Archive for the ‘Holiness’ category

Tis Always First Quadrant

February 7, 2012

“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” – Acts 20:28

“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” – 1 Timothy 4:16

Pastor friends, there is nothing more important to you or your the congregation entrusted to your care than your own personal holiness and passionate pursuit of God. There is never a time when keeping your heart with all diligence is not most urgent and most important.  With all the needs, challenges, opportunities, and demands upon your time, money, and energy, be militant with your spiritual life. Persist in this. It will be good for you and those who benefit from your usefulness.

In all your task management and getting things done, keep these at the top. Assumption is not an option. Careful attention, close watching, diligent persistence is the order of the day. Every day. For Jesus’ sake, and His church.

May we be known not merely by the skillfulness of our hands or the swiftness of our feet or the eloquence of our words, but let it be our nearness to Jesus and the sweetness we’ve tasted in His gospel. Let it be known that we can be found at the banqueting table of our Lord–remembering–renewing–reviving with all joy and delight in His presence. And above all else, command our lives to the cause of our hearts, confessing “Jesus is Lord” in the power of the Spirit. Amen.

Make War

November 4, 2010

Good Works Before Men, Righteousness Before God

January 16, 2010

Jonathan Edwards says in his book Religious Affections that the chief of all signs of true and saving grace is Christian practice. He makes his argument on numerous texts, beginning with “by their fruits you will know them” (Mat. 7:16).  He goes on to say that Jesus gives others the right to judge us on our Christian practice based on Matthew 5:16 (“Let your light shine before others that they see your good works . . .”).  What I find fascinating about this is what Jesus sandwiched between the two statements about good works and bearing fruit.

Half of Matthew 6 is focused on “beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them.”  The three big areas of this practice is giving, prayer, and fasting–some of the foundational practices of biblical spirituality.  He tells them not to do them before other people but before the Father who sees and rewards in secret.

It seems on the surface that Jesus could be taken as contradicting himself here.  In Matthew 5, good works are do be done before men.  In Matthew 7, the fruit of our Christian lives ought be seen and verifiable by others.  But in Matthew 6, Jesus is warning his followers to not let their practices be seen before men to be seen by them.

How would you respond to someone who is confused over this matter? How do you let your light shine before others in such a way that the good works seen by men at the same time do not violate the commands to practice righteousness before men and lose your reward from the Father in heaven?  If by the fruit of our Christian practice people will be able to judge we genuine professors, how do we do that without a kind of practice before others that judges us as hypocrites (as seen in Matt. 6)?

Christ the Builder, Christ the Perfecter

December 1, 2009

The church is a people who are called out and set apart from the world who are also called and sent into the world.  The goal of the Christian life is complete conformity to Christ, and such conformity is both in character and in mission.  In other words, the church is to be both a holy people (set apart) and missionary people (sent) at the same time, all the time.

I come away with this when considering the promise that Jesus will build His church and the purchased goal that Jesus will perfect His church.


The Power of Words and the Wonder of God (Compilation)

September 28, 2008

Update: Abraham just posted the links to all the video from the sessions of the conference.

With great interest, I have been following the live-blogging and commentary from the 2009 Desiring God National Conference whose theme is “The Power of God and the Wonder of God.”  I thought I provide all the links in one place for your (and my!) benefit.  The links are to Desiring God’s pages which provide audio, video, and notes.  The “DG Blog” are notes from the Desiring God blog.  Also, you ought to check out true live-blogging as shown by Mike Anderson of The Resurgence blog.

1.  “The Tongue, the Bridle, and the Blessing: An Exposition of James 3:1-12” by Sinclair Ferguson (DG blog)
2.  Friday Panel Discussion (Driscoll, Ferguson, Piper) (DG blog)
3.  “Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing?” by Bob Kauflin (DG blog)
4.  “How Sharp the Edge: Christ, Controversy, and Cutting Words” by Mark Driscoll (DG blog)
5. “The Life-Shaping Power of Story: God’s and Ours” by Daniel Taylor (DG blog)
6.  Saturday Panel Discussion (Kauflin, Piper, Taylor, Tripp) (DG blog)
7.  “War of Words: Getting to the Heart for God’s Sake” by Paul Tripp (DG blog)
8.  “Is There Christian Eloquence? Clear Words and the Wonder of the Cross” by John Piper (DG blog)

Here’s a clip from Ferguson’s message referring to being careless with the tongue.  Very convicting.

On a lighter note, for those who have been around Piper knows he usually wears the same plaid coat, so I thought this was pretty funny.  🙂

You can find all the pre-conference videos from the conference speakers by going here.

NFC IX: Andy Davis on “The Importance of Filling Your Life With Scripture”

June 26, 2008

I hold in my hand a miracle.  The Bible is a miracle, and I challenge you to give me any definition of a miracle that our Bible does not qualify.  It was the Word God sent, for faith comes by hearing so that we might be saved.  James 1:17 – God chose to give us birth by the word of truth.  The Scriptures are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15).

There are elect people who have not been justified yet; there are justified people who are not finished being sanctified.  The finish line of salvation is the resurrected body; therefore, we are not finished yet, and we are in danger every hour.  We need the ministry of the word of God every hour.  The doctrines of grace, the five points of Calvinism have been precious to me most all of my Christian life.  Most believers are aware of the “p” of tulip–the perseverance of the saints.  But I have come to have a different view of perseverance over the past couple of years.  It is much more dynamic; Jesus continues to save me, continues to project me until I am brought to glory.

(I missed a great exposition on our dependency upon the Trinitarian work of ongoing sanctification in the life of a believer to keep one in the faith through perseverance wholly as a divine work of grace.  I was taking photos as this time).

The ongoing ministry of the Word keeps our faith in Christ strong.

Text: John 15:1-8 (click)

The centrality of this message is abiding, remaining, and dwelling in Christ.  This fruitfulness comes only from abiding in Christ, and abiding in Christ does not come apart from abiding in the Word of God.  Look at verse seven and eight:

7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

I want trace out this theme of the centrality of the Word.  Then I want to speak generally how this will be beneficial and helpful, and giving practical helps in studying Scripture.

1.  Eternal life comes by the Word (3)

“You already clean because of the Word I have spoken to you.” We must be washed by Jesus or we do not go to heaven.  Nobody’s will is stronger than Jesus’.  Clean means justified–to be pure in the sight of God.  God is looking on us as clean–he sees us pure and clean in Christ because of the word spoken to you.  Rom. 5:1–we have peace with God; Heb. 10:22–hearts sprinkled and consciences cleansed.


Founders Podcast 2: Interview with Donald Whitney

June 24, 2008

This morning, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Donald Whitney to discuss spiritual disciplines and the 2008 National Founders Conference. In the interview, I asked Dr. Whitney about his pilgrimage in the study of spiritual disciplines, how to cultivate spiritual disciplines in challenging and demanding times, his work at the Center for Biblical Spirituality and at SBTS, and finally the work of personal and formative discipline in the practice of church renewal and church planting.

The total listening time is approximately 42 minutes.

>> Download: FP2 :: Interview with Donald Whitney (at 08FNC)

DGNCON08: The Power of Words and the Wonder of God

June 13, 2008

Very apropos conference theme, something we all need to hear, learn, and if possible, attend.

In case you have not seen it, consider Piper’s example in this heart-riveting excerpt from last year’s chapel message at Southern Seminary (produced by Tony Kummer).

May we all use our tongues as a weapon to wield for the purposes of the wonder of God’s great grace.

Audio from Today’s CFT Show (RE: The Godly Man’s Picture)

April 2, 2008

Calling for Truth has uploaded the audio for today’s interview, capping off March’s Puritan Paperback, The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson.  You can listen to the show online or download it (MP3) as well (right click, save as).

Tomorrow, I will announce the winner of the March giveaway of books.  Oh, and we are throwing one more book in there as well.  🙂

Let’s Talk Watson and Godliness Tomorrow at 1 EST

April 1, 2008

So we didn’t get to talk much about Watson and The Godly Man’s Picture this month, but we do have an hour tomorrow to catch up.  I would love to hear from you guys!

Tomorrow (Wednesday, April. 2) at 1:00 p.m. EST, I will again be on Calling for Truth with Paul Dean and Kevin Boling to discuss Watson and godliness–a topic certainly worth our time and attention. It will be a live call-in radio broadcast for an hour (1:00-2:00 p.m. EST), and you can listen two ways:

1. If you live in SC or parts of NC, GA, or TN, you can listen in at Talk 660.
2. If you are like me and live elsewhere, you can listen online by going here.

The toll-free number to call in is 1.888.660.9535.

Here’s an idea: find one thing in particular that you enjoyed the most, convicted you the most, or impacted your thinking and call in to share that with us.  Once the audio is available online, I will post the MP3 here on P&P.  I look forward to catching up with you tomorrow afternoon!

Pursuing Christ Together,

Timmy Brister

Blue Collar Theology 23: A New Kind of Accountability

March 24, 2008

One of our modern-day, evangelical methods for holiness and purity in the church has been what are called “accountability groups.” An accountability group takes many forms–two, three, or eight people–who meet regularly. Some groups have a list of questions to go through, while other groups sit over coffee and let words be shared as they come to mind, whatever the topic of the day might be. The majority of our questions revolve around behavioral questions: have you looked at anything you should not have, have you loved your spouse in an honorable way, have you faithfully read the Scriptures this week.

If we are to pursue true holiness, the object that we pursue must be true. That may seem obvious enough, but so many people do not act accordingly.  In an age where “spirituality” is defined by ethereal experience and some kind of nebulous deity, holiness is a foreign word. In some people’s religion, it is a four-letter word. Paul exhorted Timothy to pay close attention to his life and his doctrine. These two cannot be divorced. As A.W. Tozer said, what we believe about God is the most important thing about us. While we pursue holiness as the people of God, we must include, with our questions regarding ethics, questions also pertaining to our doctrine. When we ask if we have looked at something we should not have, instead of including only pornography, we should also include theology that is not considered orthodox. Pornography is not the only moral issue in our lives. We need to remember that wrong views of God (theology) are also sinful. For those that are not as discerning in what they read, we could make the question broader to be: “What have you read over the past week?”

This may seem like a silly issue to even write about when we speak of theology for all people, but it is an underlying problem in every accountability group that is not asking questions related to theology. I am not arguing for a mere group of puffed up minds. Rather, I am pushing on us to become a community of believers, who believe what it true, noble, and pure. If a group of armchair theologians get together for the fun of debate, this is not accountability.

I have been the instigator of too many conversations that merely puffed up. I have touted the latest esoteric book I just finished with no attempt to speak about its conviction in my life. I have tried to glean as much knowledge from people I interact with without seeking to have my life changedAccountability is going further than talking about the sovereignty of God. It is asking what you believe to be limits of God’s rule in your life. Once that is explicated, we then move on to how this has affected you over the past week. Did you go to a website you should not have? Did you think about God’s omnipresent, sovereign rule while you were clicking away?

What I am arguing for is that as community-dwellers, we begin to enter into discussions about theology in such a way that it is not mere academia. If we stop with theology without delving into the depths of the moral implications, we will be clanging cymbals.

If we speak about our ethic without making explicit the theology grounding it, we will become hypocrites.

Our theology must be tested through the fires of community.In the next post I will talk about how we can begin to wed the two – life and doctrine.

Of Holiness and Mortification

August 31, 2007

This week has been a convergence of great resources on holiness and mortification of sin. I thought I’d post the articles that I have been checking out.

Joe Thorn:
Thoughts on Pride

Mark Moore:
The Key to Sanctification

Erik Raymond:
Temptation, Resisted and Repulsed

John MacArthur:

How to Kill Sin in Your Life (Part 1)
How to Kill Sin in Your Life (Part 2)
How to Kill Sin in Your Life (Part 3)

Tim Challies:
Reading Classics Together (Holiness)
Reading Classics Together – Holiness (Introduction)

The Resurgence:
Let Us Walk by the Spirit (by John Piper)

In addition to these great articles, I received my quarterly Free Grace Broadcaster yesterday. The Fall 2007 issue is focused on “Mortification.” In this little booklet are the following excerpts:

“The Doctrine of Mortification” by A.W. Pink
“The Nature of Mortification” by John Flavel
“Identifying Beloved Lusts” by Benjamin Needler
“Only a Christian Can Mortify Sin” by Horatius Bonar
“Directions for Mortification” by John Owen
“Mortifying Sin by the Holy Spirit” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“Dangers of Not Mortifying Sin” by Ezekiel Hopkins
“Gospel or Legal Mortification” by Ralph Erskine
“How May I Know If I Am in a State of Mortification?” by Christopher Love

I know. It’s hard to believe that that many great excerpts can be put in one booklet, but this is not unusual for the great folks of Mount Zion. Long before messages and media were available for free on the Internet, Mount Zion Chapel Library was handing out books by the dozens and pamphlets by the thousands (when I told them I was heading to Argentina for a mission trip, they gave me a case (100 copies) of Tozer’s The Pursuit of God in Spanish to pass out!). I still have numerous free copies of Horatius Bonar’s Words to Winners of Souls that I love to give to folks, and I would be remiss to fail to mention that it was at Mount Zion that I was first introduced to the Puritans.

If you have not benefited from the ministry of Mount Zion Chapel Library, let me encourage you to check out their website and support them by promoting their sacrificial work.