Reminders are more effective than rebukes

14 02 2011

Some very words from Tullian Tchividjian. Go here for the full post.

The Puritans used to say that far too many Christians live beneath the level of their privileges. Therefore, I need to be told by those around me that every time I sin I’m momentarily suffering from an  identity crisis: forgetting who I actually belong to, what I really want at my remade core, and all that is already mine in Christ. The only way to deal with remaining sin long term is to develop a distaste for it in light of the glorious riches we already posses in Christ. I need my real friends to remind me of this–every day. Please tell me again and again that God doesn’t love me more when I obey or less when I disobey. Knowing this actually enlarges my heart for God and therefore shrinks my hunger for sin. So, don’t let me forget it. My life depends on it!

In her book Because He Loves Me, Elyse Fitzpatrick writes about how important remembrance is in Christian growth:

One reason we don’t grow in ordinary, grateful obedience as we should is that we’ve got amnesia; we’ve forgotten that we are cleansed from our sins. In other words, ongoing failure in sanctification (the slow process of change into Christlikeness) is the direct result of failing to remember God’s love for us in the gospel. If we lack the comfort and assurance that his love and cleansing are meant to supply, our failures will handcuff us to yesterday’s sins, and we won’t have faith or courage to fight against them, or the love for God that’s meant to empower this war. If we fail to remember our justification, redemption, and reconciliation, we’ll struggle in our sanctification.

Christian growth, in other words, does not happen first by behaving better, but believing better–believing in bigger, deeper, brighter ways what Christ has already secured for sinners. I need my family and friends to remind me of this all the time.

Realizing the Colossian Christians were being tempted to buy counterfeit versions of salvation (self-improvement and freedom through rule-keeping being the main ones), Paul repeatedly reminds them of the treasure they already have in Christ. His point: don’t buy false versions of what you already have. In 1:9-14, Paul sums things up by saying, essentially, “You will grow in your understanding of God’s will, be filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding, increase in your knowledge of God, be strengthened with God’s power which will produce joy filled patience and endurance (v.9-12a) as you come to a greater realization that you’ve already been qualified, delivered, transferred, redeemed, and forgiven (v.12b-14).

Paul understood that Gospel-driven change is rooted in remembrance.





Character exposed in suffering

16 12 2010
Tullian Tchividjian

Some quotes from Tullian Tchividjian from this sermon.

“Character is demonstrated more by our reactions than our actions.”

‘The flavour of a tea bag comes out best when put in hot water.”

“If you do not go to your grave confused you do not go to your grave trusting God.”

“Suffering doesn’t rob you of joy idolatery does.”

“If you are suffering and you are bitter or joyless then it means you’ve idolised whatever it is you are losing.”

“In the crucible of suffering you either become bitter or better.”

“You come from the womb with nothing and you go to the tomb with nothing.”

“You have everything you need already in Jesus.”

“Bitterness or joylessness in suffering happens when we’ve held on to something more than we’ve held on to God.”

“How is your present disappointment, discouragement or grief a window on what has actually captured your heart?” Paul Tripp