It was the topic of Ask Pastor John episode 143, and it became the most played episode we released in the last two weeks.
The slogan, “work like an Arminian, sleep like a Calvinist,” initially may sound humorous, but it’s also unhelpful, says Pastor John.
The reason I don’t like saying, “work like an Arminian, sleep like a Calvinist,” is because I think it’s misleading. . . . It is historically false to imply that Calvinism produced less work than others. The Protestant work ethic was begotten by the Reformed vision of reality, and it built the modern world we know. So my preference would be a slogan like this: “Work like a Calvinist, play like a Calvinist, sleep like a Calvinist — out-produce, out-play, out-dream everyone by trusting in your sovereign God.”
Listen to the full episode.
And here are the other episodes we released in the past two weeks in descending order, based on plays and downloads (click on the hyperlinked titles to listen).
Excommunication is doubly redemptive. It is redemptive for the church so that the truth of the gospel and its power not be lost by pretending people are believers when they don’t bear any fruit. And it is redemptive for the person who is being excommunicated because we see in Scripture that the aim of this ostracism is redemptive. That is, we want them to be brought to repentance and restored to the church. And to that end, we do talk to them. We do reach out like we would to any unbeliever in love. And we would happily lay down our lives that they would repent. There is nothing ugly or hostile in this. This is all designed to do everything the church can do to keep itself true and authentic and holy and pure, and to love people back to the Savior.
I would say: John Piper, look at the mystery of what this means for your love of this woman. This is a bottomless ocean of wisdom for you: love her like Christ loves the Church. ... Love her to make her lovely. You don’t love her merely because she is lovely. ... And then I would say: Let this, John Piper, be a breaking of your heart, that you do not love her like this. Let this drive you to Christ for forgiveness and for justification and for renewal.
First of all, I would want to ask: is your husband a believer? It sounds like he is, but does he want to honor Christ above all? Does he want his mind and heart to be pure and full of what is true and honorable and just and pure and lovely and commendable and excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8)? Does he believe that sin killed Jesus? That this woman taking off her clothes in order to make a movie more racy and get a lower rating and a higher attendance — that that sin killed Jesus? Is he okay with that, okay watching that, okay endorsing that, okay making light of that? And does he realize that Jesus died to kill sin? So this sin killed Jesus, and Jesus died to kill this sin, and here you are playing with it as though it doesn’t matter. Does he agree with that? That would be my starting point.
Lukewarm does not mean true Christians don’t have seasons of languishing. It doesn’t mean that. It means true saints don’t settle in with mediocrity and say, “I am rich. I am prospered. I need nothing. I’ll just do this religious thing and I’ll be fine.” No, no, no. A true Christian has an ongoing sense that in himself he is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, naked, and ever turning to Jesus for gold and for clothing and for salve for his eyes (Revelation 3:15–18).
Our joy increases when others come to share it. Joy is not the kind of thing that if others get some, you get less. It is just the opposite. If my joy can expand to include you in it so that yours increases from mine, mine gets bigger. And so there is a built in protection against exclusivism. Christian joy has an expansive impulse to it because it knows that when others share it, it gets bigger. We are, after all, Christian Hedonists, we don’t exclude others. We want more and more and more people to be included in it, which is the opposite of selfishness.
The work of the Spirit leading us is the Spirit witnessing in our lives that we are God’s. His work provides evidences and that is what witnesses do — they give evidences of reality. So we look for what it means to be led by the Spirit. And if you go to Galatians 5:22–23, being led by the Spirit, walking by the Spirit, living by the Spirit is the same as bearing the fruit of the Spirit. So we look for love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness. In other words, as we look at our lives, are there evidences that the Spirit is producing things that are contrary to a fallen, unbelieving, selfish, human nature? And I want to be real clear here. Never does the Bible say that the evidence is perfection.
At the root, being eaten up with a sinful jealousy is owing to a failure to be jealous enough for God getting all my affections and all my trust and all my allegiance so I can be stable and strong and restful in him.
Envy seems to be born of a restless heart that does not find God satisfying. So we are craving and yearning toward what somebody else has because God himself is not satisfying our soul.
One of God’s purposes in the Exodus and in the entrance into the Land with a stretching forth of his mighty arm in dividing the seas was so that the news would spread everywhere among all the nations. Yahweh, the God of Israel, is supremely mighty. Now that is what I mean by missions.
Ask Pastor John is a daily podcast series of 3–8 minute conversations released each weekday at 10:30am (EST) through the DG Facebook and Twitter feeds. You can tune in to the new episodes through the free Ask Pastor John mobile app for iPhone and Android. We’re currently hosting all the recordings on SoundCloud, a website making it easy to listen to several of the podcasts in one sitting. They’re also archived on the DG website and syndicated in iTunes.
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