Justin Taylor over at the Gospel Coalition blog today drew my attention to the fact that it has been thirty years since John Piper left his teaching post at Bethel College and took up his pastoral role at Bethlehem Baptist Church.
After his first sermon preached there, and before he had ben selected as Pastor, John gave the following as his three aims if he were to begin serving as their pastor:
- I will aim to love Christ with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my strength. Because when I die in the midst of my ministry and say farewell to a beloved flock and a cherished family, I want to be able to believe that it is gain. And in my dying I want to be able to bear witness to a church that Christ is great indeed and worthy of all our trust.
- While I live and minister, my goal is going to be to make the people glad in God. Woe to the pastor who uses his position to hammer year after year in chiseling out a hard sour people! He has forgotten his calling. “I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your advancement and your joy of faith.”
- Since joy comes from faith, and faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of God, it will have to be my main goal–my tremendously fulfilling and joyful goal–to feed that flock the Word of God every week, week in and week out. I will pray that Jesus’ words will become fulfilled in my words. The banner of every sermon I preach will be this: “My words I have spoken to you in order that my joy might be in you and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).
In this layperson’s opinion, all signs are currently pointing to the aims being met. But time will tell. 🙂