God’s purpose is to be known: “That your way may be known on earth” (v. 2)
God’s purpose is to be praised: “Let the peoples praise you” (v. 3).
God’s purpose is to be enjoyed: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy” (v. 4).
God’s purpose is to be feared and reverenced: “Let all the peoples of the earth fear him” (v. 7).
“And God’s purpose is not to be known and praised and enjoyed by any little clique, but by all nations.”
“What does he man to be known for? What does he mean to be praised for? What is it about him that he intends to be enjoyed? And what is is about him that makes us tremble?”
There are 4 of them:
1. He aims to be known as the one and only true and living God. He is not the God of any other religion. I gather this from the fact that an inspired Israelite is praying that his God be praised by the Gentile nations who have other gods. “Let the peoples praise you, O God” (v. 3). Here’s what Isaiah 45:5-6 says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. Besides me there is no God. …There is none besides me. I am the Lord, there is no other.” God did not say “May all the nations become sincere worshipers of their god.” The whole Israelite religion is the opposite of that.
“Let’s be super clear about this, because we are in a world super charged with Islam. It doesn’t help the cause of truth to say we worship the same God as Muslims do. I am putting the emphasis on the word worship. We do not worship the same God that Muslims do. Muslims do not believe in Jesus dying, giving his life as a ransom for sinners, who raise from the dead and claims worship as the divine Son of God. They don’t affirm any of those things, which for us are the center and essence of our faith. And Jesus has something to say about people of whatever religion who don’t believe those things about him: ‘You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father’ (John 8). John 5:23: ‘Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father.” If you don’t worship Jesus, you do not worship God. Liberals who don’t believe Jesus rose, they don’t know God. No one who denies the Son has the Father. And everyone who truly worships the Father also worships Jesus: “Whoever has heard and learned from the Father comes to me’ (John 6). Neither Muslims or anyone else in any religion — including Baptists or any denomination in Christianity — knows God if they do not trust in Jesus.”
2. He wants to be known and praised and enjoyed and feared because he is a God of justice. Verse 4: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity.” When the judgment comes, God will not be partial. No bribes will be considered, no sophisticated plea bargaining, all will proceed along the lines of perfect, divine righteousness. Everyone stands on equal footing. There will be one standard for everyone: perfection. Therefore, the universal failure to love God with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind means the only salvation is the death of Jesus in our place. The perfections of Jesus and the punishments of Jesus are the only remedy for the entire world.
3. God aims to be known and praised and enjoyed and feared for his sovereign power. Verse 4: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity, and guide the nations upon earth.” Many nations boast of their independence, but God made all nations and determined their boundaries and periods of time (Acts 17) and “he removes kings and sets up kings” (Daniel 2:21) and “he does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of men” (Daniel 4:35). God means to make himself known as sovereign over the existence and rise and fall of nations. He sets the destiny, not any president.
And part of this destiny is that they will hear the gospel.
4. God aims to be known as a gracious God. Verse 1: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.”
Piper’s quick summary of God’s path, through Abraham and Israel, to save all the nations:
God chose Abraham and said “I will bless you to be a blessing, and through you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12, 15). Psalm 67 is a realization and praying into reality of that promise ahead of time. “May God be gracious to us and bless us…that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.”
God fulfills this through Christ, who is the seed of Abraham. All who belong to Christ — whether Jew or Gentile — become the seed of Abraham and are heirs according to promise.
Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles” — that is, the nations. “Know then it is those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham.” “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring — heirs according to the promise.”
“God’s plan to save the world is that he created it, it fell, and on his way to redeem the nations he chose a nation, Israel. You might say: ‘That’s strange. He focused on one nation for 2,000 years’. It is strange. That’s why Romans 11 is in the Bible. Romans 11 is all about why God took this strange, circuitous route to the nations through focusing first on Israel primarily for 2,000 years.”
Piper is starting his message now, “Let the Peoples Praise You, O God Let All the Peoples Praise You!” He is preaching from Psalm 67 and Genesis 12.
“Let’s apply these truths to the unreached.” “There are 6,000 plus people groups with little or no access to the gospel. Over 2.5 billion people. Why must we give our lives, losing them if necessary, to spreading this gospel? Why must we go to them with urgency?” 3 reasons:
1. The knowledge of God in nature is sufficient to condemn, but not to save. All people see the glory of God in nature, and reject it (Romans 1). It is only through the gospel that God cuts through this and brings salvation (Romans 1:16; 10). Will God condemn someone for not believing in a Jesus they never heard of? No. “But the problem is there are no innocent people in Africa — or anywhere — waiting to hear the gospel. There are only guilty people. The innocent person does not exist. That’s why we need the gospel.”
2. “We must go to them because the gospel is powerful enough to save them forever. Because the gospel is truly good news for every people group on the planet, and it works.” “You can go to the hardest, most difficult people group to reach, and you can have confidence that that people group will be represented around the throne of God. This gospel is powerful enough to save. There is not a people group on the planet that God cannot save. And people who believe that cannot stay in their seats and do nothing.”
3. “The glory of God is good enough to satisfy them forever.”
A summary of Platt on God’s remedy for our sin:
How can a holy God look at a guilty sinner and say: “Innocent”? We rightly expect God to justify the innocent and condemn the guilty. And none are innocent. So how can God call the guilty innocent?
Jesus’ death is the payment for sin. All the suffering of Jesus is for our sin. Isaiah shows that Jesus stood in the place of sinners, in our place, to bear the penalty for sin: Isaiah 52:13 – 53: 12.
Is it true that “God hates the sin but loves the sinner”? In one sense, certainly. God loves sinners. But when we see God’s holy wrath against sin, we need to understand that it’s not as though sin is something outside us. Sin is at the core of who we really are. So when Jesus went to the cross, he wasn’t just enduring the penalty of sin as though it is something outside us. He was doing this in our place — taking the full wrath of God due to us as sinners.
Here’s the deal: We are sinners. All of us by nature went our own way. God has both wrath and love towards sinners. How can God’s judgment and love toward sinners be reconciled? That’s the cross. God takes away all of the judgment due us. The beauty of the gospel is that God takes away all our sins and does not count any of them against us.
“Think of it: Of the God of the universe looking at us and saying ‘I have no record of anything going wrong in your life.’ Because God cancelled the debt at the cross. In fact, because of Christ’s righteous obedience, he looks at us and says ‘I only have a record of you doing right.’”
“Everything in all of creation responds to God, until you get to man and we have the audacity to look him in the face and say ‘no.’ From this sin, we see lostness all over this book (Isaiah). What does it mean to be lost? It means to be cut off from God. To live alienated from God. Separated from Christ (Eph 2:12). Romans 5:18: one trespass led to condemnation for everyone. In our sinfulness we are cut off from God, we are enemies of God. We are slaves to sin, John 8:34. Jesus said ‘truly truly I say to you: everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.’ 2 Timothy 2:26 says we are captured in the snare of the evil one, having been captured by him to do his will. We are children of wrath, Eph 2:3, and darkened in our understanding. And this affects every facet of our being. And this is the natural state of all of us. Romans 3: ‘there is none who seeks God, not even one. There are none who understand.’”
A side note: I know this is not Platt’s purpose, but it is really remarkable how well he knows the Scripture. He is quoting dozens of Scriptures from memory. This is a good model for all of us.
Platt is really driving home the lostness of the human condition. A reflection: I’m reading through Jeremiah right now, and over and over you see Jeremiah denouncing the sins of Israel. And what stands out is: this is the state of all of us, by nature apart from God. Jeremiah isn’t just denouncing the sin of “those people over there.” The point of the book is that we are all fallen, every one of us, and our only hope is to look to God in Christ for mercy. That is, we cannot come to God on the basis of our good works. Apart from him, we don’t have any. The way to a relationship with God is to acknowledge our sin to him and trust in Christ for mercy, not in anything we do, have done, or can do.
Piper introduced David Platt with two things he loves about him most: his love for the Scriptures and passion for God’s glory among the nations.
Platt remarked how the passages he planned on speaking on are the same ones Louie Giglio went to last night — so maybe the Lord wants us to go deep into these passages.
Reading from Isaiah 6 now.
“There is no one like our God. It is folly to compare anything to our God. All of the earth is a continual explosion of the glory of God. ‘He brings the stars out one by one and calls them each one by one.’ And he is sovereign over all nations. Go to Isaiah 46. This is part of the purpose of Isaiah — to show the sovereignty and supremacy of God over the nations.”
This is a key point he is making: God’s sovereignty over nature is meant to buttress our confidence that God is sovereign over human history as well. We shouldn’t think “God is sovereign over rocks and trees and stars, but human history is out of his control.” He is sovereign over human history just as much as he is sovereign over the course of the stars and workings of nature.
Louie Giglio brought in some amazing illustrations from astronomy to illustrate the supremacy of God.
Apparently, the electromagnetic radiation that quasars emit translates into sound. “Stars don’t just shine; they also sing.”
So he put some quasars up on the screen and then the sound their signals reduce to. Then he did this for some whales, mashed it all together, and laid over Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God.” And it all fit. It was pretty cool.
It seemed so hard to explain that I captured the video on my iPhone. Here’s the video:
And here was his point:
“The point is simply this. God is a God who doesn’t need anything. He has a band, he has a universe, that is singing to him. Every bird’s wing that flaps through the sky, every ocean wave that crashes on the shore, every snowflake that falls imperceptibly to you and me, or when a baby cries or a human being laughs, it is all God’s creation praising him, and he is big and powerful and amazing and expansive in every way, and he is the one asking the question: ‘Whom shall I send? He doesn’t need us, but he invites us to be a part of what he is doing.’”
There is a ripple effect of the gospel that is undeniable. It doesn’t lead us to just contemplate what happened to us, but proclaim what Christ has done.
God is bigger than we think he is. I don’t know how big you think he is, but he’s still bigger than that.
God is not just a global God, he is a galactic God. And he is even bigger than that. I love the quote “the universe is one of God’s thoughts.”
Isaiah 6 has been in my heart over the last few weeks, and this is an incredible passage. Isaiah saw a God who is “high and lifted up”–not low and bowed down.
Worship is happening with or without you. Worship happens wherever God is present, and Isaiah saw this. The vision of God was so great it wrecked him. He didn’t need anyone to tell him what kind of trouble our sinful condition puts us in. And God restored him, and Isaiah heard “whom shall we send?”
You cannot be near the cross and not hear that. Because the world is messed up, and God cares.
Talking about the Sombrero Galaxy now, 34 or so million light years away. “Most of you didn’t even know about it. And so you are saying ‘then what’s it doing there/’ It’s there for God, not first you.”
Astronomers are perplexed: why is the universe so big? And they are saying “There’s got to be more people in this place. It’s way too big if it’s just for you and me.” I agree — if the universe was created just for humanity, it’s oversized. But if they knew the universe’s primary function was not to house humanity but to magnify the creator, they would know it’s just about the right size.”