Blog Posts by Jonathan Parnell

This Week's Sermon: "Why Did God Create the World?"

Jonathan Parnell

The ultimate purpose for which God created this world is the praise of the glory of his grace in the death of Jesus for sinners.

There you have it, the most important thing we could ever know.

Recognizing that God exists isn't enough. The question is: why does anything else exist? Why did God create the world? And in particular, why this world?

Working through key texts, John Piper shows…

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Staying for the Best Things

Jonathan Parnell

I can't shake the scene of that little room where Passion and Patience sit waiting. The boys' sitter instructed them to stay still, to rest side by side, to hold out for what's best. What we come to find is a quest for pleasure so intense we're compelled to take note.

John Bunyan is telling that kind of story in The Pilgrim's Progress. He brings us along with Christian…

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We Should Learn This Verse

Jonathan Parnell

"I can't imagine any greater verse in the Bible," says John Piper of Jeremiah 32:40. The infinite heart of God is engaged in doing us infinite good. And that is what Jesus paid for with his blood.

In this three-minute excerpt, John Piper explains how the cross of Jesus is connected to our persevering in faith.

This excerpt begins at the 27:18 mark of this week's sermon.

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Behind the Blog: Come Outa Philly

Jonathan Parnell

Simple? Complex? How should we understand the process of sanctifcation? We've recently featured a series of videos from our friends at CCEF that detail the biblical and practical dynamics of growing in grace, which Tony discusses in this latest episode of Behind the Blog. David also gives some helpful background to recent posts, along with a few highlights on upcoming events and resources.

As always, it is a great pleasure…

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This Week's Sermon: "Eternal Security Is a Community Project"

Jonathan Parnell

God will keep his children. This is the basic and glorious truth in the doctrine of eternal security. God will never let those who are his fall away. He will complete the work he began in us. And one of the essential means by which he does this is the faith-sustaining truth we speak into one another's lives. So says the writer of Hebrews, "exhort one another every day, as…

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Tell Your Co-Worker the Gospel

Jonathan Parnell

What will you say when the door opens for communicating the gospel?

Imagine for a moment a co-worker asks you, "What is this "gospel" you Chrisitans keep talking about?" You're both taking a quick break, and you don't have long to explain. He is wanting the best one-minute summary you can muster. What do you say?

Granted, this is hypothetical, but it's not far-fetched. This is typically how we have…

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Calvary Love

Jonathan Parnell

John Piper's latest poem, "Calvary Love."

He held the world between his thumb and finger
like a tender grape.

And when the spike was driven through his hand,
his muscles flinched with world-creating force,
and crimson wine dripped from his fingertips.

But with omnipotent resolve
he neither dropped nor crushed his grape.

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This Week's Sermon: "I AM WHO I AM"

Jonathan Parnell

God absolutely is. This is the most basic and ultimate fact there has ever been. The triune God — the Lordis. He always has been and always will be. He is not to be assumed. He is not a mere foundation upon which we move on to more important things. The great driving passion of our lives should be to know him and make him known as…

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You Need to Change

Jonathan Parnell

Sanctification is a long word. Even though we know it's important biblically, still it manages to get stuck in the abstract. And truth be told, our old self likes it better that way.

The abstract, after all, is much more comfortable. As long as we keep sin in vague terms — as long as sanctification stays out there instead of in here — things can stay the same. That's why…

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What Is Love?

Jonathan Parnell

Growing up my dad told me that "love" is the most over-underused word in existence. Some toss it out like pennies in a wishing well. Others never mention it when it needs to be heard. His exhortation to me was simple: talk as if words mean something.

Good counsel as it is, this adage points to the bigger question of, well, what love means. For starters, Hollywood depictions of the…

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Resources Related to This Weekend's Seminar

Jonathan Parnell

This weekend's seminar on The Pleasures of God has just ended. If you attended the seminar or joined us on the live-stream, thanks so much for being a part of this event. We hope you can join us on the live-stream tonight at 7:10 (EDT) for John Piper's sermon at Bethlehem Baptist Church (Downtown campus).

Related Resources

Here's a list of resources mentioned by Pastor John during the seminar or…

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Nine Ways the Gospel Transforms Marriage

Jonathan Parnell

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, suffered on the cross in our place and was raised triumphantly from the dead. He ascended to the Father's right hand and is now enthroned, sending his Spirit who by the Word gathers for himself a new people from every tribe and tongue and nation. This new people — the church — are those who by repentance from sin and faith in Jesus are…

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Saving Faith Is Wanting Jesus

Jonathan Parnell

2 Timothy 4:7–8 tells us that the apostle Paul will get a reward. The "crown of righteousness" awaits him. But why? What is this reward for?

Answer: fighting the fight of faith.

And there's more. The reward is not just for Paul, who has fought the fight of faith, but it's also for everyone who loves the appearing of Jesus.

Expounding these verses, John Piper explains how they teach us…

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Biblicism: Right or Wrong?

Jonathan Parnell

Biblicism. Is this good or bad?

Don Carson explains that there are at least two kinds, one that should be cautioned, and another commended.

Selective proof texting — pulling single verses out of context to prove a doctrine — are often used to support conclusions that need to be challenged on a more comprehensive level. Case in point: propitiation. Commenting that this word occurs rarely in the New Testament, Carson…

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A Little More of Jesus Today

Jonathan Parnell

Imagine your life completely conformed to the image of Christ.

Sanctification has ceased. Glorification has arrived. There's perfect joy in Jesus at every moment. Your entire character — every thought and feeling and word and action — completely saturated with Jesus and the good news of what he has done. Imagine that.

And now remember that it won't happen in this life. It is not a reality we will attain…

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Five Reasons Why Catechisms Are Important

Jonathan Parnell

The English word "catechize" simply means to teach biblical truth in an orderly way. In his introduction to The Baptist Catechism, John Piper explains the biblical support for a pattern of doctrine: there is a "pattern of teaching" (Romans 6:17), a "pattern of sound words" (2 Timothy 1:13).

But not only is there a precedent, such authoritative instruction is absolutely vital. Pastor John gives five reasons why:

  1. We are…
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"The Baptist Catechism" — with Commentary from John Piper

Jonathan Parnell

Written in 1677, "The Baptist Catechism" was patterned after the Heidelberg and Westminster catechisms to teach Reformed doctrine from a Baptist perspective.

John Piper added commentary to the catechism during his early years at Bethlehem in hopes of "building a 'stable and firm' generation who hopes in God" [Colossians 1:23]. He explains the purpose is to lay an ordered foundation from which the church may “keep growing in the grace…

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It Is Amazing That We Have This Book

Jonathan Parnell

We believe that the Bible, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, is the infallible Word of God, verbally inspired by God, and without error in the original manuscripts.

So begins the Bethlehem Elder Affirmation of Faith — a document ascribed to by John Piper and the elders at Bethlehem Baptist Church.

Lingering on the fact that we have the Bible, Pastor John revels in the wonder that…

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Four Things We Can Learn from Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Parnell

Jonathan Edwards wasn't always "Jonathan Edwards," Sean Lucas reminds us.

In the closing appendix of his book, God's Grand Design, Lucas explains that in many ways Edwards was "a man just like us." Sinner as he was, Edwards struggled and grew and learned, all desperate for God's grace (like you and me). Much of this process is seen in his early years as he prepared for ministry. And we…

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John G. Paton Biography (Free eBook)

Jonathan Parnell

It wasn't until 1606 that Spanish explorer Fernandez de Quiros discovered a chain of eighty islands stretched across 450 miles in the South Pacific. Later named the New Hebrides, the islands were inhabited by peoples whose existence had been unknown to the rest of the world for centuries.

It would be another 230 years before two London missionaries made the first earnest attempt to bring the gospel to these unengaged…

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This Week's Sermon: "When a Lover of Good Thinks About Evil"

Jonathan Parnell

"It is predominantly bleak and ugly," says John Piper on 2 Timothy 3:1–13. The apostle Paul tells us we need to know evil and then lays out nineteen descriptions of it.

How we approach the Bible is vital to how we understand this text. These are not mere descriptions. They are descriptions given to the church for our holiness and maturity. They describe the last days in which we live…

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20 Principles to Live Faithfully in a Complex World

Jonathan Parnell

How shall we as American Christians think and act with regard to freedom of religion in a pluralistic context?

It was ten years ago when John Piper and the elders at Bethlehem first presented this question. The aim was to guide the church — both locally and on a wider scale — in how to live faithfully in an increasingly complex society. They drafted a single document of 20 guidelines…

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