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January 25, 2021 1:00 am
Is it possible to truly trust God in the midst of all that is going on around us? On FamilyLife Today, join hosts Dave and Ann Wilson as they talk with well-respected pastor and author John Piper about his new book, "Providence," and how God brings good through brokenness.
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Pastor and author John Piper believes there is a direct link between God's glory and your happiness. We were created by God to glorify God. That's the biggest all-consuming passion in the universe and then around these tables and in every one of our listeners is the passion to be happy and I grew up feeling like God's desire to be glorified in my desire to be happy were somehow at odds. This is family life today.
Our hosts are Damon and Wilson about the pain can find us online. The family like today.com your happiness in marriage.
Your happiness in your family and life. All of that is connected to your understanding of God being glorified talk more about that today with Pastor John Piper stayed with us and welcome to family like today.
Thanks for joining us.
There are days I wish that our program was a calling program. This is one of those days, because I would love to open the phone lines and say if God has used John Piper in your life in some way call and share the story with us and then we could just sit here and there is a testament to hear what you would say bad. I I could come up with a whole bunch of them I we were sharing about things I've heard you say one thing to think you talking about things I've heard you say things I've read.
I remember being at the very first together for the gospel event where you spoke and there was five minutes near the end of your message where you said this is what the gospel is, there were five things does this ring a bell to remember it was it was just you asking a 74-year-old what he remembers is due on the radio mad Mark ever when he does it look. I agree this was about the time the book God is the gospel, then you through. And you said, we first need that the gospel is it's a historical event and then we need to understand that there were internal implications of that and then those implications apply to us.
Here's the thing that slayed me at the end you set I'm I'm afraid. Today there are people who if you went to them and said would you like to go to heaven where there's streets of gold in your reunited with your family and there's no more sorrow there is no more night.
But oh, by the way, Jesus won't be there. There are a lot of people who would say okay that's okay yeah they did at least feel it if they wouldn't have the courage to say it sis of the pony that was once you've said that the gospel is an event in history.
Gospel is an achievement of atoning for sin and the gospel is an offer you can have it by faith alone, and once you have said, it gets you heaven and it gets you out of Helen to get you a clear conscience are you done sharing the gospel and and you point out when not done because for carnal, unbelieving, even satanic reasons you could like a clear conscience you would want to tell me what unbeliever does not want to go to hell, but not what to love and be with and enjoy Jesus forever. That would be a foreign language to a lot of people. I would be more happy in the presence of Jesus Van and then fill in the blank because the blank is supposed to be everything I'm I'm supposed to.
So yes, exactly. The gospel is not finished. The good news is not finished until Christ himself as our friend and our treasure is our satisfaction by marking it was a paradigm shift in my life first came under conviction as I heard it because I thought I thought that way.
And then secondly, I thought I got a be a an ambassador for this truth to others. I'm sure the clip from that with people in church in various settings and repeated that over and over again. So thank you for that and I didn't even know where going to do the John Piper quote attributes.
Yes, I can sit here with one of the Beatles and Eric say what you mean by this, but one of my favorite and I don't know when you said it. How many years ago part of your identity and your teaching is and I think I get this right. God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied, that is then struck me years ago that is the essence of the foundational statement of what I call Christian hedonism God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him and what it shows is that the two great passions of the universe are not in competition and they are this God's passion is to be glorified.
We were created by God to glorify God. Isaiah 43 seven.
Bring my sons and my daughters from the ends of the earth. Everyone whom I created for my glory. That's the biggest all-consuming all pervasive passion in the universe and then around these tables and in every one of our listeners is the passion to be happy. You cannot not want to be happy. It's like hunger in the soul.
Nobody wants to be unhappy whenever they define happiness. They just want to be happy and hurting and I grew up feeling like God's desire to be glorified in my desire to be happy were somehow at odds. I had to pick either gets glorified and I deny myself ultimately and have a life of relative unhappiness or I pick my happiness and God get second place and that sentence that you just quoted is the biblical answer to how that's not true that the Bible really is good news that when we are born again, God becomes our treasure and our pleasure and in becoming our supreme treasure and Ohio's pleasure he gets glorified in all we have to do is ask how do you glorify something by calling it unsavory calling it unpleasant calling it unsatisfying know that gets no glory for anything and a lot of people try to embrace God and don't feel like he's a pleasure they don't feel like he's a treasure or satisfying, and they don't therefore bring him the glory that he should have. God gets the most glory, that he should have from souls that are most satisfied in him so I get fully satisfied. God gets fully glorified and that's the best of all possible worlds in your happy.
I know someone once asked me, you know, as it was a Detroit Lions chaplain for 30+ years.
Lot of losses, not like the Vikings they went over here just lost first to go and I know that well. I've been that locker many times, but know someone once said to me.
So what is your like mission as a chaplain of the team and I and I responded not with that great quote, but it was at the I said I think I feel like a walk in the locker room and I and I want to see. Show them the got is not who they think you mean I'm sick. I have a joy in Christ. That's amazing. And they think they look, chaplain, sadthey don't expect joy that I'm satisfied in Christ, we can see him. You see some hydrology like where you get that joy all that's in God or city.
That's what Bob pointed out every everybody expects you to be happy if the sun is shining very few people expect you to be deeply joyfully content. If the clouds are gathering in your life. You have just completed and were to spend some time this week talking about a book that is not just a book. It's it's at home, this is this is something you've taken years to write on the subject of Providence wipe this subject for a long-term investment and a book that is hundreds of pages 700 to be precise, probably because over the last 50 years, 52 years since God did great work in my heart of the fall of 68 and subsequent years. The power of God. The authority of God. The bigness of God the freedom of God. The purposes of God. The overarching glory and beauty of God with his all controlling sovereignty at the center revolutionized my life.
I want to be a God besotted God entranced person. I don't think Ann and I want you to be a date which won't be that, thousands of other people to be God entranced and saturated besotted with God everywhere they look they see got everything they deal with is dealt with in the light of God. There isn't any other doctrine that brings you to that point better than the Providence of God. There isn't any.
The Providence of God, implying his control, supervision and guidance authority over all things from the dropping of a bird out of the tree. So Jesus said, not a bird not a bird in unseen forests of Brazil drops out of a tree with out your father's design and presence and purpose and when you think about wool that was his way of talking about molecules coming out of subatomic particles. He was in a drop that only people in order to turn up the new birds billions of words all over the world dropping out of trees when their time is up. And God is ruling that if he is ruling that hears of my head are all numbered. The implications of that are actually staggering so it's both getting a God entranced vision of life, and then all the implications which I'm sure we'll talk about over these days of that kind of God being my God ruling my life overseeing my happiness and sorrow it's just all transforming so it had been at the root of my life and I said now here I am.
If I wait much longer will you be in the grave. I will get this done so I turned 71, two, and city can be done now or never. And so I've got to put it all together and it feels like a book to me, which is the gathering together a pretty much all I've ever thought into one place. It is there a difference between Providence and sovereignty are they subsets how they work together in my vocabulary.
There's a difference in the thinking of most thoughtful Bible readers.
There's a difference. The difference is this sovereignty signifies God's power and authority do whatever he wills.
Providence says yes and adds and he does it purposefully, wisely, as a good and caring providing probe by Dean Providence God and so I define Providence as purposeful sovereignty.
Good and at the same time. You know the average listener will go well then, do I have any free will is everything controlled and how to answer that. Yeah I I love to answer it.
I love it. Try to answer.
I begin by looking at the person and saying you're going to have to define what you mean by free will, before I can answer which really stops most people because they haven't thought about that. They'll say something like well you know I choose I choose. I really choose sin in my choosing counts and so let me give you two definitions of free will.
One of which I say fits perfectly and exists, and the other doesn't fit because it doesn't exist. Okay the first one is and I think most laypeople would say that sort of what I mean if you mean by free choice that I do what I choose to do without being coerced against my will. So what I do. I choose to do and my choice is me choosing and me being responsible and me being accountable before man and God. And so it's real in the sense it. I do the choosing. And I'm really accountable I'm blameworthy or praiseworthy because of it and I will bear consequences because of it, and those will be just or unjust.
According to whether I did right or wrong, so free will understood is just I choose and I'm responsible, and I would say absolutely that exists in God's providence is not contradicted because God doesn't cause you to act in a way that is coercive that is contrary to your will and hold you accountable for what you did when your arm twisted behind your back.
I don't want to do this. I want to do this, and God is making you do it any hold you accountable for it just doesn't work that way. God's way of governing the will includes your doing the act and yet he's governing the doing of the act, and in there is a mystery that all the way back to the beginning of the first sin I don't have a final answer for so that exists black. It's really important to give the second definition because lots of people think this exists when it doesn't. Namely philosophers or people who disagreed my theology with a lot of understanding would say human beings have the power of ultimate self-determination me. You come to the point of your conversion say you been convicted and you going for days, weeks, months, whatever it is and you get to a crisis point on this site is unbelief on that side of the moment is belief. At that very moment. Do you have the power of ultimate self-determination. You do not. God does.
God is the only one with that decisive act calls the shots that divides theology that divides people and so I would say in this book is devoted to showing it's all over the Bible that at that moment, God is the only one with such free will. Such free will that is ultimate self-determination. Human beings never have ultimate self-determination.
So if that's what somebody means by free will, we don't have it if somebody means by the former Margaret my choices are real, I'm really accountable and therefore I do have any doesn't contradict Providence, Providence and fatalism are not the site are not all the same, at least the way I would use the word fatalism and I think the way most people think about fatalism is that it is an impersonal, un-purposeful force and that is not Providence, Providence's personal God and he's person. This window was stunning things in the universe realize that ultimate reality is person is amazing and he's purposeful in his personal engagement with this world does not fatalism. Most people talk about it. You wrote a book years ago a series of books spiritual biographies that the swans are not silent series which I have benefited from one of the series was on the subject of Providence and I remember reading about William Cooper who wrote the hymn, God works in mysterious God moves in mysterious way and and in that hymn. There is this line about the frowning providence of God, and behind his frowning Providence.
He hides a smile and you want to sing the first judge not the Lord will sense, but trust him for his grace behind a frowning Providence. He hides us :-) then Cooper knew that firsthand in his life. Yes, because he was he was a man who struggled with depression us about his life depression on the providence of God put those two together for somebody. Depression is one of a thousand sorrows that human beings have to deal with. It's one aspect of the brokenness in the fullness of this world. There are many, many others, I think the mental ones are probably harder to deal with than merely physical ones, to be a broken arm and an anxious heart are not are not the same.
I would rather think have a broken arm to know what's wrong.
Fix it. It's over an anxious heart or an anxious temperament and and William Cooper did have, I believe a constitutional family rooted disposition towards what they called in those days melancholy in which we would call depression. Today he tried twice to kill himself. He was rescued from probably self-destruction by John Newton who wrote amazing Grace and we owe to William Cooper's brokenness not only God moves in mysterious way. But there is a fountain filled with blood and other hymns. We just love and they wouldn't exist without this brokenness, so maybe, maybe there there lies the answer that God through brokenness brings good you meant it for evil. Satan you meant it for evil whoever's causing the evil immediately. God meant it for good. And in Cooper's case that was depression and the depression happened to bear fruit in a handful of hymns that have this one in my life. Anyway numerous points has been life-giving lice rescuing from depression written by a man plagued with suicidal depression. So are you getting at the frowning face of God is.
I would think that the whole idea that God might have this frowning problem symptoms seems to be contrary to how were supposed understand the goodness of God. Let's let's linger there for a minute because the :-( of God which exists towards believers can be owing to his fatherly discipline. Hebrews 12 you have not yet resisted under the shedding of blood.
Remember, God disciplines those whom he loves and spanks every son in whom he like you get off frowning delight.
I did lighting frown so there's the discipline of God toward our righteousness. All discipline feels uncomfortable for the moment and bears the peaceful fruit of righteousness. That's that's one or it might be that we have sinned, believers see how does God look at a believer sin two ways covered by the blood of Jesus and displeasing. A lot of people choose they said was unjustified by faith.
If I'm totally accepted if not all my sins are forgiven.
If he's 100% for me. How could there ever be a frown and the answer is because he's displeased with how out of step. You are with that kind of reality.
You know in order to deal with God's discipline and frowns people have to have a rock solid understanding of justification by faith that in the moment that I genuinely am united to Jesus by faith. All my sins are forgiven, past, present, future. I am his child and adopted for ever and there's no condemnation, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus forever. Those whom he justified he glorified no dropouts. That kind of confidence is like the rock that you're standing on. Then you spend the rest of your life seeking to bring new life into conformity to that reality so that real sins get killed put to death.
What is evil in you and when you stumble into sin your father who is 100% for you frowns and you should feel that frown with dismay and sadness into what my father to frown at me, and thus it brings you to repentance. If you confess your sins he's faithful and just forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness and you realize. Yes, it was a frown, but behind it was a father who never felt contempt for me. I was dealing with a person the other day who has a hard time feeling the affections of their heavenly father.
I said yes, there can be frowns. Yes, there can be displeasure like don't grieve the Holy Spirit right those bricks be great, but if that person had a father who had no capacity to show any affection to them all. They're able to feel naturally is God's displeasure is like that my father and behind that was no smile, and they must be taught to retool their brain by the Holy Spirit through the word of God that God doesn't feel contemptuous, a wicked carnal father who is always negative and angry towards his children communicate contemptuous contempt for you got it never feels contempt for his children. He feels displeased but the displeasure rises out of a fundamental you are mine for ever. I have an eternal happiness for you that cannot be taken away. So I would get you in sync with this if I have to spank you with cancer. He says in first Corinthians 11 that if some people ate the Lord's supper illegitimately and they got sick and some of them died and then Paul gives the explanation for the death of the saints so that they would not be condemned with the world like what not.
Many believers have a conception of the sweet favor of God that is so caring of the that it would take their life to take believers to point of just being scared when they don't see the great love of the father.
If you don't combine that there is fear Davies to refer to God as a Waccamaw God before he knew Christ because he was fearful of what godly detail and that's the theology I thought I heard as a little boy in church you know is up there with the mallet. You're been to Dave and busters in the little moles come up, and you know that I know the guys find it on that that was my image to something bad and I just sort of looking down or are your joy Michael Youngquist that don't do this, and when I went to the text in your Jesus is. If you see me using the father you get that you get a sense of the character of God is revealed in Christ is like. That's not the God of the Bible. I had a wrong understanding who God that is the solution to the lacrimal vision of God could be to say he never smacks or she only smacks with deep, lasting, eternal affection for his children, and that's a harder theology to teach and he never smacks wife because he never smacks is a prosperity gospel that says all the bad thing to have Amir happen from Satan all the good things are happening are happening from God, and you got a dualistic universe in this book is written say there is no such universe that he providentially smacks from time to time, and his providence is wise, purposeful, good, caring, loving is bringing us to an eternal weight of glory and his biggest smack was to son son. He took it. We've got a lot more to unpack on this and no time to do it today will pick this up tomorrow may encourage those of you who have not yet done so.
Get a copy of John Piper's book Providence which is a masterful work that will help you not only understand Providence theologically, but help you understand it practically. What do we do when life throws us a circumstances events that we look at and go to.
How can God be in this.
How do we understand that this is what you have mapped out for us.
Dr. Piper in your book and we got copies of the book Providence. Our family like today resource Center. You can go firstname.lastname@example.org to order your copy or you can call 800 FL today to get a copy so again the book is called Providence by John Piper order email@example.com or call to order 800-358-6329. That's 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today hundred 358-6329. I think all of us look at the events of the last 12 months with a global pandemic and everything that has been wrapped in the midst of that and if there's a time to understand the providence of God. This is that kind of a time and even in the midst of the challenges we face. We still have to be purposeful and intentional when it comes to building a strong marriage and a strong family and adhered family life over the last 12 months we have been working diligently to develop resources that can help you in your quest to continue to strengthen your marriage and to keep from drifting toward isolation in your relationship and and you probably heard us talk about the date box the dates to remember date box that our team has put together this is a great resource designed to help every couple have some purposeful intentional interaction time together that will be both fun and marriage strengthening. That's the goal. It's an opportunity for you to have three dates that will be purposeful and to have a great time along the way. You can find out more about the family life dates to remember date box how you can order it how you can get it in time for Valentine's Day go to family life to a.com and find out more about dates to remember, you can order from us online or call 800 FL today to order your copy of this resource.
Again, our website is family life to.com or you can call to order 800-358-6329. That's 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today and tomorrow. We want to talk about how we understand and embrace and respond rightly to God's providence in the midst of worldwide events and circumstances in our own personal lives.
John Piper will be with us again tomorrow as well. Thank our engineer today. Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts David Amason and Bob see back next time for another edition of family life today family like today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. A crew ministry help for today hope for tomorrow