Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Most Influential People in the World

Leslie Basham: Pastor John Piper invites women to think big.

Pastor John Piper: Oh how I pray that you women would be done with small thoughts about God’s design for womanhood. We have a curse on human nature called triviality.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts for March 10. The True Woman Conference is coming to Chattanooga in just 15 days.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The first thing a builder does is lay a foundation. It doesn't matter how beautiful a structure looks from the outside. If the foundation isn't solid, that building won't stand.

When Revive Our Hearts crafted the True Woman Manifesto, we also started with the foundation. We wanted what was in this document to stand on solid truth.  Over the next several months, we'll spend several series looking in depth at the True Woman Manifesto.

We've begun the first series already focusing on the foundationthe Scriptural principles supporting this document. Now today and tomorrow we're taking a little break from that teaching to hear from Pastor John Piper. At the beginning of the True Woman '08 conference, he laid a Scriptural foundation for all that was to follow. As we looking at biblical womanhood all this week, let's hear from Dr. John Piper from True Woman '08.

 Pastor John Piper: Let’s pray together.

Preserve me, Oh God, for in You I take refuge. I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from You." As for the saints in the land, they are the noble in whom is all my delight. Those who choose another god, multiply their sorrows. Their libations of blood I will not pour out nor take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my lot. The lines have fallen from me in pleasant places; yes, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who keeps me and gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

I keep the Lord always before me because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. You show me the path of life. In Your presence is fullness of joy. In Your presence is fullness of joy. In Your presence is fullness of joy. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:1-11).

I pray that Your Word would run and triumph in these days; that my mouth would be protected from error and folly, and that only what is good for upbuilding, that ministers grace to those who hear would come out. I pray that You would protect us from the devil. How I thank You that You disarmed him; that You put him to a public shame, triumphing over him in Jesus Christ when You cancelled the record of debts that stood against us with their legal demandsnailing it to the cross. What a freedom!

Do exceedingly and abundantly beyond what any woman has dreamed.

Lord, don't let us think small thoughts about what You might be pleased to do in Your sovereign goodness to mend marriages, rescue children, heal churches, and touch bodies. This will be the time.

So come. Make Yourself supreme. Through Christ we pray. Amen.

My aim in this message is to clarify as best I can from the Scriptures the ultimate meaning of true womanhood. Before I launch into it, I want to thank Nancy Leigh DeMoss for trusting me with this amazing privilege. I do not take this for granted. This is most remarkable that I would be given the privilege to address the most influential people in the world. There is massive power in this room, so I do not take lightly this moment, and I ask that you would be silently praying that I wouldn't blow it.

What I will say is intended to be a foundation for the True Woman Manifesto which will be unveiled to you, I believe, on Saturday. I have read it more than once and regard it as a faithful, clear, true, wise, indeed magnificent document. What an amazing thing it would be if hundreds of thousands of women in America signed on with their heart to the True Woman Manifesto.

I'd like to begin with a huge assumption, tell you what it is, explain it a little bit, and why it matters that you hear what this assumption is. I give it to you partly because it will help you feel emotionally some of what I would like you to become as a result of the conferencenot just think about it, but feel what I'm up to and what I think all of us are up to here. Because if you understand this assumption, you'll understand why I minister the way I minister and why this message will sound the way it sounds.

The assumption is this:

Wimpy theology makes wimpy women.  

I don't like wimpy women. I didn't marry one. With Noel, I'm trying to raise Talitha, who turns 13 on Saturday, not to be one. The opposite of a wimpy woman is not a brash, pushy, loud, controlling, sassy, uppity, arrogant Amazon.

The opposite of a wimpy woman is 14-year-old Marie Durant when in the 17th century in France was arrested for being a Protestant, put in prison, and told, "You may get out for one phrase: I abjure." She wrote on the wall of her cell, "I resist," and stayed there 38 years until she was dead doing just that.1 That's the opposite of a wimpy woman.

Another opposite of a wimpy woman is Gladys Staines. In 1999, remember the story? After serving for three decades with her husband Graham in India, to the lepers, heard one day that her husband Graham and little Phillip (10) and Timothy (6) had been set on fire, burned alive in the back of their car. She said to the newspapers, "I have only one message for the people of India. I am not bitter, neither am I angry. Let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ's love."

The opposite of a wimpy woman is her daughter, well named, Esther. When asked by the reporters, "How do you feel about your father's murder?" She said (she was 13), "I praise the Lord that He found my father worthy to die for Him."

The opposite of a wimpy woman is Krista and Vicki who together, in my church, have had 65 surgeries for so-called birth defects from Apert Syndrome and Hypertelorism. They write, "I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know them right well" (Psalm 139:14). Krista says, "Even though my life has been difficult, I know that God loves me and created me just the way I am. He has taught me to persevere and trust Him more than anything."

The opposite of a wimpy woman is Joni Eareckson Tada, who would give her right arm to be with you. After forty-one years in the wheelchair she prays, "Oh thank You, thank You for this wheelchair. By tasting Hell in this life, I have been driven to think seriously about what faces me in the next. This paralysis is my greatest mercy."2

The opposite of a wimpy woman is Suzie. Four years ago her husband (59) was taken, then a month later she found she had breast cancer, and then her mom died, and then a miracle happened. She wrote to me,

Now I see that I have been crying for the wrong kind of help. I now see that my worse suffering is my sinmy sin of self-centeredness and self-pity. I know that with His grace, His lovingkindness, and His merciful help, my thoughts can be reformed and my life conformed to be more like His Son."

Wimpy theology makes wimpy women. That's my assumption as I begin this message.

Wimpy theology does not give a woman a god big enough, strong enough, wise enough, good enough to handle the realities of life in a way that enables her to magnify Him and His Son all the time. He's not big enough.

Wimpy theology is plagued by woman-centeredness, or as we usually call it, man-centeredness.

Wimpy theology doesn't have a granite foundation of God's sovereignty underneath. It doesn't have the steel structure of a great God-centered purpose for all of human existence, including the worst of it.  

So I turn to my main point, the ultimate meaning of true womanhood, and I start by stating that solid steel structure of God's ultimate purpose in all things. God's ultimate purpose for the universe, and all of history, and your life, is to display the glory of Christ in its highest expression in His dying to make a rebellious people His bride. That's the reason the universe exists: To display the glory of God's grace in its highest expression as the Son of God dies to make a rebellious people His bride.

That's the reason the universe exists: To display the glory of God's grace in its highest expression as the Son of God dies to make a rebellious people His bride.

Everything exists so that that can happen, and everything exists to highlight that and make much of that, especially you. God's ultimate purpose in creating the world and choosing to let it become this sin-wrecked world that it is, is so that the glory of Christ could be put on display where He bought the rebellious bride at the cost of His life.

Now that's based on text. Let me give you a couple of them.

Revelation chapter 13, verse 8, goes like this. God is talking about writing names down in a book, and those that are in the book don't worship the beast. He says, "Before the foundation of the world, in the Book of Life of the Lamb who was slain."

So names are being written before the foundation of the world in a book, and the name of the book is the Book of Life of the Lamb who was slain. That is amazing. Before anything existed but God, Christ was crucified in God's mind for sin that didn't exist anywhere in the universe. That's amazing. That's not wimpy, and it doesn't produce wimpy women. It is staggering to think that God was planning the death and slaughterthat's the word slainof His Son before the universe was made.

Why? Here's the other text. This is Ephesians 1:5-6, "In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto the praise of the glory of His grace." There isn't anything on the other side of that design—like that's a means to anything. It isn't. When you arrive at the praise of the glory of the grace of God, you're home. That's it. There isn't anything beyond that. That was what the universe was made to do, to be. God was planning it in such that the apex, the climax, the supreme expression of that grace would be the Son's purchase, at the cost of His life, of His wifeyou and me.

Listen to Ephesians 5:25: "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church [there's the parallel-husbands love wives / Christ loves church, His wife] as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish."

So putting those three texts togetherRevelations 13:8, Ephesians 1:5-6, Ephesians 5:25-27I draw the conclusion: The ultimate purpose of all things is the praise of the glory of the grace of God supremely manifest on Calvary when the Son of God laid His life down to purchase and purify His wife out of an absolutely hell-bent rebellious people. That was the apex, and that's why God created the world, and that's why He created you.

True Womanhood: At the Center of God's Purpose

Now the question is: What does all that mean for true womanhood? It's not wimpy to say that God created the universe and governs all things to magnify His own grace in the slaughter of His Son for an undeserving people, that those people might become His everlastingly happy bride. It's not wimpy. That's steel. That's granite. There's a place to stand when everything around your soul gives way.

How I love the women in my church who stand when everything around their soul gives way. Oh how the grace and the glory of God shines off of their lives. I've been there 28 years. I've walked through a lot of dark valleys with them, and I've buried a lot of children. It doesn't lead to wimpy womanhood, but it does lead to womanhood, that theology, that ultimate purpose of the world. It does lead to true womanhood. In fact, it leads to a mind-boggling understanding of true womanhood.

What we have seen so far in those three texts (and there are many others that could be used to supplement them), what we have seen so far is this: masculinity and femininity, manhood and womanhood, belong at the center of God's ultimate purpose. Manhood and womanhood are not an afterthought of creation. They're not an afterthought of the cross. They're not peripheral to the design of what is being said when Jesus dies to magnify the grace of God. They're right there at the center at Calvary. It's staggering. Oh how I pray that you women would be done with small thoughts about God's design for womanhood.

We have a curse on human nature called triviality. The big problem with television and movies are not sex and violence. It's banality. It's living every day as though TV mattered. It doesn't matter at all! It's here today and gone tomorrow. Eternity and the things that are unseen matter. I would just like to see 6,000 souls rise into the significance of what matters in the world. You can transform every simple diaper moment or any other moment into massive significance if you realize that your womanhood is here, being brought to the very center of the purposes of God in this universe, which come to a climax when Christ, the husband, bought His bride.

 

Nancy: We’ve been hearing from a landmark message at a landmark event. Dr. John Piper delivered the opening message at True Woman ’08, the sold out national women’s conference that launched the True Woman Movement.

It was deeply moving as I sat in the front row listening to that message that night and hearing Dr. Piper paint such a powerful picture of God’s amazing, awesome purposes in making men and women for His glory.

I believe that weekend in Chicago was the start of a new women’s movement as ladies headed back to their communities ready to serve God and their families with renewed energy.

So we moved forward in faith scheduling three True Woman conferences for 2010. I hope you'll join us in Chattanooga in a couple of weeks, or in Fort Worth or in Indianapolis this fall.

And would you pray for Revive Our Hearts as we work on three major conferences. Please pray for me and our other speakers as we are working on our messages. Pray for our administrative team. Pray that God will bring women to each of these conferences. And pray for our day to day finances as we make significant investments in the True Woman Movement.

We're able to be on your station each weekday thanks to faithful, commited listeners who help support this ministry financially. Would you help us stay on the air in your area by helping out with these daily expenses?

You can donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com, or give us a call at 800-569-5959

Now what would say is the main point of marriage? That’s one of the questions John Piper will address tomorrow when he concludes his message from True Woman ’08. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

1Karl Olsson, Passion, New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1963, 116-117.

2Christianity Today, January, 2004, 50.

 

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