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WG09 – Session 1: John Piper, The God of Worship

August 6, 2009

My Intro Thoughts (My sermon notes after)

One word: God just pierced me deep in the heart with a sharp Piper stick!

John Piper that is. Sorry, one word couldn’t quite cut it this time.

All you critics and fans alike of John Piper can both be satisfied tonight, for Pastor John laid out for us what he lays out best: our ultimate happiness in God’s being God!

It was as if I’d never heard it a thousand times and now heard it for the first time. You know, that Piper lingo that is the passionate cry of Desiring God and Bethlehem Baptist Church: that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him! This time it was different. This time, it was more personal. This time, Piper’s words rang like a loud, noisy gong in my ear saying, “embrace this, love this, worship this, know it and believe it for this is what you were made to love!”

Of course I am speaking of just that: that my ultimate exultation must be an exulting in God’s exaltation of Himself. In other words, I exult in exalting God’s exaltation of Himself!

The worship time through music? Whoa!

When we sang Devon Kauflin’s “Hallelujah, Jesus is all I have”, I felt like Paul being lifted up to the third heaven. It was incredibly powerful and very God-distracting.

—————————-Sermon Notes————————————–

August 5th

Session 1: John Piper, The God of Worship

Psalm 145 “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised…”

Secular mindset = begins and ends with man; my rights and expectations are the measure of all things in this world

The secular mindset is referred to in scripture as “the mind of the flesh” (Rom 8:6) and also the “natural man”, “carnal man”, and every child and person born is by nature hostile to God.

A transformed mindset is what fundamentally happens in the new birth, regeneration.

There are still fragments of this secular mindset left in the child of God. Meaning that both mindsets now compete and are at war with each other.

Biblical Mindset = begins and ends with God; His rights and goals; He is the center, the ground, the starting place; everything is measured and defined by Him.

We need to pause and reflect more often on things like the existence of God: He is there and absolute, He simply is (I am).

Jonathan Edwards, in “The Nature of Virtue”, said that embracing all things without God makes one infinitely parochial. God is infinitely massive.

The world and biblical mindsets define problems differently.

*Key Question: What is the basic riddle of the universe?

Answer 1: Is it to solve man’s problem of losing his right to self-determination or suffering need?

Answer 2: Is it so that God can display His glorious and majestic perfection?

*The collision between the secular and biblical mindset is most clearly seen at WORSHIP!

Example: Michael Prowse, London Times asked how God could require worship and how He could demand adoration without being arrogant and a megalomaniac?

Piper’s Response: What if God were the most admirable being in the universe, and then sent His son to die for us? Is that not worthy of adoration? Is that not loving?

Answering this riddle is determined by one’s view of the cross: Is your view of the cross that God was making much of us or that God was making much of Himself, His glory and righteousness?

Text: Romans 3:25-27

Both the secular and biblical mindset battle around the God-centeredness of God at the cross.

  1. What is the basic problem God is solving in Romans 3:25-27?

Rom 3:25 – “to show His righteousness”; to vindicate Himself

Did Christ die for us or for God?

a) If He is to die for us He…

b) must die for Himself

2.  What created this problem (that His righteousness needed to be shown)?

Rom 3:25 – “passed over former sins”

The world cares not that God is forgiving.

For Paul: Forgiveness of sins and passing over sins was the biggest problem in the universe! Huge!

Paul had the order right:

First God must be vindicated. Second, this vindication necessarily leads to the rescue of sinners.

Example of Passing over sins: White House, terrorist plot to kill President and cabinet, fails, go to court, they apologize, judge lets them go.

Example of Passing over sins: 2 Samuel 12:9 David committs adultery (Bathsheba) and murder (Uriah). Nathan confronts him, David confesses and repents, Nathan declares David forgiven and clean.

What? We wouldn’t say Yes or Amen to that. Uriah’s dad and Bathsheba’s mom would not have said “Yes!”. No! They would have screamed in outrage, “No, No Nathan! You can’t say that. You can’t say He is forgiven. How can he be forgiven?”

But the world hasn”t a clue. They never charge God with injustice at forgiving sinners and letting them go. Never.

3.  Why is passing over sins a problem? What is the real issue?

Rom 3:23 – “all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God.”

*”All sin is an exchange of God for images or prefering anything above the glory of God” – Piper

4.  Problem: Passing over sins calls God’s righteousness into question.

Because now it appears that God agrees with a low value of His glory – making Him unrighteous.

5.  Solution: to be both just and the justifier by the death of His son on the cross.

Nobody is ever wronged by God, nobody, ever!

He chose to do it this way, to crush His only Son!

People know the benefits of the cross, but do they know the cause and ground of those benefits? The vindication of God’s glory?

6.  Can God’s design to exalt Himself, magnify His glory….be love?

Secular mindset and christian thinkers alike say “No, that is not loving!”

God’s self-exaltation doesn’t sound loving at all!

NPR Interview with Eric Reese on “An American Gospel” – He charges Jesus as a egomaniac for wanting worship.

* Question: Why is Jesus not a megalomaniac?

* Answer (Piper): This is love because the only eternal happiness for man is a happiness focused on the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4-6).

We must exalt God and exult in God.

*Worship happens when exalting God results in my exultation in God.

Examination time: What is your starting point of worship?

We morph the cross into boosting our self-esteem.

The question is, is the cross about making much of me or making much of God?

Piper’s Appeal:

I want you to be freed from futile, foolish, suicidal, secular mindset of this world that begins with man.

“When God’s exaltation of God at the cross is your joy, it will never fail!” – Piper

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