Being a Disciple of Christ

One of the current trends in Christianity is this teaching of “easy-believism”, the idea that saying a prayer to ask Jesus into your heart saves you and secures a place for you in Heaven. From my blog post of June 19, 2011:

There are many people out there who think they are Christians, think they are going to heaven when they die because they said a prayer when they were a child or they responded to an altar call at church. But in reality they have really never turned their hearts to Christ. The Bible never teaches that to be saved we have to “ask Jesus into our heart”.

Luke 9:23 states, Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to become my follower he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Luke 6:46 says – “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I say?”

The famous passage in Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you have been saved, through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” (emphasis mine) We do not save ourselves – it is God who saves us.

The fruit of the Spirit is outlined in Galatians 5. Yet I see many professing Christians that don’t display these characteristics in their lives. Their lives are no different than others around them who aren’t believers. I challenge myself with these words. Is my life any different from the world around me? Can people look at me and see Jesus in my life?

My heart is burdened by what I see around me as “easy-believism”. But what I see in the Bible is a life called to sacrifice, to die to our own desires and to live for Christ. This article sums up what I’m trying to say much better than I can explain it: http://www.gotquestions.org/easy-believism.html

To grow as a disciple of Christ, first we need to make sure that we are one.

The gospel summarized:
“First, God’s holiness and justice require that rebellion against his perfect law be dealt with retributively, namely, in the suffering of both spiritual and physical death. Second, we humans can do nothing about this. We are helpless to atone for self and are thus wholly at a loss to escape the wrath of God that our sin has incurred. Third, Jesus Christ, the incarnate God-man, has taken our place under judgment and received in himself the penalty that was our sentence, thereby laying the foundation for our pardon and immunity from divine prosecution. Fourth, each human must look in faith outside and away from self to Christ and his cross as the sole ground of forgiveness and future hope.” (Sam Storms, as written in Packer on the Christian Life)
Repent (turn away) from your sins and place your faith in Christ alone for salvation. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

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Face Time by Kristen Hatton

Face Time: Your Identity in a Selfie WorldFace Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World by Kristen Hatton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short, succinct and practical book, this is geared toward teen girls and the struggle to find their identity. However, anyone can gain help from this book, which starts out with the foundation of our identity being in Christ if we are a believer in Him. She gives the foundation of what justification means and how that affects who we are as Christians and what that means for where our identity lies.
After the foundation of our identity being rooted in Christ, she then takes us through multiple ways that teens struggle today with their identity, whether it be an eating disorder, approval of friends, perfectionism, self-harm, sex, or drinking. With each example, she then has discussion questions and a journal section with Bible verses to see the truth about these struggles. Whether it’s a personal struggle or something we see our friends going through, this book offers practical help in dealing with life in this world.
One small problem I had was that some of the verses used were taken out of context. While the truth that was being given from these verses is accurate, those verses are not the best place to show that truth as the meaning of those particular verses was not correctly being used. Other verses in the Bible could have been used to show that truth. However, overall this was an excellent book that could be used with a small group of teens to work through some of these issues that they face and how to deal with them in a Biblical way.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher New Growth Press in exchange for my review.

Discipling by Mark Dever

Great book on discipleship!

Sojourner Between Worlds

Discipling: How to Help Others Follow JesusDiscipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus by Mark Dever

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book defines discipling as “deliberately doing spiritual good to someone so that he or she will be more like Christ.” Being a disciple is being a follower. As a disciple of Jesus, we are to follow Jesus and part of that is to obey His command to make more disciples (or followers of Jesus). This is a very practical book on what discipling is and how to go about it. Discipleship should grow out of the local church and thus the book emphasizes the need to be part of a local body. “Christianity is not for loners or individualists. It is for a people traveling together down the narrow path that leads to life.” When we disciple we invite others along to join us on the journey of life.
“Discipling involves transmitting the…

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Growing Your Faith by Jerry Bridges

Growing Your Faith: How to Mature in ChristGrowing Your Faith: How to Mature in Christ by Jerry Bridges
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a bit of a compilation of Bridges’ previous works, summarized together into one book. He takes us through sanctification – the need for the Holy Spirit as well as our own responsibility. Challenging and helpful book!

Jerry Bridges is one of my favorite authors and I have read most of his books and re-read some as well. There was a lot of good stuff in this book, but for some reason I didn’t underline as I went through. Definitely worth a re-read at some point.

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands

Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of ChangeInstruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change by Paul David Tripp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Really liked this book! Wish I owned it so that I could underline in it but would probably end up underlining half the book! The importance of the heart when it comes to changing behavior. It’s also convicting – look at my own heart to see what controls me, what am I making an idol of in my life? What prompts me to do the things I do? Challenging and helpful book.

“Our deepest problem is not experiential, biological, or relational; it is moral, and it alters everything. It distorts our identity, alters our perspective, derails our behavior, and kidnaps our hope.”
“Rebellion is the inborn tendency to give in to the lies of autonomy, self-sufficiency, and self-focus.”
“If my heart is the source of my sin problem, then lasting change must always travel through the pathway of my heart. It is not enough to alter my behavior or to change my circumstances. Christ transforms people by radically changing their hearts.”
“Whatever rules the heart will exercise inescapable influence over the person’s life and behavior.”
What or who are you worshipping?
“…God is intent on owning our hearts unchallenged.”
“We forget that God’s primary goal is not changing our situations and relationships so that we can be happy, but changing us through our situations and relationships so that we will be holy.”
“Truth that is not spoken in love ceases to be truth because it is twisted by other human agendas. Love that is not guided by truth ceases to be love because it is divorced from God’s agenda.”