This is what I love about Piper: his own satisfaction and joy in God spills out onto every page. His serious love is infectious. It makes me want to follow Jesus harder, to treasure Him more, and to know Him and his word better. Essentially, this book is all about how to fight sin by trusting in God and His precious promises.
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BethlehemBaptist Church Minneapolis, Minnesota No distrust made Abraham waver concerning the promises of God, but he grew strong in his faith giving glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. I hope to clarify through this why the church exists and what it means at the most practical level to live by faith in the promises of God. All Sins Come from Unbelief The conviction behind this message is that all sin comes from unbelief in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Anxiety, misplaced shame, indifference, regret, covetousness, envy, lust, bitterness, impatience, despondency, pride—these are all sprouts from the root of unbelief in the gospel and in the promises of God that stem from it.
Let me illustrate from a familiar text that tends to puzzle us. I think he meant that all the evils in the world come from a certain kind of heart, namely, the kind of heart that loves money. Now what does it mean to love money? To know what it means to love money, you have to ask: What is money? I would answer that question like this: Money is simply a symbol that stands for human resources. Money stands for what you can get from man, not from God.
Money is the currency of human resources. So the heart that loves money is a heart that pins its hopes, and pursues its pleasures, and puts its trust, in what human resources can offer. So the love of money is virtually the same as faith in money—belief trust, confidence, assurance that money will meet your needs and make you happy. Therefore, the love of money, or belief in money, is the flip side of unbelief in the promises of God.
Just like Jesus said in Matthew —you cannot serve God and money. Belief in one is unbelief in the other. A heart that loves money—banks on money for happiness, believes in money—is at the same time not banking on the promises of God for happiness.
So when Paul says that the love of money is the root of all evils, he implies that unbelief in the gospel and the promises of God is the taproot of every sinful attitude in our heart.
Every chapter in Battling Unbelief aims to illustrate this truth and confirm it and provide practical help for battling the root of unbelief that threatens to grow in our hearts again and again every day. In a sense, the main point of every chapter is the same: Fight against sin by fighting against unbelief in the gospel and what it teaches us about who God is and will be for us in Jesus Christ.
Or to put it positively: Fight for righteousness and love in your life by fighting to maintain faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and his promises. But what I said I wanted to do in this message is lay a foundation for these chapters and show you how it relates to why the church exists. So let me try to do that in the space we have left.
Why the Church Exists The church exists for the glory of God. He created us for his glory Isaiah He predestined us to be his children for his glory Ephesians He appointed us to live for his glory Eph.
Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God 1 Corinthians Whether we speak of the church worshiping, the church building up the body, the church evangelizing unbelievers, the final goal is the same at every point—that God be glorified.
The church should have a vision of a great, holy, free, and graciously sovereign God—a vision of God to be savored in worship, a vision of God to be strengthened in nurture, and a vision of God to be spread in evangelism and missions. To Him be glory forever. Romans 4 Now to the text of the morning: Romans 4. If the goal of all we do is to glorify God—to magnify his worth, clarify his beauty, exalt his excellence, portray his perfections—if that is our goal, then Romans gives us a very crucial insight into how we are to go about it.
Abraham got the promise of God that he would have a son when he was a hundred years old and Sarah was old and barren. His response, Paul says, glorified God. No distrust or unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Listen to Martin Luther, who got a hold on this truth so firmly. There is no other honor equal to the estimate of truthfulness and righteousness with which we honor him whom we trust.
On the other hand, there is no way in which we can show greater contempt for a man than to regard him as false and wicked and to be suspicious of him, as we do when we do not trust him. When You Trust, You Glorify When I composed this sermon, I had to battle the unbelief anxiety that this sermon would not take shape in time for my deadline, because I got such a late start. When you trust somebody, you honor them at the deepest level.
Therefore, if the goal of the church is to glorify God in all that we do, we must make it our aim in all that we do to battle unbelief. Because nothing dishonors God more than not to believe what he says.
Or to put it positively, if our goal is to glorify God in all that we do, then we must make it our aim in all that we do to believe the promises of God. Because it was when Abraham believed the promise of God that God was glorified. So I hope you can see why I think this series of chapters is so important for us. Unless we can learn to live by faith in the promises of God, we will fail in our goal as the church.
Unless we can learn how to battle the ever-attacking unbelief of our hearts, we will constantly fall short of glorifying God. And our reason for being would be gone. The Things About This Belief Now to set the stage for the book, let me say three things about this belief that glorifies God.
If this seems too brief, please know that each of these three things will be addressed in every chapter. All I want to do now is introduce them and begin to shape your mindset as a pastor in a certain biblical direction.
And hopefully, in doing so, stir you up to trust God in new ways. Belief Means Banking on God The first thing I want to say about this belief is this: Belief that honors God means banking our hope for happiness on the promises of God. In other words, belief is future-oriented. It trusts God for something in the future, whether in eight hours or in eight thousand years. Past events for example, the death and resurrection of Christ for our sins can function to support faith in the promises, which have to do with our future.
Believing that Christ died for our sins once for all in the past and that he rose again is utterly crucial for salvation. You can see this in our text. Why did God look at this imperfect man and count him as righteous in his sight?
Answer: Because he believed the promises of God. It was a type of future-oriented faith that justified. Now read on in the application to us. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord.
It says that we will be reckoned righteous if we believe in God! Like Abraham believed in God! And this God is the kind of God who raised Jesus from the dead so that you can trust him! So that you will know that his Son ever lives to make intercession for you! So that you will know that he reigns in victory over all your enemies. So that you will know, as verse 17 says, that he gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
He can do anything! Nothing is impossible for God. Therefore, he is absolutely trustworthy. You get justified by banking your hope on the promises that God secured and guaranteed for you through the death and resurrection of his Son.
The faith by which God justifies us, forgives all our sins, and reckons us righteous is the experience of being satisfied that God will come through for us according to all his promises. It includes banking our hope for happiness on the promises of God secured by the death and resurrection of Jesus. It never leaves the life unchanged. If you bank your hope on money, if your bank your hope on prestige, if you bank your hope on leisure and comfort, if you bank your hope on power or success, it governs the choices you make and the attitudes you develop.
And so does banking your hope on the promises of God day by day. Belief in the promises of God is the taproot of all righteousness and love. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Jesus had loved him enough to die for him, and now Paul knew he could trust him, believe him, to take care of him and meet all his needs Philippians When you bank your hope on the promises of God and on the presence of Jesus, you live differently.
You bear the fruit of righteousness Philippians Belief in the promises of God is not a dead and fruitless thing. What you bank on for happiness controls your life. In order to keep on believing in the promises of God and bearing the fruit of faith, we have to battle unbelief everyday.
Becoming a Christian is the beginning of the battle, not the end. And I believe that God has appointed this type of study for us because he loves us and because he aims to bring some great victories to our lives and to our churches.
It may be a new thought to us that this sin is rooted in unbelief. But it is. And what I want us to do is pray that God would help us see the connection and then dedicate ourselves to learning how to battle that unbelief and conquering sin.
Battling Unbelief: Defeating Sin with Superior Pleasure