Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Don't Waste Your Life-Risk-Piper

Therefore risk is woven into the fabric of our finite lives.  We cannot avoid risk even if we want to.  

Ignorance and uncertainty about tomorrow is our native air

 All of our plans for tomorrow's activities can be shattered by a thousand unknowns whether we stay at home under the covers or ride the freeways.  One of my aims is to explode the myth of safety and to somehow deliver you from

 the enchantment of security.  

Because it's a mirage.  
It doesn't exist.  
Every direction you turn there are unknowns and things beyond your control.
~John Piper

Esther risked her life...

"Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  I and my young women will also fast as you do.  Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish." ~Esther 4:15-16

...and she saved a nation.

Joab risked Israel's forces trusting that the Lord would do what was best...

"Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him." ~2 Samuel 10:12

...and he won a battle.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego risked their lives...

"O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.  ~Daniel 3:16-18

...and showed Nebuchadnezzar the power of God.

Mary risked her reputation and even her life...

""I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her." Luke 1:38

...and was used by God to bring into the world our Savior.

Ezekiel risked his reputation and his life...

He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn.Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them.  And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. ~Ezekiel 2:3-7

...and was used by God to be a messenger to God's people.

Abraham risked.  Ruth risked.  Joshua risked.  Gideon risked. Rahab risked.  Paul risked.  The disciples risked. 

Did these people know the outcomes of their risks?


Did these people always end up on the other side of the risk unharmed?


Were they right to risk?

Yes.  For if they had not taken those risks....those risks which were taken through "sanctified wisdom", as John Piper says, they would have been incapable of bringing glory to God.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Our sole purpose is to bring glory to God.

We bring glory to God, then not by avoiding risks, but trusting God in those risks. 

As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~Romans 8:36-29

Piper warns that risks must not be taken out of selfishness or self-reliance. 

"Without Christ, we are all legalists or lechers at heart--wanting to do our own thing, or wanting to do God's thing in our way to prove our own ability.  Since we are wired this way, we need protection.  God has given us another way to pursue risk.  Do it "by the strength that God supplies--in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 4:11).  And the way God supplies his strength is through faith in his promises.  Every loss we risk in order to make much of Christ, God promises to restore a thousandfold with his all-satisfying fellowship."

"It is not the impulse of heroism, or the lust for adventure, or the courage of self-reliance, or the need to earn God's favor.  

It is simple trust in Christ--that in him God will do everything necessary so that we can enjoy making much of him forever.  

Every good poised to bless us, and every evil arrayed against us, will in the end help us boast only in the cross, magnify Christ, and glorify our Creator.  Faith in these promises frees us to risk and to find in our own experience that 

it is better to lose our life than to waste it."

~John Piper