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John Piper on Why God Created Us

God created me–and you–to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion–namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. Enjoying and displaying are both crucial. If we try to display the excellence of God without joy in it, we will display a shell of hypocrisy and create scorn or legalism. But if we claim to enjoy his excellence and do not display it for others to see and admire, we deceive ourselves, because the mark of God-enthralled joy is to overflow and expand by extending itself into the hearts of others. The wasted life is the life without a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.

–John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life, p. 31

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John Piper on the Main Point of Life

With New Years approaching and resolutions forming, I found this Piper quote to be encouraging and refreshing:

Somehow there had been wakened in me a passion for the essence and the main point of life. The ethical question “whether something is permissable” faded in relation to the question, “what is the main thing, the essential thing?” The thought of building a life around minimal morality or minimal significance–a life defined by the question, “What is permissable?”–felt almost disgusting to me. I didn’t want a minimal life. I didn’t want to live on the outskirts of reality. I wanted to understand the main thing about life and pursue it.

–John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life, p. 14

David Bisgrove Sermon Notes — Series: “Practicing the Christian Life: Walking” — Sermon #4: The Bridge to Prayer

Sermon preached on April 27, 2008.

Teaching is based on Psalm 1:1-6

Please note that these sermon notes are provided only to encourage, and that any or all parts of the notes may contain errors or omissions, due entirely to the note-taker. Full audio of the sermon may be found at the Redeemer Sermon Store.

Introduction: Intellectual belief in itself doesn’t contain change in character.

  • I know these things, and yet I struggle with behavior in all of these things. Ex: I know I’m not supposed to lust, and yet my eyes grope women.
  • Thinking that intellectual belief itself will change our character is like saying we belong to the gym and expecting to get in shape without going there and working out.

Outline

I. The promise of meditation

II. The practice of meditation
III. The passion of meditation

I. The promise of meditation

  • “Blessed”=happiness, but much deeper than our common usage. It’s interesting that this word “blessed” starts off Psalm 1:1; the beginning of the book of Psalms–a book of prayers–is this deep happiness.
    • Many people out of a deep yearning in their hearts come to New York City
      • Yet nothing will satisfy the fundamental restlessness of our hearts
        • Jobs and careers are wonderful, but they just won’t do it.
      • We’re all meditating (walking, standing, sitting as the Psalmist writes) on something, and that something (whatever it is) is shaping who we are.
        • If we walk, stand, and sit (meditate) on success, success will shape who we are, and we’ll do anything for it. It will shape our character.
    • Unless we put our roots deeply into the God who made us, we’ll never find that answer to this deep yearning.
      • If we’re cold to God, we need to acknowledge that we’re not so good at meditation.
  • The tree, the Christian with roots deeply into God, walking, standing, and sitting, meditating on God
    • Stability (by streams of water)
      • Ability to thrive not dependent on circumstances
      • “Joy is not the absence of conflict but the presence of God.” Elizabeth Elliott?
    • Productive (bearing fruit)
      • Stick your roots into His story, connect it with your story, and you’ll be reaching your full human potential. You were made for this story.
    • Wise (bearing fruit in season though leave doesn’t wither)
      • In times like winter when no fruit is forthcoming but you’re growing
      • A wise person understands the purpose of suffering and God saying no

II. The practice of meditation (vs. 2)

  • To love being told what to do by God
      • We value freedom, this idea of loving being told what to do is alien to us (we came to NYC to get away from that!)
    • The degree to which we do this…
      • Ex: His three year old daughter who wants to pull away from Dad and do things her own way would have a life expectancy of thirty minutes in downtown Manhattan.
      • The gap in loving authority between child and father is infinitely smaller than that between us and God
  • The essence of meditation is listening to God
    • Meditation is sort of the opposite of prayer. Prayer is us talking to God (which isn’t bad!). Meditation is us listening to God.
      • The dominant communication paradigm should be: He talks, we listen.
      • Ex: in Psalm 103, David is talking to his heart
      • Ex2: J. I. Packer (theologian): Meditation is arguing with oneself until information becomes sensation in our lives.
  • Do it day and night: don’t stop doing it
    • Wife didn’t train for NY marathon by watching inspirational videos and reading books about it; she practiced.
    • Meditation takes time–it’s not magic. Practical advice: as a minimum, do 30 minutes.

III. The passion of meditation

  • Here’s the problem with all this on meditation: who really does it like this?
  • The sermon on the mount is basically Jesus’ meditation on the law (He listens to God’s command about adultery, and hears that lust actually is the same concept, etc.)
  • Vs. 5 and 6 of this Psalm describe a standard of righteousness that is terrifying; they will fill you with guilt.
  • Jesus is the stream of living water in this psalm
    • On the cross, He knew that He was being poured out like water; He quoted Psalm 22; at the well, He knew
    • Eternal life is knowing Him and knowing He knows us.
  • Jesus filled verses 5 and 6; He gave us the fulfillment of this

Close: One way to approach meditation

  • First, ask: what does this passage teach?
  • Then, use ACTS naturally, as they come, in whatever order:
    • Adoration
    • Confession
    • Thanksgiving
    • Supplication (asking for things)