If I had a dollar for every time I have recommended The Supremacy of God in Preaching, by John Piper I could buy a new Easter suit. It is one of the top five books on preaching I have ever read and I have read hundreds of books on preaching.
Matt Frey did a great job putting together some interesting quotes from a powerful message by John Piper given recently on the west coast. It was a helpful message and had something like 32 points on How Pastoral Ministry Shapes Pulpit Ministry. Can you imagine?
“I cannot overstate how hell affects my ministry. I listen to a preacher for just a while to see if I smell the belief in hell. And if I don’t, I pray for him and I’m concerned; whether his demeanor or his doctrine or whatever just doesn’t smell like he believes in it. And that’s tragic. Because that’s what’s at stake. You’re not just tweaking people’s lives. You’re not just fixing their marriages, or fixing their health, or fixing their jobs, or fixing their personalities and their depression. You’re rescuing them from hell. This is the great passion. From hell for God. It’s a rescue operation and shaping them into the people that love to praise the grace that did that for them.”
“I don’t do change lists – I hardly ever talk about biblical principles of stuff. I don’t do principles. I do Jesus. I want to lift up Christ and his ways and his works and his purposes in such a full rich way, that people are caught up into another world, another realm of reality – and then they do diapers differently. They shop and cook and do computer and internet and audio – All of it is just in another realm. We have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God.”
“I get fed up with hearing so much non-Bible – I hear “Oh well we believe that – that’s foundational – ” Well, get it out of the foundation and put it in the kitchen. Nobody remodels the cement blocks of their basement. People are worried about – the kitchen – they live up there. They don’t give a rip about what the foundation looks like – So I’m not impressed by that answer –
These glorious truths in the Bible are not there to be hidden in the basement while you talk about other things. I’m talking about the value and the worth of Jesus, the triumphs of Jesus, the knowledge of Jesus, the wisdom, the authority, the providence, the power, the purity, trustworthiness, the justice, the patience, the endurance, the wrath, the love – that’s enough to keep you going for a life time. Talk about him. Make it so absolutely glorious they’ve got to come back and hear the next installment about King Jesus! Rather than just – oh my goodness – Another little pep talk about how you can do better at work or something. It’s just so sad – All I can conclude is that there are pastors who are not moved by their Bibles. They’re not moved. They read them and they say – “I’m supposed to talk about this – but frankly I find this new book about church planting, or marriage – This is what is really fascinating. I’m energized here, but here – this thing – this does not energize me – That’s all I can conclude – ”
“Show your people [in the text] where you get your points. There’s a big reason for that. [The Bible] has authority. I don’t have any. To the degree that I persuade people of my ideas, without showing them that it’s right here [in the Bible], they can see it over lunch, after the service, they can talk about it as a family, right out of that book – To the degree that I detract them for [the Bible], I raise up their dependence on me, and I reduce their dependence on The Book. You don’t want to do that. The Lord will spank you – ”
Heaven’s coming real fast – We murmur about our circumstances on the way to heaven. You’ve got two seconds to live folks, James says, because that’s how long a vapor lasts when you go “whew” on a Minnesota morning. You’ve got two seconds to live. And then you inherit the universe –
All things are yours – and “you are Christ’s and Christ’s is God’s”. Why would you murmur? You don’t believe it, or you don’t feel it. That the treasure coming for you in heaven is infinitely valuable, and it’s just around the corner.
So get free from the love of money. Do everything. There is more about money in the gospels ten-times over than there is about sex –
That’s the killer. We’re greedy. We think we have to have endless securities and comforts around our lives, when actually we should be the most radical and risk taking, let-it-go kind of people.”
Here is a link to the message if you want more.