T.U.L.I.P. - Lesson 5
Unconditional Election (Part 2/3)
We are unable to believe in Christ but we are accountable for doing so. In election, God had a design in mind when he chose the foolish, the weak and the low to populate his church so that no human could boast in his presence and so we would praise and exalt God.
Unconditional Election (Part 2/3)
Unconditional Election (part 2)
I. 1 Corinthians 1:26-30
II. Gospel of John
- Romans 8:28-30 focuses on the idea that God works everything together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose. The Bible holds up Romans 8:28 with foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification and glorification. The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of him. We imagine things about God and act as if they are true. Verses like Ephesians 1:4 and Revelation 13:8 refer to God's plans that were in place before the foundation of the world.
- Dr. Piper explains his assumptions about the authority of scripture, the importance of understanding and applying what it teaches and the role of the Holy Spirit in making it possible. The five points of Calvinism were first articulated in response to five objections that Arminians had to Calvin's theology in the 1600's.
- Irresistable grace means we are brought to the place where grace gives us faith. Conditional talk from God to us should not be taken to mean he is dependent on us to meet the condition or that we should consider ourselves self-reliant in meeting the condition he has laid out. He intends to enable us to meet the condition so he can act. If grace were not irresistable, we would not incline to God because of our condition of total depravity. In summary, total depravity means that apart from any enabling grace from God, our hardness and rebellion against God is total. Everything we do in this rebellion is sin, our inability to submit to God or reform ourselves is total, and we are therefore totally deserving of eternal punishment.
- "Total" depravity doesn't mean you are as bad as you can be. The point of unconditional election is that there are no conditions we must meet to be among the elect. God chooses individuals he will bring to faith. The Arminian position is that God chooses a corporate entity, so that it is not that individuals are in the church because they are elect, but that they are elect because they are in the church. We don't belong to God because we come to Jesus, we come to Jesus because we belong to God.
- We are unable to believe in Christ but we are accountable for doing so. In election, God had a design in mind when he chose the foolish, the weak and the low to populate his church so that no human could boast in his presence and so we would praise and exalt God.
- Is God's election based on his foreknowledge of your faith, or is faith the effect of your election? (see Romans 8:28-30) Faith is the effect because all the called, believe. Romans 9:1-23 is an argument for the justice of unconditional election. The heart of the righteousness of God is his unswerving allegiance to always uphold his glory.
- God's aim was the revelation of the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy prepared beforehand for glory. The apex of that glory is the glory of grace. The supreme demonstration of that grace was the death of Jesus. The atonement is the work of God in Christ, by his obedience and death, by which he cancelled the debt of our sin, appeased his holy wrath against us, and won for us all the benefits of salvation.
- Even though believers are accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, and slavery to sin is broken, sinful desires progressively weakened by the power of a superior satisfaction in the glory of Christ, yet there remain remnants of corruption in every heart that give rise to irreconcilable war and call for vigilance in the lifelong fight of faith. All who are justified will win this fight.
- It's important to determine theological truths by basing your ideas on scriptural texts, not just logic. These scriptural truths can encourage us to live our lives in relationship to God, worship him, tell others about him and look forward to his kingdom being realized on earth.
God is sovereign and has planned everything about our salvation from before the foundation of the world. Romans 8:28-30 focuses on the idea that God works everything together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose.
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.
Dr. John Piper
Unconditional Election (Part 2/3)
[00:00:00] The following message is by Pastor John Piper. More information from Desiring God is available at www.DesiringGod.org. Before I pray, I want to read a passage of Scripture and I'll put it on the overhead. And the reason I want to read it is because there is a massive assumption behind your capacity to perceive the doctrines of God's sovereignty and salvation as good news. And that assumption is that the supreme value in the universe is the glory of God. Not you, not me, not all of humanity, or all of the universe put together. Which is why Jonathan Edwards, in his book, The Nature of True Virtue, said that if you loved everybody on the planet and the entire universe as much as you could love them and didn't love God, you would be infinitely provincial. That sentence really helped me because we are so prone to think of ourselves, then our land, then our world, then our solar system, then our galaxy, then our universe as very important, and it is as nothing compared to God. And until you feel that these doctrines will not commend themselves to you. So to express that biblically, let me begin by reading a text. It's almost a whole chapter, and then we'll pray together that God would make us have the kinds of hearts that would be amenable to God centered biblical truth, the kind of. He will tend his flock now. The reason I chose as much of this passage as I did, and not just a few key verses that you will recognize is relevant to what I just said is that it's the juxtaposition of the tenderness of the shepherd and the massiveness of the creator that jars us. And because most of us choose between tender things in the Bible and big and weighty, glorious, tougher things in the Bible and in a text like this weaves them together.
[00:03:22] He will tend his flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in his arms. He will carry them in his bosom and gently lead those who are with young. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with the span and close the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance. Who has measured the spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice and taught him knowledge. And showed him the way of understanding. Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket and are accounted as the dust in the scales. Behold, he takes up the coast, lands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a bird offering. All the nations are as nothing before him. They are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. To whom then will you liken God or what likeness compare with him? An idol, a craftsman casts and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts it for silver chains. He, who is too impoverished for an offering, chooses wood that will not rot. He seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move. Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, then spreads them like a tent to dwell in. Who brings princes to nothing and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness? Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown? Scarcely.
[00:05:57] Has their stem taken root in the earth? When he blows on them and they wither, then the tempest carries them off like stubble. To whom then? Will you compare me? That I should be like him? Says the Holy one. Lift up your eyes on Hi and see who created these. He brings out their host by number a stone about the stars, calling them all by name. Every star has a name. God gave it a name. Billions and billions of galaxies with trillions of stars. And they all have names to do his bidding. But the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one of them is missing. Why do you say, Oh, Jacob. And speak. Oh, Israel. My way is hidden from the Lord and my right is disregarded by my God. Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth? He does not faint or grow weary. His understanding is uncertain, gives power to the faint. To him, who has no might. He increases strength. He's just landed. Even use your feet and be weary. And young men should fall exhausted that they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run. Do not be weary. They should walk, not faint. Let's pray. We dare because of Christ, your holy and infinitely precious son to call you Father. And we do behold what love the father has shown to us that we should be called the children of God. And so we are. And as your children. Now in this seminar, we are asking for you to do what I can't do and we can't do, namely create these finite, sinful human minds and hearts to grasp infinite truth, infinitely precious truth, infinitely high, and hold the truth about you, and in grasping truth, penetrate through truth to see you and behold you and commune with you and fellowship with you and enjoy you.
[00:09:26] It is you that we need you that we long for. So come make yourself central, supreme in our hearts so that we have the framework of mind and the inclination of heart to grasp these magnificent truths about yourself and then be changed by them. Be strengthened by them. Be humbled by them. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen. The first thing I want to do is just a brief review so that we are not assuming you remember, but are reminded of the day we began. T. U. L i. P. Total depravity, unconditional action, limited atonement, irresistible grace, perseverance of the saints with i. We're going to do it. E tulip instead of tulip. And what we mean by irresistible grace was that sovereign grace overcomes resistance. Not that you can't resist. You just can't resist any longer than God permits you to resist. And then He can conquer your resistance. We took this point first because it is where we generally experience the reality. First story had a woman, a young woman in her twenties years ago. Bethlehem, deeply troubled by a sermon on election, was new to her, and she just thought it was she'd never heard anything like it and was blown away and troubled deeply that God would be pleased to choose to save somebody sovereignly unilaterally conquering their will and bringing them to himself and overcoming their resistance so that the final decisive cause was not their will, but God's will to just couldn't lose. So I asked her, This is why it it's so memorable to me. I said, when we walk home together, cause she lives just a little further down 11th Avenue. And I, uh, I live just across the bridge. So when we were done, she hung out, and as we were walking, I said, What I want you to do is, as we walk, tell me how you got saved.
[00:12:13] Just tell me the story of how you got saved. And it was a fascinating story. And the gist of it was she said, well, now she's quite tall. She probably six feet two. And she said, When I was a little girl, I was very tall and so self-conscious about it. In the fifth and sixth grade, I was just so self-conscious. And I grown up in a Christian home and I wasn't sure I was a Christian. And I was walking home from school one day and a group of girls on the other side of the street began to make fun of me because I was tall and I felt at first horrible to be made fun of. And walking home from school, being made fun of by girls in my class that I was so tall. And then she said, I prayed and the Lord brought to my mind his love for me, and they're settled over me, a deep confidence that he was my savior and my Lord and my friend. And I don't know whether I was saved at that moment, but that was the first time I experienced God as my Savior. And I knew that I was his child. And I said to her, Now that's a remarkable thing to have happen in the heart of a fifth grader. How did you make that happen? I mean, did you decide that this was going to happen? I just pushed on the issue of how how beautiful that gift was to her. And I didn't have to push very hard at all. I mean, she just melted. She just melted and said, oh, no, it was just God just showed up. He just did it. He just gave it to me. He just assured me that I was his.
[00:14:34] It it rose up inside me. I didn't I didn't make it happen. And overwhelming for him from within, inside. And I simply said, you know, all my Calvinism is, is are trying to trying to honor that moment. I'm just trying to come to terms with that, which is why I start with irresistible grace, because my guess is almost all of. You would tell a story, maybe not quite as dramatic, but something like that. And I simply pointed out that since you didn't provide the decisive impetus for that and it took you over and became a gift to you, God had decided to do that at least a few minutes before it happened. If not a billion years before it happened. And it really wouldn't make any difference from your standpoint whether it was a few minutes or a billion years. And lights went on everywhere for. So that's why I'm starting where I'm starting, because this is where we experience these things first at Irresistible Grace. To see that grace is sovereign implies that depravity is total. That is, that we are totally unable to respond. It's what the implication is of saying that my resistance has to be overcome. Left to myself, I won't. And I can't believe that's the meaning of total depravity. We'll come back to that in just a minute. And then that's the summary of what we spent time looking at last time as to how we find it in the Bible. Faith is and repentance are a gift. No one comes to Christ unless God draws him. God calls us effectually and creates the response that He requires. God causes us to be born again, which gives rise to faith. The new covered. It promises that he'll put the fear of him in our hearts and Romans 914 to 23.
[00:16:57] It's not men's willing or running, but of God who has mercy. And we've been over all of that and don't need to spend time on it again. Now, I said we'd come back to the issue of total depravity as human inability. We we turned from irresistible grace to the t i t total depravity. And the main thing to get about total depravity is not to get all bent out of shape that fallen people are not doing as many bad things as they could do. And therefore, what do you call them? Totally depraved. The main thing that is met is this total depravity means so depraved that you can't do what you have to do, can't. In essence, it's total. It's not like there's 99% bondage to sin and a 1% window that if you're smart enough or spiritual enough or fortunate enough, you can produce what's required of you. There's no 1%. It is 100% dead in trespasses and sins, and we are unable. Now, that is what creates huge theological discussions about whether or not a person who is described that way can be held accountable for his behavior. So I want to draw your attention to this, which I didn't last time. Jonathan Edwards book, The Freedom of the Will, may be the most important book outside of the Bible, written on the problem of the human will in relation to the sovereignty of God in salvation. So if you are really intent on grappling at the most rigorous level with these things, that's where you have to go. Any other book, even Luther's bondage of the Will, which is right up there in the top three, won't take you where this book takes you in terms of remarkably hard thinking about the issue of the will.
[00:19:37] And here's the thesis of the book God's Moral Government. This is Edwards talking over mankind, his rule over mankind, his treating them as moral agents, making them the objects of his commands, counsels, calls, warnings, ex postulations, promises, threatening rewards, punishments is not inconsistent with a determining disposal of all events, total control of everything of every kind throughout the universe in his Providence, either by positive agency or efficiency or permission designed permission or designed efficiency. So there's the thesis. Now, most people don't believe. That most people think there is a profound inconsistency between God's total moral government over mankind and his commanding them and punishing them for not doing what they're supposed to do. That's the goal. That's my belief assumption. And ultimately it's an assumption I cannot probably philosophically demonstrate to your satisfaction. I simply embrace it because it is assumed everywhere in the Bible that God both has a determining disposal of all events. That's one thing that's all over the Bible and that we are dealt with as morally accountable creatures in making commands to us and threatening punishments to us and offering rewards to us if we will think and feel and do certain things. Those two things, those two things are compatible. Sometimes people like me and Edwards are called compatible lists, but that kind of language doesn't help any. He described an important distinction in understanding what we mean by saying that irresistible grace and total depravity are based on the biblical conviction that people are in themselves unable to believe on Christ and yet are morally accountable for doing so. So there's the the mystery. There's the paradox. There's the tension. Total depravity means we're unable to believe and God's moral nature assumes that we are accountable for doing so.
[00:22:51] What does unable mean in that sentence? And Edwards is the one who has labored hardest, I think, to explain this. So let me give you his two key sentences. Usually, whatever system we are said to be naturally unable and morally unable, and they mean two different things. So Edwards is going to present us a distinction here that I have found extremely helpful and at least articulating how it is that some kinds of inability excuse a person from doing what they're required to do and other kinds of inability don't excuse a person for doing what they're required to do. And it's the kind that doesn't excuse you that we mean when we say a person is totally depraved and thus unable to do what's required of them. So here's the difference. One is natural that one excuse you and moral that one doesn't excuse you. So here's what he means. We are said to be naturally unable to do a thing when we cannot do it, if we will, because what is most commonly called nature does not allow of it because of some pleading, defect or obstacle that is extrinsic to the will. Either the faculty of understanding that would mean an imbecile or a tiny baby. You take your tiny baby, say six months old, do this multiplication problem. They're not responsible to obey you. It's because there is a faculty of understanding that's not there yet or constitution of body. If a person is physically blind, physically blind, and you say, look at this picture and tell me where the bird is or something like that is, that's not they're not responsible to do that. What about moral inability? What's that? Moral inability consists not in any of these things, but either in the lack of inclination.
[00:25:30] You can't do what you don't choose to do if your intonation isn't there, you can't do it, or the strength of a contrary inclination. So you may have some inclination to do a thing, but your motives to do the opposite are stronger than the one that you want to do. And so you won't do it, can't do it, or the lack of sufficient motives in view. To induce and excite the will, the act of the will or the strength of appear and motives to the contrary, or both of these may be resolved into one. And it may be said in one word that moral inability consists in the opposition or lack of inclination. Now, just in simple layman's terms. You can love evil so much, you can't do good. And that's the kind of cat that told depravity is referring to. You can be so bent on pride, you can't be humble. We can ask questions about that later. But you need to understand that when I say we are morally unable to do a thing because we are totally depraved. That's the distinction that I have in mind. It's a real inability, but it isn't a physical inability, no shifting from irresistible grace and total depravity to unconditional action. We began this time, and I want to start this time on unconditional action. Leap over a few of the things we did, but start with the Bethlehem elder affirmation of faith rather than the Westminster confession. We begin with Westminster last time. Let's just stay at home and read what our elders are committed to believe. Three paragraphs. This is just printed straight from what you can find on the web. We believe that God from all eternity, in order to display the full extent of His glory for the eternal and ever increasing enjoyment of all those who love him, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his will, freely and unchangeable, he ordain and for know whatever comes to pass.
[00:28:32] Two. We believe that God upholds and governs all things from galaxies to subatomic particles, from the forces of nature to the movements of nations and from the public plans of politicians to the secret acts of solitary persons, all in accord with his eternal always purposes to glorify himself. Yet in such a way that he never sins nor ever condemns a person unjustly, but that his ordaining and governing all things is compatible with the moral accountability of all persons created in his image. Third, we believe that God's election is an unconditional act of free grace, which was given through his son, Jesus Christ, before the world began. By his act. By this act, God chose before the foundation of the world. Those who would be delivered from the bondage to sin, from bondage to sin, and brought to repentance and saving faith in His Son. Christ Jesus. That's the statement of faith. There are 26 footnotes in those three paragraphs providing dozens and dozens of texts. We're only going to look at a few more. One that we did put on the overhead last time. But in putting it on the overhead, I left out a verse and I did not draw attention to one of the things that was very important. So I want to go back to first Corinthians 126 to 231. Consider your calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards. Not many were powerful. Not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world. Even things that are not to bring to nothing. Things that are, they'll notice.
[00:31:20] The foolish, the weak and the low did not choose to populate the church so that God could undo the wisdom of the wise. God had a design in how He was assembling his people. So that So he did it that way. He did all that so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. That's what I did not draw attention to last time. The purpose of selection. Choose, choose, choose. The purpose of election is to knock the props out from under the bent of the human heart to burst. That's the point of election. He did it so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. God's design. Any election is to keep you from boasting. And because of him, that's the translation of one little prepositional phrase Greek guys can see from him, Are you in Christ Jesus? That means he grafted you into Christ. The emphasis is not from you. Are you in Christ Jesus From Him? Are you in Christ Jesus? We believed in order to go into Christ Jesus. But our faith is a gift. And thus it is from Him that we are in Christ. Jesus, you are in Christ. Jesus from Him who became to us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. In other words, Christ became everything to us so that as it is written, let Him who both boast in the Lord. And you can see immediately that this is the negative goal and this is the positive goal. That is a very important programmatic passage of Scripture on the what and the why of election. What? It's free. God is choosing the unexpected. He is choosing it according to his own designs. These these folks are not saying, Oh, wouldn't it be good if there were a few of us foolish folks in the church? And wouldn't it be good if there were a few weak in the church and wouldn't be good if there were a few low in the church? And so we will now use our self-determining power to populate the church and constructed in a way that would honor God's great wisdom.
[00:34:27] Baloney. That's not the way this text reads at all. This is God building a church, gathering people into his church for two reasons one, to shut our mouths when it comes to boasting and to open our mouths when it comes to praising his grace. That's that's the goal. So you have ministries through the centuries who have defined their their goal is to obey the pride of man and to exalt the glory of God. That's exactly right. It comes right from this passage of Scripture. We did spend some time last time on the gospel of John, so I'm going to move quickly through a few of these. But I just cannot emphasize how amazingly oriented on the doctrine of election the Gospel of John is. You know, the Gospel of John is the book that we give to new believers because it's so simple. And I'm preaching on it again this Sunday. And and I almost began my sermon by saying, John, whether in his epistle or his gospel, is always functioning at two levels at least. And one level is incredible simplicity so that children can read the gospel of John and come away with a sense of satisfaction. They basically know what's going on here. And another level is so stunningly profound. I mean, you read you read first, John, like we're going to be doing this Sunday and you read if God so loved us, we ought to love each other. That's so simple. Absolutely sweet, glorious, rightly simple. And then he says, God is love. And those who are born of God love the brothers. And you know you are into the profoundest metaphysical realities in the universe because that is ness of God is love. And the new birth is our connection to that metaphysical reality.
[00:37:19] And it must show up in how we love each other. And you're dealing at a level that is way below any sixth grader ever going to get. So I want to linger here for a few more minutes because you need to feel the wonder of this gospels dealing with election. John 17. I have manifested your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours and you gave them to me. And they have kept your word. I ask. They were yours and you gave them to me. I ask on their behalf. I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom you whom you have given to me. For they were yours. So here they are. They are not yet Christs. They. They are about to become his disciples. Peter, James, John. And the rest. They are gods. And God takes them and gives them to His son. That's election. They are gods. This is election here. They were chosen. They were. They belong to God before they belong to Jesus. Then they became Jesus because God gave them to John. Six. All the to Father gives me All that the Father gives me will come to me. The giving of the father brings about the coming to Jesus and the one who comes to me. I will certainly not cast out. This is the will of him who sent me that all that he has given me, I lose nothing but will raise it up at the last day. So that's John's way of talking about the election. Chapter ten Verse 24. The Jews gathered around him and were saying, How long were you keep us in suspense? If you're the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus said to them, I told you, you don't believe the works that I do in my father's name.
[00:39:42] These testify of me. But you do not believe cause you are not in my ship. I remember the first time I read that, or one of the times I read it and was so shocked that it is backward from what I thought. I thought you believed to become a sheep and it says the reason you don't believe is because you are a sheep. And I saw my world is coming undone. That's election. God has sheep. I have preached in years, gone by at many conferences on missions using this text. When I was writing my book, Let the Nations be Glad these things that were gripping me, I was seeing all the connections between being a lover of the sovereignty of God and being a radical frontier missionary, or if I don't go, I must mobilize, I must rise up because I have other sheep which are not of this fold. I must bring them also and they will hear my voice and they will become one flock with one shepherd. In other words. The father has given me some. He's given me 12. He's given me 70. There were 120 in the upper room when the Lord ascended into heaven. It wasn't a big group, but the Lord had given him his sheep. And Jesus wanted to say He constantly was saying, in fact, don't become in grown Calvinist dare become in grown ups, Little elect and no more damnable. I have other sheep. Find them. Lay down your lives to find them. Go everywhere and speak my words Because my sheep hear my voice. And if they don't hear it, they can't respond. Go say it now. David Livingston. Is buried in Westminster Abbey, and on his tomb are the words from John 1016.
[00:43:02] I have other sheep that are not of this fault. He was the great African explorer. Now, that's a neat story in and of itself that the legacy of the man's life trying to penetrate into the Africa and find trade routes along which Christianity could spread should be labeled. I have other sheep, but there's a better story. I tell it in the book on missions. Peter Cameron Scott was born in 1867, but after, after. David Livingstone and God called him from his Scottish Presbyterian Church to be a missionary in Africa. And he went, he fact became the founder of the Africa Indian Mission A I am. And he got fever, as almost everybody did. They were packing their goods in their coffins because so many of them never survived. So they'd have some way to be decently buried when they gave their lives for Jesus, speaking the word of the shepherd so that the sheep could hear. They shipped him home, deeply discouraged. God healed him, and this time he went back and he took his brother John. He was so encouraged. This time the brothers with me and his brother died and he buried him. Got malaria again. I didn't know what it was called. In those days. There was no medicine like my wife and daughter are taking out for the next two weeks. Now they're back from Africa so that they don't get any malaria. It's wet, wet. And so they ship him home again, devastated, discouraged, wondering, God, I'm trying to serve you. You keep. Let me get sick. You took my brother. I don't get it. And before he gave up, when he was well, he walked into Westminster Abbey. It stood in front of David Livingstone's tomb and saw I have other sheep that are not of this photo.
[00:45:25] I must gather them also must. I will do this if you don't let me use you. Are you somebody else? But I'm going to do this. I'm getting my sheep from every people group on planet Earth. And he was heartened, strengthened, and he went and he spent the rest of his life there. And he founded a I of Africa Inland Mission and left a tremendous legacy. These teachings, folks, are not for fighting about. They're for dying with they're for doing missions with. Here to set another way, Caiaphas High Priest, said John 1150, It is expedient for you that one man die for the people he's trying to get them not to make a big deal out of Jesus because you just let him die. It's expedient for women, die for the people that the whole nation not perish. Now, he did not say this of his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied. So he was speaking things beyond what he was conscious of, namely that Jesus was going to die for the nation. And not for the nation only, but in order that he might also gather together into one the children of God scattered abroad. I have other sheep. Call them children of God. Call them the elect. Call them sheep. I have them. I will gather them. I will have a global people from every tribe and tongue and nation. The Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, and he was discouraged and frightened. He said, Do not be afraid any longer. Go on speaking. Don't be silent. I'm with you. The Great Commission. Promise I'm with you. No man will attack you in order to harm you. For I have many people in this city.
[00:48:32] So here you are doing evangelism in a hard place. There's threats and you're discouraged, and the Lord comes, What's the Lord going to say to you in the middle of the night to keep you going? What he said to Paul was, I have a people here. I have sheep here. I have children of God here. My sheep hear my voice. Therefore, don't be silent. Open your mouth. A jailer may respond or Lydia may respond. A demon possessed girl may respond. There's a church. Here's Lydia. A woman named Lydia from the city of Tira, a seller of purple. A worshiper of God was listening. Listening. And the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by. For that's what happens to the sheep. 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.