită atenția și investiția noastră precum privilegiul și puterea rugăciunii private.
14 Aug 2014 Leave a comment
Anyone who has known anyone suffering from deep depression or those fighting it right now, can find some helpful encouragement in this article by Jon Bloom, President of Desiring God, which is John Piper’s church ministry.
You Are Not Alone
And one thing you need to remember is that the oppressive darkness and the temptation to despair is common to man. You are not alone. About ¼ of the Psalms are written to help you. And one man’s surrender to the darkness does not at all mean that’s where you’ll end up. This precious promise is for you:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Robin Williams’s alleged suicide has sent shock waves through the world.
Williams was a man bursting with manic energy, an out-sized personality, prodigious dramatic talent, and a completely unique comic genius.
But for some of us in the household of Jesus, Williams’s death hits hard for very personal reasons. For some, a profound, oppressive darkness is threatening to douse the little light and hope they see. They are fighting for dear life to remember and believe that life is worth living. And Robin Williams’s surrender is sucking the hope that they will be able to keep fighting.
If that’s you, I simply want to point you to hope by recommending a few things:
Please click here to read the entire article – http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/help-for-those-fighting-or-grieving-a-suicide
19 Apr 2014 Leave a comment
By Joseph Scheumann via Desiring God.org
The resurrection of Jesus is foundational to the Christian faith, and yet, oftentimes, we only give it real thought around the Easter season.
But the resurrection of Jesus is so important that Paul writes, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). And later he says, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (verse 19).
In the hopes of gaining a deeper understanding of this glorious reality, here are five truths about the resurrection.
1) Jesus had a bodily resurrection.
When Jesus was raised from the dead, he didn’t leave his body behind. In fact, after his resurrection his scars remained (John 20:27), he ate fish (John 20:12), he bodily ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9), and will bodily come again (1 Thessalonians 4:16). The Son of God will always have a bodily existence.
The fact that Jesus still has a body testifies to the dignity of the human body — both the ones that we have and the ones we will have after our resurrection. Matthew Lee Anderson writes, “The resurrection of the body means that to be human with God is to be with him not as disembodied souls, but as people with noses, faces, arms, and legs that are similar to those we currently have” (Earthen Vessels, 60–61).
2) Jesus had a justifying resurrection.
Perhaps the clearest instance of Paul connecting Jesus’s resurrection with his justification is obscured in most English translations. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 3:16, “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” The word that is translated “vindicated” is typically translated “declared righteous” or “justified” elsewhere in the New Testament.
But if Jesus was perfect, how could he be justified, since justification implies guilt (see Romans 4:5)? The answer lies in Jesus’s death and resurrection. Richard Gaffin explains, “As long as [Jesus] remained in a state of death, the righteous character of his work, the efficacy of his obedience unto death remained in question, in fact, was implicitly denied. Consequently, the eradication of death in his resurrection is nothing less than the removal of the verdict of condemnation and the effective affirmation of his righteousness” (Resurrection and Redemption, 121–122).
3) Jesus had a Trinitarian resurrection.
The pattern in the New Testament is to speak of God the Father as the one who does the raising, Jesus as the one who is being raised, and the Spirit as the means the Father used to raise Jesus. This pattern is seen in Romans 8:11: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
Here we see not only that God the Father raises Jesus through the Holy Spirit, but our resurrection will be parallel to the resurrection of Jesus — God the Father will raise us through the Spirit.
4) Jesus had a firstfruits resurrection of ours to come.
Paul describes Jesus’s resurrection as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Firstfruits is an agricultural metaphor that points to the initial quality of the harvest. Gaffin explains, “Paul is saying here, the resurrection of Christ and of believers cannot be separated. Why? Because, to extend the metaphor as Paul surely intends, Christ’s resurrection is the ‘firstfruits’ of the resurrection ‘harvest’ that includes the resurrection of believers. This thought is reinforced in verse 23: ‘Each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ’” (By Faith, Not By Sight, 68).
5) In Jesus, believers are already spiritually resurrected.
The resurrection is not only a future event for believers. Those who believe in Christ have already been raised to life with him. Paul writes, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). Christians are people who have already been raised with Christ. Gaffin explains, “[B]elievers will never be more resurrected than they already are. God has done a work in each believer, a work of nothing less than resurrection proportions, that will not be undone” (By Faith, Not by Sight, 76).
The resurrection is an already but not-yet reality for the Christian because of our union with Christ. Jesus’s resurrection means that those who have faith in him have been raised from the dead because they are in Christ, and yet we still await the full experience of the resurrection to come (Romans 8:22–23).
18 Apr 2014 Leave a comment
By Joseph Scheumann via Desiring God.org
Grace is at the heart of the Christian faith. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than at the cross of Christ. It is grace that the Son of God took on flesh, and grace that he taught us how to live — but it is especially grace that he died on the cross in our place.
Moreover, this climactic grace shown at the cross has a specific shape — it has edges. These edges help us see what exactly happened when Jesus died. And it’s important that we see because seeing leads to worship — you can’t worship what you don’t know.
So in hopes of more clarity — fuel for worship — here are five biblical truths about what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
1. The death of Jesus was for his enemies.
God’s love is different than natural human love. God loves us when we’re utterly unlovable. When Jesus died, he died for the ungodly, for sinners, and for his enemies. Paul gets at how contrary this is to human nature when he writes, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person, though perhaps for a good person one would dare to die, but God shows his love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7–8).
2. The death of Jesus purchased a people.
The death of Christ was effective in its purpose. And its goal was not just to purchase the possibility of salvation, but a people for his own possession. Hear Jesus’s words: “All that the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out… And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:36, 39).
If we say that Christ only purchased the opportunity of salvation for all men we gut biblical words such as redemption of their meaning. John Murray writes: “It is to beggar the conception of redemption as an effective securement of release by price and power to construe it as anything less than the effectual accomplishment which secures the salvation of those who are its objects. Christ did not come to put men in a redeemable position but to redeem to himself a people” (Redemption Accomplished and Applied, 63).
3. The death of Jesus is on our behalf.
Jesus’s death was substitutionary. That is, he died in our place. He died the death that we deserved. He bore the punishment that was justly ours. For everyone who believes in him, Christ took the wrath of God on their behalf. Peter writes, “[Jesus] himself bore our sin in his body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
4. The death of Jesus defines love.
Jesus’s death wasn’t just an act of love, it defines love. His substitutionary death is the ultimate example of what love means, and Jesus calls those who follow him to walk in the same kind of life-laying-down love. John writes, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:16). John Piper explains: “Jesus’s death is both guilt-bearing and guidance-giving. It is a death that forgives sin and a death that models love. It is the purchase of our life from perishing and the pattern of a life of love” (What Jesus Demands from the World, 266).
5. The death of Jesus reconciles us to God.
Justification, propitiation, and redemption — all benefits of Christ’s death — have one great purpose: reconciliation. Jesus’s death enables us to have a joy-filled relationship with God, which is the highest good of the cross. Paul writes, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Colossians 1:21–22).
Think about how this works in our relationships with other people. When we sin, not only do we hurt the person we sin against, we harm the relationship. It will never be the same until we seek forgiveness. So it is with our relationship with God. We enter this world sinful, and as a result, we’re alienated from God. Only forgiveness — forgiveness which was purchased at the cross — can heal the relationship so that we are able to enjoy fellowship with God.
08 Mar 2014 Leave a comment
In honor of all mothers, who are celebrated in European countries today, the 8th of March, we are posting this article today:
Read the entire article here- http://www.desiringgod.org
In this message, John Piper directs a word of honor and encouragement to mothers from 1 Timothy 3 and he also recounts the impact his mother, Ruth Piper, had on his own calling:
But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it [mark those words] 15 and how from childhood [this signals to us who it was that taught him these things] you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
1. From Whom Did Timothy Learn the Word?
want you to see two things. First, who is Paul talking about in verse 14 when he says, “. . . knowing from whom you leaned it”? He is talking about Eunice and Lois, Timothy’s mother and grandmother. There are three clues that lead us to this conclusion. First, Paul refers (in v. 15) to this learning as happening “from childhood.” Second, we see in 2 Timothy 1:5 these words, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” So Paul has already connected Timothy’s faith with what he got from his mother and grandmother.
The third clue is the answer to the question why Paul did not refer to Timothy’s father. The answer is found in Acts 16:1 where Luke tells us about how Paul chose Timothy in the first place as missionary partner. “Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.” So Timothy is the product of a home with a believing mother and an unbelieving father. That’s why Paul did not say that Timothy learned the scriptures from his father. He didn’t. His father didn’t believe them. But his mother and grandmother did. That is who Paul is referring to in 2 Timothy 3:14.
2. Remembering the Character of Your Godly Mother Is a Great Incentive to Holding Fast the Scriptures She Taught You
Now the second thing to see in this verse is that remembering the character of your godly mother is a great incentive to holding fast to the scriptures she taught you. Let’s read it again so you can see this. Verse 14: “But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed”—that is, don’t give up your faith, don’t give up the scriptures, don’t give up your salvation. Then comes these crucial words referring back to Eunice and Lois: “knowing from whom you learned it.”
In other words, Timothy, one of the ways—not the only way—one of the ways to strengthen your faith and persevere through hard times and not give up on the scriptures is to remember who introduced you to word of God and the way of salvation. Remember your mother, and your grandmother.
So let’s make very clear: the apostle of Jesus Christ in this text bestows on motherhood and grandmotherhood a great honor. You have a calling that can become the long-remembered ground of faith, not just for your children—mark this—but for the untold numbers who will be affected by your children. And that’s in addition to all the other thousands of ripple effects of faith in your life.
and here’s a couple of memories Piper had of his mother:
God’s honor was paramount for my mother. I wrote:
“I never got spanked for makin’ mess in my pants,
but I did for skippin’ church;
which goes to show mama cared more about keeping; God’s name
and my soul clean
than she did her own hands.”
she took right and wrong very seriously and held me accountable to the highest standards so that I knew in all the conflict I mattered a lot to my mother. I wrote:
And I seldom felt worse than when mama cried:
I got a speedin’ ticket one night
and mama wept like I’d shot somebody.
All the way to the station at midnight she cried
and made me pay it off right then and there.
One thing was for sure:
I mattered a lot to mama.
What I owe my mother for my soul and my love to Christ and my role as a husband and father and pastor is incalculable.
12 Feb 2014 1 Comment
in Family matters, John Piper, Kids, Marriage, Men, Women, Youth Tags: dating, Desiring God, family, family series, John Piper, Marriage, marriage questions, questions to consider when getting married, singles
Use Translator – Limba Romana
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.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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
10 Feb 2014 1 Comment
C S Lewis – Despre pericolul dragostei. Foloseste Google translator aici pentru –Limba Romana
Read the entire post here by Jonathan Parnell of Desiring God : C. S. Lewis on the Danger of Love.
Jonathan Parnell writes –
If you were having a cup of tea with C. S. Lewis on Valentine’s Day, and you asked him sincerely, “Mr. Lewis, am I better not to love because it’s so risky?” — he might say something like this:
Of all arguments against love none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as “Careful! This might lead you to suffering.”
To my nature, my temperament, yes. Not to my conscience. When I respond to that appeal I seem to myself to be a thousand miles away from Christ. If I am sure of anything I am sure that his teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities.…
There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.
The Four Loves, (New York, Harcourt, 1960)
- God in the Dock: The Apologetics of C. S. Lewis
- Lessons from an Inconsolable Soul Learning from the Mind and Heart of C. S. Lewis – Desiring God
- C.S Lewis – Mere Christianity Audiobook and a biographer’s lecture
- The Rationality of the Christian Worldview
- The Three Dominant Worldviews in the University and Their Relationship to the Christian Worldview
21 Jun 2013 Leave a comment
Below is the full list of our ebook exclusives over the past year. More are in the works. Here’s a chance to download the ones you may have missed, and a chance to help us get the word out if you’d like. Thank you for your reading and partnership!
“Are you sure that God wants you to continue your life in this comparatively church-saturated land? Or might he be calling you to fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, to fall like a grain of wheat into some distant ground and die, to hate your life in this world and so to keep it forever and bear much fruit?”
“In this fiftieth year since he died, I offer this little book as a celebration of the influence of C. S. Lewis in my life. I hope I do so in humility. I know I do so with profound thankfulness.”
“The Bible was always paramount: ‘Lord, thou hast given me a determination to take up no principle at second-hand; but to search for everything at the pure fountain of thy word.’ … That is one of the main reasons why it is so profitable to read Fuller to this very day: He is so freshly biblical.”
“Brainerd’s life is a vivid, powerful testimony to the truth that God can and does use weak, sick, discouraged, beat-down, lonely, struggling saints, who cry to him day and night, to accomplish amazing things for his glory.”
“One of the reasons I believe the Bible and love the Bible is because it deals with the hardest issues in life. It doesn’t sweep painful things under the rug — or complex things or confusing things or provoking things or shocking things or controversial things.”
“What the world needs from the church is our indomitable joy in Jesus in the midst of suffering and sorrow.”
“What I want most for Christmas this year is to join you (and many others) in seeing Christ in all his fullness and that we together be able to love what we see with a love far beyond our own half-hearted human capacities.”
“I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by Cannibals or by worms.”
“This Holy Week fix your gaze steadily on Christ as he loves you to the uttermost.”
“We are beggars — pray-ers. That is how we live, and that is how we study, so that God gets the glory and we get the grace.”
“Preparing well for marriage means asking each other all the hard questions.”
“When Charles Wesley taught us to sing, ‘He breaks the power of cancelled sin,’ he was teaching the fundamental truth about how the cross and our battle with sin are related. The cross cancels sins for all who believe on Jesus. Then on the basis of that cancellation of our sins, the power of our actual sinning is broken. It’s not the other way around.”
“So take heed how you hear! Hear with spiritual ears, not just the ears on your head. And hear with an honest and good heart, not a deceptive and evil heart.”
“This is a fragment of the legacy of truth imparted to me by my father. The word imparted was no mere transmission of information. It involved a whole life of proclamation and demonstration.”
13 Apr 2013 Leave a comment
in John Piper Tags: Armor of God, casting out demons, David Mathis, Desiring God, Epistle to the Ephesians, excorcism, God, iTunes, Jubilee Church, London, podcast, satan, Spiritual warfare, Tope Koleoso
photo from a message- The Resurrection by Tope Koleoso on Vimeo
from David Mathis at Desiring God – http://www.desiringgod.org
If you think spiritual warfare is irrelevant to you, you may already be losing the battle… At least you’re ripe for Satan’s picking.
Demons have a notorious way of acclimatizing to where they are, warns Tope Koleoso, pastor of Jubilee Church in London. And in secular Western society, this means playing right into our neglect and diminishing of the supernatural.
But Ephesians 6, and the rest of the Scriptures, would have us stay aware of the unseen realm, and remember that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against . . . the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). It is not Christian to suppress the supernatural.
Read more here – http://www.desiringgod.org
Subscribe to Theology Refresh in iTunes and watch more podcasts from pastors such as David Platt, D.A. Carson, John Piper, Russell Moore, and more. You can also read Tope Koleoso’s story – Light for a Dark World: The Story of Tope Koleoso from Tony Reinke at Desiring God here- http://www.desiringgod.org
FREE Ebook – Doctrine Matters by John Piper – Ten Theological Trademarks from a Lifetime of Preaching
12 Apr 2013 2 Comments
Click on photo of book, or click here for download of FREE Online book in pdf, EPUB (iBooks,Nook) and MOBI (Kindle).
“What the world needs from the church is our indomitable joy in Jesus in the midst of suffering and sorrow” (p. 177).
Doctrine Matters is the theological summary of one preacher’s lifetime of investment in a local church. Completing three decades of pastoral ministry at Bethlehem Baptist, John Piper gave a final sermon series on the doctrinal emphases from his years of preaching. These ten emphases, delivered as ten sermons in 2012 and now edited into this volume, embody the legacy Piper hopes to leave.
But don’t think that these messages are the memoirs of a retired pastor. You don’t store these truths away to collect dust. The vision of God in these pages doesn’t take a pat on the head—it turns the world upside down.
These doctrines are, as Piper says, “wildly untamable, explosively uncontainable, and electrically future-creating.” They make a difference. When you read these truths and immerse yourself in this biblical vision of our great God, you will want to act. You will want to build something. You will want to start things. You will be compelled to dream big and risk bigger for the glory of Jesus Christ. And we pray for nothing less.
Table of Contents
1. God Is
2. The Glory of God
3. Christian Hedonism
4. The Sovereignty of God
5. The Gospel of God in Christ
6. The Call to Global Missions
7. Living the Christian Life
8. The Perseverance of the Saints
9. Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
10. Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing
04 Apr 2013 Leave a comment
Today on Desiring God, they are featuring an article written by Dr. Harry W. Schaumburg, who is a speaker, author, and counselor specializing in the area of sexual sin in the church. He is the director of Stone Gate Resources and the author of False Intimacy: Understanding the Struggle of Sexual Addiction (1997) and Undefiled: Redemption From Sexual Sin, Restoration for Broken Relationships (2009). He has been married to his wife Rosemary for 43 years, and they have two adult sons.
Dr. Schaumburg speaks from his decades of experience in counseling sexual sin within churches. Please read the entire article here at Desiring God – http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/sexual-sin-is-a-corporate-affair
Two other great links from Desiring God on this subject here:
When we take the gospel seriously we not only correctly understand the nature of sexual immorality, we must become proactive in taking corporate responsibility for the sexual maturity and sexual problems within our local church.
A well-known church received a stern letter in the spring of A.D. 54 when they failed grievously in this understanding and responsibility. As you know, that same letter sent to the Corinthians is written to us.
Imagine opening your email to find this message from a highly respected church leader: “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality in your church, and a kind of sexual sin that’s not practiced among unbelievers, a man is cohabitating with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Instead, you should be deeply sorrowful.”
Our response to the existence of sexual sin within the church reveals a lot about our own spiritual, relational, and sexual maturity, as well as those with whom we fellowship.
Privatized spirituality is at the root of privatized sexuality. For the past twenty-two years I have focused on the problems of pornography and adultery within the church in America, and I see sexual sin from a unique perspective. Numerous indicators tell us that it is in our midst. I also know for a fact that there is a kind of sexual sin not tolerated by society tolerated in our churches.
Typically, sexual sin doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve seen it hidden for 5, 10, or 20 years, and even longer. Nobody suddenly falls into a one-night stand or starts looking at pornography in adulthood. There is longevity both in the process of falling into sexual sin, and then you can have years in which the sin is kept a secret from everyone. I would suggest that the first assessment needs to be both personal and corporate by asking ourselves the question: “What have we been doing personally and corporately to address sexual sin in the life of our church?”
Ignorance of the problem because it is hidden from view is no excuse.
We need to ask the question again and again. “How could such a thing happen in the first place?” And here’s the caution: don’t limit your understanding to commonly accepted explanations. Don’t just blame the sexual culture or the easy access through digital devices, nor someone’s sexually promiscuous past. Yes, we live in a different world technologically, but Corinth had all three of those explanations. Wanton sexuality was common. There was easy accessibility to prostitutes in the temple. Sexual immorality was a part of their previous non-Christian lifestyle. I would strongly suggest that there is more to understanding the cause of sexual sin among Christians. And it has to do with all of us.
Sexual sin is not just the problem of the sinner, but of the whole church. Whatever it might say of the guilty one’s faith, it says just as much of the church’s faithfulness. Now we may want to blame sexually disinterested wives and then say, “Men are sexually hardwired.” The problem of sexual dissatisfaction in Christian marriages is important, but it is related to the bigger problem of spiritual, relational, and sexual maturity
The implications on the life of the church are huge, for we are responsible for one another spiritually and sexually. We correctly teach, and expect, that the marriage bed be “undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4). God designed responsibility has another level that is often neglected. Paul teaches and exhorts couples not to be sexually indifferent. “The husband should give to his wife her sexual rights, and likewise the wife to her husband” (see 1 Corinthians 7:3ff). I would suggest that we must address sexual indifference because it directly relates to being spiritually, relationally, and sexually mature.
While sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife is private, sexual immorality and adultery, while done in secret, is a corporate affair. The arrogance of the Corinthians was a huge factor in the existence of sexual sin in their church. They simply didn’t address the problem. The initial appropriate corporate response to sexual sin is to “mourn,” then take action (verse 5:2). When we think of ourselves first, we are less likely to be proactive in dealing with hidden sexual sin. Once it is exposed, typically we overreact.
Here’s one of the most important points I have come to learn. The hiddenness of sexual sin does not absolve us of corporate accountability for the sexual sin in our churches.
I believe we are corporately responsible for one another’s spiritual, relational, and sexual maturity. “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God” (Hebrews 12:15).
We have a responsibility to oversee one another in spiritual matters. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other” (Colossians 3:12–13).
And we have a responsibility to oversee one another in relational matters. “See to it . . . that no one is sexually immoral” (Hebrews 12:15–16).
That’s the bottom line: we’re in this together. The battle against sexual sin and lust is a battle charge given to the whole church community. The writer of Hebrews and the Apostle Paul will never let us abstract sexual sin in the life of one member from the overall health of the local church. We expose sexual sin for what it is, humbly deal with sexual sin when and where it appears, and together shine the light of God’s truth and expose sexual sin, and rejoice in sexual health and wholeness.
READ THE ENTIRE POST HERE – http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/sexual-sin-is-a-corporate-affair
Mark Dever – Centrality of the Church in Disciple Making from the Desiring God Conference 2013 – Session 1 – The Disciple Making Pastor
17 Mar 2013 Leave a comment
Mark Dever from http://www.desiringGod.org from February 4, 2013 TEXT – Matthew 28:18-20
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
1. Preach God’s Word
- Don’t think that making disciples is something that merely happens in sort of one on one meetings. The most fundamental way you make disciples in your local church is by preaching.
- There is only one thing that is biblically necessary for building the church and that’s the word of God.
- The Gospel is God’s way of giving life to dead sinners and to dead churches.
- God’s word is His supernatural power for accomplishing His supernatural work. That’s why our eloquence, our innovations, our programs are so much less important than we think. That’s why we, as pastors have to give ourselves to preaching, not programs.
- Devote so much time to prayer that nominal Christians are bored by talking to a God they only claim to know.
- Diligently call upon God by prayer for the true understanding of His word.
3. Make Personal Disciple Relationships
4. Have Patience
(see notes below video)
What does it mean for us to make disciples?
In (this) Session 1 I want to talk about the disciple making pastor. And, in
Session II I want to talk about the disciple making church (coming soon)
We’re going to be looking at similar things, same goal, but, slightly different perspectives.
The disciple making pastor. What is Gospel ministry about? If it’s not about making disciples. If someone were to look at your ministry and ask you, “How do you see the Lord, using your ministry to make disciples?” How would you answer that? What do you see?
1 Peter 5:1-4 – So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
Many of you read this passage, no doubt. We understand and see the weight of it. Now, the subject of the ministry should interest any Christian. Anything that gives us examples of how to follow our Lord Jesus Christ, and Pastors we see are supposed to be examples. Anything helps us if we’re Christians. And, if we’re really Christians, we want to follow Christ. And, we’re anxious to get anything that will help us do that. Even though, more than merely Christians, I think this topic is one that is especially interesting to church members.
Normally, we can assume that Christians know that they should be church members and they are. And, for church members, few topics can be more significant than what those who lead them are commanded by God’s word to do, for God’s glory and for their own good.
If we are the one who normally preaches at our church, we need to understand, we need to have unique opportunities as we teach the word from week to week. What a privilege, what a special burden the Lord gives us. I love those weekends where I don’t preach. And, I love those weekends where I preach. I want us to, at this time, consider some practical faithfulnesses that you, brother Pastor are especially called to pastor your church. But, before we do that, let’s make sure we notice these few verses in 1 Peter 5. I think it’s clearly there in verse 4, where Peter writes about Jesus Christ as chief shepherd. He is the senior pastor. He is the Chief shepherd. He is the Good Shepherd. You can tell, because good leaders, the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep, as we read in John 10. So, brothers, if you’ve come to this conference weary, take hope from verse 4. “when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. That will never fade away.
The ancient Greeks saw pelicans beating it’s breast with its beak and they thought that the pelican was plucking its breast to feed its young with its own blood. The early Christians adopted this as a picture of what Christ has done for Christians. That He has fed us and given us life, by giving us His own blood, by giving us Himself, for us. This is what a good leader, a good shepherd, a good pastor does. He lays down His life for the sheep. We’ve read of pastors doing this, we have biographies in the book store. We’ve heard of pastors doing this. We’ve seen pastors doing this, in imitation of Christ. But, brothers, these are the years, the days, and your church is the place where you must do this. I want to share with you some reflections on 4 crucial aspects of the ministry of the disciple making pastor. (12:32)
4 crucial aspects of the ministry of the disciple making pastor
1. Preaching God’s Word
Don’t think that making disciples is something that merely happens in sort of one on one meetings. The most fundamental way you make disciples in your local church is by preaching. That is the most fundamental ministry God has entrusted to you: giving God’s word to God’s people. There is only one thing that is biblically necessary for building the church and that’s the word of God. Others, can do pretty much everything else, but, I was set aside by the congregation for the teaching of God’s word. The word of God would be the fountain of our spiritual life, both as individuals and as a congregation. God’s word has always been His chosen instrument to create, and convict, and convert, and conform His people. God uses His word to create faith. As we go through the New testament, we see this.
~~1 Thessalonians 2:13 – when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. So, the word performs God’s word in the believer. Or,
~~Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. God’s word gives us new birth. James advises in
~~James 1:21 – and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. The word saves us. Peter, also claims regenerating power for God’s word-
~~1 Peter 1:23 – since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 1:25 And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
So, there is creating, conforming, life giving power in God’s word. The Gospel is God’s way of giving life to dead sinners and to dead churches. Friends, many of us are called to go to a church that is orthodox on paper, and dead in practice. There is no other way. This is what God does. He creates His people by His word. If you want to work for renewed life, and health, and holiness for your church, then you must work according to God’s revealed mode of operation. Otherwise, you risk running in vain. God’s word is His supernatural power for accomplishing His supernatural work. That’s why our eloquence, our innovations, our programs are so much less important than we think. That’s why we, as pastors have to give ourselves to preaching, not programs. That’s why we need to be teaching our congregations to value God’s word over programs.
Preaching the content and intent is what God used to call His people and build His church in the past. It is what God uses today to build His church. So, preaching His word, His Gospel is primary. Practically, one thing that means for Pastors is – if you want to know what the heart of your public ministry is- it’s your private study. The heart of your pastoral ministry is when you are giving yourself to God’s word in private. To poring over it, studying it, praying for God’s Spirit to give you eyes to see. Praying for the people He has called you to preach His word to. You must give yourself to the study of God’s word. What did Paul say to Timothy? 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. We must teach our congregations that this is our job description. (19:00)
The second aspect of a disciple making ministry is prayer. In your personal life, pray. In your homes, pray. In your meetings with others, pray. In your public services, devote so much time to prayer that nominal Christians are bored by talking to a God they only claim to know. Don’t worry about them. Don’t try to pitch your times together so nominal Christians will like, you will kill your church. You want to be a disciple making pastor? Pray to God, unashamedly, publicly. Lead your people into praying to God. Show them how to pray to God, by your own example of praying. You want to attract real Christians and hungry non Christians.
Diligently call upon God by prayer for the true understanding of His word. So that you may be able to teach and exhort by the Scriptures with wholesome doctrine and to withstand and convince those who oppose the truth. Prayer shows our dependance on God. It honors Him as the source of all blessing. It reminds us that ultimately converting individuals and churches is His work, not ours. Jesus reassures us that if we abide in Him, and if His words abide in us, that we can ask anything, according to His will and know that He will give it to us. What a promise! Are you seeing that in your church? (22:00)
Okay, what then shall we pray for, if that’s the case?
- What more appropriate prayer could a pastor pray for the church he serves than the prayer of Paul for the churches that Paul planted? Just look through the New Testament: Ephesians 1, 3 Philippians 1, Colossians 1, 2 Thessalonians 1. Allow these prayers to be a starting point for praying Scriptures more consistently. Instruct your church members that one of their most effective ministries is praying for you.
- Pray that your preaching the Gospel would be faithful and accurate and clear.
- Pray for the increasing maturity of the congregation, that your local church would grow in corporate love and holiness and sound doctrine, such that the testimony of the church in the community would be distinctively pure and attractive to unbelievers.
- Pray for sinners to be converted, and the church built up through the preaching of the Gospel.
- Pray for opportunities for yourself and your church members to do personal evangelism. Model that yourself. Pray about such matters publicly in your services.
Pray personally. Model for your congregation faithfulness, in praying for your people. Your prayers don’t have to be long, just biblical. You want to give yourself to prayer. If you want to make disciples, as a pastor, preach God’s word, pray, and
3. Personal Disciple Relationships
One of the most biblical and valuable uses of your time as a pastor, and I realize that a pastor’s time is limited, but have personal disciple relationships in which you meet with a few people one on one to do them good spiritually. If you’re in the kind of church that’s given to gossip about the pastor having friends, you need to confront that head on. Call it carnal, jealous, ungodly, satanic. Tell them you’re a human being, you can have friends or they can fire you. I’m not joking. I really think we are responsible to teach our congregations that that is a good and Godly thing, and will be for their own benefit, even if they’re not the immediate ones that you have time to befriend. Because what will happen through your discipling relationships, your church will be built up and your whole congregation will be blessed through the mature leadership. Pray against the tendency you see to jealousy, or to gossip in this. Teach and encourage your fellow workers to join in with you in this ministry.
So, initiate personal care and concern for others, and pray God would use you to establish a culture of that in your church. Not merely a program that you can implement, a staff member responsible for it and think you’ve taken care of that. This practice of personal discipling is helpful on a number of fronts. It obviously is a good thing for the person being discipled, because they’re getting biblical encouragement and advice from someone a little further along in terms of the life stages or their walk with the Lord. In this way, I think discipling can help to function through another channel in which the word can flow into the hearts of the members and get worked out in the context of personal fellowship.
It’s good for the one who disciples as well, because it encourages you to think of discipling not as something that super christians do, but it’s something that, if you’ve been a christian for 2 weeks, you’ve got something to say to someone who just came to Christ yesterday. It’s part and parcel of your own discipleship to help other people follow Christ. Members need to know that spiritual maturity is not only about their own private quiet times, but about their love for other believers and their quiet expression about that love. It promotes this culture of growing a distinctively christian community in which people are loving one another, not simply as the world loves, but as followers of Christ, who are together trying to understand and live out the implications of what Jesus commanded His disciples, there in Matthew 28- that we are to live our lives in love for God and others. These kinds of relationships help both spiritual and numerical growth of a church.
Another healthy byproduct of your own personal discipling is that other members of your church- you will find that it helps dissolve resistance to your pastoral leadership, as you are there with individuals, trying to help them. Developing these kinds of relationships establishes personal knowledge of yourself, which is so helpful in nurturing personal trust of your character and your motive, and growing an appropriate level of your leadership among the congregation. Brother Pastor, pray for sheep who want shepherds, who want to be pastored and loved, and cared for.
Brothers, run at a pace the congregation can keep.
- Have a biblical perspective on time. You’re there for the long haul.
- Have a biblical perspective on eternity. As Pastors, we will one day be held accountable by God for the way we’ve led and fed His lambs. All our ways are before Him. He will know if we’ve used the congregation simply to build a career for ourselves. He will know if we’ve led them, or left them prematurely for our own convenience and benefit. He will know if we drove the sheep too hard. Shepherd the flock in a way that you won’t be ashamed of on the day of the Lord. Colossians 3 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.”
- Have a biblical perspective on success. Brothers be careful. If you define success in terms of size, and your desire for numerical growth will probably outrun your patience with the congregation, and perhaps even your fidelity to biblical methods. Either your ministry among your people will be cut short- I mean, you’ll be fired- or you’ll resort to methods to draw a crowd without preaching the true gospel. You will trip over the hurdle of your own ambitions. But, if you define success in terms of faithfulness, then you’re in a position to persevere, because you’re released from the demand of immediately observable results are freeing you for faithfulness in Gospel ministry, to whatever the message would call us to, leaving the numbers to the Lord. It seems ironic at first, but, trading in size for faithfulness as the yardstick for success is often the yardstick for legitimate numerical growth.
God is happiest, it seems, to entrust His flock to those who shepherd in that way. Confidence to christian ministry does not come from personal competence or charm or charisma, or experience. Nor does it come from having the right programs in place, or jumping on the band wagon of the latest ministry fad. It doesn’t even come from getting a degree from seminary. Much like Joshua, our confidence is to be in the presence and the power and the promises of God.
More specifically, confidence for becoming and being a pastor comes from depending on the power of the Holy Spirit to make us adequate through the equipping ministry of God’s word. 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. And, how does the Spirit make us adequate? What instrument does He use? God’s word. 2 Timothy 3;16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, The one thing necessary is the power of God’s word. That’s why preaching and prayer will always be paramount, no matter what fads top the charts. Stake your ministry on the power of the Gospel. Success is faithfulness in these matters.
Preach, and pray. Love, and stay. One day, before the American Revolution, there was a day of remarkable gloom and darkness. There was an eclipse over the New England states., known for years afterwards, simply as ‘the dark day’. A day when the light of the sun was slowly extinguished. The legislature of Connecticut was in session, and as its members saw the unexpected and unaccountable darkness coming on, they shared in a general awe and terror. It was supposed by many that this was the last day, that the day of judgment had come. And someone, in consternation, moved and adjournment. And then, there arose an old Puritan legislator, a Mr. Davenport of Stanford, and said that if the last day had come, he desired to be found in his place, doing his duty. And, therefore moved that candles should be brought in, so that the house could proceed with its duty. I think there was a quietness in that man’s mind. The quietness of heavenly wisdom, an inflexible wisdom to obey present duty. Pastor friend, you and I should do our duty, in all things, like this old Puritan. We can’t do more. We should never wish to do less. The ministry has private discouragements, and public discouragements aplenty. And God’s kindness to it, often has compensating blessings in this life.
One day, these clouds will be rolled back like a scroll. Live and minister in light of that day.
02 Jan 2013 3 Comments
Photo from https://generationswithvision.com/
As John Piper says in the introduction, even if you haven’t grown up in a family that spends time in devotion to God through prayer and reading of the Scripture, you could start your own tradition of family devotions with your children, yourself. And, although this message is geared towards pastors, for it was delivered to an audience of pastors at the Desiring God National Conference for Pastors, it is a useful message for any family looking to raise their children up with affection for the word of God and for the intimacy that a prayer life brings into the every day walk with Christ.
The video and the notes below are from DesiringGod.org-You can also listen to the mp3 here.
Turn with me to Joshua 24:14-24. This is part of Joshua’s farewell address to Israel. Look at also at Deuteronomy 6:4. I don’t know where you are at in family worship, but just as in private worship, we all fall short—as in private prayer and reading, so in family prayer and reading. My prayer is that those who are engaged in strong, regular family worship will grow. And those who struggle in it or have never engaged in family worship would learn how and be encouraged to start worshiping as a family regularly.
The Necessity of Family Worship
In my family growing up, we would pray before and after the meal. My father would also read Pilgrim’s Progress with us on Sunday evenings. However, we would never discuss or engage each other in family worship. So when I was asked once to speak on family worship, I was convicted that I had not been leading my family in worship how I ought. My siblings and I all have agreed that we are most grateful for my mother’s prayer life and my father’s reading of Pilgrim’s Progress and teaching us from it. Family worship time is the most important thing I do in my life. I wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world. It isn’t perfect but it is critical.
The commander of Columbia shuttle that disintegrated in mid-air was so devoted to family worship that he recorded eighteen videos for his family, one for each day that he was supposed to be gone. How valuable do you think those videos are to his family now? What a legacy he has left.
As pastors, we need to lead the way in family worship so that when people come into our homes, they see what family worship is like. We must strive to have our families be mini-churches, which function as the backbone of the local church. I want to lay out for you a paradigm for leading family worship, … , challenge you to commit to leading your church in family worship, and encourage you to train men in leading their families.
The Puritans saw family worship so foundational that they would bar a man from communion if he failed to lead his family in worship. Family worship is the foundation of child rearing. As family worship goes, so will go the family. The Puritans thought family worship was the whole backbone of society.
Our God is a family God. He is a triune God. He is an intra-trinitarian relationship. That is the basis of family relationships. We ought to emulate him in family worship. The head of the family in leading his family in covenant faithfulness to God is perhaps the most significant way God has used as a means of saving grace.
The Duty of Family Worship
Joshua concludes the passage I read with “We will worship the Lord.” Joshua enforces the service of God in his whole family by his own example. Joshua is going to die but he is so confident in his influence in his family that he says, “We will worship the Lord.” He says it is a future reality because of his example. Now look at Joshua 24:31. Most of the nation followed his example for at least one generation. Joshua’s example pervades throughout Israel for a whole generation. Would that everyone of us would say tonight with conviction, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It is possible for God to bless our families and our children if we have failed in this, but it is his normal operation to bless those families who are regular in family worship.
There are three aspects of family worship. First, daily instruction. That means reading daily from the Bible and explaining it. We should instruct our families with the same earnestness that we preach with on Sunday.
Second, daily prayer to the throne of God. We must engage in prayer with our family. It doesn’t matter when but we must seek to bring our families into heavenly places and rain down heavenly benediction upon them through prayer.
Third, daily singing the praise of God. The Lord is to be worshiped daily by the singing of psalms and hymns in our homes (cf. Colossians 3:16).
Dear brothers, we must implement and teach our congregations and families to implement family worship in our homes. God requires it of us as heads of our families. Your family owes its allegiance corporately to God. You have a position of authority in your family not as their buddy or friend but as their prophet, priest and king, showing them the way to God. As pastors, we must lovingly inform the heads of households in our congregations to lead their families in worship.
The Implementation of Family Worship
Family worship does require some preparation. It requires some forethought. Choose a text to read, a place to meet, a song or hymn to sing and be ready. Expect everyone to be there. Family worship is to be jealously guarded.
Aim for brevity. Ten minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the evening is sufficient for most families. Don’t over do it. Don’t do forty-five minutes on Monday and skip it on Tuesday. Do it every day.
Don’t make excuses to avoid family worship. When you get home and you’re tired, don’t make excuses to skip it. If the Lord Jesus was not too tired to die for him, you shouldn’t be too tired to live for him. If you just got angry at your children, don’t skip family worship—that is the best time to do it! Ask for forgiveness and get beyond it.
Lead with a firm, fatherly hand and a soft, penitent heart. Encourage warmth and abiding love. Talk naturally with your children.
Now for some more specifics. In regards to the reading of Scripture, have a plan and be sure to read the whole Bible. Perhaps read ten to twenty verses from the Old Testament in the morning and ten to twenty from the New Testament in the evenings. Do account for special occasions in your plan. Involve the whole family in the reading. And as each reads, teach them how to read out loud.
For biblical instruction, be plain in meaning. Involve your children. Ask them how a text applies. Don’t ask the same question to each child lest they begin to compete or feel insecure. Don’t ever make them feel belittled. And if you don’t know an answer, have a commentary or two beside you to reference.
Be pure in doctrine.
Be relevant in application. Explain how a text as affected you in your life or church history. That will give your children the feeling that the Bible is a real book with real applications.
Be affectionate in manner. Show them the way to fear, delight in and love the Lord. Our children need to feel that we love our children but that we love their soul. Pray earnestly for their salvation out loud in front of them. Little children see you as a God-figure and that is a profound responsibility. Embrace your children in the way God embraces sinners.
Require attention. As loving as you are, never allow slouch behavior. No one ever answers the phone. We are in family worship and God requires our attention.
In prayer, be short. Three to five minutes is sufficient. Don’t teach in your prayers. Be simple without being shallow. Be direct—plead your case before God. Ask your children what to pray for and bring all those things in prayer. When your children know that you want to know what their needs are and that you will pray for them, they will come to you with their needs for prayer. The power of that is when they get older and are tempted to sin, maybe the power of prayer and your example will hold them back, even if they are not saved yet.
Be varied in your prayers as well. Teach your people to use the “A.C.T.S.” acronym—Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. Pray for the congregation.
Train your children how to pray. Start by having them repeating you.
Sing doctrinally pure songs and don’t forget the psalms. The psalms were the original hymnbook. If a child doesn’t want to sing, have discipline for not singing. At the end of the night, pray with your wife.
Objections to Family Worship
Here are some objections to family worship. “We don’t have time.” Well, you may need to have two family worship times or you need to teach your family priorities. “Our family is too small.” “Where are two or three are gathered in my name, I will be with them.”
“Our family is too diverse to profit.” You tailor make it to each one. “I’m not good at leading family worship.” Get a cyclical book on family worship and teach your people to read one. Start small and build. You can do it. The problem is not ability but commitment to do it.
Motivations for Family Worship
Why should we do family worship? God may use it to save souls. Do you want solid young men and women to grow up in your church? Then teach your congregation to engage in family worship. God uses family worship to draw people to himself. Remember that at every gathering of family worship, you are ushering your family into the presence of God.
The satisfaction of a good conscience is another motivation. Teach and pray with your family so that when you are on your deathbed, you have a free conscience, knowing you have done your best to raise your children in the fear of the Lord.
Third, family worship assists in child rearing. It makes a family able to speak more openly about anything. Talking with each other becomes normal. It helps you have more open communication.
Fourth, the shortness of time calls for it. The time when your children are in your house will fly by. See everyday as a gift of God to bring the Word of God to your children.
In conclusion, I want to address two things. Some might say, “What if I failed?” Begin today. Confess to your wife; confess to your children. If you have adult children, equip them to lead their families. Start leading your grandchildren in worship. Family worship will set the tone for your entire home.
Second, I want to read something to you from John Paton. He said that his father is the one who had such significant influence on him. God blessed his father’s family worship.
14 Oct 2012 Leave a comment
Video from the 2012 Act The Miracle Desiring God Conference is up and we will be posting the conference messages here. Meanwhile, here is Fernando Ortega speaking and singing several songs at the conference.
See the full resource: desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/corporate-worship
Russell Moore – on Corporate Sanctification from the Desiring God National Conference September 2012
10 Oct 2012 1 Comment
More Conference videos-
- John Piper – Putting Sanctification in Its Place – Part 1 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28, 2012
- John Piper – Future Grace, the Word of the Cross, and the Purifying Power of God’s Promises – Part 2 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28, 2012
- Kevin DeYoung – Incentives for Acting the Miracle from Desiring God Conference September 28-30, 2012
Text 1 Corinthians 4:14- 6:9 The apostle Paul writes, as he is carried by the Spirit to the church at Corinth.
14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then,be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
Chapter 5 Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival,not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
Chapter 6. Lawsuits Against Believers
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Some notes from the message:
Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:
Part of the obstacle you and I face, when it comes to holiness, when it comes to being sanctified is that we don’t know what normal looks like. We live in a fallen universe; we have grown up in a fallen universe. We live, as Isaiah tells us, among a people of unclean lips, even as we are a people of unclean lips. And in the middle of all of that, what can seem to be normal to me can simply be my own pattern of sin. What seems to be regular and the default, simply can be the fact that I am living around people who have similar sorts of slaveries and bondages to sin, and to Satan and to the curse, and to death. And what the Gospel of Jesus Christ does is to break through this bizarre, unusual, unnatural kind of life that we are living, with a new normal that Jesus defines as the kingdom of God.
And this kingdom, Jesus says to His apostles, isn’t just some generic category and it isn’t just something that waits for us in the next thousand or million, or billion years. This kingdom, Jesus says, shows up in the assemblies. At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus speaks of the coming of the kingdom, of the keys of the kingdom. And He says this kingdom is going to advance, this kingdom is going to be invincible, the gates of hell will not stand against it, the powers of Satan will not overcome it and He says this kingdom is going to be seen in the reality that “I will build My church. I will assemble My people together. There is no kingdom, the Bible tells us, where there is not a people, there is no rain, where there is not an empire of those to be reigned over. And Jesus says, “In the middle of this fallen world, you will see what the apostle Paul says to the church at Ephesus is a sign of the manifold wisdom of God. A sign to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Where God has appointed Jesus to reign and to rule over His church as a head with a body, as a king over a kingdom.
And, while the whole world, the scripture says, lies under the sway of the wicked one, while there is a god of this age, a prince of the power of this air, in these local assemblies and in these gatherings, we see a sign of the reign of Christ. That’s why Paul’s letter here, to the church at Corinth is so significant. He is talking to a group of people who are living out the beginning stages of the reality that Jesus promised at Caesarea Philippi. The building and the gathering of this church, of this kingdom colony and what is happening here is of absolute significance to our sanctification.
Our problem, typically is that we think of sanctification as primarily an individual thing. How often do I read my Bible? How often do I pray? How often do I meditate on the things of God? How often do I sing and give praise to God? And, all of those things are significant, and all of those things are important. But, we too often neglect that all of that is only true because we are part of the body of Christ, we are part of His church and the theme of this meeting is so critically important: Act the miracle- God’s work AND our work. Not just my work. Not just your work, but, our work in the sanctification process.
I want you to notice several things about what Paul is pointing out here to this church at Corinth.
(1) The role of proclamation
The role of proclamation in the corporate nature of sanctification. Paul writes to this church at Corinth, a church which is troubled, a church that has people within it who are talking, he says, arrogantly. They are talking as if they are already kings. And he says, “I have demonstrated who I am. I have demonstrated the apostleship that I carry, I have demonstrated the commission that I have from the Lord Jesus Christ. I have sent to you Timothy, I have sent to you the word of the Gospel, I have shown you my life. I have given you every reason and every way to imitate it.” “But,” he says, “There are those who are still speaking with arrogance, there are still those who are opposing this kind of apostolic authority”. And he says, “I want to see what they’ve got. I’m going to be coming to you very soon and we will see these people who are talking , if what they have is just talk. Because the kingdom of God is not a matter of just talk. The kingdom of God is a matter of power.”
Now, you look at that, it sounds at first blush as though Paul is threatening some kind of physical encounter. “We’re going to see whether or not you have talk, or you have power.” As though the apostle Paul is going to show up and say, “Ok, you’ve got your arrogant talk; deal with my heat ray vision. Deal with my levitating power to swoop you out of your chairs and send you out into the streets.” But, no, no, no, no. Paul says, “I’m going to come to you and come to you with what? With words! With talk, with a spirit of gentleness, or with a spirit of discipline. But he is still dealing with words. The contrast is not between words and a lack of words. It’s between empty, idle, meaningless talk and authority.
I will come to you with power. And what is the power? The power is the proclamation that is coming, bearing the authority and the spirit and the presence of Christ. He says, “When you’re gathered together in Jesus’ name, in Jesus’ power and my spirit is there with you. As you are reading this letter, there is a power that comes with these words, the kind of power that you see at Caesarea Philippi. Jesus turns to His disciples in Matthew 16 and says, “Who do people say that I am?” That’s a very ‘low threshold’ kind of question. A very non threatening sort of question. “Well some people say John the Baptist, some people say Elijah.” These are just words. They’re going out there and they’re not doing anything. They’re not affecting anything.
But, Jesus turns when Simon Peter, by the Spirit, confesses ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’, Jesus turns to this man and Simon the fisherman and He names him. Now, that is authority. There’s a kind of audacity when Jesus stands and names him speaking, “You are Peter, you are rock.” And what’s even more audacious is it doesn’t seem to be true. It’s not true at all. This is the least rock like person, just a few verses down Jesus is going to name him again, Satan. He’s going to be the one that when Jesus is arrested, leaves. And in the middle of it he says all kinds of stupid things at inappropriate times. But Jesus names him rock. Foundation. Stone. Of My church. And then, what does Jesus by His spirit, and by His word do? He makes him live up to his name.
“Peter, do you love Me? Feed my sheep.” The voice of Jesus sent out and working in the life of Peter, takes a name that seems as ridiculous as naming an elderly barren man father of many nations. But He makes the name true by the power of His transforming word. Paul assumes that the apostolic authority that he carries, that the proclamation of this Spirit inspired word brings with it the authority of Jesus Himself. When you and I gather together and hear the word of God as it is rightly preached, we are hearing an ambassadorial plea that has been sent down from our Lord Jesus Himself, so that, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5 “We are speaking, pleading with you as though Christ Himself were pleading through us be reconciled to God. When you are rightly proclaiming the word of God, there ought to be a northern Galilean accent in there.
People ought to hear a familiar voice that first calls them out of darkness. And, whenever Jesus begins speaking, everywhere that we see Jesus speak, things start happening. Demons start shrieking. They see that their power is being broken. That is what is happening when we gather together and hear the word preached. That’s what happens when we admonish one another and teach one another. That’s what’s happening when we sing and teach one another with Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. That’s not just information that is being downloadedThat’s expository exorcism. The power of Jesus’s voice residing in His church, under the authority of the word of God and reflecting upon the authority of the word of God breaks through those patterns of deception that keep us form seeing the glory of the light of God reflected in the face of Jesus Christ.
It’s not just an information download. It’s not just principles for living. When we teach one another and when we preach to one another, and when we sing to one another, and when we rebuke one another, and when we admonish one another, and when we do so, not on the basis of our own authority, but on the basis of the word of God. There is a power, power pact, wonder working power in that proclamation that creates and forms exactly what Jesus says. This is why the Bible is written to the whole church. The Bible isn’t written in bits and pieces for people in particular life situations. Sometimes that single woman, who has never been married and will never be married, doesn’t sense any calling to be married, can come to our congregation and say, “Eh, I don’t feel comfortable here. Why do I need to be in a sermon on marriage?” Because Ephesians 5 wasn’t just written to the married couples at the church at Ephesus. It’s written to the church at Ephesus, and the church at large because you single woman in this congregation are accountable, not only for your own life for your sanctification, but, to teach and to admonish and to hold accountable those marriages within the church.
Why do I need a sermon series on parenting when I’m an 88 year old man with no children? (Or) I’ve been widowed for years, there’s no prospect for children out there. Because you are to hold accountable, and to teach and to encourage, and to rebuke the whole church when it comes to parenting. You are a kingdom of priests, under the proclamation of the word of God, that creates and brings about our sanctification and holiness.
(2) The role of discipline
Paul, immediately after he talks about this power, in contrast to the talk about his coming behind his words, starts talking about a situation of scandal. He says, “There is a man in your midst who is unrepentantly sinning against God and the problem is that you’re doing nothing. He begins to speak to them about that kingdom authority, and that kingdom responsibility for discipline. Exactly what Jesus said, when He said at Caesarea Philippi, “I am giving to you the keys of the kingdom.” Now, one of the things that irritates me, when it comes to the way we talk, and when I say ‘we’, I mean me as well as anybody else, we mean church discipline. He’s under church discipline. We mean excommunication. Someone who is under church discipline is someone who has been voted out of the fellowship of the church.
We are ALL under church discipline! Discipline is simply not excommunication. As a matter of fact, excommunication is actually the end of church discipline. I have now been handed over to Satan. Discipline is just not in scripture that final phase of the lack of repentance. Discipline is every step along the way, starting with the definition of who’s who. He says, “There is sexual immorality among you. Who’s you? The church of God at Corinth, called out and sanctified by the spirit and by the blood of Christ. It is the authority that Jesus has given to His church dependent and derivative upon His word to mark out and to identify who are those who are qualified to be called brother and called sister, based upon the criteria of repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
When the church baptizes and marks out its boundaries. When the church receives into its membership, into its structure of accountability, that church is defining the boundaries of discipline. This is not the world, out there in the chaotic anarchy that is the rule of Satan. This is the church. This is where Jesus, right now is actively ruling. And we, on the basis of what Jesus has said to us declare, “You are my brother. You are my sister. You have been received by Christ.” Now, I don’t have personal authority to define that. And we don’t have individual, congregational authority to define that. The king of the kingdom has defined who are those who are received by God. We, when we speak rightly and when we speak on the basis of what Jesus has given us, we are declaring in the voice of Jesus, “You are one of the brothers. You are one of the sisters.” That is a powerful, powerful responsibility.
Your vote on receiving a new member into your congregation is more significant in the long term than for your vote for who will be the next president of the United States. When the congregation says, “We receive you as brother,” and when the congregation refuses to deal with an issue that would seem to show a lack of repentance, that congregation is speaking for Jesus in a place that congregation has no authority and no mandate to speak. You see these empty suit, toothy preachers on CNN, who get on talking about this very light and fluffy Gospel, who start to become very nervous when the host says, “Well, what about Moslems, and what about HIndus, and what about atheists, do they go to hell?” You see that guy, the grin starts to get frozen, and he starts to get really uncomfortable and he says, “Well, for me I think Jesus is the best way and…” there’s just a reluctance to say what the scripture has said so clearly about the way of salvation through Jesus Christ.
It’s easy for us to look at that and say, “That’s pathetic,” and yet, that’s what many of us do. We have people in our congregations, that we are saying, by the fact that we list them as brother and sister, and we treat them as brother and sister without a life of faith and of gathering together and of repenting of sin. We are saying, “Jesus says you are our brother,” when you have no warrant to say that. You might as well go door to door, simply saying to everyone who opens the door, “I’ll see you in heaven.” The membership of the church and the accountability of the church is the discipline of the church.
Now, you only have the authority in the church to discipline where Jesus has given that authority in His word. We don’t discipline one another and excommunicate one another because we disagree over home schooling and public schooling, or whether we ought to celebrate Halloween. But where the scripture says this is a lack of repentance and a lack of obedience. And Jesus says, “Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. What Paul says happens is not just when that unrepentant person, going through all that process of “Be reconciled, repent. Be reconciled. Repent.” When that person refuses to repent and that church hands that person over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that is not just clearing out a membership roll. That is not punishing that person and saying: We don’t want your kind around here. That is the voice of Jesus saying, “I am turning you over to the power of Satan. If he turns,” Jesus says, “you have received your brother.” Why? “My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me.” Only difference between Peter weeping in the arms of Jesus and Judas tangled up in his own intestines in a potter’s field is the kind of repentance the voice of Jesus brings
Acting the Miracle Together: Corporate Dynamics in Christian Sanctification – Desiring God Conference 2012
The discipline of the congregation spurs us to holiness, not only because we deal with lack of repentance and lack of faith among us, but also because this discipline and this accountability changes us. Notice what Paul says, “You ought to be mourning. You ought to be crying. You are arrogant that you don’t even notice this. And why don’t you notice this? Because you don’t know where you are.” He says, ‘I don’t want you to be with the swindlers, and the sexually immoral people, and I’m not talking about those out in the world. I’m not trying to have some premature rapture here.” He says, “I am talking about those within the accountability of the church.”
We tend to get that completely reversed. “Let’s express our outrage with everything that’s going on out there!” And we ignore what is happening among us. The discipline and the accountability of the church changes your affections, it changes your mission, it changes the way you see people and it drives you towards holiness, and it drives you toward love. Why? Because the presence of Jesus is in your midst by His word and by His spirit.
(3) The economy of the church
Paul also talks about the economy of the church, the structure and the life that is being lived within the church. He says, “Your problem is not only that you are tolerating this kind of behavior, the problem is also that you’re fighting with one another, and you’re struggling with one another and you’re doing it by taking one another to court. He says, “This ought to shame you. You ought to be embarrassed about this.
These bickerings and these divisions that are between you and they ought to shame you even more so that you are taking it to those that have no standing in the church. Why? Because the gifts that Jesus is giving to the body are not simply, or means at all simply of personal self actualization. They are given for the building up of the body and they are a sign of spiritual warfare. Jesus has taken captivity captive. When Jesus gifts His church, He is prepping His church, He is staffing up His church for a future kingdom that is to come.
We have all these spiritual gifts inventories. We spend so much time worrying: What’s my spiritual gift? I’m not saying those things are not of some value. But, the main issue is not whether or not you know what your spiritual gift is. It’s whether or not, in the life of the church your spiritual gift is operative and functioning and building up the body of Christ. It’s not your gift. It belongs to the body.
Paul says, “Is there nobody wise enough among you to decide these disputes? Paul says, ‘The problem is, when you go to the outside,” which doesn’t have to be in a formal law court, you can do that in the court of public opinion on the internet. “When you go to those who have no standing within the church, you are already defeated.” Why? Don’t you know that you will judge angels? Don’t you know that you will rule the world?
Jesus gifts the church because He is showing you in little things. He is training you in little areas of authority to rule over many things. “To rule and to reign with Me,” He says. Your life within the body of the church is just an internship for the eschaton. Why are these people bickering and fighting with one another? Why do they think that their agenda matters so much? It is because they are not looking to their next trillion years. They think this, and this only is where I am going to be able to carry out my little place of power and my little place of authority and so, I don’t care about anything beyond that. Paul says, “You are going to judge angels, you are going to rule over the entire universe and when you come together and you argue and you bicker and when you go out to the pagan world and say, “We need you to help us to discern God’s good from evil, right from wrong,” you are declaring the incompetence of Jesus to rule over his kingdom within His church. (42:50)
Paul says, ‘You have the mind of Christ. You have everything that is necessary for godliness and within this congregation, part of the way that Jesus sanctifies you is by putting you together with people where you are exercising wisdom and you are exercising gifts and you are being trained in some way for a greater and more majestic responsibility later on.
So, who cares right now if somebody has defrauded you? Why not rather be defrauded for the sake of the mission that you have waiting for you? You’re sanctified as you are giving and as you are serving for the upbuilding of the body because you see the big picture of what’s happening.
Often the kinds of squabbles and bickerings that we have over worship and particularly over music have everything to do with what the apostle is talking about here. I assume that the issue is my personal sanctification in the now. What does it take to speak to me, so I can close my eyes and pretend like it’s me and Jesus in the congregation and have a foretaste of heaven? The problem is that is NOT a foretaste of heaven. It’s not just you and Jesus. It turns out you don’t come to the garden alone (as in the song), which is a disappointment for me…(pun intended) You are teaching one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. You are doing warfare with one another against the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. And you are preparing yourselves, through the worship of God’s people for a new era and a new creation. You are giving yourself over for the new sanctification of someone else.
(4) The corporate aspect of testimony
He says,”Don’t you know the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? The arena culture that God has called us to in our sanctification is an arena that is much bigger than a sports stadium or a political convention. He says, “Remember who you are, don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The power of Christ together breaks through deception of the Satanic powers. The way it’s easy for me to identify your sin, but in my case, there are always reasons. I don’t see it, I am guarded against it. “Do you not know that the unrighteous..” and he lists out what that means: the swindlers, the adulterers, the fornicators, the homosexuals, the thieves will not inherit the kingdom of God. He breaks the deception that is said form the very beginning, “You will not surely die.”
But, that is not the only power that the word given to the church breaks. It beaks that other power of Satan, which is accusation. Not only- “Don’t you know the unrighteous won’t inherit the kingdom of God,” but, it makes the division here, not between the swindlers, the idolaters, the sexual immoral and the regular people. No, no, no, no, no. It’s between the swindlers, the idolaters, the fornicators, the homosexuals, and the swindlers, the fornicators, the adulterers, the homosexuals who have been crucified. “Such were some of you, but you were washed, you were cleansed, you were forgiven.” Being together in the fellowship of the church and learning to bear with one another’s sins and repentances, and grievances, and weak points, points me to the reality of my own standing before God. Not as some neutral, normal person, but, as a sinner who deserves to hear only, “Depart from Me you worker of iniquity.” Such were some of you, but, the blood of Jesus cleanses.
The gathering of the church together is a sign to the principalities not that this is a sinless people, but that this is a sinless people who can no longer bear accusation because of the reign of Jesus through through His crucifixion and through His resurrection from the dead.
We don’t come together as those who are former sinners. We don’t come together as those who are regular people, or as people who have a difference with the people out there in the world, we come together as the crucified. And when we join in worship, we are joining with an already existing worship service in the heavenly places. We’re just a satellite campus. What we need to remember is that every single Lord’s Day when we gather together we are joining, by the eyes of faith, with a number that no man can number- A church that is awesome, as an army with banners. We are part of a huge, global ,transgenerational movement: the old, restful, and resurrected. And we stand there with them, confessing: “We were lost, but You were slain, and with your blood, You have purchased a church that has the power to transform, that has the power to recalibrate, and that has the power to rebuke.” Because that is the voice of Christ and it gives us a way out of our self sufficiency. If Jesus is able to build this church and the gates of hell cannot stop it, then Jesus is gonna build His church.
02 Oct 2012 Leave a comment
From John Piper at Desiring God:
One of the most accessed pages on our website is a set of questions for couples preparing for marriage. Many have found John Piper’s way of asking the questions helpful in getting right at some pretty deep stuff – whether it’s the typical questions or the ones far too many couples don’t think to ask (like theology, worship and devotion, and the roles of husband and wife).
Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples is a new ebook from Desiring God aimed at aiding couples – whether dating and considering marriage, or engaged and preparing for marriage – to get to know each other better in some of life’s most significant matters, and be more fit to discern God’s leading for their lives.
CLick here to download the book:
– Download ebook as a PDF file.
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