Saturday, October 07, 2006

Business Advice

(From George Mueller's Autobiography)


May 26, 1851. The Christian should never worry about tomorrow or give sparingly because of a possible future need. Only the present moment is ours to serve the Lord, and tomorrow may never come. Money is really worth no more than as it can be used to accomplish the Lord’s work. Life Is worth as much as It is spent for the Lord’s service.

Any occupation can be used to serve the Lord, but certain principles must be followed in secular work. The Christian must guard against any attitudes or practices that will keep him from experiencing God’s, abundant prosperity. God is not likely to bless anything that leads a believer to depend more on himself or his circumstances than on the living God. For example, the Christian businessman should not feel compelled to have an extravagant shop, use boastful advertisements, or rent the most desirable and expensive location in order to have a prosperous business. Of course, his shop should be clean and orderly, he should announce the availability of his product and be located conveniently for customers. But he must not trust in these things as the reason for his ultimate success. A believer should rest and trust only in God.

The children of God often use such expressions as “This is our busy time,” or “This is our slow time.” This implies that they are not seeking God daily about their calling. Instead, they ascribe their prosperity to times and seasons. The scripture, “He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58) contains a truth which may be applied here. The child of God should say, “About this time of the year, business is generally slow. But I desire to serve God in my business and to help those who are in need. By prayer and faith, I can obtain a blessing from my heavenly Father, although this is usually not a busy season.”

A further reason why God may not bless His children in their business may be because they are careful to hire “good salesmen”—people who have such persuasive ways that they gain an advantage over the customers. They convince them not only to buy the articles for which they ask, whether suitable or not, but they also induce customers to buy things they did not intend to buy at all. This is no less than defrauding people in a subtle way, leading them into the sin of purchasing beyond their means or, at least, spending their money needlessly. Although such sinful tricks ma~ be allowed to prosper in the case of a man of the world, a child of God who uses such tactics will not be blessed.

Another reason why children of God do not succeed in their calling is that they try to begin their business with too little capital. If a believer has no capital at all, or very little capital in comparison with what his business requires, he should ask himself, “If it is my heavenly Father’s will that I begin this business, He would have given me the money I need to get started. And since He has not, is this a plain indication that for now I should remain at my present job?”

God can provide the money in a variety of ways. But if He does not remove the hindrance, and the brother still goes into business and buys everything he needs on credit, he will only give himself reason to worry about bills. The best thing for a brother to do in this circumstance is to acknowledge his sin and seek God’s merciful help to bring him into a right position.

Suppose all these previous points are carried out, but we neglect to seek God’s blessing on our calling. We should not be surprised if we meet with difficulty upon difficulty. It is not enough that we seek God’s help for spiritual things. We should seek His help and blessing by prayer and supplication for all our ordinary concerns in life. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct Thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). (212-215)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Random Thoughts on the Sign Gifts

Christian Thought: Random Thoughts on the Sign Gifts

Julian posts on the sign gifts in light of what he saw at Covenant Life Church. There is some excellent discussion taking place in the comments...

Anthony Carter Blog

Non Nobis Domine (Not Unto Us, O Lord)

My friend Carl pointed me to Anthony Carter's blog today. I first ran in to Anthony at the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors several years ago. An engaging preacher, real gentleman and thoughtful author - his blog will be worth bookmarking!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Teaser: Martyn's Biographer on His "Ministerial Tenderness"

Journals and Letters of the Rev. Henry Martyn, B.D.:

"Great too was his ministerial tenderness. His holy condemnation of sin was never mingled with any of the harshness of invective. When compelled to wield the sword of the Spirit for the conviction of sinners, it was 'even weeping' that he taught them what it was "to be the enemies of the cross of Christ." He could scarcely speak of the concerns of immortal souls without tears; often have I heard the voice which was telling of the return of some repentant prodigal falter with suppressed emotion, and seen the eye which by faith contemplated the realities of eternity, fill with the tear of grateful joy. None ever came to heal the wounds of souls, who possessed a softer touch, a more exquisite sensibility of spirit; he was the chosen comforter of sorrow, the "son of consolation" to wounded hearts. Though he always spoke out in condemning sin; though he dared not hide the holiness of God under a meretricious representation of his mercy, yet it was his especial delight to be in his master's hands, the means of gently kindling to a flame the smoking flax, or raising tenderly the bruised reed. Indeed it might have been said, that this was the peculiar feature of his ministerial character, if there had not been another in which all the rest seemed to be merged. The grace of God had wrought in an unusual degree within his soul, that which was the distinguishing character of Herbert's 'Pastor.' "Holiness to the Lord" was imprinted upon all his conduct. He could not bear sin; he viewed it with holy indignation. Its struggles in himself, and its frequent prevalence in his people, were the causes of his deepest sorrow. All attempts to make light of its defilement, to lower down the standard of God to the debased conceptions of fallen man, excited within him a vehement indignation, and a holy zeal for God, which might have been deemed by those who witnessed them alone, as almost incompatible with that deep and abiding tenderness which had been breathed over his soul. It was indeed the union of these two qualities, which distinguished his ministerial character, which reached the conscience of the careless, which detected the disguises of the false professor, which comforted the broken-hearted, and encouraged the believer in new and increasing endeavours after conformity with God. The influence of his character extended beyond the limits of his own parish. Many were the brother presbyters whose hands he strengthened, whose hearts he animated, whose knowledge he increased. It was a sad, though a soothing sight, to witness on the day when the earth closed over his beloved remains, the mournful train of neighbouring pastors, who with entire submission to the master of the shepherds, wept over their own loss, saying from the heart, "Alas, my father! alas, my brother." (emphasis mine)

Journals and Letters of the Rev. Henry Martyn, B.D.

Journals and Letters of the Rev. Henry Martyn, B.D.

Henry Martyn led an amazing, albeit brief, missionary career through India and some surrounding countries. Although he died at a young age, he managed in six years to "translate the New Testament into Hindi and Persian, revise an Arabic translation of the New Testament, and translate the Psalter into Persian and the Prayer Book into Hindi." He was no slacker!

I stumbled across this site today while researching his work that contains his journals in full. Here is a good thing to bookmark and read - especially when discouraged or disheartened!

Piper / Driscoll E-mail Exchange

Thank You, Dr. John Piper | TheResurgence

This is no surprise (thankfully!)... Piper and Driscoll remain friends!

Al Mohler on 4D Ultasounds and Culture of Death

The View into the Womb is "Extraordinarily Dangerous?":

"Look closely at those statements. Dr. Donald Peebles says that what we see with our own eyes is an illusion. He fears that we will associate the fetal actions with 'adult movements' Actually, that is largely beside the point. No one is mistaking the fetus as an adult -- but those movements are recognizably and undeniably human, and that is the point.

That baby has been human from the moment of conception --the point of fertilization. As such, the baby deserves full protection and respect. Our eyes have now seen this baby at 12 weeks, and we see the revelation of who that baby really is -- one of us. This is one key reason why the abortion debate is on shifting ground -- and why the abortion rights movement is playing defense.

Amazingly, Dr. Peebles calls these images 'extraordinarily dangerous.' They are, of course, extraordinarily dangerous -- dangerous to the Culture of Death."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Grace Fellowship Church: Walter on Getting a Job and Going to Work

Grace Fellowship Church: Walter on Getting a Job and Going to Work:

I was musing over one of Walter's letters today and had to chuckle at this little bit:

"I have known men who can spend heaps of energy figuring out how not to work that, had they just put the same into a shovel for an hour, they could have dug 4 miles of ditch. Some men move so slow you'd think their wife fed them led pancakes for breakfast and poured concrete in their shoes! The sluggard gets himself to the table, but never gets his hand from the bowl to his mouth - that's too much work! (Pr 19:24; 26:15). He squeaks like a rusty hinge, but for all his noise he only goes back and forth, never forward (Pr 26:14).

Solomon said, the 'idle suffer hunger' (Pr 19:15 ) and 'hunger drives a man to work' (Pr 16:26 ), but the sluggard would rather sleep with a growling stomach than work for a full one. If Saul had ten excuses for not destroying the Amalekites, the sluggard has 100 for not going to work. The sluggard says, 'There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!' (Pr 26:13). And I know that lion's Latin classification: occupationale avoidest"

You can read the whole letter at the link above.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Uber-blogger, Pan Flute and Yoko Ono

Someone asked me if I was posting my notes from the DG Conference to compete with Tim Challies. Let me just be clear about that.
Tim is the Bono of bloggers... and I am the guy attempting to play pan flute on a Minneapolis street corner! No competition.
I took along the laptop to get some notes from the conference, but sitting by Tim all the time and listening to that constant tap of the keypad provoked me. At T4G, I would sometimes get mesmerized by the blur of fingers beside me, so, at the very moment the conference began, I decided to type what I could in order to better focus on the preaching.
Here is what I found out. I type WAY faster than I write - so I could get a lot more down. Also, typing like that as a guy preaches throws your brain (my brain, at least) into another stratosphere. You have to stay entirely focused. Like Tim said today, there is one sense where you have to go back and read your own notes again to really think through the sermon. But what a joy to do this. It all just registers in a different and deeper way.
Anyway, I was blessed by the effort and since I had promised to blog something from the conference I figured I would post my notes. The real live-blogging notes, though, are at You can see what a gift Tim has for this if you compare some of our work. He is light years ahead of me in content, flow and sense. And HE had all the pressure on him!
So, sorry. No competition. And if I had thought anyone would think that, I wouldn't have even posted them. I did email Adrian Warnock to let him know of my posts and he was gracious to put a link up - but that was only after I had read his post about other bloggers and not seen kerux noemata on the list. I knew Tim was not posting the panel discussions so I thought somebody might like to read that.
Anyway, I wanted to make sure everybody knew that Tim was the man and I was merely a thankful guest along for the ride! But, of course, this whole post might sound like Yoko Ono clarifying that John Lennon was the real talent. Sorry to bother you!

DG: Conference Audio Available Here

Event Messages by Date :: Desiring God

You can download the audio of the Desiring God '06 Conference at the link above. I highly commend to you John Piper's message.

This is Relevant? (DG 2006)

Please don't get me wrong... I enjoyed listening to Mark Driscoll. But I thought this was just about the most ironic thing in the world - and the funniest moment at the DG Conference! The ultra-hip, way-cool, pomo-sensitive, jean-wearing, chain-sporting Driscoll... gives away a pen?

How 70's!

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Monday, October 02, 2006

DG: Conference Pics

You should really check Tim and Timmy's pics if you want good ones. Here are some I took with my small camera.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

DG: Conference Reflections #1

The conference ended with some final goodbyes and Alex Chediak driving us to the airport after lunch. We had eaten at Brit’s where Challies ordered himself the shepherd’s pie. Now this is something I have never understood… first of all, how restaurants can serve this and secondly, why anyone would order it!

When I was a boy, shepherd’s pie meant mom was cleaning out the fridge of leftovers, and – boy, do I love my mom – I was never a fan of the pie. Unless there was ketchup. But that is another story.

Challies is reading (surprise!) beside me and I am left with that happy feeling one gets after sitting under wonderful, Christ-exalting preaching. That is precisely what John Piper did today and I must admit that this whole conference reached its pinnacle then.

One of the things that marks great preaching, in my mind, is that moment when the preacher fades and the glory of God becomes something almost tangible. That happened on several occasions today and made me doubly glad I was here – my soul was blessed and my heart was fed. It makes me want to preach better, too.

I think that is one of the indefinable benefits of a conference like this. It is not that you “pick up a few pointers” on preaching. Rather, you experience great preaching and it inspires you to work harder and pray more and seek the presence of God more.

I am a firm believer that pastors need that. If all you ever hear is your own voice I think you are prone to repetition and a comfortableness with less glory. Get around those that are closer to God than you – that is best thing you can do!

Today is also the 14th birthday of my oldest – I can hardly wait to get home! I remember the birth of my child like it was yesterday and can not believe how the years have flown by. 29,000 feet and 330 knots. Here we come Milwaukee! The descent begins…

DG: Final Message Sunday Morning (John Piper)

[Note: I had a little trouble keeping up with the pace of the points and worked hard to get down the things Piper said that I thought were not in the manuscript. You will need to check the manuscript online for more accuracy on the main points.]

  1. The manuscript will be available online
  2. I have tasted what it is like to have a son and not have him be where I want him to be. I want that to be the feeling you emergent types have of me and this message.
  3. Someone exhorted me. “You sounded a warning that Mark can exploit his gifted cleverness. Mark is clever at the cultural level; you are clever at the academic level.” We are all in this danger together and we need prayer.

John 17:13 is the root of this message.

First I will give the short version of this message then the long one

1. Jesus greatest joy is in his father’s glory. Carson said: “Jesus joy in doing the will of His Father...” The source of the joy is deeper than just the doing. In this verse, Jesus wants you to enjoy the Father the way HE enjoys the Father.

2. This joy is conveyed to you by Spirit-anointed propositions. “These things I speak in the world…” things like verse 6, 10, 12, 9, 3. In words, propositions and understandable language! These very words bring joy when the Spirit comes and reveals them and it will become a passion for me.

The point of this in relation to pomo is to affirm that joy is doctrinally based if it is to glorify Jesus Christ. This is in the face of all the debunking of expositional preaching, etc. This is the way to find Christ-exalting joy.

Now I will preach this in long version in ten steps of a mounting argument.

1. God is the only being who has no beginning and therefore all else is dependent on Him for their existence and value and is therefore less valuable than God.

Neither of these statements are true to the pomo. If you do not believe these or if you hide them, you will hinder the proclamation of Christ.

Exodus 3 “I am who I am.” God does not get his being or character from anything outside of himself. He always “is.” He is self-determined. He is just there. We reckon with him or we perish. He brings us into being and we deal with him. “I am alpha and omega.”

Therefore there is an incalculable difference in value between us.

Isaiah 40:15-17

You are incalculably less valuable than God. I paused here and thought about the fact that I am supposed to be relevant. What cool thing would Driscoll say? So, I am going to try. There is an incalculable difference between what he would do now and what I am going to do. He would have really relevant names to put with this. “Would you watch a football game where all the players are no better than you?” Movies, museums, etc. Why are so many people so willing to be shown to be inferior all the time? The Biblical answer is that God made us so that we admire superiority in others – mainly Himself. Your biggest joy is in admiring Him.

2. From eternity God is supremely joyful in Trinity so that there is no defect in Him that would prompt Him to create the world.

Acts 17:25 – Psalm 50 – Call upon Me. I am bread you are hungry. I am water and you are thirsty. I act from fullness. I am content in fellowship of the Trinity. Human language cannot express how well-pleased God is with the Son. He enjoys the son infinitely, and with no need of you at all.

Some day Jesus will say “Enter into the joy of your master!” What joy is that! Omnipotent joy!

3. God created humans in his own image that he might be known and enjoyed by them and in that way display the supreme value of his glory – the beauty of his manifold perfections.

Isaiah 43:6-7 – He gave you a mind and heart (affection and reflection) so that you would glorify him in way different than a mountain. You grasp his glory and consciously know it like no other being knows it. Then you would savour it and delight in it and reflect its value. Minds and emotions were not a mistake. His purpose was to reflect his glory by being known and enjoyed.

Hab 2:14

Ps 96:3

Ez 28:2

Ro 9:23

Col 1:27

He made known the riches of his glory – they can be known to a degree.

2 Cor 4:6 – he gave you a brain for his glory to be made known

In the OT, the enemies of God were so aware of this that they knew (IS 66:5) how to be cynical to the remnant.

Why did Jude say at the close of his letter, “and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with rejoicing.” They knew this. To see the glory of God is the means by which we come to enjoy it in our hearts.

There is a massive obstacle in the way – god’s wrath and our sin.

4. Jesus came into the world to absorb the wrath of God so that all who receive Christ… [you will have to fill in online]

There is no place for the wrath of God and therefore there is no place for a wrath-bearing Savior. There is no place for the gospel.

A church leader heaped scorn on this view of the atonement three years ago. “The cross is not vengeful child abuse… such a concept stands in total opposition to the statement God is love…” With one cynical stroke of the pen, the atonement is blasphemed. God is not mocked – His words stand firm and clear and merciful.

Is 53 – wounded for our transgressions…

Christ became a curse for us – cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree – what the Law could not do weak as it was in the flesh, God did… - who’s sin? My sin. Who’s flesh? His flesh. Who’ condemnation? The Father. I don’t like critiquing these people – this is heartbreaking. But what can you do when they attack the center with blasphemous cynicism. Nothing is more crucial for humanity than to escape the omnipotent wrath of God. Escape form hell is not the ultimate goal of the cross. It is very important, but 1 Peter 3:18 says “suffered once, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to god.” That is the goal of the cross. Bring me to everlasting joy. The end is god enjoying God.

5. The enjoyment of God is the deepest way god’s glory is reflected back to him. It terminates on God alone. It is not performed as a means to anything else. It is the deepest reverberation in the heart of man of the value of Gods glory.

That statement changes everything if it is true. We cannot enjoy God as a means to anything. It is not an act for the sake of something beyond god. You do not enjoy your wife so that she will make you supper. You do not enjoy a sunset so that you can become a poet. There are no “so that’s” after joy. I am saying that joy was designed by God as the deepest way to bring him glory.

Joy in its nature is the spontaneous result as a witness to what you treasure – it reveals more authentic than anything what you treasure. Where your treasure is there will your heart be. Joy is unique in its capacity to witness to what we treasure.

There is no such thing as hypocritical joy. There may be hypocritical testimony about joy, but no hypocritical joy. It is either there or it is not there. God knew what he was doing.

His aim is that we reflect the worth of His glory. Joy is the clearest witness to what you enjoy.

6. Nevertheless, the enjoyment of God in Christ is the spring of all self-denying sacrificial love that display to others the world of god in our lives. God can see the reflection of his worth hidden in our hearts enjoyment of his glory but God aims at more than hidden reflections., he aims for this glory to be visible to others not just to himself. Therefore God had constitutes us so that our enjoyment of him overflows in our visible love to others.

2cor 8:1-2. There is joy in affliction. Affliction was added to poverty when they believed. .. yet there joy is producing giving to others! These acts of love bring visible glory to God.

Matthew 5:16 “let light shine before men…” What is the light? The answer is verse 12. Great is your reward in heaven – Jesus! So you are the salt and light when you have that crazy response to suffering – joy! If the world says false things about you, and you cannot rejoice in God – your light cannot shine. If you cut out a few good deeds, you get the glory. But if joy is deep… the world has a problem on its hands! How can this be explained. I so want to be that way.

There is no doubt that the pomo world must hear the gospel and see the glory of god flowing in many streams of radical love that come from joy in god. When you enjoy god, he is honoured.

7. The only joy that reflects the worth of god and God glorifying love is rooted in the true knowledge of God. The only god-glorifying joy that flows from the mystery of what we don’t know about god rises from the projection into the unknown of what we do know. To the degree that our knowledge is small or flawed our projections will probably be distorting the joy based on them is a poor echo of his true excellence.

Neh 8:12 – they understood the words declared to them (levitical expository efforts) and they had joy that resulted in great giving

Two on the road to Emmaus – did not our hearts burn within us?

Twice Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you that your joy might be full.” Words, propositions, flows of argument that open the Word to the people of God. That is the pastor’s job. Don’t let propositions or languages be mocked in your presence.

John 15:11

The main thing that comes through words when Holy spirit uses them is Christ. 1 Samuel 3:21 – the Lord revealed himself to Samuel by the word of the lord. Self by word. If the joy that our people have is to reflect the glory of God it must flow through the minds’ perception of what is true about the glory of god. If you say my joy is in the journey, you make an idol out of the journey and a disappointment of heaven.

Jesus is not honored most by an exploration of Christologies.

Jesus is honored by our knowing and treasuring him for who he really is. Our feelings about him do not make him what he is. He is. If you value what is not true about him, you undermine Christ-exalting joy.

Where is the place of mystery? Now we see in a glass dimly, then face to face. What I know about God is so small compared to what I will one day know. How should my unknowing effect the knowing?

Getting saved is like being catapulted into the mountain ranges of God’s glory. Every corner you hike and turn and see you bow down and worship. But off in the distance are more ranges and more. Knowing that has a Christ-exalting effect if that unknowing is a projection out of knowing.

8. Therefore the right knowledge of God is the servant of god-glorifying joy in God and god glorifying love for people. Having ignorance of god hinders joy and love. Ignorance of God and errors in thinking about God hinder god-glorifying friendships.

Emergent Village website: “We believe in God… but you won’t find a traditional statement of faith here…statements tend to stifle friendships…” Precisely for the sake of friendship, we seek to know.

Are there any statements which if your friend really believes them would destroy you? Like, Jesus is not God, or, Jesus did not die for our sins, etc. If a person really believes this, would not stating the opposite help?

Lewis “the Four Loves.” Friendship is not face to face but shoulder to shoulder with a common interest and challenge.

The greater the shared vision of God – the deeper the friendship.

I am probably going to die, that’s my eschatology. When I die, I want my friends around me. We share a vision of god and truths about wrath and forgiveness and hell and heaven. They are so unshakable and rich. I am sad about cut flower friendships that do not survive outside the soil of truth. If a friendship and its joy are cut off from truth, they cannot glorify the god of Truth.

Even if an angel form heaven should preach to a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you let him be accursed.

You can have tolerance and courtesy… but not deep friendship.

9. Therefore let us not marginalize or minimize healthy biblical doctrine about the nature of God and the world of God in Christ but rather let us embrace it and cherish it and build our friendships and church on it.

10. And thus may the church become the pillar and buttress of truth and therefore of the love and joy and the display of the glory of God and supremacy of Christ in all things.

The conference closed with the singing of The Solid Rock.

ON Christ the solid rock I stand.

DG: Session #5: “The Supremacy of Christ and Love in a Postmodern World” (Don Carson)

We sand “Here I am to Worship” Tonight is the full orchestra along with a choir (looks like some 30 or so in that) plus the 12 or so song leaders. “Agnus Dei” by Michael W. Smith was next. The choir performed two numbers, the second of which was “What Wondrous Love Was This?” The we sand “And Can it Be?” Not so bad, these hymns and songs! We finished with quite an amazing corporate singing of “I Will Glory in My Redeemer.”

Dr Piper introduced Dr Carson quoting from the “Gagging of God.” He noted that he felt a deep debt to Dr Carson in so many ways.

John 17 was read and Dr Carson asked that all might respond with the words, “Thanks be to God” after he said, “This is the Word of the Lord” at the end of the reading. [It struck me tonight as we sang and read the Word how we had passed at least a couple of thousand Muslims in the convention centre on their way to prayers… and how the convention centre staff sits through all these sessions, many of them ignoring every thing that is being said.]

Dr. Carson began by quoting an old song. The song suggests we need more love in the world. But what love is this talking about? The song has just enough truth to make us feel good about ourselves. Jesus utters five specific petitions to His followers concerning love on behalf of his followers. They are interwoven, grounded in the Gospel and in God’s intra-Trinitarian love. They are profoundly bound up with the truth that God is love.

I want to trace out these 5 petitions and the ground behind the petition and the purpose of the petition. After we do this, we will think about what this means in the Gospel and in our lives.

1. Jesus prays that god will keep his followers safe (:11-12).

Protection from the devil. The reason for the petition? Because Jesus is going away on this the “darkest and brightest of nights.” He is about to go to the cross. His great concern for his followers, because they are not of the world and the world will trip them up.

2. Jesus prays that his disciples will be one (:

We know there is mystery of the unity in the Trinity. The reason for this prayer is Jesus Himself. Verse 22 is much the same. Further, so the world will believe that God sent Jesus (:23). This is missiological. As we love one another, we gradually teach the world a little more about what God is like. What Jesus is concerned about is the vindication of God – not so that the world would get saved, but “that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Clearly, God is concerned about the salvation of the world, but that is not the focus here.

3. Jesus prays that god would sanctify his followers (:17)

The reason they are sanctified is the truth. Have you thought how often that idea is taught in Scripture without saying the same words. Moses to Joshua. Psalm 1. Deuteronomy 17 closing verses. Romans 12:1-2. “You are not what you think you are – but what you think, you are.” Sanctification must transform what we think. He offers a certain pattern – as He has been sanctified. The Reformers sometimes spoke of positional sanctification – that you used to belong to the world but now you belong to God. The Corinthians are sanctified but they jolly well need to be sanctified too! What does Jesus mean that he grew in sanctification? He knew no sin. He was never progressively sanctified. By sanctifying himself he goes to the cross and effects our sanctification. They cannot be sanctified apart from Jesus’ work on the cross.

Jesus prays for the world.

4. Jesus prays his disciples would experience the full measure of his joy (:13).

The reason he wants them to have this joy, because he is going to the Father and they will no longer see him. But his joy was in doing the Father’s will. He prays these things now so they will remember them.

5. Jesus prays that his followers will be with him forever (:24)

This is part of a massive stream through the bible of God dwelling with his people. “I will be their God and they will be my people.” John 14:1ff Jesus said he was going to prepare a place for them. What is the ground or reason for this? That the Father loved Christ before the foundation of the world. The purpose is to go and see Jesus in his glory – not to have a big party in heaven. We go to heaven not to be saved, but to see Jesus’ glory. God has determined because of his love for his son that his son’s glory will be seen. Sometimes we domesticate heaven by our self-centered assumptions.

This is a most slim and inadequate treatment of this section.

Here it is helpful to trace out some of John’s themes to understand this.

1. The supremacy of Jesus Christ in the mediation of God’s love (:25-26).

All of this coming to know god is bound up with the glorious prospect of knowing this love which Christ has already known. 17:25-26 harks back to the beginning of the chapter. I cannot unpack this without unpacking John 1:14-18 and the theme of God’s glory. These 5 verses have 6 references back to Exodus 32-34. “The Word became flesh and tabernacled amongst us we beheld His glory.” John tracks out the glory theme – Jesus turns water into wine and they behold His glory. Again and again this theme is developed until you come to 12:23. Jesus is returning to the glory He had with the Father – but through being lifted up on the cross. “I will cause all of my goodness to pass in front of you” – John understood what this meant!

The very revelation of Jesus Christ is out of the matrix of the Father’s love for the son. All of God’s love for us is precisely mediated to us by all of God’s love for His son. When you think of the love of God, how do you demonstrate it. We are a family of birdwatchers and we love to see what God has done in creation. But if you really want to see the glory and goodness of God – then you come to a small hill outside Jerusalem.

How is the cross love?

McGill University had me getting to know a Pakistan Muslim. He was trying to convert me – even though it took me a while to figure it out. He asked how can there be one god when you say there are three? What is infinity plus infinity plus infinity? He urged him to read John. On a trip to Ottawa, they ended up with a Pakistani Muslim asking, “Where is Jesus Christ?” He understood that grace and truth came in Jesus Christ.

2. The role of Jesus Christ in the experience of God’s love (John 5:9f)

The Rabbi’s were debating whether or not God obeys the Law. The paralyzed man carries his mat which breaks the Rabbi’s interpretation of Law. Jesus replies that He is working and His Father is working too! He is very close to making Himself out to be God. All that follows this is Jesus describing his relationship with the Father. One more bit of background. For us, sonship is bound up with genes. But in the first century had another set of associations with it – the son ended up doing what the father did. You learn from your father. Jesus is called both “the son of the carpenter” and “the carpenter.” He is also called “son of Belial” – the worthless one.

Sonship is a functional category.

5:19 – the son can do nothing by himself… for the Father loves the Son and shows Him all he does… Does this language jeopardize Jesus deity? No. No Gospel is so clear on the deity on Christ – but no Gospel demonstrates the functional dependence of the son on the father.

8:29 – “I always do what pleases him…”

“Whatever the father does, the son also does…” This is a massive statement. The son perfectly reflects the Father. Because the Father loves the Son and shows Him all.

14:29 – Jesus’ love is demonstrated by doing exactly what His Father has commanded him. Within the Trinitarian relationships, the Father gives and commands. We must think of the eternal Father’s love for the Son before we can think of God’s love for us.

3. The exclusiveness of Jesus Christ in our experience of God’s love (17)

What guarantees that Jesus reflects the will of God so perfectly is the perfection f the intra-trinitarian love of God. The ultimate purpose of Jesus going to the cross is to obey His Father. “Not my will but yours be done.” He loves the Son, so that is why He sends the Son to the cross. He is determined that all will honour the Son as they honour the Father.

When justification is well-defined, the first that is clear is that god is vindicated. Then you are prepared to read John 3:16. The love of God is simply past finding out.

When Jesus prays for our oneness, He is praying for our mutual love for one another. A willingness to do whatever He gives us to do. We are modeling our oneness on God! That the world may know you…

Christians are so to love each other that they tell others of Jesus. This is gospel love.

What has this to do with pomo?

Many recent books suggest that the essence of the gospel is in the great commandment. These books say we must look at the teaching of Jesus to know the Gospel. This is tragic beyond utterance.

We used to say, “the gospel according to _________” We are all perspecitivalists. We just need to admit it. But they are all bearing witness to one gospel. There is no good news without cross and resurrection. The “gospel of Thomas” is not a gospel – it has no cross or resurrection! If you think the gospel is the greatest commandment and activity – you have sold out the gospel. Recommend you read, “The Cross at a Distance”

Extended quotes from 1 John.

I love because you first loved me.

DG: Speaker Panel (Saturday Afternoon – Baucham, Piper, Carson, Wells with JT as moderator)

JT: Dr. Wells, it seems accepted in society that people are spiritual but not religious… can you expound on this?

DW: I am hugely relieved that Mark has left, as I was feeling a little bit overdressed. It is an extraordinary moment culturally speaking. We remember the 70’s when advocates of secular humanism felt that they were about to be triumphant. In the wider Christian public, you have people defining themselves as spiritual people. America is like a Sweden in its cultural elites trying to preside over its India in its people.

Like all cultural shifts, there is good and bad. Now the Gospel about spirituality and Christ is just another part of the whole frontier.

JT: Dr Carson, we appreciate you for writing learned commentaries and campus missions. What has changed in missions on the campus? How has your message changed?

DC: 35 years ago, an atheist was a Christian atheist – that is the god they were not believing in. There is massive ignorance of the Bible. Full-orbed Gospel preaching means staring further back. To be honest, I rarely see conversions right away – what I do is the set up for what has to come in the months ahead.

Some of the new generation is so biblically ignorant, that they don’t automatically reject.

JT: What do you do differently?

DC: Depends on how many meetings there are. If I have time, I start with Genesis 1 and 2 and the beginnings. Then try to play out in how we look at life. Then I speak of the god that does not kill rebels. The God who legislates – 10 commandments. The God who becomes a human being then the god who declares sinners just. The God who is very angry. The god who wins. Although it is very rare to get this much time.

JT: Tim Keller said he did not know of a short systematic presentation of the Gospel that includes the meta-narrative.

DC: There are better things and worse things. There are a lot of good little things. Vaughn Roberts has a little book. The Two Ways to Live – Matthias Media. Christway Media dot com.

JT: Rev. Bauchum, you have developed an approach called expository apologetics. Can you explain that?

VB: There are no new objections to the Gospel. The NT writers were dealing with and answering these objections – so we should use these categories. These answers are memorable and authoritative. And hopefully they are impactful.

Example: Revelation – why do you believe the bible. 1 Peter 1. I try to use the texts in context.

JT: Dr Wells, I was struck by a footnote in which you described the missional nature of theology. What does it mean to be contextual and missional?

DW: Mark sounded so far out and pushing the boundaries, but when I say those things, I sound so stayed… and it’s not right. I want to be hip, man!

In the front of Above All Earthly Powers, I retell a scene of a fictional country. [You can read that at home.] Theology is about timeless Truth. But it needs to be brought by god’s people into their own particular context. This has become an agitated context! Some missiologists are arguing that people can receive Christ without leaving Islam or Hinduism. So, there is no church… because to be baptized is to be killed. Here is where a line has been crossed which is fatal to the Gospel.

If I had a critique of expository preaching it is that they too often do not apply the truth of the Word, unpacking it, was enough. Preachers need to do that next step, and make sure that the truth they are preaching intercepts with what is going on inside people’s minds. So line is drawn so clearly, that people know they are being obedient or not.

JT: Dr Carson, do you have any books or advice on evangelistic preaching in the church context?

DC: you should download messages of men who preach well and see conversions. Listen to 8-10 strong ones so you don’t ape just one. Listen to the speakers who are here. Guest services can be held. You work extra hard at explaining everything. Go for user-friendly authenticity.

JT: Dr Piper, a lot of pastors might be discouraged by the size of their church. What encouragement would you give to the small town small church pastor?

JP: Feeding the flock of God is the most precious and high calling in the world. “Feed my sheep.” There is always room for growth! Every one of these guys discourages me – so in one sense that is life. It is a great thing to rest in the calling God has given you. There has got to be witness in smaller populations. It is just that we cannot abandon the city! Faithful loving exposition is what you must do. God loves rural people.

DC: There are different degrees of gift. If we are doing something wrong, then we must fix them. On the other hand, I was brought up in French Canada. There were very few churches there. My Dad was faithful through the lean years. God works on another scale. I made a resolution when I was young man to never stop going to small and insignificant works. Be faithful where you are.

JT: On the issue of black and not-so-black. There are many churches that long for greater diversity. How can they bring this about?

VB: The church we just planted in April has 150 people. My family is the only black family in the church. Nobody is saying to the black churches, where are all the whites?

In some ways we feel called to be missionaries to the not-so-black cities. Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Houston. We reflect that. Diversity does not mean that something is better. They haven’t tried to do it. Other places are trying to do it, but see no success at it. Are they worse off? I don’t think so. Deal with the issue of the sin of racism and the sin of classism… but not try to make a church what it is not.

DC: Every year I meddle in the lives of a few M.Div. students. Which guys? The ones who can speak to anybody. There are some who seem to be gifted by God to talk to anybody. I want them to be pastors in the city.

JT: Dr Wells, you wrote winsomely about the dangers of consumerism and the need to exalt the supremacy of Christ – what do you do in your own personal life to cultivate humility and the tyranny of the urgent.

DW: I have been extremely grateful to go to Africa each year. You realize that America is what is not normal in the big picture of the globe. The way we think about our things is most often what ruins us. In Malawi this past summer, of all the pastors I talked to, not one of them had only one church. One fellow had 14. People dying of AIDS all the time. No nuclear families left – the alive adults take up the kids of dead relatives. Households get too big. I realize I am living in a different universe. I plan my retirement. Most countries in Africa have a life expectancy of upper 30’s.

JP: A few words about Mark Driscoll. There is so much variety on the scene in America that the litmus test must be theology. If he has those 9 things in his right hand, and I will argue that sometimes things in our left hand can subtly undo what we hold in our right hand. Sometimes our cleverness can hurt us. But when you get the right hand correct, you are cut off from a lot of people. I don’t like the word “missional!” Anyway, what I really want to know is what is in your right hand.

DG: Session #4: The Supremacy of Christ and the Church in a Postmodern World (Mark Driscoll)

Piper’s introduction: No one has gotten me in more trouble for inviting them to be a part of something. But, I am very glad to have him here.


Jesus was born of a virgin in relative obscurity until about age 30 when he began a public ministry. In the wake of the this man is an astonishing legacy – no one has impacted the world more than Him.

He is the most famous person ever. He is everywhere. Southpark. The Simpsons. Even Popular Mechanics – where we learned he looked very like a guy you could beat up. Jesus is my homeboy – Madonna, Ben Affleck, and others!

The cross – is the most legendary and famous symbol in the world. Madonna’s Confessions Tour had Madonna being crucified at the end of every show on a disco cross.

Apparently, the world is interested in Jesus. What distinguishes emergent from young reformed types is their view of Jesus.

The Incarnation of Jesus

This popular among emergent Christians – the humanity of Jesus is stressed. The Gospels take a preeminence. We believe in the incarnation of Jesus, but we cannot only believe in the incarnation of Jesus. Jesus came into culture and community. If we only view Jesus in His incarnation we are left with someone who is not God. This kind of Jesus has product in his hair, wears a dress, you can beat up, eats vegetables. This results in an effeminate church. That is a problem.

In the reformed model, passages like Isaiah 6 are taken into consideration also, or John 12 and the glory of Christ. Those of us who love the exaltation of Christ, know that God the Son came into human history as the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is lacking is a robust combination of both incarnation and exaltation. We must avoid reductionism. Both extremes must be avoided: the superman Jesus and the pseudo-homosexual Jesus.

But if we read the Gospels we keep these things in balance.

We understand if we are to live a life like Christ, we need the Holy Spirit. If we hold to the Incarnation and Exaltation of Jesus, we learn how to live.

The humility of Jesus in His incarnation and the authority of Jesus in His exaltation – that is what we need.

We need to add to the Gospels the book of Revelation – it is the revelation of Jesus Christ. It is not about having a bar code on your head that gets run though the scanner at the grocery store. The most talked about piece of furniture in heaven is the throne. I can sing songs to the picture of Jesus given in Revelation without feeling mildly gay.

The Missiology

We must contextualize like the incarnation – contend for the exaltation. Jude 3 says to contend for the faith. There is one faith, delivered once, regardless of race, degrees, background, etc. That faith must be contended for! Some of you are like drug dogs at the airport – you can smell an Arminian coming.

  1. We contend for the meta-narrative (the Bible) that is over all. Only way we can make sense of life. But, as a preacher you must tell the story of the bible and set each passage in this broader context. You need to plug each passage into the big story.
  2. The sovereignty of God must be defended against open theism.
  3. We must contend for the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. We are a nation of theological wingnuts. For example, Rob Bell, wrote Velvet Elvis. In book: he argues that you can pull a few bricks out of the wall… like the virgin birth. He says he believes in it, but don’t mess with it.
  4. We must contend against pelagianism… the idea that we are not wicked from our mother’s womb. Children would kill you if they had the size – they just lack ability! They had best be careful these Pelagians, or else they will start a new religion.
  5. We must contend for penal substitutionary atonement. This is the best part of the book, why would want to change this! But the Bible says we are sinners and God is against sinners. We need to be saved from God! His wrath. His justice. I preached on this at Mars Hill and a guy got up on stage and tried to fight me. Some people don’t like this. Leave the results to God. We sleep like Calvinists: “I yelled. God’s in charge. Nighty Night.” Christ died for sinners. If we lose this we lose Christianity. There is nothing compassionate about denying the substitutionary atonement of Christ to a lost world.
  6. We must contend for the exclusivity of Jesus. He is superior to all who have ever lived. Some say there are other ways to God… that is very unkind. I would much rather have people offended now and blessed in heaven. Jesus died for the salvation of the lost – we dare not toy with it. Oprah has the biggest cult in America made up of housewives. There is only one way to God.
  7. We must contend for gender – male and female. That means men and women are different and there are role distinctions in the home, the church, etc. We pray to God as Father. If you change your Dad’s name, things don’t go well for you.
  8. We must contend for the doctrine of hell. “But people don’t like hell!” They’re not supposed to! Jesus speaks of hell more than anyone. Nobody is arguing against eternal life – “we don’t believe heaven is forever.” If one lasts forever, they both last forever. Everybody believes in hell. The marketers sell hell all the time. Fat hell. Sex hell. Take this medication. Go the seminar. Buy this. These will get you out of your hell. These are false saviours.
  9. We must contend for Kingdom is in priority over culture. What we are seeing is an over-realized eschatology. Post-modern addiction with the present makes everything relate to now. Look at the Corinthian church – it is today in the emergent church. They are largely reacting to the under-realized eschatology of Dispensationalism. This is the problem of Thessalonica. Sold their stuff with SPF20 on and waited for Jesus to come back in 15 minutes. What is the kingdom? Where the rule of the King is. Let’s talk more about the King than the Kingdom.

III. Contextualize the doctrine.

This is where many of us would part ways. In incarnation, Jesus comes as a missionary. We like this with missionaries in China, but not always with our neighbour across the street. What does it look like to reach Seattle rock sub-culture? The epistles are written in many ways to help answer these questions. 1 Corinthians 9 tells us we must be contextualizing.

“I became all things to all men…” (I know some of you are Calvinists and you are thinking “all” does not mean “all” here… yes, it does.) Do you really care about the Gospel? Then you will contextualize! You will do what you can so that as many people as possible will meet Jesus.

Those that over-contextualize forget the Gospel. Those that have the Gospel may be failing to give it!

We hold to Truth – in one closed hand. We also hold in an open hand – timely contextualization. Good missionaries have two hands…

Creative without Truth – can lead to heresy. I am arguing for relevantism – not relativism. Are you arguing for the nasty “S” word – seeker sensitive. No. I am asking for seeker-sensibility. Sometimes the foreign tongue we speak is Latin and Greek and theological nomenclature – just explain things so people can understand it!

Timothy was going to people who cared about circumcision – he had to get circumcised. Titus was going to those who didn’t care – and Titus won!

There are things in culture we must receive, some we must reject, and some we must redeem.

Is this a new wave of doctrine? Yes, dear friends, we are on the cutting edge of the 16th century! There were many new Christians in France as a result of Calvin’s missionary work. From 5 churches to over 2000 in 7 years. The Gospel is the Power of God.