Sunday, April 26, 2009

Five Implications of the Self-Sufficiency of God

It is due to a March 2008 John Piper blog that I began blogging. Many of you recall that particular blog where he gave six reasons why pastors should blog. Those six reasons were both intriguing and inspirational for me. For what it has been worth, these meager attempts at blogging have been fun for me. They have provided an outlet for much of what I would like to say, but better yet, for what I wish I had said. Today’s blog is a result of Piper’s second reason that pastors should blog – to teach. He says in part: “Here is where a pastor has an outlet for whatever he didn’t get to say on Sunday. Your blog is where you can pass on that perfect analogy you only just thought of; that hilarious yet meaningful story you couldn’t connect to your text no matter how hard you tried; that last point you skipped over even though you needed it to complete your 8-point acrostic sermon that almost spelled HUMILITY.” (John Piper March 2008) This blog is an adult bible lesson spill-over. There were some things I just didn’t quite get finished, so here goes: I am teaching on the majestic and almost indescribable character and nature of God. Last week’s lesson focused on the absolute self-sufficiency of God. I felt like there was more to say, so I tried to say it again this week. My class is very gracious, I am given 75 minutes to teach (I take all 75 minutes, believe you, me.) You would think that I could say all that I wanted to say in that 75 minute period, but alas, I didn’t. I want to summarize my heart and what the self-sufficiency of God really means in 5 points of application and implication: Because God is infinitely and eternally full, rich, joyous, and satisfied; consider then, these implications: 1. God does not need the glorious creation he has made, either in whole or any part, including his creation of human beings. As humbling as it is true, God does not need us (Isa 40; Acts 17:25). Therefore it is not about us, it is about Him! A true understanding of this implication governs all that we teach, preach, practice, sing, for the glory of God. 2. God does not need anything from us; he needs no help, no gifts, no service, nor fellowship (Acts17:25). Though he commands our obedience and calls us to service, and we are commanded to fellowship with Him he needs nothing that we are or have to offer. A true understanding then humbles us, causes us to be absolutely dependent upon Him, and it develops and maintains a heart filled with humble gratitude. 3. God cannot receive anything from us that is not previously, rightfully, and entirely his and his alone (Acts 17:25; Jas 1:17). In fact, this is so much the case that God is both dishonored and offended when we approach him as if he needs what we have to bring him, as if we can give him something that he lacks (Ps 50). A true understanding of this causes us to give worship, our very lives, our offerings and gifts as an expression of the true worship in our hearts rather than as a means of getting something in return. 4. Every good and perfect gift, necessarily, is from him and him alone (Acts 17:25; Jas 1:17). Imagine this: there is no true thought, no good work, no discerning word, no talent, no ability; no gifting that is not from him. For every quality that exists in creation, and in your lives and mine, is there at all, and is there to the scope and extent that it is, only because God, in his grace and kindness, has granted this to us. While God possess all that he has – all that there is – intrinsically, in contrast, we have what we have – all that we have – by derivation. He gives us everything that we are and that everything that we have. We owe him everything for all that we have and enjoy. A true understanding of these causes us to be driven to God for all that we need or want rather than depending on our selves or resorting to the world to obtain what we need or want. It keeps us from obtaining things that hurt us rather than help us. 5. God alone is worthy of all honor, glory, praise, adoration, love, devotion, obedience and worship (Isa 42:8; 1 Cor 10:31). A true understanding of this will continually drive us to ascribe to God all that He is worthy of in all that we do, and will enable us to reflect His character to those around us which might in turn drive them to repentance as they become a worshipper of God.

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