It's week three of our book club, and my study of this book and the biblical references that support it have been amazing! John Piper has a way of putting my thoughts into sentences for me, and I'm really enjoying the different perspectives of my fellow readers. Here are my answers to Lisa's questions:
1. I loved your quotes so much from the first session I'm going to ask you to share your favorite from this chapter!
Everything that exists, exists to make the greatness of Christ more fully known-including you, and the person you have the hardest time liking.
2. Re-read Colossians 1:15-16. Piper makes special mention that of all the things Paul could list that were made by, through, and for Christ, that he specifically mentions evil powers. In answering why Paul did this, Piper pulls an example from 2 Timothy 1:8 to show how he used weighty doctrine to address Timothy's practical issues of anxiety and fear that threatened the effect of his ministry. Considering Paul thought the 'heavy' things of God would help Timothy deal with everyday matters, how does knowing God created beings that He knew would turn from good to evil translate to your everyday life? (Use paragraphs 2 and 3 of page 36 to help form your thoughts.)
If we understand the weighty doctrines such as God’s sovereignty, then we can be confident that every time we face evil, it is already defeated. We can be confident that no matter how difficult things are, or how hopeless our world seems we can stand firm in the knowledge that we have a God who is mighty to save and that He is in control of everything. Knowing that God is an intentional God spurs me on to seek to know His will more fully and to try to understand His character more fully so that I can glorify Him more. I love the way Piper puts it: “Great biblical truths are fuel in the fire of the God-centered soul.”
3. Five summary statements are given on p. 37 as to why God wants us to know the truth of Christ's sovereignty over 'rulers and authorities' and the way they are involved in the most spectacular sins of the universe. Which one is most meaningful to you? Does it comfort you? Give you courage against the evil that we know has been disarmed by Christ?
“To make us valiant in the face of odds that seem overwhelming to the natural eye.” This particular statement gives me so much comfort, especially in light of the recent events in Washington. I know that even when it seems as though Christianity as a whole has suffered defeat, that God is not defeated. We live in a win-win situation as believers. When good triumphs, we win. It’s a clear victory and we can see the results fairly quickly. But when evil triumphs, we can take comfort in knowing that it didn’t really win. It may think it did for a season, but when all is said and done, there is no victory apart from God and we know that good has still won. It’s just that in cases such as this, it is not always immediately evident what the real victory is. Case in point…Joseph and his brothers. YEARS went by before God’s hand was fully revealed to the parties involved. We live in such an instant gratification world that we want answers right now! The will of God cannot be rushed or molded into a shape made by man.
4. Okay, this question is more of an assignment. Look at the previous commenter's answers and respond to one of her(his?) insights. If you are the first commenter, you can refer to this original post. Let's get some discussion going! :)
“Knowing it is not of him (Timothy) or me gives me and Timothy the courage to take a stand against the powers of evil that have already lost the battle at the cross.” I like the way Kim put this fundamental truth, and I think we lose sight of it when we are in the midst of our battles with evil. We don’t have to overcome evil…He overcomes it for us.