I was unable to attend this year’s Pastor Conference at Bethlehem Seminary, but with the blessing of the modern digital age, I have thankfully been able to listen to some of the plenary messages online.
Last week I listened to John Piper’s opening keynote address entitled, “What is Christian Hedonism?” I highly recommend this message, and if you click on the title, you can listen to it for yourself.
What I most appreciated about the message is that his is what John Piper does best. Just the first 8 minutes are worth listening to alone. It is nothing other than Biblically saturated, Christ exalting, God honoring, heart moving witness to the glory of Christ Jesus our Lord.
I was so moved by it that I started to write down the message, then look up the scripture references. The entirety of the first 8 minutes is nothing but scripture about the glory, majesty, authority, and beauty of Jesus.
I’ve typed up the transcript of those 8 minutes. Read along while he’s preaching, and give God all glory through Christ our Lord!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
Jesus said, “Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” They said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:56–58).
Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:5–9).
Jesus cried out, “whoever sees me sees him who sent me (John 12:45).
Because Jesus “is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15), in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Col 1:19). He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3). For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Jesus and for Jesus. He upholds the universe by the word of his power (Heb 1:3), and he is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Col 1:16–17).
And yet, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:6–8). He committed no sin, none!, neither was deceit found in his mouth (1 Peter 2:22).
And so it came to pass by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous (Rom 5:19). For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us… (Gal 3:13). He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed (1 Pet 2:24). For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6). When that time approached he said, “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:18).
So, “after making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Heb 1:3). God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9–11).
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to [him]” (Matt 28:18). The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand (John 3:35). “God has put all things in subjection [to him]…” (1 Cor 15:27), all “angels, authorities, and all powers” (1 Peter 3:22). And [now] he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent” (Col 1:18).
- He has authority to forgive sins (Matt. 9:6).
- He speaks and the wind and the sea obey him (Matt 8:27).
- He commands unclean spirits, they come out (Mark 5:8).
- He rebukes fevers, they depart (Luke 4:39).
- He causes blind to see, deaf to hear, lame to walk, lepers are made clean, He commands the dead, and they live (Matt 11:5)!
- He suffers little children to come to him (Matt 19:14).
- He scatters the proud in the thoughts of their hearts and brings down the mighty from their thrones (Luke 1:51-52).
- He does not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick until he brings justice to victory (Matt 12:20).
In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3). No one ever spoke like this man (John 7:46). To know him is to know the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph 3:8).
And he’s coming back again on the clouds even as they saw him go, but this time with holy angels and with power and great glory (Matt 24:30). And he will deliver us from the wrath to come (1 Thess 1:10). And he will transform our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body by the power that enables him to subject all things to himself (Phil 3:21).
In that day, wonder of wonders, he will dress himself for service and have us recline at table and he will come and serve us (Luke 12:37). And He will still be meek and lowly in heart (Matt 11:29).
And yet his eyes will be like a flame of fire, his feet like burnished bronze refined in a furnace, his voice like the roar of many waters. From his mouth will come a sharp two edged sword, and we will see his face like the sun shining in full strength (Rev 1:14-16), and so we will forever be with the Lord (1 Thess 4:17). We will see no longer through a glass darkly but face to face, (1 Cor 13:12).
Rejoicing in hope will give way to the joy of sight. The pleasures of every taste that bound us to Christ in this world explode into the pleasures of heavenly feasting. And we will know finally, not in part, but perfectly (1 Cor 13:9), that in his presence is fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).