The Holy Spirit as the “wellspring and taproot of all holy and Christ-like action”

J. I. Packer’s insight into the nature of godly living must be noted. He rightly insists that: “we can never hope to do anything right, never expect to perform a work that is truly good, unless God works within us to make us will and act for his good pleasure. Realizing this will make us depend constantly on our indwelling Lord – which is the heart of what is meant by abiding in Christ. Our living should accordingly be made up of sequences having the following shape. We begin by considering what we have to do, or need to do. Recognizing that without divine help we can do nothing as we should (see John 15:5), we confess to the Lord our inability, and ask that help be given. Then, confident that prayer has been heard and help will be given, we go to work. And, having done what we could, we thank God for the ability to do as much

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Submission: The Christ-like Virtue (Almost) Nobody Wants

Doug Phillips: It’s the ‘S’ word for contemporary Christianity  — ‘submission.’   Submission is a crucial (radical!), Christ-like virtue that figures prominently in Biblical teaching – but it’s a virtue (both an attitude and habit of action) that very few Christians today actually aspire to and work to develop.  But again, it is at the very heart of what it means to be Christ-like, for Jesus himself said, “…I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”  John 6:38     “Not what I will, but what You will” was the guiding principle for Jesus’ life and ministry.  And the same spirit of submission was expressed when he said, “My food is to obey the will of the one who sent me and to finish the work he gave me to do.”    In fact, the same attitude of submission is seen in the Spirit’s relation to the

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The Elder’s Qualifications

What should elders be like? Outside of the Bible, you’d be hard pressed to find a better, sweeter, more uplifting explanation than the one given by David Dickson The Elder and His Work. Chew on these words. Be encouraged. Be challenged. Be inspired. Pray for grace. ******* 1. The office and work being spiritual, it is necessary that elders should be spiritual men. It is not necessary that they be men of great gifts or worldly position, of wealth or high education, but it is indispensably necessary that they be men of God, at peace with Him, new creatures in Christ Jesus; engaged in the embassy of reconciliation, they must be themselves reconciled. We must love the Master, and the work for the Master’s sake. If we do love it, it will be a happy service because it is a willing service. And as our souls prosper, our work will prosper; the joy of the Lord will be our strength… 2. We

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To Follow Christ Is to Love Them When They Hate You

Kevin DeYoung: There are two difficult realities you must accept if you are to live faithfully as a Christian in the world. (1) You will have enemies. And (2) you must love those enemies. Jesus taught both things quite clearly. Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:21-22 “Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Accepting either one of these truths is challenging enough. Embracing both of them takes the work of the Holy Spirit. Some people can accept that they will have

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If Doctrine Makes You Proud, It’s Not from Christ

You have to love the Puritans for getting to the core of an issue. This is especially a good reminder for those of us who love good doctrine. Good doctrines have Jesus’ “character and image engraved upon them” and should lead us to be more like him. Would you like to test whether this or that doctrine is from the Spirit of Christ or not? Examine it by this rule: whatever doctrine you find to encourage and countenance sin, to exalt self, to be accommodating to the world’s designs, and that bends to the humors and lusts of men, you may safely reject. Whatever doctrine makes those who profess it to be carnal, proud, and sensual, you may safely conclude never came from Jesus Christ. The doctrines of Christ lead to godliness; his truth sanctifies. Do not swallow anything, even if it comes ever so dearly, that does not have some relish of Christ and holiness in it. (John Flavel)

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What does it mean to be “spiritual”?

“The spiritual person is simply a believer, one who has closed with the message of the cross. Indeed, those who are most mature are most grateful for the cross and keep coming back to it as the measure of God’s love for them and the supreme standard of personal self-denial.” DA Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry, p. 62. (HT: Justin Childers)

Preach The Gospel To Yourself Everyday

From Tullian Tchividjian: I’ve been re-reading Jerry Bridges’ excellent book The Discipline of Grace.  A little while ago I read his comments on 2 Corinthians 3:18 where the apostle Paul writes: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed. Bridges reminded me of just how important it is to “preach the gospel to ourselves everyday” if we are going to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. He writes: The glory that has a transforming effect on us is the glory of Christ revealed in the gospel, the good news that Jesus died in our place as our represenative to free us not only from the penalty of sin but also from its dominion. A clear understanding and appropriation of the gospel, which gives freedom from sin’s guilt and sin’s grip, is, in the hands of the Holy Spirit, a chief means of sanctification…Our specific responsibility in the pursuit of

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Manliness: what is it and where’s it gone?

This is a great piece from Phil Johnson: One of the recurring figures of masculinity that John Eldredge keeps bringing up in Wild at Heart is Maximus from the movie Gladiator. A fantasy character! The subtitle of the book is Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul. But here is the secret of a man’s soul according to John Eldredge: “Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.” That’s a fairy-tale perspective. It’s an irresponsible little boy’s notion of manhood. It lacks any biblical foundation whatsoever. But Wild at Heart is the single most influential book on Christian manhood published by any evangelical publisher in the past three decades. That says something about the state of the church. Meanwhile one of the best books actually dealing with the subject biblically is The Mark of a Man: Following Christ’s Example of Masculinity—by Elizabeth Elliot. Doesn’t it say something

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