Prayer: Just Do It!

Posted by on Oct 25, 2014 in Featured, The Gospel and the Christian Life

Prayer: Just Do It!

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about prayer, examining my own prayer life or admittedly the lack of one over the past few months. Part of this examination process has involved wondering what makes some people such prayer warriors and devoted to prayer while others seems to treat prayer as a pre-meal exercise or a quick barrage of words prior to falling asleep. I have come to realize that Scripture presents three key truths concerning prayer: 1) It is an essential part of the Christian walk; 2) We have a model of how to pray outlined in the Lord’s Prayer, and 3) Just do it. There is really nothing fancy about praying. No formula to follow like some sort of Harry Potter spell or charm. We are simply told that prayer is vital, that we should pray that God’s will be done, and we are to pray without ceasing.

So what keeps us from praying on a consistent basis? What are the barriers to pouring out our hearts to the God who so desires to hear from us even though He already knows what we will say and what we need? I think there are three key barriers to prayer:

1) Pride. Yes that ugly enemy called pride tops the list. When it comes to prayer, the issue of pride rears its ugly head when we think we know all things and can go it alone in this thing called life. The finite human far too often believes they have sufficient wisdom to give it a go, not realizing that such a perception is about as false as the day is long. The spirit of pride essentially declares that sufficiency can be found within self. How does Scripture respond to such a perspective of life? We are told such truth as “Prides comes before destruction” (Prov. 16:18) and “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5). Notice where pride leads and where wisdom is found. Pride leads to destruction and wisdom comes from God.

2) Business/Laziness. Both business and laziness are related barriers to prayer. With all the demands of life to include work, home, church, and hobbies just to name a few, prayer gets shuffled to the back burner of the daily priority list if it even makes the list at all. Even when we have time in our schedule to pray, taking a nap on the couch or watching that final game of the playoffs takes priority over spending time in relational conversation with God.

3) Embarrassment/Timidity. How many of us decline saying a prayer before a meal in public? I will raise my hand. The question is why? It is truly out of an attitude of being embarrassed to bow your head and give thanks to God who provided the means by which you can partake of that meal. We are far too worried about what others might think about us saying a prayer of thanksgiving. Related to embarrassment is the attitude of timidity, the feeling like you are not eloquent enough with your words to say anything worthwhile which leads to saying nothing at all. Neither approach is correct.

How do we do battle against these three issues so these barriers to a consistent and purposeful prayer life can be demolished? Let me provide four methods:

1) Humility. Since Scripture says that “pride leads to destruction” (Prov. 16:18) and “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5), then we must grasp the reality that pride is not the answer and that wisdom comes from somewhere outside of ourselves. I am reminded of King Solomon who asked for wisdom from God above all else. Charles Spurgeon once rightly declared “Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God.”

2) Do not let business or laziness become an excuse. Martin Luther once stated, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Jesus often went to a quiet place in the morning to spend time in prayer with his Father. Scripture exhorts us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “Pray without ceasing.” Thus, regardless of how much we feel must be crammed into our daily schedules, nothing should rise to such a level of importance that we do not take time to spend with our heavenly Father in prayer. Furthermore, we can always be in a spirit of prayer, conversing with God throughout the day. With that said, devoted and consistent time spent in the prayer closet is also a must.

3) Do not fear what man might say. The great preacher Leonard Ravenhill once stated, “A man who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by men.” In all honesty, who cares what people think if you bow your head and say a prayer before your meal in public? After all, Jesus did say “whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” (Matt. 10:33) Strong words for certain and to a large degree, being embarrassed to pray in public before a meal can certainly be construed as falling dangerously close to that disowning category. Now mind you we are not to make a big show of praying to draw attention to ourselves. Engaging in that type of prayer is warned against in Matthew 6:7 as something the heathen do – the old Pharisaical approach. We should bow our heads, give thanks from a thankful heart, and partake of the meal. Who knows what seed might be planted in the hearts of those who observe that activity.

4) Just do it. Charles Spurgeon once commented that “True prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.” If you are afraid you are lacking in eloquence or that you have noting worthy of saying, put that attitude far from you. Jesus provided a simple model for prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. What is most interesting about that model prayer is it is a conversation between man and his God. It covers all the basics of life such as God’s will taking place, provision being given, forgiveness towards those who have wronged us, protection from the enemy, and giving glory to God. What more is there in life to talk about with God? So if you are struggling with your prayer life, follow the keep it simple method. Have a conversation with God. He knows your heart and He already knows what you are going to say but He longs to hear it anyway. “A single groan” is the best place to start.

Prayer must be a part of our lives all day and every day. If you have been struggling with your prayer life, I trust this post will be of some help. If anything, remember this one truth – Just do it. Engage in prayer, exercise that spiritual muscle, and cast your cares upon God for He truly cares for you.

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The Shock of the Ordinary in Romans 1:8

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in The Gospel and the Christian Life

Romans 1:8, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.”

That verse is shocking. It is shocking because considering our contemporary strategy for reaching the world for Christ, you’d expect it to read something much different. Something like this, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all you, that even though you are small and feeble you are hanging on. Nobody has heard of you yet, but we are gathering resources and soon enough the church in Rome will be thriving”.

Rome was the hub of civilization in the first century. If the early Christians wanted Christianity to have cultural legitimacy then they knew Rome would have to bow a knee to Jesus.

It’s logical isn’t it? You want to put all of your energy and resources into reaching these cultural hubs. Rome is where all the people are at. Rome is the influencer of the culture. And so if you want to reach Rome you do it with the best and the brightest that we have. This is the SBC’s present strategy with NAMB and our emphasis on SEND cities.

So you would think that the early Christians would have put all of their eggs in the basket of Rome. You’d expect the church at Rome to be planted by Paul or Peter or another studly apostle. But it wasn’t. It is most likely that the church in Rome was planted by regular ordinary people. No superstars. No apostles. No great speakers. No great church leaders. Just regular people that came to know Christ and the contagious gospel spread.

This is why I’m a little shocked by Romans 1:8. The church at Rome—the very important and significant church at Rome—was planted by ordinary folk.

I preached on this passage (Romans 1:8-17) last Sunday. In that sermon my aim was to encourage our congregation to have confidence in the gospel. My first point was on the shock of the ordinary in Romans 1:8. This ought to give us confidence because the gospel is contagious. It spreads through regular people that are excited about Jesus more than it does through the professionals.

To close the service I wanted to drive this point home so I used an illustration. (Actually it wasn’t a planned illustration it happened on the fly). I don’t know the stories of how everyone in our congregation has come to know Christ. And so I was taking a gamble—but one that I believed would work.

First, I asked every one who became a Christian in a church service to stand up. Whether it was a regular Sunday or a revival service or something else. About 10 of our 150 people stood up.

Then, I had those ten or so people sit down and then asked those who came to Christ through a friend or a co-worker to stand up. Almost the rest of the congregation stood up. When I asked those who came to Christ through a parent to stand up almost our entire congregation was standing.

It was a powerful moment because we saw with our eyes that God uses ordinary people to spread His gospel. Most people still assume that it is the work of us “professionals” (pastors, teachers, etc.) that really causes the church to grow. It isn’t. It’s you..ordinary…everyday…bumbling through a gospel presentation…you.

Let the shock of the ordinary in Romans 1:8 give you great confidence!

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Three Things to Remember When Visiting Christian Websites

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in The Gospel and the Christian Life

Every day I pilfer numerous articles and scope out what the Christian community says on the internet. Like anyone else, I gravitate to particular websites, ones that have my interest and loyalty.

These websites are marked by quality journalism and literary writing. Their editors are qualified, usually not just as writers or editors, but as scholars and pastors. Typically, these sites are loosely connected or aligned to a pastoral figure, a church, denomination, or are a collection of the aforementioned.

And every day, as I read these Christian websites, I give myself a subtle reminder. I rehearse it quietly to myself. Here is what I say: “This is not the Word, not my local church, not an ordinance.”

Why do I give myself these reminders? I remind myself because I am prone to wander from priorities and authorities. What follows are reasons for these cautions.

This is Not the Word

Sure enough, the Word of God is frequently the base of Christian articles. Yet, just like other forms of journalism, even the best Christian websites veer towards sensational op-eds. You have to carefully read and categorize every article. Ask yourself: “Is this exegetically driven? Or opinion driven?” This helps you determine what authority level you permit an article to have. Still, even if it is exegetically driven, you have to ask: “Does this interpretation or reading of the Word hold true?”

The Word is authoritative over your life. As the psalmist confesses, “Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true” (Ps. 119:142). Measure every article read against God’s truth. Likewise, don’t allow websites or articles to supplant time in the Word. They are no substitute for pulling out the Scripture and hearing directly from God.

Though they may bring you to the Word, Christian websites are not the Word.

This is Not Your Local Church

Community develops around Christian websites. You’ll connect with others that enjoy the same websites. Likewise, you’re bound to cross the same people in comment threads and develop friendships. These interactions, though genuine, are displaced by space. They are no substitute for your local church.

An aspect of local church community is that your local church sees you for who you are. In turn, you see them and submit to them, because the Scripture calls you to this, saying: “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21).

Too often, you have the freedom to project what you wish to others on Christian websites. Substituting digital community for local church community creates a vacuous space that lacks accountability. Furthermore, digital space caters to individuality. You visit what sites you wish and are not a holden to anyone for your behavior. This individualism is dangerous.

Jonathan Leeman in The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love, reminds us that the dangers of individualism are not countered by community, digital or otherwise. He says, “The solution to individualism is not community. The solution — one fears to say it without pages of qualification — is to reintroduce a conception of submission to God’s revealed will as it’s located in the local church.” The local church requires you to submit to elders, other members, and to Christ when a Christian website cannot.

Likewise, though many websites have pastors writing and editing, none of them argue that they function as pastors in this role. These men do not have the capacity to cover you with authority nor the ability to do so because of the digital space that lies between you two.

Though Christian websites are a great place to learn about the church and fellowship with the wider church community, they are not your local church.

This is Not an Ordinance

This one is a surprising reminder. If you’re like me, you like to create laws for yourself. You like routine and gravitate towards it. But Jesus never said, “Thou shalt log in and read Christian articles daily.” This isn’t something you have to do; this is a freeing realization.

Though you enjoy checking out what’s being said by the Christian community on the internet, you have to remind yourself that it’s not part of your identity. Being adopted into sonship with Christ, calls you to baptism, the Lord’s supper, prayer, the Word, and the local church community. It doesn’t call you to keep up with what is being said on the web.

At times you may feel out of place because other Christians know what’s going on in the blogosphere and you don’t. But that knowledge doesn’t shape you like the ordinances Christ gave you. You’re shaped by taking in bites of the Lord’s body, not bytes of data from Christian websites. You’re washed in the stream of Christ’s blood through the waters of baptism, not by the stream of your twitter feed.

Though Christian websites are a great place to learn what Christ ordained, you’re not ordained to go to them.

This post first appeared at Joey’s blog and is posted here with his permission.

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Why You Aren’t Benefitting From Sermons

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Featured, The Gospel and the Christian Life

Why You Aren’t Benefitting From Sermons

Do you have a hard time getting anything from sermons? Struggle to remember what was said? Don’t feel like you are learning? Let me offer two reasons why you may not be benefitting from the sermons.

You might have the wrong goal. 

If you are going to church just to learn — repent. Too strong? I don’t think so. 

You should be sitting under the preaching of God’s word to worship —to learn, yes!— but primarily to worship.  If education is your end goal, you have your reward —a dry brain filled with theological zippity-do-dah. Your goal should be joy-filled worship over God’s truth. The gospel is the worship of God.

As a preacher, I don’t want to be a pez-head, popping out little bars of truth. I’m laboring to put forth the glory of Christ and praying that he sets hearts ablaze for the fame of his name.

Sermons don’t change people. The Spirit does. And the Holy Spirit loves to uses sentences and words to flip the world upside down. That’s what I’m hoping for.

I’m all for learning. Learning that leads to worship. Learning isn’t mean to be a cul-de-sac; its own pat on the back. Phooey.

If you go to church to worship and not just learn — you’ve already learned a ton.

Remember, Satan knows a lot.

The chief end of a sermon is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Any other goal is all for naught.

You aren’t prayed up.

Maybe your pastor isn’t ___________ (insert favorite podcast preacher). They are probably ordinary — I’m ordinary. And I like Vanilla. But let’s assume you are under the preaching of a godly man; one who is prepping hard, sweating over an open Bible, and has a heart to the brim with prayers.

If you aren’t benefiting from the sermons and you have a godly pastor—uhhhm, you might be problem. Not him. If others are being blessed, growing, coming to faith in Jesus — your lack of enjoyment might be your own lack of preparedness.

  • Are you praying Saturday night for God to move?
  • Are you getting enough sleep before the Lord’s Day?
  • Are you praying Sunday morning for God to save people?
  • Are you praying for God to crack open you heart, reveal sin, and comfort you with his grace?
  • Are you praying for joy in the gospel?
  • Are you praying for your pastor? Praying for an unction of the Holy Spirit to be upon him as he preaches?
  • Are you praying for revival to break out in your church?

If you find the sermons to be exciting as meatloaf, your prayers/heart for Sunday are the grid you are eating through. Your tastebuds aren’t ready. You could be served a Prime Steak, wrapped in bacon, and grilled to perfection and not enjoy it because your tastebuds have flown the cuckoo’s nest. They belong in the kiddie pool with a soggy pb & j.

Praise God that He is gracious. He sends the Spirit and blesses us, even when we didn’t have the sense to ask. Glory to God!

Try this on for size.

If you want more from your Sunday experience:

  1. Pray for yourself.
  2. Pray for others in attendance.
  3. Pray for your pastor.

Try it. Let me know what happens.

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Eight Ways to Fight for Purity

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Featured, Marriage/Parenting/Singleness

Eight Ways to Fight for Purity

Editor’s Note:

The purpose of this series is to help singles think through how to be single in the church, those who are married but don’t have kids to continue to pursue each other and those who are married to excel at parenting by the grace of God.


Fighting for Purity

We live in a culture where the constant refrain in our movies, television shows, and music seems to be pursue sex outside of marriage because there are ‘no consequences’. Our public schools and government (particularly via Planned Parenthood) openly encourage young people to pursue sex outside of marriage, divorced from responsibility by handing out condemns and providing “sex education training” designed to entice young teens to engage in sex outside of marriage. The Bible, however, presents a different picture—namely sex inside of marriage only. Sex inside of marriage may be the most counter-cultural action a Christian married couple can participate in.

We as men are forced into a battle every day against our foe, the devil, who seeks to do us harm. The fight for sexual purity is spiritual battle between a vanquished foe named Satan, and a victorious, triumphant, and exalted Savior in Jesus Christ. Even the day I wrote this article, I faced this challenge head-on at the Subway restaurant near my house. An inappropriately-dressed woman came into my line of sight, and I was faced with the question, “How should I respond?” Knowing what God’s Word teaches, I not only looked the other way, but I also began praying, resisting the urge to glance again as I held fast to the gospel. Not more than a half an hour later, as I sat at a coffee shop, I was once again challenged as a young woman walked past me in an extremely short skirt. Once again I prayed, resisted, and stood fast.

Men, fighting for your purity of mind and heart is serious spiritual warfare. All around each of us, the world is seeking to destroy you and me. Not only is the world and the satanic host armed to take you down, but your flesh cries out to be appeased. You are in a war and this war is very real. This is why fighting for your purity is spiritually imperative.

So, how can we expect to win this fight for purity? First, understand that God sees your heart. You cannot go beyond the sovereign gaze of an all-knowing God. He knows whether you stand fast or if you give in. My encouragement to you today is to hold fast and stand courageously. As Ephesians 6:14 states, Gird yourself for battle you are in with the Belt of Truth. One day the battle will end and your struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil will finally be over. Go to battle for the sake of your marriage! Will you go to battle for the sake of your soul? A solider dresses for battle and stands armed to the hilt against the enemy. As Christians we have been signed, and sealed in the Lord Jesus. Your eternity has been secured by the Risen Christ, so fight the fight knowing that your victory in Him is sure!

From what I’ve personally witnessed, many men give into temptation, allowing the lust of their eyes to damage their own souls. They are enticed and seduced by the seductresses flaunting around in overly tight clothes and short skirts. Men, resist and turn your eyes from these women by the grace of God. These are not the types of women you want to be your wife. These women are only after one thing—they want your attention (and flattery). They are nothing more than seductresses aiming to destroy you (whether or not they realize it) and take you out of the battle…maybe for good.

I realize that these are strong words, but we cannot sugar-coat the situation. We must recognize that our very lives are at stake and the damage done with one lustful glance can scar our souls forever. Soldiers arm themselves for battle; they prepare for war or many months. You have easy access to pornography and inappropriate images through smart phones, laptops, and other media devices. Temptation is everywhere—even in the line at the grocery store. So, how do you stand firm? Let me give you eight tips to help you navigate this spiritual minefield.

Eight Ways to Fight for Purity

First, Christian soldiers prepare for battle by taking up the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11). We are to put all of it on, not just pick up a sword and shield.

Second, Christian soldiers prepare for battle by taking up the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. You can claim victory over evil only by knowing the TRUTH found in the Word of God. If you don’t understand your identity in Christ, as one who is victorious, you will be unable to stand against the claims of Satan (the father of all lies).

Third, Christian soldiers prepare for battle by submitting to godly leadership in the local church. We know that God has ordained those in leadership to be our shepherds. Their teaching and leadership should be respected and followed, so long as they maintain a biblical perspective and godly teaching.

Fourth, Christian soldiers seek out accountability. What war has ever been won alone? Jesus has given us comrades, fellow Christian men to help us through the struggle. No one should try to shoulder the weight of this fight alone.

Fifth, Christian soldiers pray with their wives. As our helpmates, our wives can be the strongest pillar in our fight against the flesh. They will (hopefully) be knowledgeable of the struggles that men face in the flesh, and be willing to help in the fight for purity. A godly woman understands that the sexual temptation of her husband can be the downfall of their marriage. Her righteous prayers can move mountains, so do not be afraid to conscript her in this war. She’s there to help, as God intended.

Sixth, Christian soldiers love their wives. While at times it can be difficult to be both transparent and loving to your wife, there is a place of balance. Your wife may be hurt if you confess the struggles you have with purity, but a strong relationship is one of love and trust. If your wife cannot trust you, she may struggle also to love you. So I say again, love your wife, be honest with your wife, and engender trust and faith with your wife. Always remember that Jesus commands us to love our wives as He has loved the Church (and so died for Her). If you show this type of love to your wife, she will see Christ in you.

And seventh, Christian soldiers lead their wives and wash them in the water of the Word. Be the leader in the home that you are called to be. Do not forsake your duties as a husband and shepherd of Christ in the home. Use your knowledge of Scripture to lead by example in a godly way. If you provide an example of what it means to be a man of God to your family, God will use it to bless those in your care—not only your wife, but also your children (if you have any).

Finally, Christian soldiers use accountability software to help them fight against temptation, but seek first and foremost to submit to the teaching of the Word of God. The software available for purity accountability is truly helpful in so many ways. Without submitting to the teaching of the Word of God, however, software can only go so far. It is up to you to allow the Holy Spirit to renew your mind through the Word on a daily basis. If you refuse to allow His Word to instruct you in the way you should go, you have lost the battle already.

Today, you may be struggling with looking at illicit images or watching similarly themed videos. This is a battle I’ve known well. As one who’s overcome a pornography addiction, I know well the battle that wages through the world, the flesh, and the devil. Yet, there is hope and healing in the Cross of Christ. You can stand and resist, but you can’t do it in your own strength. You can fight for your purity and overcome temptation only by the grace of God. He alone is your victory; He alone is your hope. Lean on Him and trust Him when he says He is “for you”. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. Jesus is the reason you can fight for purity and stand firm in the grace of God. This is why I call you today to put your sin to death. Don’t coddle it and don’t play games with it. A little sin will harm you a great deal. Don’t just look away when that seductress tempts you in person or on the computer, instead you must pray, resist, and put it to death by the grace of God. Jesus died in your place and for your sin! He is the reason you can put your sin to death; He is the reason you can slay it. So, men of God, slay the dragon of impurity and fight for your purity by the grace of God. As a final thought, remember the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:1-4 and 2 Timothy 2:21-26):

2 Timothy 2:1-4, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.  Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”

2 Timothy 2:21-26, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,  correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

Jesus Christ is stronger than Satan could ever be—and He has given you VICTORY through Himself. Trust that His Word is true and you will remain victorious.

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Why God Does What He Does

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in Featured, The Gospel and the Christian Life

Why God Does What He Does

“He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
(Psalms 23:3)

God cares why we do what we do. He doesn’t desire rote singing, Bible reading, and prayer from us. He wants our hearts too. This is no surprise. God cares about our motivations. He even cares about when we drink sweet tea, drive down the interstate—the everything and whatevers of life (1 Cor. 10:31).

But have you ever thought about God’s motivation?
Why does God do what God does?

We know he sent his Son because he loves us. “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). God’s love for sinners motivates him.
And God’s glory is the motivation behind God’s love to redeem dead sinners like you and me.

“I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.” (1 John 2:12)

Why were our sins forgiven? Because we had faith? Yes (Eph. 2:8–9). Because he chose us before the foundation of the world? Yes (Eph. 1:3; Romans 8:29–30). But, ultimately, dig it all up, what is the root cause for our sins being washed white as snow?

His name’s sake.

Jesus died for God’s fame. Blood puddled on the ground at Golgotha for the glory of God, for his praise. God’s glory is God’s chief end—not us. God is the center of God’s universe.

God’s love for sinners like us, and God’s love for his fame are not at odds—they are in concert.

“All my hope and confidence is, that God will work for his name’s sake.” John Owen

And in Psalm 23, David realizes that our Lord leads us toward godliness, in paths of righteousness, for God’s majestic glory—so that God would be made much of, so that God will be seen as glorious. And this is for our good (Rom. 8:28LibronixLink dark Why God Does What He Does). The exaltation of God is the best thing for us.

God does what God does for God’s glory.

“Leading and guiding in the way of safety and happiness, restoring the soul, the forgiveness of sin; and that help, deliverance, and salvation, that is consequent therein, is for God’s name.” Jonathan Edwards

God’s glory and our good, sinners benefitting sovereign pursuits, are in perfect harmony.

  • “For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself.” (1 Samuel 12:22)
  • “For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me” (Psalms 31:3)
  • “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!” (Psalms 79:9)
  • “Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power.” (Psalms 106:8)
  • For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” (Isaiah 48:9, 11)

God is centered on his glory. Anything less for God to be centered on would be idolatry. God will not be an idolater. But God’s God-centeredness doesn’t mean he’s uninterested in you or me. Far from it. God’s God-centeredness, pursuing his name’s sake, means that God invites us, frees us, and redeems us, not only for his name’s sake, but also so we can be for his name and not our names. Jesus, not us, has been given a name that will initiate the bow-down-sequence (Philippians 2:9–11).

We exist to exalt him. And Jesus works in our lives, brining about spiritual fruit, not for our back-patting, but for praise—to make much of God.

“The most loving thing God can do for us is not to make much of us, but to work by his sovereign grace so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. So, if he would love us, he must exalt his sovereign grace and keep us in our humble, happy place.” John Piper

The Lord is our shepherd. He’s leading us in paths of righteousness—for his glory and our good. Our godliness is bigger than our godliness—it’s for glory.

We exist to make much of Jesus.

“Let every plan we frame and every choice we make have this aim: to make much of Jesus Christ. To show that he is the greatest person and the greatest treasure in the world.” – John Piper

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” (Psalms 115:1)

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