01 Apr Plan for Something Greater Than Retirement
The final chapter of everyday living is not retirement. No, some thing greater is to come. We want to start setting up for a little something far beyond the achieve of our 401(k) strategies. It’s a appropriate term from John Piper to higher-course Us residents, and to prisoners serving daily life sentences at Angola, the most significant most-stability jail in the US.
That’s the environment for today’s clip: Angola, a Louisiana utmost-security prison house to 6,300 inmates — “only murderers, rapists, armed robbers, and recurring felons. The normal sentence is 88 years, with 3,200 men and women in one particular spot serving lifestyle sentences. Ninety % of the inmates will die here” (Selection Journal, “Violence to Peace”).
John Piper traveled to Louisiana and preached in Angola’s chapel on November 19, 2009. About 8 hundred prisoners packed in to hear a concept on John 6, on Jesus’s feeding of the five thousand and his walk on water. “I preached with all my heart to people who could match in the chapel,” Piper recounted later on. “I pulled no punches.” Hundreds of other prisoners listened to the sermon as a result of shut-circuit tv, like these on loss of life row, like Gerald Bordelon, a convicted rapist and boy or girl murderer we satisfied in episode 1445.
Piper pulled no punches. And the outcome is just one of my all-time beloved sermons. Here’s a closing clip from that Angola sermon, and Pastor John’s ultimate spoken pleas to Gerald. Have a pay attention.
Permit me just say a phrase about John 6:27. It is so crucial. The Father has established his seal on Jesus. I believe that usually means God sent Jesus into the earth. He ordained for Jesus to reside a spotless everyday living — no sin. He sent his Son to the cross to die for our sins. He lifted him from the dead and vindicated that perfect perform of substitution and redemption. He lifted him to his proper hand. He’s going to ship him yet again. In that excellent redemptive get the job done, by which our sins are protected and we’re clothed with Christ’s righteousness, God sealed his Son as the Son of Man and the only competent Mediator among God and male who can give eternal life.
So, the Son of Guy, Jesus Christ, gives everlasting life, mainly because the Father explained, “That’s who he is. That is my Son. I sent him for that. He completed it perfectly.”
Labor of Religion
Secondly, John 6:27 states, in the next phrase there, “Work . . . for the meals that endures to eternal daily life.” Labor for the food stuff that endures to everlasting daily life. That seems awful. Why does that audio horrible? You can not labor for everlasting life it’s a present!
Perfectly, what does Jesus signify? When you go through the Gospel of John, you bump into points like this all the time — Jesus seems to say the reverse of what he signifies. But he does not go away you in question pretty prolonged. You just hold examining. So let’s continue to keep examining.
The respond to is given in John 6:28–29. Immediately after he reported, “Work . . . for the food that endures to everlasting existence,” the crowd responds: “Then they mentioned to him, ‘What have to we do, to be performing the is effective of God?’” (John 6:28).
In essence, the people today are saying, “So you’re telling us to labor. Explain to us what operates to do.” This is typical salvation by will work — wrong. They’re asking, “Okay, you reported, ‘Labor for the food that endures to everlasting life.’ We’re inquiring you, just like the loaded young ruler when he arrived, what must I do to inherit everlasting lifestyle?”
Jesus now offers the remedy in verse 29: “This is the get the job done of God, that you consider in him whom he has despatched.” He turned the table upside down. They were doing work and performing and operating to look for him, have him, since he was beneficial to them. To make a stage, he states, “Don’t seek me that way. You want to request me in labor for bread? Labor for the bread that endures to everlasting lifestyle.” He hooks them with that, and they say, “Okay, what’s the labor?” And he says, “The labor is religion. The labor is quit laboring. The labor is halt doing the job and trust me.”
It’s like, “I’m standing below as the bread of lifetime.” This is Jesus conversing. “I’m standing listed here as the bread of life freely supplying myself to you. I’m heading to lay down my flesh for the planet.” Jesus states that later in verse 51. “I’m standing listed here as the bread of lifetime. I’m standing below as gold, and silver, and treasure, every thing you’ve ever desired. I am for you, and I’m totally free.” And they’re saying, “What do we have to do? What do we have to do? What’s the deed we have to do to have you?”
He would say, I consider, “If I do not search to you as a treasure” — are you listening, Gerald? “If I do not search to you as a treasure, if you really don’t see me as a treasure, no volume of work is going to make me important to you.”
Next Cease: Heaven
Paul reported, “I rely every thing as loss” (Philippians 3:8). Now, you fellas have missing so considerably. You’ve acquired this sort of a head begin in this article, if God would just grip you with this. Paul claims,
I rely anything as reduction mainly because of the surpassing worth of figuring out Christ Jesus my Lord . . . that I may possibly know him and the electric power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, turning out to be like him in his demise, that by any signifies achievable I may well achieve the resurrection from the lifeless. (Philippians 3:8, 10–11)
Next halt immediately after Angola: heaven — if he’s valuable, if he’s cherished outside of anything in this environment that you’ve now experienced to lose. When you take in of the bread of lifestyle, you get everlasting lifestyle — that is, a new chapter is additional to your everyday living. Angola is not the last chapter. It is the up coming-to-last chapter. Eternity is the past chapter, and it lasts eternally, and it is infinitely pleased.
So several Us residents perform their fingers to the bone to have twenty many years of so-known as “retirement,” pondering retirement is the past chapter. It is not. It’s the next-to-final chapter. Too quite a few of us have this little, puny, fragile hope that as an aged, wrinkled, aching, aged person you’re likely to go golfing somewhere for 20 many years or go fish someplace for twenty years. But in its place, you can have complete certainty — all of us — of an everlasting cabin by the lake with Jesus, an eternal ocean cruise with Jesus, an eternal night by the fireplace with a good ebook and Jesus.
Now, you males really don’t dream that way like most People in america or even the folks in my church, and which is quite superior. I hope all that dreaming that you considered you could have a single day shifts on to the final chapter. I’m going there authentic fast. Mary, in my church, will be there in two weeks perhaps, and Gerald, you will be there shortly also.
Slide in Appreciate with Jesus
This daily life is incredibly limited, brothers, really short. It might seem long. It’s limited. And eternity, it is actually long. It is seriously extended, and it is truly fantastic — 10 thousand times will you be rewarded for each and every variety deed you at any time do, just about every act of religion that ever arrives forth from you.
I consider my closing admonition, brothers, is this: it is absolutely free. Christ died in our position. He rose again from the dead. He lived a lifestyle of fantastic righteousness. He stands freely readily available to everyone who will have him and end doing the job for him, and to anyone who will commence feeding on the bread of heaven, and discovering him to be much more important.
I stated to Gerald this afternoon, who won’t stay out future yr in all probability, “What I would like you to do is to open up your Bible, but not for the reason that looking through your Bible will save you. We’re not into operating here. Open your Bible to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and just get to know Jesus better each individual day, so that when you fulfill him, there will not be too quite a few surprises. Tumble in like with him, Gerald. Drop in appreciate with him now. You need to adore him now, know him now, have faith in him now.”
And I would say that to all of you. I’d say it to me. My undertaking on this world is to take in the bread of heaven and be glad and overflow for other individuals.
So going. Pastor John promised to generate stick to-up letters, and he did, two despatched in December 2009.
“O Gerald, I want to see you in heaven with Jesus,” Piper wrote. “I want to see his superb grace magnified in your salvation. It does not depend on your merit. Or your truly worth. Or your very good deeds. Or the excellent of your piety. It is dependent on no matter if you see Jesus as what you require and want additional than just about anything and freely get him. It is feasible, for the reason that of Jesus, that in the quite second you die at the warden’s aspect you will be in the presence of Jesus. But it is also attainable that you will be in hell. The difference will not be irrespective of whether you are responsible of sin and crime. The distinction will be no matter if you gained Jesus as your guilt-bearer. He suffered immensely as the Son of God so that your crimes could be wiped out. He lived a ideal lifestyle so that his perfection could be counted as yours. Be astonished at this. I appreciate you and plead with you to turn to Jesus each and every working day. Not just the moment. Transform to him just about every day. . . . I want to see you in heaven. It won’t be extended until I get there. Affectionately, John Piper.”
In the following letter, Pastor John claimed, “You lose innocent blood. That’s accurate. And that is why God shed the infinitely treasured harmless blood of his Son Jesus — so that you and I could be forgiven. Gerald, I enjoy you and want to see you once more with Jesus in heaven. Rely on him. Trust him.”
Is Gerald in heaven or hell? It’s not very clear. What we do know is seven months right after Piper’s sermon, Bordelon was executed. On January 7, 2010, he was led into Angola’s deadly injection chamber putting on a white T-shirt and a gold cross necklace from his daughter. Witnesses say Bordelon’s eyes were pink-rimmed from crying, as he haltingly reported his closing text: “I’d like to apologize to my family and tell them that I enjoy them.” He was strapped down and IVs were being inserted in his arms. A few prescription drugs place him to sleep, stopped his respiration, and stopped his coronary heart. All quickly. A moment later on, Warden Cain stated, “We now pronounce Gerald Bordelon useless. We have despatched his soul for final judgment.” To this day, Bordelon continues to be the final prisoner to be executed in Louisiana.