God Is the Gospel Group Study Leader s Guide. Introduction.2 Lesson One..5 Lesson Two..6 Lesson Three...7 Lesson Four.8 Lesson Five..9 Lesson Six..

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1 Gd Is the Gspel Grup Study Leader s Guide Intrductin.2 Lessn One..5 Lessn Tw..6 Lessn Three...7 Lessn Fur.8 Lessn Five..9 Lessn Six..10

2 Intrductin Desiring Gd exists t spread a passin fr the supremacy f Gd in all things fr the jy f all peples thrugh Jesus Christ. We believe that seeing this supremacy f Gd ver all things and savring it as it is displayed in the face f Jesus Christ is at the heart f bth the meaning and the aims f the gspel. If ur gspel preaching and teaching and serving and lving and living d nt seek t make plain the stunning glry f Gd in the face f Jesus Christ and d nt attempt t w thers t cherish this beauty, then we preach, teach, serve, lve, and live in vain. We are gripped by the truth Jhn Piper nce preached: If yu want yur life t cunt, if yu want the ripple effect f the pebbles yu drp t becme waves that reach the ends f the earth and rll n fr centuries and int eternity, yu dn't have t have a high IQ r EQ; yu dn't have t have t have gd lks r riches; yu dn't have t cme frm a fine family r a fine schl. Yu have t knw a few great, majestic, unchanging, bvius, simple, glrius things, and be set n fire by them. We want t be mastered by the ne truly imprtant thing there is: the gspel f the glry f Gd in the face f Jesus Christ. We want t say with Paul that we are spreading what is f first imprtance (1 Cr. 15:3), and that we determined t knw nthing amng yu except Jesus Christ, and him crucified (1 Cr. 2:2), and that we bast in nthing except the crss f ur Lrd Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:14). We believe with all f ur hearts in the truth f the gspel and the beauty f the gspel and the wrth f the gspel and the pwer f the gspel. This is why we are s excited abut the bk Gd Is the Gspel. All f ur gspel effrts will be truncated if we miss the heart and gal f the gspel. Gd s glry is the heart and gal f the gspel. This bk seeks t make that clear and cmpelling. Fr all these reasns we have develped study resurces t use in cnjunctin with the bk. Our hpe is that churches will use these bks and study resurces t fster grup study and discussin and reflectin n the fundatinal truths f the gspel, and that thrugh this discussin Gd wuld ignite a passin in churches and individuals t display the glry f Jesus, the image f Gd, in everything they d. This culd happen in a number f ways, whether it be used at leadership retreats r gatherings, r in small grup studies, r in persnal study, r in sme ther fresh, creative, and Christ-exalting way that the Spirit f Gd may lead. We pray that Gd wuld bless this utreach richly with eternal fruit. We pray that these bks wuld land in as many churches arund the natin as pssible. We pray that church leaders wuld see the glry f Gd at the center f the gspel and t preach it bldly frm their pulpits. We pray that churchgers wuld be awakened frm the imptence f head-knwledge, t the pwer f gspel-knwledge, seeing Gd s glry in Christ crucified. We pray that whle cngregatins wuld be transfrmed int bdies which are nt ashamed f the gspel, fr it is the pwer f Gd fr salvatin t everyne wh believes, t the Jew first and als t the Greek (Rm. 1:16). And we pray that Gd s glry in Jesus Christ wuld be displayed fr all the wrld t see thus creating the delight in that very majesty which glrifies him mst. Explanatin f Study Resurces In an effrt t encurage discussin and deeper engagement with Gd Is the Gspel we have develped a sixweek study f the bk. Each week cnsists f reading a prtin f the bk and answering/discussing crrelating study questins. We feel that these study resurces wuld wrk best in a grup setting. Nt nly d we believe in the biblical principle that irn sharpens irn, we als lng t see church cmmunities strengthened tgether in the fundatins f the gspel. Nevertheless, we hpe that these study resurces can als be f benefit fr individual study and reflectin. The tw main cmpnents f the study resurces are the Leader s Guide and the Study Guide. The varius parts f each are explained belw. Desiring Gd desiringgd.rg 2

3 Leader s Guide The Leader s Guide will help an individual facilitate a six-week study f Gd Is the Gspel. It utlines weekly readings, bjectives fr each week, and synpses f the material. Reading The Reading sectin lists the chapter(s) t be read during each week and the crrespnding page numbers. The amunt f reading required will vary frm week t week, averaging arund pages per week. Included in this sectin is a different Sng f Respnse fr each week (see the explanatin t the Study Guide belw). Alternative Tracks Each week the study guide prvides arund fifty study questins. Since we want the guide t be used by as many peple as pssible, we d nt want the sheer amunt f material t be cvered t be an unnecessary hindrance t anybdy wh really desires t use this study. Therefre, we have brken dwn the Study Guide int tw alternate tracks f descending time cmmitments. On the ne hand, The Essentials will cver nly the mst basic and imprtant elements f the reading, n the ther hand Beynd the Essentials will extend t sme f the implicatins f these fundatinal elements. Which track t take when wrking thrugh this study is a decisin that can be made by either the grup as a whle r the individual. It wuld prbably be beneficial t peruse the study questin ahead f time t see what type f time cmmitment will be necessary fr each track (many f the questins have fairly shrt answers). Objectives Each week we have prvided fur t six gals t aim fr in the reading and discussin. These bjectives will aim fr bth the cmprehensin f main pints in the weekly reading, and internal heart-transfrmatin. Synpsis This sectin prvides a shrt descriptin f the reading, highlighting the main pints and the cnnectins frm chapter t chapter that Piper builds n in the bk. These sectins may be used by the entire grup as aids t grasping the main ideas and flw f Gd Is the Gspel. Study Guide The Study Guide s frmat is that f questin and answer. Each week cnsists f arund fifty ttal study questins, with fcuses ranging frm cmprehensin f the reading, t persnal examinatin, t grup discussin. (Shrter tracks with fewer questins frm week t week are utlined in the Leader s Guide.) Mst f the questins will have fairly shrt answers, s it may be pssible t write dwn the answers within the study guide itself. It may, hwever, be helpful t have a separate ntepad t write ut answers as well as ther thughts and reflectins that may develp during reading and study. Grup participants are expected t bring bth the Study Guide and Gd Is the Gspel t the grup meetings. The questins in the Study Guide are gruped and rganized each week int varius sectins explained belw. Befre Yu Read Each week cntains a shrt number f preparatry questins which shuld be answered prir t reading the chapter(s). These questins are aimed t stimulate thught abut the main ideas that the chapter will cver and t determine the reader s understanding f thse cncepts ahead f time. While Yu Read The majrity f study questins each week will usually be fund in this sectin. These questins are primarily intended t help the reader lcate the key cncepts within the text f Gd Is the Gspel itself. Fr this reasn, we have included the page number(s), usually in Desiring Gd desiringgd.rg 3

4 parentheses, where the ideas these questins cver can be fund in the bk. The questins are listed ut in rder f appearance within Gd Is the Gspel, each chapter being marked ff in the guide. Readers shuld feel free t answer these questins as they read, but if it is preferred, these questins culd be answered after reading the chapter(s). If used in this way, the questins wuld serve as a gd way t review the reading. Putting It All Tgether At the end f each While Yu Read sectin cmes a grup f questins enclsed in a bx, entitled Putting It All Tgether. The gal f these questins is t help the reader understand the flw f Jhn Piper s argument frm chapter t chapter. We believe that each chapter can be read individually and be f benefit. Hwever, we als believe that mre benefit can be gained as ne recgnizes hw each chapter builds n what precedes and is intercnnected with the rest. Thus, this shrt sectin, which shuld be read after the reading, is aimed t help individuals identify main pints thrughut the bk, and fllw argumentatin in supprt f thse main pints. Applicatin and Discussin This final sectin f questins cnsists f questins aimed at internalizatin f the truths being studied. The questins here will ften be pinted tward persnal examinatin and applicatin. These questins will als serve as the springbards fr grup discussin. Grup leaders shuld feel free t develp their wn discussin questins t be used in cnjunctin with r instead f these questins. In fact, questins tailr-made fr each grup are ften the best and mst helpful questins. Nevertheless, the questins prvided in the Applicatin and Discussin sectin can als serve as grup questins, and the grup participants shuld familiarize themselves with these questins befre the meeting. Sng f Respnse In the cnclusin f Gd Is the Gspel, Jhn Piper shws hw hymn writers thrughut church histry have exulted in the glry f Gd revealed in the gspel, including the full text t each hymn. Sme f these sngs will be well knwn, thers nt s well knwn. Yu may want t simply read the text f sngs that the grup isn t familiar with, r yu may want t encurage the grup t learn sngs these sngs tgether (ne place where the tunes t hymns can be learned is We trust that using a different ne f these sngs each week will be a fitting and cnvenient way t cnclude yur study, discussin, encuragement, and prayer. A Nte n Week 6: Week 6 is different frm the ther five weeks in that the cnclusin is set ff frm the regular sectins f study questins. The questins cvering the Cnclusin are primarily review questins that the individual shuld answer. These may nt be necessary t discuss in the grup meeting, hwever questins wuld be apprpriate fr discussin. Depending n the grup s time, needs, and discussin in the last meeting, the questins cvering the Cnclusin may be left fr the individual t answer in their wn persnal time. Desiring Gd desiringgd.rg 4

5 Week 1 The Gspel: Tward a Biblical Definitin Intrductin: What the Wrld Needs Mst The Gspel s Greatest Gift, Gd (pp ) Chapter 1: The Gspel Prclamatin and Explanatin (pp ) Chapter 2: The Gspel The Biblical Scpe f Its Meaning (pp ) Sng f Respnse: Jesus, Thu Jy f Lving Hearts (pp ) The Essentials Befre Yu Read: 1-2 While Yu Read: 8, 10, 13, 17, 21, 29, Putting It All Tgether: Applicatin and Discussin: 37, 39 Beynd the Essentials Befre Yu Read: 1-2, 4-5 While Yu Read: 8, 10-13, 15, 17-18, 21, 24-25, 28-29, Putting It All Tgether: Applicatin and Discussin: T intrduce the purpse and nature f the bk, Gd Is the Gspel T feel the imprtance and necessity f knwing and prclaiming the gspel T examine ur wn understandings f imprtant biblical cncepts like the gspel, salvatin, and lve T shw why the crss must be central t the gspel T understand the scpe f what the Bible means by the term gspel Synpsis: In Christian circles tday, the term gspel prbably gets used quite frequently. Indeed, it is acknwledged by mst that the gspel is the mst basic building blck f the Christian religin. Why, then, d we need a bk defining, explaining, and encuraging deeper prclamatin f the gspel? The readings and study questins fr Week 1 aim t prvide an answer and, in ding s, set the stage fr sme biblical reflectin n the nature and gal f the gspel and a call t its prclamatin in ur lives, in wrd and deed. In the Intrductin, Jhn Piper expses the shrtcmings f sme cmmn assumptins abut the gspel, salvatin, and biblical lve. He explains hw easy it can be t miss the heart f the gspel, thugh it is the fundamental truth and cnvictin f Christianity. And he shws why it is s dangerus t simply assume we knw all there is t knw abut it. We can never reflect upn ur great salvatin accmplished in the gspel f Jesus Christ enugh. As ur lungs never get bred f xygen, and as ur stmachs never utlive their need fr fd, s we can never cntemplate, meditate upn, study, and rejice in the gspel t much. It is what we were created fr, and it is what will sustain ur suls. Chapters 1 and 2 then fcus n what the Bible means when it says the gspel. Chapter 1 explains that the gspel is gd news and, as such, it implies tw things: it must be truly gd; and it must be prclaimed, after all, news is meant t be reprted. The news als has certain effects in thse wh hear it and believe it, which als must be understd in relatin t the news itself. The many facets f this gd news, bth the news itself and the effects it causes, are described in further detail in Chapter 2. In the end, all f these aspects f the gspel are true and gd news. But nne f them are an end in themselves. They are all intended t bring us t the greatest gd, Gd himself. Desiring Gd desiringgd.rg 5

6 Week 2 The Gal f the Gspel: Seeing Gd s Glry in Jesus Christ Chapter 3: The Gspel Behld Yur Gd! (pp ) Chapter 4: The Gspel The Glry f Christ, the Image f Gd (pp ) Sng f Respnse: I Will Glry in My Redeemer (pp ) The Essentials Befre Yu Read: 44 While Yu Read: 47-48, 53-54, 56-57, 59, 61-62, 68 Putting It All Tgether: Applicatin and Discussin: 77, 79, 82, 84 Beynd the Essentials Befre Yu Read: While Yu Read: 47-51, 53-54, 56-59, 61-65, Putting It All Tgether: Applicatin and Discussin: 75-77, 79, 82, T cmmunicate the true heart and ultimate gal f the gspel: seeing and savring the glry f Gd T explain why gspel-gifts like justificatin are nt the heart f the gspel but lead t the heart f the gspel T shw hw the life, death, and resurrectin f Jesus are indispensably cnnected t the heart f the gspel T intrduce the difference between spiritual seeing and mere natural seeing T cme t a biblical definitin f Gd s glry T examine ur suls t see the authenticity f ur cnversin and faith Synpsis: The gspel has many different and wnderful facets. Hwever, nne f them are ends in themselves. If we fail t allw these aspects f the gspel t lead us t the ultimate gd f the gspel, we distrt and misuse it. Gd is the ultimate gal f the gspel, that is, seeing the glry f Gd and finding the satisfactin f ur suls in his infinite wrth is what make the gd news ultimately gd. Any ther aspect f the gspel is intended t remve every pssible bstacle standing between sinners and this final purpse. Gd s glry, that is, his radiance r infinite beauty, is seen mst fully and finally in his Sn, Jesus Christ, whm he sent t live and die and be raised again n ur behalf. The humility, suffering, and shame f Jesus Christ, wh himself has all glry and pwer and is wrthy f all praise, frms an infinitely cmplex beauty that nly Gd pssesses. The revelatin f this glry, therefre, is rted in the histrical acts f the gspel f Jesus Christ. The light f Gd s glry cannt be separated frm histry. And yet it shines in the hearts f Christians wh see the glry f Gd in the face f Jesus Christ. Hwever, nt everyne can see this glry in the gspel. That is, nt everyne can see it in a way that births savring. There is a spiritual seeing and a seeing withut truly seeing. The idea f a histrically bjective light shining experientially in the hearts f Christians is utterly unique t Christianity. And it cnfirms the idea that the heart and ultimate gal f the gspel is t enable us t see and savr the glry f Gd. Desiring Gd desiringgd.rg 6

7 Week 3 The Pwer and Prf f the Gspel: The Gspel Chapter 5: The Gspel Cnfirmed by Its Glry, the Internal Testimny f the Hly Spirit (pp ) Sng f Respnse: Fairest Lrd Jesus (pp ) The Essentials Befre Yu Read: While Yu Read: 93, 95, 98, 101 Putting It All Tgether: Applicatin and Discussin: 107, 111 Beynd the Essentials Befre Yu Read: While Yu Read: 93-95, 98, Putting It All Tgether: Applicatin and Discussin: , T prvide sme f the biblical grunds fr assurance T expse false grunds f assurance T shw hw the Hly Spirit relates t the Wrd f Gd T prvide a fuller understanding f biblical saving faith T help us becme better evaluatrs f ur wn sul and als better cunselrs t thse wh struggle with dubt and lack f assurance Synpsis: The gspel is unique in all the wrld in that it is itself the prf and validatin f what it claims. While nt undermining the validity r denying the benefits f aplgetics, in the end, the gspel des nt rest n the authrity f any ther witness. It pssesses final authrity. Ultimately, we d nt need better arguments t submit t the gspel by savring the glry f Gd. Ultimately, we need t see the gspel fr what it really is, glriusly true. The Hly Spirit enables us t see the truth and beauty f the gspel nt by adding t the gspel r by telling us that the gspel is true, but by pening the eyes f ur heart t see what is really there. The gspel is self-authenticating because when it is seen truly it irresistibly elicits adratin. Lazarus needed n arguments r additinal testimny t believe that he was alive after Jesus raised him frm the dead. The reality was verwhelming and irresistible. S we t, ultimately, rest ur faith in the glry f Gd which reveals itself in the gspel f Jesus Christ nt in argumentatin but in the verwhelming and irresistible fact that we have seen it t be infinitely glrius. The truths f the self-authenticating pwer f the gspel and the pwer f the Hly Spirit t enable us t truly see are all ver Scripture. And they are f deep imprtance fr persnal examinatin and practical, pastral cunsel. We must learn t cast ur assurance and the assurance f thse t whm we minister n nne ther than Jesus and his gspel. Desiring Gd desiringgd.rg 7

8 Week 4 The Glry f the Glad Gd as the Grund f Christian Living Chapter 6: The Gspel The Glry f Christ in Evangelism, Missins, and Sanctificatin (pp ) Chapter 7: The Gspel The Glry f the Gladness f Gd (pp ) Chapter 8: The Gspel The Glry f Christ as the Grund f Christ-Exalting Cntritin (pp ) Sng f Respnse: Jesus, Priceless Treasure (pp ) The Essentials Befre Yu Read: While Yu Read: , 125, 130, 134, Putting It All Tgether: Applicatin and Discussin: , Beynd the Essentials Befre Yu Read: While Yu Read: , 123, 125, 126, 130, , , 141 Putting It All Tgether: Applicatin and Discussin: , 153, T shw why the self-authenticating nature f the gspel enables it t be spread t everyne everywhere T build an understanding f hw cnversin and sanctificatin are related t behlding the glry f Gd in the face f Christ and hw they are inextricably linked T develp Spirit-led, and Spirit-mdeled cunseling T persuade that Gd is infinitely happy, explain why he is s, and feel the weight f why this is very gd news T reveal that true cntritin is an ech f the glry f Jesus T cultivate true, Christ-hnring cntritin fr sin Synpsis: The gspel is nt gd news that can nly be grasped by the intellectually elite. Saving faith in the glry f Gd seen in the face f Jesus Christ is nt funded n lng, cmplex, academic argumentatin. Rather, saving faith is a true spiritual seeing f the glry f Gd in Jesus. This true spiritual seeing, nt any argument, is what will strengthen us t take n the challenges and hardship f cmpleting the Great Cmmissin. And it ccurs when we are enabled by the pwer f the Hly Spirit t see the glry f Gd that is revealed in the Scripture, specifically in the gspel f Jesus Christ. When ur eyes are pened t see the light f the glry f Gd in the gspel abut Jesus, what we discver is that ne f the mst fundamental elements f Gd s glry is his infinite delight in Jesus, and vice versa. This is tremendusly gd news because it means that Gd needs nthing frm us. He des nt use us t meet his wn needs, since he has all his needs met in himself. Instead, he is free t use his infinite pwer t meet all ur needs. And he des s, mst fundamentally, by enabling us t delight in him with the very delight he has in himself. One surprising effect f seeing this glriusly glad Gd is that it creates in us deep cntritin. Seeing Gd s gladness, and hearing the call t partake in that gladness, begets cntritin because we realize hw much we fail t delight in Gd. This failure t delight is sin. Thus, feeling srrw ver sin is really just an ech f hw glrius Gd is and hw far we have fallen shrt f it in ur affectins. Desiring Gd desiringgd.rg 8

9 Week 5 The Glrius Gd and His Gracius Gifts Chapter 9: The Gspel The Gift f Gd Himself ver and in All His Saving and Painful Gifts (pp ) Chapter 10: The Gspel The Gift f Gd Himself ver and in All His Pleasant Gifts (pp ) Sng f Respnse: Knwing Yu (p. 177) The Essentials Befre Yu Read: While Yu Read: 165, , Putting It All Tgether: Applicatin and Discussin: 185, Beynd the Essentials Befre Yu Read: While Yu Read: 165, , , 179 Putting It All Tgether: Applicatin and Discussin: , T reveal the danger f glrifying the gift mre than the giver, and t shw hw easy it is t d s T explain and encurage Gd-hnring gratitude fr all his gifts T deepen understanding f why Gd created the physical wrld T shw that the ultimate reasn Gd blesses us is s that we wuld see and savr his glry T plant the seeds fr a thelgy f suffering Synpsis: All f the gifts f the gspel, such as justificatin and sanctificatin, shuld lead t the ultimate gal f seeing and savring the glry f Gd in the face f Christ. The same can be said f all the gifts Gd graciusly gives us. Gd des nt give us gd gifts such as fd and friendship and healing frm sickness and enjyment f beauty and answers t prayer as temptatins t idlatry. Rather, all these gifts are designed t deepen ur enjyment in the glry f Gd as they cause gratitude tward the giver and create categries f enjyment t help us better see and savr Gd s glry. Furthermre, the same can be said, amazingly, f the suffering and pain that Christians experience. Hwever dark the hardships may be, they are all made t serve the Christian s ultimate gd in that they wean us ff f dependence n and satisfactin in anything ther than Gd. Therefre we must make it ur aim t avid being self-centered idlaters in ur enjyment f wnderful gifts like family, material prvisin, spiritual pwer, r even the very crss f Christ, all f which are s very easy t abuse and misuse. Rather, we must make it ur aim t satisfy ur suls in the glry f Gd revealed in the gspel f Jesus as the gal f all Gd s saving, painful, and pleasant gifts, because Gd himself is the gspel. Desiring Gd desiringgd.rg 9

10 Week 6 Gd s Glry Cvering the Earth as the Waters Cver the Seas Chapter 11: The Gspel What Makes It Ultimately Gd: Seeing Glry r Being Glrius? (pp ) Cnclusin: Gd Is the Gspel Nw Let Us Sacrifice and Sing (pp ) Sng f Respnse: Be Thu My Visin (p. 170) The Essentials Befre Yu Read: While Yu Read: 194, 199, Putting It All Tgether: Applicatin and Discussin: 210 Cnclusin: Beynd the Essentials Befre Yu Read: While Yu Read: , Putting It All Tgether: Applicatin and Discussin: Cnclusin: T cme t a biblical definitin f lve T deepen ur jy in Gd by learning f ur future hpe f glrificatin T understand the purpse f the bk Gd Is the Gspel, and t be able t develp a definitin f the gspel in yur wn wrds T fster an apprpriate attitude abut ne s self in relatin t Gd s glry and his purpses T have all ur wrds, thughts, and actins transfrmed s that magnifying and enjying the glry f Gd becmes the gal f it all Synpsis: Mst peple feel lved when they are made much f, that is when they are placed at the center f all that is valuable and wrthy f hnr and affectin. This is why the lve f Gd seems s freign and strange t peple. Since Gd is the ultimate gd f the gspel, he desn t make much f us, per se, putting us at the center f all that is valuable and wrthy f hnr and affectin. Rather, he enables us t see and savr him as that which is mst valuable and wrthy f hnr and affectin. There is, hwever, a sense in which Gd des make much f us. The great Christian hpe f glrificatin is that we will be glrified int Christ s image. We are being transfrmed mre and mre int his image thrugh sanctificatin, and ne day we will be glrified fully int his image. Far frm magnifying ur value ver and against Gd, what this great glrificatin will accmplish is the shining frth f the ultimate treasure, Gd himself, in all things. We will be like Gd, but mre imprtantly, Gd himself will be reflected in all things including ur wn selves, undistracted and undistrted by sin and imperfectin, fr ur everlasting enjyment. The end f all things is the eternal admiratin and awe f the glry f Gd. All the gifts f the gspel lead t this end. All the gifts f sufferings and hardships turned int jys lead t this end. Every gd and perfect gift cming dwn frm the Father f Lights leads t this end. And the fitting respnse f seeing this glry is wrship, the cnsummatin f the satisfactin we find in it. Desiring Gd desiringgd.rg 10

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