Thursday, January 6, 2011

John Piper Gets to the Bottom of Why People Love God

ATLANTA – Preacher and prolific writer John Piper asked a profound question Monday evening: Do you feel more loved by God because He makes much of you or because He enables you to make much of Him?

John Piper Passion
(Photo: Passion Conference)
John Piper asks students do they feel more loved when God makes much of them or when He allows them to make much of Him at the Passion 2011 conference on Monday, January 3, 2011, in Atlanta, Georgia.

    The purpose of asking such a deep question to 22,000 university-age students at the Passion conference was to get at why they love God. If students respond they love God because He makes much of them, that is idolatry, said Piper. It means that they put themselves as the foundation of their joy.
    Every joy has a foundation, a deeper reason why it brings joy, except one, he explained. This exception is the bottom, where there is no more underlying reason.“Why is getting to the bottom of our joys such a big deal to me?” asked Piper.
    “I believe that there are millions of people, many of them professing Christians, who are not born-again, believe God loves them, and are hell-bound," he said bluntly.
    “What you mean by being loved by God is that at the bottom He’s committed to making much of you; He’s not at the bottom; you’re at the bottom; myself as the source of all my joy," he said.
    To be born-again is to exchange the bottom from self to God, which is fundamental to the new birth, said Piper. A new birth does not mean having all the same desires as before with the only change being expecting God to deliver those wants.
    “Did we not do many mighty works in your name? Did we not cast out demons in your name? Did we not prophesize in your name? Did we not heal in your name? He will say to them, ‘I never knew you,’” Piper said, citing Matthew 7:22-23.
    “You think this is not an important question to ask? What is at the bottom? So much Christian religion with people on their way to destruction.”
    The preacher, who will return to the pulpit this weekend after an eight-month leave of absence, read scripture verses that showed God performing acts of love designed to put Him at the bottom. One example he gave is Ephesians 1:5-6, which states, “He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will – to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.”
    Humans were created in a way where they cannot be fully satisfied with anything other than God, Piper stated. Therefore, if people put themselves at the bottom they will never be satisfied.
    “God’s love for you that makes much of His glory is greater love for you than if He made you your greatest treasure,” said Piper. “You will never, ever be beautiful enough, strong enough, wise enough, admirable enough, to be the bottom and to bear the weight of all the joy you want for all eternity. It will not bear that weight. It will give way and you will fall into the pit. Only one thing can bear the weight of all the joy you want to have and that is God.”
    "Theological Thursdays" - Studies in Christian Theology

    Be a part of Theological Thursdays as we unlock the meaning of various terms, definitions
     and theologically-related 
    . Words mean things and we need to correctly understand biblical terms.


    Patience said...

    That's so true. I've been challenged by a friend as to whether Limited Atonement is Biblical. I stand firm on the doctrines of TULIP and I won't recant. I will definitely be quoting this in my essay!

    Michelle said...

    I think Paul Washer kind of sums this up too when he says, "Everyone wants to go to heaven; but nobody wants God to be there." It seems that is what we are taught though...what God can do for us. We aren't taught the reverence and the worship that we owe Him...but praise Him that His Spirit will guide us and teach us where when we begin in error!

    Seams Inspired said...


    Persis said...

    Amen! This is the message we need to hear in this society stepped in self-esteem.

    welcome to my world of poetry said...

    I don't know the man concerned but I enjoyed your post,


    Lisa said...

    A nice explanation and makes great sense -- I'd never heard it before.

    Have a blessed day, Brother!

    THE OLD GEEZER said...

    Brother Gregg,

    I was at the bottom of the pit when God had mercy on me and He became the foundation (bottom) of my life. I did not know God or love Him. He love me first. Any genuine joy and love that comes from me is generated from Him. Praise be to God!!!

    "We love him, because he first loved us."—1 John 4:19.

    Great Post! ~Ron

    Mike said...

    Yesterday morning during my prayer time I was stricken with the thought, "God, I don't honestly think I love you for who you are. I don't think I truly love you for your holiness, as you deserve. I think I merely love you for what you've done for me and what you can do for me."

    I'm truly thankful that God saved me, and I know it would be impossible to love Him if He had not first loved me. But IF it was possible, would I love God if He never ever reached out to me? Doubtful.

    I'm going to download this message onto my iPod for later use. He's preached a similar one before, but his messages can be listened to repeatedly.

    Trisha said...

    Thanks so much for posting this. Piper's words are so very sobering! God bless him for his boldness and passion for God's truth, and real LOVE and concern for those who don't know Him. I'm so, so thankful for God's grace.