The Greatest News in all the World

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Preaching on the resurrection from 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, John Piper highlights "the greatest news in all the world:"

In raising him [Christ] from the dead:

(1) He gave us forgiveness and glorified Jesus as the all-sufficient forgiver;

(2) He gave us a friend to count on and glorified Jesus as utterly reliable;

(3) He gave us guidance and unchanging truth and glorified Jesus as the absolute foundation for truth and holiness;

(4) He gave us a life that is not pitiable but enviable, a ministry that is not in vain but fruitful, and glorified Jesus as the source and goal of all life and all ministry;

(5) He gave us everlasting joy that will not be ended by death, and glorified Jesus as the author of life, the victor over death, and the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.


Doctrinal Devotion

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I spent a few hours today reading through a Systematic Theology. As I closed the book tonight, I was reminded again of the need for my head and heart to meet in a kind of "doctrinal devotion." The Puritans were correct of course, that the Word must not only inform our heads but inflame our hearts.

When I put together my doctrinal statement, I included this quote from John Owen at the beginning of the statement. It speaks well to this issue:

"What am I the better

if I can dispute that Christ is God,

but have no sense of sweetness

in my heart from hence

that he is a God in covenant with my soul?

What will it avail me to evince,

by testimonies and arguments,

that he hath made satisfaction for sin,

if through my unbelief,

the wrath of God abideth in me,

and I have no experience of my own being made

the righteousness of God in him,—

if I find not, in my standing before God,

the excellency of having my sins imputed to him

and his righteousness imputed to me?

Will it be any advantage to me, in the issue,

to profess and dispute

that God works the conversion of a sinner

by the irresistible grace of his Spirit,

if I was never acquainted experimentally with

the deadness and utter impotency to good,

that opposition to the law of God,

which is in my own soul by nature,

with the efficacy of the exceeding greatness

of the power of God

in quickening, enlightening, and bringing forth

the fruits of obedience in me?

It is the power of truth in the heart alone

that will make us cleave unto it indeed

in an hour of temptation.

Let us, then, not think

that we are anything the better

for our conviction of the truths

of the great doctrines of the gospel,

for which we contend…

unless we find the power of the truths

abiding in our hearts,

and have a continual experience

of their necessity and excellency

in our standing before God

and our communion with him."

~John Owen (1616-1683)


Man's Great End

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I have found the little book, The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions to be a tremendous blessing in my walk with God. I believe it is a must for every believer's library. I would like to share one of those prayers with you and trust that it would encourage your heart and would daily be your prayer also.

There is one thing that deserves my greatest care,
that calls forth my ardent desires,
That is, that I may answer the great end for which
I am made-
to glorify thee who hast given me being,
and to do all the good I can for my fellow men;
Verily, life is not worth having
if it be not improved for this noble purpose.
Yet, Lord, how little is this the thought of mankind!
Most men seem to live for themselves,
without much or any regard for thy glory,
or for the good of others;
They earnestly desire and eagerly pursue
the riches, honours, pleasures of this life,
as if they supposed that wealth, greatness,
could make their immortal souls happy;
But, alas, what false delusive dreams are these!
And how miserable ere long will those be that
sleep in them,
for all our happiness consists in loving thee,
and being holy as thou art holy.

O may I never fall into tempers and vanities,
the sensuality and folly of the present world!
It is a place of inexpressible sorrow, a vast empty
Time is a moment, a vapour,
and all its enjoyments are empty bubbles,
fleeting blasts of wind,
from which nothing satisfactory can be derived;
Give me grace always to keep in covenant with thee,
and to reject as delusion a great name here
or hereafter,
together with all sinful pleasures or profits.
Help me to know continually
that there can be no true happiness,
no fulfilling of thy purpose for me,
apart from a life lived in and for
the Son of thy love.

The Valley of Vision, pp. 22-23


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