Tim Keller on Sensible Communion with God in Prayer

The following comes from a lecture series that Tim Keller and Edmund Clowney taught together entitled: Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World.

Enjoy!

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By Jesus Christ not healing the sick, not raising the dead, not feeding the hungry; but by creating 150 gallons of the most incredible wine to keep a party really really going strong—by him choosing that as his quintessential first miracle what he’s really saying is “I’m the real master of the banquet, I’m the one who comes in your life to bring joy. It’s my job to turn your life into a feast. I’m the real master of the banquet, I’m the real Lord of the feast.”

But beyond that, what he’s really saying he’s bringing into your life is sensation, powerful sensation, because what he brings is all about taste. See verse 9 and 10, when the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned to wine, when he tasted it he says; “This is incredible! This tastes so great!” That’s what the whole thing is about.

Why does the bible continually talk about tasting? Why in Psalm 34 does it say, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good,” don’t they already know the Lord is good? … Jesus Christ came to bring powerful sensation into your life. He doesn’t just say, “In the kingdom of heaven we’re going to have a feast.” He says, “the kingdom of heaven is a feast.” The kingdom of heaven is a feast!

Jesus Christ came to bring sensation. Jesus Christ wants you to taste and see that the Lord is good. Jesus Christ wants you to understand the sweetness of God.

Listen, here is a quote from Spurgeon, he says; “Some of us know what it’s like to be too happy to live. The love of God has been so overpoweringly experienced by us on some occasions that we almost had to ask God to stop the delight, for we were afraid that we could endure no more. I believe one night that if God had not veiled his love and glory a bit we would have died for joy.”

Do you know anything about that at all? Do you have any idea what Spurgeon is talking about? Why? Why not?

That’s what he [Christ] brought. That’s what he came to bring. You realize, this is his calling card, he says, “I’m the real master of the banquet, and its your life I want to come into. I want to be the Lord of the feast.”

Why are you settling for bread and water in your prayer life? Why are you settling for bread and water? Why not have a feast? In your own prayer life are you settling for bread and water?

Marching to Zion

The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
And walk the golden streets.

More about the lectures:

  • The lectures can be found at Reformend Theological Seminary’s iTunes site—look under “RTS Seminars and Lecture Series” (requires iTunes)
  • Alternatively, here is a link to an RSS feed containing the entire lecture series (RSS)
  • The particular lecture these clips come from is Adoring Christ: Communion with God (mp3)
  • There is also a 189 page syllabus that goes along with the series (pdf)

A note from Keller that I skipped

After the Spurgeon quote, Keller addresses the seminary students and says:

Now I know it’s a little dangerous if I was talking to the average person to put forth this, I have to be careful when you’re preaching about this because modern people just love experience and you have to safeguard it and talk about the danger of making an idol; but I’m talking to you. I’m talking to you. I want to know something. Do you know anything about that at all? Do you have any idea what Spurgeon is talking about? Why? Why not?

Keller, with some intentionally, urges the students to use caution before talking about this subject with the average person. I don’t agree with Keller on this point. Scripture is quite vocal about proclaiming the necessity of seeking and experiencing the richness of the joy of God’s presence.

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