Tell Them About Me

John Piper has often said, “Books don’t change people, paragraphs do — sometimes sentences.” This has certainly been my experience. And few sentences have been more helpful to me in grasping the heart and hindrance of preaching the gospel than these two:

“People are starving for the grandeur of God. And the vast majority do not know it.”

They Are Starving for God

That first sentence captures in beautiful, sad simplicity what is most deeply wrong about the horrible human condition — all the restless wandering, the inconsolable longings, insatiable appetites, the monstrous perversions and violent corruption of all that we know deep down to be true and right is due to the lack of God in the soul of man.

People crave God in their innermost being. And the infinite banquet of all that makes God glorious in the seen and unseen worlds would nourish them and make them happy beyond their wildest dreams if only they tasted and saw his goodness (Psalm 34:8). If only they would eat.

But They Do Not Know It

The second sentence captures the humanly impossible challenge of gospel ministry: People don’t know that the lack of God in their souls, their lack of being enthralled with all his grandeur, is what’s wrong with them. And what makes this “not knowing” such a difficult problem to overcome is that it goes so much deeper than a mere lack of information. It is a blindness; it is a deadness of desire.

People don’t want what will cure their craving. They don’t want God to be what nourishes and satisfies them. They want to be gloriously grand themselves. They don’t want to be told by God what to eat in order to be satisfied. They want to decide for themselves what to eat. They want to be like God.

“Tell Them About Me”

“People are starving for the grandeur of God. And the vast majority do not know it.”

Into this horrible, humanly impossible famine God sends preachers — preachers in pulpits, preachers on street corners, preachers at the family table, preachers in living rooms and hospitals and Bible studies and prisons. He wants the preachers to feel the gravity that hell is real (Luke 12:5) and the gladness that heaven, the fullness of joy and forever pleasures in God (Psalm 16:11), is the free gift (Romans 6:23) to all who will believe (John 3:16).

God tells the preachers, “Tell the people about me. Don’t amuse them, don’t entertain them, don’t make me appear flippant, don’t try to impress them with your wit or IQ, and don’t tell them that I will indulge their sinful flesh or that I will feed their pride.

“Tell them about me! Tell them about my holiness and perfection (Isaiah 8:13; Deuteronomy 32:4) and about my sovereign power (Psalm 135:6; Isaiah 46:10). Tell them what is most deeply wrong with them (Romans 3:23) and how they got that way (Genesis 3).

“And tell them what I have done for them (Romans 5:8, 6:23). Tell them of my love and of my Son (John 3:16) and how I love them through my Son (1 John 4:10). Tell them to stop eating what will only leave them starving; tell them that I have the only food that will satisfy them (Isaiah 55:2).

“Go and tell them all that I have preached to you (Matthew 28:20), and preach to them in the strength that I supply (1 Peter 4:11). And by the power of my Spirit, I will make what is humanly impossible happen (Mark 10:27): I will make the blind see (John 9:39).”

To Help You Tell Them

And if you want to know how to be such a preacher, wherever God has placed you to preach, read John Piper’s newly expanded The Supremacy of God in Preaching. It was written with pastors in mind, but it will serve all preachers of the gospel. This revised and expanded edition includes four new chapters. It is a book to feed your preacher’s soul and equip you to feed the starving. Because,

People are starving for the greatness of God. But most of them would not give this diagnosis of their troubled lives. The majesty of God is an unknown cure. There are far more popular prescriptions on the market, but the benefit of any other remedy is brief and shallow. Preaching that does not have the aroma of God’s greatness may entertain for a season, but it will not touch the hidden cry of the soul: “Show me thy glory!”

So, preacher, that is your call. Wherever God has placed you to preach, feed people his glory. Give them the cure. Tell them about God.