Saturday, May 06, 2006

Piper: God Exulting Preaching!

Piper is infectious! No, I don't mean that he has some highly communicable deadly disease. Rather, he has a passion that when expressed makes those who tune in to him want to express a like passion. This was no more demonstrated than on Thursday evening as Piper stepped to the platform to deliver the message, "Why Expostional Preaching Is Particularly Glorifying to God." Whenever I hear John preach the thing that moves me most is that i truly get the sense that he believes what he is saying. It is not just an intellectual exercise, nor is it a pursuit of the accommodation of men. John says what he means and he means what he says. For this we can all be thankful. For this we can all take courage.

CJ Mahaney introduced John Piper with these words: "No one in modern evangelicalism has helped evangelicals recover the Reformer's emphasis on the glory of God more than John Piper." If there is anything that needs to be shouted from the roof tops of every American church it is that God is glorious and no one and nothing else is. If there is a message that I would preach to the predominantly African-American church today it would be that God is more holy, more glorious, and more serious, and less amused than the vast majority of these places understand. With prophets and bishops engaging in self-aggrandizing and the glory of God eclipsed by self-promoting pastors, God says "an appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priest (pastors) rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?" (Jer. 5:30-31) These are sobering words and Piper reminded us just how urgent is the call to proclaim the weightiness of God. Do our people understand that the end is coming? Do our people understand that God is more jealous for His glory than anything else? Do our people hear in us a valuing of God's glory in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Are we totally confident and satisfied in His lordship over our lives and all of creation? Do our lives and our preaching reflect the urgency of our call and say how much of God we want and how little of this world we desire? These are the questions I am challenged with as I listen to Piper. I say to myself, I can preach better. I must preach better. Eternity rest in the balance. For we must not be like so many, peddlers of God's word, but must be men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ (2Cor. 2:17). Thanks John, for being a fragrance from life to life to us (2Cor. 2:16). May we all strive to be so aromatic.

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