Sunday, February 22, 2009

Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World - edited by C. J. Mahaney

"Today, the greatest challenge facing American evangelicals is not persecution from the world, but seduction by the world." (pg. 22)

"The world we're not to love is the organized system of human civilization that is actively hostile to God and alienated from God. The world God forbids us to love is the fallen world. Humanity at enmity with God. A world of arrogant, self-sufficient people seeking to exist apart from God and living in opposition to God." (pg. 26)

" [worldliness] is to gratify and exalt oneself to the exclusion of God." (pg. 27)

"When it comes to waging the war of sanctification, severe trial usually alerts us to battle, rousing us to our need for God. Popular culture, especially entertainment media, often lulls us to ignore our battle with the flesh." (pg. 41)

"Do we risk legalism by establishing personal viewing standards? Absolutely! But the risk doesn't lie in having standards; it lies in our motivation. The question is not, 'Should we view selectively?' but 'Why do we view selectively?'" (pg. 44)

"Any discussion of biblical obedience, including entertainment guidelines, must spring from a robust understanding of grace." (pg. 47)

"We need more than a rating if we're to honor God through our viewing. We need an evaluation process that takes into account our time and our motive, as well as offering a biblical benchmark for measuring content." (pg. 57)

"What's appropriate for one person to listen to might be sin for someone else because of the differing associations we make. We rarely hear music in a vacuum. Depending on the state of our hearts, any song we hear is a potential carrier of worldly values and perspectives." (pg. 80ff)

"...coveting is desiring stuff too much or desiring too much stuff. It's replacing our delight in God with joy in stuff. Materialism is what happens when coveting has cash to spend." (pg. 95)

"When we're discontented, cost or practical utility is rarely the point of a purchase. The point is the pursuit of happiness." (pg. 101)

"Covetousness chains the heart to things that are passing away." (pg. 106)

"Of all people, it is the Christian who should appreciate aesthetics, discerning with renewed powers of perception the handiwork of God in creation. And as our own aesthetic achievements reflect his creativity and skill, we join him in expressing and celebrating beauty - a beauty that points us to God and intensifies our delight in him." (pg. 153)

"Every aspect of our involvement in this world is to have a redemptive component, illuminating the character of the Creator, imitating his activity, and embodying his intentions to save, renew, and restore. If we're appropriately 'heavenly minded,' we'll be alert to endless earthly opportunities to glorify God." (pg. 166)

C. J. Mahaney, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners - by John Bunyan

"157. Now I saw, that as God had His hand in all the providences and dispensations that overtook His elect; so He had His hand in all the temptations that they had to sin against Him; no to animate them to wickedness, but to choose their temptations and troubles for them; and also to leave them for a time, to such sins only that might not destroy, but humble them; as might not put them beyond, but lay them in the way of the renewing His mercy. But oh! what love, what care, what kindness and mercy did I now see, mixing itself with the most severe and dreadful of all God's ways to His people!" (pg. 51)

"214. This was a wonderment to me; yet truly, I am apt to think it was of God; for the word of the law and wrath, must give place to the word of life and grace; because, though the word of condemnation be glorious, yet the word of life and salvation doth far exceed in glory (2 Cor. 3:8-11; Mark 9:5-7; John 6:37)." (pg. 70)

"301. Thus therefore I came to perceive that, though gifts in themselves were good, to the thing for which they are designed, to wit, the edification of others; yet empty, and without power to save the soul of him that hath them, if they be alone: neither are they, as so, any sign of a man's state to be happy, being only a dispensation of God to some, of whose improvement, or non-improvement, they must when a little love more is over, give an account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead." (pg. 96ff)

"C5. Of all fears, they are best that are made by the blood of Christ; and of all joy, that is the sweetest that is mixed with mourning over Christ. Oh! it is a goodly thing to be on our knees, with Christ in our arms, before God. I hope I know something of these things." (pg. 110)

"'...for men might have many elegant, or excellent words, and yet not pray at all; but when a man prayeth, he doth, through a sense of those things which he wants (which sense is begotten by the Spirit), pour out his heart before God through Christ; though his words be not so many and so excellent as other are.'" (pg. 126)

John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2007)