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Posts Tagged ‘john piper’

Signs and Wonders, Heresy, and Love for God; Part II

In theology on April 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm

A few days ago I posted a reference to an article by John Piper titled Signs and Wonders, Heresy, and Love for God. I wanted to think about it for a few days and write some more.

The basis of Piper’s article is that great signs and wonders have always and will always happen and that God uses them to test us. I thought about what kinds of false signs and wonders we might witness today. At first I thought about, honestly, dinosaurs. Maybe the fossils we have today could be one of these false signs because it does lead the people astray to follow after the god of science. I quickly talked myself out of this because it does not fit with the text. Both the Matt. 24 and Deut.13 passage imply some kind of miracle that is performed by a false prophet, either a prophecy of future events or a miracle performed in front of their eyes.

The only thing I could come up with was healings and fortune tellers. These are definitely miraculous (when they work) and would be very convincing to those who witness them that the person performing them has some kind of supernatural power. But the Bible tells us that true prophets can do the same things. So then the question is, how can we distinguish the false from the true? Thankfully, God never leaves us to fend for ourselves, He gives us a spirit of truth and tells us to test the spirits. Here is our test:

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God…They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world – 1 John 4:2-5

This passage tells us that we can know false spirits from true spirits by their doctrine. What they say and what they preach. Their acts may appear loving and compassionate but their teachings will not. Their doctrine will tell of a different Christ than then one we believed in. False doctrine goes right for the cross and tries to skirt around it; preaching a Jesus that did not join in humanity, taking on the flesh and all its temptations, and suffer on our behalf only to be killed as an atoning sacrifice and rise up again to life on the third day.

Signs and Wonders, Heresy, and Love for God

In theology on April 2, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Here is a great article from John Piper that I am still pondering.

In it, Piper opens with a verse from Matthew 24:24:

For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

And explains that these signs and wonders are supernatural but that they aim to deceive. So, if these things are supernatural, what is God’s purpose in them happening? Piper brings up Deuteronomy 13:1-3

“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

And then spells out five things to notice from this passage, mainly that God is testing us by it. There are a few things I want to think about with this passage, but I’d like to hear from you if you have any stories of witnessing one of these signs/wonders? The passage in Deuteronomy says the sign will come true, meaning the sign was some kind of future-telling event or miraculous performance as opposed to teaching some kind of false doctrine to try and lead the church astray. So, has anyone ever seen something like this? What was it?

Don't Waste Your Life Conference Audio

In links on March 29, 2008 at 1:52 pm

There is a Don’t Waste Your Life conference going on in San Luis Obispo this weekend. Here is the audio/text from John Piper’s first message. Keep checking back here for the next two messages.

John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

In news on March 4, 2008 at 8:38 pm

This blurb has become quite the commodity lately. I’ve seen this video done with different music/images a few times now, the message needs to be heard though.

Sermon Recommendation

In reference on March 1, 2008 at 6:24 pm

An old one, but a great one from John Piper, Faith and the Imputation of Righteousness. Read, or listen.

Desiring God Blog Links

In reference on February 27, 2008 at 5:14 am

The folks over at Desiring God have been putting out a lot of excellent posts in the past few days, have a look:

Enjoy!

Acts 14:7

In acts_14_7 on February 26, 2008 at 9:31 pm

In John Piper’s Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce he says

This gospel that must be “cordially” embraced (that is, with the heart and affections, not just the head) is the good news that reconciliation and a righteous standing with God precede and ground even the Spirit-given enabling for practical holiness.

And then he quotes from William Wilberforce himself that

The true Christian…knows therefore that this holiness is not to precede his reconciliation to God, and be its CAUSE; but to FOLLOW it, and be its EFFECT. That, in short, it is by FAITH IN CHRIST only that he is to be justified in the sight of God.

It is a common belief that we must be good enough before we are ready to believe the gospel, that once we can get past some certain stumbling block in our lives we will be in a good spot to start paying attention to God. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus said he came to call sinners to repentance, not the righteous (Like 5:32). If we try and get to a good enough place before believing in the gospel, we end up trying to be the very thing Jesus came to eradicate; self-righteousness. What’s the cure? Brokenness. God says the sacrifice he desires is a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). How long will you continue to try and fix yourself apart from Christ?

“And there they continued to preach the gospel” – Acts 14:7

Each Tuesday a different reflection on the gospel and its continual effect on our lives

William Wilberforce and Joy

In books on February 25, 2008 at 12:12 pm

William WilberforceFrom John Piper’s short biography of William Wilberforce:

[The true Christian] walk in the ways of Religion, not by constraint, but willingly; they are to him not only safe, but comfortable, “ways of pleasantness as well as of peace” [Prov. 3:17]…With earnest prayers, therefore, for the Divine Help, with jealous circumspection and resolute selfdenial, he guards against, and abstains from, whatever might be likely again to darken his enlightened judgment, or to vitiate his reformed taste; thus making it his unwearied endeavor to grow in the knowledge and love of heavenly things, and to obtain a warmer admiration, and a more cordial relish of their excellence…”

I am embarrassed to admit that much of my knowledge of Wilberforce came from the “Amazing Grace” movie recently found on DVD. Piper has done a wonderful job of looking into what made William tick and found that it was undeniably Christ and a life lived joyously in Him. You can probably read through this book in a few hours so I would recommend this if you are interested in getting a quick summary of his life and his passions.