Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Gospel is bad news to the self-sufficient

Since this week I gave two talks based on Acts 17:16-34, I have followed my wife's honoured practice of seeing what John Piper has to say on the passage! He has a nice sermon Why God Cannot Be Served But Loves to Serve which focuses on verses 24-25
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 
Piper makes two main points about the fact God is not Served by Human Hands.
1. It is bad news to the self-sufficient (particularly the morally "upright")
2. It is good news to the weak.

1. Was bad news to Saul (before he became Paul) because, "His whole identity hung on serving God with resolve and strength and rigor and accuracy and beyond all his contemporaries. This was his identity. This was his boast and significance."

Piper links the Acts passage to Mark 10:45, "Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Piper states:

God is so great and so self-sufficient that he cannot be served as though he needed anything, and his Son Jesus Christ is so great and so valuable that his death in our place is a sufficient ransom to pay all our debt to God. The question is, will we believe this, and will we receive God's service of us as the most precious gift in the world? Believing. Receiving. Not serving. That's the posture of a person who is right with God. God sets us right through the death of his Son in our place and we receive this right standing, this peace and acceptance and hope not by working for God, but by trusting in his work for us.

No comments:

Post a Comment