“Every sin strikes at the honor of God, the being of God, the glory of God, the heart of Christ, the joy of the Spirit, and the peace of a man’s conscience; and therefore a soul truly penitent strikes at all, hates all, conflicts with all, and will labor to draw strength from a crucified Christ to crucify all sins.”
Thomas Brooks in Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices
“But if our destiny is to become what we are in Christ, what does it matter what we think? Is our transformation not inevitable? What do these detailed doctrinal implications really do for us? Well, simply put, what we believe concerning doctrine determines the way we respond to God, his church, and this world, which in its present system is marked out for destruction.
Doctrine matters when you’re reading the news and can’t stop weeping. It matters when your neighbor tells you she’s pregnant, and the next time you see her, she says, ‘I took care of the problem.’ It matters when your husband comes home from the office early with a cardboard box full of his pictures and lunch dishes from work. It matters when you’re facing another evening of free time and you feel restless. It matters when your prayers are answered and a door to share your faith swings wide open. When your new medication doesn’t do anything; when you get a raise; when your laptop crashes; when you are shopping at the grocery store; when your child rolls his eyes at you; when you’re laughing so hard your face hurts; and when you get a phone call you never thought you’d receive. In every moment of life, doctrine matters. From the global concerns that affect everyone on this planet to the minutiae of our vaporous lives, doctrine matters.”
Gloria Furman in Alive in Him
“Just as we may not think of Genesis 3 (with its focus on sin) as a passage about discontentment, we may also fail to see conversion as a declaration of our contentment in God. But what else could it mean? We are certainly not saying that when we become Christians, we now find our supreme, soul-settling joy in creation plus God. Conversion is not about adding Jesus to an already crowded shelf of idols. May it never be! Conversion is about sweeping clear the shelves of our heart and pledging supreme love and loyalty to God— and God alone.”
Erik Raymond in Chasing Contentment
“There is a sense in which the hour of worship never ends. It is merely adjourned until the next appointed time for meeting. We are sent out with our hearts made right and our minds informed with God’s plans for the world and our wills charged with response.
That’s the pattern we repeat every time we gather in worship. It doesn’t matter if we are bored with the repetition. It is cutting a channel for something lasting. Worship is the action that centers our lives in the holy life of God and sets us firmly in the glories of creation and salvation. Faithful and intelligent and reverent worship keeps us in touch with what is real.”
Eugene Peterson in As Kingfishers Catch Fire
In The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Mark Dever encourages Christians to pursue every opportunity to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to those around them. The purpose of the book is in response to the observation that evangelism on a personal level is dwindling in our society today. The author asserts that many Christians do realize their apathy and fears but few aim to make substantial efforts to improve. In the first chapter, Dever examines the various reasons and objections that believers often resort to when asked about their past experiences in sharing the gospel. The next few chapters discuss the content of the gospel along with how and who we should approach in our evangelistic efforts. I find chapter five to be particularly helpful to those who struggle in sharing the gospel as Dever discusses what evangelism is not. The author warns that we often confuse evangelism with forcefully persuading others to believe, merely sharing one’s testimony, engaging solely in social action to trumpet Christian values, defending the faith through apologetics, and focusing wrongly on the results of evangelism as being evangelism itself. Chapter six involves the follow-up process that Christians should undertake after sharing the gospel such as looking for positive or negative signs that their friend hopes to grow in the faith to determine whether any further action needs to be taken to reinforce the message. Lastly, chapter seven focuses on the importance of evangelism including the privilege, responsibility, and eternal significance that is involved. The material is unapologetically practical and involves no technical language at all as Dever aims to reach all Christians who hope to be a faithful proclaimer of the gospel.
I would recommend this book to all who takes seriously Christ’s command to go and make disciples of all nations. Our culture today influences us towards being passive or even silent in sharing our beliefs. Even with our own family and friends, we would rather relegate the task of evangelism to those we regard as professionals such as pastors and missionaries. Dever rightly points out that sharing the gospel is God’s will for all those who have heard and believed in the wonderful truths of Jesus’ good news. The author emphasizes that evangelism does not involve aggressive, unruly indoctrination and the power to convert does not belong to us. Our task is to simply present the gospel faithfully in a respectful, convincing manner so that a non-believer may have the opportunity to hear the gospel message in its entirety. As for conversion, it is only by God’s grace and the power of the Spirit that those who are His elect will repent and put their faith in Christ as the Way, Truth, and Life.
Spend your youth (and every day of the rest of your life) in wide-eyed, soul-saturated worship. Fix your eyes on the life-giving, soul-redeeming, burden-relieving, sin-forgiving, service-demanding, all-satisfying, step-guiding, life-changing God. Be humble, be wonderstruck, be faithful, and throw yourself into a single-focused pursuit of this King of the universe. Take up your cross, deny yourself daily, and follow him. ”
Jaquelle Crowe in This Changes Everything