John Piper at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – The sadness & beauty of Paul’s final words

From February 17, 2013 at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Text 2 Timothy 4:9-22

 Make every effort to come to me soon; 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 12 But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.

16 At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained atCorinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. 21 Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Here are a few notes from the message-

John Piper SBTS 17 feb 2013Piper: We’ll look at some of the most beautiful and some of the saddest words in the Bible, that are intended, I think, to establish you in your mission and your ministry… I think, the overall impact God wants you to have- to the Timothy’s in the room especially- is to inform you that ministry will be hard, and that in spite of all of its hardness, Jesus will stand you.

I have about 7 observations about the ministry in church and the ministry in missions. If you live long enough, you will find them all to be true in your life:

  1. Christian ministry is relationally hard
  2. Friends in ministry can let you down, and never care for you again. I want to give a warning to culture embracing Christians in the room, because you’ve got to embrace culture to be relevant. There is an embrace of culture- God ignoring, God denying, God demeaning, Christ distorting products of culture that is mutually exclusive with a deep love for Jesus. There is a love for the world that is irreconcilable with world exposing ministry, witnessing to world ministry. Rescuing from world ministry. If your heart is in love with the world, you just love what unbelievers love, you’ll either change your ministry to be compatible with that love, which happens all over the place, or you will leave the ministry, like Dimas did. More people leave Christ, more people leave church, more people leave the ministry, and more people leave the hope of heaven, out of love for the world, than anything else. (10:45)
  3. Good friends in ministry can let you down and still be your friend.
  4. Jesus never intended the enjoyment of His presence would replace the enjoyment of other Christians. In other words, when Christ died, so you would enjoy Him supremely, He did not nullify the enjoyment of other Christians. Christ always intended for your friendship with Him to be the centerpiece of your friendship with others. The joy of Christ centered friendship is meant to magnify the worth of Christ, as the common treasure of the friendship, and thus deepen the sweetness of the friendship, not eliminate it.
  5. Nevertheless, Jesus is the only totally reliable friend for sinners. He is the only flawless friend, and therefore the all satisfying friend, and therefore the only friend who can make other friendships eternal. As much as you may love your earthly friends and your earthly family, they can’t do this for you. They cannot rescue you from every evil deed, and bring you safely to the heavenly kingdom. Only one friend can do that (Jesus). Seek Christian friendships, but when they fail, when they don’t show up at your trial, don’t turn on your one Friend who will be there. Have you ever thought how insane it is, how many people, being let down by christian friends, use it as the reason to leave the one Friend  who will never let them down.
  6. Closeness to God at the end of your life does not remove the need or the desire to read or be spiritually nourished. (25:00)
  7. People with great influence and great authority don’t need great possessions. Paul handled a lot of money for his day and he kept very little for himself. Don’t lay up treasures on earth, lay up treasures in heaven. Keep it simple.

Let me close, by reading a quote form William Tyndale. This was written a year before he was strangled and burned at the stake in 1536. He was in prison, just north of Brussels. He had been arrested for putting the Bible into English. He’s gonna die for helping people read the Bible in English. And, as he’s in prison languishing, he writes this. It’s just a beautiful, powerful (in my mind, anyway, in my heart) illustration of what we’ve just said.

„I beg your lordship, that if I am to remain here through the winter, you will request the commissary to send me, from the goods of mine, which he has, a warmer coat, also. For, this which I have is very thin. A piece of cloth, too, to patch my leggings. But, most of all, I beg and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the commisary, that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew Bible, the Hebrew grammar, and the Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study.”

The Sadness & Beauty of Paul’s Final Words

Panel discussion SBTS – Helpful question & answer session on marriage and ministry

A great session at the end of a one day conference at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, geared towards pastors and ministry leaders, however every couple (even the one not in active ministry) can learn and apply most of the answers given  in this very candid conversation.

See previous messages on marriage and ministry at SBTS by-

  1. After Russell’s message this morning, just talking about something as serious as pornography, having a discussion- husband and wife- about that, CJ (Mahaney) had some things to add from his years of shepherding, where something like this has to occur, (what is) the process…?
  2. What if you have a pastor who is leading the church, pronounced leadership, but, he’s not leading in the home? How is the wife to respond. We say ‘love covers a multitude of sins’, it doesn’t cover all sins, here’s a wife who sees inconsistency, she’s hearing him preach, but at home he is not a good leader. What would you recommend?
  3. How do we deal with the inconsistency that we experience? We preach a better message at times. So, we have the standards and we can’t lower the Scriptures to our lifestyle. How do we work through that? That can be a challenge at times. I mean, you’re going to church and a fight breaks out and you’re gonna stand before the people of God… and that’s tough.
  4. Where do we go for help, as pastors in the local church?
  5. What are some of the early warning signs in a Gospel ministry couple of indications where they need to get help? There’s obviously some sins that we handle through grace induced progressive sanctification, others you need to get intensive, you need to nip it in the bud. What are these early warning signs?
  6. How do you work through a dry season? ( a dry, flat [or too busy] time in your marriage)
  7. Sometimes, in your church you come across a couple who says they never fought. What do you think about them?
  8. (Give) some principles, real practical, of how to fight fair. What does a good fight look like in your home?

Panel Discussion from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

 

Al Mohler on Marriage and Ministry Crisis

Al Mohler – President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary: When you think of all the things that might demand our attention, it’s hard to come up with anything that is more important than this: Marriage and Ministry.

Jesus Stills the Sea

Luke 8: 22 Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them,“Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they launched out. 23 But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they beganto be swamped and to be in danger. 24 They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. 25 And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

In the introduction (first 1/2 hour) Al Mohler talks about assuming the role of President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the spring of 1993.
  • Everybody reacts differently in a crisis, some people just disappear. You’re gonna discover who your friends are during a crisis because they’re the ones standing with you.

Normative picture of a minister in the New Testament: One who is married to one wife; representing the covenantal commitment and the integrity and fidelity of that love.

Ten principles for marriage during ministry crisis

  1. Your marriage and your ministry are inseparable. That’s not an uncontroversial statement. Your marriage is who you are and that commitment you’ve made and covenant fidelity n marriage and that commitment you’re going to make is a commitment prior to your calling to any specific place in ministry. You are not going to ever be able successfully to separate your ministry or your marriage because if you think you’re doing that, you’re lying to yourself and you’re setting yourself up for a horrible disaster. I’ve known pastors who had tragic marriages and were great exopsitors, but that was a clear limp, at least. And I have seen several of them come to the end of their ministry and you realize there is something horrifyingly missing even now. We can’t just act that our marriage and our ministry are inseparable, they’re not because we’re not individually separable from our call and we’re not individually separable from our covenantal commitments. We are all we are all the time. If we suffer under the illusion that we can somehow set our marriage on the side and our ministry on the other side, that we can set them apart as 2 distinct dimensions of who we are, we fool ourselves.(47 min)
  2. Your marriage will anchor your ministry, not the other way around. Never for a minute think that the ministry’s gonna save your marriage. It won’t. Now, your marriage can save your ministry. If you think you can find better fulfillment that will compensate for what you don’t have in your marriage, you’re doomed.
  3. Your marriage will determine your state of your heart, not your ministry. The state of our heart is a very urgently important thing because we’re never higher than our heart.
  4. Your home is to be your haven in a heartless world. In other words, when you go out in the world expect to be hurt, ministry is a risk, you are exposing yourself to criticism and injury. You can be hurt at home… but you better not be hurt n the same way and it has to be the haven from those hurts.
  5. Your wife must be a partner in ministry, not a mere observer. If she is you’re living in a bifurcated world and setting yourself up for disaster.
  6. When crisis come, lean on each other, drawing strength from each other. It’s just common sense, that is what marriage is all about. You lean on Christ and you lean on each other and you’ve got to be careful about leaning on e=anyone else.
  7. Protect her heart and trust in God. If you think that what you are going to do is protect your wife from reality, that’s not going to work. That’s making her into an observer, sometimes even a distant observer, not a participant. But, if you take everything home to her, in terms of your hurts, you need to be careful when you have a moment of anger, or you’ve been let down, that you don’t poison her view of someone, horrifyingly.
  8. Protect your children and interpret events for them and live confidently. Children don’t need to have all the data… they just need to know you’re happy with mom, and you’re secure in your calling and that you’re confident in Jesus.
  9. If you have to choose, lose the ministry, not the marriage. And, the second thing you would have to say after that is, „If you lose the marriage, you’d better lose the ministry anyway”. If you get to that point… and I don’t mean just because your wife doesn’t want to live in this state, or you got hurt feelings and you wanna go home. I mean, if you realize, „I can’t do this, I can’t stay here and stay married”… Then Stay married! God’s sovereign. If He’s called you, you’ll get to a place where you can stay both faithful in ministry and faithful in marriage.
  10. Aim to grow old and happy together. The biblical picture here is really rich. Plan a life from beginning to end together.

Leading Your Family Through Ministry Crisis from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

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