Posts tagged # sermon
On October 6, 1536, William Tyndale was executed for translating the Bible from the original languages into modern English. He was accused of “always singing a single note”: God’s Word in the vernacular. For that he was exiled, betrayed, strangled and burned. Many of Tyndale’s words and phrases remain in use today, 480 years later. This is the legacy of your English Bible.
I was reminded of Tyndale this week. So I remembered a message I heard John Piper give about him when I was preparing to go abroad for the sake of God’s Word. Piper presented Tyndale’s life as worthy of imitation, in taking seriously the call to study God’s Word and to translate it. He challenged thousands of young adults to be involved in Bible translation. I share with you what was challenging and confirming to me.
“William Tyndale: A Life Transformed By God’s Word”
Message by John Piper, May 26, 2008, New Attitude Conference, Louisville, KY
Preaching great and glorious truth in an atmosphere that is not great and glorious is an immense difficulty. To be reminded week in and week out that many people regard your preaching of the glory of the grace of God as hypocrisy pushes a preacher not just into the hills of introspection, but sometimes to the precipice of self-extinction.
I don’t mean suicide. I mean something more complex. I mean the deranging inability to know any longer who you are. What begins as a searching introspection for the sake of holiness, and humility gradually becomes, for various reasons, a carnival of mirrors in your soul: you look in one and you’re short and fat; you look in another and you’re tall and skinny; you look in another and you’re upside down. And the horrible feeling begins to break over you that you don’t know who you are any more. The center is not holding. And if the center doesn’t hold — if there is no fixed and solid “I” able to relate to the fixed and solid “Thou,” namely, God, then who will preach next Sunday?
When the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “By the grace of God, I am what I am,” he was saying something utterly essential for the survival of preachers in adversity. If, by grace, the identity of the “I” — the “I” created by Christ and united to Christ, but still a human “I” — if that center doesn’t hold, there will be no more authentic preaching, for there will be no more authentic preacher, but a collection of echoes.
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine upon us,
2 that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
3 May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.
4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples justly
and guide the nations of the earth.
5 May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.
6 Then the land will yield its harvest,
and God, our God, will bless us.
7 God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him.
Psalms 67 is a prayer inspired by God’s gracious promises and provision. God had promised Abraham that through him all the peoples of the world would be blessed (Gen. 12:1–3, 15:1–6). His descendants became the Jewish people. God’s promises shaped the hearts and thoughts of some of these descendants, and they prayed that foreigners would have the same joy in belonging to God. It is a prayer that has been answered. God blessed the world through his Son, the Savior. Now we who were once outside God’s family as foreigners, we for whom Psalms 67 was prayed, are brought near to God through Jesus Christ. We who believe in Jesus become Abraham’s descendants, children of God’s promise (Eph. 3:6, Gal. 3:14).
All good blessings in this world — wealth, home, family, work, food, play — serve the best blessing: Jesus. All the things we possess and do — the things with which God has blessed us — bow down to the purpose for which they were given: “that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.”
We make God’s purposes our purposes.
With the Son on our faces, we prayed on Sunday to send off M—— and J——. Family members were in attendance as we met outside to worship, and we sent them “in a manner worthy of God” (3 John 6).
We are not sorry for those who give up some blessings in order to bring the Best Blessing of All to the nations. They have all that is necessary for complete happiness: “the love and fellowship of our Lord, and a real purpose in life that keeps material things in proper perspective” (Frank and Marie Drown, Mission to the Headhunters).
We stand by their side in prayer. Our church meeting this Sunday (May 25) will be a special prayer service for our church’s missions in Louisville and for our missionaries. Also, when you bow to thank God before each meal, thank the Father also for sending Jesus, and pray that the nations would be blessed through what God has given you. And if necessary, pray in your own heart that God would soften you towards the nations.
We are ready to go ourselves at a moment’s notice. Stay alert so that you don’t waste one of your blessings — your summer. Get on the ball with memorizing Philippians. Men should prepare themselves for the men’s meeting. Give finances to support the church’s ministries. If you give money to Crossroads designated to “disaster relief” we will send it to ministries working in Myanmar or China. Build up others in the church and carry their burdens. Keep ready with the message, “Have joy in belonging to God!” and “Have real purpose in Jesus.” Fulfill your ministry.
I thank God that I am part of a church that prays big prayers to impact all peoples, a church that seeks to ignite a passion to reach the nations through Jesus Christ. I also thank God that we send out our best, and we pray for more to rise up in their place. Thank God for his promises and for the answered prayer of Psalms 67! God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him.
The Commander of the Lord’s Army has appeared to His people and has charged them to finish the task. Forgive me for failing to keep this vision in front of us. I send this bulletin to you so that we can go forward together.
Read on for:
- A report on the sending of D—— and M——,
- A follow-up from Sunday’s sermon, and
- An invitation to begin to live it out.
We were praying for D—— and M—— before we knew them. It was God’s will that this couple join a church that would care for them and train them. We thank God that Crossroads was a safe haven for them and also for their service among us. Sunday they asked the church to pray for them because it was time for them to return to Rolling Fields, the church which they left two years ago due to difficulty, and the church that helped commission Crossroads. We blessed them with stories of the grace we received through them, and we prayed for one another then, and for Rolling Fields. It is not easy, but it is good. Continue to carry this burden with them!
We read of Israel’s re-commitment in Joshua 24 to finish the task God gave them, and we closed with a practical application from Hebrews. It is my joyful duty to remind you again of God’s Word to us in Hebrews 3:12–13:
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
You know by now that sin wages a constant battle against us. The enemy does not sleep. It is easy to sigh in relief when a prayer meeting is cancelled or no one at church asked you about a particular area in your life. Guard your heart. Actually, we must guard one another’s. Our life of ongoing transformation is a community project.
Embrace God’s way to stay daily consecrated: Do not let an opportunity pass without encouraging your brother or sister in Christ with the Word and with prayer. Make intentional efforts to meet, share stories, pray, and strategize against the Enemy. This is a necessity for a true Christian and a gift of God’s grace.
John Piper on Hebrews 3:12–13:
Why don’t you go ahead and take the initiative to seek out some fellow-believers? If we knew that the Gestapo was closing in on us, if we knew that at any time some could disappear from our number never to be heard from again, we would gather often in our homes and in secret rendezvous to strengthen our hands in God. And love would cover a multitude of sins, and our handshakes and embraces and the meetings of our eyes would be like gifts of roses and lilies from the bottom of the heart.
Well, we are in war time. We are in enemy territory. Thousands of lives hang in the balance. The danger of hard hearts and unbelief and cool love and American luxury lurks everywhere. O, how we need to exhort one another every day to have strong confidence of victory in Christ, and to dream of new strategies of love to sabotage the enemy’s concentration camps of unbelief!
Forgive us leaders, as examples to God’s flock, for not encouraging and enabling you to meet together in smaller groups where you can obey this text and exhort each other with the promises and warnings and commands of Scripture and do ministry together.
At least on Wednesday, two such meetings will happen. At 6pm, men are invited to meet at the seminary’s Founder’s Café, and women with K—— at our home on campus. For one hour we will pray and share faith-building stories of God’s grace. Just one hour will help us continue to live out God’s Word daily. We must be intentional about ministry, especially Today. The days are increasingly busy, and you are now too busy not to pray.
It is exciting to meet as a church in the community room on the basement level of UTA. We will meet there again this Sunday. Gather outside at 5pm. B—— will reserve the room for us. In the meantime, begin praying for the people there… that the gospel of God’s grace would storm that tower.
Anyone you know who needs to take joy in God and join this fellowship this week? Stand in the gap for them and invite them.
I thank God for you and for His ever-present Son, Jesus. God may allow Crossroads to give itself away. But as long as it is called Today, and God’s gracious invitation is open to the nations, we must see to it that His Church is there.
Yours for the gospel until we join hands in the resurrection,