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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

T4G: 2 Corinthians 3:18-4:6

The second message from Together for the Gospel that impacted me was John Piper's message from 2 Corinthians 3:18-4:6. From the post conference buzz, this is the message that people will remember for quite some time. But again, the sign (to me) that this message was outstanding was that I couldn't wait for a break, so I could look over the passage again.
4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart,
In context with verse 18, we are reminded that just as our introduction to the faith (justification) is for the Lord's glory, so is our walk in that faith (sanctification). Paul's ministry (specifically preaching) then, has the goal of glorifying God.
:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
A temptation for the preacher is to adapt his message to receive more favorable response. However, we show poor theology when we begin to adjust the message "for better results." For the Lord removes the veil (v 16), and to those whom the gospel is veiled, it will remain veiled. We must faithfully preach the text and trust that God will remove the veil to those whom He chooses.
6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
Glory is a big deal. It's mentioned in verse 18 (a couple of times), again in verse 4, and again in verse 6. How is the glory of God most boldly revealed? In the gospel message of Jesus Christ. We present the gospel message in a sermon not only because the atonement is the proper hermeneutic, but also because our goal, in every message should be to reveal the glory of God. That is best accomplished in the preaching of the gospel (which Piper gave a 5-fold description of that you will be seeing soon enough).

God alone can save. God alone can convict. God alone can change a heart.

While it is good for me to desire to see that in lives, I must remember that I can not produce those results. Therefore, my aim of my preaching should be to reveal the glory of God as evidenced in the gospel message. The number of filled seats, the offering, and even the "decisions" we see should not affect the message. My faithfulness to the text and to the gospel should be my standard.

Piper's message not only instructed us to do that, but modeled it brilliantly for us. A friend of mine has already labeled it "the best message I've ever heard" and he may very well be right. You can hear it by clicking here.

3 Comments:

  • At 10:30 AM, Anonymous mcgriff said…

    I agree that Pipers was the best sermon. Even though I am not a Pastor I found myself heart broken telling God that I want to do His will to bring Him glory.

    What seperates all these men from most pastors is their passionate belief of Gods Word. Many pastors today preach Gods Word and believe it, but a there a precious few who passionately with every ounce of their soul trust it as the Holy God's book and message to take to the world. These men pursue not their own desires, but only to have an understanding of Gods Truth and to reveal that truth to their flocks...

     
  • At 10:37 AM, Blogger DAO said…

    From one Danny to another...I too was floored after Piper's message! That evening, God was gracious to grant me several requests I made of Him by way of what I sensed as God-given goals for the conference. One was for repentance. One was to meet one new friend...the brother I sat next to named Lee from Canada. One was to meet John Piper...which incredibly happened in the restroom, upstairs somewhere after we left the ballroom rush up the escalator to find a quick way out. I was able to thank him for what he, under God, has done for my soul...and to ask a question about Calvin's definition of faith (Institutes: Book 3, ch 2, end of point 7) and it's heartbeat relationship to "Christian Hedonism"! What a treat from God, which typified the entire conference. Thanks, Praise and exultation be unto you, Oh Lord!
    Thanks Danny for your work here.
    DannyO

     
  • At 4:12 PM, Anonymous brian said…

    Danny thanks for the links, I look forward to listening to Piper's message. Hope you're doing well.

    Brian

     

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