Piper Friday: More Reactions to THAT Message at T4G

The light along the journey blog: has some great quotes which capture something more of the atmosphere of John Piper’s sermon (see also Challies summary) which sounds like it was the highlight of the whole Together for the Gospel conference. The blogger begins by admitting “I had to keep wiping away tears.” He then says, “At the risk of being melodramatic, I would encourage you, I would beg you, to order an MP3 of this message when it later becomes available. Written words cannot convey even a fraction of the blazing fire of hearing Piper’s oratory; you will without doubt be blessed by hearing it.” I plan on ordering an MP3 downloads in a few days when they are available!

After the talk Mohler said, “What John did tonight, the passion he displayed, is something most Christians will never see. Meanwhile, Duncan said, After tonight, I wondered if I ever preached a sermon before. This is the mark of a true preacher – when he realises that he has never reached the level of preaching that would do justice to the message he communicates.

I will include the famous quote of George Whitfield, with which Piper started his talk:

“My desire is that we shall see the great Head of the Church once more bring into being His special instruments of revival, that He will again raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in this glorious employ. And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty, and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be fools for Christ’s sake, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labour and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat.”

UPDATE – when I listened to this sermon, I discovered that Piper quoted a bit more of this from Whitefield as follows – “They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear filled eyes and upon who’s ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit who will witness signs and wonders following and the transformation of multitudes of lives
Piper said, “Preaching is not conversation or teaching; preaching is a heralding of a message. It can be any topic that is then taken into the blazing center of the glory of God. Many people say such belitting things about preaching because they have never heard it never heard real preaching.”

To support this concept he quoted his historical hero and role model – Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who said, “It came to me with the force of electric shock. When the preaching hero of our generation says “listen to this man” – then we should do so!

Piper went on to say, “My prayer is that God will raise up thousands of preachers dominated with the holiness of God. Jesus Christ has laid His absolute claim on planet Earth, everyone will either bow or burn.”

The mantle of preaching is soaked in the blood of Jesus and singed with the fires of Hell. Are you wearing that mantle?”

“. . . Nothing affects preaching more than to be struck almost speechless by the passion of God for His glory. From all eternity, God has known Himself and loved Himself perfectly, He has savored Himself infinitely. He is not only the holiest and happiest being that is, but that can be possibly conceived. You cannot conceive of a greater happiness than infinite power gazing at infinite glory. And He intends to share this with us . . . .”

“Every sin flows from a failure to treasure God’s glory above all things. Therefore, one crucial visible way to show God’s glory is humble, self-sacrifical service to others.”

The Gospel is a message, it is words, this is massively important the paradox is that we must see this glory of God through hearing the word of preaching. When we preach the Gospel, we are aiming at the eyes of the heart; this is how we see Him and His glory today in this dispensation. What appears is the glory of the Cross, the glory of the Incarnation, this is your job!”

1. The Gospel is a message about historical events the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, summoning us to explain the narrative events. Those events are essential to the Gospel.
2. The Gospel is a message about what those events achieved the payment for our sins, the completion of perfect obedience, the destruction of death, the installation of King Jesus, the removal of God’s wrath.

3. The Gospel is a message about the way of transfer of those achievements to people by faith alone.

4. The Gospel is a message about the good things that are true about us because of the transfer of those achievements to us, like redemption, propitiation, justification, sanctification all of these beg for exposition so your people can live at this awesome banquet table Oh what a blessing you could be!

5. The Gospel is a message about our glorious God Himself as our final, eternal, all-satisfying treasure.

So often even good pastors stop at #4. But if you stop at #4 you fall short of the Gospel. Exaltation why? Woe to us, brothers, if we do this without exaltation over the word. Exposition and exaltation are like two wings of an airplane; if you lose either wing the plane goes down. If we explain these glories and our faces and demeanor and our lives do not reflect the preciousness of the Gospel, you are lying! The value of the Gospel is as important as the truth of the Gospel. If you do not value the Gospel, you perish!”

In the ensuing panel discussion the following great quotes stood out to me:

“What is bad expositional preaching? Taking a text and treating your sermon as a commentary. Or having affections that are false to or out of proportion with the truth of the content.”

“People can tell if pastors are in touch emotionally with the material they are preaching.” (Piper)

“We need to be listening, scavenging, for everything we can give back to the people of God.” (Duncan)

MLJ is my default preacher I listen to when I exercise; also Sinclair Ferguson, John Macarthur, and Alistair Begg.” (Piper)

You cannot train someone to preach, but you can identify one with the gift and then nurture them.” (Mahaney)

“The difference between an authentic, feeling Christian and a preacher is that a preacher must have the gift of contagion. The main battle is not fought in the pulpit, it happens as you take hold on Christ and say, “I’ve got to have You! I can’t do this without You! I can’t raise people from the dead! (Piper)

Piper’s last minute spiritual preparation before preaching:

  • A I admit that I can do nothing without You.
  • P I pray for Your annointing, I need You.
  • T I trust Your promise that You will be with me and protect me; I go with specific promises.
  • A Act, my part.

“You don’t get ready to preach on Saturday. How long did it take me to prepare this message? Thirty years.

Young pastors, cry out to God every day to change you, and will He not hear the cries of His elect? (Piper)

“A strong expositional preaching ministry is magnetic God will raise up young men who hunger for the preaching ministry. Start a seminary in your church! Give me some competition!” (Mohler)

“There is a famine of seeing and savoring the glory of God in the pulpits of America. Almost all contemporary church growth strategies are taking us in the opposite direction of sensing the weight of the glory of God. It is so hard to turn a corner of doing slapstick for the first ten minutes then try to talk about the seriousness of the glory of God. Pastors are afraid of the serious. Why do we think the only healthy atmosphere is funny?” (Piper)

“People are realizing that God is God, and it is right to let Him be so.” (Piper)

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