Tag Archives: Tim Keller

“Prayer before Sleep” by Timothy Keller

“O Lord God, now grant me the grace not only to rest my body this night, but to have my spiritual repose, in soul and conscience, in Your grace and love, that I may let go of all earthly cares so I might be comforted and eased in all my ways.

And because no day passes that I do not sin in so many ways, please bury all my offenses in Your mercy, that I might not lose your presence.

Forgive me, merciful Father, for Christ’s sake.

And as I lay down in sleep to safely wake again only by Your grace, keep me in a joyful, lively remembrance that whatever happens, I will someday know my final rising– the resurrection– because Jesus Christ lay down in death for me, and rose for my justification.

In His name I pray, Amen.”

–Tim Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (New York: Dutton, 2014), 266. This prayer was freely adapted from John Calvin’s prayer before sleep as quoted in John Calvin: Writings on Pastoral Piety, Ed. Elsie McKee (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2001), 214.

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“Absolutely different” by Timothy Keller

“A gospel is an announcement of something that has happened in history, something that’s been done for you that changes your status forever. Right there you can see the difference between Christianity and all other religions, including no religion.

The essence of other religions is advice; Christianity is essentially news. Other religions say, ‘This is what you have to do in order to connect to God forever; this is how you have to live in order to earn your way to God.’

But the gospel says, ‘This is what has been done in history. This is how Jesus lived and died to earn the way to God for you.’ Christianity is completely different. It’s joyful news.

How do you feel when you’re given good advice on how to live? Someone says, ‘Here’s the love you ought to have, or the integrity you ought to have,’ and maybe they illustrate high moral standards by telling a story of some great hero.

But when you hear it, how does it make you feel? Inspired, sure. But do you feel the way the listeners who heard those heralds felt when the victory was announced? Do you feel your burdens have fallen off? Do you feel as if something great has been done for you and you’re not a slave anymore?

Of course you don’t. It weighs you down: This is how I have to live. It’s not a gospel. The gospel is that God connects you not on the basis of what you’ve done (or haven’t done) but on the basis of what Jesus has done, in history, for you.

And that makes it absolutely different from every other religion or philosophy.”

–Timothy Keller, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus (New York: Dutton, 2011), 16-17.

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“The blood of the lamb” by Timothy Keller

“Imagine you were in Egypt just after that first Passover. If you stopped Israelites in those days and said, ‘Who are you and what is happening here?’ they would say, ‘I was a slave, under a sentence of death, but I took shelter under the blood of the lamb and escaped that bondage, and now God lives in our midst and we are following Him to the Promised Land.’

That is exactly what Christians say today. If you trust in Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice, the greatest longings of your heart will be satisfied on the day you sit down for that eternal feast in the promised kingdom of God.”

–Timothy Keller, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus (New York: Dutton, 2011), 172.

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“The radical nature of the gospel” by Timothy Keller

“One of the signs that you may not grasp the unique, radical nature of the gospel is that you are certain that you do.”

–Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God (New York: Dutton, 2008), xi.

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“The smelling salts” by Timothy Keller

“Christianity is by no means the opiate of the people. It’s more like the smelling salts.”

–Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God (New York: Dutton, 2008), 113.

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“The purpose of Biblical miracles” by Timothy Keller

“I don’t want to be too hard on people who struggle with the idea of God’s intervention in the natural order. Miracles are hard to believe in, and they should be. In Matthew 28 we are told that the apostles met the risen Jesus on a mountainside in Galilee: ‘When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted’ (verse 17).

That is a remarkable admission. Here is the author of an early Christian document telling us that some of the founders of Christianity couldn’t believe the miracle of the resurrection, even when they were looking straight at Him with their eyes and touching Him with their hands. There is no other reason for this to be in the account unless it really happened.

The passage shows us several things. It is a warning not to think that only we modern, scientific people have to struggle with the idea of the miraculous, while ancient, more primitive people did not. The apostles responded like any group of modern people– some believed their eyes and some didn’t. It is also an encouragement to patience. All the apostles ended up as great leaders in the church, but some had a lot more trouble believing than others.

The most instructive thing about this text is, however, what it says about the purpose of Biblical miracles. They lead not simply to cognitive belief, but to worship, to awe and wonder. Jesus’s miracles in particular were never magic tricks, designed only to impress and coerce. You never see Him say something like: ‘See that tree over there? Watch me make it burst into flames!’ Instead, He used miraculous power to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and raise the dead.

Why? We modern people think of miracles as the suspension of the natural order, but Jesus meant them to be the restoration of the natural order. The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger, and death in it. Jesus has come to redeem where it is wrong and heal the world where it is broken. His miracles are not just proofs that He has power but also wonderful foretastes of what He is going to do with that power. Jesus’s miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we all want is coming.”

–Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (New York: Dutton, 2008), 95-6.

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“We will be brought into the feast” by Tim Keller

“Jesus, unlike the founder of any other major faith, holds out hope for ordinary human life. Our future is not an ethereal, impersonal form of consciousness. We will not float through the air, but rather will eat, embrace, sing, laugh, and dance in the kingdom of God, in degrees of power, glory, and joy that we can’t at present imagine.

Jesus will make the world our perfect home again. We will no longer be living ‘east of Eden,’ always wandering and never arriving. We will come, and the father will meet us and embrace us, and we will be bought into the feast.”

–Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God (New York, NY: Dutton, 2008), 104.

[HT: Of First Importance]

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