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The Centrality of the Cross May 4, 2007

Posted by larrylaz in Recommendations.
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Joe,

I definitely agree with you that Piper seems like he has been much more gospel-centered. While I take delight in Piper’s central theological leaning of “Christian Hedonism”, I do think that the emphasis on the pursuit of joy in God has at times minimized the actual facts of the Gospel as the source of our hope of eternal life. But you’re right in saying that Piper seems more gospel-focused in recent days. As I have written here before, his series on marriage is outstanding, and the book promises to be a wedding gift for anyone who will invite me to their wedding!

I think that I noticed the shift in Piper’s gospel emphasis when he came back from his sabbatical last year. His first message was on the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax collector. It was a great message that focused on the imputed righteousness of Christ. If you haven’t listened to it, I highly recommend it. Listen, don’t read; the message is delivered with a passion that can’t be captured in print. You can listen to the message here.

Also I’d recommend CJ Mahaney’s recent message from the Sovereign Grace leadership conference. Really you can listen to anything by Mahaney get a great gospel focus, but I think this message is especially good. Mahaney calls pastors to make every message cross-centered, no matter what the text. He said that a congregation should be able to bring a visitor to church on any Sunday and know that, no matter what the sermon text is or where the preacher starts, they will be taken to the hill of Calvary.

That is a great challenge that I want to apply in my own preaching ministry. I am realizing the more and more that I am involved in ministry, that we need to hear the gospel over and over. Mahaney’s message can be downloaded for $2 here.

Seeking to be Cross-Centered with you,

Larry

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