Todays Piper is a classic piece about the choice we all need to make – what is the one thing that we are going to live for? This piece reminds me of my pastors sermon from a while back entitled One Thing and of Sam Storm’s book by the same name.
A Cause to Live for: What the teenagers of our city need, and what everyone of us needs, is a cause to live for that accords with the purposes of our Creator. And because our Creator is breathtaking in Himself and gracious toward his creatures, we can know beyond any doubt that his cause will satisfy our deepest longings for a life with thrilling significance.
Where do we find that cause? We look to the word of God, and particularly to the testimony of one who had found such a cause himself, the apostle Paul. Acts 20:24 is a testimony of a life that is not boring, a life with an “edge” and with daring and with enormous significance.
“I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. “
Consider for just a few minutes what Paul was living for and what effect it had on his life. We can see this best if we simply read the text backwards, and notice four immense realities.
First, notice the immense reality of God. The verse ends with that great reality: “to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Since we come from God and are made for God you can mark it down as absolutely certain: Any constellation of goals that you choose to live for will leave a craving vacuum in your soul if GOD is not the pole star in that constellation guiding and shaping all your choices. God was the lodestar of Paul’s life, and the glory of God was the light of that immense and blazing star, and all the other aims of his life were like moons whose only light and attraction were the light they reflected of that star.
Second, notice the immense reality of God’s grace. The verse ends, “to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” The power of God’s holiness and justice are like a great, violent hurricane, and the grace of God is like the eye of the hurricane where all is peace and calm. Grace is the center of God’s reality. Grace, or love, is the essential calm at the center of the vortex of his infinite perfections. Paul had felt himself swept into the terror of that hurricane one day on the Damascus road. And then to his utter amazement he was drawn through it into the peace and beauty of the eye of grace even though he was the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:12-16).
Third, notice the immense reality of the gospel. The verse ends, “to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” First there is the immense reality of God himself, breathtaking in all his glory. Then there is the immense reality of God’s grace, rescuing sinners from the hurricane of his holy wrath and giving them a place next to his heart for ever in the eye of the storm. Then there is the immense message to all the world that these things are so. An awesome and holy God exists. And there is a way to safety and fellowship through the death and resurrection of his Son. All who submit to him and trust his grace, will be rescued and drawn into the place of peace and wonder at the eye of his storm. This is the gospel.
Fourth, notice the immense reality of the cause Paul lived for. “. . . to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” I say that the cause of testifying to the grace of God is immense for two reasons. First, because a cause is as big as its source and goal. And the source and goal of Paul’s cause is God himself. He owes his life to God and he gives his life to God. And the second reason I call Paul’s cause immense is that a cause is as big as the effects it has on its devotees.