Sorry for the tardiness of this post, I know that I had originally said we would start on Monday. A 15 page paper kept me from fulfilling that task. But we will begin today by looking at the introduction to Piper’s book.
In case you are just beginning remember that you can read this book online for free:
The central statement to this entire book, and this introduction, is that the greatest gift of the gospel is God Himself. The fundamental question that Piper wants us to ask ourselves as we go through this book is, “Do you love God or do you love His gifts?” Perhaps the most penetrating question in the entire book is this one:
The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—
is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the
friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and
all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no
human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with
heaven, if Christ were not there? (Piper, 15)
If you are unfamiliar with Piper you need to know that central to his ministry is that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. That has been the driving statement of Piper’s ministry. This foundational commitment is what drives statements like this one: “The saving love of God is God’s commitment to do everything necessary to enthrall us with what is most deeply and durably satisfying, namely himself” (13).
Piper closes his introduction by giving a word to pastors and church leaders. Honestly, I think this probing question is fitting for everyone in the way that we present the gospel. It is a fitting question, “Can we really say that our people are being prepared for heaven where Christ himself, not his gifts, will be the supreme pleasure?”
There is a ton to chew on in this introduction. So I’ll let you bring out the things that you found beneficial, had questions about, or wanted to discuss further.
A Word on Reading Piper
Some people find reading John Piper pretty difficult. I think it has to do somewhat with his writing style. He reminds me of C.S. Lewis and the Apostle Paul in that he puts a ton of stuff in one sentence. Therefore, it is best to try to read Piper slowly. He has a tendency to say something and then say the same thing again in another way. Be aware of this.
I encourage you to read through this slowly and thoughtfully. But remember there is a reason that we are reading this in community. If something simply does not make sense feel free to leave a comment and ask, “what in the world is Piper saying here?” Also, feel free to disagree and ask questions of Piper. You may not agree with everything he says. He may at times sound an alarm and go just a little too far. But then again he may also be correct.
Let’s freely interact and respect one another as we go through this book!
It’s your turn…