Edwards on “The Minister’s Task”

As Edwards conceived it, at the heart of the minister’s task was preaching, the ministry of the Word. If the minister was a servant who washed others’ feet, he did so by preaching: “This is done by the preaching of the word, which is their main business.” In the same way that “priests of old were appointed to blow the silver trumpets, so ministers of the gospel are appointed [to preach the Word].” God intended for preaching to accomplish a number of ends: whether serving as “the means God has provided for bringing poor sinners to Christ and salvation by him” or offering correction to false notions of Christianity. Whatever the purpose, Edwards held it axiomatic that “ministers are set on purpose to explain the word of God, and therefore their people ought to hear them when they offer to explain it to them.” The substance of the minister’s preaching was God’s Word and not the dictates of human reason.

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The Most Important Prayer Request in the World

From John Piper: The most important prayer is that the most important person in the universe do the most important act in the universe. That’s why Jesus put this request at the beginning of the Lord’s prayer: “Hallowed be your name.” God is the most important person in the universe. More important than all others put together. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness” (Isaiah 40:17). The whole-souled act of hallowing God’s name is the most important act in the universe. To “hallow” means to “sanctify” which in God’s case means to set apart in your mind and heart as supremely great and beautiful and valuable. “Hallowed be your name” means, “See to it that your name is hallowed. Use your infinite power and wisdom and love to stir up billions of hearts and minds to admire you and prize you above all things.” We ask him to

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Can a Reformed ministry bear fruit in an Arminan context?

I’m grateful to Adrian Warnock for pointing out this helpful article. I recently came to the same conclusion – preach the magnificence and supremacy of God! Here’s John Piper’s answer: Can my ministry flourish in an Arminian environment even though I hold to Reformed theology? I don’t want to encourage a pastor, whether a worship pastor or senior pastor or associate pastor, to act in a knee-jerk way about being out of sync with his church. It may have happened because he came into the church unaware of where they were. It may have happened because his theology changed after he got there. There are different reasons why you might wind up in this situation. And once you do, what I want to say first is, Don’t assume it can’t happen. Don’t assume flourishing can’t happen. And by “flourishing” I mean that over time the people would grow with you into greater truth about the sovereignty of God. And it

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Non-Conversational Preaching

David Wells, in his barn-burning book The Courage to be Protestant: “Preaching is not a conversation about some interesting ideas. It is not the moment in which postmoderns hear their own private message in the biblical words, one unique to each one who hears, and then go their own way. No! This is God speaking! He speaks through the stammering lips of the preacher where that preacher’s mind is on the text of Scripture and his heart is in the presence of God. God, as Luther puts it, lives in the preacher’s mouth. This is the kind of preaching that issues a summons, which nourishes the soul, which draws the congregation into the very presence of God so that no matter what aspect of his character, his truth, his working in this world is in focus, we leave with awe, gratitude, encouragement, and sometimes a rebuke. We have been in the very presence of God! This is what great preaching

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The Kingdom of Self vs. the Kingdom of God

Justin Taylor posts: From Paul Tripp’s chapter, “War of Words: Getting to the Heart for God’s Sake,” in the forthcoming book, The Power of Words and the Wonder of God: I would ask you again to be humbly honest with yourself as you are reading. If I sat with you and I listened to recording of the last month of your words, whose kingdom, what kingdom, would I conclude those words are spoken to serve? Would it be the kingdom of self with its self-focused demandingness, expectancy, and entitlement? Would I hear a person who is quick to criticize, quick to judge, quick to slam, and quick to condemn, because people are always violating the laws of your kingdom? Is the greatest moral offense in your life an offense that someone makes against the laws of your kingdom? When this happens do you use words as a punishment or as a weapon? Do you use words to rein this person

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Loosing our life for Christ’s sake

This ‘sermon jam’ of John Piper was compiled from a message at ‘Together for the Gospel’ 2008. I was there! It’s as stirring now as it was then. You can hear the whole message, How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice, here. (HT: Allsufficientgrace)

God-centered evangelism

“God-centered evangelism believes all men are fallen and will not come to God by their own power or will, because they are deaf, blind, dead and have no power for spiritual good. Their minds are at enmity with God, and left to themselves, they will not seek God. Men need new natures. We call this regeneration. Regeneration is the work of God alone, and this great work always produces conversion, which is repentance toward God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Regeneration is a big theological word that views salvation from God’s side—it is the instantaneous impartation of life. Paul calls it new creation. One may, or may not, be conscience of the exact moment when it takes place in them. Conversion, on the other hand, is viewing salvation from the human side. Repenting is something man does. Believing is something man does. Both are a result of what God does. This order is important if you are ever

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Why God Is Not a Megalomaniac in Demanding to Be Worshiped

Compelling evidence and logic from John Piper: Several years ago Wayne Grudem told me that I should come to ETS more often because I am surrounded by people at my church who largely agree with me and may not challenge me in the way I would be challenged here at ETS. Here people will be more critical, and I will be helped to avoid error and refine my thinking. So here I am, and I am looking for criticism—or at least penetrating questions that will help me avoid error and sharpen my biblical thinking. That means I aim to leave half my time for questions. That also means I can only give a few theses and a few arguments. What I am presenting is the nub of what I have been saying over and over for about 25 years. This will not be new. I hope that your questions about it will help me do better if the Lord gives

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Lewis Hamilton – World Champion!

How’s your focus, discipline, determination, perseverance, and motivation today? 1Cor. 9:24  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 1Cor. 9:25  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Cosy Christianity? I don’t think so!

Why John Piper wrote his latest book, Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ. “I am writing this book because I think the days that are coming will demand from the followers of Christ this change in the way we look at the world. It seems to me that Christians in the West are being coddled. We suffer little in the name of Christ. Therefore, we read the Bible not with a desperate hunger for the evidences of God’s triumph in pain, but with a view to improving our private pleasures. Therefore we read the Bible selectively. We pick a text here and there to fit our felt needs. This is like a doctor who forgets how to write prescriptions for the best antibiotics because everybody seems healthy, and he ahs spent the last decades tweaking good health with hip-hop exercise videos, unaware that pestilence is at the door. It’s like the soldier who forgets how

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“The essence of idolatry”

“The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him—and of her.” -A.W. Tozer (HT: Reformed Voices)

Carson, Keller & Piper – Glory!

The following hour-long conversation among Tim Keller, John, Piper, and D.A. Carson was filmed at the 2008 leadership meeting of The Gospel Coalition and recently posted on Facebook: A Conversation: Tim Keller, John Piper, and D.A. Carson (1 of 6) A Conversation: Tim Keller, John Piper, and D.A. Carson (2 of 6) A Conversation: Tim Keller, John Piper, and D.A. Carson (3 of 6) A Conversation: Tim Keller, John Piper, and D.A. Carson (4 of 6) A Conversation: Tim Keller, John Piper, and D.A. Carson (5 of 6) A Conversation: Tim Keller, John Piper, and D.A. Carson (6 of 6) My thanks to Justin Taylor for this.

Work out everything from what is ultimate

The Godward Focus of Faithfulness By John Piper: One of my long-standing dissatisfactions with the focus of biblical theology is the habit of tracing God’s faithfulness only as far back as his covenant-keeping. Righteousness (tsedeqa) is portrayed as covenant-keeping. Love (hesed) is portrayed as covenant-keeping. Faithfulness (emet) is portrayed as covenant-keeping. This has an ill-effect. It skews biblical revelation by making God’s relation with man seem more ultimate than God himself. There is always something more ultimate than God’s faithfulness to his covenant, namely, God’s faithfulness to God. If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. (2Timothy 2:13) Here is how Jeremiah pleads for God’s covenant-keeping mercy: “Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonor your glorious throne; remember and do not break your covenant with us.” (Jeremiah 14:21) Beneath covenant-keeping there is a more ultimate foundation: God’s allegiance to his name—God’s jealousy for the honor of the glory of his throne. This emphasis

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The Purpose of Theology

More from The Thirsty Theologian: As we approach the study of God, we need to consider the purpose for our pursuit of this knowledge. We need to question our motives. J. I. Packer asks, “What is my ultimate aim and object in occupying my mind with these things?” “[T]heological knowledge for its own sake,” he writes, “is bound to go bad on us.” “Knowledge puffs up. . . . The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know” (1 Cor 8:1–2). To be preoccupied with getting Theological knowledge as an end in itself, to approach Bible study with no higher motive than a desire to know all the answers, is the direct route to a state of self-satisfied self-deception. We need to guard our hearts against such an attitude, and pray to be kept from it. . . . There can be no spiritual health without doctrinal knowledge; but it is equally true that there can be

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Resolutions for [good/godly] mental health

From James Grant: I remember reading John Piper’s book The Pleasures of God and the list of 10 resolutions from Clyde Kilby on how to benefit your soul and mental health. Justin Buzzard posted them this week, and it was a helpful reminder. John Piper writes about Kilby, “He pled with us to stop seeking mental health in the mirror of self-analysis, but instead to drink in the remedies of God in nature.” Here are the resolutions: 1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me. 2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle, and an end.

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