BJ Stockman “draws from the deep wells of Jeremiah Burroughs’ old work The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment to further demonstrate the sin of grumbling” and “offers seven evils of a grumbling, murmuring, and complaining heart within the Christian. Here’s his summary (if you want to read Burrough’s quotes here is the full post.)
“1. It models Satan. The angel Lucifer was the first grumbler. The onset of his fall from heaven was a result of dissatisfaction in his position and the desire to be like God.
2. It is contrary to who you are. You are a son and daughter with a heavenly Father who loves you, the deeply beloved bride of Christ, and actual members of Jesus’ body. When you bellyache and complain about every little thing you mar your royal and treasured position.
3. It is the opposite of prayer. In prayer we come to God with requests and with praise and thankfulness in order to commune with him, but when we grumble, complain and murmur we essentially reverse prayer and rehearse all that we aren’t getting or all that God is not doing that we think he should be doing.
4. It is simply a waste of time. It accomplishes absolutely nothing. It accelerates personal stress and is downright annoying and draining to listen to.
5. It swallows up the blessing of mercy before it arrives. If you covet a particular mercy of God (like say a big raise), when it finally comes you won’t be thankful for it but will waste it. Coveting a blessing can turn the blessing into an idolatrous curse.
6. It worsens sufferings and afflictions. A murmuring attitude in the midst of affliction increases the affliction. Having a bad attitude in the midst of pleasant or mediocre circumstances poisons your heart and the hearts of others, and how much will this increase if this overwhelmingly negative spirit continues and truly difficult circumstances arrive.
7. It wears the hopeless costume of pessimism. This doesn’t mean you have to go all Joel Osteen on the world. It simply means consistent pessimism is not in line with the sure hope and life-changing power of the gospel. There is an inherent optimism within the gospel that produces hope, love, joy, peace, etc. Positive commands like “rejoice in the Lord” and “in everything give thanks” and negative commands like “be anxious for nothing” and “do not grumble” all reveal that there is a gospel optimism about the Christian life that is to flavor the personality of a Christian.”
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The Essential Owen purposes to give us “John Owen, One Morsel at a Time.” Here’s a good entry:
All that men do in the world is but seeking to supply their wants;—either their
1) natural wants, that nature may be supplied; or their
2) sinful wants, that their lusts may be satisfied; or their
3) spiritual wants, that their souls may be saved.
For the two first, men without the gospel lay out all their strength; but of the last there is amongst them a deep silence. Now this is all one as for men to cry out that their finger bleeds, whilst a sword is run through their hearts, and they perceive it not;—to desire a wart to be cured, whilst they have a plague-sore upon them. And hence perhaps it is that they are said to go to hell “like sheep,” Ps. 49:14, —very quietly, without dread, as a bird hasting to the snare, and not knowing that it is for his life, Prov. 7:23,—and there lie down in utter disappointment and sorrow for evermore.
from a sermon entitled A Vision of Unchangeable, Free Mercy ; Volume 8, page 37-8
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John Piper shares a few ideas that every Christian can employ to go deeper in your Bible. It was written to a 13-year-old. I would advise all believers–young and old–to read it.
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Posted in Evangelism, tagged Evangelism on June 6, 2012 |
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Here are ten ideas that Tim Keller has given to help every Christian be involved in evangelism:
- Let people around you know you are a Christian (in a natural, unforced way)
- Ask friends about their faith – and just listen!
- Listen to your friends problems – maybe offer to pray for them
- Share your problems with others – testify to how your faith helps you
- Give them a book to read
- Share your story
- Answer objections and questions
- Invite them to a church event
- Offer to read the Bible with them
- Take them to an explore course [which is a course that takes one through the gospel]
What Keller also advises is that we (generally) start with 1-4. If people are interested and want to talk more you can move them to stages 5-7. If they’re still interested go on to stages 8-10. Sometimes people will want to go straight to 10, but often people start from way back and need some time to think and discuss things in a non-pressured way. We often think that only stages 8-10 count and invest all our energy there. TK suggests that to get people at stages 8,9,10 you have to put the work in at 1-4. Sometimes you’ll have to keep going round the loop multiple times.
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“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:4
Our church is watching Episode 3 of Dispatches from the Front this evening. It’s about Gospel Advance in West Africa and is entitled “Once I Was Blind.” In lieu of that I thought this challenge from Lee Dodd was appropriate:
I once was blind. How soon I forget. Blessed be God for removing the scales from my eyes and granting me understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a treasure (Matthew 13:44), what a mercy (2 Corinthians 1:3), what a gift (Romans 6:23)! God rescued me. Now that I see, I will forever magnify and praise His name!
While I rejoice in God’s redeeming grace, there are many perishing around me. They remain blind. Having eyes, they do not, they will not, they cannot see. What Englishman in the time of the Black Death could live without great sorrow in his heart for the perishing? What mother could hold back the tears when only one of her four boys came home after 4 years of Civil War? I can’t help but mourn and grieve for blinded sinners, many of whom I know and love.
Romans 9:1-3 “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
Yes, I am rejoicing in God’s great salvation, but I simultaneously desire my neighbor to experience it. And my mom. And the Jehovah’s Witnesses who wouldn’t even take a Gospel tract. And my best friend from the sixth grade. And…
Let us pray as the puritan Thomas Watson prayed nearly 4 centuries ago, “Oh, that the eyes of sinners may be speedily opened—that they may see the difference of things, the beauty which is in holiness, and the astonishing madness that is in sin!”
~ Lee Dodd
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