Cheap Kindle Books 8.27.13

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Here are some cheap kindle books. Not sure how long they’ll stay that way:

Why God Gave us the Law

When God gives us commands, he means to help us run the race to completion, not to slow us down. In his Reflections on the Psalms, C. S. Lewis pondered how anyone could “delight” in the law of the Lord. Respect, maybe. Assent, perhaps. But how could anyone find the law so exhilarating? And yet, the more he thought about it, the more Lewis came to understand how the psalmist’s delight made sense. “Their delight in the Law,” Lewis observed, “is a delight in having touched firmness; like the pedestrian’s delight in feeling the hard road beneath his feet after a false short cut has long entangled him in muddy fields.”1 The law is good because firmness is good. God cares enough to show us his ways and direct our paths. How awful it would be to inhabit this world, have some idea that there is a God, and yet not know what he desires from us.2 Divine statutes are a gift to us. God gives us law because he loves.

-Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in our Holiness

Saturday Afternoon Book Review || The Hole in our Holiness

bookEvery Saturday afternoon, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s review is of The Hole in our Holiness (kindle version) by Kevin DeYoung.

Followers of Jesus would agree that holiness is important. We are commanded to be holy all over scripture. Yet, most do not feel very holy. When we sin, we feel guilty. We do things we wish we could stop. We don’t feel very holy.

The point of this book is that we have missed the point of holiness, not given it the attention it deserves, missed the place God has in our holiness, as well as our place in our holiness.

DeYoung said,

Holiness is the sum of a million little things—the avoidance of little evils and little foibles, the setting aside of little bits of worldliness and little acts of compromise, the putting to death of little inconsistencies and little indiscretions, the attention to little duties and little dealings, the hard work of little self-denials and little self-restraints, the cultivation of little benevolences and little forbearances.

I appreciated how he wove holiness into the sexuality of our culture and what many Christians have become “okay” with. Definitely some good food for thought in that chapter.

By far, the biggest thing that jumped out to me was the section on how all sins are not the same in God’s eyes. I’ve always heard people say, “No sin is worse than another sin in God’s eyes.” DeYoung makes the point that while that sounds nice, it isn’t true. All sin leads to death, but God specifically gives the punishment of death to some sins and not others in Scripture. There is a sense that all sins, while they all separate us from God, they are not all equal in God’s eyes.

Here are a few things that jumped out to me:

  • The hole in our holiness is that we don’t really care much about it.
  • Any gospel which says only what you must do and never announces what Christ has done is no gospel at all.
  • We must be holy, because this is one grand end and purpose for which Christ came into the world. . . . Jesus is a complete Saviour. He does not merely take away the guilt of a believer’s sin, he does more—he breaks its power.
  • No matter what you profess, if you show disregard for Christ by giving yourself over to sin—impenitently and habitually—then heaven is not your home.
  • The Great Commission is about holiness. God wants the world to know Jesus, believe in Jesus, and obey Jesus. We don’t take the Great Commission seriously if we don’t help each other grow in obedience.
  • One reason God’s holy people do not pursue holiness is that they have not yet been born again by the Holy Spirit.
  • Holiness is plain hard work, and we’re often lazy. We like our sins, and dying to them is painful. Almost everything is easier than growing in godliness. So we try and fail, try and fail, and then give up. It’s easier to sign a petition protesting man’s inhumanity to man than to love your neighbor as yourself. It’s one thing to graduate from college ready to change the world. It’s another to be resolute in praying that God would change you.
  • God chose us for salvation in eternity past and sent Christ to save us in history and gave us the gift of faith by the working of the Holy Spirit in our lifetimes so that we might be holy.
  • Holiness is the goal of our redemption.
  • It’s the consistent and frequent teaching of the Bible that those whose lives are marked by habitual ungodliness will not go to heaven.
  • Faith and good works are both necessary. But one is the root and the other the fruit.
  • There’s no question holiness is one of the central themes in the Bible. The word “holy” occurs more than 600 times in the Bible, more than 700 when you include derivative words like holiness, sanctify, and sanctification.
  • You can’t make sense of the Bible without understanding that God is holy and that this holy God is intent on making a holy people to live with him forever in a holy heaven.
  • In Christ every believer has a once-for-all positional holiness, and from this new identity every Christian is commanded to grow in the ongoing-for-your-whole-life process of holiness
  • True spirituality means being transformed by the Spirit through communion with the Father and the Son. If you are interested in spirituality, your priority should be to grow in the holiness that comes from the Spirit.
  • The world most definitely insists on holiness. Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t. But the world’s holiness is not found in being true to God; it’s found in being true to yourself.
  • Worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange.
  • God’s commands are given as a means of grace so that we might grow in godliness and show that we love him.
  • When every sin is seen as the same, we are less likely to fight any sins at all.
  • Love does not equal unconditional affirmation. Love entails the relentless pursuit of what is for our good. And our good is always growth in godliness.
  • God, while not ceasing to love his children, can still be “wondrously angry” toward them. God will never hate us, but he will mercifully frighten us with his wrath so that we might “shake off our sluggishness.”
  • God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share his holiness.
  • The Bible is realistic about holiness. Don’t think that all this glorious talk about dying to sin and living to God means there is no struggle anymore or that sin will never show up in the believer’s life. The Christian life still entails obedience. It still involves a fight. But it’s a fight we will win. You have the Spirit of Christ in your corner, rubbing your shoulders, holding the bucket, putting his arm around you and saying before the next round with sin, “You’re going to knock him out, kid.” Sin may get in some good jabs. It may clean your clock once in a while. It may bring you to your knees. But if you are in Christ it will never knock you out. You are no longer a slave, but free. Sin has no dominion over you. It can’t. It won’t. A new King sits on the throne. You serve a different Master. You salute a different Lord.
  • It’s popular in our day to think our bodies belong to us: “No one can tell me what to do with my body!” In fact, in our culture nothing is more essential to our identity as human beings than the freedom to express ourselves sexually and use our bodies as we choose. But God says the body belongs to him, not to us. We are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19) and members of Christ (v. 15). The body is no longer for self-gratification, but for God-glorification (v. 20). We have been bought with a price and belong to Christ.
  • Until we are married we should view members of the opposite sex against the backdrop of the family relationship.
  • The Bible has no category of dating where people who aren’t married can kinda sorta start acting in some ways like they are.
  • We have to take a hard look at the things we choose to put in front of our faces. If there was a couple engaged in sexual activity on a couch in front of you, would you pull up a seat to watch? No, that would be perverse, voyeuristic. So why is it different when people record it first and then you watch? What if a good-looking guy or girl, barely dressed, came up to you on the beach and said, “Why don’t you sit on your towel right here and stare at me for awhile?” Would you do it? No, that would be creepy. Why is it acceptable, then, when the same images are blown up the size of a three-story building? If we’re honest, we often seek exposure to sexual immorality and temptations to impurity and call it “innocent” relaxation.
  • The Father’s special communion with us is love; the Son’s communion is grace; and the Spirit’s communion with us is comfort.
  • Believers need to be reminded that they will bear fruit only as they are connected to the Vine.
  • Those most eager to be holy are often most susceptible to judgmentalism and arrogance.
  • If repentance looks like a concession to sin rather than a mark of holiness it’s only because we think of repentance too lightly.
  • Repentance is the vomit of the soul.
  • If you say “I can’t forgive myself,” it’s probably a sign of worldly grief—either unbelief in God’s promises and the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross, or regret that is merely focused on your loss of esteem and your loss of opportunities.

What Does Godly Character Look Like

What does God-like character look like in God’s people? One way to answer that question is to look at every command and example in the Bible. But a quicker approach is to examine the lists of vices and virtues in the New Testament. These provide a useful summary of wickedness and holiness. Here are the sort of vices that characterize the wicked and the sort of people who will not enter the kingdom: Mark 7:21–22: evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. Romans 1:24–31: impurity, homosexual relations, all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossip, slander, hatred of God, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Romans 13:13: orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality, sensuality, quarreling, jealousy. 1 Corinthians 6:9–10: sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, men who practice homosexuality, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, swindlers. Galatians 5:19–21: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these. Colossians 3:5–9: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, covetousness (which is idolatry), anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk, lying. 1 Timothy 1:9–10: unholy, profane, those who strike their fathers and mothers, murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine. Revelation 21:8: the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars.

On the flip side, here are the sorts of virtues found in God’s people: Romans 12:9–21: genuine love, hatred for evil, steadfastness in what is good, brotherly affection, excelling in showing honor, zealous, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, joyful in hope, patient in tribulation, constant in prayer, generous, hospitable, blessing enemies, rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep, harmonious, humble not haughty, associating with the lowly, honorable, peaceable, does not repay evil for evil, overcomes evil with good. 1 Corinthians 13:4–7: loving, patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, nor arrogant, not rude, not selfish, not irritable, not resentful, no joy in wrongdoing, rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Galatians 5:22–23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Colossians 3:12–15: compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiving one another, love, peace, gratitude. 2 Peter 1:5–7: virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.

-Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in our Holiness

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

  • What to say about yesterday at Revolution Church
  • I was fighting the flu since Wednesday night, which meant I was in sorry shape yesterday
  • Couldn’t believe it held on that long
  • Needless to say, it was rough going a few times in the sermon, but God was faithful
  • Everyone afterward said you couldn’t tell I was sick
  • In spite of being sick, the Holy Spirit was working in people’s hearts
  • The response from yesterday was overwhelming
  • I spoke about being made new and how the gospel changes us, not improves us, but makes us new
  • This being made new is what gives us power over our past, our sin, temptation, to have a new mind and new desires
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • Yesterday was a great day of football
  • Won in my fantasy league and my Steelers had a huge win against the Giants
  • Huge win
  • Really pumped for this coming Sunday at Revolution
  • I wish it was today
  • I have a feeling it is going to be one of those weekends where the Holy Spirit frees a lot of people
  • We’re talking about bitterness, letting go of people who have hurt you and finding freedom in the forgiveness God has given to each of us
  • Speaking of next Sunday
  • If you’re new to Revolution, be sure to sign up for our newcomer’s lunch happening after church on November 11
  • Been reading this book over the weekend, really been challenged by it
  • One of those books that cuts right to your heart and is bringing some good conviction
  • Almost done with the study guide for our next series starting January 13th on the book of Ecclesiastes called Meaning
  • The more I read and study the book of Ecclesiastes, the more excited I get about preaching through it
  • It is unbelievably relevant to our culture
  • So much in our culture is just us pursuing newer ways to be bored and not find meaning
  • I really believe a lot of eyes are going to be opened through it
  • I announced yesterday that we will be starting our Christmas offering on November 18th
  • The majority of this year’s Christmas offering will be going to Streetlight Tucson which helps to rescue girls in Tucson from sex trafficking
  • You can read more about this ministry here
  • A lot of great things going on, pumped for what’s ahead

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