Al Mohler – Hebrews 12

English: Al Mohler, President of Southern Bapt...

Expositors Summit 2012: General Session 6

 

Expositors Summit 2012: General Session 6 from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

Video of the week – A graduation message: Make a difference with your life (John Piper from Passion 2000)

listen to the audio here.

Galatians 6:14

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

You don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by a few great things. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on for centuries and into eternity, you don’t have to have a high IQ or EQ; you don’t have to have to have good looks or riches; you don’t have to come from a fine family or a fine school. You have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things, and be set on fire by them.But I know that not everybody in this crowd wants your life to make a difference. There are hundreds of you – you don’t care whether you make a lasting difference for something great, you just want people to like you. If people would just like you, you’d be satisfied. Of if you could just have good job with a good wife and a couple good kids and a nice car and long weekends and a few good friends, a fun retirement, and quick and easy death and no hell – if you could have that (minus God) – you’d be satisfied. THAT is a tragedy in the making.Three weeks ago we got word at our church that Ruby Eliason and Laura Edwards had both been killed in Cameroon. Ruby was over 80. Single all her life, she poured it out for one great thing: To make Jesus Christ known among the unreached, the poor, and the sick. Laura was a widow, a medical doctor, pushing 80 years old, and serving at Ruby’s side in Cameroon. The brakes failed, the car went over the cliff, and they were both killed instantly. And I asked my people: was that a tragedy? Two lives, driven by one great vision, spent in unheralded service to the perishing poor for the glory of Jesus Christ—two decades after almost all their American counterparts have retired to throw their lives away on trifles in Florida or New Mexico. No. That is not a tragedy. That is a glory.I tell you what a tragedy is. I’ll read to you from Reader’s Digest (Feb. 2000, p. 98) what a tragedy is: „Bob and Penny… took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.” The American Dream: come to the end of your life – your one and only life – and let the last great work before you give an account to your Creator, be „I collected shells. See my shells.” THAT is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. And I get forty minutes to plead with you: don’t buy it.Don’t waste your life. (TO SEE THE ENTIRE 38 MINUTE video click here)

Don’t waste your life. It is so short and so precious. I grew up in a home where my father spent himself as an evangelist to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. He had one consuming vision: Preach the gospel. There was a plaque in our kitchen for all my growing up years. Now it hangs in our living room. I have looked at it almost daily for about 48 years. It says, „Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Click the link below to read the entire message. (Via desiringGod.org and Uploaded by  on Dec 30, 2011)

Mai mult

Unusual Music (13) My Jesus

Other unusual songs:

My Jesus

Which Jesus do you follow?
Which Jesus do you serve?
If Ephesians says to imitate Christ
Then why do you look so much like the world?

Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the arrogant
So which one do you want to be?

Blessed are the poor in spirit
Or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness
Or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand

Cause my Jesus bled and died for my sins
He spent His time with thieves and sluts and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the rich
So which one do you want to be?

Who is this that you follow
This picture of the American dream
If Jesus was here would you walk right by on the other side or fall down and worship at His holy feet

Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion
Is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins
But the Word says He was battered and scarred
Or did you miss that part
Sometimes I doubt we’d recognize Him

Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and the least of these
He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable
So which one do you want to be?

Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
The blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet
But He reaches for the hurting and despises the proud
I think He’d prefer Beale St. to the stained glass crowd
And I know that He can hear me if I cry out loud

I want to be like my Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!

Not a posterchild for American prosperity, but like my Jesus
You see I’m tired of living for success and popularity
I want to be like my Jesus but I’m not sure what that means to be like You Jesus
Cause You said to live like You, love like You but then You died for me
Can I be like You Jesus?
I want to be like you Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!

Uploaded by  on Mar 1, 2007 Video to Todd Agnew’s My Jesus useing clips from the Passion of Christ

Some very good thoughts on marriage for June, the traditional month for weddings – for Singles and (especially) for Married Couples

The more I read the Puritans, the more I learn how much respect I should have for those people of God who lived before us and the wisdom God gave them. One such group of people is the Puritans. The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1559, as an activist movement within the Church of England. Puritans by definition felt that the English Reformation had not gone far enough, and that the Church of England was tolerant of practices which they associated with the Catholic Church. They formed into and identified with various religious groups advocating greater „purity” of worship and doctrine, as well as personal and group piety. You can read these additional posts on the Puritans:

I came across this writing from Richard Baxter, written as an exhortation for men and women  on the treatise of marriage. What is truly impressive, is the understanding that Baxter has of women, and the sensitive treatment he accords them in the marriage relationship. For example here are a couple of points that are very well made:

  • in point#9 he says – Don’t magnify her imperfections until they drive you crazy. (Consider also your own infirmities, and how much your wives must bear with you.)
  • in point#11 he says – A good husband is the best means to make a good and loving wife.
  • point #3 he says – Fighting chills love, fighting makes your spouse undesirable to you in your mind.
  • in point #7 he says – Your dissension will expose you to the malice of Satan, and give him advantage for many, many temptations.
  • Do not forget that you are both diseased persons, full of infirmities; and therefore expect the fruit of those infirmities in each other; and do not act surprised about it, as if you had never known of it before. Decide to be patient with one another; remembering that you took one another as sinful, frail, imperfect persons, and not as angels, or as blameless and perfect.

and my absolute favorite one:

  • Agree together beforehand, that when one of you is sinfully angry and upset the other shall silently and gently bear it until you have come to your sanity.

(This article could make a good wedding card stuffer)

Richard Baxter was a prominent English churchman of the 1600s. He was a peacemaker who sought unity among Protestants, and yet he was a highly independent thinker and at the center of every major controversy in England during his lifetime.

He was a true statesman; „In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity,” he was fond of saying. Baxter, for his part, did his best to avoid the disputes between Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and other denominations, even convincing local ministers to cooperate in some pastoral matters. The interest in cooperation was not due to a lack of conviction. Among his more than 200 works are long, controversial discourses on doctrine. Still, he believed society was a large family under a loving father, and in his theology, he tried to cut between the extremes.

The Mutual Duties Of Husbands And Wives Towards Each Other

by Richard Baxter (1615­-1691)

From Puritansermons.com Extracted and modernised with apologies
by Scott Andersen

Selfish ungodly persons everywhere enter into all kinds of relationships with a desire of serving their ownselves, and gratifying their own flesh without knowing or caring what is required of them. Their desire is for the honour, profit, or pleasure their relationship will provide them but not for what God and man requires or expects from them. [Gen 2:18, Prov 18:22] Their mind is concerned only with what they shall have and not for what they shall be and do. (1)

They know what they want others to do for them, but do not care what their duty is to do for others. This is the way it is with too many husbands and wives.

We should be very concerned to know what the duties of our relationships are. And how we can please God in our relationships. Study and do your part, and God will certainly do his.

Direct. I. The first duty of husbands is to love their wives (and wives their husbands). Eph 5.25,28,29,33. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.­­So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies; he that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.­­Let every one of you in particular so love his wife, even as himself.” See Gen 2.24.

Some directions for maintaining love are as follows:

1. Choose a good spouse in the first place. A spouse who is truly good and kind. Full of virtue and holiness to the Lord. (2)

2. Don’t marry till you are sure that you can love entirely.

3. Be not too hasty, but know beforehand all the imperfections which may tempt you to despise your future mate. (3)

4. Remember that justice commands you to love one that has forsaken all the world for you. One who is contented to be the companion of your labours and sufferings, and be a sharer in all things with you, and that MUST be your companion until death. (4)

5. Remember that women are ordinarily affectionate, passionate creatures, and as they love much themselves, so they expect much love from you.

6. Remember that you are under God’s command; and to deny marital love to your wives, is to deny a duty which God has urgently imposed on you. Obedience therefore should command your love.

7. Remember that you are “one flesh”; you have drawn her to forsake father and mother, and to cleave to you; (5)

8. Take more notice of the good, that is in your wives, than of her faults. Let not the observation of their faults make you forget or overlook their virtues. (6)

9. Don’t magnify her imperfections until they drive you crazy.

Excuse them as far as is right in the Lord. Consider the frailty of the sex. Consider also your own infirmities, and how much your wives must bear with you. (7)

10. Don’t stir up the evil of your spouse, but cause the best in them to be lived out. (8)

11. Overcome them with love; and then they will be loving to you, and consequently lovely. Love will cause love, as fire kindleth fire. A good husband is the best means to make a good and loving wife. (9)

12. Live before them the life of a prudent, lowly, loving, meek, self­denying, patient, harmless, holy heavenly Christian. (10)

Direct. II. Husbands and wives must live together. 1 Cor 7:2­5

Direct III. Abhor not only adultery itself, but all that leads to unchasteness and the violation of your marriage­covenant. [Mat 5.31,32; 19:9; John 8,4­5, of adultery; Heb 13.4; Prov 22.14; Hos 4.2­3; Prov 2.17; 1 Cor 6.15,19; Mal. 2.15; Prov 6.32,35; Deu 23.2; Lev 21.9; 18:28; Num 25.9; Jer 5.7­9]

Direct. IV. Husband and wife must delight in the love and company, and lives of each other. When husband and wife take pleasure in each other, it unites them in duty, it helps them with ease to do their work, and bear their burdens; and is a major part of the comfort of marriage. [Prov 5.18,19]

Direct. V. It is your solemn duty to live in quietness and peace. To avoid every occasion of fierce anger and discord.

[I. Directions showing the great necessity of avoiding dissension.]

1. The duty of your marriage­union requires unity. Can you not agree with your own flesh?

2. Division with your spouse will pain and upset your whole life … Just as you do not wish to hurt your own self and are quick to care for your own wounds; so you should take notice of any break in the peace of your marriage and quickly seek to heal it. 3. Fighting chills love, fighting makes your spouse undesirable to you in your mind. Wounding is separating; to be tied together through marital bonds while your hearts are estranged is to be tormented. To be inwardly adversaries, while outwardly husband and wife turns your home and delight into a prison. (11)

4. Dissension between the husband and the wife disrupts the whole family life; they are like oxen unequally yoked, no work can be accomplished for all the striving with one another.

5. It greatly makes you unfit for the worship of God; you are not able to pray together nor to discuss heavenly things together, nor can you be mutual helpers to each other’s souls. (12)

6. Dissension makes it impossible to manage your family properly.(13)

7. Your dissension will expose you to the malice of Satan, and give him advantage for many, many temptations. (14)

[II. Directions for avoiding dissensions.]

1. Keep alive your love for one another. Love your spouse dearly and fervently. Love will suppress wrath; you cannot be bitter over little things with someone you dearly love; much less will you descend to harsh words, aloofness, or any form abuse. (15)

2. Both husband and wife must mortify their pride and strong self­ centered feelings. (16 ) These are the feelings which cause intolerance and insensitivity. You must pray and labour for a humble, meek, and quiet spirit. A proud heart is troubled and provoked by every word that seems to assault your self­esteem.(17)

3.Do not forget that you are both diseased persons, full of infirmities; and therefore expect the fruit of those infirmities in each other; and do not act surprised about it, as if you had never known of it before. Decide to be patient with one another; remembering that you took one another as sinful, frail, imperfect persons, and not as angels, or as blameless and perfect. (18)

4. Remember still that your are one flesh; and therefore be no more offended with the words or failings of each other, than you would be if they were your own. Be angry with your wife for her faults no more than you are angry with yourself for your own. Have such an anger and displeasure against a fault, as will work to heal it; but not such as will cause festering and aggravation of the diseased part. This will turn anger into compassion, and will cause you to administer care for the cure. (19)

5. Agree together beforehand, that when one of you is sinfully angry and upset the other shall silently and gently bear it until you have come to your sanity. (20)

6. Have an eye to the future and remember that you must live together until death, and must be the companions of each other’s lives, and the comforts of each other’s lives, and then you will see how absurd it is for you to disagree and upset each other.(21)

7. As far as you are able, avoid all occasions of wrath and quarreling, about the matters of your families.(22)

8. If you are so angry that you cannot calm yourself at least control your tongue and do not speak hurtful and taunting words, talking it out hotly fans the fire, and increases the flame; (Do not ventilate your anger as you only feed your fleshly vengenance) Be silent, and you will much sooner return to your serenity and peace.(23)

9. Let the calm and rational spouse speak carefully and compellingly reason with the other (unless it be with a person so insolent as will make things worse). Usually a few sober, grave admonitions, will prove as water to the boiling pot. Say to your angry wife or husband, “You know this should not be between us; love must put it to rest, and it must be repented of. God does not approve of it, and we shall not approve of it when this heat is over. This frame of mind is contrary to a praying frame, and this language contrary to a praying language; we must pray together; let us do nothing contrary to prayer now: sweet water and bitter come not from one spring”, etc. Some calm and condescending words of reason, may stop the torrent, and revive the reason which passion had overcome.(24)

10. When you have sinfully acted towards your spouse confess to one another; and ask for forgiveness of each other, and join in prayer to God for pardon; and this will act as a preventative in you the next time: you will surely be ashamed to do that which you have confessed and asked forgiveness for of God and man.(25)

Direct. VI. One of the most important duties of a husband to his wife and a wife to her husband is to carefully, skillfully, and diligently help each other in the knowledge and worship, and obedience of God that they might be saved and grow in their Christian Life.

1. This is not love, when you neglect each other’s soul.(26 ) Do you believe that you have immortal souls, and an endless life of joy or misery to live? Then you MUST know that your great concern and business is, to care for those souls, and for the endless life. Therefore if your love does not help one another in this which is your main concern, it is of little worth, and of little use. Every thing in this world is as valuable as it is useful. A useless or unprofitable love, is a worthless love. It is a trifling, or a childish, or a beastly love, which helps you but in trifling, childish, or beastly things. Do you love your wife, and will leave her in the power of Satan, or will not help to save her soul? What! love her, and yet let her go to hell? and rather let her be damned than you will be at the pains to endeavor her salvation? Never say you love them, if you will not labour for their salvation.

What then shall we say of them that do not only deny their help, but are hinderers of the holiness and salvation of each other! [1Kings 11.4, Acts 5.2, Job 2.9] And yet (the Lord have mercy on the poor miserable world!) how common a thing is this among us! If the wife be ignorant and ungodly, she will do her worst to make or keep her husband in the same state as she is herself; and if God put any holy inclinations into his heart, she will be like water to the fire, to quench it or to keep it subdued; and if he will not be as sinful and miserable as herself, he shall have little rest. And if God open the eyes of the wife of a bad man, and show her the necessity of a holy life, and she resolves to obey the Lord, and save her soul, what an enemy and tyrant will her husband be to her ( if God does not restrain him); so that the devil himself will do no more to prevent the saving of their souls than ungodly husbands and wives do against each other.

2. Consider also that you are not living up to the design of marriage, if you are not helping each other’s souls.(27)

3. Consider also, if you neglect each other’s souls, what enemies you are to one another, and how you are preparing for your everlasting sorrows: when you should be preparing for your joyful meeting in heaven, you are laying up for yourselves everlasting horror.(28)

Therefore without a moment’s hesitation determine to live together as heirs of heaven, and to be a helper to one other’s souls. To assist you in this holy pursuit I will give you these following directions, which if you will faithfully practice, may make you to be special blessings to each other.

Direct. I. Before you can help to save each other’s souls you must be sure of your own. You must have a deep and living understanding of the great eternal matters of which you are required to speak to others about. If you have no compassion for your own soul and will sell it for a moment of ease and pleasure, surely then you have no compassion for your spouse’s soul.(29)

Direct. II. Take every opportunity which your nearness provides to be speaking seriously to each other about the matters of God, and your salvation.(30 ) Discussing those things of this world no more than required. And then talk together of the state and duty of your souls towards God, and of your hopes of heaven, as those that take these for their greatest business. And don’t speak lightly, or unreverently, or in a rude and disputing manner; but with gravity and sobriety, as those that are discussing the most important things in the whole world. [Mark 8:36]

Direct. III. When either husband or wife is speaking seriously about holy things, let the other be careful to cherish, and not to extinguish the conversation.(31)

Direct IV. Watch over the hearts and lives of one another, judging the condition of each other’s souls, and the strength or weakness of each others sins and graces, and the failings of each others lives, so that you may be able to apply to one another the most suitable help. (32)

Direct. V. Do not flatter one another from a foolish love.(33 ) Neither meanly critise one another. Do all in true, Godly love. Some are so blinded to the faults of husband, wife or child that they do not see the sin and wickedness in them. They are deluded concerning their eternal souls. This is the same as it is with self­ loving sinners and their own souls, willfully deceiving themselves to their damnation. This flattering of yourselves or others, is but the devil’s charm to keep you from effectual repentance and salvation. On the other hand, some cannot speak to one another of their faults, without such bitterness, or contempt, which will cause them to refuse the medicine that could save them. If the everyday warnings you make to strangers must all be offered in love, much more between the husband and wife.

Direct. VI. Keep up your love to one another, do not grow distant. For if you do, you will despise each other’s counsels and reproofs.

Direct. VII. Do not discourage your spouse from instructing you by refusing to receive and learn from their corrections.(34)

Direct. VIII. Help each other by reading together the most convicting, cutting, life­giving books. The ones most spiritual. Do not waste your time on light, weak, milk­toast ministries and books. Make friendships together with the holiest persons. This is not neglecting your duty to one another, but that all the helps working together may be the more effectual.(35)

Direct. IX. Don’t Conceal the state of your souls, nor hide your faults from one another. You are as one flesh, and should have one heart: and as it is dangerous for a man to be ignorant of his own soul so it is very hurtful to husband or wife to be ignorant of one another, in those areas where they have need of help.(36)

Direct X. Avoid as much as possible different opinions in religion.

Direct. XI. If different religious understandings come between you, be sure that you manage it with holiness, humility, love, and peace, and not with carnality, pride, uncharitableness, or contention.

Direct. XII. Do not either blindly indulge each others faults nor be too critical of each other’s state, allowing Satan to alienate your affections from one another.

Direct. XIII. If you are married to one that is an ungodly person, yet keep up all the love which is due for the relation’s sake.(37)

Direct XIV. Join together in frequent and fervent prayer. Prayer forces the mind into sobriety, and moves the heart with the presence and majesty of God. Pray also for each other when you are in secret, that God may do that work which you most desire, upon each other’s hearts.

Direct. XV. Lastly, Help each other by an exemplary life. Be yourself, what you desire your husband or wife should be; excel in meekness, and humility, and charity, and dutifulness, and diligence, and self­denial, and patience.(38 )

Direct. VII. Another important duty in marriage is, to help in the health and comfort of each other’s bodies. Not to pamper each other’s flesh, or cherish the vices of pride, or sloth, or gluttony, or the sensual pleasures in each other; but to increase the health and vigor of the body, making it fit for the service of the soul and God.

1. In health, you must be careful to provide for each other (not so much pleasing as) wholesome food, and to keep each other from that which is hurtful to your health; warning each other from the dangers of gluttony and idleness, the two great murderers of mankind.(39)

2. Also in sickness, you are to be caring of each other; and not to spare any costs or pains, by which the health of each other may be restored, or your souls confirmed, and your comforts cherished.(40)

Direct. VIII. Another duty of husbands and wives is, to be helpful to each other in their worldly business and estates. Not for worldly ends, nor with a worldly mind; but in obedience to God, who will have them labour, as well as pray, for their daily bread, and has determined that in the sweat of their brows they shall eat their bread; and that six days they shall labor and do all that they have to do; and that he that will not work must not eat.(41)

Direct IX. Also you must be careful to guard the honour of one another. You must not divulge, but conceal, the failings of each other; The reputation of each other must be as dear to you as your own. It is a sinful and unfaithful practice of many, both husbands and wives, who among their friends are discussing the faults of each other, which they are required in tenderness to cover up. MANY peevish persons will aggravate all the faults of their spouse behind their backs.(42 )

Direct X. IT is your marriage duty to assist one another in the education of your children.(43)

Direct XI. It is your marriage duty to assist each other in charity.(44)

Direct XII. LASTLY, it is a great DUTY of husbands and wives, to help and comfort one other in preparing for a safe and happy death.(45)

1. In the time of health, you must often and seriously remind each other of the time when death will make the separation; and live together daily as those that are still expecting the parting hour….Reprove everything in one another, which would be an unwelcome memory at death. If you see each other dull and slow in heavenliness, or living in vanity, worldliness, or sloth, as if you had forgotten that you must shortly die, stir up one another to do all without delay which the approach of such a day requireth.

2. And when death is at hand, oh then what abundance of tenderness, and seriousness, and skill, and diligence, is needful for one, that hath the last office of love to perform, to the departing soul of so near a friend! Oh then what need will there be of your most wise, and faithful, and diligent help!….They that are utterly unprepared and unfit to die themselves, can do little to prepare or help another. But they that live together as the heirs of heaven, and converse on earth as fellow travellers to the land of promise, may help and encourage the souls of one another, and joyfully part at death, as expecting quickly to meet again in life eternal.

THE END


No doubt much of the original force and poetry has been lost in my feeble attempt to modernise. It was only my hope to make this treatise available and understandable to the reader who has not accustomed himself to reading and understanding the language of our King James Version Bible. This work was found in Volume I, Baxter’s Practical Works, A Christian Directory, page 431­438. Also available upon request is a Bible study where the scriptures reflecting on each point in Baxter’s above treatise are listed. (Contact Scott Andersen, email: sdandersen@juno.com) It would be hoped that the hearing of God’s word regarding the mutual duties of Husbands and Wives will further strengthen your conviction and provide help to your soul to live as Faith requires. Lastly I would like to relate what a very wise man once told me: “If you are having troubles with your spouse it is not because of what you think of him or her, it is not because of negative thought patterns, it is not because you haven’t first loved self. But it is what you think of Jesus. Do you love Him FIRST? Do you live for Him FIRST? Is your life, his? If you are right with Jesus Christ the King of Glory, then it will be right with your husband or your wife. And this is what is right with God.”

FOOTNOTES

Some of the following scripture references are found in Baxter’s Work, others I have added in hopes of increasing your edification.

1 Luk 6:31­32; 1Cor 10:24; Gal 6:2; Phil 2:4; 2tim 3:2; Jam 2:15; 1Joh 3:17; Gen 4:9; 1 Sam 25:3­11; Esth 6:6; Isa 56:11; Joh 6:26
2 Pro 18:22; Pro 19:13­14
3 Pro 18:13
4 Mat 5:32; Mat 19:9; 1Cor 7:39; Col 3:19; Gen 2:24
5 Mat 19:5; Mar 10:7
6 1 Cor 13:7; Phil 2:3
7 Psa 103:14; 1Cor 13:7
8 Pro 10:12
9 Rom 12:21; 1Pet 3:9
10 Eph 4:1; Col 1:10; 1The 2:12; Pro 11:30; 1Tim 4:16; Jam 5:19­20; 1Pet 3:1­2
11 Pro 19:13
12 Mat 5:23; 1Sam 15:22
13 Mat 12:25; Mar 3:25; Luk 11:17
14 Jam 1:13; 1Cor 7:5; Job 2:9
15 Lev 19:8; Psa 133:1; Pro 15:17; Rom 12:10; Rom 14:19; Rom 15:1; 1Cor 13:4­7
16 Luk 9:23; Psa 101:5; Prov 16:5; Prov 21:4; Prov 28:25; Mat 23:12; 1Pet 5:6
17 Psa 10:4; Hos 7:10; Prov 13:10; Prov 28:25
18 Jer 17:9; Rom 7:24; 1Joh 1:8
19 Eph 4:26; Eph 4:32; Jam 1:19
20 Eph 4:2; 1Cor 13:4
21 Ecc 9:9; Rom 7:2
22 Gen 2:24
23 Gal 5:15; Jam 3:5,6,8
24 Pro 15:18; Mat 5:9; Psa 85:8
25 Eph 4:32; Jam 5:16
26 2Cor 2:4; 2Cor 12:15; 1The 2:8
27 Gen 2:18 1The 5:11; Eph 4:16; Heb 12:15; 1cor 7:5; Col 2:19; Gen 35:2; Gen 35:4; Lev 19:17; Num 16:27; Num 16:32
29 Gen 2:18; 2Cor 13:5; Gal 6:3; Gen 25:29; Gen 25:34
30 Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:24
31 Pro 27:6; Pro 15:12; Pro 15:31; Pro 15:32
32 Heb 10:24
33 Eph 4:15; Eph 4:26­5:9
34 Pro 29:1
35 Eph 4:11­16
36 Jam 5:16; Eph 5:27­32
37 1Cor 7:13­14
38 1Pe 3:1; Joh 13:15; 1Tim 4:12; 1Cor 11:1; 1The 1:6; 2The 3:7­9;
Tit 2:6; Jam 3:17; 2Pe 1:5­8
39 1Cor 6:19; Deu 21:20; Pro 23:21; Pro 19:15; Pro 6:9; Pro 10:4;
2Th 3:10 Pro 19:24; Pro 20:13; Pro 23:21; Pro 24:33; Isa 56:10;
1Tim 5:13
40 Eph 5:29, Job 19:17
41 Pro 31; Tit 2:5; 1Ti 5:14; 1Ti 5:8; Ex 20:9,11; Ge 3:19; 1Th 3:10­12
42 Jam 4:11; Pro 17:9; 1Pet 4:8
43 Gen 18:19; Gen 35:2; Jos 24:14; 1Tim 5:14; Prov 31:1
44 Heb 13:2; Gen 18:6; Rom 12:13; 2Cor 9:6; Luk 16:9; 1Tim 3:2; 1Tim 5:10; Pro 11:20; Pro 11:28; Neh 8:1; Pro 19:17; Job 29:13; Joh 31:20 Acts 20:35
45 Deu 32:29; Psa 39:4; Psa 90:12; Rom 14:8; Heb 13:14; 1Pe 1:17; Psa 3:5; Psa 37:37; Psa 49:15; Psa 73:24; Psa 116:15; Pro 14:32; Ecc 7:1; Luk 16:22; Luk 23:43; 1Cor 15:51­57; 2Cor 5:1; 2Cor 5:4; 2Cor 5:8; Phi 1:20­23; 1The 5:9; 2Pe 1:11; 2Pe 1:14; Rev 14:13; Psa 23:4

Boasting Only in the Cross – John Piper

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Boasting Only in the Cross – John Piper
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Boasting Only in the Cross

Galatians 6:14

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

You don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by a few great things. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on for centuries and into eternity, you don’t have to have a high IQ or EQ; you don’t have to have to have good looks or riches; you don’t have to come from a fine family or a fine school. You have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things, and be set on fire by them.

But I know that not everybody in this crowd wants your life to make a difference. There are hundreds of you – you don’t care whether you make a lasting difference for something great, you just want people to like you. If people would just like you, you’d be satisfied. Of if you could just have good job with a good wife and a couple good kids and a nice car and long weekends and a few good friends, a fun retirement, and quick and easy death and no hell – if you could have that (minus God) – you’d be satisfied. THAT is a tragedy in the making.

Three weeks ago we got word at our church that Ruby Eliason and Laura Edwards had both been killed in Cameroon. Ruby was over 80. Single all her life, she poured it out for one great thing: To make Jesus Christ known among the unreached, the poor, and the sick. Laura was a widow, a medical doctor, pushing 80 years old, and serving at Ruby’s side in Cameroon. The brakes failed, the car went over the cliff, and they were both killed instantly. And I asked my people: was that a tragedy? Two lives, driven by one great vision, spent in unheralded service to the perishing poor for the glory of Jesus Christ—two decades after almost all their American counterparts have retired to throw their lives away on trifles in Florida or New Mexico. No. That is not a tragedy. That is a glory.

I tell you what a tragedy is. I’ll read to you from Reader’s Digest (Feb. 2000, p. 98) what a tragedy is: „Bob and Penny… took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.” The American Dream: come to the end of your life – your one and only life – and let the last great work before you give an account to your Creator, be „I collected shells. See my shells.” THAT is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. And I get forty minutes to plead with you: don’t buy it.

Don’t waste your life. It is so short and so precious. I grew up in a home where my father spent himself as an evangelist to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. He had one consuming vision: Preach the gospel. There was a plaque in our kitchen for all my growing up years. Now it hangs in our living room. I have looked at it almost daily for about 48 years. It says, „Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

I am here at One Day in a sense as a father. I am 54 years old. I have four sons and one daughter: Karsten is 27, Benjamin is 24, Abraham is 20, Barnabas is 17. Talitha is four. Few things, if any, fill me with more longing these months and years than the longing that my grown sons not waste their lives on fatal success.

So I look out on you as sons and daughters and I plead with you as a father – perhaps the father you never had. Or the father who never had a vision for you like I have for you, and God has for you. Or the father who HAS a vision for you, but its all about money and status. I look out on you as sons and daughters and I plead with you: Want your lives to count for something great and for eternity. Want this. Don’t coast through life without a passion.

One of the reasons I have loved the vision of Passion 98 and Passion 99 and One Day is that the 268 declaration is so clearly what my life is about. The declaration is based on Isaiah 26:8 – „Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” Here is not just a body but a soul. Here is not just a soul, but a soul with a passion and a desire. Here is not just a desire for being liked or for softball and shells, here is a desire for something infinitely great, and infinitely beautiful, and infinitely valuable and infinitely satisfying – The name and the glory of God – „Your name and your renown are the desire of our souls.”

This is what I live to know and long to experience. The mission statement of my life and the church I serve: „We exist – I exist – to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.”

You don’t have to say it like I say it. You don’t have to say it like Louie Giglio says it (or like Beth Moore says it or like Voddie Baucham says it).

But whatever you do, find your passion and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will be like the apostle Paul. Nobody had a more single minded vision for his life than Paul did. He could say it in different ways.

Acts 20:24: „I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

One thing mattered: Finish my course, run my race.

Philippians 3:7-8: „But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ.”

How shall I help you? How can I be used of God in this moment at One Day to waken in you a single passion for a single great reality that will unleash you and will set you free from small dreams and send you to the ends of the earth?

The answer I think the Lord gave me was: take them to one verse of Scripture that is as close to the center as you can get and show them why Paul says there what he says.

The verse is Galatians 6:14: „May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

Or to state it positively: Only boast in the cross of Jesus Christ. It is a single idea. A single goal. A single passion. Only boast in the cross. The word can be translated „exult in” or „rejoice in.” Only exult in the cross of Christ. Only rejoice in the cross of Christ. Paul says let this be your single passion, you single boast and joy and exultation. In this great moment called ONE DAY let the ONE THING that you love, the one thing that you cherish, the one thing that you rejoice in and exult over be the cross of Jesus Christ.

This is shocking for two reasons.

1) One is that it’s like saying: Only boast in the electric chair. Only exult in the gas chamber. Only rejoice in the lethal injection. Let your one boast and one joy and one exultation be the lynching rope. „May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” No manner of execution that has ever been devised was more cruel and agonizing than to be nailed to a cross. It was horrible. You would not have been able to watch it – not without screaming and pulling at your hair and tearing your clothes. Let this be the one passion of your life.

2) That is one thing that is shocking about Paul’s words. The other is that he says this is to be the only boast of your life. The only joy. The only exultation. „May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

What does he mean by this? Really? No other boast? No other exultation? No other joy except the cross of Jesus – the death of Jesus?

What about the places where Paul himself uses the same word for „boast” or „exult” for other things? For example:

Romans 5:2: „We exult in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:3: „We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that they produce patience and approvedness and hope.”

2 Corinthians 12:9, „Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses.”

1 Thessalonians 2:19: „Who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you?”

So, if Paul can boast and exult in all these things, what does Paul mean – that he would not „boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”?

But what does that mean? Is that just double talk? You exult in one thing and just say that you are exulting in another thing? No. There is a very profound reason for saying this – that all exultation, all rejoicing, all boasting in anything should be a rejoicing in the cross of Jesus Christ.

He means that, for the Christian, all other boasting, should also be a boasting in the cross. All exultation in anything else should be exultation in the cross. If you exult in the hope of glory you should be exulting in the cross of Christ. If you exult in tribulation because tribulation works hope, you should be exulting in the cross of Christ. If you exult in your weaknesses, or in the people of God, you should be exulting in the cross of Christ.

Why is this the case? For this reason: for redeemed sinners, every good thing – indeed every bad thing that God turns for good – was obtained for us by the cross of Christ. Apart from the death of Christ, sinners get nothing but judgment. Apart from the cross of Christ, there is only condemnation. Therefore everything that you enjoy in Christ – as a Christian, as a person who trusts Christ – is owing to the death of Christ. And all your rejoicing in all things should therefore be a rejoicing in the cross where all your blessings were purchased for you at the cost of the death of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

One of the reasons we are not as Christ-centered and cross-saturated as we should be is that we have not realized that everything – everything good and every thing bad that God turns for the good of his redeemed children was purchased by the death of Christ for us. We simply take life and breath and health and friends and everything for granted. We think it is ours by right. But the fact is that it is not ours by right.

We are doubly undeserving of it.

1) We are creatures and our Creator was not bound or obligated to give us anything – not life or health and anything. He gives, he takes, and he does us no injustice.

2) And besides being creatures with no claim on our Creator, we are sinners. We have fallen short of his glory. We have ignored him and disobeyed him and failed to love him and trust him. The wrath of his justice is kindled against us. All we deserve from him is judgment. Therefore every breath we take, every time our heart beats, every day that the sun rises, every moment we see with our eyes or hear with our ears or speak with our mouths or walk with our legs is free and undeserved gift to sinners who deserve only judgment.

And who bought these gifts for us? Jesus Christ. And how did he purchase them? By his blood.

Every blessing in life is designed to magnify the cross of Christ, or to say it another way, every good thing in life is meant to magnify Christ and him crucified. So, for example, we totaled our 1991 Dodge Spirit last week, but nobody was hurt. And in that safety I exult. I glory in that. But why was nobody hurt? That was a gift to me and my family that none of us deserves. We are sinners and by nature children of wrath, apart from Christ. So how did we come to have such a gift for our good? Answer: Christ died for our sins on the cross, and took away the wrath of God from us, and secured for us, even though we don’t deserve it, God’s omnipotent grace that works everything together for our good. So when I exult in our safety, I am exulting in the cross of Christ.

And the insurance paid us $2800 for the car and Noel took that money and went to Iowa and bought a 92 Chevy Lumina and drove it home in the snow. And now we have a car again. And I exult in the amazing grace of so much bounty. Just like that. You wreck your car. You come out unhurt. Insurance pays up. You get another one. And move on almost as if nothing happened. And in thanks I bow my head and exult in the untold mercies even of these little material things. Where do all these mercies come from? If you are a saved sinner, a believer in Jesus, they come through the cross. Apart from the cross, there is only judgment – patience and mercy for a season, but then, if spurned, all that mercy only serves to intensify judgment. Therefore every gift is a blood-bought gift. And all boasting – all exultation – is boasting in the cross.

Woe to me if I exult in any blessing unless my exulting is an exulting in the cross of Christ.

Another way to say this is that the design of the cross is the glory of Christ. The aim of God in the cross is that Christ would be honored. When Paul says in Galatians 6:14, „May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he is saying that God’s will is that the cross be always magnified – that Christ crucified always be our boast and exultation and our joy and our praise – that Christ get glory and thanks and honor for every good thing in our lives – and every bad thing that God causes to turn for good.

But now here’s a question: If that is the aim of God in the death of Christ – namely, that „Christ crucified” be honored and glorified for all things, then how is Christ to get the glory he deserves? The answer is that children and youth and adults have to be taught that these things are so. Or to say it another way: the source of exultation in the cross of Christ is education about the cross of Christ.

That’s my job: to get glory for Jesus by teaching you these things. And then your job is to get more glory for Jesus by acting on them and teaching them to more people. Education about Jesus is for exultation in Jesus. And if we want there to be no exultation except in the cross, then we must pursue education about the cross – and under the cross.

Or maybe we should say, „on the cross.” Education on the cross will lead to exultation of the cross. What do I mean?

Look at the rest of verse 14: „May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Boasting in the cross happens when you are on the cross. Is that not what verse 14 says? The world has been crucified to me, and I have been crucified to the world. The world is dead to me, and I am dead to the world. Why? Because I have been crucified. We learn to boast in the cross and exult in the cross when we are on the cross.

Now what does that mean? When did that happen? When were you crucified? The answer is in Galatians 2:20, „I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” When Christ died, we died. The glorious meaning of the death of Christ is that when he died, all his own died in him. That death, that he died for us all, becomes our death when we are united to Christ by faith.

But you say, „Aren’t I alive? I feel alive.” Well, here is a need for education. We must learn what happened to us. We must be taught these things. That is why Galatians 2:20 and 6:14 are in the Bible. God is teaching us what happened to us, so that we can know ourselves and know his way of working with us and exult in him and in his Son and in the cross as we ought.

So we read Galatians 2:20 again to see that, Yes, we are dead and yes, we are alive. „I have been crucified with Christ [so I am dead, and he goes on]; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me [why? Because I died, that is, my old rebellious, unbelieving self died, and he goes on]; and the life which I now live in the flesh [so, Yes, I am alive, but it isn’t the same „I” as the „I” who died] I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” In other words the „I” who lives is the new „I” of faith. The new creation lives. The believer lives. The old self died on the cross with Jesus.

And if you ask, „What’s the key for linking up with this reality? How can this be mine? The answer is implied in the words about faith in Galatians 2:20. „The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God.” That is the link. God links you to his Son by faith. And when he does there is a union with the Son of God so that his death becomes your death and his life becomes your life.

Now take all that over to Galatians 6:14, „May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Don’t boast in anything except in the cross.

And how can I become that radically cross-centered – so that all my exultation is traced back to the cross? Answer: realize that when Christ died on the cross, you died; and when you trusted him, that death took effect in your life. Paul says, it’s your death to the world and the world’s death to you.

Meaning: when you put your trust in Christ, your bondage to the world is broken, and the overpowering lure of the world is broken. You are a corpse to the world, and the world is a corpse to you. Or to put it positively, according to verse 15, you are an „new creation.” The old you is dead. A new you is alive. And the new you is the you of faith. And what faith exults in is NOT the world, but Christ, and especially, Christ crucified.

This is how you become so cross-centered that you say with Paul, „I will not boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The world is no longer my treasure. It’s not the source of my life and my satisfaction and my joy. Christ is.

But what about safety in the car accident? What about the insurance payment? Didn’t you say you were happy about that? Isn’t that the world? So are you dead to the world?

I could be. I hope so. Because being dead to the world doesn’t mean going out of the world. And it doesn’t mean not feeling things about the world – some negative and some positive (1 John 2:15; 1 Timothy 4:3). It means that every legitimate pleasure in the world becomes a blood-bought evidence of Christ’s love, and an occasion of boasting in the cross. We are dead to insurance payments when the money is not what satisfies, but Christ crucified, the Giver, satisfies. When our hearts run back along the beam of blessing to the source in the cross, then the worldliness of the blessing is dead, and Christ crucified is everything.

That is the goal of education for exultation – in the cross. O may God grant us to dream and plan and work and give and teach and live for the glory of Christ and him crucified!

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

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