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)