TGCW12 Pre-conference: John Piper, The Search for Joy and the Supremacy of God in the Gospel

John Piper, “The Search for Joy and the Supremacy of God in the Gospel”

The gospel of Jesus is the great work of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by which He removes every obstacle to your everlasting, all satisfying satisfaction joy in his glory in which he displays most beautifully that glory for the fullness of your joy

The way He removes every obstacle to your everlasting happiness is the revelation of that happiness: the person of Jesus Christ. The gospel is good news is because its design is your happiness. God destroys what makes your happiness fail and He reveals and displays what makes your happiness full. Christ died and rose to make your happiness possible and to make himself your happiness. You are experiencing the power of the gospel when you are enjoying the Christ of the gospel. The life that drinks most deeply at well of the gospel, the life that displays most clearly the worth of the gospel is a life of unremitting pursuit of Jesus as your supreme, all satisfying treasure. God experienced in power, Christ displayed with clarity, Christ revealed with most glory through your unremitting joy in Jesus.

“by which through Jesus Christ he removes every obstacle to your everlasting joy/pleasure”
7 obstacles He removes:
1. The wrath of God is the greatest obstacle to joy in the universe. Rom. 5:9, Gal. 3:13. Propitiation. Rom. 3:25 He satisfied His justice. We can’t be happy in God’s glory, He’s angry with us–this is over!
2. We were alienated and far away from Him. Eph. 2:13, Rom. 5:10. Reconciliation. He’s brought us near, overcome our distance.
3. Real guilt, real sin in our lives. Eph. 1:7. 1 Pet. 2:24. Is. 53:6 Guilt and burden of sin no longer an obstacle to our joy: it’s on Jesus. Lack of joy an insult to His sacrifice. Redemption.
4. Absence of righteousness in my life to commend me to an holy God. Rom. 3:10. 2 Cor. 5:21. In Him you are righteous, perfect. Rom. 5:19. Justification.
5. Death. Heb. 9:27. It’s not over for those who are in Christ! Rom. 8:11. Your joy never stops! He is the Resurrection and the Life!
6. Spiritual deadness in my soul. We were born dead. How can a lifeless heart has everlasting joy? Eph. 2:4. You’re not dead anymore! Which means you have taste buds on soul and made to lick the lollipop of gospel (Piper: “a lousy illustration; stick with the manuscript!”). The new birth made you alive to glory.
7. Satan hates your joy. The great accuser. Col. 2:15 What happened to Satan at cross? Stripped of his armor. The only lethal weapon Satan has against you is the accusation of unforgiven sin. At the cross every sin is covered and his mouth is shut. Heb. 2:14

There are no obstacles any more that can stop your everlasting joy! Here’s the question: if you have experienced propitiation, et. al; have you experienced the gospel? Have you experienced the greatest good that makes the gospel good and makes all of those things good? They are not good in themselves! Yes, you have if you realized none of those things, none of those 7 triumphs, is good news except as removing obstacles TO something else. Removing God’s wrath is not the goal of the gospel; it’s a means. Forgiveness sin not the goal of the gospel, it’s a means.

To what?

What makes the gospel, the gospel? What makes the good news finally, supremely, all satisfyingly good?

Why should you want to be forgiven by God? The answer makes all the difference in the world whether you are believing the gospel. I no longer want to feel guilty: bad answer. I need to set a good example: bad answer.

The ultimate goal of gospel: savor Him, enjoy Him, prize Him, find joy in Him. It’s Him!!!

in which he displays the glory that gives you the greatest happiness”

Not merely the removal of obstacles but the joy we have in Jesus as His glory is displayed in the removal of those obstacles

He didn’t die just to make joy possible; he died to became the supreme object of our joy in the gospel

2 Cor. 4:4-6
“the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” In his death and resurrection He has secured my everlasting joy and He has displayed the beauty of His glory

See the glory of Christ as beautiful and all satisfying. See it and savor it. Embrace it, love it, delight in it, be satisfied in it, to the end that the world might be shown.

See, savor, show that He is supremely valuable!!

Eph. 1:5,6

No one praises what he does not enjoy

Ultimate goal of gospel: see and savor the glory of Christ in gospel, show his worth by treasuring him, show his beauty by our delight. This leads to practical, life altering conclusion: the life that drinks deeply at well of gospel and life that displays gospel most clearly is a life of unremitting pursuit of happiness in Jesus and not in the world. The Christian life becomes life long quest for Jesus in all pleasures. Enjoy it because of Jesus, for him and from him and because of him. Resolve that it will NOT compete with Him! I will let nothing compete as an idol in my affections.

The pursuit of your joy is commanded by the Bible. The nature of faith beckons you to pursue your joy. Believing is coming to Jesus for the satisfaction of your soul. He is bread of life, living water. Evil is forsaking of your joy in God and finding it anywhere else. Conversion is finding Jesus so valuable you would have him at the cost of anything.

You can’t love each other unless you are finding your joy in Jesus. Macedonian offering (2 Cor.): their joy was not from removal of affliction and poverty but out of the grace of God. Want to be a person overflowing with love? Be filled with happiness of Jesus, happiness that may cost you your life. A believer’s path is not easy but happy.

When I am satisfied in God He is glorified. The ultimate reason for why you pursue your joy in Jesus is because it makes much of Him like nothing else.

Devote your life to this pursuit. Do not rest until you find yourself resting completely in the all satisfying grace and joy of our Lord Jesus!

Note: these are my notes hastily typed during the presentation. Any and all error in transcription is mine and not the instructor’s. Also, please excuse the multitude of grammatical errors!


Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

2 thoughts on “TGCW12 Pre-conference: John Piper, The Search for Joy and the Supremacy of God in the Gospel”

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