Shepherds Conference 2024 General Session 1

March 6, 6:00 p.m. 
Speaker: John Piper
Topic: Truth Triumphs Through Pleasure


Message Summary: 

The ultimate goal of all things is the fullest exhibition of the glory of God. That exhibition in the age to come will not happen if God’s people do not find their greatest enjoyment in Him. 

As a pastor, huge things are at stake in your people’s pleasure in and enjoyment of God. The goal is that you, and your people through you, would find pleasure in God more than in anything else.


1. The Connection Between Truth and Ultimate Reality

The Bible often speaks of truth as a characteristic of the things we say. We say things that are true or false. When we think about truth this way, it’s a characteristic of our statements about reality.

The Bible also speaks of truth as reality. It doesn't only talk about statements that are the truth about reality, it talks about that reality as the truth. When you speak about the truth, that reality is the truth. The truth not only states reality, it is reality. 

2. The Connection Between Ultimate Reality and God

When He speaks to Moses in Exodus 4:13, God refers to Himself as “I AM.” Only God can say, "I AM WHO I AM." Everything else must say, “I am because He is.” 

God is self-existent—He simply is. He has no beginning and no end. He depends on nothing—everything depends absolutely on Him. He is absolute fullness and perfection. He conforms to nothing outside Himself. He is the standard of all perfection, beauty, truth, and goodness. His good pleasure always holds sway and His actions are absolutely free. He is "I AM WHO I AM" (Exod 3:14).

The Bible often uses the word truth to refer to ultimate reality, and that ultimate reality is God.

3. The Connection Between God and Preciousness

Within this framework, the question becomes is ultimate reality valuable? Is it of infinite worth? Is it precious?

Or more precisely, is ultimate reality ultimate value? Is ultimate reality ultimate worth? Is ultimate reality ultimate preciousness? 

If we don’t answer these questions rightly, our theology, our worship, and our obedience will go off the rails. Profound things are at stake here in the way we live and do ministry. 

And the answer is God is ultimate value. God is ultimate worth. God is ultimate preciousness.

4. The Connection Between Preciousness and Pleasure

The fitting human soul-response to preciousness as the Bible presents it is joy (Matt 13:44; Heb 10:34; Phil 3:8; Hab 3:17–18; Heb 11:24–26; Ps 16:11).

The human response that corresponds to a better, lasting, more precious reward is joyfully accepting hardship, setting aside lesser pleasures, and delighting in the Lord. Do you find joy in the Lord? Do you take pleasure in Him? Do you treasure Him as precious?


When in the final glorification of the saints the bride of Christ experiences her supreme pleasure in the infinite preciousness that is God, then infinite preciousness in God will be exhibited.

The goal of history, the goal of redemption, the goal of creation is the fullest exhibition of the glory of God in the new heavens and the new earth. And I’m saying that absolutely will not happen if the bride does not find her fullest pleasure in the bridegroom. It will not happen.

And if you believe that—that the fullness of the bride’s pleasure in the bridegroom is an absolutely essential component in the fulfillment of the purposes of the universe—it’s going to affect your ministry. And when that happens, truth, ultimate reality, God, ultimate preciousness will be vindicated, and truth will triumph through pleasure.