Getting to the Bottom of Your Joy

Passion 2011 | Atlanta

Over the years, the fourteen years or so that I’ve been part of Passion — and it’s been an enormous privilege as you can imagine — I have several times asked a question, I don’t remember how many, three or four times maybe, as part of what I try to make plain here. And let me give you the question and then I’ll tell you what we’re going to do with it. The question is: Do you feel more loved by God when he makes much of you, or do you feel more loved by God when he frees you and enables you at great cost of his Son’s life to enjoy making much of him forever?

Let me shorten it down so you can hear the essence of it: Do you feel more loved by God because he makes much of you, or because he enables you to make much of him? So I’ve asked that question numerous times here and around the country and what I have realized is that it has led to some significant misunderstandings that I want to clear up now.

So this message is designed to bring clarity and precision to that question and what I mean by it, why I use it and what it doesn’t mean, that’s where we’re going. Let me say it again: Do you feel more loved by God because he makes much of you, or because he, through Christ, enables you to enjoy making much of him forever?

Does God Really Care About Our Happiness?

I think I’ve misled. For example, I think some people respond and say, so, Piper really doesn’t believe that God makes much of us. Or, if he does, he doesn’t think we should be happy about it, or joyful in it because if we are happy that God makes much of us, then that contaminates our happiness in making much of him. That’s what Piper thinks.

That’s not what I think. I don’t want to mislead you. I don’t want you to be left with unbiblical or disproportionate thoughts about these things. I want clarity — I want to be faithful to the Bible. It’s a biblical clarity and precision about what God is saying to us, is what I’m after.

“God makes much of those who are in Christ.”

It really doesn’t matter in the end what Piper thinks. It matters what God thinks and the only way we know what God thinks is because he has revealed things to us in his word called the Bible, and that’s what the Bible is — God’s revelation about what he thinks about a lot of things. So all I care about, and all you should care about it is what does God think about that question? What God’s answer is to that question, or what should your answer be in God’s eyes, is what I’m after.

I don’t deny — indeed I affirm with all my might — that God makes much of those who are in Christ, and we will come back to that shortly, and you will find things in the Bible that simply are beyond your imagination concerning how he makes much of you.

What’s at the Bottom of Your Joy?

So what am I trying to do with that question? If it’s risky to ask a question like that, leaving possible misunderstandings, why would I use it? Why would I go around forcing this issue? Do you feel more loved by God because he makes much of you, or because he enables you to make much of him?

I do it because I’m trying to help people. I’m trying to help you now tonight exchange what’s at the bottom of your joy. I want you to exchange self at the bottom of your joy with God. I want God to be the bottom of your joy and self to move out of that position. That’s what I’m after in asking that question.

Let me clarify what I mean by the bottom of your joy, why am I using that word, what do I have in mind, what’s the picture? I have a picture in my mind and I hope you can keep it in yours once I give it to you.

All of our joys have a foundation, except one. So any happiness that you have in something has a foundation, except one, the one that has no foundation, that’s the bottom.

Let me give you an example. You make an A on a test, it makes you very happy. That’s understandable, I think that’s good. And somebody asks you, I ask you, “Why are you happy about making an A on a test? Who cares? Why are you happy about making an A on the test?”

And you say, well because, it could be a lot of answers, “it’ll make Mom and Dad happy,” or “I love the praise of my teachers,” or you might say, “It’s decisive, it’s going to be key in getting into graduate school in psychology,” you might say that. That’s a step down now. Here was a test, you made an A, got happy, that made you happy.

But if someone asks you why, then underneath it is, “It’s going to get me into graduate school.” So I’m going to ask you, “Why does getting into graduate school make you happy?” And you would say, “Perhaps, because I’ve always had the dream of being a clinical psychologist and I can’t be one unless I go to graduate school in psychology, so that’s why the A leading to the graduate school makes me happy, because then I can be what I’ve dreamed about being.”

And then I would ask you: “Take it down a level. Why do you want to be a clinical psychologist — why does that make you happy? Why is it such a feeder of happiness?” You might say, “Because I have had some experience with my Mom and Dad. We got a lot of help, and I would love to help people. It makes me happy to think about the possibility of helping people by knowing them that way and giving God’s perspective on how their mind works, and their emotions work and their relationships work. That would make me happy.”

Making Much of You or Making Much of God?

So now we’re down about four levels. And then I would ask, “Why does making people happy or helped make you happy?” Now, we’re very close to the bottom, aren’t we? And the bottom is where there aren’t any more answers, you’re just at the bottom. And where you end up as you penetrate down in your life, to the bottom of what makes you happy is who you are. And there are two possibilities down there. Making much of you, or making much of God.

And the goal of this message is to be used by the Holy Spirit to remove making much of self as the bottom and replace it with making much of God, or just simplify self versus God at the bottom.

So only you and God know your hearts and how they work right now — what makes you happy. All those things are happinesses and they all have foundations, and one foundation has no foundation: God or self. That’s what we’re after. That’s what that question is designed to illuminate.

So I’m going to ask it again: Do you feel more loved, or I could say, Do you feel happier because God makes much of you, or do you feel more loved, happier, because God enables you to make much of him? To enjoy making much of him?

I am not denying that God makes much of you when I say that; I’m forcing a ranking. I’m forcing the issue of the rank — the order at the bottom. So get down to the bottom of your life, there’s a ranking. I’m not denying either of those.

God and Self

It’s a glorious thing to be enabled by the atonement by the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to be freed from self and make much of God as your supreme joy in life. And it’s a glorious thing to delight in being made much of by God. Everything hangs on their ordering. Their ranking. Their being the bottom or not. That’s what I’m after in that question.

Do you enjoy worshiping God, making much of God, because at the bottom, this God that you’re worshiping is committed to making much of you? Do you enjoy worshiping God, making much of God, because underneath, at the bottom, he’s committed to making much of you? That’s idolatry of the worst kind.

Or do you enjoy God’s making much of you? I’m going to tell you about seven ways he does in just a minute, enjoy God’s making much of you because it shows you the kind of God that he is. It enables you and equips you and transforms you so that you can actually see him for who he is and love him for who he is and treasure him for who he is and be satisfied in him for who he is, that’s the bottom. Those are different people. Different worlds. Different destinies. That’s what I’m after in that question.

I want to hit people in the face with the deepest issue of their lives that takes a miracle to change; it’s called the new birth. Why does this matter so much to me? Why does getting the bottom of our joys such a big deal to me?

Make God the Bottom of Your Joy

I believe that there are millions of people, some of them, millions maybe, of professing Christians who are not born again, who believe God loves them and are hell-bound, confident that they are loved by God and feeling it. That’s why I ask that question, that’s why it matters to me.

Hundreds of you in this room, perhaps, feel loved by God, but you’re not born again. Because what you mean by being loved by God, is that at the bottom, he’s committed to making much of you. He’s not at the bottom. You’re at the bottom. And you don’t want that. You don’t want it short term, you don’t want it long term.

Millions of nominal Christians have never experienced the fundamental alteration in the foundation of their happiness. To be born again, regenerated, is to experience, at the bottom, an exchange. That is the most fundamental thing that happens in the new birth. Myself as the source of all my joys, myself being made much of, ceases to be the bottom and God becomes the bottom. Christ becomes the bottom. Christ as a supreme treasure, whom to know and to make much of is the deepest joy feeding all my other joys.

I wonder, what you mean, a minute ago, and last night or the night before, when you sang, “All My Fountains Are in Him”? Do you have any idea what you’re saying? There are texts behind that song, but I wonder. All my fountains are in him. Why? That’s weird. This is it.

At least, when I’m singing, this is what I mean. He has become the bottom. All my other desires, if I’m walking in him, are rising up out of that spring — out of that. He is the fountain from which all the other desires are coming, and if they have any holiness in them at all, this happiness about getting an A, if there’s any holiness in that at all, it’s because of him at the bottom. That’s why I asked the question, because millions of nominal Christians are not born again. They haven’t experienced this.

What I Always Wanted

Here’s what they bought into, now test yourself here, I don’t know, test yourself as I describe what is so tragically and fearfully true about so many. They have interpreted, perhaps you — I hope not — conversion to Jesus, getting saved. They have interpreted conversion as having all the same deepest desires they had before they were converted, only the desires are met by another person — Jesus.

So to get converted, for example, would mean, I’ve always wanted to be wealthy and I’ve always sought it in the wrong places. My hard work, or the lottery, or whatever. But now, I went to church, and I heard there’s a way to have what I’ve always wanted, Jesus, is the way, and I sing, and I sing, he’s the way to give me what I always wanted: money. That’s not new birth.

You can sing to him until Doomsday, jumping up and down, and will not be anything pleasing to the Lord. Or you might have always wanted to be healthy. Now, instead of going to all the doctors, go to Jesus. Did we not do many mighty works in your name? Did we not cast out demons in your name? Did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not heal in your name? And he will say to them, I never knew you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity. That’s the scariest verse in the Bible. Miracles, prophesy, exorcism, in Jesus name, hell bound.

You think this is not an important question to ask? What’s at the bottom? So much religion, Christian religion, with people on their way to destruction. Or, even more controversial here, on what your God might be, I’ve said wealth and health. Everyone knows that’s a problem, but what about what you’ve always wanted is not to go to hell? And now, you heard one day, there’s a way not to suffer like that. His name is Jesus. Yes, I don’t want that, so I’ll take Jesus. He’s the way out of hell.

So what’s at the bottom? Pain-free sin. That’s not the new birth. The new birth is not loving the same meal and having a different butler. It’s not having the same suitcases in your hotel room, full of the same stuff, with a different bellhop. That’s not the new birth.

New Birth, New Root

The new birth is something new at the bottom. The suitcases at the bottom are different, the meal at the bottom is different. To become a Christian in this way of seeing things, this bad way that I’m describing, is to have all the same desires you had before you were born again, you just get them from a new place and when you get them, you feel loved by God.

That’s very dangerous, so I’m asking: Do you feel more loved by God when he makes much of you in all these ways, or have you experienced such a revolution in your heart so that what is the deepest, the bottom joy in your life is making much of God?

That’s why I ask the question. The new birth changes the bottom, the root, the foundation of what makes us happy. Self at the bottom is replaced by God or Jesus at the bottom. This is why it matters to me so much. So, I’m trying to help you put God at the bottom. With his beauty and his value as your one desire, feeding all other desires, the fountain, the spring that explains everything you’re happy about in life.

I’m not trying to deny that God makes much of you, I want to affirm that with all my might. We’re going to go there — we’re almost there. I want you to feel loved by God tonight, but I’m so jealous that you not feel loved by God when he’s not at the bottom.

So the question I have to ask is this: Why in the Bible does God perform all of his acts of love to us, in such a way that the design of those acts of love is manifestly to make much of himself?

As I read my Bible from beginning to end and just try to pick out the places where it’s really clear that God loves me, and then, what does this say in that context? What does this say in that context about why he’s doing that? Does it terminate on me or him? Does his loving me signify that I’m at the bottom, that I’m at the bottom, he’s making my worth the foundation of everything? Or, is he doing it in a way that puts him at the bottom and puts his work at the foundation of everything? That’s my question. And my answer is: he does it always in such a way as to make himself the bottom.

God Exists to Glorify God

So I’m going to give you just a few examples of that because you might not be familiar with the Bible enough to say, well I can think of some texts where that is true. So let me just take five minutes or so to illustrate what I mean by that. That God, everywhere in the Bible, loves us in such a way as to make clear his design in loving us is that he would be made much of. His design in making much of us is to make clear that his goal is that he be made much of. Here are a few texts:

Predestined to His Praise

God predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:5)

So, to shorten it down, God predestined us, this is before you were born, God predestined us for adoption.

So I’m taking you into my family. I’m destining you for that. I’m taking you into my family, and I’ve decided to do that before you were born. I’m taking you into my family — and then this phrase — “unto the praise of the glory of God’s grace.”

So why is God loving you into his family? So that you would spend your eternity making much of his grace. So there it is. That’s the kind of thing I mean. That’s all over the Bible. Love towards me, with a view to making much of God. Now, right now, whether you are wired to feel loved by that, is crucially who you are. Because I know there are people all over the world, who when they hear that say, “I don’t feel loved when you talk like that.” Somebody loves me, God loves me so that he’s made much of? I don’t feel loved.

Watch out. So I’m asking, Why does he talk like that? He knows that some people are going to say “I’m not feeling loved when you tell me that you’re making much of me so that you get made much of. I’m not feeling loved by that.” He knows that’s going to happen, so why does he talk like that?

Glory to God in the Highest

Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you this day in the city of David is born to us a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And this will be a sign to you: you will find the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. And suddenly, there was with the angel, a multitude of heavenly hosts, armies, a multitude of heavenly armies, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest.” ( Luke 2:10–14)

Now that’s really something. A savior has been born for sinners like John Piper, sinners like me, a savior is born. I’m being loved on Christmas. I’m being pursued on Christmas. My sins are going to be forgiven, my guilt is going to be taken away, and my condemnation is going to be renewed. Jesus is after me. So what do the angels say? John Piper is awesomely worthwhile.

That is not what they say. And that’s not what you say when you’re born again. You say, “Glory to God in the highest. I’ve been saved.” That’s the way you talk when you’re born again. You don’t say, “Oh what a good boy am I,” or “I’m a diamond in the rough,” or “He bought me. He’s a good investor.”

You don’t talk like that, not if you’re born again. There are people that talk like that. They say the cross was an evidence of how valuable I am. Turn it right on its head. It’s a manifestation of the unspeakable grace of God. We will spend eternity making much of God because he saved us. Because I’m loved, I’m loved, I’m loved for his sake. And when you’re born again, that’s okay.

That’s the way you want it to be, you wouldn’t have it any other way. You wouldn’t want to be at the bottom, you want his glory at the bottom. That’s what it means to be born again, and there are so many people who are all into God because they think God has made them the bottom.

Our Sake, His Glory

For the love of Christ, controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; And he died for all so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake, died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:14–15)

“The bottom of our joy becomes the glory of Christ and making much of Christ.”

Was it for their sake? Yes. Was it for his glory? Yes. And everything hangs on how you get it right. Are you glad to be died for? To be loved by the blood of Jesus, by the suffering savior? Yes, we are, aren’t we? And why? This is what Paul says, “He died for all so that those who lived might no longer live for themselves.” I take that to mean, “Might no longer live with themselves at the bottom, needing to be made much of” as the bottom source of all their joys. But, rather, will live now, for him, who for their sake’s, died and was raised. So now the bottom of our joy becomes the glory of Christ and making much of Christ.

In 1997, the first Passion Conference I attended, the title of my message was “Did Christ Die for Us, or for God?” That was the title. So you can see, I’ve been saying the same thing for fourteen years. And the answer to that question was, he did die for us, but he died for us with a specific design that he manifests clearly in the Bible that we would make much of him. That’s his bottom goal. That’s his ultimate goal. Let me give you one other verse on this point.

To See His Glory

God shows his love for us in the way Jesus prays for us. Now I assume that when you read John 17, the prayer of Jesus, the longest prayer of Jesus, you feel loved. You should. He’s praying for you, because he says in verse 20, “Not only for these, but for these who believe on me through their name.” Through their word. He’s praying for us, today. And he did then. Makes you feel loved. Jesus is praying for me, he’s interceding for me, he’s on my side. But listen to what he says in John 17:24:

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am to see my glory, that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

So what is he praying for me? He’s saying Father, I love John Piper, love the students who are in me, whom you have given me, and I’m asking this for them. My supreme request is cause them to be with me that they may see how glorious I am. That’s what he’s praying for you.

So is it for you or him? And the born again person is happy to say, “It’s for me because it’s for me so that he’s at the bottom, and I’m here.” He’s loving me, he’s interceding for me. He’s drawing me to himself because he is supremely valuable and to see him and know him and enjoy him and show him is my life. To be born again is to experience that. To hear John 17:24 and to say, yes, yes, it isn’t endless golf or endless virgins or endless health. It’s endless Jesus. Seeing him, loving him, treasuring him, having him at the bottom.

Now, those texts are all designed to simply say, everywhere in the Bible, they’re just the tip of the iceberg, I could give you dozens more. Everywhere in the Bible where God is loving us, there are contexts around that statement that show he’s loving us with a specific design that he be made much of in and through and because of that act of love.

So, I’m going to ask why does he do it that way? Why does he do it that way when he knows that there’s some of you, when you hear that God’s loving you so that God gets glory, you feel unloved? Why does he do it that way?

God Makes Much of You

Now, remember, I’m trying to answer and clarify the question, Do you feel more loved by God because he makes much of you or because he enables you to make much of him? That’s what I’m trying to clarify, so before I give you the answer to why he talks like that, I am going to pause here now and do what I’ve never done at Passion and give you seven ways that God makes much of you.

Because here’s where I’ve been misunderstood and perhaps rightly so. So this is different and I want you to be blown away. This is just Bible, so straight Bible and it’s absolutely mind-boggling. I pray, I ask, Holy Spirit, would you come in the next five minutes or so as I go through these texts and give supernatural capacities to feel the truth and the wonder of what I’m about to read. I pray this in Jesus’s name. God makes much of all those who are in Jesus.

God makes much of you. If you believe on him, if you trust him, if he is your treasure, if he’s at the bottom, how does he do that?

1. God makes much of us by being pleased with us and commending our lives.

One of the C.S. Lewis’s greatest sermons was called, “The Weight of Glory.” It changed my life in 1968. And in it, C.S. Lewis describes what he believes is the weight of glory that every Christian will gloriously bear.

What do you think it is? What do you think C.S. Lewis said is the weight of glory that you will have to bear, gloriously, wondrously, joyfully forever? Here’s what he says. It is the words “Well done, good and faithful servant”:

To please God, to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness. To be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in, as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son, it seems impossible. A weight or a burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain, but so it is.

I think he’s right. So imagine you, a sinner, you, some of you, labor under the emotional burden of feeling that all you do is displease God. Shortcomings everywhere: don’t read the Bible the way you should, don’t pray the way you should, don’t talk the way you should, don’t witness the way you should. Just come to the end of every day and sing, I’m hopeless.

So can you imagine that because of Christ, because of an act of faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit moves into your life, causes you to be born again, and puts himself, Jesus Christ, at the bottom, and God commits himself to one day saying to you, “Well, done, good and faithful servant.”

I believe that God is going to say that to the thief on the cross. I don’t think there are a select number of Christians that get that, and the rest he looks at them and says, “Lousy life, I just think you blew it all the time, but you can come in anyway.” I don’t think that anybody will hear that out of the mouth of Jesus at the last day.

The thief on the cross lived 99.9% of his life as a pagan thief, and a half hour of his life as a born-again believer witnessing to the guy across the street over there. And when he got to heaven, when he was in Paradise — “Today you will be with me in Paradise” — Jesus said to him, “Well done.” Well done. We have a very gracious God. We really do.

2. God makes much of us by making us fellow heirs with his Son, who owns everything.

God makes much of us by making you a fellow heir, an inheritor, with his Son, who inherits everything, the universe.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

Not just, Atlanta, Georgia, or the US, or the planet, the whole Earth and we will see more.

The promise to Abraham and his offspring is that he would be heir of the world. (Romans 4:13)

Let no one boast in men for all things are yours. Whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future all things are yours and you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:21)

Now if Francis Chan were here, he’d do a lot better with this than I did, or I can. He’d put the scales up here and he would put those statements on one side. You, Christian, will inherit everything. Everything. This is why I prayed that you’d have the capacity to believe.

He would say, “You live like that. Just out of sync. The scale is falling off the table. My life is not reflecting the kind of freedom from grumbling that you have when you’re two seconds away from inheriting billions and billions of dollars, namely the universe.”

So John Newton, who wrote “Amazing Grace,” told this little parable about a man who was on his way to a big city to inherit a million dollars. Now, when John Newton lived that’s a billion dollars. So let’s just say you’re on your way to inherit a hundred million dollars today.

You’re on your way to a hundred million dollars, but I’m going to take it back to his time because he used a chariot, not a car, and you arrived in a chariot, happy, on your way to inherit a hundred million dollars, and you’re a mile away from the city where you’re ready to receive it and the wheel falls off your chariot.

Now, this is a picture of your life, okay. You’re just this far from home, right? This life is called a vapor’s breath — two seconds. Paul calls all his suffering, this light, momentary affliction. You’re that close to your inheritance. You really are. Some of you will die this year. Others of you, seventy years out, they’re both the same. They don’t make any difference. It’s that close and then forever.

And he said the man looked at the broken wheel and then instead of jumping off he said, “I can run. I’d walk to get my money.” He stumbles all the way into the city, grumbling the whole way, “My chariot is broken, my chariot is broken.” That’s our life. That’s John Piper in the mirror and I hate it.

That’s what Francis Chan meant when he said your lives should be in accord with the gospel, and the gospel has this in it. God makes much of you by granting you to inherit the world and it’s that far away so why would you need to have it now?

This is where this go center comes from. This is where do something now and, what, $734,000 comes from. It’s you saying, “I don’t need this. I got an inheritance. It’s coming.” I don’t need a house, I don’t need a car, I don’t need these clothes. This is where I want my life to count to make much of Jesus on my way to my inheritance who is Christ. Oh, he makes much of you. Yes, he does.

3. God makes much of us by having us sit at table when Jesus returns and he serves us as though he were a slave and we were the masters.

Truly I say to you, he will dress himself for service. And have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. (Luke 12:37)

I thought that was what happened on the night before he died. It was. So surely, when he comes, he’s on a white horse, sword coming out his mouth, king of kings, Lord of Lords, faithful written on one thigh, true written on the other, Almighty God.

And once he’s sat on the throne, divided the nations, he comes down and he binds himself with a towel and he tells us, “No, children, sit” and he serves us. You are made much of. You will be made much of breathtakingly in that day.

4. God makes much of us by appointing us to carry out the judgment of angels.

How many angels are there? At least a hundred million. It says in Daniel 7, verse 10, ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. So if my math is right, that’s a hundred million. So, maybe lots more, but at least a hundred million angels.

And Paul, when he’s talking to these rag-tag, ordinary disciples at Corinth, who can’t figure out how to settle their own disputes, his argument for why they should be able to judge right and wrong and settle the dispute is, “Don’t you know you’re going to judge angels?”

As I walk through this room, you look so ordinary, right? You just look so ordinary. Paul would look into your face and say, “Don’t you know, you’re going to judge angels?” Now, I don’t know what that involves. I will confess, I don’t know what that involves, but it’s not small. He’s not making little of you when he says that.

5. God makes much of us by ascribing value to us and rejoicing over us as his treasured possession.

Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31)

The Lord your God will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you by his love. he will exalt over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

Now, if I hear that correctly, what it’s saying is, in the last day, when God is done with you, you will not simply be pleasing to God, you will be thrilling to God. I don’t feel thrilling to God. Ever. I feel like a failure regularly in my sanctification. So I need all the help I can get from the Holy Spirit to believe that. That one day, the love that God has for me now will come to a consummation in having so worked in me, that one day he will look upon me as thrilling.

6. God will make you shine like the sun in his kingdom.

The righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. (Matthew 13:43)

“God’s people are going to shine like the sun.”

Now I love that one because I’ve tried every now and then to look at the sun and I can’t. It’ll blind you if you look at the sun. So this text says God’s children, God’s people are going to shine like the sun, which means that nobody will be able to look at you with natural eyes. This is why C.S. Lewis said that people will be tempted to bow down and worship you, but they will all be made perfectly holy, and they’ll know better. But you will look like you are worthy of it, because you’re going to shine like the sun. You think this is radiant, this room when it’s really throbbing and the lights are buzzing? This is like a pin-prick to what you will look like.

7. God makes much of you by granting you to sit with Christ on his throne.

The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

That’s scary, heretical almost. What, you’re going to put me on the throne of God? No. I won’t go on the throne of God. I think it means something like this, and God help me, because I’m sure I don’t get it all. It says in Ephesians 1:22–23, “The church is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” So the universe is going to be filled with Christ, and I think that probably means his manifest rule will extend with no competitors until the end of creation. And then it says, we are that fullness.

I think that means something like, we’re sitting on the throne that is his rule will be exercised through us. He will share the rule of the universe with the likes of us. So, let it be said, now as I close, loud and clear. John Piper does not deny, and never has denied, that God makes much of us.

Proper Rank

The question is, ranking. And whether those truths, those amazing truths that ought to fill your soul, yes they should, that God makes much of you that way, should thrill your soul. Why? And if the answer is because I’m at the bottom and I love to be made much of, you’re not born again.

And if the answer is, because it reveals more of God and equips me more to know him, measure him, love him, be satisfied in him, then you’re born again. That’s the difference — what’s at the bottom.

So, back to the question I said I was going to try to answer. And then, we’re done. Why does God all over the Bible reveal his acts of love toward us in a way that always shows his design is that he gets glory? The answer is God’s love for you that makes much of his glory is a greater love for you than if he made you your greatest treasure.

Say that again: God’s love for you in such a way that makes him your supreme treasure is a greater love for you than if he made you your supreme treasure. Why? Because self, no matter how glorious, and it will be glorious, self, no matter how glorious, can never satisfy a heart made for God. It feels so good to the fallen heart. It feels so good to have myself at the bottom and be made much of.

And until they’re born again, they can’t realize, that’s not going to satisfy you. You will never ever be beautiful enough, strong enough, wise enough, admirable enough, to be the bottom, bear the weight of all the joy that you want for eternity. It will not bear that weight. It will give way and you will fall into the pit, only one thing can bear the weight of all the joy that you want to have, and that’s God.

So, Passion 2011, I’m speaking now to everyone with a closing sentence. God loves you. I want you and God wants you to feel loved. You are precious to him. You are precious to him, and the gift that I bring you tonight from him, the gift that he would want you me to give you is to say this. I love you, and you are so precious to me that I will not let your preciousness become your God. I will not let your preciousness to me become your God. I will be your God. And I love you.