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Delighted by God – Heartfelt Christianity – talk mp3s

The talks from Saturday's Conference are now available.  Thanks to Cor Deo for making them available:

Ron Frost: A Description of Christ
Peter Sanlon: The Transformative Power of the Bible
Mike Reeves: The Heart-Winning God
Peter Mead: Deeply Satisfied?

Here are some quotes from Mike's talk.  By the end of it, I was very close to standing on my chair and demanding that he continue, "For pity's sake man, go on!"

"For we may look into his fatherly heart and sense how boundlessly he loves us, that would warm our hearts, setting them aglow."  (From Luther's Large Catechism)

"The triunity of God is the secret of His beauty.  If we deny this we at once have a god without radiance, without joy and without humour... and losing the dignity and power of real triune divinity, He also loses His beauty.  But if we keep to this, that the one God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we cannot escape the fact, either in general or in detail that, apart from anything else, God is beautiful."  (Karl Barth)

"One main end of our calling is to lay open and unfold the unsearchable riches of Christ, to dig up the mine thereby to draw the affections of those who belong to God to Christ."  (Richard Sibbes)

And here is Mike's sensational conclusion.

Delighted by God?  Heartfelt Christianity?

The focus isn't on our delight but on the God who is so delightful.  The focus isn't on our hearts but on the Christ who wins them.

And so, my brothers and sisters, look to Jesus who shows us the love of the Father and who shares with us the love of the Father.

Do not focus on any delight you do or do not have in Him.  That's not your focus.  Look to Him who brings delight.  Look to Jesus.  United to Him - He is your status.  Then your heart begins to thrill. 

When you're looking inside grubbing around for how delighted you are... well,  you'll just scrape yourself raw.  Look to Him in whom there is all fullness.  And be delighted.

Look to Jesus, else you'll forget that God is a Father.  Look to Jesus else you'll forget that God is your Loving Father who accepts you in the Son.

For the refreshing of the church today, let us be a people who speak much of Jesus.  Who lay open and unfold the unsearchable riches of Christ to ourselves everyday, to each other, for thereby hearts are drawn to Christ.

For, as Luther said,  it is through Jesus that "we may look into God's fatherly heart and see how boundlessly He loves us, that would warm our hearts, setting them aglow."

I love trinitarian theology.  I love affective theology.  But the centre is Christ.  In Him we see trinity, from Him comes heartfelt joy.  Therefore Look to Jesus!

0 thoughts on “Delighted by God – Heartfelt Christianity – talk mp3s

  1. Matthew Weston

    That conclusion was just what I needed to hear. Yes, I love the change that affective, Trinitarian theology has has brought to my understanding (and experience) of the Christian life - it is such good, refreshing news - but more than that, I love Christ more as a result. So when trying to help people see the depths of the riches of the knowledge of God, I shouldn't be doing it by showing them an abstract theology, but by pointing them to the Son himself.

    My only disappointment with the day is that due to train woes I didn't arrive until halfway through lunch!

  2. Cat

    oohh this is brilliant! Truly heart warming.
    But, the challenging thing is this part - "The focus isn’t on our delight but on the God who is so delightful. The focus isn’t on our hearts but on the Christ who wins them."
    I love it and agree with it, but its so different to the message that John Piper brings and as someone who read a lot of his stuff during Uni days and lots of my friends read it too and the students I work with now read Piper, it does affect you and how you view God... how then would you respond to that in a humble way? How would you challenge it?

  3. Glen

    Matthew! Sorry not to have met you on Saturday! Another time eh?

    Cat, I know, I know, I know. The most tyrannical legalism in Christendom is the legalism of the heart. If external hoop-jumping condemns me, how much more is mystical hoop-jumping beyond me! I too was mired in that swamp for many years.

    The was my motivation behind writing this post:

    The vicarious humanity of Jesus is so important. HE is the Man after God's own heart. And it's His love, as much as His sacrifice and obedience etc which He must offer to the Father on my behalf, lest I'm done for! On the far side of "faith alone" I get to enjoy the done deal of His union and communion with the Father. But I don't love my way into that union! I never could.

    I also try to point out as often as I can that love is not the opposite of law. The law IS love. The bible constantly unites law and love - it's all about love. Therefore, whenever you hear someone say "It's not a legalistic thing, it's about love/the heart/ the affections" - be very wary. The Catholics were constantly accusing Luther of neglecting love/charity because of his emphasis on faith. In the reformation it was the Catholics who were most loudly trumpeting love. But they only offered a legalism of the heart.

    In the bible, the opposite of law is not love, it's grace. When I'm won by grace, I love. When I focus on love, I'm trusting to the flesh.

  4. Pingback: The God who is so delightful « Broken-hearted boldness

  5. Michael

    Absolutely loved Mike Reeves' talk!

    I've got an honest question, though. I've been reading some systematic theology recently, in particular John Frame and Wayne Grudem. Frame of course believes that God is love, and that it is foundational for who God is. However, he says that's not the only thing that is foundational. In particular, God's sovereignty- his Lordship- is equally foundational. In fact, when Moses asked God who he was, God called himself "LORD", Yahweh. The word Lord appears in the Bible about a whopping 7,000 times, far more than the title of 'Love' or 'Father', so it seems unclear at best as to why you'd chose to define God as love over and above by far the most frequent name of God in the Bible.

    That's basically his (Frame's) argument. What do you think? Why choose God's love over and above his Lordship?

  6. Glen

    Hey Michael,

    What does Lordship mean? Absolutely Jesus is Lord and has been Lord eternally. But, again, what does that mean? If we think that the answer to that is obvious we haven't understood how radical it is to say that *Jesus* is Lord (i.e. that crucified Jew!)

    For Arius, Lordship can only mean that god dominates the other. Otherness has never been essential to his being and so he can only relate by 'lording it over' the other. For Athanasius, God is eternally uplifting of the other. His definition of lordship will Not be quintessentially about "lording it over".

    I'm very happy to talk about the lordship of God, and even to call it equiprimordial (I use every opportunity I can to use that word!) with love, etc. But Athanasius makes us ask the question: "If the Son is also Lord what does lordship mean?"

    And this is not just about saying 'Let's hold lordship and love in tension', it's about having a thoroughly triune and christocentric understanding of both.

  7. Michael

    Thanks for your response Glen, starting to make more sense now.
    I still think I'm uncomfortable with the fact that Mike Reeves' answer to the question of, "What is God like?" boiled down to love and love alone, with no reference to sovereignty or power whatsoever. The stuff on love honestly did blow me away and I understand that he's reacting against something, namely a neglect of Trinitarian thought and a proper understanding of love. But a loving Father who is impotent or who has failed to show his power is just as unattractive to me as a distant, lonely God who *has* shown his power. Obviously I'm not implying that Reeves is articulating a God like that, just that neglecting one of those characteristics is just as bad as neglecting the other. I guess what I'm saying is that I love what he did say, but I'm just unsure by what he didn't say? Maybe I'm just being funny!

    Also, isn't a bit controversial to say the Trinity's oneness is *just* that they are united in love and purpose? I've listened to quite a few of Mike's talks on the Trinity so I get them mixed up but in one of them he seemed to basically say that we should stop saying that the Trinity is mysterious and that in many ways it's very simple to understand. Those two statements seem to fit with each other, I guess. With the former, isn't there more to God being one than just common purpose/love? Maybe not, but I've always thought that the way God is one is *more* than just how the church will be one in the New Creation when our relationships are perfected. I'm not necessarily criticising at this point (what do i know compared to you and Mike Reeves?!) just explaining the impressions I got of it. I understand that I (and many others in the West) over-emphasise God's oneness at the expense of his threeness but the impression I've got is that Reeves seems to have swung right back the opposite way?
    Glenn please correct my pretentions!

  8. Glen

    Hi Michael,

    I'm sure there's something to that "reacting against" observation. I'm all for power, but few in our circles need convincing of God's power. It almost functions as our definition of God - pure and simple. But yes, if I were to speak to an open theist I'd much more obviously mention the power of the Lord. And with joy because with such a loving Lord it is wonderful to know He rules!

    As for the one-ness of God... (I'm not speaking for Mike here, but he'll be producing some exciting materials on this soon).. I believe the one-ness consists in the loving unity of the three. I think OT uses of "one" bear that out. I think Jesus' prayer in John 17 says it explicitly (may the church be one as You and I are one).

    There is, of course, an infinitely deeper unity going on in the Divine Persons but that's the *kind* of unity Jesus expressly says they share. There's another *kind* of one-ness that many theologians have posited - a philosophical one. But I think a) it's completely unwarranted Scripturally, b) it's so much more complicated and c) it introduces very serious problems into our theology.

    I write more on this in places like this:

    Every blessing in Jesus

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