Justin Taylor is telling the world that John Piper’s new book, What Jesus Demands from the World, is now available online as a free PDF download from Desiring God’s website.
I started browsing the book when it was first available on Crossway’s website, and I immediately flagged it for myself as a must-read, based on this wonderful thought from the very start of the introduction:
The aim of this book is God-glorifying obedience to Jesus. To that end I am seeking to obey Jesus’ last command: “Make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Jesus’ final command was to teach all his commandments.
The Impossible Final Command
Actually, the final command was more precise than that. He did not say, “Teach them all my commandments.” He said, “Teach them to observe all my commandments.” You can teach a parrot all of Jesus’ commandments. But you cannot teach a parrot to observe them. Parrots will not repent, and worship Jesus, and lay up treasures in heaven, and love their enemies, and go out like sheep in the midst of wolves to herald the kingdom of God.
Amen! Now go download the book. Then go buy the book. Somewhere in there, read the book. And email me and say “James, have you read it yet? No? Shame on you!”
There is a tendency in the church today to question everything, even the very foundations of our faith – the deity and lordship of Christ, the sovereignty of God, the inerrance of the scriptures.
But these things are indeed nothing new under the sun. Phil Johnson at Pyromaniacs regularly posts selections from Charles Spurgeon about how he, too, fought the same fights against the encroachment of the liberal theologies of his day. Spurgeon understood his place as a minister of the word enough to know that he could not question or reformulate those basics, as shown in today’s dose of Spurgeon:
The old truth that Calvin preached, that Chrysostom preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be a liar to my conscience and my God. I can not shape the truth.
Spurgeon wrote those words in 1858, but they still apply to the church today. I was reminded of the timelessness of these ideas this evening, while reading Matthew Henry’s commentary on 1 Timothy, from the early 1700′s:
As among the Jews there were some who brought Judaism into Christianity; so among the Gentiles there were some who brought paganism into Christianity. ‘Take heed of these,’ says he, ‘watch against them, or they will be the corrupting and ruining of religion among you, for they minister questions rather than edifying.’ That which ministers questions is not for edifying; that which gives occasion for doubtful disputes pulls down the church rather than builds it up.
Do not minister questions. Do not shape the truth. Preach the truth of the gospel, in season and out of season.
Jim Bublitz at OldTruth.com has a great summary of the instructions that Paul gives Timothy in the 2 epistles that bear the latter’s name. Jim pulled the list from MacArthur’s Ashamed of the Gospel, and I will no doubt crib from Jim’s copy as I assist one of our elders in a small group study of 1 Timothy over the next 9 months…
Jim summarizes the list thusly:
To sum it all up in five categories, Paul commanded Timothy: 1) to be faithful in his preaching of biblical truth; 2) to be bold in exposing and refuting error; 3) to be an example of godliness to the flock; 4) to be diligent and work hard in the ministry; and 5) to be willing to suffer hardship and persecution in his service for the Lord.
And he said to them, â€œThe harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.(Luke 10:2 ESV)
In several parables, our Lord used the analogy of a sower and his crops, including, of course, the Parable of the Sower.
What a glorious picture this is for evangelism! The sower does not try to avoid the wayside. He does not horde his seed near the stony places. He does not look upon the thorns and say, “The seed will get choked there.” He does not stop to test the soil, poke his finger in it, and say, “Here I will get a good yield.”
No, he does none of these things. He takes the seed, and casts it far and wide. He knows some will fall along the wayside. He knows that some will fall on the stony places. He knows that some will be choked by the thorns. And he knows that some will fall on good ground and yield a crop.
Does the sower know which particular seeds will fall where? He does not. But he trusts in the providence of God to say, “This seed will yield a crop.”
Let us spread the seed far and wide. Some will fall on the wayside. Some will fall on stony places. Some be choked by the thorns. But some will fall on good ground. Therefore let us go out and gather the harvest, as our Lord commands.