The following is an excerpt from John Piper's sermon on II Timothy 4:1-8, "Preach the Word, for the Time of My Departure Has Come."
(HT: the desiring God blog
entry, Saving Faith Is Wanting Jesus
.) This portion of the sermon addresses verses 7 & 8. (I transcribed what's included the video excerpt, plus a short segment beyond that point. Emphasis mine.)
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Saving Faith Is Wanting Jesus from Desiring God on Vimeo.
So what's being rewarded with the crown of righteousness?
Answer: Fighting the fight of faith. Running the race of faith. Keeping the faith. A life of believing Jesus. Trusting the promises. Banking on the One who's promised to help you, be with you everyday. That's the life of faith that's being rewarded.
And then, and then he says, – and this is to include Timothy, to make sure the argument works: "This crown is to be rewarded to ME," which is no encouragement to Timothy if it can't be HIS...
And then he says, "And not only to me, but to all those who" – and then he didn't say, believe, or fight the fight of faith, or finish their race or keep the faith. He didn't say any of that. He said this crown will also be given to "everyone who LOVES HIS APPEARING
Where did that come from? And surely we are to learn from this
something about the ESSENCE
of faith – because if what Paul is being rewarded for is keeping faith, fighting for faith, running in faith – and then he says, "and you too will be rewarded for," and instead of saying "faith," he substitutes "love His appearing,"
what does that tell us?It tells us that right at the core of saving faith is WANTING JESUS. Desiring Jesus. Craving fellowship deeper, longer, forever with Jesus. Faith is not simply acknowledging facts about Jesus; it is wanting His appearing.
You don't want somebody's appearing if you don't like them... you don't love them... want them to be near.
So, what gets rewarded with the crown of righteousness? You can say it in different ways. A life of faith. Or, a life rooted in and driven by passion
to enjoy Jesus now and forever. You want Him. You want Him. Desire
His appearing. Long
for His appearing.
So, don't think this is just for pastors because it's addressed to Timothy.
He said all who love His appearing.
You will receive a crown of righteousness if you love Jesus.
That's what the universe is for.
I use those other words 'cause so many other people put, "Do, do, do" on love. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." Yes! That's not what love IS, that's its result! Love is loving Him, delighting in Him, craving Him, resting in Him, treasuring Him, valuing Him, counting Him more precious than my wife, my children, my job, my fame, my everything! That's what love means. And people that love Jesus get a crown of righteousness, and if were to stir in the end of First Corinthians, "Let him be accursed who does not love the Lord."
* * *
Do you count Jesus more precious than your everything?
Is your life rooted in a passion to enjoy Jesus now and forever?
Are you showing contempt for Jesus by loving, valuing, treasuring, desiring, delighting in, craving and resting in the corruptible and perishable?
Are you loving Christ's appearing – or, like Demas, are you in love with this present world ~ see II Timothy 4:9? "All the children of men are busy, seeking goodly pearls: one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but the most are imposed upon, and take up with counterfeits for pearls.
"Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price, a Jewel of inestimable value, which will make those who have it rich, truly rich, rich toward God; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever...
"Those who would have a saving interest in Christ, must be willing to part with all for him, leave all to follow him. Whatever stands in opposition to Christ, or in competition with him for our love and service, we must cheerfully quit it, though ever so dear to us."
(from Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on Matthew 13)
On that Day, many will say to Him, "Lord, Lord, did we not believe?"
And then the Lord will declare to them, "I never knew you. Depart from Me. You never loved Me."
If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed.
(I Corinthians 16:22a)
You can find John Piper's prepared sermon texts posted along with his sermons, but as you'll notice with this one, Piper goes far beyond that text in his actual sermon. That's why I'd encourage you not only to read the text posted on the website, but also to listen to or watch the sermon (my oldest son cued me into that a few years ago :) ). You can access all of John Piper's sermons here: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/by-date
and all his conference messages here: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/by-conference
Thank you, John Piper
Happy Birthday, John Piper ~ reflections on year-ends, aging, fruit bearing & Christian hedonism
My posts on Christian hedonism
What is a nominal Christian?
My posts on True & False Religion and Legalism
Finding pleasure in Him
Moderation in pursuing God? An answer from Jonathan Edwards
Moderation in pursuing God? An answer from George Whitefield
How's your spiritual appetite? (Jonathan Edwards)
this earthly manna ~ the Christian hedonist's plea
Linger, linger, linger – so you might know God's love
consider ... our ways, the great cloud of witnesses, Susanna Anthony
"Who wants candles when he has the sun?" ~ Edward Payson | letter 124 on assurance & joy
Letter 25 on assurance and fighting for joy (a strong craving ≠ His joy)
"The honeycomb I lift!" ~ Will you join me? I Samuel 14:24-30
Jacob, come, eat!
a little child set in our midst leads us into the New Year
don't waste your new year ~ teach us, satisfy us, make us glad (Psalm 90:12-15)
Advent #1 WHY HAS JESUS COME? that we might have life & life more abundantly
Advent # 5 WHY HAS JESUS COME? So we might draw near to God | Even a Vapor
Advent # 7 WHY HAS JESUS COME? So we might be satisfied with Him
O, who am I, Lord God, to know You as my exceeding joy! Ah, but how am I to make You known!
she shall rejoice ~ our citizenship is in heaven – Rejoice! | letter 134 on assurance & joy
Lenten Reflections: Why did Jesus die? ACCESS! | Letter 140 on assurance & fighting for joy
As a deer pants ... Is your soul panting for God? (Psalms 42 & 43)
The Father's Inheritance (Eleven days' journey ~ A lamentation & an exhortation)
In the midst of my temptations fierce ~ O, Jesus Christ, my Treasure first
Songs about "What *I* Want," part 5: If the Curly Fry Doesn't "Satisfy," What Does?
My love affair . . . whose trumpet, whose glory & incomplete joy
Dearest idol, how can I find rest
Are you sitting in the midst of the ephah? ~ Zechariah 5
What kind of racer are you? So run that you may obtain! (I Corinthians 9:24-27)
Don't Waste Your Singleness | Single one ... be single-eyed
wives, your husband is not your Husband | letter 77 on assurance & joy
200 years ago ... Adoniram & Ann Judson ~ Don't waste YOUR marriage
the lover's inquiry | letter 114 on fighting for joy
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.