Daily Keller

~ Wisdom from Tim Keller 365 Days a Year

Daily Keller

Things to Really Know

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Tim Keller

If there is not radical growth in humble love toward everyone (even your enemies), you don’t really know you are a SINNER saved by grace. If there is not radical, concrete growth in confidence and joy (even in difficulties) you don’t really know you are a sinner saved by GRACE.

– Tim Keller

Community Presence

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Tim Keller

If you and your church were to disappear off the face of the earth tomorrow, would anyone in the community around you notice you were gone? And if the community did even notice would they say ‘we are really glad they are gone’, or ‘we are really going to miss them’?

-Tim Keller

Winning Through Losing

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Tim Keller

The Jewish chief priests, teachers of the law, and, of course, the Roman rulers should have been standing up for justice but instead conspired to commit an act of injustice by condemning Jesus to death. The cross reveals the systems of the world to be corrupt, serving power and oppression instead of justice and truth. In condemning Jesus, the world was condemning itself. Jesus’s death demonstrates not only the bankruptcy of the world but it also reveals the character of God and of his kingdom. Jesus’s death was not a failure. By submitting to death as penalty, he broke its hold on him and on us.

When Jesus went to the cross and died for our sins, he won through losing; he achieved our forgiveness on the cross by turning the values of the world on their head. He did not ‘fight fire with fire.’ He didn’t come and raise an army in order to put down the latest corrupt regime. He didn’t take power; he gave it up — and yet he triumphed. On the cross, then, the world’s misuse and glorification of power was exposed for what it is and defeated. The spell of the world’s systems was broken.

The corrupt powers of this world have many tools to make people afraid, the worst one being death. When you know that a civil power or some other power can kill you, you’re scared, and they can use your fear to control you. But since Jesus died and rose again from the dead, if you can find a way to approach Jesus and cling to him, you know that death, the worst thing that can possibly happen to you, is now the best thing. Honey, get up. Death will put you in God’s arms and make you all you hoped to be. And when death loses its sting, when death no longer has power over you because of what Jesus did on the cross, then you will be living a life of love and not a life of fear.

– Tim Keller

What About Evil and Suffering

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Tim Keller

The Objection: Evil and suffering.
Christianity teaches the existence of an all-powerful, all-good and loving God. But how that belief be reconciled with the horrors that occur daily? If there is a God, he must be either all-powerful but not good enough to want an end to evil and suffering, or he’s all-good but not powerful enough to bring an end to evil and suffering. Either way the God of the Bible couldn’t exist. for many people, this is not only an intellectual conundrum but also an intensely personal problem. Their own personal lives are marred by tragedy, abuse, and injustice.

Response: If God himself has suffered our suffering isn’t senseless. First, if you have a God great and transcendent enough to be mad at because he hasn’t stopped evil and suffering in the world, then you have to (at the same moment) have a god great and transcendent enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue that you can’t know. (You can’t have it both ways.) Second, though we don’t know the reasons why he allows it to continue, he can’t be indifferent or uncaring, because the Christian God (unlike the gods of all the other religions) takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he is willing to get involved with it himself. On the cross, Jesus suffered with us.

– Tim Keller

The Action of Love

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Tim Keller

Our culture says that feelings of love are the basis for actions of love. And of course that can be true. But it is truer to say that actions of love can lead consistently to feelings of love. Love between two people must not, in the end, be identified simply with emotion or merely with dutiful action. Married love is a symbiotic, complex mixture of both. Having said this, it is important to observe that of the two — emotion and action — it is the latter that we have the most control over. It is the action of love that we can promise to maintain every day.

– Tim Keller

What About Other Religions

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Tim Keller

The Objection: The other religions.
Christians seem to greatly over-play the differences between their faith and all the other ones. Though millions of people in other religions say they have encountered God, have built marvelous civilizations and cultures, and have had their lives and characters changed by their experience of faith, Christians insist that only they go to heaven — that their religion is the only one that is ‘right’ and true. The exclusivity of this is breath taking. It also appears to many to be a threat to international peace.

Response: Inclusivism is really covert exclusivism. It is common to hear people say: ‘No one should insist their view of God is better than all the rest. Every religion is equally valid.’ But what you just said could only be true if: First, there is no God at all, or second, God is an impersonal force that doesn’t care what your doctrinal beliefs about him are. So as you speak you are assuming (by faith!) a very particular view of God and you are pushing it as better than the rest! That is at best inconsistent and at worst hypocritical, since you are doing the very thing you are forbidding. To say ‘all religions are equally valid’ is itself a very white, Western view based in the European enlightenment’s idea of knowledge and values. Why should that view be privileged over anyone else’s?

– Tim Keller

Gospel-Humility

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Tim Keller

C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity makes a brilliant observation about gospel-humility at the very end of his chapter on pride. If we were to meet a truly humble person, Lewis says, we would never come away from meeting them thinking they were humble.They would not be always telling us they were a nobody (because a person who keeps saying they are a nobody is actually a self-obsessed person). The thing we would remember from meeting a truly gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.

Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. It is an end to thoughts such as, ‘I’m in this room with these people, does that make me look good? Do I want to be here?’ True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself. The freedom of self-forgetfulness. The blessed rest that only self-forgetfulness brings.

True gospel-humility means an ego that is not puffed up but filled up. This is totally unique. are we talking about big self-esteem? No. So is it low self-esteem? Certainly not. It is not about self-esteem. Paul simply refuses to play that game (I Cor. 4). He says ‘I don’t care that much about my opinion’ — and that is the secret.

A truly gospel-humble person is not a self-hating person or a self-loving person, but a gospel-humble person. The truly gospel-humble person is a self-forgetful person whose ego is just like his or her toes. It just works. It does not draw attention to itself. The toes just work; the ego just works. Neither draws attention to itself.

– Tim Keller

God Upsets Me

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Tim Keller

To stay away from Christianity because part of the Bible’s teaching is offensive to you assumes that if there is a God he wouldn’t have any views that upset you. Does that belief make sense? If you don’t trust the Bible enough to let it challenge and correct your thinking, how could you ever have a personal relationship with God? In any truly personal relationship, the other person has to be able to contradict you.

-Tim Keller

Christ-Centered, Gospel-Motivated Sermons

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Tim Keller

A BASIC OUTLINE FOR CHRIST-CENTERED, GOSPEL-MOTIVATED SERMONS
The following may actually be four points in a presentation, or they may be treated very quickly as the last point of a sermon. But more generally, this is a foundational outline for the basic moral reasoning and argument that lies at the heart of the application.

The Plot winds up: WHAT YOU MUST DO.
“This is what you have to do! Here is what the text/narrative tells us that we must do or what we must be.”
The Plot thickens: WHY YOU CAN’T DO IT.
“But you can’t do it! Here are all the reasons that you will never become like this just by trying very hard.”
The Plot resolves: HOW HE DID IT.
“But there’s One who did. Perfectly. Wholly. Jesus the—. He has done this for us, in our place.”
The Plot winds down: HOW, THROUGH HIM, YOU CAN DO IT.
“Our failure to do it is due to our functional rejection of what he did. Remembering him frees our heart so we can change like this…”

a) In every text of the Scripture there is somehow a moral principle. It may grow out of because of what it shows us about the character of God or Christ, or out of either the good or bad example of characters in the text, or because of explicit commands, promises, and warnings. This moral principle must be distilled clearly.

b) But then a crisis is created in the hearers as the preacher shows that his moral principle creates insurmountable problems. The sermon shows how this practical and moral obligation is impossible to meet. The hearers are led to a seemingly dead end.

c) Then a hidden door opens and light comes in. The sermon moves both into worship and into Christ-application when it shows how only Jesus Christ has fulfilled this. If the text is a narrative, you can show how Christ is the ultimate example of a particular character. If the text is didactic, you can show how Christ is the ultimate embodiment of the principle.

d) Finally, we show how our inability to live as we ought stems from our rejection of Christ as the Way, Truth, and Life (or whatever the theme is). The sermon points out how to repent and rejoice in Christ in such a way that we can live as we ought.

Tim Keller

*Quote taken from Monergism article, “Moralism Vs. Christ-Centered Exposition”