Indomitable joy in Jesus in the very midst of suffering and sorrow — this is what the world needs from the church.
As tempting as it may be to figure things differently, what the world does not need from the services of the gathered church is chipper, frisky, high-spirited chatter designed to make people feel lighthearted and playful and bouncy. And the world does not need believers who are morose, gloomy, sullen, and dark, bringing with them a heavy atmosphere of solemnity.
No, what the world needs from the church, in her gathered services and in key moments of her scattered life, is the flavor of “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing,” as the apostle Paul says it in 2 Corinthians 6:10. What the world needs is to see and feel indomitable joy in Jesus in the midst of life’s most tragic sufferings and sorrows. Unbelievers need to see that we are not playing games, but are blood-earnest about our Jesus and his eternal benefits.
In John Piper’s last sermon as senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist, he encourages the church to this deep joy in Jesus, deeper than life’s hardest times and toughest trials.
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