Honoring the Biblical Call to Motherhood

In honor of all mothers, who are celebrated in European countries today, the 8th of March, we are posting this article today:

Read the entire article here- http://www.desiringgod.org

In this message, John Piper directs a word of honor and encouragement to mothers from 1 Timothy 3 and he also recounts the impact his mother, Ruth Piper, had on his own calling:

2 Timothy 3:14-15

But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it [mark those words] 15 and how from childhood [this signals to us who it was that taught him these things] you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

1. From Whom Did Timothy Learn the Word?

want you to see two things. First, who is Paul talking about in verse 14 when he says, “. . . knowing from whom you leaned it”? He is talking about Eunice and Lois, Timothy’s mother and grandmother. There are three clues that lead us to this conclusion. First, Paul refers (in v. 15) to this learning as happening “from childhood.” Second, we see in 2 Timothy 1:5 these words, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” So Paul has already connected Timothy’s faith with what he got from his mother and grandmother.

The third clue is the answer to the question why Paul did not refer to Timothy’s father. The answer is found in Acts 16:1 where Luke tells us about how Paul chose Timothy in the first place as missionary partner. “Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.” So Timothy is the product of a home with a believing mother and an unbelieving father. That’s why Paul did not say that Timothy learned the scriptures from his father. He didn’t. His father didn’t believe them. But his mother and grandmother did. That is who Paul is referring to in 2 Timothy 3:14.

2. Remembering the Character of Your Godly Mother Is a Great Incentive to Holding Fast the Scriptures She Taught You

Now the second thing to see in this verse is that remembering the character of your godly mother is a great incentive to holding fast to the scriptures she taught you. Let’s read it again so you can see this. Verse 14: “But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed”—that is, don’t give up your faith, don’t give up the scriptures, don’t give up your salvation. Then comes these crucial words referring back to Eunice and Lois: “knowing from whom you learned it.”

In other words, Timothy, one of the ways—not the only way—one of the ways to strengthen your faith and persevere through hard times and not give up on the scriptures is to remember who introduced you to word of God and the way of salvation. Remember your mother, and your grandmother.

So let’s make very clear: the apostle of Jesus Christ in this text bestows on motherhood and grandmotherhood a great honor. You have a calling that can become the long-remembered ground of faith, not just for your children—mark this—but for the untold numbers who will be affected by your children. And that’s in addition to all the other thousands of ripple effects of faith in your life.

and here’s a couple of memories Piper had of his mother:

God’s honor was paramount for my mother. I wrote:

“I never got spanked for makin’ mess in my pants,
but I did for skippin’ church;
which goes to show mama cared more about keeping; God’s name
and my soul clean
than she did her own hands.”

she took right and wrong very seriously and held me accountable to the highest standards so that I knew in all the conflict I mattered a lot to my mother. I wrote:

And I seldom felt worse than when mama cried:
I got a speedin’ ticket one night
and mama wept like I’d shot somebody.
All the way to the station at midnight she cried
and made me pay it off right then and there.
One thing was for sure:
I mattered a lot to mama.

What I owe my mother for my soul and my love to Christ and my role as a husband and father and pastor is incalculable.

Read the entire article here- http://www.desiringgod.org
By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

Day of Pentecost and Spiritual Gifts

We may define spiritual gifts as follows: A spiritual gift is any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the church. This broad definition includes both gifts that are related to natural abilities (such as teaching, showing mercy, or administration) and gifts that seem to be more “miraculous” and less related to natural abilities (such as prophecy, healing, or distinguishing between spirits). The reason for this is that when Paul lists spiritual gifts (in Rom. 12:6-8); 1 Cor. 7:7; 12:8-10, 28; and Eph. 4:11) he includes both kinds of gifts. Yet not every natural ability is included here, because Paul is clear that all spiritual gifts must be empowered “by one and the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:11), that they are given”for the common good” (1 Cor.12:7), and that they are all to be used for “edification”(1 Cor. 14:26), or for building up the church. Read more here – (1) What are spiritual gifts?

Grudem: The New Testament lists specific spiritual gifts in six different passages. See table here –1 Corinthians 12:28 , 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Ephesians 4:11, Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 7:7, 1 Peter 4:11.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

    1. apostle   – (1-8 from 1 Cor. 12:28)
    2. prophet
    3. teacher
    4. miracles
    5. kinds of healing
    6. helps
    7. administration
    8. tongues
    9. word of wisdom   – (9-13 from 1 Cor. 12:8-10)
    10. word of knowledge
    11. faith
    12. distinguishing between spirits
    13. interpretation of tongues
    14. evangelist        –   (14-15 from Ephesians 4:11)
    15. pastor-teacher
    16. serving    –  (16-20 from Romans 12:6-8)
    17. encouraging
    18. contributing
    19. leadership
    20. mercy
    21. marriage     – (21-22 from 1 Cor. 7:7)
    22. celibacy

1 Peter 4:11 whoever speaks (covering several gifts) and whoever renders service (also covering several gifts).

What is obvious is that these lists are all quite different. No one list has all these gifts, and no gift is mentioned on all these lists: in the context of speaking of marriage and celibacy, Paul says, “Each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.”

Click here to read more…  (2) How many gifts are there?

Grudem: Paul says that if we have the gift of prophecy, we should use it “in proportion to our faith” (Rom. 12:6), indicating that the gift can be more or less strongly developed in different individuals, or in the same individual over a period of time. This is why Paul can remind Timothy, “Do not neglect the gift you have” (1 Tim. 4:14), and can say, “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you” (2 Tim. 1:6). It was possible for Timothy to allow his gift to weaken, apparently through infrequent use, and Paul reminds him to stir it up by using it and thereby strengthening it. This should not be surprising, for we realize that many gifts increase in strength and effectiveness as they are used, whether evangelism, teaching, encouraging, administration, or faith.

Texts such as these indicate that spiritual gifts may vary in strength. If we think of any gift, whether teaching or evangelism on the one hand, or prophecy or healing on the other, we should realize that within any congregation there will likely be people who are very effective in the use of that gift, perhaps through long use and experience, others who are moderately strong in that gift, and others who probably have the gift but are just beginning to use it. This variation in strength in spiritual gifts depends on a combination of divine and human influence. The divine influence in the sovereign working of the Holy Spirit as he “apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Cor. 12:11). The human influence comes from experience, training, wisdom, and natural ability in the use of that gift. It is usually not possible to know in what proportion the divine and human influences combine at any one time, nor is it really necessary to know, for even the abilities we think to be “natural” are from God (1 Cor. 4:7) and under his sovereign control.

But this leads to an interesting question: how strong does an ability have to be before it can be called a spiritual gift? How much teaching ability does someone need before he or she could be said to have a gift of teaching, for example? Or how effective in evangelism would someone need to be before we would recognize a gift of evangelism? Or how frequently would someone have to see prayers for healing answered before he or she could be said to have a gift of healing?

John Piper – What will you do your last 2 days?

5PIPER12xx.jpgCloseness to God at the end of your life does not remove the need or the desire to read and be spiritually nourished.  2 Timothy 4:13 „When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.” Now, we do not know what these are. But, the scrolls and the parchments are both plural,  which suggests to me it’s more than the Bible, it could be his own notes, for all I know. He kept notes, and he wanted his notes. He could be working on messages or it could be Scripture, or it could be books about the Scripture, or things he’d written in his journal to help him understand the Scriptures. We don’t know. But, what we know is here’s a man, who is enjoying sweet, close, fellowship with Jesus- „The Lord stood by him- I’ve got the Lord standing by me, and my life is getting ready to be poured out as an offering. I’m not long for this world”.

Now, at that point I would be inclined to say, so what’s with the theological education? I mean you are gonna be known, even as you are known in about 2 weeks. (Speaking here about Pauls impending death). Why would you wanna read anything?  You’re going to see Him face to face. That’s what I would ask. Then I back up and I think a minute. That’s what you are supposed to do with a Bible, think about it- go over what I say Timothy, the Lord will give you  understanding,

What are you gonna do in your last two days?

Doctor says you got a week, maybe. You can call up your wife and you could say, „Would you get my copy of Edwards?” Yes, yes. You think I’m joking? Nobody, nobody on the planet gets you in touch with Jesus, outside the Bible, than Jonathan Edwards.  Yes, I wanna read a sermon from this man who has ministered to my soul like nobody’s ministered to my soul as I get ready to meet my Jesus. You pick your own favorite helper. My point is, it doesn’t follow to say, „Okay, in a few days, I’m gonna see him face to face, so I don’t need the book anymore. You do need the book. „The book” and books. You need them both, because those are the means by which you die well. They’re not superfluous. „Bring the books and bring the parchments. I have a few weeks left to live, and they help me die.

(Turning to the seminary students of SBC: You’re all in school, and that’s a good place to be for a season, and I hope you stay in love with God centered Bible saturated, Christ exalting literature ‘til you breathe your last.)

R C Sproul – What Does „Inspiration” Mean in 2 Timothy 3:16

photo via http://www.joeyrodgers.com

R. C. Sproul: In the church, we have a doctrine called INSPIRATION.  And the english translation of 1 Timothy 3:16 uses the term inspiration. But, I think that we must make a distinction  between the use of the term ‘inspiration’ here and the way it’s used theologically in the history of the church. Because, as Dr. B. B. Warfield once pointed out so eloquently, the real meaning of this text here in 2 Timothy 3:16, has to do, not so much with the way in which God communicated His information to us through the human writers, but rather, the emphasis in this text is on the source of that information.

rc sproul 2Paul is using the word theopneust, when he says ‘all Scripture is given by inspiration’. Literally, what this means is God-breathed. And it means, that which God has breathed out, rather than that which God breathes in. Now, you notice I had to pause and breathe. In order for me to speak, I have to have breath in my lungs. And while I’m speaking, if I continue to speak and don’t take a breath while I continue to speak, pretty soon I start squeaking like a mouse and I run out of breath. I have to breathe. Because when I speak, I’m breathing out. And in order to breathe out, I must first breathe in.

Now, the force of what Paul is saying here, is that he is saying that all of Scripture is breathed out from God. When we breathe out we are involved in expiration- not in the sense of dying, but, we expire at death because we breathe out for the last time. We don’t breathe in anymore. But, to breathe out is expiration, whereas to breathe in is inspiration. So, really, if we were getting real technical here, we should translate this phrase that „all Scripture is given by expiration”. Now, so what? What’s the difference between expiration and inspiration here? Again, the point that I’m jealous to make here is that what Paul is saying, when he insists that all Scripture has been breathed out by God is that its ultimate origin is in Him. It is His word. It is His speech. He is the one who is the source of these writings.

And so, when we talk about the doctrine of inspiration, we’re talking about the way in which God superintends the writing of sacred Scripture. That God does not just act and let people respond with their own insight and their own imagination to set forth their view of  what God has done. But, that God is working by the Holy Spirit to superintend that record to make sure that the record that is written is His word.

All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God, Continue in It

John Piper Sermon from Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:14–17 on August 11, 2012. Click here for transcript, or to watch it or listen to the mp3 on the DesiringGod.org website.

2 Timothy 3:14–17

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The God-breathed Bible aims to make us godly. To make us doers of good in this world. Don’t miss that. The doctrines of the Bible are designed to produce deeds. Good deeds. And they do it by teaching, verse 16, and that teaching has three sequential effects: Reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.

When we are rightly taught by the Scripture are first reproved, that is, our errors are pointed out and we are stopped in our tracks. Then we are corrected, that is, we are turned around from the harmful way we were going, and pointed in the right way. And third, we are trained in righteousness, that is, the Bible enables us to be trained, to grow, in righteousness. And as the teaching does these three things (reproof, correction, training) the Scripture equips us for every good deed.

So, Timothy, don’t forsake your mother’s teaching. Continue in it. Stay in it. Remain in it.

  1. Because of the character of the people who taught you the truth.
  2. Because of the marks of divine holiness in the Scriptures.
  3. Because of the power of Scripture to make you wise unto salvation.
  4. Because the Scripture brought you to Christ.
  5. Because all Scripture is God-breathed.
  6. And because the Scripture is profitable—inestimably profitable

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