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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Piper has a great exhortation this week (I've added the verses myself).

The Gospel gets bigger when, in your heart,

  • grace gets bigger (Romans 5:15);
  • Christ gets greater (John 3:30);
  • his death gets more wonderful (Hebrews 12:2-3);
  • his resurrection gets more astonishing (Acts 2:24);
  • the work of the Spirit gets mightier (Romans 15:13);
  • the power of the gospel gets more pervasive (1 Corith.
    1:18
    );
  • its global extent gets wider (2 Corinth. 2:14);
  • your own sin gets uglier (Psalm 11:5);
  • the devil gets more evil (Ephesians 6:12);
  • the gospel's roots in eternity go deeper (Ephesians
    3:8-11
    );
  • its connections with everything in the Bible and in the world get stronger
    (Colossians 1:15-17);
  • and the magnitude of its celebration in eternity gets louder (Rev. 5:6-14).

7 comments:

Steve said...

"He must increase, we must decrease."

The gospel gets bigger when we get off the self-focused holiness project.

Darius said...

Have you read Piper's Desiring God book? His premise is that God is most glorified when we find our greatest pleasure in Him. And thus, we pursue holiness not as an end in itself, but out of our thirst for God and His glory. It's a very good book!

Chris A said...

"Our temptation is to think that the gospel is for beginners and then we go on to greater things. But the real challenge is to see the gospel as the greatest thing—and getting greater all the time."

Exactly right. I can personally say I have fallen into this trap. I think this is has its basis in the narrow perspective in which the Gospel has been confined.

When we look in the gospels, we see this term: Gospel of the Kingdom. I think many look at the aspect of the Gospel that communicates how one gains entrance into the kingdom as the Gospel, when in fact that is just the beginning of a new life one enters upon his escape from the kingdom of darkness. This too is Gospel. Certainly we must emphasize the birth, death, life, and resurrection of Christ in order that the Holy Spirit may convict the lost of sin to the end that they would confess with their mouths in order to bring forth salvation. But is that the end of the story? No, actually there is no end to it.

After rising from the dead and being seen by many, Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father where he remains until the restitution of all things, after which time he will return to the earth and establish a government that will literally have no end.

That is why, although heaven after death is important, the disproportionate emphasis of that aspect of the Gospel has actually been at the expense of the rest of it. The imminent return of Christ has been reclassified as eschatology and has been treated like the special features on a DVD.

Darius said...

Yep, the already/not yet aspects need equal play in our lives. We need to preach the gospel continually to ourselves, and to others.

Steve Martin said...

Darius,

I heard Piper before.

Too many 'we's' in there.

We ought this and we ought that, and we should this...no thanks.

Been there, done that.

I'm free of all that. It's what Christ has done for us that is important and where the focus ought be.

So...now I'm a Lutheran.

Darius said...

Both from your comment and some of your blog posts, it seems like you protest somewhat of a straw man (or at least, I'm not entirely clear what you are against). I'm sure there are plenty of legalistic, works-oriented "Christians" out there, but Piper is most certainly not one of them. He is a Christian Hedonist, which means that what Christ has done should, like James said, cause us to worship Him, not out of duty but out of a genuine pursuit of pleasure in His glory and grace. What exactly do you disagree with?

Steve Martin said...

Darius,

I'm spoiled. I have been used to good solid law /gospel preaching for the last 12 years.

The law to kill us off to our righteousness project (the getting better project), and the gospel to raise us again after the law has done it's job on us. So we leave feeling the joy of the forgiveness of our sins.

With Piper there always seems something for us to strive to feel, or to understand or grasp.

After I hear him preach I haven't been killed off but puished towards some higher level.

You never quite arrive that way.

Don't get me wrong, he's better than many...but as I say...I'm spoiled.

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The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables


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