Sunday, April 02, 2017

The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus Christ - by Chap Bettis

"This book is not a cookbook.  A cookbook lists the ingredients to include, the mixing method, and the needed cooking temperature.  Followed exactly, the dish turns out perfectly every time.  As parents it's easy to assume that if we give our children the right ingredients, keep out the wrong ingredients, and put them in the right environment for the right amount of time, we are guaranteed a certain result.  Parenting doesn't work that way. ... Instead, it's better to think of this material as a guidebook to help you on your parenting journey.  A guidebook is written by someone who has been where you are going.  While not feeling compelled to do everything the guidebook says, it is still helpful to learn from someone else's experience as you forge your own path.  Or, alternatively, you can think of this as a playbook.  Every football team has a collection of plays, called a playbook.  Any of these can be executed during the course of a game.  The goal of the team is to win the game, not execute every play in the playbook." (pg. XIIIff)

"God's intent in giving you the privilege of creating new lives is for you to raise them to know and love him." (pg. 5)

"Children are God's means to transform us.  Their sin reveals our sin.  Their questions reveal our ignorance.  All of these are God's prompts for us to grow." (pg. 15)

"The first battleground of family discipleship is not my child's heart; it is my heart.  Each parent must decide whether he is more concerned that this child is accepted into Heaven or 'Harvard.'" (pg. 17)

"Before God commands us to teach our children, he reminds us of the need we have to love God and to carry his Word in our hearts.  It is impossible to pass on something we do not possess.  Example has always been and will always be the most powerful teacher." (pg. 40)

"A child is God's sanctification machine, calling you to die to yourself daily.  Children are a floodlight on the idols of the heart.  Idols like comfort, looking good before others, control, success, or peace are all revealed by my little sinner!" (pg. 51)

"Circumstances don't cause the reaction of the heart; they merely reveal the true heart." (pg. 52)

"Unfortunately, a shallow view of sin will produce a shallow view of the cross and shallow Christians, as well.  Sin is much deeper than our actions.  It is also wrong attitudes toward God and others.  And deeper than wrong attitudes are wrong affections." (pg. 87)

"...talking together, learning the Word together, and serving others together are all effective means of grace to your children." (pg. 131)

"Your child is made to live for this purpose, battling real spiritual enemies and living a life of kingdom expansion.  He or she cannot be entertained enough to stay in the kingdom.  Why, then, do most youth groups base their ministry on entertainment?  Where is the youth group based on cosmic war?" (pg. 167)

"If spiritual leadership is moving God's people in God's direction through God's means, then prayer is a foundational means." (pg. 187)

Chap Bettis, The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus Christ (Diamond Hill Publishing, 2016)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, & Gospel Assurance - Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters - by Sinclair B. Ferguson

"The benefits of the gospel (justification, reconciliation, redemption, adoption) were being separated from Christ, who is himself the gospel.  The benefits of the gospel are in Christ.  They do not exist apart from him.  They are ours only in him.  They cannot be abstracted from him as if we ourselves could possess them independently of him." (pg. 44)

"Wherever the benefits of Christ are seen as abstractable from Christ himself, there is a decreasing stress on his person and work in preaching and in the books that are published to feed that preaching. This is accompanied by an increased stress on our experience of salvation rather than on the grace, majesty, and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ." (pg. 49ff)

"The root of legalism is almost as old as Eden, which explains why it is a primary, if not the ultimate, pastoral problem.  In seeking to bring freedom from legalism, we are engaged in undoing the ancient work of Satan." (pg. 80)

"It is this - a failure to see the generosity of God and his wise and loving plans for our lives - that lies at the root of legalism and drives it.  It bears repeating:  in Eve's case antinomianism (her opposition to and rejection of God's law) was itself an expression of her legalism!" (pg. 82ff)

"...legalism and antinomianism are, in fact, nonidentical twins that emerge from the same womb." (pg. 84)

"The ongoing function of God's law is not to serve as a standard to be met for justification but as a guide for Christian living." (pg. 114)

"In contemporary terms God stated the indicative - his commitment to his people; this in turn give rise to the imperative - the implications for the lifestyle of his people.  The implications are the outworking of his declarations." (pg. 116)

"It is, after all, through the gospel-gift of the Spirit that 'the law' is written in the heart - not as a 'covenant of works,' but as a 'rule of life.'" (pg. 121)

"At root then antinomianism separates God's law from God's person, and grace from the union with Christ in which the law is written in the heart.  In doing so it jeopardizes not simply the Decalogue; it dismantles the truth of the gospel." (pg. 154)

"There is only one genuine cure for legalism.  It is the same medicine the gospel prescribes for antinomianism: understanding and tasting union with Jesus Christ himself." (pg. 157)

"Love empowers the engine; law guides the direction.  They are mutually interdependent.  The notion that love can operate apart from law is a figment of the imagination.  It is not only bad theology; it is poor psychology.  It has to borrow from law to give eyes to love." (pg. 169)

"Obedience strengthens faith and confirms it to us because it is always marked by what Paul calls 'the obedience of faith.'" (pg. 201)

"We must never confuse the heart of assurance in faith with its confirmation in a life of service." (pg. 214)

Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, & Gospel Assurance - Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Puritans on Loving One Another - from the writings of Ralph Venning, Thomas Manton, Joseph Caryl & John Ball - edited by Rev. Don Kistler

"Indeed, the glory of all our hereafter glory will be oneness of communion with the Father, Son, Spirit, and one another in God, who is one in all and all in one." (pg. 8)

"It is true that the multitude of years teaches wisdom, and so may the youth of days; it is truth, and nothing but the truth, and all the truth, which should have our esteem, whether it is old or young, whether it is the firstborn of time or the last." (pg. 17)

"Jealousy is as quick as martial law: it arraigns, condemns, and executes all in a moment." (pg. 23)

"When we are inferior and others superior, we beg (as did the servant in Matthew 18:26), 'Have patience a little.' Have a little patience! But when we are superior and others inferior, we have no patience at all." (pg. 26)

"Nature is so in love with unity that particular beings will forsake their own interests, their elements and centers which are their rest and happiness, rather than there should be a breach or vacuity in nature. And it is but reasonable that particulars should serve the universal (for they who so lose, shall save), seeing that unless the vessel be preserved their cabins cannot." (pg. 28)

"...none must look upon love as an indifferent thing, which we may practice or forbear at our own pleasure. No, it is a debt or duty by virtue of Christ's express command, a duty to Christ, a debt that we owe to God more than to our neighbor. (pg. 62)

"Those works of love, of love toward man, much more of love toward God, which are the end of the commandment, must flow from a good spring, from a gracious principle, a principle of grace." (pg. 79)

"...the heart is evangelically pure though there is sin dwelling in us, or an indwelling sin; and though sin is stirring, having strong motions in us, it makes war in our souls from day to day, though sin sometimes prevails and gives us that foil; yet, notwithstanding all this, when: First, the soul is free from the command of every sin. Second, when the soul is free from the customary practice of every sin. And, third, when the soul is free from the love of any sin, then the soul is evangelically pure." (pg. 101)

"It is an easy matter to be pure in our own eyes and yet remain altogether unclean." (pg. 102ff)

"Love causes the soul of him who loves to be more where it loves than where it lives." (pg. 119)

Venning, Manton, Caryl, Ball, edited by Rev. Don Kistler, The Puritans on Loving One Another (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 1997)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rediscovering Holiness: Know the Fullness of Life with God - by J. I. Packer

"The recovering of old truth, truth that has been a means of blessing in the past, can under God become the means of blessing again in the present, while the quest for newer alternatives may well prove barren." (pg. 13)

"Holiness is always the saved sinner's response of gratitude for grace received." (pg. 22)

"Genuine holiness is genuine Christlikeness, and genuine Christlikeness is genuine humanness - the only genuine humanness there is. Love in the service of God and others, humility and meekness under the divine hand, integrity of behavior expressing integration of character, wisdom with faithfulness, boldness with prayerfulness, sorrow at people's sins, joy at the Father's goodness, and single-mindedness in seeking to please the Father morning, noon, and night, were all qualities seen in Christ, the perfect man." (pg. 27)

"To long for total spiritual well-being is right and natural, but to believe that one is anywhere near it is to be utterly self-deceived." (pg. 39)

"Our time will surely go down in history, at least as far as the West is concerned, as the age of the God-shrinkers. Mainstream thinkers, inside as well as outside the church, have affirmed either the bloodless deism of a God who is cool, faraway, and uninvolved, and who lets His world run free; or the static monism of a God whose achievement is limited to unifying reality by linking all entities and processes with Himself in an interdependent whole; or the pathetic impotence of a God who is revealed in Jesus as an unsuccessful lover; or the faceless force of a God who animates all religions equally, so that none should dream of displacing any other." (pg. 64)

"When almighty love has thus totally taken over the task of getting me home to glory, responsive love, fed by gratitude and expressed in thanksgiving, should surface spontaneously as the ruling passion of my life." (pg. 71)

"Spirituality without ethics corrupts itself by becoming morally insensitive and antinomian, more concerned to realize God's presence than to keep His law. Ethics without spirituality corrupts itself by becoming mechanical, formalistic, proud, and unspiritual." (pg. 86)

"All ventures in holiness go rotten at the core when gain in any form, rather than gratitude, motivates them." (pg. 97)

"Godly Christians have always been marked by a two-sided perception of the numinous [the sense of divine holiness]. On the one hand, the transcendent glory of God's purity and love, as focused in the plan of salvation, fascinates them. On the other hand, the transcendent glory of God's sovereignty, as focused in the divine threat of judgment for impiety, alarms them. This characteristically Christian sense of the mercy and the terror (fear) of the Lord is the seed-bed in which awareness grows that life-long repentance is a 'must' of holy living." (pg. 120ff)

"Some forms of so-called holiness teaching encourage us to be insensitive to, or unconcerned about, the ungodly thoughts and motives that lurk within us, but one index of true holiness is an increasing awareness of them, a growing hatred toward them, and a deepening repentance for them, when we find ourselves harboring them in our hearts." (pg. 136)

"The fact is that Christians today are all victims of our decadent late twentieth century ethos that wrenches public orthodoxy and personal morality apart, implying that the latter does not matter so long as one is valiant for the truth." (pg. 140)

"The point I am trying to drive home is that holiness is the healthy growth of morally misshapen humans toward the moral image of Jesus Christ, the perfect man. This growth is supernatural. It takes the sanctifying work of the indwelling Holy Spirit to effect it." (pg. 152)

"Law-keeping love is the epitome of holiness, though love in any other sense negates it. Law-keeping love is God's prescription for the fulfilling of our humanity." (pg. 163)

"It has been truly said that the greatest social problem of the modern world is extreme emotional immaturity masquerading as an adult lifestyle. In God's ordering of things, the human family is meant to function as a relational network in which the lesson of responsible love and life-strategy will be thoroughly learned. But with the weakening of family life almost everywhere this is not happening." (pg. 182ff)

"Christian endurance, as we have seen, means living lovingly, joyfully, peacefully, and patiently under conditions that we wish were different." (pg. 227)

"...Christian contentment, cheerfulness and joy are fed, not directly by spiritual experiences - feelings, visions, raptures, thrills, which come and go, and in particular cases may hardly come at all - but by cognitive meditation and reflection - that is, by thinking, and thinking often - about the goodness, glory, and grace of the holy Three." (pg. 262ff)

J. I. Packer, Rediscovering Holiness: Know the Fullness of Life with God (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2009)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Famine In The Land: A Passionate Call For Expository Preaching - by Steven J. Lawson

"This is the true nature of preaching. It is the man of God opening the Word of God and expounding its truths so that voice of God may be heard, the glory of God seen, and the will of God obeyed." (pg. 18)

"In seeking to capture the upper hand in church growth, a new wave of pastors is reinventing church and repackaging the gospel into a product to be sold to 'consumers.'" (pg. 25)

"While evangelicals affirm the inerrancy of Scripture, many have apparently abandoned their belief in its sufficiency to save and to sanctify." (pg. 26)

"Rather than expounding the depths of God's Word, many Bible-believing ministers have chosen the path of least resistance, content to scratch the surface of shallow souls and tickle the ears of languid listeners. The result is congregations are starving - even though many of the famished may not be aware of it - settling for sickly sweet, yet totally inadequate, spiritual pabulum." (pg. 38)

"This present-day 'famine' of 'hearing the words of the Lord' (Amos 8:11) must be traced back to a famine of preaching the Word. Surely John Stott is right when he observes, 'The low level of Christian living is due more than anything else to the low level of Christian preaching.' May preachers today expound the Book, the whole Book, and nothing but the Book - so help them God!" (pg. 98ff)

"...the ultimate goal of Bible exposition is changed lives. Preaching must do more than simply inform the mind; it must grip the heart and challenge the will. The entire person - mind, emotion, and will - must be impacted." (pg. 114)

Steven J. Lawson, Famine In The Land: A Passionate Call For Expository Preaching (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2003)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Model of Christian Maturity: An Exposition of 2 Corinthians 10-13 - by D. A. Carson

"The gospel will purify and transform the people from any cultural heritage who bow unreservedly to Jesus Christ. By this means it will modify or eliminate many of the culturally transmitted values of those new Christians; and they in turn may in some measure influence their culture and society as salt exerts its influence in food (cf. Matt. 5:13)." (pg. 50)

"Overemphasis on the futuristic aspects of eschatology, e.g., at the expense of the realized aspects, may foster unhealthy speculation regarding what God has not revealed, date-setting as to when Christ will return, a denial of the graces and benefits we have already received, and a depreciation of the importance of living together as Christians who constitute a kind of outpost of the new heaven and new earth. The opposite imbalance may prompt us to neglect the promises the Bible gives us regarding the future, to forget to live lives that look forward to and long for Christ's return, and to act as if the fullness of all Christ provided by his cross-work is already our due." (pg. 53ff)

"Christians are especially open to the kind of cunning deceit that combines the language of faith and religion with the content of self-interest and flattery. We like to be told how special we are, how wise, how blessed, especially if as a consequence others are gently diminished. We like to have our Christianity shaped less by the cross than by triumphalism or rules or charismatic leaders or subjective experience. And if this shaping can be coated with assurances of orthodoxy, complete with cliche, we may not detect the presence of the archdeceiver, nor see that we are being weaned away from 'sincere and pure devotion to Christ' to a 'different gospel.'" (pg. 96ff)

"...if we hold that God has revealed himself to men, supremely in the person of his Son, but also in the words and propositions of Scripture, then however many interpretative difficulties may still afflict us, we have no right to treat as optional anything God has said." (pg. 111)

"Very often in the Scriptures, weakness is not the condition of grace in the sense that it serves as the necessary precursor of grace, but in the sense that it serves as a continuing vehicle of grace." (pg. 155)

"... We are more concerned to pray that we may not do evil, than that we may not suffer evil' (Henry)." (pg. 185)

"Here is the heart of a true apostle, a Christian so steeped in radical discipleship and firm self-discipline that his every care is for the people he serves, not for his own reputation." (pg. 186)

D. A. Carson, A Model of Christian Maturity: An Exposition of 2 Corinthians 10-13 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1984)