Right Thinking Really Matters

“In pleading for clear, compelling, rigorous thinking in preaching, I am aware that I am swimming against the cultural current that minimizes thinking and reasoning in favor of spectacle and visual impact and sound bites and musical atmosphere and emotive persuasion. All over the world ‘logic on fire’ — which is how Martyn Lloyd-Jones defined preaching — is being replaced with fire — or sparks — without logic. Many preachers expend little mental effort to do the difficult work of digging into the language of a passage of Scripture to discover how it actually works to make its point.

Then there is a similar neglect of the mental effort to create a message that shows the people , with compelling logic and authentic passion, what the text means and how it applies to their lives. This minimizing of rational effort is part of the cultural air we breather. We have been breathing it for many decades. And we are not the better for it …

Right thinking, clear logic, the valid use of reason, and the respectful, honest handling of words are utterly crucial in loving people. They are an indispensable window into truth, a bulwark against totalitarian abuses of power, a friend of the poor, and a rock of stability in the quicksand of randomness, emptiness, and oblivion. Preaching that fails in the mental effort to dig into the thinking of the biblical authors, and then turn their meaning into a clear, logically consistent, existentially urgent message, dishonors those authors, depreciates the inspiration of Scripture, and falls short of equipping the saints to discern the deceptions of false doctrine. Drawing people into right thinking in preaching really matters.”

Expository Exultation, John Piper

God is Our Joy and Satisfaction

“After the conversion of the Christians to whom the book of Hebrews was addressed, a serious persecution arose. Some were put in prison. The rest faced a crisis of whether to publicly identify with the prisoners and risk reprisals. They took that risk. With extraordinary love, they became ‘partners with those so treated’ (Heb. 10:33). It cost them dearly. How did they do that? Where did this love come from? Here’s the answer:

Recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. (Heb. 10:32-35)

They joyfully embraced the cost of love. Again this is simply amazing. I am rebuked and inspired every time I read it. The glimpse of love in 2 Corinthians 8:1-2, together with this glimpse in Hebrews 10:32-35, forms for me a composite picture of the path of life that leads from cross to crown — from the foundation of Christ’s cross to the consummation of God’s glory. This is the answer to our third question, which this chapter and the previous one are devoted to: What is the way of life that leads to final salvation rather than destruction? This astonishing, supernatural love sustained by joy through suffering is the reality I was aiming at in my preaching for thirty years — to show a God so satisfying that joy would overcome all selfishness and unleash the most authentic kinds of love.

Continue reading “God is Our Joy and Satisfaction”