Posted by: bellissimanh | February 2, 2009

Spectacular Sins – Chapter Two

Memory Monday is HERE, along with some prayer concerns that are heavy on my heart.

Check out the graphic in my sidebar to jump in on this fabulous ride into the world of God’s sovereignty! John Piper is one of my absolute FAVORITE authors, and this book is proving to be no exception to the calibur of rich teaching I’ve come to expect from him. Many thanks to Lisa of The Preacher’s Wife for hosting this book club!

 

Here are my answers to this week’s questions… they should nearly make sense, even if you haven’t read the book. 🙂

 

Chapter Two1. I loved your quotes so much from the first session I’m going to ask you to share your favorite from this chapter!

 

Again… just one? Aaaaaaaaaargh! Ok, call me a rebel, but I’m torn between two, although they share similar sentiments.

“Paul’s antidote for wimpy Christians is weighty doctrine. In Paul’s mind, the most massive truths are meant for producing radical lives of obedience.”

“Great biblical truths are fuel in the fire of the God-centered soul.”

2. Re-read Colossians 1:15-16. Piper makes special mention that of all the things Paul could list that were made by, through, and for Christ, that he specifically mentions evil powers. In answering why Paul did this, Piper pulls an example from 2 Timothy 1:8 to show how he used weighty doctrine to address Timothy’s practical issues of anxiety and fear that threatened the effect of his ministry. Considering Paul thought the ‘heavy’ things of God would help Timothy deal with everyday matters, how does knowing God created beings that He knew would turn from good to evil translate to your everyday life? (Use paragraphs 2 and 3 of page 36 to help form your thoughts.)

It’s comforting to me to really grasp how far reaching the love of God, and His knowledge and will extend. There is nothing I face — no illness, no financial struggle, no straining of relationship, no hurt, no fear, no slander, no opposition, no burden, not even any evil force — that He did not anticipate and make a way for me to bear up under it. If He does not deliver me from it, He will certainly deliver me THROUGH it… because His grace is reserved for just such necessities. And has been since the beginning of time. How amazing and comforting is that?

3. Five summary statements are given on p. 37 as to why God wants us to know the truth of Christ’s sovereignty over ‘rulers and authorities’ and the way they are involved in the most spectacular sins of the universe. Which one is most meaningful to you? Does it comfort you? Give you courage against the evil that we know has been disarmed by Christ?

The fourth reason is the one that speaks to me most. “…God wants us to know this truth to make us valiant in the face of odds that seem overwhelming to the natural eye.”  There have been a few times over the course of my life that could have shaken me. Truly. Things I’ve gone through that could have completely drowned me in self-pity and anxiety. BUT GOD… (don’t you love those words?) But God, in His infinite mercy and sovereignty, not only walked me through those times, He USED them for my benefit and for His glory. Knowing that Christ is sovereign helps me to make sense out of the senseless. It gives me faith to see the invisible, believe the incredible, and watch Him accomplish the impossible in my life.

Last year we went through a period of some pretty serious testing when our elders exercised church discipline. Nevermind the fact that to do that, even in today’s CHURCH culture, was highly unpopular, our godly leadership followed through with the pattern laid out in Matthew 18. This was such a painful time for my family, and for our church… and yet we knew — without a doubt — that God was sovereign and working this all out according to HIS plan. Hurtful things were said about many people, including my husband and I… not just hurtful things, but untrue things. Yet knowing that Christ was in control made walking through that period of our lives not only possible, but an experience that not only strengthened our church, but also taught us all lessons that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. It was a time of purging and cleansing for our fellowship, and it caused us all to look not at others, but at our own lives, and examine our own hearts to see what might be there that shouldn’t be… and through it all, Christ was glorified. Recognizing Christ as sovereign over that difficult time helped us all to get through it. I am so thankful to Him for refining me, and strengthening my faith and trust in Him.

4. Okay, this question is more of an assignment. Look at the previous commenter’s answers and respond to one of her(his?) insights. If you are the first commenter, you can refer to this original post. Let’s get some discussion going! 🙂

Karen said, “If even heavenly beings, who exist in the presence of God visibly, can turn from good to evil, then I know I can too even though I also exist in the presence of God.”  I hadn’t thought of it like this, but I love this perspective! What careful watch we must keep over ourselves. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) And yet when we fail… when we FALL… His grace is sufficient. How beautiful!

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Responses

  1. Is this book not INCREDIBLE?? I haven’t jumped in on the discussion with Lisa, as I’m just VERY SLOWLY digesting it all. SO profound and yet another perfectly timed gift in light of today’s news at my house.

    Thanks so much for dropping by my place and always offering such encouragement. You’re a blessing to me.

  2. “There is nothing I face — no illness, no financial struggle, no straining of relationship, no hurt, no fear, no slander, no opposition, no burden, not even any evil force – that He did not anticipate and make a way for me to bear up under it.”

    I love the way you put this…I’m so glad we are doing this study together! I know I say that to people every week, but it’s true!

    Love ya!
    Xandra

  3. Love this!!

    “If He does not deliver me from it, He will certainly deliver me THROUGH it… because His grace is reserved for just such necessities. And has been since the beginning of time.”

    Thank you Jesus that you have an unlimited supply of grace reserved for me!!

    Leah


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