Desiring God - Lesson 4

The Pursuit of Joy (Part 2)

Suffering is required and sustained by the pursuit of joy in God.

John Piper
Desiring God
Lesson 4
Watching Now
The Pursuit of Joy (Part 2)

The Pursuit of Joy (Part 2)

6. The Grand Obligation: The Pursuit of Joy (cont.)


We are thankful for John Piper's willingness to share these lectures with us. Copyright 2014 by Desiring God Ministries. Used with Permission. For more information, please visit www.DesiringGod.org.


Desiring God

Dr. John Piper


The Pursuit of Joy (Part 2)

Lesson Transcript


The following message is by Pastor John Piper. More information from Desiring God is available at W WW dot desiring God dawg. Argument number eight. Love for people is the overflow of expansion of joy and God. Now, here's here's why we're going to linger on this for a few minutes. In the previous session, we talked about how I was excited in the early days of my discoveries about vertical Christian hedonism being satisfied in God glorifies God because my soul is deeply satisfied in Him when he sees that he's made much of it, the vertical is working. I thought, Is this going to have any effect on my life in relation to other people or my just going to go become like a Buddha cross-legged, sitting under a tree, experiencing nirvana? Or is that Hinduism? I don't know, just experiencing me and God or nothingness. And the world can go to hell, but we're really happy. As scary. And there are a lot of churches that feel that way. I suppose we just we like each other so much. We got our vertical worship go in and we're surrounded by pagans that are perishing and. And make any difference. Well, if that's what happens, then you can just throw Christian hedonism away. Just throw it away. If you go to church and that church says we're Christian hedonist and they don't do evangelism, they don't care for the suffering of the world and they don't real, you know, they buy their what fruits and the fruit very largely is. I mean, what's the first one mentioned in Galatians five? The fruit of the spirit is what's the first one? All right, so here we are. This is got to be in the service of love or it's just not real.


Love has to work better in Christian hedonism than it does anywhere else. Or you better check, you know, another church, another theology. So here is a text that has been hugely helpful for me in understanding how Paul understands love and where it comes from. He's writing to the Corinthians, so that's southern Greece. And he wants to raise money in Corinth to give to the poor in Jerusalem. That's the whole thing he's doing over and over again. As he moves around from church to church. He's collecting money because there's problems in Jerusalem and he is trying to do it in the most upstanding way so that he's not distrusted and he's trying to motivate the Corinthians to be very generous, to give when he gets there and take it to Jerusalem to help the poor. And to do that, he uses the Macedonians. Now, that's the folks who live in northern Greece, up around Philippi, as an example of what happened in their generosity. That's what's going on here. Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given to the churches of Macedonia. So we're going to tell the Corinthians about what happened in Macedonia. And here's what happened in a great Alaska school. The grace of God has been given as first as number one to the churches of Macedonia and in a great ordeal of affliction. So there's the second thing to take note of their abundance of joy. The third thing to take note of and their deep poverty, that's for thing to take note of, overflowed in a wealth of liberality or generosity as to fisting. Take note of that stuff. That's amazing. The reason I quoted the rest of this is just to get down here to verse eight.


I am not speaking this as a command to the Corinthians, but as proving through the earnestness of others, namely these folks right here, the earnestness of others, the Macedonians, the sincerity of your love also. Oh. Oh, oh. This is love. So now I know what love looks like to Paul and where it comes from. If I analyze this because he just said, I'm not trying to twist your arm. I'm not trying to put down my apostolic authority on you. I'm trying to stir you up. So this comes from your heart and it will be love also. Meaning that was love. So what is it? What is love? Love is when the grace of God is given. He preach the gospel can be saved. Their sins were forgiven. Heaven was opened. Guilt was taken away. The wrath of God is removed. They're planted in grace. They're hidden for glory. This is awesome. I hope you feel it's awesome to be forgiven by God. Accepted by God. Loved by God. Destined for glory. By God is grace beyond imaginings. And that happened. Grace came down and afflictions came up. Grace didn't make affliction go away. It increases your be a Christian count cost. You get in more trouble than you did before. No less. More. Not the same kind. You'll get drunk as often. Crashing car that way. Lose your job that way. But you might get fired for being a Christian. So would you rather get fired for being a Christian or get fired because you're drunk all the time? Things don't necessarily improve. So for them it didn't. There is this ordeal of affliction. As the grace came down. But as the afflictions came up, there was abundance of joy. Which means this joy right here was not rooted in circumstances.


Like I got to have things going well for me or I can't be happy. Well, forget Christianity then. Things are not going to go well. They never have. Through many afflictions, we must enter the kingdom. If they call the master of the house be eligible. How much more will they mistreat those of his own household? As the father sent me. So I'll stand by you. There's no promise that things go well for Christians. Just the opposite. Things go badly. Through many afflictions, we must enter the kingdom. So their joy is abounding. It isn't joy based in circumstance, nor in prosperity. Their poverty has remained. This is not a prosperity gospel text. It's the opposite. And what happens this joy, In spite of affliction and poverty, this joy overflows. What's the subject of this verb right here? Somebody tell me, some of you grammarians. Tell me what's the subject of this word are here. What joy? There. Abundance of all maybe made its abundance. Technically, this is a preposition of race, but it's abundance of joy. And deep poverty overflowed. So poverty is overflowing and joy is overflowing. Very strange way to talk. Poverty is overflowing in generosity and joy. Joyful poverty is overflowing in a wealth of generosity. Now, here's my conclusion. Where does love come from in the Christian life? That's love being radically liberal. I mean, listen to how liberal there were. I testified that according to their ability and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in sport of the Saints. They begged. Paul took an offering, and when they were done, they said, Oh, would you please take another offering from us? That's what that says, begging us. For the favor, the grace of participating in the support of the Saints.


That's crazy. Christians are gloriously crazy people in the midst of a recession. Budgets should go up at the church. I tried to argue this at the staff meeting anyway with a teeny bit of success. So we will have some challenges for you this year if you're a Bethlehem person. This text says recessions overflow in liberality. That's what it says. Recessions overflow in liberality because love is rooted in joy. In God, joy is over. So my definition of love is that just love is the overflow of joy in God. Synchrony is nine seven. Each one must do just as his purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for the Lord loves a cheerful giver. Now, if the Lord loves a cheerful giver, this is. This is chapter nine. This was chapter eight. He's spending two chapters on this issue, two chapters to try to get them to be generous, lovingly generous. And his arguments are all hedonistic. God loves a cheerful giver. Well, how does he feel about a non cheerful giver? It doesn't say, but it's not encouraging, right? God loves a cheerful giver. So when I stand in front of you on this campus or wherever, and I want to say something encouraging about giving. I'm going to say, if your heart isn't in your giving, keep it. God doesn't want it. I don't want it. Because what pleases the Lord is cheerful. Giving doesn't want the other kind. Now I will pray for you that your heart change. Otherwise, we're going to go out of business, you know. Can't do church without money. But I. I've never felt like saying that to a people. Takes us backward. Like, if. If your heart is not excited about this ministry, you need to find a place where your heart and your pocketbook can be excited.


Because if you're begrudging tithing, God is not excited about that. Which means let's get snow translated. Let's put this provocatively. If you say emotions don't matter, what matters is the obedience of tithing. Writing the check is what matters. Then you are saying you should be indifferent to what pleases God and to be indifferent to what pleases God is the definition of sin. Therefore you're sitting if you're not pursuing pleasure in giving. So you get your checkbook in your pocket and in some nice office stories happening and you're sitting eight rows back and you've got a minute to get ready and you don't want to give. It would be less than ideal to say, Doesn't matter whether I want to or not, I should. I will. Far better is to say, God, I'm so sorry that my heart is so disinclined to let my money go for the sake of your kingdom. I'm so sorry. I repent of my lack of cheer in this giving and I ask Lord that you would restore to me the joy of generosity because of how much grace you have given me and how my sins are forgiven and how you provide all my needs according to your riches and glory in Christ Jesus. That's the proper response to the lack of joy. Now, whether you write the check at that moment is neither here nor there, in my judgment. I think you can be a non hypocrite at that moment by writing the check. But if you write the check without any respect to your heart, I don't think the Lord is placed. Same thing with pastors. First Peter five Shepherd, the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God.


Not for sordid gain, but eagerness. This is like God loves a cheerful pastor, right? Shepherd the flock of God not under compulsion, not for money. So if your pastor followed Pastor and I say, I hate this ministry, but it's my job, I'll make a living at it, and I feel compelled by duty to do it. But I'm not eager for it. I'm disobeying for speed if I have to. You know, producing a sick church, as this person implies. Obey your leaders. That sounds like it's talking to you laypeople. But really look. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls. Talking about pastors as those who will give an account that tells you to do something. Let them do this with joy, not with grief, not with this kind of compulsion. And for money. Now with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. No, I think that went through with me. I am supposed to love you as a pastor, which means I should want and I should pursue in everything I do your greatest good. Whatever it cost me in this text says it would be unprofitable for you if I do my work with grief and not joy. Which means if I would love you, I must pursue my joy in ministry. If I become indifferent to whether I am happy in the ministry, I become indifferent to your profit, your good. How many people go? Just the opposite, they say. I was doing a seminar one time. I won't name the person because you all know her, You know him or her. You know the if you heard that, you all know it. And we love each other so much. And we were doing this similar together.


And she said, I don't like your emphasis on pursuing your happiness. I think you should pursue obedience. And I said, That's like saying we should pursue fruit, not apples. Because what is obedience? Obedience is doing what God says to do, or what does God say to do? He says, Serve the Lord with what gladness. So I'm going to be indifferent to that. And you call me obedient. God says, Do the ministry with gladness, and you tell me to choose obedience over that. How can I? That is obedience. See the problem? So that that effort to say pastors should strive for obedient ministry, do what the Lord says to do in ministry. That's true. That's absolutely true. One of the things he says to do is don't do the ministry with grief. Do it with joy, because you're going to make a sick church. If you don't, it will be profitable for your people. If you love the ministry, which means if I get into a season and these come a slump of discouragement and emotional flatness and I don't even want to show up. My job at that point is not gut it out and God will be pleased. The point is, get on your face before the living God over his word and cry out to Him to restore your joy. Ask the church for leave if you have to get away. Fight this thing until you get victory over these horrible feelings of hatred for ministry and just indifferent to people. Pastors can get to the point where they can't stand their people. They get beat up so much by so many. That to preach is a horrible experience just to stand before people. I've never been there. I've been so well treated by this church.


But oh, I talk to so many pastors. I was dealing in an email just the last two days with a very, very difficult situation. Maybe that's enough on love. I got lots more text only, but I think if I keep going on, that will take too long. Let me just look maybe one more. That one right there. In everything. He's talking to the elders now. He's talking to the pastors in in my leaders. These are the effusion elders. He will never see them again. Probably in everything. I showed you that by working hard in this manner, you must help the weak remember the words of the Lord Jesus that He himself said It is more blessed to give than to receive. Now, here's the controversial word in this text. The controversial word is remember. You know why that is? Because T.W. Manton yesterday or in the previous session, whichever it was said when Jesus argued, have poor people over for dinner because they can't reward you. You will be rewarded at the resurrection of the just that we, Manton said. The reward is there, but you don't have them over for the reward. Otherwise, you're living in the old selfish way. Now, if that were true, what this text would have to say is something like this. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner, you must help the weak and forget the words of the Lord Jesus. How he said It is more blessed to give than to receive. Because if you remember them, they're going to function in the way they function is to encourage you that blessedness is coming when you give. That's crazy. You shouldn't forget this. That's the opposite of what he's saying. So here's here's the way this verse works in the ministry and ought to work.


It's 8:00 and playing maybe 738 and play with my kids. When I had little kids, I play with telephone now. We read, we watch something on the Internet or whatever. So it's playtime. I've always had playtime with my kids. And you get a call and you've put in a long day, maybe many days, you are just beat. And and this person, Ethel, is in the hospital. Serious heart situation. Could you come faster? Inside, you say. There are other pastors having playtime, which is not a good thing to say. I'll be right there. You hang up the phone. Sorry. Maybe tomorrow night. Come. You're on your way and on your way. Your heart's not in this. This is not something you want to do. And you're ticked that you had to leave your little girl again and that you call somebody else. And this is a terrible mood to be in when a person might be dying in the next half hour and you're going to usher them into eternity. Terrible, terrible attitude to have. What should you do? The car in the elevator. What should you do? The answer is you do this. That's why Jesus said it. He said he's. He's whispering down in my car. Remember something to remember something. Well, remember that when you get there and you start to pour out what little life is left in you, it's going to be blessed. It's going to be blessed. You are going to be blessed. I will see to it that it comes crashing back on you with blessing. That's what you should remember, not forget. Remember, this is hedonism. Hedonism works. So what? Jesus said to do it. So you're riding the elevator? It's always fourth floor. Right? Fourth floor. That's where the serious heart situation is.


And you're up in the elevator. Please come. I got to have life here. I got to give. I got to be there. I got to have joy to transfer to a person who might meet you any minute. You open the door. Hasn't risen in your heart yet. I'm telling you real story. It hasn't written in your risen in your heart yet you're still operating on duty pilot, which is it's okay to do. It's just not good. Not the best thing. You open the door. She's lying there. Eyes are closed. Tubes everywhere. You know, she's conscious when you walk over and you put your hand on her arm and she opens her up. And I called her Ethel because she's older. It's not a real common name in young kids today because older people have a certain way about them. And this is what she says. She she opens her eyes and she sees it's me and she's, Oh, Pastor, you didn't need to come. You're so busy. You're so busy. Now, the absolutely wrong thing to say at that time was, I know and I didn't want to come. I don't want to be here. I'd rather be at home with Telstra. It's really ticked right now that David Livingston didn't get called because she would feel horrible if you said that. What should you say? That this is the same thing I said before, you should say. The Lord showed me Ethel on the way here that for me to take the time to come to you and to pray over you and to share my hope and my faith with you and to give you a word from the Lord will be a profound blessing to me. And I'm eager to have that blessing.


That's just text. I don't think Ethel would say you're selfish. She would say, That's what you've taught us. That's right. We're going to share a blessing here. You're going to get a lot of blessing by Just give it to me. So go ahead. Go ahead. Make your day. Pray and share the word with me and tell me about heaven and. In other words, some of the matter. I really believe that love is the fruit of Christian hedonism. I didn't believe it. I could not go this direction. Not that I'm an ideal lover. Okay. Because I'm not an ideal. Enjoy or of God. I believe if this if this imperfect pastor were more fully contented in Christ, I would be a more caring husband and a more caring father and a more caring and tender pastor. It's my battle at the vertical level that causes my battle at the horizontal level to rise and fall. So I'm basically arguing that the way to fight the fight of on love is at the vertical level of delighting more in Christ and all that He is for us. That's the argument from argument number nine. Pride and self pity are overcome by the pursuit of joy in God. Remember what I'm arguing for? I'm arguing that it is biblical to say that it's your duty always to pursue joy in God and that God is most glorified when you do that. I have had numerous people over the years hear me unpack the first end of Christian hedonism, namely, don't ever deny your desire for joy galore. Hit on God and glory it on loving people and have them say, I just feel so self-centered. It just sounds so kind of proud. My joy and my joy. And so the issue of pride is really important.


How do you fight pride in your life? And I'm arguing Christian hedonism is a mighty weapon against pride and its flipside self-pity. Jesus looking around said to his disciples, Martin, how hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God. The disciples are amazed at his words, but Jesus answered again and said to them, Children, how hard it will be to enter the Kingdom of God, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God. It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. And they were even more astonished and said to him, Well, then who can be saved? And looking at them, Jesus said, Nobody. Well, he said, With people, it is impossible. Campbell's care gets in the eye of a needle. This is not some gate in the wall of Jerusalem or Campbell's. Get on their knees. This is in the eye of a needle. They can't. It is impossible. Impossible. But not with God. For all things are possible with God. Peter began to say to him, I know this is what I'm after. I'm after Peter's attitude. Peter began to say to him, Behold. Now what tone of voice should I use here? How do you think Peter sounded? Peter He used to say to him, Behold, we left everything and followed you. We've left everything. We've left everything and followed you and Jesus. Now, what's his tone of voice? Jesus didn't like what Peter just said. Why not? We left everything and followed you. And she says, Well, what's a self sacrifice stuff that maybe he didn't sound like that, but you check it out. Truly, I say to you, Peter.


No one has left houses or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for my sake and for the gospel sake. But that he will receive a hundred times as much now. And in the present age. In the present age. Houses and farms alone. Oops. Brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms along with persecutions. Little side effects of the medicine there. And in the age to come. Eternal life. Get off your self. Pity. Oh, poor me. I left everything to follow. You kick. You haven't made any sacrifices. Something like that? No. How does that work then? Because I think self-pity is the flipside. Another form of pride. Pride is can be expressed in boasting in the strong or. Oh, poor me, I'm so badly treated in the week. This doesn't look proud. This looks proud. This is proud. You go home as a husband after a long day at work, hoping that your wife will be a good mommy to you when you get home and express her admiration for your long, hard day without any reference to hers. You walk in the room and she does the same thing. L.A. Towers flat. I think it went flat halfway through the day. Doesn't she know? I worked hard all day. What is this mounting sense of now? It's a sense of entitlement. It's a sense of dessert. It's the form that Pride takes in the heart of the wounded. In the heart of the weak. We usually think of pride the other way, that it's got the forms of strength and boasting. And I'm the last one. Cassius Clay, if I remember him. How do you kill that? How do you kill that? Well, Jesus said your problem, Peter, when you said we've left everything and followed you, is that you don't understand that when you follow me, you get reward.


Millions more than you give up. You get back. Which means that we won't be grumblings and self-pitying people in hard times. If we're fully Christian, hedonistic, our hands will be lifted in the midst of our trials and our recession and our loss of job and our hardships. And we'll be saying, God, this is hard. But you are, you are everything and you move through life blessing people instead of sucking on people's admiration and compliments and meeting them because you are so sacrificial. When you take somebody out for dinner, let's say that it's your manager and you've got a team around you with five people and at the end of the year you're going to take them out for dinner and you take them to a very nice place. Costs you for five people, maybe 300 bucks to take them out for dinner. And and they're amazed that you did this. And because it seems $300, well, you made a significant sacrifice to bless us. And they start complimenting you. Now there's a little cultural device that is very common at that point which has a parable in it. I'm not arguing that everybody who says it is spiritual. I'm arguing that when it is said, it points to a reality that is spiritual. What you say at that moment is it's my pleasure. It's my pleasure. What did the hands go up when you said It's my pleasure? What are the hands doing up? What's that mean? That means I've got this cascade of compliments coming to me. And I'm going up like this. Like you're complimenting me as though I made some great sacrifice with my $300. And I'm telling you, I did what I wanted to do. It's my pleasure. Is a cultural device used to deflect praise.


And how does it deflect praise? It shows that people who are living out of the overflow of what they love to do because they're full of grace, of God, are not people to be pitied or complimented because of sacrifice. You don't need it. And so you deflected. I really believe that deep and profound satisfaction in God is a great undermining of pride. Why would you boast that you went to China and died there? If Christ was in China begging you to come and have fellowship with him for 30 years and be mightily used of God by grace, why would you boast in that? Boasting must mean he's really not there. And this really isn't all that rewarding. And I don't think. I think I sold my soul. Get these words of David Livingston. I never made a sacrifice. No, that's not true, technically, but that's his heart. He's coming to the end of years and years in Africa, where he suffered greatly. Family died there on his knees. They found him. Remember that story? Found him in his tent, bent over his caught dead in the kneeling position. Where'd you go? Well, I hope my wife finds me that way some day or better in the pulpit. We could have a clunk like this. Right, right, right on the Bible. Oh. And the last words be I never made a sacrifice. Meaning to walk with God through these hard days. It was so satisfying. Number ten, We're almost done with the arguments. What about self-denial, Piper? You're telling people to glut themselves on the pursuit of joy. And. And this doesn't sound like Jesus when he says if anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.


Deny himself. And you tell him to glove himself. What is. How does that work? And when people ask me that question, I generally say, just keep reading. Keep reading, because it goes on to say for whoever wishes to save his life will lose it. But he who loses his life, for my sake in the Gospels, will save it. Hmm. How. How are you motivating me? Jesus. Do you want me to save my life, or don't you want me to save my life? Because it looks like here he who wishes to save his life is going to lose it. So you don't want me to save my life? And here you're telling me that if I lose my life for your sake in the Gospels, I will save it. So you're enticing me to save it. So if you want. And the answer surely is that this saving is worldly, isn't it? He who wishes to save his life will lose. It means I'm not going to do that. I'm not going there to serve Christ. I'm not going to do this witness. I'm not going to have this lifestyle. I'm going to save my prosperity, save my my self from malaria and terrorists and be in a nice, really secure, padlocked house in a safe neighborhood. I think that's what he means there. If you if you structure your life that way, you lose. But when he says if you're willing to lose your life for my sake, he doesn't mean go to hell. If you're willing to go to hell, you go to heaven. I don't think that's what he means. I think he means whoever loses his life for my sake means whoever loses mother or father, son or daughter, whoever gives up a good job, whoever is willing to endure shame at the work.


When he identifies himself as a Christian, whoever does whatever the things are that are costly in life, if you do, then you save it. And so he's enticing us with save, which is why C.S. Lewis said in that quote, I read, Yes, there's self-denial, but every time we're called to deny ourself, they are accompanied with such promises. And the promises have such reward that it's never denying yourself ultimate joy, but temporary joy. So the way I think of it, well, he said it's like a little child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slums because he can't imagine what a holiday at the sea is. Whereas he ought to deny himself the pleasures. I mean, it really is fun to make mud paths in the slums. You're a little kid, little urban kid, and you can't. You've never even seen pictures of a beach and sand castles running in the water. You never seen that. You can't even imagine it. This is fun, your best deal. But when you're shown this in the gospel, you should do self-denial here. This is self-denial. It's like saying, I'll deny myself brackish water to have pure water. I'll deny myself ten. In order to have gold. I'll deny myself vinegar. In order to have honey. Of course there's self-denial. You deny yourself all the stuff that keeps you from joy. Keeps you from God. You deny yourself the broken systems that can hold no water in order to go back to the fountain of living water. I believe in self denial, big time. And sometimes it really hurts because there's enough of the old man in me that certain sexual pleasures are still going to be sought. Right. Or money or fame or whatever. We battle this to the very end.


Yes, self-denial is real, but it's self-denial in the pursuit of total satisfaction forever. So in that sense, it's not ultimate self-denial, which is what I in Rand the atheist never saw. She thought Christian life was total self-denial. Argument number 11. Suffering is required and sustained by the pursuit of joy in God. Suffering is not optional. Through many tribulations, we must enter the kingdom. He whom the father does not discipline is an illegitimate child. Hebrews 12. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you. He, who desires to live a godly life in Christ, Jesus, will be persecuted first. First, Timothy is not optional. The question is how can you stand it? What's the means by which we are enabled to walk through affliction which is required by the Lord? Blessed are those in Matthew five. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. So persecution is there. And he says, You're blessed. Blessed are you. When others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely, on my count. Rejoice. Amazing. Rejoice and be glad. So this is a command in the midst of persecution and in the midst of reviling. To be glad. And then comes the argument for your reward is great in heaven. Do you see what this does? Some people say you can be so heavenly minded that you're no earthly good. I suppose in one sense that's true. There is a kind of heavenly mindedness that might distract a person from being earthly good. But that's not what's happening here. This is a person who is so heavenly minded that he is empowered to receive persecution in the pursuit of love. You're walking in the path of love in a hard place and people are not rewarding you for it.


They're reviling you for it. How do you stay? How do you keep going? Answer Be heavenly minded. You're going to give an unbelievable reward. It's going to come back to you 10,000 fold. If there's no reward on the planet. There will be a reward in heaven. And if they take your life, today's reward is on the other side. Now, that I think is the key to enduring suffering. Keeping our eyes on the prize. For the joy that was set before him. Jesus endured the cross. I tell you, sometimes I get really bent out of shape here at certain ethicists who start to diminish the importance of reward in life because they say it is how it is functioning in the old way, in the old selfish way, when it would be if the reward were, I'll be puffed up someday and Jesus will go down and I'll go up and I'll be the king of the universe, and I'll get every carnal desire that I ever got satisfied. And Jesus will be useful to that private, carnal fleshly. And His glory doesn't matter. My joy matters if that's the way people are thinking. Yeah, the pursuit of joy is going to mess up motivation. But if the reward is Christ Father, I pray that they might see my glory. That the love with which you love me might be in them, in I in them, so that they have a Vesuvius of joyful admiration of me for ever and ever. If that's the reward, it doesn't contaminate evil. I mean, it doesn't contaminate love. And my main argument for that is that's the way Jesus was motivated for the this is Hebrews 12 two for the joy that was set before him. He endured the cross.


You got a cross to endure. How are you going to do it? Do it the way Jesus did it. For the joy that is said before you get a bad marriage. There's a lot of hard marriages. Solution number one, divorce. Solution number two, heaven. It's been 30 years. Returning good for evil and then go to heaven. The reason so many people get divorces is because they don't believe in heaven. They shouldn't. Heaven should come now. I should have a better wife. Husband. This is not what I married for. I didn't marry to get this. This is supposed to be more heaven like. And it's hell like. Well, that's the hand. Some are dealt a hellish marriage in order to give you an opportunity to show the superior value of heaven. So he says when they revile you and persecute you or are totally inadequate husband or wife. Rejoice and be glad for great is your reward in heaven? You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. What do you think salt and light refer to here? I just sum up before we take a break. I sum up what I think it is. You're the salt. You Christians. You're salt of the earth. You're the light of the world. What's the shining? What are people seeing where we're tasting? I think they're tasting this. They watch you undergo very difficult circumstances. Some kind of reviling, some kind of persecution, some kind of ordinary natural calamity watching you. And if you're able to rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven. You're going to be a very salty person. You're going to taste like nothing in their experience. You're going to shine with such brightness against the dark backdrop of these troubles that they will be able to give glory to your father who is in heaven.


I think the light and the salt are the tanginess of people who don't grumble. Instead, rejoice. In the midst of hardship. And I don't put myself up as a very good example of it. I want to be that. Oh, how I want to be that. I want to be that more than I want to be. Almost anything that when things go the worst possible. My joy is undaunted. That's what I want, because the world's going to look at that and they're going to say that tastes different, that that is attractive. Salt is attractive. But why? We put it on our potatoes and French fries and steak because it attracts us to them. Take a lot more of that in light. I'm drawn to this, so I think Christian hedonism is true because the Bible presents the pursuit of joy in God in Heaven as the means by which we are enabled to endure necessary suffering. And the last argument is the duty of serving God is sustained by joy of being served by God. In my own words, in one minute somebody might say to me, You know, this this motif you've developed of pursuing your own joy just doesn't sound like service. We're supposed to be servants and serve God. And I just put these texts here. Let's see, let's just use verse Peter, Just the one I use most often just before I preach. Whoever speaks is to do it as one speaking. The utterances of God, whoever serves, is to do so as one who is serving in the strength which God supplies. So that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. So what is service? All right, I'm downstairs in the prayer room. I'm going to preach in 15 minutes.


No, no. Just 45 minutes, given the singing time. But shortly I'll be up there. I'm sitting in the pew, but stand up to preach. I'm going to serve the people. I'm going to serve God for 45 minutes in preaching. What is what is that? He says, Let those who serve do so by the strength which God supplies. So who's the giver? When I'm serving. God, he wouldn't have it any other way. Why? Because. So that in all things, he may be glorified. The giver gets the glory. If I try to reverse roles with him here. I'm going to serve you. You need me. You need this sermon to be preached here. Get these people saved. Any other way, you can sustain this church. You need me. You receive who gets the glory, then I do. But if I'm just an empty, needy little kid, still nervous from 50 years ago, walking into a pulpit saying, God, I can't do anything good for these people unless you show up, I can't talk. I can't think I'm going to lose my place. When you lose my memory, I'm going to lose my attitude. I'm going to ruin these people. I will be unfaithful to your word unless you come and I bank on him entirely. Then my service becomes a receiving of grace and a glorifying of God. So I. I think my pursuit of receiving satisfaction in power from God is the key to my serving God. Thank you for listening to this message by John Piper, Pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Feel free to make copies of this message to give to others, but please do not charge for those copies or alter the content in any way without permission.


We invite you to visit desiring God online at w WW dot desiring God dot org. There you'll find hundreds of sermons, articles, radio broadcasts and much more all available to you at no charge. Our online store carries all of Pastor John's books, audio and video resources. You can also stay up to date on what's new at Desiring God. Again, our website is w WW dot desiring God dot org. Or call us toll free at 1888346 4700. Our mailing address is desiring God. 2601 East Franklin Avenue. Minneapolis, Minnesota. 55406. Desiring God exists to help you make God your treasure because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.