Together for the Gospel: John Piper “Glory, Majesty, Dominion, and Authority Keep Us Safe for Everlasting Joy. Reflections on God’s Keeping Power through 32 Years of Ministry.”

Jude 24-25 “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Amazement Still a Christian

When I think about finishing these last laps of my race, I'm amazed I lasted as a Christian, pastor, husband, father. Says Piper in journal from 1986. The tone is unsure about calling to continue pastoring Bethlehem. Feels doesn't have vision for the church. Pleads for grace from God. "I can scarcely lift my heart." There were worse days. He's speaking very transparently about his battle with despondency and despair. If staying a Christian or being sexual faithful or staying a pastor or being a father then I would not have been a Christian today. He feels like Jude who cries out "to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord." this is the way doxologies work. They say something about God and his actions or promises and then they ascribe characteristics to him which describes that. They attributes comes to expression in the actions you are so amazed at

Jude is amazed at what it takes to keep us a Christians. God (1) keeps us from stumbling; (2) presents us blameless; and (3) presents us with infinite joy. Do you have any idea the degree to which it takes to keep you until the end. How much glory, majesty, and power it took? We have no terms for measuring such things. God creates spiritual life when we are dead. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6). God's Spirit acted and then my spirit came to life. My life is in Christ and there's no autonomous life without Christ. Then he sustains and keeps us forever. If the decisive cause our faithfulness must come from us then we would not be a Christian. We would not be. We exist as a Christian by Christ. Jude is clearly amazed by this--that God keeps our spiritual life alive. How can we measure?

1. To think about the fact that creating and sustaining spiritual life is not something we do. The difference between my absolute inability and his ability is infinite. We cannot; he can. That's the difference. And it's an infinite difference. So our praise should be huge.

2. Just read it in the text if you cannot wrap your mind around it.

Analysis of How That Happens

How does God keep me from making a shipwreck of my Christian life? How does he keep me when I don't fear that there is false converts in my church, but I fear I may be one? How does he keep us alive, believing, serving, fathering, or married? Jude begins and ends with the truth that God decisively keeps us. "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ" (v. 1). We are called, loved, and kept. Those he calls are those he keeps (1 Thes 1:8-9; Romans 8). If he called you it's done. There's no dropouts. That's what it means to serve a faithful God.

Jude is a book about being kept. Jude wanted to go one way but instead he admonishes false teachers. There are some who pervert the gospel into sensuality. They are professing Christians who are not called and not kept. People who are saved prize grace and do not prostitute it. After these warnings, he tells us what we should do to be kept and for others to be kept.

The paradox of the Christian life is seen in verses 21-22. Take faith and grow in it. Do that. And pray helped by Spirit to keep yourselves in the love of God. We work hard but not of ourselves because it is God who works to keep us in love (see Kevin DeYoung's sermon). Keep by (1) building faith; (2) prayer in Spirit for faith; and (3) waiting for God's mercy for more faith. Keep yourself in his commitment to keep you. Piper's most common prayer is "Lead me not into temptation. Keep me. I have nothing else to give." Praying and trusting doesn't rob him of glory. They are gifts. They are in the Spirit. I'm kept by being kept. I must do these things. They take effort. There's a way to do effort by faith.

What makes you think you will wake up a Christian tomorrow?

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy

When he acts on you to keep you and move to do self-keeping work, he is fulfilling the new covenant. Jeremiah 32:40 "I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me." when he shed his blood for his sheep, he purchased the terms of the new covenant. Verses 25 "through Jesus" rings of the new covenant. When I'm granted by him power to awaken from my stupor of self-pity it's through Jesus. Don't underestimate the power of the gospel to keep you.