The Supremacy of Christ in an Age of Terror
The suffering of our world is caused, and has been cured, by God.
The supremacy of God in all things—no exceptions
One of the truths of the Bible that we embrace with trembling joy is the truth of God's supremacy in all things. The mission of our church is that we exist to spread a passion of the supremacy of God in all things, for the joy of all peoples, through Jesus Christ. When we say that, we do not mean: "except in calamities," "except in war," "except when Al Qaeda blows up a building or a train," "except when cancer takes a mom or a child is born with profound disabilities." There are no "except" clauses in our mission statement.
We did not formulate our mission in a rosy world, and then get surprised and embarrassed by the reality of suffering. We did not have our head in the sand. We formulated our mission in the real world of pain and suffering and evil and death. We have seen even among our own people, some very peaceful, but also some very terrible deaths. We exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things—all things—for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ, all the time. A passion for God's supremacy—Christ's supremacy (for he is God incarnate)—in all things, all the time.
Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing None of us who has lived a few decades—for me that means almost six—has embraced this mission without trembling. And none of us has lived this mission for long without tears. We have said it dozens of times here at Bethlehem, and we will say it till we die, that the joy we pursue and the joy we embrace in Jesus Christ is always—always in this world—interwoven with sorrow. There is no unadulterated joy in this world for people who care ...
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John Piper is pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, radio speaker for "Desiring God," and author of Desiring God (Multnomah).