Anything for a quiet life?

John Piper

We need not be discouraged that either controversy inside the Church, or persecution from outside, will prevent the Body of Christ in the Twenty-first century from experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit, and the (perhaps stunning) growth that He intends to bring about. This second of three brief posts on the theme of opposition also comes from John Piper.


John Piper writes: “This seems to be Luke’s view, because, even though he portrayed Christianity as ‘spoken against everywhere,’ he also portrayed relentless growth throughout the book of Acts.

‘The Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved’ (Acts 2:47).

‘The disciples were increasing in number’ (Acts 6:1).

‘The word of God continued to increase, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly’ (Acts 6:7).

‘The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord’ (Acts 11:21).

‘The word of God increased and multiplied’ (Acts 12:24).

‘The churches…increased in number daily’ (Acts 16:5).

‘All the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord’ (Acts 19:10).

‘The word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily’ (Acts 19:20).

“Therefore, we must not think that controversy and conflict keep the church from experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit and dramatic growth. We are taught in Romans12:18, ‘If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.’ But we are not taught to sacrifice truth for peace. So Paul said, ‘Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed’ (Galatians 1:8).”

From John Piper in Pierced by the Word.


Hated for His name’s sake?

John Piper

When you suffer, writes Peter (1 Peter 3) better to suffer ‘for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.’ The Church is more and more spoken against, sometimes deservedly, but often not so. How does this affect our role as witnesses to Christ? This first of three brief posts on the theme of opposition comes from John Piper.


John Piper writes: “Can the gospel spread and thousands be converted, and churches grow, and love abound where Christianity is continually spoken against? Yes. It not only can; it has.

“… How do we know this? Consider the way Luke reports the state of the church in the book of Acts. When Paul finally gets to Rome near the end of his life, he invites the ‘local leaders of the Jews’ to come and hear his gospel. What these leaders say about the ‘sect’ of Christians is very significant. They say, “With regard to this sect we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” (Acts 28:22).

“This is not surprising to disciples who knew that Jesus said, You will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake’ (Matthew 24:9). And: ‘Woe to you, when all men speak well of you’ (Luke 6:26). And: ‘If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!’ (Matthew 10:25).

“The early church was an embattled church. Yes, there were seasons of calm (Acts 9:31); but that was the exception. Most of the time there were slanders and misunderstandings and accusations and persecutions, not to mention internal disputes about ethics and doctrine. Virtually all of Paul’s letters reflect controversy in the church as well as affliction from outside. The point is not that this is desirable, but that it need not hinder great power and growth. In fact, it may be the occasion and reason for great power and growth.”

From John Piper in Pierced by the Word.

16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 1Peter3:16-17 ESV

Jesus said, “Unless…”.

God's Words

Childlikeness towards God, said Jesus – meaning simple trust, responsiveness, and dependence – is the spirit in which alone we enter the divine kingdom and live its life (Matthew 18:3 f.)” So says Dr. J. I. Packer commenting on the similarities between our physical life as newborns, and our spiritual life when we, by Grace, through faith, are born again. This final brief post on the theme signs of Life also comes from Dr. J. I. Packer…

Dr Packer writes: “Third, the baby moves, turning its head, flexing its limbs, later on rolling, crawling, tottering, toddling, exploring; and similarly the born-again person moves in the spiritual realm into which he has now come, sorting out priorities, reshaping his life in the light of his new allegiance, exploring Christian relationships and ways of worship, using enterprise for the Lord in many kinds of work and witness. Constantly to be ‘zealous for good deeds’ (Titus 2:14) and to be wanting and trying to do more and more for God’s kingdom is thus a third sign of being regenerate.

“Fourth, the baby rests, relaxing completely and sleeping soundly in adult arms and wherever else feels firm; and in the same way the born-again person rests in the knowledge that God’s everlasting arms are underneath him (Deuteronomy 33:27) ‘I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast’ (Psalm 131:2). Constantly to rest in quiet contentment, concerned only to be faithful in obedience and leaving it to God to overrule the outcome, is thus a fourth sign of being regenerate.”

From J I Packer in God’s Words.