Therefore, this is the worthiness – the best and only kind we can bring to God – to offer our vileness (and so to speak) our unworthiness to him so that we might be lifted up by him; to accuse ourselves so that we may be justified by him; moreover, to aspire to that unity which he commends to us in his Supper; and, as he makes all of us one in himself, to desire one soul, one heart, one tongue for all… How could we, needy and bare of all good, befouled with sins, half-dead, eat the Lord’s body worthily? Rather, we shall think that we, as being poor, come to a kindly giver; as sick, to a physician; as sinners, to the Author of righteousness; finally, as dead, to him who gives us life. We shall think that the worthiness, which is commended by God, consists chiefly in faith, which reposes all things in Christ, but nothing in ourselves.
Public worship is your response to the gospel, but it is a response that to be expressed with other believers. You should think of worship as an opportunity to offer something to God, not just to receive something. You should come with the intention of offering your words, your heart, your mind, and your entire life to the God who rescued you from sin, death, and hell itself.
And one other thing – you should think of public worship as the pinnacle of the week. It is not the catalyst that gives movement to the other six days as much as it is the goal toward which you are working throughout the week. Your week should consist of days of private and family worship in which you are being prepared to meet with God as a church family.
From Note To Self, pg 115-116.
In 1998, John Piper preached a message, “Open My Eyes That I May See,” based on Psalm 119:17-24. In that message he mentions seven kinds of prayer to “soak” our reading of Scripture.
Seven Kinds of Prayer to Soak our Bible Reading
But since our text is Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law,” we should let this psalmist show us how he prays more generally about his reading of the Word of God. So let me close with a little tour of Psalm 119, and show you seven kinds of prayer with which you can soak your Bible reading this year. We should pray . . .
1. That God would teach us his Word. Psalm 119:12b, “Teach me Your statutes.” (See also verses 33, 64b, 66, 68b, 135). True learning of God’s Word is only possible if God himself becomes the teacher in and through all other means of teaching.
2. That God would not hide his Word from us. Psalm 119:19b, “Do not hide Your commandments from me.” The Bible warns of the dreadful chastisement or judgment of the Word of God being taken from us (Amos 8:11). (See also verse 43).
3. That God would make us understand his Word. Psalm 119:27, “Make me understand the way of Your precepts” (verses 34, 73b, 144b, 169). Here we ask God to cause us to understand – to do whatever he needs to do to get us to understand his Word.
4. That God would incline our hearts to his Word. Psalm 119:36, “Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to [dishonest] gain.” The great problem with us is not primarily our reason, but our will – we are disinclined by nature to read and meditate and memorize the Word. So we must pray for God to incline our wills.
5. That God would give us life to keep his Word. Psalm 119:88, “Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.” He is aware that we need life and energy to give ourselves to the Word and its obedience. So he asks God for this basic need. (See also verse 154b)
6. That God would establish our steps in his Word. Psalm 119:133, “Establish my footsteps in Your word.” We are dependent on the Lord not only for understanding and life, but for the performance of the Word. That it would be established in our lives. We cannot do this on our own.
7. That God would seek us when we go astray from his Word. Psalm 119:176, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant.” It is remarkable that this godly man ends his psalm with a confession of sin and the need for God to come after him and bring him back. This too we must pray again and again.
This is another great sermon by John. You can listen to it in its entirety at Desiring God.
HT: Ed Stetzer
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” – Galatians 6:7-8
God, in his grace, has laid out several universal principles upon which our world and lives turn. One of those principles is very simple – you reap what you sow. Be it physical or spiritual, no one can escape the universal truth of what a man sows is what a man reaps. No matter how you look at it, there is no way around the principle of sowing and reaping.
Holiness is not cultivated in the periodic ‘heroic’ acts of faith. No, holiness is cultivated in the 1,000 small decisions we make every day. Your spiritual life tomorrow is the direct result of what you’ve sown into the soil of your heart today and the past few days. The difference between the person who grows in holiness and the one who does is directly related to what each has planted into the soil of his or her heart. In short, “holiness is a harvest.”
Sowing to the spirit means we regularly feast upon those things that stir our affections for God. When we say “yes” to Spirit inspired desires and fill our hearts with truths about God we are sowing to the Spirit and not the flesh. One of the main means God uses to strengthen his work of grace in our heart and feed our faith in Jesus is the spiritual disciplines. In short, we sow to the Spirit when we regularly practice the spiritual disciplines.
We must be careful to understand the spiritual disciplines do not in themselves change us. “The true efficacy of spiritual disciplines is not their power to bribe God but their usefulness in opening hearts to the perception an exercise of his power. Spiritual disciplines enable those made righteous by Christ’s work to breathe more deeply the resources that God freely and lovingly provides for the wisdom, joy, and strength of Christian living. Through disciplines we inhale more deeply the air God provides for the Christian race, but such disciplines do not produce or maintain the oxygen of God’s love.”
 Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic), 293.
 Joshua Harris, Not Even a Hint (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Press, 2003), 162-63.
Yesterday we looked into Mark 14:1-11. Essentially there are two options for the way we live our life – we are either plotting against Jesus or sacrificing for Jesus. Don’t be deceived there is no mushy middle. If you missed it, listen to the whole message as it will encourage and challenge you. In the mean time, here are a few soundbites:
- “Love for this world plots against the Savior of this world.”
- “Love for the Savior of this world sacrifices the things of this world.”
- “Where there is no repentance you will be conformed to the image of Judas not Jesus.”
- “Judas sacrificed faith for money; Mary sacrificed money for faith.”
- “Jesus is not calling you to slavery in morality, but freedom in generosity.”
In Mark 13, Jesus himself says, “For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my name sake….You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mk. 13:9, 13).
The Christian life is not a life of ease. Listen to these Scriptures: “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12); “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will…Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you…If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name” (2 Pt. 3:17, 4:12, 16).
This may seem foreign to us in the comforts of America, but all over the world Christians are being persecuted and killed for their faith. While we should be grateful for our freedom, don’t be lulled to sleep by it. Be aware of and in prayer for our brothers and sisters around the world standing firm in the faith.
The majority of the preaching here at Restoration Church is done by taking a book of the Bible and working through it verse by verse, chapter by chapter. We want to faithfully explain what the Bible says, and then see how it applies to our lives. So instead of approaching the sermon with a preconceived agenda, we allow the text to drive what we are going to say.
That leads to a natural question…why do you preach like that? In short, here is our answer:
The biblical and theological foundations, alongside the host of practical benefits, underpin the necessity of expository preaching. Neglecting the centrality of the Word in preaching is a neglect of God Himself. Preachers speak only because God has spoken. A preacher who uses Scripture as a topical index or springboard minimizes the authority of Scripture and leads his congregation to do the same. Likewise, pastors who elevate the Scriptures week after week, sermon after sermon, lead their people to rely on the authority of the Scriptures in their own lives day after day. The preacher that faithfully heralds God’s Word week after week feeds his flock the only true life sustaining food available.
To see this answer in full, click here.