Daily Keller

~ Wisdom from Tim Keller 365 Days a Year

Daily Keller

Obedience

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Tim Keller

If you only obey God’s word when it seems reasonable or profitable to you — well, that isn’t really obedience at all. Obedience means you cede someone an authority over you that is there even when you don’t agree with him. God’s law is for times of temptation, when ‘body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour.’

– Tim Keller

Introducing God

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Tim Keller

Why should we be concerned about the vulnerable ones? It is because God is concerned about them. It is striking to see how often God is introduced as the defender of these vulnerable groups.

Don’t miss the significance of this. When people ask me, ‘How do you want to be introduced?’ I usually propose they say, ‘This is Tim Keller, minister at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.’ Of course, I am many other things, but that is the main thing I spend my time doing in public life.

Realize, then, how significant it is that the biblical writers introduce God as ‘a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows’ (Psalm 68:4-5). This is one of the main things He does in the world. He identifies with the powerless. He takes up their cause.

– Tim Keller

Flawed and Loved

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Tim Keller

The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me.

– Tim Keller

Jesus Rose from the Dead

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Tim Keller

How can you be totally sure when you look at all the horrible stuff that has happened in your life and out in the world that someday God is going to make it all right? How can you not just hope so, but be absolutely sure that in spite of your own failures, God loves you and will never let you go? How can you know that when you face death it is not the end? Only if you know that Jesus rose from the dead and therefore so will you.

– Tim Keller

Compelling Preaching

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Tim Keller

Preaching is compelling to young secular adults not if preachers use video clips from their favorite movies and dress informally and sound sophisticated, but if the preachers understand their hearts and culture so well that listeners feel the force of the sermon’s reasoning, even if in the end they don’t agree with it.

– Tim Keller

The Affection of Christ Alone

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Tim Keller

Luther says that if we obey God’s law without a belief that we are already accepted and loved in Christ, then in all our good deeds we are really looking to something more than Jesus to be the real source of our meaning and happiness. We may be trusting in our good parenting or moral uprightness or spiritual performance or acts of service to be our real and functional “saviors.” If we aren’t already sure God loves us in Christ, we will be looking to something else for our foundational significance and self-worth. This is why Luther says we are committing idolatry if we don’t trust in Christ alone for our approval.

The first commandment is foundational to all the other commandments. We will not break commandments two through ten unless we are in some way breaking the first one by serving something or someone other than God. Every sin is rooted in the inordinate lust for something which comes because we are trusting in that thing rather than in Christ for our righteousness or salvation. We sin because we are looking to something else to give us what only Jesus can give us. Beneath any particular sin is the general sin of rejecting Christ’s salvation and attempting our own self-salvation.

Thomas Chalmers wrote this:

The best way of casting out an impure affection is to admit a pure one . . . It is only when, as in the gospel, acceptance is bestowed as a present, without money and without price, that the security which man feels in God is placed beyond the reach of disturbance. Only then can he repose in him as one friend reposes in another . . . The only way to dispossess the heart of an old affection is by the expulsive power of a new one.

– Tim Keller

Anxious Pride

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Tim Keller

It takes pride to be anxious. I am not wise enough to know how my life should go.

– Tim Keller

Telling the Christian Story

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Tim Keller

At some point you need tell the Christian story in a way that addresses the things that people most want for their own lives, the things that they are trying to find outside of Christianity, and show how Christianity can give it to them. Alasdair MacIntyre said this about narratival apologetics: ‘That narrative prevails over its rivals which is able to include its rivals within it, not only to retell their stories as episodes within its story, but to tell the story of the telling of their stories as such episodes.’ Read that sentence again.

There is a way of telling the gospel that makes people say, ‘I don’t believe it’s true, but I wish it were.’ You have to get to the beauty of it, and then go back to the reasons for it. Only then, when you show that it takes more faith to doubt it than to believe it; when the things you see out there in the world are better explained by the Christian account of things than the secular account of things; and when they experience a community in which they actually do see Christianity embodied, in healthy Christian lives and solid Christian community, that many will believe.

– Tim Keller

Preach Christ, Not Moralism

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Tim Keller

In nearly every text of Scripture a moral principle can be found, shown through the character of God or Christ, displayed in the good or bad examples of characters in the text, or provided as explicit commands, promises, and warnings. This moral principle is important and must be distilled clearly. But then a crisis is created in the hearers as they understand that this moral principle creates insurmountable problems. I describe in my sermons how this practical and moral obligation is impossible to meet. The hearers are led to a seemingly dead end, but then a hidden door opens and light comes in. Our sermons must show how the person and work of Jesus Christ bears on the subject. First we show how our inability to live as we ought stems from our forgetting or rejecting the work of Christ. Then we show that only by repenting and rejoicing in Christ can we then live, as we know we ought.

– Tim Keller