Ministry and theology… like a ninja.

Posts tagged “John Piper

Oxygen Part IV – Piper ‘Think Christ’

Here’s my notes for Tuesday morning’s Piper session on ‘Think Christ.  Really good stuff I think.

The conference is now over, and I’ve still got a 4 sessions to put up, but hopefully I’ll be able to do that by tomorrow.  Also I’ll do a separate post on my own personal reflections/critiques of the Conference.  For now I’ll just say its been a wonderful few days of refreshment and encouragement!

——-

Think Christ

Matt 22:34-40

Thesis: Right thinking about God happens for the sake of right affections for God.

Both thinking and feeling are essential to glorifying God, but knowing is not ultimate, affections for God is.  Heart affections are the goal of thinking.

Affections for God that aren’t based on right thinking about God don’t glorify God.

Satisfaction is based on right views about God.

Illustration:

Scene 1

A man walks up to you with 10000 dollars.  He says ‘would you please deposit this for me.’  And you say, ‘I don’t even know you! Why are you trusting me with this money?’  He says, ‘No reason, I just feel like you are trustworthy.’

How do you feel?  Honoured?  No you feel like he’s crazy.  His affections are groundless.  They’re not based on any knowledge.  He’s stupid.

Scene 2

Another man walks up to you.  Give you his account number, name, and pin to deposit the money.  You say ‘I don’t even know you.’  He replies, ‘No you don’t know me, but we work in the same place.  I’ve been studying you.  I’ve seen how you act, and I know you to be trustworthy.’

He has based his decision on truth and knowledge.

This is how we should think about God.

God is not honoured by emotions that aren’t rooted in right thinking and right doctrine.

You say ‘I know you are all-satisfying because I’ve watched you, I’ve studied you, I know you.’

Thesis again: Right thinking about God is essential to right affections for God and God is not honoured by any other affections.

This lifts thinking very high, not higher than worship/affections, but high.

10 statements about thinking

1.  You can have a passion for God’s supremacy and still be lost

Romans 10:1-2
Paul’s writing about people who have a zeal for God, but they’re going to hell.
What’s wrong with their zeal?  It doesn’t accord with knowledge.  In this case about the truth of justification.

2. God gives understanding as we do the thinking

2 Tim 2:7
You can’t say ‘just think’ nor can you say ‘God will just give it’.
In and through your thinking God’s illuminating work gives you understanding.  He doesn’t’ circumvent your brain and just plant ideas.

3. God uses intellectual means to achieve his purposes

Acts 17:2-3
Paul reasons, explains, and proves to the Athenians.
Paul, of all the writers in the Bible, knows that these folks are spiritually dead.  They have no life.  He’s reasoning with them.  Isn’t that pointless?  You can’t reason with a dead man.  He knows that the mind of the flesh does not receive the things of the spirit.  They are blind. And yet he reasons.
Because God acts through intellectual means.
You never know when your verbal thought-through statement will be used by God to open the eyes of the blind.

4. God expects us to use ordinary logic in order to know him.

Luke 12:54-57
Luke assumes that we will use logic in nature and spiritual matters.
Jesus expects people to use this logic.
In this passage we see logic.  Premise à Conclusion = logic
Jesus says ‘Why don’t you use that to recognize me?’

5.  When it comes to thinking and talking Jesus admires clarity and forthrightness, not using brilliance to evade and not tell the truth.

Matt 21:23ff
Jesus refuses to deal with people who use their reason to conceal truth.
Jesus hates evasion and using thinking to spin and evade.
2 Cor 4:2
Illustration: A prominent Christian leader who responds in the media to events and avoids saying ‘God reigns, he’s in control’

6. Our people need to know things because right thinking alters the way they act.

13 times Paul asks the question ‘do you not know?’
Why?
‘Cause knowing things changes how we live.

7. Teachers and Pastors should think about the Bible.

God has given pastors/teachers to the church
One qualification is ‘adept at teaching’
They must be gifted at explaining things.
God wants teachers to take the Bible and explain it to them.  Therefore teachers should think about the Bible.

8. Our job is to explain the ‘whole purpose of God’

Acts 20:26-7
‘Whole council of God’ implies some measure of unity and coherence.  Our job is to find and discern and explain the whole purpose of God.  This is our job, it is hard, it is work.

9. The Bible is a book

God came in the flesh, Jesus was not a book.
But when he had done his work, he left behind apostles and prophets who are the foundation of the church because of the Book.  He could have done it other ways, but he ordained that we learn how to read.
Learning how to read well is a really intellectual exercise.
Eph 3:4 ‘when you read this you are able to perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ’
Has reading ever been elevated to such height?

10. Jesus reasons with us in Scripture

Matt 7:8ff
This is an argument for the probability that God will answer prayer.  Jesus is reasoning with us.
Matt 7:12 has an ουν!  ‘Therefore you are free to sacrificially treat others the way you would like to be treated.’


Oxygen Part IV – Piper ‘Think Christ’

Here’s my notes for Tuesday morning’s Piper session on ‘Think Christ.  Really good stuff I think.

The conference is now over, and I’ve still got a 4 sessions to put up, but hopefully I’ll be able to do that by tomorrow.  Also I’ll do a separate post on my own personal reflections/critiques of the Conference.  For now I’ll just say its been a wonderful few days of refreshment and encouragement!

——-

Think Christ

Matt 22:34-40

Thesis: Right thinking about God happens for the sake of right affections for God.

Both thinking and feeling are essential to glorifying God, but knowing is not ultimate, affections for God is.  Heart affections are the goal of thinking.

Affections for God that aren’t based on right thinking about God don’t glorify God.

Satisfaction is based on right views about God.

Illustration:

Scene 1

A man walks up to you with 10000 dollars.  He says ‘would you please deposit this for me.’  And you say, ‘I don’t even know you! Why are you trusting me with this money?’  He says, ‘No reason, I just feel like you are trustworthy.’

How do you feel?  Honoured?  No you feel like he’s crazy.  His affections are groundless.  They’re not based on any knowledge.  He’s stupid.

Scene 2

Another man walks up to you.  Give you his account number, name, and pin to deposit the money.  You say ‘I don’t even know you.’  He replies, ‘No you don’t know me, but we work in the same place.  I’ve been studying you.  I’ve seen how you act, and I know you to be trustworthy.’

He has based his decision on truth and knowledge.

This is how we should think about God.

God is not honoured by emotions that aren’t rooted in right thinking and right doctrine.

You say ‘I know you are all-satisfying because I’ve watched you, I’ve studied you, I know you.’

Thesis again: Right thinking about God is essential to right affections for God and God is not honoured by any other affections.

This lifts thinking very high, not higher than worship/affections, but high.

10 statements about thinking

1.  You can have a passion for God’s supremacy and still be lost

Romans 10:1-2
Paul’s writing about people who have a zeal for God, but they’re going to hell.
What’s wrong with their zeal?  It doesn’t accord with knowledge.  In this case about the truth of justification.

2. God gives understanding as we do the thinking

2 Tim 2:7
You can’t say ‘just think’ nor can you say ‘God will just give it’.
In and through your thinking God’s illuminating work gives you understanding.  He doesn’t’ circumvent your brain and just plant ideas.

3. God uses intellectual means to achieve his purposes

Acts 17:2-3
Paul reasons, explains, and proves to the Athenians.
Paul, of all the writers in the Bible, knows that these folks are spiritually dead.  They have no life.  He’s reasoning with them.  Isn’t that pointless?  You can’t reason with a dead man.  He knows that the mind of the flesh does not receive the things of the spirit.  They are blind. And yet he reasons.
Because God acts through intellectual means.
You never know when your verbal thought-through statement will be used by God to open the eyes of the blind.

4. God expects us to use ordinary logic in order to know him.

Luke 12:54-57
Luke assumes that we will use logic in nature and spiritual matters.
Jesus expects people to use this logic.
In this passage we see logic.  Premise à Conclusion = logic
Jesus says ‘Why don’t you use that to recognize me?’

5.  When it comes to thinking and talking Jesus admires clarity and forthrightness, not using brilliance to evade and not tell the truth.

Matt 21:23ff
Jesus refuses to deal with people who use their reason to conceal truth.
Jesus hates evasion and using thinking to spin and evade.
2 Cor 4:2
Illustration: A prominent Christian leader who responds in the media to events and avoids saying ‘God reigns, he’s in control’

6. Our people need to know things because right thinking alters the way they act.

13 times Paul asks the question ‘do you not know?’
Why?
‘Cause knowing things changes how we live.

7. Teachers and Pastors should think about the Bible.

God has given pastors/teachers to the church
One qualification is ‘adept at teaching’
They must be gifted at explaining things.
God wants teachers to take the Bible and explain it to them.  Therefore teachers should think about the Bible.

8. Our job is to explain the ‘whole purpose of God’

Acts 20:26-7
‘Whole council of God’ implies some measure of unity and coherence.  Our job is to find and discern and explain the whole purpose of God.  This is our job, it is hard, it is work.

9. The Bible is a book

God came in the flesh, Jesus was not a book.
But when he had done his work, he left behind apostles and prophets who are the foundation of the church because of the Book.  He could have done it other ways, but he ordained that we learn how to read.
Learning how to read well is a really intellectual exercise.
Eph 3:4 ‘when you read this you are able to perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ’
Has reading ever been elevated to such height?

10. Jesus reasons with us in Scripture

Matt 7:8ff
This is an argument for the probability that God will answer prayer.  Jesus is reasoning with us.
Matt 7:12 has an ουν!  ‘Therefore you are free to sacrificially treat others the way you would like to be treated.’

 


Oxygen Part III – Piper

Monday night session up now.  This is Piper getting into the ‘affections’.  Starting to realize that a lot of people really push up against his whole ‘are ultimate goal is God’s glory’ thing.  Last night someone asked the question about whether or not the cross or God’s glory is the centre of the New Testament (and the whole Bible).  I was surprised, since it seems quite obvious that the cross is the centre of history, but that God’s glory is most evident in the cross.  And Piper even explained that quite clearly in the first session.  Perhaps, as I’ve heard before, us evangelicals really do sometimes start worshipping the cross instead of the one that hangs on it?

—-

Thesis: My delight is not just a response to his glory but is an essential way that his glory is magnified, that he is glorified.

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

Feel Christ

4 clarifying statements.

  1. 1.    Definition of feeling, emotion, affections

Spiritual affections are not bodily humours/reactions.  By spiritual we mean they are Holy Spirit awakened, Holy Spirit sustained and non-physical.

  1. 2.    Why say that affections are more important than right doctrine?

Right doctrine serves right feelings.

Truth serves heart change.

  1. 3.    Why emphasize affections over behaviour?

Yes and no.

Jesus says make the tree good and the fruit will be good.

Good deeds are public evidence of salvation.  God needs to be a public God so that people can see Him.  So that when he presents a Christian before angels and devils they can see the fruits of their life as evidence.

So we have to be wary of making behaviour the goal.

Behaviour is not the goal:

Texts – 1 Cor 13, 2 Cor 9:7

  1. 4.    How do the affections relate to the glory of God?

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.  (yes I know, get used to it – PG)

Phil 1:20-21

‘I want Christ to be magnified in my body, in life and in death’ 

So how does that happen?

‘God I want to die in a way that makes you look magnificent.’ ‘Here’s how: because for me to die is gain’  because to be with Christ is far better (vs. 23)

‘My passion is for Christ to be shown to be magnificent in my death and the way it will happen is that I will count it gain.’

When this happens who looks good?  Jesus!

In that moment Christ is magnified, when you lose everything you’ve known except him.

 

Four Implications

Implications for our people

The pursuit of maximum joy, and the pursuit of the glory of God are never at odds. 

Reasons: Ps 16:11

Your people should pursue max joy all the time without fail.  This will cost you your life.  It is a costly lifestyle.

Some biblical proofs:

The Bible commands you to be happy.

Ps 37:4

Ps 32:11

Ps 100 ‘shout joyfully…’

The nature of faith teaches that we should pursue our satisfaction always.

Jn 6:35 ‘I am the bread of life…’

How would you define faith?  A: a coming to Jesus to be satisfied.  The affectional embrace of Jesus as our supreme treasure.

If you have faith you come to God for reward.

Jer 2:12-13

Evil is tasting the fountain of delights and turning to the desert, sucking on the sand until we go to hell and calling it pleasure.

Evil is forsaking your joy.

So: happiness is to be found in the glory of God.

So we should be leading our people into finding happiness.

Implications for us

Heb 13:17 ‘Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with sighing—for that would be harmful to you.’

How do our people get no advantage?  By our groaning.  And how do they get advantage?  By our joy.  So we can’t love our people unless we pursue our joy.

Joy is the key to your people’s health.

This is liberating because I get permission to get as much happiness as I can seek!

Its devastating because I fail so regularly.

Implications for our preaching

2 Cor 1:24 ‘I do not mean to imply that we lord it over your faith; rather, we are workers with you for your joy, because you stand firm in the faith.’

The apostolic goal was to be a worker with them for their joy.

The only way to help people be happy is with rock-solid theology.

Implications for the wider challenges of the evangelical church

Are their stresses in the church that would be made less bad by embracing the truth that the pursuit of God’s glory is an essential part of life?

Two sets of errors.

  1. If right thinking is drifting away from this truth, what can happen is that it moves towards dead orthodoxy.  Dried up right theology, which looks lifeless.
  2. The reaction to that is to go ‘yuck!’ – anti-intellect.

These comes from the neglect of the truth ‘GIMGIUWWAMSIH’  (like that? – PG)

Excesses of intellectualism and excesses of emotionalism.


Oxygen part I

Well first up, Technology Park is a cool place to have a conference. It’s an old factory converted into a top class conference centre, complete with the original machines and cranes hanging from the roof. Cool in an ‘oh what? Concrete floors and rusty machines are super cool? We never realized…’ sort of way.

Piper is up first.

God’s Passion for His Glory in Christ

Piper’s thesis will not surprise you: God is infinitely passionate for his glory.

Firs,t three illustrations of people: Eric Reese, CS Lewis, Michael Prouse, Oprah Winfrey.
All these people struggled with this: that God is a God who demands worship, who demands to be glorified.

Piper argues that God is God-exalting, and passionate for his glory above all things. That is right at the centre of our faith where the cross is. The cross is the intersection of God’s passion for his glory. My hatred of his centrality and his passion for his centrality is in the cross.

Piper’s dad said to him as a kid, ‘Son, do all to the glory of God.’
What he missed was that everything God does is for his glory.

What is required is your whole life centered on him, with him as the supreme value, not yourself.

Of course most of us would say ‘yes and amen’ to this. But here is the test.

If I am only God centered, because God is only centered on me, I am really me-centered.

So it is crucial to be confronted by God and his passion for his glory.

Then we were taken for a journey through redemptive history to see how each step points to God’s glory.

Predestination
Eph 1:5-6

We are predestined for the ‘praise of the glory of his grace

Creation
Is 43:6-7

We were created to magnify God.
Magnify – microscope (make something bigger than it is) or telescope (make something look like it really is)
We were created to make God look like he really is.
Created in God’s image so that we would recognize in ourselves whose image we are.

Incarnation
Romans 15:8-9

Jesus came to make God trustworthy. To show God as what he really is.
Then Paul says ‘and, for the gentiles, to glorify God’’
So two reasons for the incarnation:
1. Confirm promises for Israel
2. Glorify God for his mercy.

Propitiation
Rom 3:25

Paul says that God forgiving sins is so massively problematic that Christ had to die. This makes no sense unless sin is a falling short of the glory of God. When you exchange the glory of God for something else you say he’s not worth much, which is an insult to God, and yet he hasn’t thrown us all into hell.
So the cross is the loudest proclamation of God’s passion for his glory.

Sanctification
Phil 1:9ff
Paul is praying to God for the Philippians be sanctify so that through Jesus God could be glorified.

Something changed with CS Lewis when he became a Christian. The Psalms no longer sounded defected when God says ‘praise me’.

‘I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment. It is its appointed consummation.’- CS Lewis

It’s not egomania, its love!

God is summoning us to see him, know him, praise him – it’s not because he will not be God until his ego is stroked. God is the one being for whom self-exaltation is apt. He gives us the one thing that will make us happy forever, the ability to praise God for his glory. It is not that God is not fully God until he gets glory, but that we are not fully satisfied until we give it.


Me @ Oxygen

Couldn't resist posting this very top-covered young Piper


So unless you are:

A. Living under a rock

B. Not living in Melbourne or Sydney (under, or not under, a rock)

C. Not a Christian (in various spatial relationships to one or more rocks)

…you would probably know that John Piper is appearing at the Engage and Oxygen conferences in Sydney over the next 5 days.  I’ll be representing the ‘quite enjoy John Piper, but more excited about spending a few days with heaps of cool people’ party at Oxygen.

But I should probably at some level engage (hah) with what Piper (and John Lennox of course) have to say, so for your reading pleasure I’ll be live-blogging through all the sessions!

I’m sure both of my readers are uber excited by this.