I think this was probably the highlight of New Word Alive for me. Partly because I’m a bit of a preacher groupie, actually it’s more than that, Piper’s preaching through its freeness at DesiringGod.org has really helped me during my time at Uni, really shaped my view of God, and although I haven’t read much of his writings, Don’t Waste Your Life was great! So getting to see him preach live (yes we were sad and made it to nearly the front row) was just great, he is a great communicator, passionate and dynamic, visibly in love with Jesus and deeply influenced, to the core by a massive view of God in His sovereignty . More importantly, it was the highlight because of the topic and passage.
Piper spoke from Romans 8 (in two parts) under the title ‘Treasuring Christ and a call to suffer’, it really needed 3 messages as he spent 30 minutes of the 2nd giving qualifications and expansions on the 1st, my solution is let him preach for as long as he likes! I didn’t take any notes, I just wanted to listen (you can find some notes on Adrian Warnock and Tim Chester’s blog).
Three big points on the first night were; first, suffering is universal, everyone suffers (except God and non-fallen angels), second that suffering is historical, it had a beginning and will come to an end, and third that all suffering is judicial, God’s judgement on a rebellious world. For the non-Christian that suffering is the foretaste of eternal condemnation, for the Christian there is now no condemnation, so all suffering is purifying.
The second message was the why and how of the first message, it’s aim was to try and be practical response to the theological grounding of the first, in reality he still had much theological grounding that he wanted to give – which is good, you need a robust theology of suffering to be able to in God’s grace, stand through the storm. The big point here was Ephesians 1:5-6 – “He predestined us… to the praise of his glory” - Piper passionately explained that this groaning world exists to give glory to God, and ultimately this is displayed through Christ on the cross, the suffering of which we will sing FOREVER!
Piper concluded with a quote from ‘Shining Like Stars‘, which is sourced from Howard Guinness (in the book Sacrifice. A call to faithful suffering, and obedient service…
Where are the young men and women of this generation who will hold their lives cheap and be faithful even unto death? Where are those who will lose their lives for Christ�s sake � flinging them away for love of Him? Where are those who will live dangerously, and be reckless in His service?