Eric Chappell's Reviews > Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions

Let the Nations Be Glad! by John Piper
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Jan 25, 12

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Read in January, 2011

Chapter 3: The Supremacy of God in Missions through Suffering

Matt 13:14--'the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure in a field, which a man found and covered up; then IN HIS JOY he goes and sells ALL THAT HE HAS and buys that field.' Piper notes the extent of the sacrifice and the depth of the joy.

'I am crucified with Christ'

Taking up our cross involves a spiritual transaction by which our old nature or the flesh dies with Christ and a 'new creature' comes into being. See Gal 5:24; 2:20; Rom 6:6; Col 3:2-3. But the point of this spiritual death is not that it takes the place of a real practical application of Jesus' teaching to physical suffering and death, but that it makes that application possible. Precisely because our old selfish, worldly, unloving, fearful, proud selves have died with Christ, and a new trusting, loving, heaven-bent, hope-filled self has come into being--precisely because of this inner death and new life, we are able to take risks, and suffer the pain, and even die without despair but full of hope.

Don't water down the call to suffer.

The call to suffer with Christ is not a call to bear our sins the way he bore them but to love the way he loved. The death of Christ for the sin of my selfishness is not meant to help me escape the suffering of love but to enable it. Because he took my guilt and my punishment and reconciled me to God as my Father, I do not need to cling any longer to the comforts of earth in order to be content. I am free to let things go for the sake of making the supremacy of God's worth known (77).

Christ's Death--substitution and pattern (see 1 Peter 2)

Heb 13:12-14--Hebrews does same as Peter in linking Christ's substitution with a pattern for suffering.

Afflictions are our vocation, whether we are missionaries or not.

Paul: Acts 9:15-16; Acts 20:23; 2 Cor 6:4-10; 2 Cor 11:23-28

Does God ALLOW or APPOINT the suffering of His messengers? He appoints it.

Six Reasons God Appoints Suffering for His Servants:

1. Heb 12--God disciplines his children through suffering. Deeper faith and deeper obedience. Heb 5:8--Jesus did not grow from disobedience to obedience, but process of suffering demonstrated deeper and deeper obedience. See 2 Cor 1:8-9.

2. Suffering Makes your cup Increase: by enduring suffering with patience the reward of our experience of God's glory in heaven increases. See 2 Cor 4:17-18; rom 8:18; matt 5:11-12

3. The price of making others bold--God uses suffering of his missionaries to awaken others out of their slumbers of indifference and make them bold. See Phil 1:14;

4. Complete What is Lacking--the suffering of Christ's messengers ministers to those they are trying to reach and may open them to the gospel. See 1 Thess 1:5-6; Col 1:24; 2 Cor 1:5-6; 2 Tim 2:10

5. Suffering enforces the missionary command to go--the suffering of the church is used by God to reposition the troops in places they might not have otherwise gone. See Acts 8:1; 11:19

6. The Supremacy of Christ manifest in suffering--the suffering of missionaries is meant by God to magnify the power and sufficiency of Christ. See 2 Cor 12:9-10
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