Jon Bloom's New Book

Not By Sight by Jon Bloom
 
There are books you should read at your desk hunched over and ready to wrestle with rarified ideas. Then there are books that you should read the way you stop by a shaded stream. The trust level is high. The expectation for refreshment is keen. Jon Bloom, the President of Desiring God, has written a book like that. I encourage you to get a copy.
Here is the way Jon describes his aim: “The purpose of this little book is to imaginatively reflect on the real experiences of real people in the Bible in order to help you grasp and live what it means to ‘trust in the Lᴏʀᴅ with all our heart, and . . . not lean on our own understanding.’ Its goal is to help you believe in Jesus while living in a very confusing and painful world.”
To help you get to know Jon and his book I wrote the Foreword. Here’s what I said:

Foreword

With the apostle John I say, I am writing these things to you so that my joy may be complete (1 John 1:4). My joy. Yes, yours too. But that’s not my point yet. To write on behalf of Jon Bloom and his book is a joy. So indulge me for a moment, if you are willing.
First, I love Jon Bloom. I want to praise the man. He is worthy of your attention.

Jon is a man of worship. He lives under the sovereign grace of God with a happy sense of submission and praise. In fact, he is a worship leader at his church.
Jon is a lover of the gospel of Jesus. He is manifestly glad that his sins are forgiven because of Christ, and his works are the fruit of his justification, not the root.
Jon is humble and ready to confess his sin and heal relationships.
Jon is strong in the word. He has a backbone and is not easily duped.
Jon is a man of vision — a vision for his life and family, and a vision for Desiring God. He has overseen this ministry since the beginning with far-seeing dreams.
Jon is reliable. I would trust him with my life. Indeed I have trusted him with the ministry — which is a huge part of my life.
Jon is wise. Though he is a generation younger than I am, I would turn to him before most older men. There is a gift of wisdom. Jon has it. He is my counselor.

Not surprisingly then this book is also worthy of your attention. All that Jon is as a person is poured out here. And his gifts.
Jon is creative. These meditations are not your ordinary exposition. These are stories. Really good stories. They are rooted in what the Bible says. The creative additions never go beyond what really could have happened. The truths that Jon sees for our lives are based not on what might have been but on what was. The might-have-beens capture give added flesh to the bones of truth. They are touchable.
Jon is persuaded that if you know the truth, the truth will make you free. And truths about the greatness of Christ are the best ones for freeing us from unbelief. And to be freed from unbelief is to be freed from fear and greed and pride and anger and lust and despair and a hundred other permutations of life-ruing sins.
New Christians or old Christians, what we need in order to walk by faith and not by sight is glimpses. I know that sounds contradictory. We need sight not to walk by sight? But it’s not contradictory, because the sight we need is not a sight of what the day holds, but a sight of who holds the day.
And even that sight happens by looking through the window of the word. Which means we see with our ears. Yes it sounds strange. But listen: “The Lᴏʀᴅ revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lᴏʀᴅ” (1 Samuel 3:21). So we “look” through the window of the word with our ears and what we hear is a sight of God!
If that makes no sense to you, here’s a suggestion. Pick a chapter in this book whose title looks relevant for you. Listen as you read. Look through what you hear. And see if Jesus does not show himself to you in such a way that you trust him more.
That is what Jon Bloom desires. That is what we both are praying for. Your joy of faith. So yes, I wrote this for my joy. And mine will be full if I hear that my happy commendations and Jon’s beautiful narrations awaken in you the gladness of walking by faith, Not By Sight.
John Piper
Founder and Teacher, Desiring God
Chancellor, Bethlehem College and Seminary
[Gleaned from Desiring God]

Obstacles To Eternal Security?

 

All the threats and warnings
of the Bible declare with one voice:
sin is an effort to feel secure in
anything other than God.

 

LambsOne of the great obstacles to the enjoyment of this security is the apparent contradiction found in so many New Testament scriptures. Just when we start to feel that we are eternally secure in his love, along comes a passage of scripture that threatens us and seems to rob us of security. And I don’t think there will be any deep, abiding sense of security in God until we own up to these passages of scripture and see how they relate to the assurance of God’s love and power.
..
For example, take this sampling from nine New Testament books. Romans 11:20- 21, “Unbelieving Israelites were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.” 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” Also 15:2, “I preached to you the gospel by which you are saved if you hold it fast — unless you believed in vain.” 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourself to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you — unless you fail to meet the test!” Galatians 6:9, “Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.” Philippians 2:12, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Colossians 1:21-23, “You who were estranged Christ has reconciled in order to present you holy and blameless provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel.” Hebrews 12:14, “Strive for peace and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” 1 Peter 1:17, “If you invoke as Father him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.” Revelation 2:10, “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.”
..
All of these passages teach that the test of genuineness for the Christian is perseverance in faith and holiness of life. They warn us that the attempt to offer security apart from lasting faith and loving lives is perilous. We might succeed and give someone security at the price of destruction.
..
But it would be a terrible misunderstanding if we thought that these scriptures were written to threaten our security in God. Exactly the opposite is the case. They are written to threaten our security in everything but God. If you find your security in health, the Bible is a threat to you. If you find your security in your family or job or money or education, the Bible is a threat to you. And in threatening all these utterly inadequate foundations of security, the Bible drives us relentlessly and lovingly back to the one and only eternal and unshakable foundation for security — God.
..
All the threats and warnings of the Bible declare with one voice: sin is an effort to feel secure in anything other than God.Therefore, when God demands on the one hand, “Turn from sinning or you will die,” and on the other hand, “Feel eternally secure in my love, and you will live,” he is not demanding two different things. Sin is what you do when you replace security in God with the other things. So when God threatens our feelings of security in the world, it’s because he wants us to feel secure in his love and power. The threats and promises of Scripture have one message: seek your security in God alone.

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Please note: The above content is but a small portion of a larger sermon manuscript.
The complete Text and Audio is available at Desiring God
 
About John Piper
John Piper is pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem. John is the author of more than 40 books and more than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at desiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and twelve grandchildren.