A favorite excerpt from the first sermon (also one of my favorite sermons) I ever heard John Piper preach.
I have really enjoyed these two videos for the past weeks and wanted to share them.
HT: Justin Taylor
As we begin our studies in Hebrews we look as it were at the final portrait. Imagine there is a world of grey, colors are dulled and life is drear. Your fathers were promised a life of color and light by the Divine Artist. He gave the fathers small paintings, snippets of His masterpiece yet to come; these have been handed down for generations, and though you prize them, they are faded and only replicas. After years of bondage to the grey you cry out for fresh color, big color, vibrant color. You yearn to see such an image of color not simply to stand in awe of it, but for it to fill your soul.The Divine Artist comes! He paints as never before! There has been color in the past, but this is so much more. Hues, stripes, and effects are used as never before, the texture is rich, the emotions powerful. All the color that you knew before now seems dull in comparison.
Sadly, the grey remains in your soul after such a sight. Just as the master artists is about to add the most splendid part of the painting, a burst of light; not light that drowns or dims the other colors, but rather makes them brighter, just as he turns the canvas from painting to self portrait, He turns His head towards you ready to smile only to see that now you are attributing His masterpiece to Moo. The grey seeks to rob glory; it turns us into glory thieves.
We too are people of the Exodus, and we have seen a redemption greater than they, a deliverance of which there’s was only a shadow. The cross is infinitely more glorious than the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and Mount Sinai. We should not look for a greater stroke from the brush of God’s revelation than Jesus Christ. The ultimate message that God wanted to communicate, is communicating, and will communicate for all of eternity is the supreme prophet, priest, and king, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Do not leave Him for Moo, cling to Him, cherish Him, stand in awe of Him, love Him, know Him, chase after Him, meditate on Him, pray through Him…
A span is the distance from your thumb to you little finger with you fingers spread out. My span is less than the official figure of 9-10 inches coming in at 8.5, my shoe size. I am curious if there is a correlation between your personal span size and your shoe size.
I measure picture frames, where to put a nail in the wall, and shelf space in spans. God marked off the heavens in a span!
It seems in recent decades that God is enjoying keeping the astronomers on the edge of their seats with new glimpses of his power. In the fall of 1989, newspapers reported the discovery by two Harvard astronomers of a “Great Wall” of galaxies stretching hundreds of millions of light years across the known universe. The wall is supposedly some five hundred million light years long, two hundred million light years wide and fifteen million light years thick. In case your high school astronomy has grown fuzzy, a light year is a little less than six trillion (6,000,000,000,000) miles. This Great Wall consists of more than fifteen thousand galaxies, each with millions of stars, and was described as the “largest single coherent structure seen so far in nature.”
I say “was described” because three months later in February 1990, God opened another little window for tiny man to marvel again, and the newspapers reported that astronomers have discovered more than a dozen evenly distributed clumps of galaxies stretching across vast expanses of the heavens, suggesting a structure to the universe that is so regular and immense that it defies current theories of cosmic origins. The newly found pattern of galactic matter dwarfs the extremely long sheet of galaxies, dubbed the “great wall” (now written without caps!), that was reported in November 1989 to be the largest structure in the universe. They now say the great wall is, in fact, merely one of the closest of these clumps, or regions, that contain very high concentrations of galaxies. – John Piper in The Pleasures of God
The “great walls” are all contained within a span and are all packed full of stars which God knows by name. If he so easily created them, knows them, names them, sustains them, be comforted, wait, He is able.
If His promises and comforts sound too good to be true, Behold your God, He is mighty to save.[youtube.com/watch?v=FpGmm244N8M]
(I had to search for a video that seemed to have genuine Hubble images, non-X-Files/Contact music, and with the absence of an alien life form agenda. Alas a testimony to our depravity that we look to the stars and think of aliens rather than the majesty of God.)
Imitations are rarely funny.
Sam’s Choice Cola vs. Coca Cola – not funny.
Great Value chocolate cookies vs. Oreos – not funny
Dollar store soldiers vs. GI Joes – not funny
Splenda sweet tea vs. sugar sweet tea – seriously not funny
Yesterday the TV was left on while Bethany and I were jostling around the house doing some chores. When I returned to the living room Dogma was on. It was the scene where they have decided to replace the crucifix with a friendlier icon. They then reveal buddy Jesus.
Buddy Jesus vs. crucified and risen Jesus – intolerably not funny.
Does this sound similar to flannel graph Jesus?
The gospel is not a thing, it is a He. So if we manipulate the gospel in order to make it more palatable we tell Jesus, “Sorry ‘buddy’, you needed a makeover. That image went out two millennia ago. The blood, the cross, the shame – not ‘cool’.”
To change the gospel you must change a GOD who says he is immutable (doesn’t change). How crazy is it when the creature tells the creator what image is now “in’ for deity, and that if He could match that image He really would sell better to the masses?
Some imitations are simply not funny.
Others are intolerable.
This one is intolerable. Any perversion of the gospel is not a matter of taste or opinion. It is a matter of the glory of God. Settle for no substitutes.