Surf the Desiring God website in 10 different languages

via desiringGod.org – http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/surf-our-site-in-10-languages

We are extremely thankful to Desiring God for continually translating their sermons and making them available in so many different languages. Presently they have  versions in:

  1. Spanish,
  2. Portuguese,
  3. Chinese,
  4. Arabic,
  5. Russian,
  6. Romanian,
  7. Czech,
  8. Persian, and
  9. Swahili.

You can go to any of those sites, and you can browse all of the resources Desiring God has in that particular language.

Resources in additional languages can be found in Desiring God’s Language Index, which is also accessible via the language menu. Read more on Desiring God here http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/surf-our-site-in-10-languages

Dumnezeu este Evanghelia de John Piper – Cartea se poate citi online la Desiring God Romania

*Primul video de la Conferinta aici – John Piper, mesajul „Nu-ti irosi viata” din Sala Palatului, Bucuresti

S-a anuntat la Conferinta care se desfasoara live, in momentul de fata, caci cartea „Dumnezeu este Evanghelia” a fost adaugata la situl Ro.DesiringGod.org unde se poate descarca in format pdf. aici

Dumnezeu este Evanghelia

Meditaţii asupra dragostei lui Dumnezeu care s-a dăruit pe Sine

Saturată cu Scriptura, centrată pe cruce şi absolut încântătoare, cartea aceasta ne potoleşte foamea adâncă a sufletului. Ea atinge esenţa fiinţei noastre, locul din care transformarea noastră îşi ia puterea în fiecare zi. Ne face să-L dorim cu ardoare pe Cristos şi ne deschide ochii ca să-I vedem frumuseţea.Piper scrie pentru sufletul însetat care se întoarce gol şi deznădăjduit de la mirajul metodologiei. El ne invită să ne oprim şi să bem dintr-un izvor mai adânc. „Şi viaţa veşnică este aceasta:”, a zis Isus, „să Te cunoască pe Tine, singurul Dumnezeu adevărat, şi pe Isus Cristos, pe care L-ai trimis Tu.” Aceasta face din Evanghelie, şi din această carte, o veste bună.

În parteneriat cu Editura Făclia.

What is the chief end of man?

John Piper, Desiring God, page 18:

The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. (HT)

Jon Bloom – Jesus wants you to waste your life…

via desiringGod.org – Read more posts from Jon Bloom here.

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair (John 12:3).

Judas simply could not fathom Mary’s ridiculous decision.

During dinner she had just dumped all that rare perfume on Jesus’ feet! Almost a year’s wages now puddled on the dirty floor. Completely wasted!

“Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”

How noble. But Judas wasn’t concerned for the poor. “He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief and being in charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6). Judas was concerned for Judas.

Both Mary and Judas had hedonistic motives. Neither was driven by stoic duty. Both pursued the treasure they believed would make them happy. To Mary, Jesus was the priceless Pearl (Matthew 13:45). She wanted that Pearl more than anything. To Judas, thirty pieces of silver was a fair price for the Pearl.

Judas’s sin wasn’t that he wanted happiness. His sin was believing that having money would make him happier than having Christ.

O Judas, the tragedy of your value miscalculation! The Pearl worth more than the entire universe sat in front of you and all you could see were perfume puddles. You grieved a year’s wages while squandering infinite, eternal treasure!

Jesus leads all his disciples to watershed moments like Mary’s and Judas’. They are designed to make us count this cost: “Whoever loves his life loses it. And whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). These moments force us choose what we really believe is gain. And the choices we make reveal whether we value the Pearl or puddles.

If we choose the Pearl, we hear in Judas the world’s appraisal of us. They watch as time, intellects, money, youth, financial futures, and vocations are poured out on Jesus’ feet. They watch them puddle on the floors of churches, mission fields, orphanages, and homes where children are raised and careers are lost. And what they see is foolish waste. Do not expect their respect.

Jesus wants you to waste your life like Mary wasted her perfume. For it is no true waste. It is true worship. A poured out life of love for Jesus that counts worldly gain as loss displays how precious he really is. It preaches to a bewildered, disdainful world that Christ is gain and the real waste is gaining the world’s perfumes and losing one’s soul in the process (Matthew 16:26).

So, in what way are you wasting your life today?

 

What the world needs to be told – Spurgeon

(via) DesiringGod.org by Jonathan Parnell including paraphrasing. From .Lectures to My Students, 1875-94, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2008), 87-88,(from Desiring God’s „They Still Speak” Series.)

Charles Spurgeon:

Of all I would wish to say this is the sum; my brethren, preach Christ, always and evermore. He is the whole gospel. His person, offices, and work must be our one great, all-comprehending theme.

The world needs to be told of its Saviour, and of the way to reach him. Justification by faith should be far more than it is the daily testimony of Protestant pulpits; and if with this master-truth there should be more generally associated the other great doctrines of grace, the better for our church and our age. . .

We are not called to proclaim philosophy and metaphysics, but the simple gospel. Man’s fall, his need of a new birth, forgiveness through an atonement, and salvation as the result of faith, these are our battle-axe and weapons of war.

We have enough to do to learn and teach these great truths, and accursed be that learning which shall divert us from our mission, or that wilful ignorance which shall cripple us in its pursuit.

Lust not for men only

by Carolyn McCulley (via) DesiringGod.org

We’re well into the heat of summer now, and that means many churches across the American landscape have, at some point, reiterated the modesty message for the good church ladies everywhere.

Wait. I can actually see that eyeroll of yours even from here. But, friends, don’t click away just yet. Because I am going to go where large swaths of American church culture need to go on this topic … but often don’t.

I’m talking about lust. And women.

For the past eight years, I’ve had the privilege of writing two books and hundreds of articles and blog posts for women, which then led to numerous speaking engagements. Right from the start, I noticed a trend at each event, whether in the U.S. or abroad. Invariably, one woman would wait to talk to me until the bitter end, because she wanted to confess something that made her feel doubly shameful. She wanted to talk about her lust and sexual sin, a struggle she was sure was hers alone among the women in church.

How did these women arrive at this conclusion? Because for years most churches herded the men off to talk about lust, while gathering the women to discuss modesty. While those are valid and much needed messages, they are incomplete for the culture in which we now live.

To understand the times, let’s look at the messages women have absorbed in recent years. There are stripper pole classes at the gym and women’s magazines with screaming headlines about sex and seduction techniques. The morning talk shows candidly discuss sex toy parties. „Sex and the City” becomes a major franchise while „Girls Gone Wild” captures drunken sexual escapades among college students. Abercrombie & Fitch markets push-up bikini tops to 8-year-old girls. Lady Gaga bursts onto the pop music scene wishing she could shut her Playboy mouth. Not one item is sold in the mall without an erotic image. And women are increasingly immersed in online porn.

This highly sexualized culture is the new normal for young women who grew up in the ethos of third-wave feminism’s pro-porn, pro-sex work stance. So normal that when I spoke at a Christian college earlier this year, one woman raised her hand to ask, „So are you saying that it’s bad that there’s too much pornographic influence in our culture? But shouldn’t women embrace their sexuality?”

Um, yes. And yes. That answer highlights the problem: the counterfeit has usurped the authentic. Sex is God’s idea and his good gift to be properly stewarded within his design. For that reason, the church should be the most pro-sex group there is. We have a message of hope and redemption in the morass of sexual confusion. But first we need to help the women who are confused and in our churches right now. Here are four points on how to do that:

1. Give the truth about sex and why it’s attacked.

Let’s start with that modesty message. If it’s framed as a simple „don’t tempt men” message, it is incomplete and easily dismissed. We need to back up and explain first what is good about God’s gift and how it is distorted in a myriad of ways. We should equip young women to be discerning about the spiritual battle raging around sexuality. The Adversary has no need to improve upon his first character assassination of God. Contradicting God’s boundaries and insinuating that he is holding out on his creatures is nearly foolproof.

2. Teach young women not to mistake broken for normal.

Then we need to teach young women how rapidly our culture became porn-saturated in only one generation. That’s often news to those who grew up in it and therefore they often don’t understand the brokenness that follows in the wake of the sexual imagery they accept as normal. As John Piper says, lust is the realm of thought, imagination, and desire that leads to sexual misconduct—and young women often overlook how their drive to be sexually desirable is smack in the middle of that realm.

When young women understand the cosmic consequences of sexual sin, the worldviews that shape our consumption of sexual messages today, and how God’s glory is under spiritual attack, they will not mistake any modesty message for a frumpy fashion campaign. Nor will they resent the men around them for being impediments to whatever is stylish. Instead, they will be sobered by how Satan still „prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8)—and that men and women alike are fair game.

3. Stop thinking that only men have seeing problems.

Let’s not assume that immodesty only affects the eyes of men. Women are becoming increasingly visualized as well, and can be distracted in similar, though perhaps not identical, ways. We also need to remember and help those women who wrestle with same-sex attraction. After I mentioned this recently at a large conference, several women came up to say this is their temptation and how hard it is for them to be open about it in the church. They fear misunderstanding, judgment and gossip.

4. Create a culture of light.

We need to clearly teach that lust is a human condition, not just a masculine one. Knowing God’s glory is at stake, we need to create humble church cultures where secret sin is not kept in the dark, but rather brought into the light. If we rightly understand the doctrine of sin, we should never be surprised by our own temptations nor by the confessions of others. We should want to create „safe harbors” for God’s people to confess, repent, and welcome accountability for change. The roaring lion waits in the cover of darkness to attack what he finds there, but „whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God” (John 3:21).

Let us help the women in our churches experience the freedom of living in the light.

Carolyn McCulley is an author, speaker, and documentary filmmaker. She has written more about third-wave feminism in her book, Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World.

Free John Piper electronic books in the German language + Malawi & Russian (Carti ‘gratis’ de John Piper in Limba Germana)

Pentru fratii Romani din Germania si Europa- mai jos veti gasi link-uri la carti scrise (online) de John Piper cu traducerea in Limba Germana. Dati-le mai departe si prietenilor si cunostintelor care cunosc si vorbesc Limba Germana sau Rusa.

For all of our Romanian brothers and sisters in Germany and Austria, as well as the rest of Europe, here is a list to pass along to your German speaking friends and colleagues.

This is the link they should bookmark for this list – http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/a-new-gospel-network-in-europe-and-free-piper-ebooks-in-german?utm_source=Desiring+God&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=9ecf95120c-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN

Desiring God is working to serve the German-speaking world through the recent addition of seven online books (PDF) in German, which you can download from our website for free. Thanks so much to Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung (CLV) for providing them to us!

Recent posts from International Outreach —

In Lumine has also made many of their Russian titles available in digital format, which you can download from the DG website:

Christ-Exalting Resources in Russian and Ukraine

Jesus’ command to us „Do not be anxious about your life” (via) John Piper

You can read the entire post at the Desiring God website – Let Jesus Argue With Your Soul About Being Anxious.

We should be slow to treat Jesus as if he doesn’t know what he is doing. He is not naïve in the way he deals with our anxiety. In Matthew 6:25-34 he tells us three times not to be anxious (vv. 25, 31, 34) and gives us eight reasons not to be anxious.

Evidently he thinks this will help. So don’t call it simplistic. Call it grace. Believe him. Take every reason and preach it to your soul as true. Say,

Soul, this is true. Jesus Christ says so. Trust him. He died for you. He loves you. He created you. He knows you. No one — no counselor, no pastor, no friend — knows as much about you as he does. Listen to him. Let these reasons sink in. Bank on them. Now, let’s get up and do what we need to do. Be gone anxiety.

Here’s a summary of what he said:

  1. Life is more than food and the body more than clothing (Matthew 6:25).
  2. God feeds the birds and you are more valuable than they are (Matthew 6:26).
  3. It’s pointless. It adds not one hour to your life (Matthew 6:27).
  4. If God clothes ephemeral grass, he will clothe eternal you (Matthew 6:28-30).
  5. Unbelievers are anxious about stuff. And you are not an unbeliever (Matthew 6:32a).
  6. Your father (!) knows that you need all these things you’re anxious about (Matthew 6:32b).
  7. When you seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, what you need is added to you.
  8. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Tomorrow’s trouble stays there (Matthew 6:34).

Why Read About the Beheading of Christians? John Piper

from John Piper DesiringGod.org – Why Read About the Beheading of Christians?.

from World Magazine

World Magazine received a two-minute video of Islamic militants beheading a man for becoming a Christian. The article is called “Brutal Beheading”. I hope many of you read it.

Why?

Because we can’t get into the reality of most of the Bible without some real emotional connection with terror. Every book of the New Testament has terror in it, something like a beheading. The situation in the first century, when these books were written, was more like Afghanistan than America.

Without the help of horrific news we will likely romanticize the New Testament. Some of you they will kill (Luke 21:16). Be faithful unto death and he will give you the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).

We are soft. Mentally and emotionally soft. The thought that we might one day be beheaded with a knife, not a sword, or might have to watch someone beheaded, is itself so traumatizing that we can scarcely allow ourselves to think about it.

The miracle of the peace of Jesus (John 14:27) that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), will appear as miraculous as it really is, when we experience it not by escaping this news, but by preparing for it, and trusting God in it. Including when our own time comes.

Link to World Magazine report.

John Piper on the Pastor as Prophet (Free 4 part Video Course) via Justin Taylor

Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition announces the addition of John Piper’s preaching course for Pastors from the recent Re:Train session which has now been added to the Desiring God Resource Library:

Also available for download – the course’s 42-page syllabus (PDF).

Justin Taylor highlights John Piper’s ten theses to explain how all preaching should be gospel preaching, proclaiming Christ crucified:

John Piper :

  1. Whatever lasting good God ever does or ever did or ever will do for any individual person, he does and did and will do because of his free, utterly undeserved grace.
  2. This free grace, that gives every lasting good to people, can benefit us justly only because of Jesus’ wrath-absorbing, righteousness-providing, sin-atoning, guilt-removing, substitutionary death for us.
  3. Without this kind of atoning death of Christ, God’s grace would not save us, but only increase our condemnation because of the hardness of our hearts.
  4. But by the blood of Christ, God really purchased us for himself and secured not only every lasting good that we receive, but also the gift of repentance and faith through which we receive everything else.
  5. Therefore every sermon that holds out any lasting good to any person (as every Christian sermon must) should be based on, and interwoven with, the gospel of the living Christ’s substitutionary death.
  6. This gospel basis and gospel interweaving of our sermons should be clear enough so that gospel-deniers (like Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, legalists, libertines, etc) will not approve of our sermons. There should be enough of Christ and of his cross that those who deny the gospel don’t approve the sermon.
  7. This gospel basis and gospel interweaving of our sermons should be clear enough so that the living Jesus will be honored as the ground and goal of the message because of his grace-securing sacrifice for us.
  8. This gospel basis and gospel interweaving of our sermons should be clear enough so that the imperative that flows from the message is, first and foremost, faith in the blood-bought reality that God is 100% for us in Christ (that is, faith in the justifying work of Christ), and then, secondly, the obedience that comes from this faith (that is, the fruit of the sanctifying work of the Spirit).
  9. In this sense then every sermon proclaims Christ. His atoning work is the ground of all it offers. His glory is the ultimate goal of all it aims to achieve. And the written revelation of Christ’s unfolding ways in history (that is, Scripture) is the only authoritative source from which we bring this work and ground and this glory to light (expository exultation).
  10. Thus with Christ-crucified as the ground and goal and matter of every sermon (and all of life) the ultimate aim of God in creation is advanced: the praise of the glory of God’s grace, through the joy of his people in him.

To see Scriptural support for these points, see pp. 5-8 of this syllabus (PDF).

Here is the first of 4 videos:

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The Pastor As Prophet: Preaching As Worship, Pa…
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The Pastor As Prophet: Preaching As Worship, Part 2
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The Pastor As Prophet: Preaching As Worship, Part 3

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The Pastor As Prophet: Preaching As Worship, Part 4

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What’s the difference between a Christian and a non Christian? Mark Dever

What is a distinguishing mark of a believer?

From the sermon given by Mark Dever at  the 2009 Desiring God Conference for Pastors titled The Church and Evangelism.

The difference between a Christian and non-Christian: When a non-Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with his sin. When a Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with God, against himself.”

Mark Dever describes:

  •  Two things  pastors must teach on evangelism:
  1. First there’s a  need for Pastors to understand the congregation’s responsibility on evangelism
  2. Pastors should teach the history of God’s displaying himself through a people
  •  Two things on evangelism pastors must lead our congregations in
  1. Pastors should lead in equipping a congregation in evangelism
  2. Pastors want to lead their church in evangelizing congregationally
He ends by quoting Spurgeon and advising:

You want to be able to invite your non-Christian friends into the network of relationships that is your congregation. Non-believers can become morally visible to themselves as they move among us. They can see conversions in front of them. They can see life change really happening.

We have had so many people come to our churches who think they are Christians and are converted when they sit under the preaching of the Word.

Talk to your congregation about times when you have tried to be faithful in evangelism and the person has blown up in your face.

The Word of God is full of statements of the certainty of the victory of God. As we evangelize, we are inviting people into the triumph of Jesus Christ.

Spurgeon, with his wonderful God-given combination of confidence in God and tender compassion for his sheep, put it like this:

I am occupied in my small way, as Mr. Great-heart was employed in Bunyan’s day. I do not compare myself with that champion, but I am in the same line of business. I am engaged in personally-conducted tours to Heaven; and I have with me, at the present time, dear Old Father Honest: I am glad he is still alive and active. And there is Christiana, and there are her children. It is my business, as best I can, to kill dragons, and cut off giants’ heads, and lead on the timid and trembling. I am often afraid of losing some of the weaklings. I have the heart-ache for them; but, by God’s grace, and your kind and generous help in looking after one another, I hope we shall all travel safely to the river’s edge. Oh, how many have I had to part with there! I have stood on the brink, and I have heard them singing in the midst of the stream, and I have almost seen the shining ones lead them up the hill, and through the gates, into the Celestial City. (from Spurgeon’s Autobiography, II, 131)

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Jonathan Edwards – How Far We Have Fallen (via) Desiring God

How Far We Have Fallen from Josh Etter at Desiring God:

Jonathan Edwards’ vivid description of what happened when we fell from God into sin:

The ruin that the fall brought upon the soul of man consists very much in his losing the nobler and more benevolent principles of his nature, and falling wholly under the power and government of self-love. Before, and as God created him, he was exalted, and noble, and generous; but now he is debased, and ignoble, and selfish.

Immediately upon the fall, the mind of man shrank from its primitive greateness and expandedness, to an exceeding smallness and contractedness; and as in other respects, so especially in this. Before, his soul was under the government of that noble principle of divine love, whereby it was enlarged to the comprehension of all his fellow creatures and their welfare. And not only so, but it was not confined within such narrow limits as the bounds of the creation, but went forth in the exercise of holy love to the Creator, and abroad upon the infinite ocean of good, and was, as it were, swallowed up by it, and became one with it. But so soon as he had transgressed against God, these noble principles were immediately lost, and all this excellent enlargedness of man’s soul was gone; and thenceforward he himself shrank, as it were, into a little space, circumscribed and closely shut up within itself to the exclusion of all things else.

Sin, like some powerful astringent, contracted his soul to the very small dimensions of selfishness; and God was forsaken, and fellow creatures forsaken, and man retired within himself, and became totally governed by narrow and selfish principles and feelings. Self-love became absolute master of his soul, and the more noble and spiritual principles of his being took wings and flew away.

Excerpted from „The Spirit of Love the Opposite of a Selfish Spirit”.

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The Gospel Coalition April 12-14 in Chicago (link to watch it live courtesy of Desiring God org.)

Update – April 15 Full Audio links- page here.

From Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition website:

Link to watch it live http://ow.ly/4xW2x

Watch TGC11 Live from Chicago All times below are Central (UTC-5).

Tuesday, April 12

2 PM R. Albert Mohler Jr. Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus (John 5:31-47)
4 PM Tim Keller Getting Out (Exodus 14)
5:30 PM White Horse Inn Live Recording: The Great Commission and the Great Commandment
7 PM Alistair Begg From a Foreigner to King Jesus (Ruth)
8 PM Tim Keller, John Piper, Crawford Loritts, Don Carson, Bryan Chapell Preaching from the Old Testament
9 PM Hymn Sing Sing Them Again: An Evening of Old and New Hymns

Wednesday, April 13

9:30 AM James MacDonald Not According to Our Sins (Psalm 25)
12:30 PM Matt Chandler, Kevin DeYoung, Trevin Wax, Jonathan Leeman Gospel, Mission, and the Church
7 PM Conrad Mbewe The Righteous Branch (Jeremiah 23:1-8)
8 PM Matt Chandler Youth (Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14)
9 PM Keith and Kristyn Getty Concert

Thursday, April 14

7:30 AM Don Carson, Tim Keller, Crawford Loritts, Kevin DeYoung, and Stephen Um God: Abounding in Love, Punishing the Guilty
9:30 AM Mike Bullmore God’s Great Heart of Love Toward His Own (Zephaniah)
11 AM D. A. Carson Getting Excited about Melchizedek (Psalm 110)

So you weren’t able to join us this year in Chicago for The Gospel Coalition’s 2011 national conference. We have good news! Follow along with us and learn how to teach Jesus and the gospel from the Old Testament by watching the livestream from TGC’s conference media page. You’ll be able to watch all nine plenary sessions, beginning with R. Albert Mohler Jr. on Tuesday afternoon, April 12, at 2 p.m. CDT. The final address will be given by Don Carson, who begins on Thursday morning, April 14, at 11 a.m. CDT. Check the schedule for the times of every address. We will also make audio of each talk available for download afterward on the media page.

The common root of unbelief in the brothers of Jesus and the Jewish crowds by John Piper

from Desiring God -Jan,2011

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John 7:1-24

The question I will try to answer from this text is: What is the common root that gives rise to such very different forms of unbelief in the brothers of Jesus, on the one hand, and in the Jewish crowds, on the other hand? I think this is exactly the question that the apostle John wants me to ask. I think he throws this question right in our face in verses 3–5, especially verse 5. He intentionally shocks us by telling us that Jesus’ brothers do not believe in him. And he shocks us even more by telling us what their unbelief looks like.

The Surprising Unbelief of Jesus’ Brothers

Jesus’ brothers are very excited about his miracles. They have seen some of them, and they want other people to see them as well. So they say to Jesus in verses 3­–5,

“Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For not even his brothers believed in him.

Here’s the double shock: Jesus’ own brothers did not believe in him! This is James and Joseph and Simon and Judas (not Iscariot), mentioned in Matthew 13:55. His brother James would be one of the leaders of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15), and would write one of the books of the New Testament. The apostle John knows all this. He knows James became a great believer and leader in the church. So he knows this is shocking.

A Window into the Nature of Unbelief

But he is not aiming merely to shock. He is aiming to teach about unbelief. So he shocks us again and tells us that what James’ unbelief produces is a certain kind of excitement about Jesus’ miracles. Notice carefully the connection between their unbelief in verse 5 and their excitement in verses 3–4: “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” And why did they want Jesus to seek to be known openly and show himself as a miracle worker to the world? Verse 5: “Because not even his brothers believed in him.”

Now this is doubly shocking. If it had said, “We don’t think you can do these miracles; we think it’s all smoke and mirrors; we don’t want to be associated with you; we are embarrassed by what you are doing”—if they had said that, we would understand if Jesus said that they said it because they don’t believe. But they believe in his miracles. They believe he can do these things. They are amazed. They love it, and they want him to make an appearance in Jerusalem to win more amazed followers. And Jesus says that this comes from unbelief.

The Other Unbelief: The Jewish Crowds

So that’s one kind of unbelief in this text. The other kind seems to be almost the opposite. Many of the Jewish people in Jerusalem are not excited by Jesus’ miracles. They are threatened by them, and want to see him dead. Verse 1: “He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.” And verse 19: “Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” In response, they say he has a demon. Verse 20: The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?”

Jesus says that their animosity comes from the miracle that he did back in chapter 5 when he healed the man who had been paralyzed for 38 years (John 5:5–9). He had healed him on the Sabbath. And somehow this unleashed a tidal wave of animosity. John 7:21–23:

Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well?”

So this is the second kind of unbelief—very different from the unbelief of the brothers. Or is it? They certainly look different. One is excited about his miracle working and wants it to be more public. The other is threatened by his miracles and wants them stopped, even it means killing Jesus. We immediately recognize the second response as unbelief. But Jesus wants us to see his brother’s kind of excitement as unbelief as well.

So my question is: How are they both unbelief? What is the common root?

Why It Matters

Before I try to answer that question, let me tell you why it matters. The short answer is that believing on Jesus is how we receive eternal life. John tells us in John 20:31 why he wrote this book—why he, for example, makes a big deal about what unbelief is in chapter 7—“These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Believing is how you get eternal life.

And we know he means “eternal life” because John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” And we know that what eternal life means is that by believing in Jesus we escape from the wrath of God which is on us until we believe. John 3:36: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” Apart from Jesus, we are all under God’s wrath because we all have treated God with contempt by giving him so little of our attention and affection and obedience.

Only in Jesus: Eternal Life and Escape from Wrath

And we know that Jesus is the only one who can save us from the wrath of God and give us eternal life, because he is himself God in the flesh. “The Word was God  . . . and the Word became flesh” (John 1:1, 14). He is the Messiah: “I who speak to you am he” (John 4:26). And he is the Lamb of God: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

So he is the only one who can die in the place of millions of sinners (“I lay down my life for the sheep,” John 10:15), and rise from the dead (“Because I lay it my life for the sheep, I will take it up again,” John 10:17–18), so that anyone who receives him and believes on him will become a child of God (John 1:12) and have eternal life.

The Word of Christ for Unbelievers—And for Believers

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Duminica dimineata/Sunday mornings – with our tongues we speak both praises and curses

James 3:9-10

9-10My dear friends, with our tongues we speak both praises and curses. We praise our Lord and Father, and we curse people who were created to be like God, and this isn’t right.

Family Series 16 – Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and Daughters – John Piper

from Desiring God

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Isaiah 56:1-7

Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” 3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” 4 For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5 I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. 6 “And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant— 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

I will start and end with my main point and, in the middle, cover a wide terrain of Scripture to support it. My main point is that God promises those of you who remain single in Christ blessings that are better than the blessings of marriage and children, and he calls you to display, by the Christ-exalting devotion of your singleness, the truths about Christ and his kingdom that shine more clearly through singleness than through marriage and childrearing. The truths, namely,

  1. That the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ;1
  2. That relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families (and, of course, it is wonderful when relationships in families are also relationships in Christ; but we know that is often not the case);
  3. That marriage is temporary, and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church—the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face to face;
  4. That faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.

To say the main point more briefly: God promises spectacular blessings to those of you who remain single in Christ, and he gives you an extraordinary calling for your life. To be single in Christ is, therefore, not a falling short of God’s best, but a path of Christ-exalting, covenant-keeping obedience that many are called to walk.

Better Blessings Than Sons and Daughters

Now let’s step back and look at the Scriptures. And here let me give credit to Barry Danylak for his research on this issue and his very helpful paper “A Biblical-Theological Perspective on Singleness” (PDF). Let’s start in the middle of the Bible at Isaiah 56:4-5,

Thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs [those who cannot procreate but turn their lives into a unique service instead of marriage] who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument2 and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”

God promises to bless obedient eunuchs with blessings that are better than sons and daughters. In other words, God promises those of you who remain single in Christ blessings that are better than the blessings of marriage and children.

The Bigger Picture in Redemptive History

But to see this more clearly we need to get the bigger picture. In the created order that God put in place before sin was in the world, and in the covenantal order that God put in place with the Jewish people from Abraham to the coming of Christ, “God is primarily building his covenant people through the mechanism of procreation.”3 God was focusing his covenant-keeping faithfulness mainly on an ethnic people. Therefore, being married and having offspring was of paramount importance for one’s name and one’s inheritance and for the preservation of God’s covenant people.

Creation

So in Genesis 1:28, the first thing God says to Adam and Eve is, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” And in the account of Genesis 2:18, when woman was not yet created, God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Abraham and Isaac

And when Abraham was chosen as the father of God’s people, God took him out and showed him the stars and said, “So shall your offspring be” (Genesis 15:5). And when Abraham could not have a son because of Sarah’s barrenness, Abraham said, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” But God answered, “No, . . . Sarah your wife shall bear you a son.” In other words, the physical offspring mattered. And it would come in God’s way.

God reaffirms the same to Isaac in Genesis 26:3: “I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.” Again physical “offspring” are crucial for the covenant.

David and Saul

These offspring are crucial not only for the preservation of the covenant but also because a person’s name would end without children. So Saul asks David to swear that he will not cut off his offspring for the sake of his name. First Samuel 24:21: “Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house.”

Levirate Marriage and Ruth

Remember the whole elaborate system of Levirate marriage—that is, the marriage of a man to his deceased brother’s wife so that the name of the deceased brother would not be lost. The rule was that the first son born would bear the dead brother’s name. Deuteronomy 25:6: “The first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.” That’s an amazing provision for the perpetuation of the name through physical seed.

The most famous instance of this is when Boaz agreed to marry Ruth to preserve the name of Elimelech her father-in-law and Mahlon her husband. Boaz said, “Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day” (Ruth 4:10).

Jephthah’s Daughter

So you can see how crucial marriage and offspring and the preservation of a name and an inheritance were in Israel. No wonder that Jephthah’s daughter asked for two months not to bewail her impending death but that she was never married. Judges 11:37-38a: “She said to her father, ‘Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone two months, that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.’ So he said, ‘Go.’”

Isaiah’s Prophecy: “He Shall See His Offspring”

All of this is the background that makes Isaiah 56:5 shine like the sun to eunuchs and others without marriage and children: “Thus says the Lord: ‘To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” So without marriage and without children. these covenant-keeping eunuchs get a name and a memorial better than sons and daughters.

Where did this amazing promise come from? What’s the basis of it and what is it pointing toward? Turn back to Isaiah 53. This is the great prophecy of the sufferings of Christ who “was wounded for our transgressions [and] . . . crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). In this chapter, we sometimes overlook these words in verse 10: “It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”

He shall see his offspring. Here is a great prophecy: When the Messiah dies as an “offering for guilt” and rises again to “prolong his days,” he will by that great saving act produce many children: He will “see his offspring.” In other words, the new people of God formed by the Messiah will not be formed by physical procreation but by the atoning death of Christ.

Which is why the next chapter (Isaiah 54) begins, “‘Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 54:1). And this is also why our text (Isaiah 56:5) says that unmarried covenant-keeping people will have “a monument and a name better than sons and daughters . . . [and] an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” In the true people of God formed by Jesus Christ, monuments, names, offspring, and inheritances do not arise through marriage and procreation.

Jesus, Paul, and Peter

So when we come now to the New Testament, Jesus makes clear that his people—the true people of God—will be produced not by physical procreation but by spiritual regeneration. So he says to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

And Paul says in Galatians 3 to the Jews and Gentiles alike, “Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. . . . In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Galatians 3:7, 26). In other words, it is not physical descent from Abraham that makes you part of the covenant people of God but faith in Christ.

And Peter says that our inheritance comes not through marriage and offspring but through the work of Christ and the new birth: “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

So Jesus and Paul and Peter all say: Children are born into God’s family and receive their inheritance not by marriage and procreation but by faith and regeneration. Which means that single people in Christ have zero disadvantage in bearing children for God, and may in some ways have a great advantage. The apostle Paul was single in Christ, and he said of his converts, “Though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15). Paul was a great father, and never married. And let him speak for single women in Christ in 1 Thessalonians 2:7: “We were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.” So it will be said of many single women in Christ: She was a great mother and never married.

A Radical Relational Reordering

Take heed here lest you minimize what I am saying and do not hear how radical it really is. I am not sentimentalizing singleness to make the unmarried feel good. I am declaring the temporary and secondary nature of marriage and family over against the eternal and primary nature of the church. Marriage and family are temporary for this age; the church is forever. I am declaring the radical biblical truth that being in a human family is no sign of eternal blessing, but being in God’s family means being eternally blessed. Relationships based on family are temporary. Relationships based on union with Christ are eternal. Marriage is a temporary institution, but what it stands for lasts forever. “In the resurrection,” Jesus said, “they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:30).

And when his own mother and brothers asked to see him, Jesus said, “‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!’” (Matthew 12:48-49). Jesus is turning everything around. Yes, he loved his mother and his brothers. But those are all natural and temporary relationships. He did not come into the world to focus on that. He came into the world to call out a people for his name from all the families into a new family where single people in Christ are full-fledged family members on a par with all others, bearing fruit for God and becoming mothers and fathers of the eternal kind.

“Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” a woman cried out to Jesus. And he turned and said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:27). The mother of God is the obedient Christian—married or single! Take a deep breath and reorder your world.

“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,” Jesus said, “who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30). Single person, married person, do you want children, mothers, brothers, sisters, lands? Renounce the primacy of your natural relationships and follow Jesus into the fellowship of the people of God.

Let Him Who Is Able to Receive This Receive It

What shall we say then in view this great biblical vision of the secondary and temporary nature of marriage and procreation? We will say what Jesus and Paul said. Jesus said in Matthew 19:12, “There are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” We need not take this (“made themselves eunuchs”) to mean any kind of physical sterilization any more than we take Jesus’ words “tear out your right eye” to mean physically blinding ourselves. But it does mean that Jesus approves that some of his followers renounce marriage and sexual activity for the sake of serving Christ’s kingdom. “Let him who is able to receive this receive it.”

That is what Paul chose for himself and what he encouraged others to consider in 1 Corinthians 7. “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. . . . I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife . . . . I say this . . . to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:8, 32-33, 35). In other words, some are called to be “eunuchs” for the kingdom of God. Paul speaks about each having his own gift: “one of one kind, one of another” (1 Corinthians 7:7). In other words, “Let him who is able to receive this receive it.”

Better Blessings

So now we end where we began with all this Scripture in our mind. God promises those of you who remain single in Christ blessings that are better than the blessings of marriage and children.

If someone asks, wouldn’t it be better to have both? The blessings of marriage and the blessings of heaven? There are two answers to that question. One is that you will find out someday, and better to learn it now, that the blessings of being with Christ in heaven, are so far superior to the blessings of being married and raising children and that asking this question will be like asking: Wouldn’t it be better to have the ocean and the thimble full? And the second answer is that marriage and singleness both present us with unique trials and unique opportunities for our sanctification. There will be unique rewards for each, and which is greater will not depend on whether you were married or single, but on how you responded to each.

So I say it again to all singles in Christ: God promises you blessings in the age to come that are better than the blessings of marriage and children.

Uniquely Displaying the Glories of Christ

And with this promise there comes a unique calling and a unique responsibility. It is not a calling to extend irresponsible adolescence into your thirties. It is a calling to do what only single men and women in Christ can do in this world, namely, to display by the Christ-exalting devotion of your singleness the truths about Christ and his kingdom that shine more clearly through singleness than through marriage. As long as you are single, this is your calling: to so live for Christ as to make it clearer to the world and to the church

  1. That the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ;
  2. That relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families;
  3. That marriage is temporary, and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church—the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face to face;
  4. And that faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.

To him be glory in the Christ-exalting drama of marriage and the Christ-exalting drama of the single life. Amen

1 I borrow here from the expression of Barry Danylak, “A Biblical-Theological Perspective on Singleness” (PDF), p. 15. “The propagation of the people of God in the New Testament occurs not through physical procreation as in the Old Testament, but rather through spiritual regeneration.” This is an unpublished paper and reflects Barry’s present doctoral studies at Cambridge University. This sermon has drawn heavily on Barry’s approach to the issue of singleness in the Bible.

2 The literal translation of the Hebrew is: “within my walls a hand and a name better than sons and daughters.” For the sense behind the word hand (translated as monument), compare 2 Samuel 18:18 where Absalom says, “‘I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.’ He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s hand to this day” (literal rendering, usually rendered “monument”). Absalom had built this memorial by himself and for himself (v. 18a). So he had extended his memory into the future by his own hand. Perhaps then the idea of hand is that the good that comes to us in the future or the memorial that keeps us in remembrance in the future is our ongoing effect as though our hand were still active.

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

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