Monday, May 11, 2009

John Piper @ the Basics conference

Title:  We work with you for you joy.  

Piper prays that our time together be maximumly useful for the Gospel.

II Corinthians 1:24
Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy.  For you stand firm in your faith.  

Paul works for the joy of his churches.

Do we?  Is that the point of our pastoral ambition?  Paul is after the awakening of the affection of joy in his people.  

II Corinthians 11:23-

Joy is costing Paul his life.  That's what we're supposed to do in the ministry: work for the joy of his people.  

This is a thought-through, deeply rooted statement of his ministry.  

II Corinthians 2:1-4
2:1 For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained?  3 And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. 4 For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

One of the reason Paul works for joy is because the joy of his people brings him joy as well.  Working for their joy brings him joy.  

So what is the point of all this joy?  Is this simply a sop for the spiritual needy? 

No, when we see the universe-creating and miracle-working power, righteousness-performing and wrath-bearing death it brings joy.  If you don't delight in that, you don't see it!  

The devil blinds the eyes of unbelievers so they can't see the beauty and joy of Christ.  Our job is to open their eyes!  I have to present Jesus to my people every week!

Our task is to so labor, so live, so counsel, so preach so that our church rises in joy toward Jesus Christ.  

What about duty?  What about sacrifice?  What about all the missing people on Sunday night?

The point of all the joy is not a pampering, but a preparing to suffer.  

Duty driven sacrifice for Jesus will not impress the world.  Many in the world can gut out their sacrifices.  Few can rejoice in the day they suffer for the Lord.  

Matthew 5:11-12
11“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

We're not pampering our people.  It's not some soft, tender psychological community.  It's a radical Christ-focused joy that stands when everything else falls away.  

"I'm a western, wimpy, non-suffering pastor.  I know that.  So I try to listen to those who live with pain.  And they all seem to say what I see" in these verses.  

How do you do this?  Work with them for their joy.  

Show Christ as extremely desirable.  Let them know, help them see that jobs, wealth, prosperity, homes and all those things are not to be desired like Christ.  Where there treasure is their heart and everything else will follow. 

How?  "Live it, brothers!"  

"You have to get up every day and fight the fight.  We must get up every day.  There is nothing automatic about the victories."

George Mueller: "I wake up every morning and labor to be happy in Jesus."

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