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Doctrine Matters

Ten Theological Trademarks from a Lifetime of Preaching


Doctrine Matters is the theological summary of one preacher’s lifetime of investment in a local church. Completing three decades of pastoral ministry at Bethlehem Baptist, John Piper gave a final sermon series on the doctrinal emphases from his years of preaching. These ten emphases, delivered as ten sermons in 2012 and now edited into this volume, embody the legacy Piper hopes to leave.

But don’t think that these messages are the memoirs of a retired pastor. You don’t store these truths away to collect dust. The vision of God in these pages doesn’t take a pat on the head—it turns the world upside down.

These doctrines are, as Piper says, “wildly untamable, explosively uncontainable, and electrically future-creating.” They make a difference. When you read these truths and immerse yourself in this biblical vision of our great God, you will want to act. You will want to build something. You will want to start things. You will be compelled to dream big and risk bigger for the glory of Jesus Christ. And we pray for nothing less.

“What the world needs from the church is our indomitable joy in Jesus in the midst of suffering and sorrow.”

Table of Contents

1. God Is

  • 1.1 Future-Creating Realities
  • 1.2 God Absolutely Is
  • 1.3 Understanding Exodus 3
  • 1.4 Three Things God Says About Himself
  • 1.5 The Truth Makes an Irrepressible People
  • 1.6 Ten Things It Means for God to Be Who He Is
  • 1.7 The Cosmic Outrage
  • 1.8 Never Make God Peripheral
  • A. More About God
  • Seven Glorious Truths About God in Isaiah 6

2. The Glory of God

  • 2.1 The Bible Is Clear About the Glory of God
  • 2.2 Isaiah’s Testimony to the Glory of God
  • 2.3 How “Glorify” Is Different from “Beautify”
  • 2.4 Why Did God Make This Particular World?
  • 2.5 Five Points on God’s Glory and Christ’s Cross
  • 2.6 Four Questions About Your Life
  • B. More About the Glory of God
  • Seven Examples of God’s Commitment to His Name

3. Christian Hedonism

  • 3.1 Is God’s Self-Promotion Loveless?
  • 3.2 Our Greatest Exhilaration and God’s Greatest Glorification
  • 3.3 The Realistic, Biblical Basis for Christian Hedonism
  • 3.4 The Centrality of the Cross in Christian Hedonism
  • 3.5 11 Illustrations of How Christian Hedonism Changes Everything
  • C. More About Christian Hedonism
  • Eight Reasons to Pursue Your Satisfaction in God
  • What About Self-Denial?

4. The Sovereignty of God

  • 4.1 What It Means to Be God
  • 4.2 God Purposes All Things
  • 4.3 A Straightforward Statement on Sovereignty
  • 4.4 The Choice We All Face
  • 4.5 God’s Sovereignty in the World Around Us
  • 4.6 God’s Sovereignty in the Details
  • 4.7 God’s Sovereignty in Human Actions
  • 4.8 God’s Sovereignty in Your Own Life
  • 4.9 Seven Exhortations for How We Live Because God Is Sovereign
  • D. More About God’s Sovereignty
  • The Preciousness of God’s Sovereignty in Our Pain

5. The Gospel of God in Christ

  • 5.1 What Is a Theological “Trademark?”
  • 5.2 The Price and Prize of the Gospel in Romans 5
  • 5.3 A Testimony from Church History
  • 5.4 The Price and Prize of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15
  • 5.5 The Love of God Is the Gift of Himself
  • E. More About the Gospel
  • How Is the Gospel the Power of God unto Salvation?

6. The Call to Global Missions

  • 6.1 A Powerful Image of the Missions Effort
  • 6.2 Do You Have a Compulsion to Go?
  • 6.3 Ten Biblical Convictions on Global Missions
  • F. More About Missions
  • Four Motives for Missions from John 10:16

7. Living the Christian Life

  • 7.1 Eight Crucial Things to See in 2 Thessalonians 1:1–12
  • 7.2 A Panorama of the Christian Life
  • 7.3 What It Means for the Everyday
  • 7.4 Why We Should Be Grateful
  • 7.5 Faith in Jesus Means Being Satisfied in Him
  • 7.6 Six Examples of God’s Promises in Your Life
  • G. More About the Christian Life
  • Build Your Life on the Mercies of God
  • The Life That Overcomes by Faith

8. The Perseverance of the Saints

  • 8.1 Will You Endure in Faith?
  • 8.2 A Theological Overview on Perseverance
  • 8.3 God’s Unbreakable Faithfulness
  • 8.4 How Is Our Perseverance Connected to the Cross of Christ?
  • 8.5 The Necessity of Community in the Certainty of Security
  • 8.6 There Is No Substitute for the Church
  • H. More About Perseverance
  • Settling Our Security in God Alone

9. Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

  • 9.1 What Does “Complementarian” Mean?
  • 9.2 The Wonder of Being Human
  • 9.3 Gender Roles Are Not About Competency
  • 9.4 The Testimony and Application of Ephesians 5:22–33
  • 9.5 A Specific Challenge to Men
  • I. More About Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
  • Conflict and Confusion After the Fall

10. Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing

  • 10.1 What the World Needs to See in Us
  • 10.2 Why Does It Matter What the World Needs?
  • 10.3 Removing Obstacles in Three Steps
  • 10.4 Six Amazing Paradoxes in Gospel Ministry
  • 10.5 Prosperity Does Not Commend Us
  • 10.6 Two Pictures of Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing
  • 10.7 Salt and Light in This World
  • J. More About Suffering
  • Six Reasons to Keep on Rejoicing No Matter What