Evangelism Starts with Us

“The first great step in evangelising is that we should start with ourselves and become sanctified. . . . When the man of the world sees that you and I have got something that he obviously has not got, when he finds us calm and quiet when we are taken ill; when he finds we can smile in the face of death; when he finds about us a poise, a balance, an equanimity and a loving, gentle quality . . . he will begin to take notice. He will say, “That man has got something,” and he will begin to enquire as to what it is. And he will want it.” -Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Don’t Treat People Like Projects

If you treat people like projects for you to improve, then when they don’t want to participate in that project you will inevitably treat them as a waste of time or you will feel threatened by them–because all you are seeing in them is something that needs fixing.

But the Bible instead calls us simply to love our neighbor as ourselves. This changes the motive to intervene. Our interest in people’s growth becomes selfless because it is based on love, instead of a “need to fix” them. It changes how we intervene.

It means ‘I want to help them, but I love them even without improvement, and I love them even if the pace of improvement is considerably slower or different from what “I” wanted.’

That is giving up control. It re-humanizes people so that we treat them like people and not just ‘projects.’

Victory Over Sin Takes a Lifetime, and It Is Dangerous Folly to See it Any Differently

“If our expectation is that we should be able to take four simple steps to succeed in our struggle against sin, Hebrews warns that we’ll despair and be self-condemning when we continue to fail. We’ll become despondent and exhausted. This is one of the reasons why people run from seminar to seminar, why they pile up self-help books, and why they spend millions of dollars every year for psychotherapy. Our problem is that we don’t see the depth or power of our sin or how we’re to continually fight against it.” -Elyse Fitzpatrick, Comforts from the Cross

Grace is Glory Begun

Q: Is there a difference between glory and grace for Christians?

“Ans. Yes. But the difference is in degrees, and not otherwise. For heaven must be begun here. If ever we mean to enter into heaven hereafter, we enter into the suburbs here. We must be new creatures here. We are kings here; we are heirs apparent here; we are adopted here; we are regenerate here; we are glorious here, before we be glorious hereafter. Therefore, beloved, we may read our future state in our present. We must not think to come de scelo in cealum, as he saith, out of the filth of sin to heaven, but heaven must be begun here. You see both have the same name, grace, and glory. Therefore, wouldst thou know what thy condition shall be afterwards? Read it in thy present disposition. If there be not a change and a glorious change here, never look for a glorious change hereafter. What is not begun in grace shall never be accomplished in glory. Both grace here and glory hereafter coming under the same name, it forceth this.” Richard Sibbes, Glorious Freedom

What it Means to Live As One with Passions That Have Been “Crucified in Christ”

“I cannot but hate sin; and, hating sin, I must act his part anew, that is, as he died for sin, so I die to sin; as he was crucified for it, so it is crucified in me; as he was pierced, so he gives corruption a stab in me; as he was buried, so my corruption is buried; and as he died once, never to die again, so I follow my sins to the grave, to death, and consumption of old Adam, that he never riseth again. So I say, the consideration of my union with Christ, that I in Christ did die and was crucified, because my head died and was crucified. And then it puts that affection into me that was in Christ, and makes me act Christ’s part, to die to sin daily more and more. These and the like thoughts are stirred up in a Christian, which St Paul aims at in Rom. vi. and other places.” -Richard Sibbes, Glorious Freedom

It’s Not Necessarily the Success of the Fight, But the Desire for the Fight That Is the Key

“Therefore let not Christians be discouraged with the backwardness and untowardness of the flesh, to good duties. If we have a principle in us to fight against it, to enable us to fight against our corruptions, and to get good duties out of it in spite of it, it is an argument of a new nature.” -Richard Sibbes, Glorious Freedom