20 Quotes from John Piper on the Coronavirus

Last year John Piper penned a great little book at the start of the pandemic, and 12 months later his words still ring true:

“The coronavirus is God’s thunderclap call for all of us to repent and realign our lives with the infinite worth of Christ.” (77)

“Disasters are a gracious summons from God to repent and be saved while there is still time. . . . I think that’s God’s message for the world in this coronavirus outbreak. He is calling the world to repentance while there’s still time.” (79–80)

“What God is doing in the coronavirus is showing us—graphically, painfully—that nothing in this world gives the security and satisfaction that we find in the infinite greatness and worth of Jesus. This global pandemic takes away our freedom of movement, our business activity, and our face-to-face relations. It takes away our security and our comfort. And, in the end, it may take away our lives. The reason God exposes us to such losses is to rouse us to rely on Christ. Or to put it another way, the reason he makes calamity the occasion for offering Christ to the world is that the supreme, all-satisfying greatness of Christ shines more brightly when Christ sustains joy in suffering.” (82)

The quotations above are courtesy of a Gospel coalition post (link below). But don’t forget you can access Piper’s books as PDFs anytime. Follow the link https://www.desiringgod.org/books/coronavirus-and-christ. It is worth reading for yourself. Blessings!

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/20-quotes-coronavirus/

7 Ways Biblical Theology Transforms Bible Study

Years ago I was teaching a study of Genesis in my church when one of the discussion-group leaders, a godly older woman, came and sat by me. “How come…

7 Ways Biblical Theology Transforms Bible Study

2 Peter 3:16 – on this salvation era and Paul’s credibility

And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.”
2 Peter 3:15‭-‬16 NLT 

It is truly astounding the way rich Bible truths are anchored at the “3:16” point in nearly every New Testament book. This post continues my long exploration of the Three Sixteens. Today we are looking at the salvation which comes to us through the Lord’s patience, as described in Paul’s teachings. (If you missed the earlier posts, go back to the start and check them out: Matthew 3:16 through to 1 Peter 3:16.)

To understand the significance of these words, it is worth understanding the patience that Peter is referring back to (in verse 9):

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. This actually a response to the criticism mentioned in verses 3-4:
I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again?

So what did happen to that promise? More than ever, the idea that Jesus would come and end all the pain and suffering of this Covid world is attractive. We who hope in Christ and the resurrection would probably welcome his return today! But unlike God, we are each so wrapped up in our own interests. The reason for the Lord’s delay is the salvation of souls.

With each day that passes, new believers are made, new children are born to the Kingdom of God. How gracious is the delay of this promise! God’s purposes in calling people to himself are not thwarted by the criticism that Jesus’ return should come right now. For the sake of mortal men and women, our loving heavenly Father is patient. And though he stands outside of time, we can be thankful for the passing moments from where we sit, and wait. More people are coming to put their trust in Him!

Verse 15 leads into 16, where Peter makes the interesting connection between Paul’s teachings and the rest of Scripture – giving weight to Paul’s letters and thereby declaring that they too are indeed God-breathed. Peter’s verse 15 agrees with Paul who wrote in Romans 2:4“Do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Peter’s agreement with Paul is significant in that it sets the apostles’ teaching apart from that of false teachers, who denied the Second Coming of Christ.

As for Peter’s comment that some of Paul’s writings are “hard to understand”, I don’t think he is being critical. Rather, the opposite. He wants us to see the truth in Paul’s hard teachings. Just as Jesus spoke in parables – so that we might seek the meaning and exercise faith to understand the truth – so Paul’s teachings call on us to think!

John Piper offers this comment in a sermon on the passage:

” . . . even though Scripture is inspired, it is not all easy to understand. Verse 16: “There are some things in them hard to understand.” I would love to preach an hour on the implications of that sentence; but since I don’t have time, here is an outline of that sermon.
Point 1: Being inspired, the Scriptures reveal the mind of God.
Point 2: The mind of God is vastly greater than our mind and will often be perceived by us as strange and complex, not familiar and simple.
Point 3: Therefore, the Scriptures will sometimes be strange and complex and hard to understand.
Point 4: The continued selection only of what is simple in the Bible would be a sin in the regular preaching of the church, because Hebrews 5:13 says, “Everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness; for he is a child.”
Point 5: Therefore, preaching which aims to deliver the whole counsel of God in Scripture (and which does not presume to be wiser than the apostles) will sometimes be complex and will demand from God’s people the utmost in humility and mental effort.”

Praise be to our great God – who has revealed himself to us and patiently waits for more to be gathered into the kingdom of His Son.

Here is a song to finish with, reminding us of God’s Mercies which are new every morning. (Recorded by Matt Redman – Thy Kingdom Come Event | London, UK)

https://youtu.be/TYyZCCs5bJc

Messiah – the long-awaited precious promise

Ready for your new favourite Christmas song? Here it is.

From the album, This Christmas, by Francesca Battistelli (2020)

Lyrics:

Long awaited precious promise
Son of God and son of man
Heaven’s glory in a manger
Has come to us in Bethlehem

Messiah
Messiah
A baby born to save us all
Messiah
Messiah
On our knees we fall

All we longed for, all we needed
Shining in this child’s eyes
Hope forever, death defeated
Because of this one holy night

O come let us adore him
O come let us adore…

Day 5/12 – Salvation is Born (Christmas Songs Countdown)

This has to be one of the most beautiful (and unfortunately less well known) Christmas songs I know, which was published in 2005 by Sovereign Grace Music. I arranged it for a three or four part choir with soloist at some point during the Noughties, and we performed it at our Christmas services. (If you are interested, I could probably find the score.) Enjoy this message!

VERSE 1
Come let us worship, come let us adore
Jesus, Messiah, our Savior is born
Carol His glory and sing His sweet Name
Offer a life of thanksgiving and praise
VERSE 2
Join with the angels proclaiming to earth
Join with the shepherds in awe of His birth
Join all creation rejoicing this morn
The glory of God-become-man has been born

CHORUS
Come, let us adore Him
Jesus, the hope of the world
Come, worship before Him
Christ, the Messiah has come
Salvation is born

VERSE 3
Prophets foretold Him, the Promise of God
The hope of Salvation and light of the world
Born in a stable and born as a man
Born to fulfill God’s redeeming plan

© 2005 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

Salvation is Born by Greg Tulenko, sung by Shannon Harris from the album
“Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man”
© 2006 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

Day 3/12 – Noel! (Christmas Songs Countdown)

Continuing the countdown of 12 great songs for the twelve days before Christmas, here is Chris Tomlin’s ‘Noel‘ sung by Lauren Daigle.

Before you listen, you may like to consider the origins of the word, NOËL. This word, signifying the holiday season, comes to us from the Latin verb nasci, meaning “to be born.”  The noun use (from natalis dies, day of birth) denoted a birthday, an anniversary, a commemorative festival, hence in ecclesiastical Latin the festival of the nativity of Christ, Christmas. In English, Noël has not been in standard use in the sense of Christmas, but it has been attested as a surname and male first name in England since the 12th century; it was probably originally used for children born or baptised on Christmas day. In the early 14th century, from its use as a word shouted or sung to commemorate the birth of Christ, French Noël became an interjection expressing joy.

Let’s give thanks today and hold on to the wonder of the Word who became flesh, and came to save us!

Love incarnate, love divine
Star and angels gave the sign
Bow to babe on bended knee
The Saviour of humanity
Unto us a Child is born
He shall reign forevermore

Noel, Noel
Come and see what God has done
Noel, Noel
The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us
Noel

Son of God and Son of man
There before the world began
Born to suffer, born to save
Born to raise us from the grave
Christ the everlasting Lord
He shall reign forevermore

Noel, Noel
Come and see what God has done
Noel, Noel
The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us
Noel

Songwriters: Edmond Martin Cash / Matthew James Redman / Chrisopher D Tomlin
Noel lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group, Music Services, Inc

Day 2/12 – Candlelight Carol (Christmas Songs Countdown)

From Australian a cappella vocal group, Idea of North, on the album ‘This Christmas’ from (2012). The song is based on a carol by John Rutter (2001). Listen below or find more info here.

Candlelight Carol

Find him at Bethlehem laid in a manger
Christ our Redeemer asleep on the hay
Godhead incarnate and hope of salvation
A child with his mother that first Christmas Day

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star-glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn
Gloria! Gloria in excelsis deo
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born

Shepherds and wise men will kneel and adore him
Seraphim round him their vigil will keep
Nations proclaim him their Lord and their Saviour
But Mary will rock him and sing him to sleep

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star-glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn
Gloria! Gloria in excelsis deo
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born

Day 1/12 – ‘Help from Heaven’ (Christmas songs countdown)

In the twelve days remaining until Christmas, I thought I’d share some of the best songs I’ve found floating around on the ridges of various compilation CDs. This first one comes from ‘These Christmas Lights’ (2016) by Matt Redman.

There is a moment, every heart needs a rescue
There is a season, every soul needs a break through
Help from heaven, we all need help from heaven

There is a whisper, a voice of hope inside you
There is an answer, a name above to guide you
Help from heaven, we all need help from heaven
Help from heaven, help from heaven

When the world is on our shoulders
And we need a hand to hold us
When no miracle is found, still believe, oh
When the sea of night surrounds us
And all questions try to drown us
Just believe, just believe in help from heaven
Help from heaven

There is a reason, those tears will not be wasted
There is a future, for all those broken pieces
Look to heaven, all we need is help from heaven
Help from heaven

When the road ahead is hidden
And we need a new beginning
When the battle’s closing in, still believe, oh
When we step in to the promise
And the hands of grace that hold us
Just believe, just believe in help from heaven
Help from heaven, help from heaven

Taking heart and holding on, hope is closer than we know
Hand that will not let us go, help from heaven
Taking heart and holding on, hope is closer than we know
Hand that will not let us go, we all need help from heaven

The Bridge – Casting Crowns

Lyrics:

Oh, you lead us home

Oh oh

 

The world’s getting darker by the day

I’m on my knees but don’t know what to pray

The broken things that broken people do

But knowing just how far You came for me

Gives me hope for every soul I meet

There’s no one so far gone that You can’t reach

So reach through me

Let them see, Lord, let them see

 

Your love is the bridge

You built with a cross

And Your truth is the light

That searches for the lost

Your grace won’t stop reaching

Your mercy won’t let go

‘Cause Your love is the bridge

And Your truth leads us home

Oh, You lead us home, Oh

 

You never told the broken they were whole

You spoke the truth that healed their broken souls

You’d never leave us here to fight alone

With love we earn the right to speak Your truth

It’s not just what we say, it’s what we do

I want to be a bridge that leads to You

So reach through me

Let them see, Lord, let them see

 

No rescue so relentless

No greater love than this

Where sin leaves a canyon

Your love builds a bridge

 

Writers:

Mark Hall, Matthew West, Bernie Herms and Seth Mosley

Be Essential Songs (BMI) (admin at EssentialMusicPublishing.com). My Refuge Music (BMI) (adming at CapitolCMGPublishing.com). Hickory Bill Doc / So Essential Tunes (SESAC) (admin at EssentialMusicPublishing.com) (C) 2018 Provident

When we all get to heaven

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 
1 Corinthians 13:12

I think we have been waiting for this song to be written. Imagine the rejoicing and the praises on that day – to sing and shout the victory! To see Jesus! Thanks to Matt Redman for this new expression of the hope in which we live each day, as Christ followers.
Blessings to those for whom this day is likely not far away.
xx

LYRICS:
One day You’ll make everything new, Jesus
One day You will bind every wound
The former things shall all pass away
No more tears

One day You’ll make sense of it all, Jesus
One day every question resolved
Every anxious thought left behind
No more fear

When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be
When we all see Jesus
We’ll sing and shout the victory

One day we will see face to face, Jesus
Is there a greater vision of grace
And in a moment, we shall be changed
On that day

And one day we’ll be free, free indeed, Jesus
One day all this struggle will cease
And we will see Your glory revealed
On that day

Music video by Matt Redman performing One Day (When We All Get To Heaven). © 2018 Capitol Christian Music Group, Inc. http://vevo.ly/8ZTF28