Every one of you who confesses Jesus as Lord of the universe signs up for significance beyond anything you ever dreamed. And I mean businessmen and women here, homemakers, students.
To belong to Jesus is to embrace the nations with him, that he will one day rule entirely.
Your heart was made for this. Your heart was made to embrace the global dimension of missional living.
– John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad DVD
One of the things I did on my leave of absence was write poems. Most of these grew out of meditating on God’s word. They are my groping toward affections worthy of Christ. Here’s one that overflowed from John 18:18, which drops the simple fact that the night before Jesus died it was cold.
“Now the servants and officers had made
a charcoal fire, because it was cold.”
Did you know that on the night he was betrayed
Jerusalem was cold?
Did you know that it was cold?
When he broke his sweat and beads of sorrow rolled
Hot-steaming down his face,
Did you know that it was cold?
When the heart of Judas burned with greed, and sold
The priceless Son of Man,
One of the poems I wrote during my leave of absence grew out of my sorrows over grieving the Holy Spirit. It is bad enough to know that God is dishonored by my sin. But to hear Paul connect my particular sins with grieving the Holy Spirit was even more painful.
This he does in Ephesians 4:30–32. He says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” And then he names my sins: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
There are mysteries in the self-sufficient Spirit being grieved. And th…
Universalism is the view that in the end all humans—irrespective of whether they reject the gospel in this life—will be saved.
In the book Whatever Happened to Hell?, British evangelical John Blanchard writes these memorable words about universalism:
Universalism originated in the Garden of Eden when Satan brushed aside God’s warning and assured Eve, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). . . .
All the ways to hell are one-way streets. The idea that those who go there will eventually be released to join the rest of humanity in heaven has not a shred of biblical evidence to support it.
Children are sometimes told fictional adventure stories with the delightful …
We are Christians. Radical, full-blooded, Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting, God-centered, mission-advancing, soul-winning, church-loving, holiness-pursing, sovereignty-savoring, grace-besotted, broken-hearted, happy followers of the omnipotent, crucified Christ. At least that’s our imperfect commitment.
In other words, we are Calvinists. But that label is not nearly as useful as telling people what you actually believe! So forget the label, if it helps, and tell them clearly, without evasion or ambiguity, what you believe about salvation.
If they say, “Are you a Calvinist?” say, “You decide. Here is what I believe . . .”
I believe I am so spiritually corrupt and prideful and rebelliou…
How do we as Christians battle against the sinful pursuit of success, wealth and power that the world pursues?
Therefore, to avoid similar entanglements, the course which Christian men must follow is this: first, they must not long for, or hope for, or think of any kind of prosperity apart from the blessing of God; on it they must cast themselves, and there safely and confidently recline.
How, then, can the Christian rightly pursue success?
Therefore, if we believe that all prosperous and desirable success depends entirely on the blessing of God, and that when it is wanting all kinds of misery and calamity await us, it follows that we should not eagerly contend f…
Beware of imputing advantage to antiquity. Seventy years after the death of Jesus the churches had neither the collected New Testament nor a living apostle. It was a precarious and embattled time.
Neither the experiences nor the teachers of the first 300 years of the church are as reliable as the finished New Testament. The church did not rescue the New Testament from neglect and abuse. The New Testament rescued the early church from instability and error.
We are in a better position today to know Jesus Christ than anyone who lived from AD 100 to 300. They had only parts of the New Testament rather than the collected whole. That’s how valuable the fullness of revelation is in the finishe…
Many of you reading this are living alongside us in a post-Christian Western culture. One where the term evangelism is a bit outdated and to be missional is in vogue. Europe and North America have become more and more like a mission field—but a post-Christian, rather than pre-Christian field. We now need a more missions-like engagement even on battleground here on the home front.
There are pros and cons to the missional mindset. Our churches must pursue mission among our own people. There is always an intensifying need for the gospel around us. The danger is focusing exclusively on this to the neglect of the nations.
We can’t be truly missional without preserving a place for, and giving …
One of the books I listened to during my leave of absence was the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. I downloaded the audio free from Librivox, a remarkable website of free, non-professionally recorded books.
The book recounts Douglass’ rise from slavery to an oratorical force for abolition in America. He lived from 1818 to 1895. One of the most striking parts of this autobiography was the story of how slavery injures not only the slave, but the master. It destroys life in both directions, but in different ways. Here is a glimpse of how that happened to the wife of one of his owners, Master Hugh.
Mrs. Hugh had never owned a human being before. And instinctively began to treat D…