Why Not Just Say 'Believe?'

That's the question John Piper asks in the second chapter, "Conversion," in his foundational book, Desiring God. Piper argues that simply saying, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved," is somewhat empty. Not that the verse itself is empty of power and authority, but rather people's understanding of what it means to "Believe" is deficient. The "believe" that the Scripture speaks of is a belief or trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord, and Treasure of your life--finding all of your joy, hope, and satisfaction in Him because of who He is and what He has done and from that flows a radically changed life that obeys the Lord out of joy and not duty.

Piper explains why just saying "Believe" is not enough:

"First we are surrounded by unconverted people who think they do believe in Jesus. Drunks on the street say they believe. Unmarried couples sleeping together say they believe. Elderly people who haven't sought worship or fellowship for forty years say they believe. All kinds of lukewarm, world-loving church attenders say they believe. The world abounds with millions of unconverted people who say they believe in Jesus.

It does no good to tell these people to believe in the Lord Jesus. The phrase is empty. My responsibility as a preacher of the gospel and a teacher in the church is not to preserve and repeat cherished biblical sentences, but to pierce the heart with biblical truth.


Pastors, Don't Listen to the 'Old Man'

From Jonathan Leeman's Reverberation: How God's Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action To His People:

"The 'old man' in each of us--to use Paul's language--continually tempts us to value or build our churches on other things, things we can see and measure. We want to rely on marketing research, personal charisma, good music, or other natural devices. Now, I'm not saying that 'natural' devices are bad, per se. But if we're relying upon them, there's no difference between us and the world. God means to challenge us right here. 'Is not my word like fire' he would say to us, 'and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces.' (Jer. 23:29)...

The power of God's Word is a faith proposition. It takes faith to believe that invisible words and the invisible Spirit could give life to a valley of dry bones. By comparison, it takes absolutely no faith to believe in the power of beauty, intelligence, strength, style, or humor. These qualities are attractive, and we can literally watch them draw a crowd. We can watch them build a 'church.'"


Can the Gospel Get Worn Out?

Here's an excerpt from Jared Wilson's forthcoming book Gospel Wakefulness, posted at his blog here.

That last diagnostic question raises what I call the “Catch-22” of gospel-centrality.
As a pastor I am frequently faced with questions, either from curious people or from temptation from the devil, about the durability of the gospel week in and week out. It is the centerpiece of my preaching, the central theme of my ministry, the heart of my life, and the joy of my tongue and pen. Occasionally I am faced with this question: Can it not get worn out from all that use?

Here is the Catch-22 of gospel centrality: Whether one “gets it” or not, the prescription for preaching and all of life is still the gospel. The critic of the one-note Johnnyism of gospel-centrality just doesn’t get it. But the gospel is versatile enough for those who do and don’t. And there’s the awesomeness of the gospel-centered life! Those who haven’t yet experienced gospel wakefulness can only do so by hearing the gospel, and those who have experienced gospel wakefulness don’t tire of hearing it!

Either way, the gospel is the answer.


What a Relief!

Kevin DeYoung gives us some comfort with truth when we feel like we are doing all that we can do in service to the Lord, but still are not doing enough.

Read the relief he gives us here if you have ever felt like this:

I’m always trying to figure out how I can possibly be obedient to all that the Lord seems to want from us. At times it feels like God expects us to be 24-7 prayer warriors with a commitment to social justice and involvement in the pro-life cause and lead lengthy family devotions and mentor a young Christian and read five Christian books a month and work through Operation World and adopt a child from Africa. Have you ever thought, “Lord, I don’t have enough hours in the day to be obedient to all that you expect from me?” If you have, something is wrong with the way you use your hours or with your sense of God’s expectations.


God's Wonderful Gift

"God has given us a wonderful gift. He has given us His Word."

Thank you, Lord.

The Kimyal People Receive the New Testament from UFM Worldwide on Vimeo.