What Bob Dylan Got Right

John Piper
 What Bob Dylan Got Right

In 1979 Bob Dylan recorded the song "Gotta Serve Somebody." For those who listen with biblically informed ears the refrain echoes Paul and Jesus:

Paul: "You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness" (Romans 6:16).

Jesus: "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other" (Matthew 6:24).

Dylan's refrain:

But you're gonna... Continue Reading

John Piper Does Not Deny That God Makes Much of Us

Josh Etter

At Passion 2011 in Atlanta, Pastor John gave a message titled “Getting to the Bottom of Your Joy.” In it John clarifies if and how God makes much of us:

Let it be said loud and clear: John Piper does not deny and and never has denied that God makes much of us. The question is ranking—what’s at the bottom of your joy. Where does it finally rest?

Yes, those amazing truths—that God makes much of you—should thrill your soul!But why? The answer to that question... Continue Reading

Universalism: Not a New Temptation

Jonathan Parnell

The temptation is not new: silencing certain biblical texts in order to say that eventually everyone will be saved. In fact, we could just call it recycled liberalism.

Desiring God focused on this subject 21 years ago at the Conference for Pastors — "Universalism and the Reality of Eternal Punishment."

In his sermon that assesses the biblical and theological arguments for universalism, Sinclair Ferguson reminds us:

There is a mighty sermon in Gresham Machen’s book,God... Continue Reading

When Good Lives Are Bad News

Tim Chester
When Good Lives Are Bad News

There are two ways we get life wrong:

1. We want to be our own Lord instead of Jesus

I often replace Jesus as Lord with me as lord, running life my way. I want to be in charge. This often leads to behaviour that by moral standards is bad, e.g. sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. We do not think Jesus is enough, disbelieving that living under His rule is the “good life.” So we replace Jesus with others things.

But there is another way we get life wrong:

2. We want to be our own Saviour... Continue Reading

The Grace of Confession (Part 2)

Paul Tripp
The Grace of Confession (Part 2)

Read Part 1

A properly functioning conscience is a grace

Many relationships travel a one-way road in the wrong direction—the direction of a hardened heart. In the early days of the relationship we’re concerned with winning the other person, being loving, kind, serving, respectful, giving, forgiving, and patient.

But before long we let down our guard. We quit being so solicitous. Selfishness replaces service. We do and say things we would have never thought of at the... Continue Reading

Troubled But Not Troubled

Jon Bloom
Troubled But Not Troubled

Jesus’ words “let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1a) are comforting. But this it is not merely counsel. It is a command. What Jesus is saying is that in the face of trouble—terrible trouble—we must not allow our hearts to be troubled.

How is that even possible?

Jesus’ answer: “Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1b).

When Jesus spoke these words, he had just informed the disciples that one of them would betray him and Peter would deny him that night. On top of that he... Continue Reading

Israel, Arabs, and the Family of God

John Piper

Last Sunday I met an Arab Christian who was visiting our church. In a respectful way, he poured out his heart concerning the plight of his people in the Middle East and his sadness at how few American Christian pastors ever say anything positive or hopeful about Arab Christians.

His perception is that Christians in America give carte blanche support for Israel. No injustice against Palestinians or Arab Christians elsewhere seems to get a response in American pulpits.

So I... Continue Reading

Honoring Another Christian Death in Pakistan

John Piper
Honoring Another Christian Death in Pakistan

This is my small tribute to another Christian killed for Christ’s sake. I read his story with great admiration. I pray that his death will not be in vain in my life and in Pakistan’s struggle for freedom.

Shahbaz Bhatti was the Minister for Minority Affairs in Pakistan, and a Christian. He was killed in Islamabad on Wednesday, March 2, 2011. He had opposed the Pakistani blasphemy laws that appoint the death sentence for one who speaks words against the truth of... Continue Reading

Your Acting Is His Acting

Jonathan Parnell

In yesterday's post Pastor John cited Philippians 2:12-13 concerning our sin-killing role in sanctification —

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

But why should we attack sin with fear and trembling?

Pastor John answers:

. . . The ground for my trembing here is not threat, but gift. Tremble! God Almighty, the Creator of the universe, your Father, your Redeemer, your Sustainer is in you... Continue Reading

I Act the Miracle

John Piper
I Act the Miracle

When it comes to killing my sin I don’t wait for the miracle, I Act the Miracle.

Acting a miracle is different from working a miracle. If Jesus tells a paralyzed man to get up, and he gets up, Jesus works a miracle. But if I am the paralyzed man and Jesus tells me to get up, and I obey and get up, I act the miracle. If I am dead Lazarus and Jesus commands me to get up, and I obey, Jesus works the miracle, I act the miracle.

So when it comes to killing my sin, I don’t wait passively for the... Continue Reading